Monday, January 31, 2011

Fr. Barron: Arguments for God's Existence

This is exclusive clip #3 from Fr. Barron's highly anticipated project: CATHOLICISM.

This short clip is a preview from episode #3 of the series about the Mystery of God. In it, Fr. Barron beautifully demonstrates one of the classical proofs for God's existence: The Argument from Contingency.

H/T: Matt Warner

Pope: Neighbor can be met online

While involved in the digital world, we must never forget the question: "Who is my neighbor?", and to really establish our presence in an evangelical sense. The Pope said this in a message entitled "Truth, Proclamation and Authenticity of Life in the Digital Age".

Pope sets doves free for world peace

Flanked by two Roman children, Benedict XVI prayed the angelus and called for world peace, before setting a flock of doves free into the wind. Much to his surprise, the doves took a U-turn, a metaphor for just how difficult it is to solidify peace, espeically in the Middle East.

St. John Bosco

Today the Church celebrates the life of St. John Bosco, priest and patron of youth.

He was born in Piedmont, Italy of a peasant family, and he was brought up by his widowed mother. He became a priest, and his particular concern was for the young. He settled in Turin, where, as in so many cities in the 19th century, the industrial revolution was bringing enormous movements of population and consequent social problems, especially for the young men who came there to work. John Bosco devoted himself to the care of the young, first of all by means of evening classes, to which hundreds came, and then by setting up a boarding-house for apprentices, and then workshops for their training and education. Despite many difficulties, caused both by the anti-clerical civil authorities and by the opposition of some senior people within the Church, his enterprise grew, and by 1868 over 800 boys and young men were under his care. To ensure the continuation of his work, he founded a congregation, which he named after St Francis de Sales (a saint for whom he had great admiration), and today the Salesians continue his work all over the world.

For a more detailed biography, go here.

Catholic Culture's library has a good article: Don Bosco, Seeker of Souls.

Patron: Apprentices; boys; editors; Mexican young people; laborers; schoolchildren; students; young people.

Collect: Lord, you called John Bosco to be a teacher and father to the young. Fill us with love like his: may we give ourselves completely to your service and to the salvation of mankind. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from St. John Bosco:

"Do you want Our Lord to give you many graces? Visit Him often. Do you want Him to give you few graces? Visit him seldom. Visits to the Blessed Sacrament are powerful and indispensable means of overcoming the attacks of the devil. Make frequent visits to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and the devil will be powerless against you.”

“This was the method that Jesus used with the apostles. He put up with their ignorance and roughness and even their infidelity. He treated sinners with a kindness and affection that caused some to be shocked, others to be scandalized and still others to hope for God’s mercy. And so He bade us to be gentle and humble of heart.”

“Your reward in heaven will make up completely for all your pain and suffering.”

"All for God and for His Glory. In whatever you do, think of the Glory of God as your main goal."

"Everything and everyone is is won by the sweetness of our words and works."

"Every virtue in your soul is a precious ornament which makes you dear to God and to man. But holy purity, the queen of virtues, the angelic virtue, is a jewel so precious that those who possess it become like the angels of God in Heaven, even though clothed in mortal flesh."

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Amazing Time Lapse Video for 2011 March for Life

This is an amazing video!  What a crowd! The time it took the pro-lifers to pass the camera was one hour and thirty-one minutes!

A Gift of God

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fr. Barron comments on St. Thomas Aquinas

St. Thomas Aquinas

Happy Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas! As a graduate student in theology,  I have prayed daily to Thomas for the past several months. He was been my dear friend and intercessor and has gotten me through some difficult times. Today is his feast day and I plan to celebrate it heartily, but first, let me share a little about him.

Saint Thomas Aquinas was a 13th century Dominican priest, philosopher, and theologian. As a Doctor of the Church, he has been given the title "Angelic Doctor" and is the patron of Catholic universities and schools. St. Thomas ranks among the greatest writers and theologians of all time. His most important work, the Summa Theologiae, an explanation and summary of the entire body of Catholic teaching, has been standard for centuries, even to our own day. St. Thomas reflected the Dominican ideal. He was a true contemplative who shared the fruits of contemplation with others.

Born of a noble family in southern Italy, Thomas was educated by the Benedictines. He was a superior student and surpassed his classmates in learning as well as in the practice of virtue.

When he became old enough to choose his state of life, Thomas renounced the things of this world and chose to enter the Order of St. Dominic in spite of the opposition of his family, who had expected him to become a Benedictine. At the age of seventeen, he joined the Dominicans of Naples. His mother, determined to change this, rushed to Naples to consult with her son, but the Dominicans sent him to Rome, on the way to Paris or Cologne. She then instructed his brothers to capture Thomas and confine him in the fortress of San Giovanni at Rocca Secca. He remained "imprisoned" by family members for a two year period in an attempt to prevent him from assuming the Dominican habit and to force him into renouncing his decision. They even went so far as to tempt him with a prostitute. When the woman entered his room, Thomas chased her out with a piece of burning wood from the fire. Following this event, he prayed to God, asking for purity of mind and body. Two angels appeared to him in a dream, to assure him that his prayers had been answered and that God was giving him the gift of perfect chastity. Thus, he earned the title 'Angelic Doctor.' All of the family's efforts proved to be in vain, as Thomas was given the grace to remain pure and to persevere in his vocation.

Thomas studied in Paris and in Cologne under the great philosopher St Albert the Great. Here he was nicknamed the "dumb ox" because of his silent ways and huge size, but he was actually a brilliant student. At the age of twenty-two, he was appointed to teach in the same city. At the same time, he also began to publish his first works. After four years he was sent to Paris. The saint was then a priest. At the age of thirty-one, he received his doctorate.

Thomas spent the rest of his life studying, praying, teaching, writing, composing hymns, and traveling. During his lifetime, he produced 60 works within less than 50 years.

Thomas made a great synthesis of philosophy and theology. He combined the revelation of scriptures with a "framework" of Aristotle and the notion of participation of Plato. This synthesis is called Thomistic philosophy or "Scholasticism" and has remained the official theology of the Church since the 13th century.

He died on March 7, 1274 and was canonized by Pope John XXII on July 18, 1323 - less than 50 years after his death.

Patron: Academics; against storms; against lightning; apologists; book sellers; Catholic academies; Catholic schools; Catholic universities; chastity; colleges; learning; lightning; pencil makers; philosophers; publishers; scholars; schools; storms; students; theologians; universities; University of Vigo.

Related Post: St. Thomas Aquinas: My Favorite Quotes and A Spiritual Meditation

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Story of Human Dignity: Till Death Due Us Part

OK, if you liked the story American Idol contestant Paris Tassin had to tell, you’ll love this one. They’re not married yet, but Christ Medina is already taking his impending wedding vows very seriously. Be prepared for a powerful witness:

H/T: Chelsea

Prayer Vigil for Beatification of John Paul II to be held in Circus Maximus

Rome is already making preparations to welcome around 2 million pilgrims for the beatification of John Paul II.

The Circus Maximus in Rome will host the crowds on the evening of April 30 for a prayer vigil in preparation of the ceremony.

"There Be Dragons" film based on Opus Dei founder opens May 6

The film “There Be Dragons” tells the story about a journalist investigating the connection between his father and the founder of Opus Dei, Josemaria Escrivá. It's set to hit the big screens in the US on May 6. The movie's director, Roland Joffé, is well known for his other hits like “The Mission” and “The Killing Fields.” His newest project takes us to Madrid in 1936, during the Spanish Civil War.

During a violent time in history, we see the trials experienced by Josemaria Escrivá as Catholic priests are being persecuted throughout Spain and the turmoil of a civil war that separates families and divides a country.

Years later, a young man investigating the candidate for canonization Josemaria, discovers his own father had a complicated relationship with the Opus Dei founder.

The film based on true events, stars the young actors Charlie Cox from “Stardust” and “Casanova,” Wes Bentley from “American Beauty,” and Olga Kurylenko from the James Bond movie “Quantum of Solace.”


Prayer Event set for May 6th - 8th

The multinational ONE MILLION ROSARIES FOR UNBORN BABIES prayer event is set to happen
May 6th (Friday), 7th (Saturday), and 8th (Sunday), 2011. Last year, people from more than 40 nations registered Rosaries, though the goal of one million was not met. This year, the Saint Michael the Archangel Organization of Memphis, Tennessee is again encouraging pro-lifers to participate by praying at least one Rosary for an end to the surgical and non-surgical killing of unborn human persons.

Register here:

Saint Angela Merici

Today is the optional memorial of St. Angela Merici, the foundress of the Ursulines. Angela was born on March 21, 1474 at Desenzano, Lake Garda, Italy and died on January 27, 1540 in Brescia.

Angela’s parents died when she was only ten years old. Together, with her older sister, she moved to the nearby town of Salo, to live with her uncle. When her sister died quite suddenly without receiving the last sacraments, Angela was deeply upset. At the age of 15, she became a Franciscan tertiary and greatly increased her prayers and sacrifices for the repose of her sister's soul. She asked God to reveal to her the condition of her deceased sister and He answered her prayer by showing her through a vision that her sister was in Heaven.

When her uncle died, she returned to live at Desenzano to make a life for herself. She was convinced of the need for women to be educated in their faith and converted her home into a school where she daily gathered all the girls of Desenzano and taught them the basics of Christianity. It was at this time that she received a vision, which led her to found a religious order who were to devote their lives to the spiritual education of young women. The school she established at Desenzano was so successful that she was invited to the nearby city of Brescia, to establish a school there, which she accepted.

During a pilgrimage to Holy Land, while visiting Crete, Angela was struck blind. This did not interrupt her trip, however, but she continued on the journey, visiting the shrines with as much devotion and enthusiasm as if she still had her sight. On the way home, while praying before a crucifix, her sight was miraculously restored at the same place where it had been lost.

In 1525, Pope Clement VII, who had heard of her great holiness and her success as a religious teacher of young girls, invited her to remain in Rome; however, Angela returned to Brescia to live a quiet life, away from the limelight.

In 1535, Angela selected twelve women and laid the foundation of the order of the Ursulines in a small house near the Church of St. Afra in Brescia. She died only five years later. St. Angela's body is incorrupt. She was beatified in 1768 by Pope Clement XIII and canonized in 1807 by Pope Pius VII.

Patronage: She is the patron saint of physically challenged people, sick people, and of those who have lost their parents.

Quotes From St. Angela Merci:

"Disorder in society is the result of disorder in the family."

"We must give alms. Charity wins souls and draws them to virtue."

"Mothers of children, even if they have a thousand, carry each and every one fixed in their hearts, and because of the strength of their love they do not forget any of them. In fact, it seems that the more children they have the more their love and care for each one is increased."

St. Angela Merici -- A Prayer of Remembrance

Angela, a valiant woman, inspire us today to be people of faith,
people of action, people in love with God and all creation.
May we be makers of peace in a wounded world.
May we be creators of justice in a broken world.
May we be passionate and compassionate in a indifferent world.
You who traveled the road before us, be with us as you promised.
May the example of your pilgrim heart encourage us on our journey.

~ Author Unknown

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pope calls Christian unity a 'moral imperative'

For Benedict XVI, Christian unity is a moral imperative. He says in order to obtain it, we must overcome any pessimism or resignation about the process. This came during the closing ceremony of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity at Rome's Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.

Benedict XVI: 'Joan of Arc is an example to all politicians'

During the general audience, Benedict XVI spoke about Joan of Arc as an example of a saint committed to the society of her time.

Saints Timothy and Titus

Memorial of Sts. Timothy and Titus, Bishops

St. Paul was so influential and attractive a personality that he was able to draw such different types of men as Timothy and Titus and to make them his collaborators. Timothy and Titus were converted to Christianity by St Paul, and became his companions and helpers. They were were two of the most beloved and trusted disciples of St. Paul, whom they accompanied in many of his journeys.

Paul made both men bishops and entrusted Timothy with the care of the Christians in Ephesus, and sent Titus to Crete to look after the Christians there. He wrote them “pastoral” epistles, giving advice for pastors and people alike.

Timothy was St. Paul's confidant. St. Timothy has been regarded by some as the "angel of the church of Ephesus", Rev 2:1-17.

Titus was the negotiator, the one St. Paul sent to clear up misunderstandings, reconcile differences, and the one who would organize a new Church. He received a letter from St. Paul which encouraged Christians to live temperate, just, and devout lives, while awaiting the coming of Christ.

St. Timothy was stoned to death thirty years after St. Paul's martyrdom for having denounced the worship of the goddess Diana. Tradition tells us that St. Titus died a natural death at the age of 94, having lived in the state of virginity during his whole life.

Patronage: St. Timothy is the patron saint of intestinal disorders and stomach diseases. St. Titus is the patron of Crete.

Quote: “But when the kindness and generous love of God our Savior appeared, not because of any righteous deeds we had done but because of his mercy, he saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the holy Spirit, whom he richly poured out on us through Jesus Christ our savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life. This saying is trustworthy” ~ Titus 3:4-8

Collect: God our Father, you gave your saints Timothy and Titus the courage and wisdom of the apostles: may their prayers help us to live holy lives and lead us to heaven, our true home. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Fr. Barron comments on Abortion: Shocking Numbers out of New York

March for Life 2011

Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul

Happy Feast day of the Conversion of St. Paul! The conversion of Saul, persecutor of the early church, was of pivotal importance for the worldwide development of Christianity. Paul means much for our faith and for the New Testament. Today we celebrate that significant event on the road to Damascus when Saul, fallen to amazement at a great light from heaven, spoke with the risen Savior and arose as Paul, to become the Apostle to the Gentiles.

Paul was born at Tarsus, the capital of Cilia around 4 A.D. A Jew, he spoke Greek and he held Roman citizenship. He belonged to the tribe of Benjamin and was given the name Saul at the time of his circumcision. As a Roman citizen from birth, he also had the Latin name Paul. He learned to be a tent maker from his father, or rather to make the material of which the tents were made (goat's wool or linen fibers).  At the age of 12 or 13, he left home and was sent to Jerusalem to be educated by Rabbi Gamaliel the Elder, where he acquired a great love for the Mosaic Torah. As a devout Jew, he viewed Christianity as a threat to Jewish identity and orthodoxy. Thus, he fiercely persecuted the "Church of God". He took an active part in the stoning of Stephen, the Church's first martyr.

Around 35 or 36 AD, Paul met Jesus on his way to Damascus, who asked why he was persecuting Him through His followers. Jesus then told him to go into the city where he would be told what to do. Paul was blinded for three days, and was taken into Damascus where the Lord told Ananius, a disciple, to go to Paul and heal him. At that point, “something like scales fell from Paul's eyes,” he was healed and he became baptized, and started preaching about Jesus in the synagogues. (His conversion is described in Acts in three different versions.)

Following his conversion, Paul went to Arabia to pray for three years, then went to visit Peter, after which he began to travel to preach the good news that Jesus was the "Messiah and the Son of God." He became a tireless "Apostle for the Gospel." He was martyred as an Apostle in Rome around 65 AD.

Patron: Against snakes; authors; Cursillo movement; evangelists; hailstorms; hospital public relations; journalists; lay people; missionary bishops; musicians; poisonous snakes; public relations personnel; public relations work; publishers; reporters; rope braiders; rope makers; saddlemakers; saddlers; snake bites; tent makers; writers; Malta; Rome; Poznan, Poland; newspaper editorial staff Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Diocese of Covington, Kentucky; Diocese of Birmingham, Alabama; Diocese of Las Vegas, Nevada; Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island; Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts.

Symbols: Book and sword; three fountains; two swords; scourge; serpent and a fire; armour of God; twelve scrolls with names of his Epistles; phoenix; palm tree; shield of faith; sword; book.

Prayer to Saint Paul the Apostle

O Glorious Saint Paul, after persecuting the Church you became by God's grace its most zealous Apostle. To carry the knowledge of Jesus, our divine Savior, to the uttermost parts of the earth you joyfully endured prison, scourgings, stonings, and shipwreck, as well as all manner of persecutions culminating in the shedding of the last drop of your blood for our Lord Jesus Christ.

Obtain for us the grace to labor strenuously to being the faith to others and to accept any trials and tribulations that may come our way. Help us to be inspired by your Epistles and to partake of your indomitable love for Jesus, so that after we have finished our course we may join you in praising him in heaven for all eternity. Amen.

Monday, January 24, 2011

March for Life 2011: Hundreds of thousands assemble against abortion in DC

Hundreds of thousands of people packed the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 24 to show their support for the human rights of the unborn at the annual March for Life.

This year's march marked the 38th anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade.

For the first time ever, the morning rally events that preceded the March for Life took place at two locations – the Verizon Center and D.C. Armory – to accommodate larger-than-usual crowds. Growing youth participation, possibly assisted by online social media, has nearly quadrupled the size of the march during the past decade.

Fr. Mark Ivany, a priest from Bethesda, Md., told the crowd at the Verizon center on the morning of the march that they were speaking on behalf of those who would never be able to speak for themselves.

"The greatest difference between other civil rights movements and this one,” Fr. Ivany reflected solemnly, “is that most of the people affected by Roe v. Wade can't march on Washington. They can't give great speeches.”

Continue reading

March for Life 2011 - ProLifeCon: A Premier Gathering of Pro-Life Online Activists

Pro-life internet activists gathered at Family Research Council headquarters on January 24th, 2011 for ProLifeCon, the premier conference for the online pro-life community. This video features: Jill Stanek, Abby Johnson, and Lila Rose.

Digital Rosary marks sign of the times

You can even pray with Pope John Paul II!

Pope proposes a 'Christian Style' of using internet

Pope Benedict XVI has asked Catholics to make their presence felt in social networks. It is part of his message for the World Day of Social Communication, in which he said there is a "Christian style" of using the internet.

Lila Rose on Abortionist Kermit Gosnell and Roe v Wade

Live Action President Lila Rose talks from her hotel room in Washington, DC. Hundreds of thousands will be rallying together on Monday, January 24, 2011 on the streets of DC protesting the killing of unborn children and stand up for the right to life of all human beings, born and unborn.

Saint Francis de Sales

Today is the memorial of St. Francis de Sales, bishop and doctor.

Francis was born on August 21, 1567, at the Chateau de Sales in Geneva, Switzerland to a noble family. He was a frail and delicate child, but very intelligent, humble, kind, loving, patient and gentle. He was educated in some of the best schools of that time period. At the age of thirteen, he attended the University of Paris where he studied theology. He then attended the University of Padua, where he earned his doctorate in law. His father desired that he become a lawyer and politician, but Francis desired to become a priest. In 1593, he was ordained.

The Catholic Church at this time was losing many of its parishioners to the new churches of the Protestant Reformation. Francis set out to restore Catholicism to the area around Lake Geneva known as Chablais. For three years, he trudged through the countryside, his feet frozen and bleeding, as he trampled through the snow. No one would listen to him, so he wrote out his sermons, copying them by hand in the form of leaflets, and placed them under doors. It is said that he converted 40,000 people by the time he left to return home.

In 1602, he was made Bishop of Geneva. He led and organized his diocese from his new residence at Annecy. His words of inspiration and wise counsel led many people to live out the gospel message in their lives. In 1610, he founded the Order of the Visitation with St. Jane Francis de Chantal, a good friend, with whom he shared his spiritual beliefs. Francis was overworked and often ill due to his heavy workload. However, he remained active, particularly using his talent for writing to assist him in ministering to others.

Francis died at Lyons on December 28, 1622 and was buried at Annecy on January 24. He was canonized in 1665 and declared a Doctor of the Church in 1877 and Patron of the Catholic Press in 1923.

Quotes From St. Francis de Sales

"Keep your heart very wide to receive in it all sorts of crosses and resignations or abnegations, for the love of Him who has received so many of them for us."

"Faithfully attend to your obligations, but know that you have no greater obligation than that of your salvation and of the saving progress of your soul on the way to true devotion."

" When you are sick, offer to Christ our Lord all your pains suffering, and your languor, and beseech Him to unite them to those He bore for you."

Prayer for Writers (taken from Saintly Support: A Prayer for Every Problem)

May the Lord guide me and all those who write for a living. Through your prayers, St. Frances de Sales, I ask for your intercession as I attempt to bring the written word to the world. Let us pray that God takes me in the palm of His hand and inspires my creativity and inspires my success. St. Francis de Sales, you understand the dedication required in this profession. Pray for God to inspire and allow ideas to flow. In His name, let my words reflect my faith for others to read. Amen.

~ Taken from Gold in the Furnace, copyright 2004, Jean M. Heimann

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Day of Prayer and Penance for Life

 Today is a the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and a Day of Prayer and Penance for Life.

Prayer to End Abortion

Lord God, I thank you today for the gift of my life,
And for the lives of all my brothers and sisters.
I know there is nothing that destroys more life than abortion,
Yet I rejoice that you have conquered death
by the Resurrection of Your Son.
I am ready to do my part in ending abortion.
Today I commit myself
Never to be silent,
Never to be passive,
Never to be forgetful of the unborn.
I commit myself to be active in the pro-life movement,
And never to stop defending life
Until all my brothers and sisters are protected,
And our nation once again becomes
A nation with liberty and justice
Not just for some, but for all,
Through Christ our Lord. Amen!

St. Vincent of Saragossa

Today is the optional memorial of St.Vincent of Saragossa, deacon and martyr.

St. Vincent of Saragossa was one of the Church's three most illustrious deacons, the other two being Stephen and Lawrence. He is also Spain's most renowned martyr. Ordained deacon by Bishop Valerius of Saragossa, he was taken in chains to Valencia during the Diocletian persecution and put to death. From legend we have the following details of his martyrdom. After brutal scourging in the presence of many witnesses, he was stretched on the rack; but neither torture nor blandishments nor threats could undermine the strength and courage of his faith. Next, he was cast on a heated grating, lacerated with iron hooks, and seared with hot metal plates. Then he was returned to prison, where the floor was heavily strewn with pieces of broken glass. A heavenly brightness flooded the entire dungeon, filling all who saw it with greatest awe.

After this he was placed on a soft bed in the hope that lenient treatment would induce apostasy, since torture had proven ineffective. But strengthened by faith in Christ Jesus and the hope of everlasting life, Vincent maintained an invincible spirit and overcame all efforts, whether by fire, sword, rack, or torture to induce defection. He persevered to the end and gained the heavenly crown of martyrdom. —The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

Patron: Portugal; vine dressers; vinegar makers; vintners; wine growers; wine makers.

Symbols: Deacon holding a ewer; deacon holding several ewers and a book; deacon with a raven; deceased deacon whose body is being defended by ravens; deacon being torn by hooks; deacon holding a millstone.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Idol Contestant Chooses Life for Her Special Needs Child

Prior to her audition, 23-year-old Paris Tassin talks about getting pregnant at 18 and choosing life for her daughter who was diagnosed with hydrocephalus in the womb:

H/T:  Reflections of a Paralytic

St. Agnes

After Carlo Dolci (1616-1686), Italian
St. Agnes, undated copy
Today is the memorial of St. Agnes, virgin and martyr.

St. Agnes was born in Rome during the beginning of the third century. She was brought up as a Christian and grew to be a very beautiful young woman. By the age of twelve, Agnes was already receiving suitors for her hand in marriage. And already by the age of twelve, Agnes had developed a deep spirituality that directed her to devote her life to God as a consecrated virgin.

Several of the suitors who Agnes turned away became bitter at her and turned her in to the authorities as a Christian. The political atmosphere at the time was very charged, and the Diocletian persecution was well under way. Agnes was arrested and thrown into a house of prostitution to await her death. All who came to look lustfully upon Agnes lost their sight, but many had their sight restored by her intercessory prayers. At last Agnes was sentenced to death. Her body was taken away and buried in a catacomb that later came to bear her name.

Under the reign of the Emperor Constantine, a basilica was built in her honor near her tomb. For centuries, two lambs have been brought to the church and blessed every year. The lambs are then reared in a cloister. When they have grown into sheep, their wool is used to make 'palliums' which are special stoles the Pope sends to archbishops to wear on their shoulders as symbols of the sheep carried by the Good Shepherd.

St. Agnes, whose name means both purity and lamb is the patron of Christian virtue confronted by political and social violence and her life was commented on by many of her contemporaries.

"This is a virgin's birthday; let us follow the example of her chastity. It is a martyr's birthday; let us offer sacrifices; it is the birthday of holy Agnes: let men be filled with wonder, little ones with hope, married woman with awe, and the unmarried with emulation. It seems to me that this child, holy beyond her years and courageous beyond human nature, received the name of Agnes (Greek: pure) not as an earthly designation but as a revelation from God of what she was to be."

~ St. Augustine

"Today is the birthday of a virgin; let us imitate her purity. It is the birthday of a martyr; let us offer ourselves in sacrifice. It is the birthday of Saint Agnes, who is said to have suffered martyrdom at the age of twelve."

~ St. Ambrose

"All nations, especially their Christian communities, praise in word and writing the life of St. Agnes. She triumphed over her tender age as well as over the merciless tyrant. To the crown of spotless innocence she added the glory of martyrdom."

~ St. Jerome

Patron: Affianced couples; betrothed couples; bodily purity; chastity; Children of Mary; Colegio Capranica of Rome; crops; engaged couples; gardeners; Girl Scouts; girls; rape victims; diocese of Rockville Centre, New York; virgins.

Symbols: Lamb; woman with long hair and a lamb, sometimes with a sword at her throat; woman with a dove which holds a ring in its beak; woman with a lamb at her side.

Prayer to St. Agnes, Virgin and Martyr

O Little St. Agnes, so young and yet made so strong and wise by the power of God, protect by your prayers all the young people of every place whose goodness and purity are threatened by the evils and impurities of this world.

Give them strength in temptation and a true repentance when they fail. Help them to find true Christian friends to accompany them in following the Lamb of God and finding safe pastures in His Church and in her holy sacraments.

May you lead us to the wedding banquet of heaven to rejoice with you and all the holy virgin martyrs in Christ who lives and reigns forever and ever.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Priest from US Civil War declared Venerable by Pope

Father Nelson Baker served as a priest in the diocese of Buffalo, New York for 54 years.

St. Fabian

Today is the optional memorial of St. Fabian, pope (236-250) and martyr.

Eusebius, born just a few years after Fabian's death, tells us how Fabian came to Rome after Pope Anteros died in 236. A layperson, and not a very important one, he may have come for the same reason many still come to Rome today during a papal election: concern for the future of the faith, curiosity about the new pope, a desire to grieve for the pope who had passed. Seeing all the important people gathered to make this momentous decision must have been overwhelming. Which one would be the new pope? Someone known for power? Someone known for eloquence? Someone known for courage?

Suddenly during the discussion, a dove descended from the ceiling. But it didn't settle on "someone known" for anything at all. The dove, according to Eusebius, "settled on [Fabian's] head as clear imitation of the descent of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove upon the Savior." There must have been something of the Holy Spirit working because everyone suddenly proclaimed Fabian as "worthy" to be pope and this stranger was elected.

To us the dove signifies peace, and this dove was prophetic. Starting close to Fabian's election, the suffering and persecuted Church began a time of peace. The emperor, Philip, was friendly to Christians and not only was the persecution stopped but Christians experienced acceptance.

In this era of peace, Fabian was able to build up the structure of the Church of Rome, appointing seven deacons and helping to collect the acts of the martyrs.

But, in a timeless story, the people who had always been in power were not happy to see the newcomers growing and thriving. There were many incidents of pagans attacking Christians and when Philip died so died the time of peace. The new emperor, Decius, ordered all Christians to deny Christ by offering incense to idols or through some other pagan ritual.

In the few years of peace, the Church had grown soft. Many didn't have the courage to stand up to martyrdom. But Fabian, singled out by symbol of peace, stood as a courageous example for everyone in his flock. He died a martyr in 250 and is buried in the Cemetery of Calixtus that he helped rebuild and beautify. A stone slab with his name can still be found there.


Pope Saint Fabian, it's so easy to believe that peace means a life without conflict or suffering. Help us to see that the only true peace is the peace Christ brings. Never let us as a Church or as individual Christians choose to deny our beliefs simply to avoid an unpleasant situation. Amen


Image Source

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mexican actor pledges to build largest pro-life women's clinic in US

Mexican producer and actor Eduardo Verastegui has announced that his organization, Mantle of Guadalupe, is planning to build the largest pro-life women's clinic in the United States.

Verastegui's announcement came during the first-ever gala held by Mantle of Guadalupe and Catholic Charities of Los Angeles.

Continue Reading.

“Ask Them What They Mean By ‘Choice’ Blog Day,” January 21

Announcing the “Ask Them What They Mean By ‘Choice’ Blog Day,” January 21!

She can definitely count Catholic Fire in!

EWTN to acquire National Catholic Register

 This is wonderful news!

The Eternal Word Television Network has announced plans to acquire one of the most prominent Catholic publications in the United States, the National Catholic Register.

“The Register is a perfect addition to our teaching apostolate,” said EWTN's President and CEO Michael Warsaw as he made the move public. “I am very pleased and excited that the Register will now be a part of the EWTN family.”

The change in ownership was announced in Birmingham, Ala. on the morning of Jan. 19, and will be finalized at the end of January.

Read more

Pope calls for the unity of the Church

During the general audience catechesis, Benedict XVI encouraged prayer for the unity of the Church based on the example of the first Christians.

Saint Joseph Sebastian Pelczar

The saint we commemorate today is Saint Joseph Sebastian Pelczar 1842-1924), Bishop of Przemyśl and founder of the Congregation of the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Joseph Sebastian Pelczar was born on January 17, 1842, in the small town of Korczyna in southwestern Poland. There he spent his childhood, raised in an atmosphere of traditional Polish piety. Recognizing his exceptional talents, his parents sent him to the district town of Rzeszow to continue his schooling after he had completed two years of elementary education at the local primary school in Korczyna.

Even when he was still a young student, Joseph Sebastian decided to devote himself to the service of God. In his diary he wrote: “Earthly ideals are fading away. I see the ideal of life in sacrifice, and the ideal of sacrifice in priesthood.” After completing the sixth grade at the Rzeszow Academy, he entered the Minor Seminary. Later in 1860, he began theological studies at the Major Seminary of Przemysl.

Ordained a priest on July 17, 1864, Joseph Sebastian was sent to Sambor, to a parish in the Diocese of Przemysl, where he worked for a year and a half as a curate. He was sent to Rome in 1866 and spent two years there, studying at Collegium Romanum, presently known as the Gregorian University, and the Institute of St. Apollinaris, now known as the Lateran University. His studies in Rome not only broadened his knowledge, but also filled his heart with a deep, abiding love for the Church and her visible head, the Roman Pontiff. Having earned doctorates in theology and canon law, he returned to Poland and, after a short period of service as curate in Wojutycze and Sambor, he became a professor of the Major Seminary of Przemysl (1869-1877). Later, he was appointed as professor of the Jagellonian University in Krakow (1877-99).

As a professor and as the Dean of the Theological Department, he gained the reputation as a wise and scholarly man, a competent organizer and a friend to young people. As a sign of their high esteem for him, the academic community entrusted him with the honorable responsibility of Rector of the University (1882-83), Krakow’s Alma Mater.

Striving to live up to his ideal of “a Polish priest dedicated to the people,” Father Pelczar did not confine himself only to academic work. He generously involved himself in other social and charitable activities such as the St. Vincent de Paul Society and the Society for the Education of the People. In the latter of the two, he served as President for 16 years. During that time, he erected hundreds of libraries, delivered numerous free lectures, published and distributed more than a thousand books, and opened a school for servants. In 1891, Father Pelczar established the Fraternity of Our Lady, Queen of the Polish Crown. Besides its religious commitment, the Fraternity was founded to care for the poor, the orphans, apprentices and servants, especially those who were sick and unemployed.

Joseph Sebastian recognized that the problems existing in his times were actually opportunities to see the will of God. In 1894, he founded the Congregation of the Sister Servants of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in Krakow, with the aim of spreading the Kingdom of the love of the Heart of Jesus. He wanted the Sisters to be signs and instruments of this love for girls, for the sick and all people in need.

Five years later, in 1899 he was named Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Przemysl. Upon the death of Bishop L. Solecki in 1900, he was appointed the local Ordinary of the Diocese of Przemysl. During the twenty-five years of his episcopate, he was widely regarded as a good pastor, devoted to the people entrusted to him.

In spite of his poor health, Bishop Pelczar worked tirelessly in the religious and social needs of his Diocese. In order to encourage the faithful of his diocese to grow in the spirit of faith, he made regular pastoral visits to the parishes and devoted special attention to raise the moral and intellectual awareness of the clergy. Above all, he himself exemplified a life of deep piety that was expressed in his devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Virgin Mary. He was an ardent adorer of the Most Blessed Sacrament and used to encourage members of his diocese to take part in Eucharistic devotions. Through his efforts, the number of churches and chapels increased, and many churches were restored. Despite the unfavorable political circumstances of the times, he conducted three diocesan synods. Always responsive to the needs of the faithful in his diocese, Blessed Joseph Sebastian took special care of the poorest. Nurseries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, schools for poor country girls, tuition assistance for the education of poor seminarians were but a few of his works. He sympathized with workers who were unjustly treated, and with those who were forced to emigrate because of the difficult economical situation. He emphasized the necessity of implementing the social doctrine of the Church as expressed in the social documents of Leo XIII.

Extraordinarily gifted by God, Blessed Joseph Sebastian developed and increased the talents given to him. Among his gifts was a rich literary heritage. He authored numerous theological, historical, and canonical books, pastoral letters, sermons, addresses, as well as prayer books and textbooks.

Having fulfilled God’s will, despite many obstacles, Bishop Pelczar died in the odor of sanctity on the night of March 28, 1924. During his funeral service, Father Antoni Bystrzonowski, his student and successor in the Department of Theology, said this of him: “The late Bishop of Przemysl personified the most beautiful qualities and talents of the episcopate. Witness his tireless pastoral zeal, his spirit of initiative combined with energy manifested in action; witness the splendor of his scholarship, or, even more noteworthy, the sanctity of his virtues; witness above all the shining example of his exceptional work combined with a truly youthful enthusiasm.”

On the 2nd of June, 1991, in Rzeszow, Poland, John Paul II, elevated him to the glory of the beatified. The relics of Blessed Joseph Sebastian Pelczar rest in the Cathedral Church in Przemysl. His feast day is observed on January 19th.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bishop Finn: ‘Abortion too monumental a disgrace to neglect’

In his recent column, Bishop Finn he reminds us all with regard to the Christian’s attitude toward various issues – abortion, capital punishment, nuclear proliferation, migrants – that “Man-made law does not, of itself, establish right and wrong.” He also firmly reiterates his assertion, that particularly with regard to abortion, “No elected official or appointed judge is worthy of our support, if among their many acts of just advocacy they will not support the most vulnerable of our human race.”

From the upcoming edition of The Catholic Key:

March for Life: Culmination of Many Efforts to Support and Protect Human Life

By Most Rev. Robert W. Finn
Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph

Throughout the past year the realities of the world around us have caused us to look long and hard at a many issues that endanger the well being of God’s people. In these columns I have shared with you the principles that help to insure the respect for human life and the dignity of the human person.

Here we have reflected on health care, capital punishment, the legitimate human needs of migrants, and the proliferation of nuclear weapons. All of these issues and many more have a “common denominator”: the life and dignity of the human person, given to us irrevocably by God. Man-made law does not, of itself, establish right and wrong. God grants His graces, including the inestimable gift of human life. Law must work to safeguard and protect this life, and to establish norms for the good order of society. If law does not honor the primacy of human life, we as citizens must work to change and improve these structures in a manner that secures man’s most basic protections.

January 22, 2011, marks a particularly destructive moment in our nation’s history: the 38th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decisions: Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, which legalized abortion in almost any circumstance and at any moment in a pregnancy. Almost 60 million surgical abortions have been recorded in the United States since then – the most horrendous taking of human life in history. The numbers of abortions worldwide are certainly greater as other nations have “followed our lead.”

Washington D.C. will again be the site of the “March for Life” which commemorates this sad anniversary. Because of some other important commitments this weekend in our Diocese, this is the first time in quite a few years that I will not be able to go to the March. I am very gratified that four buses of faithful from our diocese will make the trip this year. Bill Francis, Director of our Diocesan Respect Life Office, with the help of our parish coordinators, has organized a pilgrimage which is devotional and educational for the participants. The age-range of those traveling is between 8 and 80 years. I have made the trip more times than I can recall, and the bus ride is long and cramped; the D.C. weather is often snowy. But the crowds in the hundreds of thousands are inspiring. We mustn’t stop working peacefully, prayerfully, and within the legal structures of law to end abortion in our country. It is too monumental a disgrace to neglect or forget.

Critics will sometimes suggest that “Pro-Lifers” only care for people before they are born. The record shows that this is not true. Our own Catholic agencies – and so many of our parishes – care for people at every moment, “from the womb to the tomb.” There is, in fact, no other private institution that does as much to aid people in need than the Catholic Church; Period. As Catholics we also support with our taxes the many governmental interventions that assist people. No one has more soup kitchens and food banks; no private organization provides more counseling, or has more senior housing, or has more adoption centers; None. We train people for worthy employment; we aid released prisoners in getting a new start; we serve the urban core and the furthest rural communities. We look to the legal, physical and spiritual needs of migrants. In our Catholic hospitals we have never stopped caring for the sick and the dying. In our schools we form young people, in faith, for service and authentic leadership. And yes, we are among the most persistent champions of human life from its first moment until natural death.

I know you will join me in prayerfully supporting those who March in Washington this Monday, and all who speak and act, peacefully and prayerfully, in defense of the unborn. No elected official or appointed judge is worthy of our support, if among their many acts of just advocacy they will not support the most vulnerable of our human race.

We commend our efforts to our two most powerful patrons: Mary, Mother of Life and St. Joseph, Protector of the Family. Holy Mary our Hope; St. Joseph: Pray for us!

H/T:  The Catholic Key Blog

Farmyard blessings in St. Peter's Square

Amid this barnyard melody, the papal vicar of Vatican City blessed these Roman citizens, marking the feast of St. Anthony the Abbot.

Chapel where John Henry Newman was ordained opened to public

Cardinal John Henry Newman was ordained as a priest in 1847 in this chapel dedicated to The Three Wisemen. The chapel was part of the Vatican congregation responsible for missionaries around the world.

Blessed Christina Ciccarelli: prophet, healer, visionary

Today we commemorate Blessed Christina Ciccarelli (1480 - 1543), prophet, healer, and visionary.

Matthia Ciccarelli was born at Luco in Abruzzi, Italy. She was the youngest of six children and her father was Domenico de Pericolo. As she grew up, Matthia felt the call to a life of prayer and penance.

She decided to become a cloistered nun. (Cloistered Nuns are nuns who live hidden from the world and spend all their time alone in silent prayer). Matthia entered the convent of St. Augustine in Aquila and took the name Sister Christina.

Sister Christina's life as a nun was hidden and silent but the people of Aquila began to find out about the beauty of her work and the life she had chosen. She and the other nuns were bringing many blessings to them through their fervent prayers.

Sister Christina was cloistered but she knew the needs of the poor people of her area. She and the nuns sent to them whatever they could. Sister Christina was also aware of the crosses and sufferings people experienced. She prayed and offered penances to the Lord for these people.

Jesus blessed Sister Christina with ecstasies. On the feast of Corpus Christi, Christina was seen to float above the ground, and the image of a Host in a golden chalice radiated from her breast.

A vision on Good Friday caused her to have invisible stigmata (the five wounds of Jesus) and the pains of Crucifixion until the next day.

She was also blessed with the gift of prophesy and had the ability on occasion to know the future. The Lord used her to work miracles for the good of others.

When she died on January 18, 1543, the little children of Aquila went through the streets shouting that the holy nun was dead. A large crowd of people came to honor and thank her for the gift she had been for their city.

Although we may not be able to see the results of our prayers, the life of this cloistered nun shows us how powerful prayer can be.

Image Source

Benedict XVI: "The beatification of John Paul II is a joy for those who knew him"

Amidst a cheering crowd during the Angelus, the Pope spoke about the coming beatification of John Paul II to be held on May 1.

Sexual Morality in the Church Today

Sexual morality is a BIG issue in the Church these days. The lack of consistent preaching has created a world of woes for Catholics specifically and the world at large.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Book Review: Weaving Faith and Experience – A Woman’s Perspective

By Patricia Cooney Hathaway, St. Anthony Messenger Press, Publication Date: January, 2010, paperback, 127 pages.

Reviewed by JEAN M. HEIMANN, graduate student in theology, retired psychologist and educator, freelance writer, and Oblate with the Community of St. John.

In Weaving Faith and Experience, Patricia Cooney Hathaway helps women understand the relationship between faith and human experience during the middle years within the context of the whole life cycle. She uses both psychology and spirituality to interpret adult development, drawing on the insights of such psychologists as Erik Erikson and such spiritual writers as St. Teresa of Avila.

Dr. Cooney-Hathaway is a full professor of spirituality and systematic theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, MI. Weaving Faith and Experience came about as a result of her course on the stages of human and spiritual development for seminary students and her speaking engagements on the interweaving of women’s human and spiritual journeys. It is part of the “Called to Holiness Spirituality for Catholic Women,” series published by St. Anthony Messenger Press.

In Weaving Faith and Experience, Dr. Cooney-Hathaway examines the seasons of a woman’s life, using Daniel J. Levinson’s landmark work, The Season of a Woman’s Life (1996) as a source for selecting the image of seasons as a way to interpret the stages of spiritual development. Another important source she uses includes responses to questionnaires distributed at her conferences. She devotes one chapter to the spring (ages 17 – 28) and summer (ages 28 – 39) of a woman’s life, two chapters to discuss the autumn season (ages 40 – 65), and one chapter to discuss the winter season (65 and up).

At the heart of her book, Dr. Cooney-Hathaway discloses the “Paradoxical Faith” that women in the early autumn season experience, which she describes as a time when life bears “a twinge of sadness, if not real anxiety, about the fading of youth and the realization that half of life is over.” She seeks to remedy this crisis by introducing us to the mystics, specifically St. John of the Cross, and encouraging us to follow in their footsteps. It is in this section of the book that we begin to find answers to the concerns and dilemmas that face us during this stage of our spiritual journey.

In the later years of autumn, women experience an “Intentional Faith” that is characterized by four separate pairs of polarities introduced by Levinson, which include: young/old; destruction/creation; masculine/feminine; attachment/separation. Dr. Cooney-Hathaway offers new ways of experiencing these polarities by providing corresponding theological themes of: childlike faith, sin and grace, Christian personhood and a sense of community where God becomes the center of our relationships.

In the final season and last chapter of the book, the winter of life (age 65 and up), we are taken to a time where women experience “A Trustful Faith”. It is in this chapter that the author describes in detail St. Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle (using a helpful concentric diagram). We are also reintroduced to St. John of the Cross and introduced to St. Bernard of Clairvaux.

Overall, I found Dr. Patricia Cooney-Hathaway’s book Weaving Faith and Experience -- A Woman's Perspective to be a rich resource and a treasure chest of spiritual helps to aid the adult woman on her spiritual journey. I highly recommend it.

~ © Jean M. Heimann January 17, 2011

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program for The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to purchase Weaving Faith and Experience – A Woman’s Perspective.  The Catholic Company is also a great source for serenity prayer and baptism gifts.

Twenty-somethings taking the pro-life reins in Alaska, elsewhere

By Patricia Coll Freeman,

Tweeting and texting, the Echo Boomers are taking the reins of the decades-long effort to restore legal protection to the unborn in Alaska and across the U.S.

These 20-somethings – children of Baby Boomers and Generation Xers – were born and raised after the 1973 Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade. They are survivors of the era of legalized abortion in America. But a full third of their generation did not survive – 26 million of their brothers, sisters and friends have been aborted.

Read the full story.

Quote of the Day: Alveda King on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“In advising men and women on questions of personal behavior 50 years ago, Uncle Martin sounded no different than a conservative Christian preacher does now. He was pro-life, pro-abstinence before marriage, and based his views on the unchanging Word of the Bible. Today, Planned Parenthood would condemn Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as part of the 'religious right’.”

~ Dr. Alveda King 


George Weigel releases second part of John Paul II's biography

The acclaimed biographer George Weigel has published the last part of his biography on John Paul II, The End and the Beginning. This book covers the last six years of the Pope's life and sheds light on his fight with communism based on new information from previously classified documents.

St. Anthony of the Desert

St. Anthony of the Desert (c. 251–356), a religious hermit and monk, is known as the founder of monasticism. His rule of order was one of the first to create guidelines for monastic living. He became a monk at age 20 and withdrew into total solitude on a desert mountain near the Nile River. Saint Anthony’s only food was bread and water, which he never tasted before sunset, and sometimes only once in two, three, or four days. He wore sackcloth and sheepskin, and he often knelt in prayer from sunset to sunrise. Here, in the desert, he overcame extreme temptations of the devil, and emerged about 20 years later from total seclusion to instruct nearby hermits in the ways of monasticism. He demonstrated the power of Christ to touch lives by healing the sick, providing spiritual guidance, casting out demons, and preaching. Many were attracted to monasticism by his example.

Athanasius's Life of St. Anthony perpetuated his story and inspired waves of monks who civilized and evangelized Europe and the Near East.

With the end of Christian persecution in 313, Anthony established a monastery between the Nile and the Red Sea. This same monastery exists today.

Here are a few of his famous sayings to monks. "Let it be your supreme and common purpose not to grow weary in the work you have begun, and in time of trial and affliction not to lose courage and say: Oh, how long already have we been mortifying ourselves! Rather, we should daily begin anew and constantly increase our fervor. For man's whole life is short when measured against the time to come, so short, in fact, that it is as nothing in comparison with eternity. . . . Therefore, my children, let us persevere in our acts of asceticism. And that we may not become weary and disheartened, it is good to meditate on the words of the apostle: 'I die daily.' If we live with the picture of death always before our eyes, we will not sin. The apostle's words tell us that we should so awaken in the morning as though we would not live to evening, and so fall asleep as if there were to be no awakening. For our life is by nature uncertain and is daily meted out to us by Providence. If we are convinced of this and live each day as the apostle suggests, then we will not fall into sin; no desire will enslave us, no anger move us, no treasure bind us to earth; we will await death with unfettered hearts."

Patron: Amputees; animals; basket makers; basket weavers; brushmakers; butchers; cemetery workers; domestic animals; eczema; epilepsy; epileptics; ergotism (Saint Anthony's fire); erysipelas; gravediggers; hermits; hogs; monks; pigs; relief from pestilence; skin diseases; skin rashes; swine; swineherds.

Symbols: Bell; pig; t-shaped staff; tau cross with a bell on the end; man with a pig at his side.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

As I Have Loved You

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Presence is Real

This is a powerful video!

From the moment of consecration, Christ is truly present in the Holy Eucharist. We do not see Him as we see other people, but He is there, body, blood, soul and divinity. Even though we cannot see Him, He is always with us in the Blessed Sacrament.

From the moment of creation, a person is truly present. We can't see him or her as we see other people, but the whole person is there. Unique DNA can be detected, which will determine his or her physical and mental characteristics.

There is a striking similarity between the number of Catholics who support abortion (40-47 percent) and those who do not believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist (43 percent). Thus, we must pray and fast for intellectual, spiritual, and psychological healing for baptized Catholics who have strayed from the truth.

St. Paul the Hermit

The saint of the day for January  15 is St. Paul the Hermit.

St. Paul the Hermit was born in Lower Thebaïd, Egypt in 229 of wealthy and noble parents, but was orphaned by the age of 15. Nevertheless, he was a learned and devout Christian.

As a young man, during the persecution of the Christians by Decius in 250, Paul fled into the desert and learned to enjoy his solitary life "alone with God alone" so much, that he remained there for the rest of his life. For ninety years, he lived in the cave, drank water from a nearby spring, and ate from the fruit of a palm tree. He wore leaves.

One day St. Anthony, who was ninety, was divinely inspired to visit St.Paul. Though they had never met previously, each greeted the other correctly by name. The two hermits spent some time in the company of one another, and St. Paul informed his younger friend that for 60 years, day after day, a raven had been bringing him a half a loaf of bread. That day, however, the raven brought them a whole loaf of bread - a double ration for them to share.

After a brief rest, the two friends gave thanks and spent the night praising God. At dawn, St. Paul informed St. Anthony of his approaching death and asked him to fetch the cloak he had received from St. Athanasius, that he might wrap himself in it. Later, as St.Anthony was returning home, he saw St.Paul's soul ascending to heaven escorted by choirs of angels and surrounded by prophets and apostles.

St. Paul lived until he was one-hundred-and-thirteen. He is considered to be 'first hermit'.

St. Paul is the patron for the clothing industry and for weavers.

Nun-profit Healthcare

St. Joseph Hospital in Arizona is no longer Catholic. The reason? The hospital and its parent organization, Catholic Healthcare West, refuse to acknowledge that the abortion that took place there was completely unjustifiable. But recent developments reveal a much darker story with far-reaching consequences.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Benedict XVI to Beatify John Paul II on Divine Mercy Sunday

It's official!

Via Vatican Information Service: 

On 1 May, the second Sunday of Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday, Benedict XVI will preside at the rite of beatification for John Paul II in the Vatican.

According to a note released by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, "today 14 January, Benedict XVI, during an audience granted to Cardinal Angelo Amato S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, authorised the dicastery to promulgate the decree of the miracle attributed to the intercession of Venerable Servant of God John Paul II (Karol Wojtyla). This concludes the process which precedes the rite of beatification.

Continue reading


St. Felix of Nola

The saint of the day for January 14th is St. Felix of Nola. Felix was the son of Hermias, a Syrian who had been a Roman soldier. He was born on his father's estate at Nola near Naples, Italy. On the death of his father, Felix distributed his inheritance to the poor, was ordained by Bishop St. Maximus of Nola, and became his assistant. When Maximus fled to the desert at the beginning of Decius' persecution of the Christians in 250, Felix was seized in his stead and imprisoned. He was reputedly released from prison by an angel, who directed him to the ailing Maximus, whom he brought back to Nola. Even after Decius' death in 251, Felix was a hunted man but kept well hidden until the persecution ended. When Maximus died, the people unanimously selected Felix as their Bishop, but he declined the honor in favor of Quintus, a senior priest. Felix spent the rest of his life on a small piece of land sharing what he had with the poor, and died there on January 14. His tomb soon became famous for the miracles reported there, and when St. Paulinus became bishop of Nola almost a century later (410), he wrote about his predecessor, the source of our information about him, adding legendary material that had grown up about Felix in the intervening century.

Patronage:  Against eye disease; against eye trouble; against false witness; against lies; against perjury; domestic animals; eyes.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Prayer for Unborn by Pope Benedict XVI

DVD Review: The Faithful Traveler

The Faithful Traveler Mash-Up from The Faithful Traveler on Vimeo.

The Faithful Traveler is one EWTN program that I haven’t yet had the opportunity to watch, so I was very happy to receive the DVD set for the first season of this popular program to review.

In this exciting new DVD set, Diana von Glahn shows us the wonders and the treasures of the Catholic Church by exploring Catholic shrines, churches, and pilgrimage sites throughout the United States. The extroverted and ebullient Diana von Glahn is our personal tour guide on this virtual pilgrimage around the United States. Sharing her enthusiasm and expertise on the saints, Diana skillfully intertwines the biographies of the saints, revealing little known facts about their lives, with each location she visits. She also uncovers the secrets and meanings behind the various works of art, the architecture, history, tradition, and dogma of each location she visits, interviewing artists, rectors, and pastors at the various sites.

In this disc set of two, Diana takes us to the East Coast with travel destinations in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. We walk along with her as she travels to the majestic sites of the National Shrine of St. Rita of Cascia, the National Shrine of Elizabeth Ann Seton at Our Lady of the Rosary Parish and St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, the National Blue Army Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the Miraculous Medal Shrine, Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, St. Alphonsus Church, the National Shrine of St. John Nepomucene Neuman, the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Watching this DVD set is like taking an amazing course on the saints, church art and architecture, church history, and going on pilgrimage at the same time -- all from the comfort and convenience of your home. As my readers know, as a freelance writer, I write primarily about spirituality and the saints both on this blog and in magazine articles and books and believe that I have considerable knowledge in this area. However, even I was educated and enlightened by some of Diana’s findings. For example, most of the present day biographies on St. Rita of Cassia depict her husband as a violent man, yet this is totally untrue, and Diana reveals the history of how this myth came about.

Shot in high definition, these discs are not only a treat for the eyes but also for the ears. I was captivated by the music of some of today’s most talented musicians, including Sarah Bauer, Nichole Akhoury Lanthier, Popple, John Grassadonia, Rise, Isabel Rivera, Robby Alleman, Christine Wittman, Ceili Rain, Kitty Cleveland, and many others.

Viewing this disc set will be a treat for the entire family! It is not only enlightening and educational, but fascinating and fun to watch. I can guarantee you that this is a pilgrimage that will warm your home and your hearts for years to come. I highly recommend it.

~ © Jean M. Heimann, January 13, 2011

Vatican workers preparing for beatification of John Paul II

Workers at the Vatican have already begun preparations for transferring the body of Pope John Paul II, in anticipation of his beatification.

The body of the late Pope, currently buried in the crypt of St. Peter’s basilica, will be moved to the main floor when he is beatified. The tomb will be in the chapel of St. Sebastian, near the main door of the Vatican basilica.

Earlier this week, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints reportedly approved the authenticity of a miracle through the intercession of the late Pontiff. If their decision is ratified by Pope Benedict XVI—a decision that could be made within days—the final requirement for beatification would be fulfilled and the ceremony could be scheduled.

In a related development, a retired Polish bishop suggested that the beatification of John Paul II could take place as early as May 1. Bishop Tadeusz Pieronek pointed out that the date would be especially significant: May 1 this year will be the feast of Divine Mercy, a feast proclaimed by John Paul II.


According to Vatican sources, this is the chapel where the body of John Paul II will rest once he has been beatified. It's located within Saint Peter's Basilica, next to the sculpture of the Pietà, in the chapel of Saint Sebastian, which has until now held the remains of the pope from 1689, Innocent XI. With great care and absolute discretion, Vatican workers are gradually removing the tiles and decorations of this chapel, in order to prepare a new area that will house the tomb of the future blessed John Paul II. The transfer of the body is expected before late October, after the possible beatification.

The Truth about Abortion

St. Hilary of Poitiers

Today is the optional memorial of St. Hilary of Poitiers, Bishop and Doctor of the Church. St. Hilary of Poitiers was one of the great champions of the Catholic belief in the divinity of Christ. By his preaching, his treatise on the Trinity, his part in the Councils, his daring opposition to the Emperor Constantius, he showed himself a courageous apostle of the truth. He could not tolerate that the specious plea of safeguarding peace and unity should be allowed to dim the light of Gospel teaching. St. Pius IX proclaimed him a doctor of the Church.

Hillary was born in Poitiers in Gaul in what is today France in 315 and raised as a pagan. As he studied the Bible for the first time, he literally read himself into the faith, and was converted by the end of the New Testament. Married during his early years, he soon converted his wife and daughter who enthusiastically embraced the faith. Because celibacy was not a requirement at that time for the clergy, at the age of 35, Hillary was elected as the new bishop of Poitier. He devoted his tongue and pen to fighting the Arian heresy, which denied the Divinity of Jesus Christ, and was exiled for four years in the East for his fidelity to the faith. His writings drew many converts to the faith. Hillary died in 368 A.D. Hilary is sometimes called "the Athanasius of the West."

A favorite motto of St. Hilary was, Ministros veritatis decet vera proferre, "Servants of the truth ought speak the truth."


"Now it is time to speak, the time for silence is past. We must expect Christ's return, for the reign of Antichrist has begun. The shepherds must give the warning signals because the hirelings have fled. Let us lay down our lives for the sheep, for brigands have entered the fold and the roaring lion is rampaging about. Be ready for martyrdom! Satan himself is clothed as an angel of light."

"Impart to us the meaning of the words of Scripture and the light to understand it."

"Little children follow and obey their father. They love their mother. They know nothing of covetousness, ill-will, bad temper, arrogance and lying. This state of mind opens the road to heaven. To imitate our Lord's own humility, we must return to the simplicity of God's little ones."

~ Saint Hilary of Poitiers

Patron: Against snakes; backward children; snake bites.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fr. Barron comments on "True Grit" (SPOILERS)

"Miracles of Mary" documents miracles of the Virgin Mary

Bridget Curran is an Australian film-maker and author who embarked on a journey to tell of everyday encounters with the Virgin Mary.

Saint Francis De Sales

St. Francis de Sales shares an excerpt from  Introduction to the Devout Life: