Monday, February 28, 2011

Video: At the End

In today's reflection, Father discusses one of my favorite actors of all time, Catholic convert, Gary Cooper.

Blessed Villana de’Botti

The saint of the day for February 28 is Blessed Villana de’Botti, a wife and a Third Order Dominican.

The daughter of a Florentine merchant, Villana was born in 1332. When she was thirteen she ran away from home to enter a convent but her attempts were unsuccessful and she was forced to return.

To prevent her from running away again, her father gave her in marriage to Rosso di Piero. The rejection at the convent and the marriage seemed to change Villana. She became lazy and worldly, concerned only with pleasure.

One day, as she was about to go out for entertainment, dressed in a gorgeous gown adorned with pearls and precious stones, she looked at herself in a mirror. To her dismay, the reflection that met her eyes was that of a hideous demon. A second and a third mirror showed the same ugly form.

Thoroughly alarmed and recognizing in the reflection the image of herself as her sinful soul, she tore off her beautiful clothes and put on in the simplest clothes she could find. Weeping, she ran to the Dominican Fathers at Santa Maria Novella to make a full confession and to ask absolution and help. This proved the turning point of her life, and she never again fell away.

Before long Villana was admitted to the Third Order of St. Dominic, and after this she advanced rapidly in the spiritual life. Fulfilling all her duties as a married woman, she spent all her available time in prayer and reading. She particularly loved to read St. Paul's Epistles and the lives of the saints.

So completely did she give herself up to God that she often went into ecstasy during Mass or at spiritual conferences, but she became the object of much ridicule and slander. Her soul was also purified by strong pain and by great bodily weakness. However, she passed unscathed through all these trials and was rewarded with wonderful visions the Blessed Virgin Mary and other saints and was also blessed with the gift of prophecy.

As she lay on her deathbed, she asked that the Passion be read to her, and at the words "He bowed His head and gave up the ghost", she crossed her hands on her breast and passed away. Her bereaved husband used to say that, when he felt discouraged and depressed, he found strength by visiting the room in which his beloved wife had died.

She died in 1361 of natural causes at the age of 30. Her body was taken to the church of Santa Maria Novella in Florence, which was under the care of the Dominican Fathers. The priests were unable to bury her for a month due to the constant crowd of mourners. She was beatified by Pope Leo XII in 1824.


O God, our merciful Father, you called Blessed Villana back from the emptiness of the world and aroused in her a spirit of humility and true penitence. Recreate in our hearts the power of your love and, filled by that same spirit, may we serve you in newness of life. 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.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Pro-Life Flash Mob in Chicago Surprises "Walk for Choice"

 Which side has more joy?

See Father Z's blog for the full story.

Sunday Reflection: Worried?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Video: Planned Parenthood Bunnies

Planned Parenthood committed over 332,000 abortions in 2009. It's time to stop tax-payer funding of America's largest abortion chain.

St. Walburga

Historically today is the feast of St. Walburga, sister of Sts. Willibald and Winebald. She became a nun at Wimborne in Dorset under St. Tatta and followed St. Lioba to Germany at the invitation of St. Boniface. She died abbess of Hiedenheim, whence her relics were translated to Eichstatt.

St. Walburga was born in Devonshire England, around 710. She was the daughter of a West Saxon chieftain and the sister of St. Willibald and Winebald. Walburga was educated at Wimborne Monastery in Dorset, where she became a nun. In 748, she was sent with St. Lioba to Germany to help St. Boniface in his missionary work. She spent two years at Bishofsheim, after which she became Abbess of the double monastery at Heidenheim founded by her brother Winebald. At the death of Winebald, St. Walburga was appointed Abbess of both monasteries by her brother Willibald, who was then Bishop of Eichstadt. She remained the superior in charge of both men and women until her death in 779. She was buried first at Heidenheim, but later her body was interred next to that of her brother, St. Winebald, at Eichstadt.

For some reason an aromatic fluid with healing qualities began to flow (and still flows) from a fissure in a rock on which their tomb stands. Its healing powers were attributed to her, and the fluid became known as St. Walburga's Oil. was seen as a sign of her continuing intercession. The oil has always been collected and given to pilgrims. Healings attributed to St. Walburga's intercession continue to be reported up to the present day.For more information on St. Walburga, see Fr. Nicholas Schofeld's post at Roman Miscellany.

Patronage: against coughs, dog bites, famine, hydrophobia, mad dogs, rabies, and storms; for sailors, harvests, and mariners; Anterwerp, Belgium, diocese of Eichstätt, Germany, Gronigen, Netherlands,Oudenarde, Belgium, diocese of Plymouth, England, Zutphen, Netherlands.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Father Barron on Keith Richards, Bob Dylan, and the New Evangelization

Learn Your Faith - Lent 2011

In this video, Father Corapi discusses Lent.

Thrilla' in Manila: Fighting the Culture of Death in the Philippines

 A battle of epic proportions is being waged in the Philippines at this very moment and it looks eerily similar to the battle that was fought and lost in the west 35 years ago.  The Church CANNOT lose this battle.  

Blessed Thomas Mary Fusco

 The saint of the day is Blessed Thomas Mary Fusco.

Blessed Thomas Mary Fusco was beatified in 2001 as a model of holiness for priests. He was dedicated to his priestly ministry, preaching spiritual retreats and missions, teaching catechism to youth and organizing prayer evenings for young people and adults at the parish. He had a deep devotion to the crucified Christ throughout his life and worked to build the devotion to the Most Precious Blood of Jesus among the faithful.

He was born Dec. 1, 1831, in Pagani, Italy, the seventh of eight children. Orphaned by the age of 10, his uncle, a priest, took charge of his education.

Since 1839, the year of the canonization of St. Alphonsus Liguori, Thomas Maria had dreamed of the priesthood. He entered the seminary in 1847 and was ordained in 1855. In 1862 he opened a school of moral theology in his home to train priests for the ministry of confession. That same year he founded the priestly Society of the Catholic Apostolate for missions among the faithful.

In 1873, deeply moved by the plight of an orphaned street girl, Fr. Thomas Maria founded the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity of the Most Precious Blood. Many orphanages sprung from his travels throughout Southern Italy.

Fr. Thomas Maria died of liver disease Feb. 24, 1891 at the age of 59.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Kansas Constitutional Amendment Will Recognize the Rights of Every Human Person

 Kansas State Representative Randy Garber of Sabetha has confirmed plans to introduce an amendment to Section 1 of the Kansas Bill of Rights. Section 1 ensures the "equal and inalienable natural rights" including "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." The amendment language, recently approved by the Kansas Office of Revisor of Statutes, will recognize the personhood of every human being by incorporating into the text a guarantee of "the inalienable rights, equal protection and due process of law of every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being, including fertilization."

Garber's Personhood Amendment is the only proposal in the new legislature that would end the practice of abortion throughout the state and recognize "the right to life of every human being irrespective of age, race, gender, health, function, condition of dependency, including physical or mental dependency, or method of reproduction."

"I am proud to carry the personhood banner in the Kansas Legislature, and I feel that God has put me here to take a stand for the unborn. If we do not speak for them, who will?" said Garber. "I will continue to work with any organization attempting to end abortion. I hope churches will unite under personhood and make their collective voices heard."

If approved by the legislature, Kansas residents would have an opportunity to vote the measure into law in a referendum to be held during the next general election. Similar measures are being pursued in all 50 states. Amendments in Colorado have reached the ballot in both 2008 and 2010. Residents of Mississippi are set to vote on personhood this year.

A Personhood Amendment could trigger a constitutional challenge to Roe v. Wade. In the majority opinion, Justice Harry Blackmun famously wrote, "If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant's case [decriminalized abortion], of course, collapses, for the fetus' right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the Amendment.” The Supreme Court has also asserted on numerous occasions that states have a "sovereign right to adopt in [their] Constitution[s] individual liberties more expansive than those conferred by the Federal Constitution.”

"The Kansas pro-life community applauds Rep. Garber for his courageous stand that every human being, no matter their age, is a person, inherently possessed with the God-given right to live and be free," said Keith Ashley of Personhood Kansas, a coalition of local pro-life organizations and citizens campaigning for the amendment. "The urgent need to act cannot be overstated. The lives and futures of countless Kansas children hang in the balance. The time has come for the good people of Kansas to stand up, be a voice for the voiceless, and end the deadly discrimination against the preborn."

For more information:

Phil Kline fights back, says abortion tactics sound

A disciplinary hearing against former Kansas prosecutor Phill Kline kicked off yesterday with all the intensity expected when the matter of abortion is involved. Kline is being charged with ethics violations related to his investigation of abortion abuses during his tenures as State Attorney General and Johnson County District Attorney from 2003-2007.

Disciplinary Administrator Stan Hazlett, who is prosecuting what promises to be the longest disciplinary hearing of its kind ever held in Kansas, revealed that the ethics case against Kline was initiated by complaints from political enemies of Kline’s including Dan Monnat, an attorney who was representing late-term abortionist George Tiller of Wichita, who was the one of the subjects of Kline’s investigations along with Planned Parenthood of Overland Park. Read the full story.

And there's more...

The state's disciplinary board for lawyers concealed for 20 months an internal investigative report concluding no probable cause existed to justify ethics complaints against former Attorney General Phill Kline tied to his criminal inquiries into abortion clinics.

Let's continue to lift up Phill Kline in our prayers!

Planned Parenthood, Tiller Failed to Report 164 cases of child statutory rape

On Tuesday, former Attorney General Phil Kline testified under oath that Planned Parenthood of Overland Park and George Tiller together aborted 166 girls 14 years and under and only reported one each to authorities. So 164 cases of underage rape or statutory rape went unreported and, therefore, uninvestigated by authorities. Jill Stanek has the scoop.

Number of Catholics and priests are on the rise

The total number of Catholics worldwide is up 1.3% from last year, bringing the total number to 1.181 billion. These figures were published in the 2011 Pontifical Yearbook. Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone and Subsitute for General Affairs Archbishop Fernando Filoni, two of the pope's principal collaborators, approached the Holy Father with the figures.

The pope found that nearly half of world's Catholic population, 49.4%, is in the Americas, compared to 25% in Europe, 10.7% in Asia, 15.2% in Africa, and 0.8% in Oceania.

The total number of priests has also increased. In the past ten years, it has risen from 405,178 to 410,593. There are also now more bishops in the world. The number has grown from 5,002 to 5,065 over the past year. The average age of a bishop is 68 and each bishop has an average of 81 priests in their charge.

The number of men studying for the priesthood has been steadily increasing in recent years. The number increased from 117,024 in 2008 to 117,978 in 2009. Africa and Asia have seen the most dramatic increases, with a 2.39% and 2.2% growth respectively.

Women religious are still the largest group collaborating with the bishops, although their numbers have been on the decline. Their total number dropped from 739,068 in 2008 to 729,371 in 2009.

During the presentation of the Yearbook, the pope joked with one of the publishers because it happened to be his birthday.

Source: Rome Reports

New book reminds of 'Humanae Vitae' importance in today's world

According to experts, the encyclical 'Humanae Vitae' (On Human Life) was a document ahead of its time. Paul VI wrote it in 1968 in a historical period of time that was marked by the student revolution. The encyclical provoked a large response that we still hear about today.

Msgr. Enrico dal Covolo
Rector, Pontifical Lateran University (Rome)

“This encyclical was published in 1968, in a time of global actions, of social revolution. Now we can appreciate the importance of the content in 'Humanae Vitae' and its current validity.”

In the 'Humanae Vitae', Paul VI clearly and precisely explains the Church's position on sexuality, premarital sex and human dignity from the moment of conception.

Issues that people continue to debate.

Forty-three years after its publication, scientific advancements have brought new challenges, such as the Church's stance on in vitro fertilization or new methods of contraception.

With this book, the Lateran University in Rome recalls with clarity the Magisterium of the Church, to shed light on these new questions.

Msgr. Enrico dal Covolo
Rector, Pontifical Lateran University (Rome)

“The doctrine of the Church has not changed in the least, but the problems facing it have grown. For example, technology and science have developed in relation to the origin of life. The most important thing is to think together about the deeper meaning of human sexuality, which according to the doctrine of the Church, in the end, under no circumstance can procreation distance itself from marriage.”

It's a book that remembers the most important encyclical of Paul VI and also provides a clear and positive vision of controversial and sensitive issues for Christians and non-Christians around the world.

Source:  Rome Reports

Billboard in Manhattan describes abortion as ‘number one killer’ of blacks

A new billboard campaign has responded to the high abortion rate among black women in New York City by declaring “the most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb.”

The billboard, which depicts a young black girl, is located in the Manhattan neighborhood of SoHo about half a mile from a Planned Parenthood abortion facility. The three Planned Parenthood abortion clinics in New York City altogether reported nearly 17,000 abortions in 2010.

Read the entire story.

New Jersey Pastor Clenard Childress of discusses how The Negro Project was the foundation of today's industrialized abortion industry and how its pioneer, Margaret Sanger (the founder of Planned Parenthood) who is still lauded by liberals as a human rights crusader, deliberately set out to sterilize blacks and encourage abortion of black babies in pursuit of a eugenicist drive to create a racially superior master race, a goal she shared with her close friend Adolf Hitler, and one that continues to reverberate through the generations as over 1,700 black babies are killed in the United States every day.

‘UnPlanned’ influences historic U.S. House vote to defund Planned Parenthood

N.J. Congressman reads book during debate; Author Abby Johnson to discuss live on EWTN

Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.) included an excerpt from Abby Johnson’s best-selling UnPlanned during his impassioned Feb. 17 speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in support of a bill that seeks an end to Federal funding of Planned Parenthood. The next day, the House voted 240-185 to pass the legislation and send it on to the Senate.

UnPlanned author Abby Johnson will appear live this Thursday on EWTN’s “The World Over” to discuss this extraordinary event and talk about her conversion from abortion-clinic director to pro-life advocate. “The World Over” air lives at 8 p.m. ET.

“This is a remarkable, historic development,” said Mark Brumley, president of Ignatius Press, which published the Catholic edition of UnPlanned. “This bill, which clearly represents the will of the American people, still faces debate and a vote in the U.S. Senate. But the Congressional Record of the House debate includes portions of UnPlanned as read by Congressman Smith.

“We knew from the beginning that Abby’s decision to tell her story represented a significant moment in the movement to defend all life, including the lives of the unborn. We applaud Congressman Smith for having the courage to make UnPlanned part of the official record of this important debate.”

In UnPlanned, Johnson tells the dramatic story of how she literally “crossed the fence” from Planned Parenthood leader to an advocate fighting for women in crisis – and the lives of their unborn babies.
Planned Parenthood® took Johnson to court in an attempt to keep a lid on her story. Johnson won. UnPlanned is the result.

The Ignatius Press edition of UnPlanned includes bonus content: a note from Ignatius Press Founder/Publisher Fr. Joseph Fessio; a foreword by Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life; and an introduction by David Bereit, founder of 40 Days for Life.

Excerpts from the book and other details are available at

‘A Must-See’ Film, THE GRACE CARD, Launches Nationwide Feb. 25

I had the wonderful opportunity to attend an advance showing of THE GRACE CARD and it is truly a powerful film that will move you both spiritually and emotionally. It takes you on a spiritual journey that will open your heart and mind to new discoveries about the power of love and forgiveness. This is an amazing film you won't want to miss!

Here is the press release:

THE GRACE CARD, a story of forgiveness and reconciliation that Catholic leaders are calling a “must see,” launches in theaters nationwide Friday, Feb. 25. Shot on location in Memphis and featuring Academy Award-winner Louis Gossett Jr., THE GRACE CARD tells the moving story of two Memphis cops, one bitter at life, the other questioning his calling, who learn the only way they’ll make a difference is to overcome their differences.

“’The Grace Card’ is a life changing challenge,” says Fr. Maurice Nutt, C.Ss.R., pastor of Holy Names of Jesus and Mary Catholic Church in Memphis. “’The Grace Card’ carries you on an emotional and spiritual journey. Moreover ‘The Grace Card’ assures us that no one is outside the boundaries of grace and forgiveness.”

When Mac McDonald loses his young son in an accident, the ensuing 17 years of bitterness and pain erodes his love for his family and leaves him angry with God... and just about everyone else.

Mac’s rage stonewalls his career in the police department and makes for a combustible situation when he’s partnered with Sam Wright, a rising star on the force who happens to be a part-time pastor and a loving family man.

Can they somehow join forces to help one another when it’s impossible for them to look past their differences – especially the most obvious one?

Churches all across the country have already purchased group tickets as they work to bring unity to their communities. Radio promotions have challenged listeners to be the “Face of Grace” in their town as well.

The film will have a gala, red carpet premiere Feb. 22 in Memphis with members of the cast and creative team available for interviews, including stars Michael Joiner (Mac), Michael Higgenbottom (Sam), and Louis Gossett Jr. as Sam’s grandfather and mentor.

THE GRACE CARD is directed by David Evans from his screen story with a screenplay by Howard Klausner. David and Esther Evans formed GraceWorks Pictures to produce THE GRACE CARD in conjunction with Calvary Pictures, formed by Calvary Church, the Nazarene church the Evans attend in suburban Memphis. Distributed by Samuel Goldwyn Films, THE GRACE CARD is presented by AFFIRM Films and Provident Films.

Theater locations, show times, and tickets are available at

St. Polycarp of Smyrna

Today is the memorial of St. Polycarp of Smyrna (- 155), a disciple of the Apostles, bishop of Smyrna, and a friend of St Ignatius of Antioch. He is one of the earliest Christians whose writings still survive.

St. Polycarp was one of the immediate disciples of the Apostles, in particular St. John the Evangelist. He embraced Christianity very young and was named bishop of Smyrna. He was greatly respected by the faithful, wrote many letters and formed many holy disciples. His epistle to the Philippians - the only one to be preserved - demonstrates his apostolic spirit, his profound humility and meekness, and his great charity.

St. Polycarp fought against heresy. He also taught that Christians must walk in truth, do God’s will, keep all of His commandments, and love whatever He loved. Christians must refrain from all fraud, avarice, detraction, and rash judgment. They must repay evil with forgiveness and mercy. He taught that one must pray all the time, so as not to be led into temptation, fast, persevere and be joyful.

During his episcopate, a violent persecution broke out in Smyrna against the Christians. During this time, though fearless, the bishop retreated to a neighboring village, spending most of his time in prayer.

A boy betrayed the bishop, and horsemen came by night to arrest him. He met his captors at the door, ordered them a supper, and prayed for two hours before he went with them.

He was led directly to the proconsul, who ordered him to blaspheme Christ. St. Polycarp refused and he was to be burned alive.

The executioners would have nailed him to the stake, but he convinced them that it wasn’t necessary. So they simple tied his hands behind his back. At the end of his prayer, the executioners set the fire, but the large flames formed into an arch, gently encircling but not burning his body. Exasperated, officials ordered a spearman to pierce him. Such a quantity of blood flowed from his left side that it put out the fire. The Christians wanted St. Polycarp’s body but the centurion burnt it to ashes. The bones were kept as relics.

St. Polycarp is the patron against ear ache and dysentery.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Catholic Pick-up line song

Check out Aggie Catholics for the full story on this talented young Catholic musician whose video has gone viral.

Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, Apostle

Today is the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, so I have included a photo from my pilgrimage to Rome (Vatican City) in February 2006. The above photo is the beautiful bronze statue of St. Peter created by Arnolfo di Cambio, c.1300 which is located in the northwestern nave of St. Peter's Basilica. Pilgrims who come to the Basilica traditionally touch and kiss its foot, so that it is literally worn thin.

View some beautiful photos of the Chair of Peter.

The feast of the Chair of St. Peter commemorates the teaching authority - the Magesterium of the Vicar of Christ who occupies the throne of St. Peter. The Catechism teaches that "it is the Magesterium's task to preserve God's people from deviations and defections and to guarantee them the objective possibility of possibility of professing the true faith without error" so that "the People of God abides in the truth that liberates. (CCC 890). The exercise of the authority of the Chair of Peter gives rise to the unity that distinguishes the Church. It provides clarity and security in our search for meaning... "Celebrating the chair of Peter means attributing a strong spiritual significance to it and recognizing it as a privileged sign of the love of God, the eternal Shepherd, who wanted to gather his whole church and lead her on the path of salvation."

~ Pope Benedict XVI

Source: The Magnificat

Collect: All-powerful Father, You have built Your Church on the rock of Saint Peter's confession of faith. May nothing divide or weaken our unity in faith and love. 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.

Related Posts:

Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, Apostle - Pilgrimage Photos Included

Former abortionist, top pro-life advocate Bernard Nathanson dies at 84

Rest in Peace, Dr. Nathanson!

Bernard Nathanson, the former abortionist turned top pro-life activist who is perhaps best known for his role in creating the pro-life video The Silent Scream, died at the age of 84 this morning after a lengthy battle with cancer, reports the National Catholic Register.

At one time Nathanson was deeply entrenched in the American pro-abortion movement, having co-founded the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) and overseen 75,000 abortions as director of an abortion clinic.

Nathanson’s high-profile conversion to the pro-life movement was sparked by the advent of the ultrasound machine in the early 1970s. He has related how he was moved to acknowledge the humanity of the unborn child after he watched an unborn baby recoil from a vacuum abortion device before being sucked from its mother’s womb. Continue Reading

Monday, February 21, 2011

Spiritual Bouquet for Pope Benedict for St. Joseph's Day

Fr. Z. at What Does the Prayer Really Say is sponsoring a Spiritual Bouquet for Pope Benedict with a ending date of 19 March, the Feast of St. Joseph, which is the Holy Father’s baptismal “name day”. If you are interested in participating, go here.

St. Peter Damian

Today is the optional memorial of St. Peter Damian, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, who was one of the Church's greatest reformers in the Middle Ages.

Peter was the youngest child born to a large family in Ravenna, Italy in 1007. His parents both died when he was young and he was placed in the care of one of his brothers, who treated him like a slave. His oldest brother, a priest in Ravenna, rescued him and sent him away to study. Peter was brilliant and excelled in his studies (theology and cannon law), later returning to Ravena as a professor. Unable to endure the scandals and distractions of university life, he joined a group of Benedictine monks living in northern Italy. There he became a prior at the young age of 36: a position he held unto his death. While at the hermitage, Peter performed austere penances to the extent that he developed near permanent insomnia and was forced to modify them.

Although living in the cloister, Peter kept close watch on the Church and worked for her purification. He wrote to the pope, urging him to deal with the scandals of the Church in Italy. In 1051, Peter published his treatise on the vices of the clergy, "Liber Gomorrhianus". He fought the scandolous behavior among the clergy of the time and upheld priestly celibacy. He was illustrious and brilliant, simple and outspoken in his denunciation of all heresies and evils and was a great reformer of the Church in troubled times. His personal example and many writings exercised great influence on religious life in the 11th and 12th centuries. One of his greatest works is the biography of Saint Romuald, the founder of his Order.

Pope Stephen IX named him a cardinal and Bishop of Ostia. He died in 1072 at the age of 65 and was immediately acclaimed as a saint.  Pope Leo XII declared him a Doctor of the Church in 1823.

Twelve Quotes from St. Peter Damian -- BettNet.Com

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Abby Johnson Speaks About Defunding Planned Parenthood

Abby Johnson appeared on The O'Reilly Factor last night and explained why Planned Parenthood shouldn't receive federal funds. As former director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas, she knows the secrets. The House of Representatives have voted overwhelmingly to no longer subsidize Planned Parenthood with federal tax dollars.

H/T: Jill

St. Conrad of Piacenza

Historically today is the feast of St. Conrad of Piacenza, a friar and hermit celebrated for piety and miraculous cures at Noto in Sicily.

St. Conrad was a Franciscan tertiary and hermit. He was a noble, born at Piacenza, Italy. While hunting, Conrad made a fire that quickly engulfed a neighboring cornfield. A poor man was arrested as an arsonist and condemned to death, but Conrad stepped forward to admit his guilt in the matter. As a result, he had to sell his possessions to pay for the damages. Conrad and his wife decided to enter the religious life. She became a Poor Clare, and he entered the Franciscan Third Order as a hermit. Conrad went to Noto, on Sicily, where he lived the next three decades at St. Martin's Hospital and in a hermitage built by a wealthy friend. During his last years, he lived and prayed in the grotto of Pizzone outside of Noto. His cult was approved by Pope Paul III.

~ Excerpted from Our Sunday Visitor's Encyclopedia of Saints

The Christian Family

Friday, February 18, 2011

Lila Rose on Glenn Beck, Exposing Planned Parenthood

This is a must see video. Lila Rose is an amazing woman and her true character shines forth in the following video:

Historic amendment to defund Planned Parenthood passes overwhelmingly in House

A Victory for Life!

In a historic vote Friday afternoon, the US House voted to strike all federal funding for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Every year the abortion giant receives hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer funding.

The congressional body voted 240-185 in favor of the amendment, introduced by Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), to the 2011 Federal Spending Bill.

Immediately after the vote Rep. Pence released a statement saying: “This afternoon’s vote is a victory for taxpayers and a victory for life. By banning federal funding to Planned Parenthood, Congress has taken a stand for millions of Americans who believe their tax dollars should not be used to subsidize the largest abortion provider in America.

“I commend my colleagues in both parties for taking a stand for taxpayers and a stand for life.”

Continue reading.

Lenten Ideas 2011

What is Lent?

"Lent is a retreat that the Church gives us in order to re-focus on what should be first in our lives. The purpose of Jesus' life was to glorify the Father and save the world. ..Lent is not first a time of giving up but a time to re-choose to be the victim of Christ, the Lamb. It is a time to live the Beatitudes.” (Fr. Dominique, OSJ)

Lenten Ideas for Adults


Fast from watching TV one night a week so that you can spend time on a Lenten practice, such as praying, reading the Bible, and serving others. Fast from watching one movie during Lent and give the money and the time on service to others.

Fast from using foul language and put-downs and begin affirming others with positive speech; use your speech to encourage, rather than discourage others

Fast from purchasing new things like clothing, music, and magazines; instead make a donation to a charitable cause

Fast from holding resentments and learn to practice forgiveness

Fast from gossiping and dishonesty and begin the practice of honesty and truthfulness

Fast from a favorite snack food or drink and set aside the money you would have to spend on them to a favorite charity

Fast from being angry or upset with people who have hurt or offended you and pray for the courage to forgive them

Fast from feeling guilty or angry with yourself; instead, remember God’s great love for you

Fast (and pray) for the defunding of Planned Parenthood and for an end to the culture of death.


· Read the Lenten Scripture readings daily

· Participate in Ash Wednesday services

· Participate in the Stations of the Cross

· Participate in Lenten Liturgies in your parish or diocese

· Frequent the sacrament of Reconciliation

· Increase the amount of time you spend in prayer during Eucharistic Adoration or before the Blessed Sacrament· Pray the Liturgy of the Hours daily

· Increase the amount of time you spend praying for others by fifteen minutes each day· Add the rosary or the Chaplet of Divine Mercy to your daily prayers

· Spend time in prayer at the local abortion mill or if you are unable to be physically present, offer up prayers and sacrifices for the unborn, the mothers, and the families who are there, as well as for those working at the abortion mill.


Donate personal possessions such as clothing, books, shoes, to people in need

· Dedicate time for service during Lent, e.g., working at a soup kitchen, a homeless shelter· Donate money saved by fasting to the parish community food pantry, food bank, homeless shelter, or crisis pregnancy center· Volunteer at a local food shelter, homeless shelter or a nursing home several hours per week

· Volunteer at your local crisis pregnancy center (requires training first)

· Volunteer to read books and magazines to the elderly

· Help others learn to read by becoming a literacy trainer or volunteer to tutor children

· Train to be a hospice volunteer or support the work of the Hospice movement·

Give the gift of sight by donating old eyeglasses or unused frames to the local Lion’s Club who recycle them and distribute to the needy

· Donate diapers, formula, baby clothing, baby furniture, and maternity clothing to a local crisis pregnancy center. If you knit or crochet, make booties or baby blankets and donate them to the local crisis pregnancy center.

Lenten Ideas for Children


Give up one TV show or the radio or music for 30 minutes and spend that time helping a family member.Give up something you enjoy doing today (like dessert or snacks) and spend 10 minutes praying for the needs of others.

Give up something you enjoy today (like dessert or snacks) and donate 25 cents to your Operation Rice Bowl box.

Give up buying something new (clothes, CD, magazine, jewlery) and donate 50 cents to your Operation Rice Bowl box.Give up going to a movie or other fun activity and donate the money from this activity to your Operation Rice Bowl box or other people in need in your community.

Think about a bad habit you would like to change, like telling a lie, yelling at others, getting angry, putting people down, and choose to avoid that habit and do something positive instead.

Think about how often you fail to listen to your parents when they ask you do something. Resolve to listen to them and to obey them the first time they ask you to do something rather than making them remind you to do it again.

Think about someone you are angry with or who has hurt you. Ask God to give you the courage to forgive and pray for that person each day. Think about at least one thing that is good about them and remember that God loves them and wants you to do the same. Picture them with Jesus.

Share lots of smiles today.

Give a hug to everyone in your family.

Compliment each person in your family today.

Give up complaining, frowns, and negative thoughts today.


Pray the Our Father three times today -- in the morning when you get up, at noontime, and at bedtime.

Pray the Angelus with your family or by yourself three times today -- in the morning, at noon, and at suppertime.

Pray the family rosary or at least one decade with your family daily.

Say a prayer for someone who is sick today.

Pray for a forgiving heart and ask the people you have hurt to forgive you.

Participate in the Stations of the Cross during Lent.

Participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation during Lent.

List three blessings you have been given.

Say a prayer to God, giving thanks for each of those blessings.

Make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament and pray for those who are homeless.

Think about ways you and your family might be able to help them.


Go through your closet and donate clothing you no longer wear, but are in good shape, to those in your community who are in need of clothing.

Show an act of kindness to a family member today.

Show an act of kindness to someone you don't like.

Do someone else's chores one day this week.

Ask your mom or dad how you can help them.

Write a letter or create a card for someone who is sick or lonely and deliver it to them.Buy a can of food and donate to a food bank or a homeless shelter.

Save your money and buy some baby wipes to donate to a crisis pregnancy center.

If you earn an allowance, save up your money and buy some diapers, baby bottles, or formula and donate it to a crisis pregnancy center.Together, with your family, spend time serving others during Lent.

Work at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter.

Visit elderly people who are in nursing homes or shut-ins.Talk with your family about eating one simple meal each week of Lent and putting the money you save in the Operation Rice Bowl box or giving the money to a crisis pregnancy center or to a soup kitchen or homeless shelter.

Offer to help out a family in your neighborhood or community who are dealing with job loss. Ask your parents if you can invite them to dinner or bring a covered dish to their house. Help your parents with the dinner or with making special invitations for the dinner.

~ © 2010 Jean M. Heimann, revised and updated 2011

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St. Simeon

The saint of the day for February 18 is St. Simeon, also known as St. Simon. A blood relative of Christ, he was martyred in early apostolic times. Succeeding the apostle James, Simeon, the son of Cleophas, was, it may be said, the first bishop of Jerusalem. Under the Emperor Trajan he was arraigned before Atticus, the governor, on charges of being a Christian and a relative of Jesus. For at a certain period, all descendants of David were apprehended. After enduring all types of torture, he was affixed to a cross, even as His Savior. Those present marveled how a man of such advanced age (he was 120 years old) could so steadfastly and joyously bear the excruciating pains of crucifixion. He died on the 18th of February, 106 A.D.

The siege and the destruction of Jerusalem took place during his episcopacy. He accompanied the Christian community to Pella.

~ Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Alabama Congresswoman speaks against Planned Parenthood on House floor

Freshman pro-life Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) makes a speech to defund Planned Parenthood, outlining some of PP’s outrageous activities that have been exposed lately:

H/T: Jill Stanek

Seven Holy Founders of the Order of Servites

Today is the optional memorial of the Seven Holy Founders of the Order of Servites.

These seven men were born at Florence and led lives as hermits on Monte Senario, especially venerating the Blessed Virgin Mary. On Friday, April 13, 1240, the hermits received a vision of Our Lady. She held in her hand the black habit, and a nearby angel bore a scroll reading Servants of Mary Mary told them, You will found a new order, and you will be my witnesses throughout the world. This is your name: Servants of Mary. This is your rule: that of Saint Augustine. And here is your distinctive sign: the black scapular, in memory of my sufferings.

They accepted the wisdom of Our Lady, wrote a Rule based on Saint Augustine and the Dominican Constitutions, adopted the black habit of an Augustinian monk, and lived as mendicant friars. The men founded the Order of Servites which in 1304 received the approval of the Holy See. They are venerated on this day which is said to be the day on which Saint Alexis Falconieri, one of the seven, died, in the year 1310.

All seven were beatified on December 1, 1717 by Pope Clement XI and canonized in 1887 by Pope Leo XIII.

 Learn more about the Seven Holy Founders of the Order of Servites (The Servants of Mary) at EWTN. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Saint Juliana

Today's saint of the day is Saint Juliana, a Christian virgin of Cumae, Italy, martyred for the faith when she refused to marry a Roman prefect.

St. Juliana suffered martyrdom during the Diocletian persecution. Both the Latin and Greek Churches mention a holy martyr Juliana in their lists of saints. The oldest historical notice of her is found in the "Martryologium Hieronymianum" for 16 February, the place of birth being given as Cumae in Campania (In Campania Cumbas, natale Julianae). It is true that the notice is contained only in the one chief manuscript of the above-named martyrology (the Codex Epternacensis), but that this notice is certainly authentic is clear from a letter of St. Gregory the Great, which testifies to the special veneration of St. Juliana in the neighbourhood of Naples. A pious matron named Januaria built a church on one of her estates, for the consecration of which she desired relics (sanctuaria, that is to say, objects which had been brought into contact with the graves) of Sts. Severinus and Juliana. Gregory wrote to Fortunatus, Bishop of Naples, telling him to accede to the wishes of Januaria ("Gregorii Magni epist.", lib. IX, ep. xxxv, in Migne P.L., LXXXVII, 1015).

The Acts of St. Juliana used by Bede in his "Martyrologium" are purely legendary. According to the account given in this legend, St. Juliana lived in Nicomedia and was betrothed to the Senator Eleusius. Her father Africanus was a pagan and hostile to the Christians. In the persecution of Maximianus, Juliana was beheaded after suffering frightful torturers. Soon after a noble lady, named Sephonia, came through Nicomedia and took the saint's body with her to Italy, and had it buried in Campania. Evidently it was this alleged translation that caused the martyred Juliana, honored in Nicomedia, to be identified with St. Juliana of Cumae, although they are quite distinct persons. The veneration of St. Juliana of Cumae became very widespread, especially in the Netherlands. At the beginning of the thirteenth century her remains were transferred to Naples. The description of this translation by a contemporary writer is still extant. The feast of the saint is celebrated in the Latin Church on 16 February, in the Greek on 21 December. Her Acts describe the conflicts which she is said to have with the devil; she is represented in pictures with a winged devil whom she leads by a chain.

~ Excerpted from The Catholic Encyclopedia

St. Juliana is the patroness of sickness and sick people.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Saints on Love: My Favorite Quotes

"Love is the most necessary of all virtues. Love in the person who preaches the word of God is like fire in a musket. If a person were to throw a bullet with his hands, he would hardly make a dent in anything; but if the person takes the same bullet and ignites some gunpowder behind it, it can kill. It is much the same with the word of God. If it is spoken by someone who is filled with the fire of charity- the fire of love of God and neighbor- it will work wonders."

~St. Anthony Mary Claret (from his autobiography).

"Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor... Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting."

~Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

"The proof of love is in the works. Where love exists, it works great things. But when it ceases to act, it ceases to exist."

~Pope St. Gregory the Great

"What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like."

~ St. Augustine of Hippo

"My director, Jesus, does not teach me to count my acts, but to do everything for love, to refuse Him nothing, to be pleased when He gives me a chance to prove to Him that I love Him - but all this in peace - in abandonment."

~ St. Therese of Lisieux in a letter to Celine, July 6, 1893

"Our Lord loves you and loves you tenderly; and if He does not let you feel the sweetness of His love, it is to make you more humble and abject in your own eyes."

~ St. Pio of Pietrelcino

"What a weakness it is to love Jesus Christ only when He caresses us, and to be cold immediately once He afflicts us. This is not true love. Those who love thus, love themselves too much to love God with all their heart."

~ St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

"The Eucharist is the Sacrament of Love; It signifies Love, It produces love. The Eucharist is the consummation of the whole spiritual life."

~ Saint Thomas Aquinas

What is the mark of love for your neighbor? Not to seek what is for your own benefit, but what is for the benefit of the one loved, both in body and in soul.

~ St. Basil the Great

"You learn to speak by speaking, to study by studying, to run by running, to work by working, and just so, you learn to love by loving. All those who think to learn in any other way deceive themselves."

~ St. Francis de Sales

"Everything comes from love,
all is ordained for the salvation of man,
God does nothing without this goal in mind."

~ St. Catherine of Siena

"Merit consists in the virtue of love alone, flavored with the light of true discretion without which the soul is worth nothing."

~ St. Catherine of Siena

"We become what we love and who we love shapes what we become. If we love things, we become a thing. If we love nothing, we become nothing. Imitation is not a literal mimicking of Christ, rather it means becoming the image of the beloved, an image disclosed through transformation. This means we are to become vessels of God´s compassionate love for others. "

~ St. Clare of Assisi

"We can cure physical diseases with medicine but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more who are dying for a little love. Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So spread love everywhere you go."

~ Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

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Australian bishops propose new way of celebrating Valentine's Day

February 14 is Valentine's Day, a day we often celebrate with flowers and gifts. It is also a time to reflect on the relationship with our loved ones, because of this the Diocese of Sydney has launched a kit for Valentine's Day. It is a handbook that offers a different way to celebrate Valentine's as well as how to keep the love alive for the other 364 days a year.

St. Valentine's Day Kit

Putting the Saint Back into St. Valentine's Day

Happy St. Valentine's Day!

Saints Cyril and Methodius

Saints Cyril and Methodius were brothers who were born in Greece and educated in Constantinople. They were the great apostles of the Faith to the Slavs in southern Russia, in Bohemia and Poland during the ninth century. Though Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius died sixteen years apart, their feasts are celebrated together. They are responsible for the Slav alphabet and for the Slav language. Pope John Paul II made Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius patrons of Europe, along with St. Benedict. They are also patrons of ecumenism and patrons of unity between the Eastern and Western Churches.
Learn more about them here.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

For Couples: Ten Romantic Ways to Celebrate Valentine's Day

1. Make a homemade Valentine for your loved one. Be sure to mention on your card some specific ways they are special to you, i.e., "You always laugh at my corny jokes" or "You always compliment me on my cooking even though boiling hot water is a challenge for me."

2. Write a love letter to your Valentine on pretty pink stationary and tell him/her exactly why you love him/her and what makes them special.

3. Prepare a special meal and get dressed up. Use your best china, candles, and your linen napkins. Take out your best wine or open a bottle of champagne, or favorite non-alcoholic drink. (Chill the glasses beforehand.)

4. Purchase one long-stemmed red rose for your partner and compose a love poem to accompany it. Present it in an envelope sealed with a red foil heart.

5. Take a walk together, hold hands, and reminisce about romantic times in the past - such as the day you first met and fell in love, your wedding day or another special time for the two of you.

6. Go out dancing together or stay at home and put on your favorite music and dance together by candle light.

7. Watch a romantic DVD/Video together.

Some suggestions: Roman Holiday, Sabrina, Sleepless in Seattle, The King and I, The Farmer's Daughter, The Shop Around the Corner, You've Got Mail, My Fair Lady, Casablanca, Love Comes Softly, Bright Star, The Philadelphia Story,  On Moonlight Bay, It Happened One Night, An Affair to Remember, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Love Story, The Princess Bride, The Quiet Man, The Sound of Music, Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice (2006)

8. Pray together and thank God for the gift He has given you in one another.

9. Leave mini-love notes in your spouse's drawer, in their purse or lunch bag, and in their favorite book.

10. Tell your spouse how much he/she means to you and how out of all the billions of people in the world you chose him/her to love and will continue to do so for the rest of your life on earth.

St. Julian the Hospitallier

Today's Saint of the day is St. Julian the Hospitallier, also known as the "Poor Man".

Born of noble parents, Julian was a friend and counselor to the king. Legend has it that once while hunting, he caught a stag, who foretold that he would kill his parents. Horrified Julian left his parents’ house.

In another land he married a rich widow. Julian’s parents, not knowing the reason of their son’s disappearance searched for him everywhere and made an unexpected visit to his castle. His wife gave them her and Julian's bed and Julian killed them, thinking they were his wife and another man. As penance, he and his wife traveled to Rome as pilgrims seeking absolution. On his way home, to continue his penance, he built a hospice beside a river, cared for the poor and sick, and rowed travellers across the river for free.

Once a pilgrim leper nearly froze to death. Julian gave him hospitality, fed him and warmed him. After that the traveler, who was an angel, told him that Christ had accepted his penance and his sin was forgiven.

Julian is the patron of: boatmen, carnival workers, childless people, fiddlers, travelers, hotel keepers, and murderers.

Video Reflection: The Mystery of Suffering

Jesus is God who entered into our human suffering and pain. He shared it and transformed it into a great act of love and we can do the same. We can make an offering of our daily challenges and pains and sufferings, uniting them to the cross of Jesus so that they become part of His prayer for the salvation of the world.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Number of priests increases for the first time since 1999

The number of Catholic priests has increased for the first time since 1999. At the same time, the number of those leaving the priesthood has decreased.

According to the latest figures released by the Vatican, the total number of priests has grown by 1.4% over the last decade.

Our Lady of Lourdes

As my readers know, today is a special day for me, as it marks the anniversary of my Marian consecration. Today is the feast of  Our Lady of of Lourdes -- the anniversary of the first apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1858 to St. Bernadette Soubirous. Between February 11 and July 16, 1858, the Blessed Mother appeared to a poor, uneducated, sickly fourteen-year-old Marie Bernade (St. Bernadette) 18 times in the hollow of the rock at Lourdes, called “de Massabielle”.

On March 25, the feast of the Immaculate Conception in 1858, she said to the little shepherdess who was only fourteen years of age: "I am the Immaculate Conception." Because the dogma of the Immaculate Conception had been officially proclaimed less than four years earlier, and Bernadette could not have even known of its existence, when Bernadette repeated the words, it gave credibility to her apparitions. It was confirmation from heaven that the dogma of the Immaculate Conception was indeed true.

During one of these apparitions, when Bernadette was told by Mary to begin digging in the ground; she obediently did so, to the townspeople’s scorn. Water immediately began flowing from the spot where Bernadette dug, a tiny stream that has since has grown to the size of a small river. Thousands of healings have been reported as the result of people bathing in or drinking this miraculous water. The walls of the grotto where the Blessed Mother appeared are lined with the crutches of the lame who have walked away from the waters, totally healed.

What is the message of Lourdes?

First, we are called to look at the grace and holiness of Christ in Mary, become converted, and be healed spiritually. It is a call to enter fully into the mystery of the redemption.

The second message was that of prayer. In order to be more fully conformed to the will of God, we must pray without ceasing. Prayer leads us to the Spirit of God.

The third part of the message was Bernadette herself – simple Bernadette. She was uneducated and poor. She could not explain things very well. But, she had a pure heart. And, it was this purity of heart that opened her up to receive the grace of the Holy Spirit and to experience the fruits of the redemption.

Our Lady made some rather bizarre requests of Bernadette – to eat grass like salad, to dig in the dirt and mud with her hands to find a healing stream. Though humbling, Bernadette willingly performed these tasks despite the fact that she was laughed at and mocked by the townspeople. Mary’s appearance and Bernadette’s response present a picture of what it means to love God with our whole heart, mind, and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves. It is a visible expression of purity of heart that calls us "Be it done unto me completely and fully according to your word. Accomplish in my life fully what you want to accomplish." This is in contrast to our culture where one’s own will, pleasures, desires, and interests take precedence. In our self-centered culture, the motto is, "Be it done according to my will."

Thus, the message of Lourdes is a call to personal conversion, prayer, and charity.

Let us follow the example of Bernadette in her purity of heart, obedience to God's will, and love for God and neighbor. May our hearts be purified by the Holy Spirit, as we follow in the footsteps of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Pope John Paul II's Prayer to Our Lady of Lourdes

Official Site of Lourdes

Place Your Petition at the Grotto of Lourdes


Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes: Personal Reflections

~© February 11, 2011 Jean M. Heimann

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Seventh Planned Parenthood Clinic Assists in Sex Trafficking of Minors

Live Action has done it again. They have just launched a new video showing Planned Parenthood DC willing to assist a self-identified sex trafficker seek abortion and other services for underage girls.

More details from the press release:

Excerpt 1: Underage? No insurance? No problem.

PP: Yeah and we’ll waive like a $5 or $10 donation with them.

PP: Um, but I would recommend them come in all alone with this I mean, it doesn’t matter if it’s on the same day, their slots-

Prostitute: Oh, ok

Prostitute: Ok.

PP: just make them appointments, and if they don’t have insurance-

Prostitute: M’hm.

PP: Because they’re teens, we’ll put them under the teen thing –

Prostitute: Ok, teen years have teen servi-services

Excerpt 2: “If they need an abortion.”

Prostitute: And then the same thing maybe if they need an abortion or something?

Well, what’s the process for that?

PP: For that, we don’t do it but we give referrals to the other ones –so on the card -

Prostitute: Oh, on the card, yes –

Prostitute: Oh, ok

PP: Yeah, I just, I know that they have reduced fees through, um, people that’s, like you know, low income. It’s normally $297, for actual procedure.

Prostitute: Ok, a hundred- $297?

PP: Yeah, yeah they take it down, from-

“The pattern in DC, just miles from Capitol Hill and the White House, is clear: presented with information that underage girls are being exploited for commercial sex, Planned Parenthood’s again shows its willingness to aid and abet sex traffickers,” Said Lila Rose, president of Live Action. “An institutional crisis has consumed Planned Parenthood at the highest levels. The reason their story has changed five times in reaction to our investigation is because they know they’re guilty.”

26 Years of World Youth Days

John Michael Talbot's new album Worship and Bow Down comes to life

 I am so happy to hear that John Michael Talbot is recording a new album!

Top liturgical publisher OCP has partnered with renowned Catholic recording artist, John Michael Talbot to create the CD Worship and Bow Down, a rich collection of modern-chant style songs for personal and communal prayer.

"John Michael Talbot continues to write songs that speak to the heart of our worship life," says Tom Tomaszek, director of artists and repertoire for OCP. "He truly has served as a troubadour for the Lord and OCP is honored to collaborate with him in publishing these new songs of hope and faith."

The album, currently in production at the Tracking Room in Nashville, Tenn. is a lush mix of contemplative tracks and a contemporary-chant Mass setting that features a chamber orchestra and choral arrangements alongside John Michael's unmistakable vocals and solo guitar.

Worship and Bow Down will be the latest edition to John Michael Talbot's collections currently offered by OCP, which include City of God (2005), Table of Plenty (1997) and Our Blessing Cup (1996). Additionally, a digital-edition Mass setting from the new CD will be available at OCP's new Roman Missal resource page later this year.

"I haven't released a project of completely new music for several years. Recently, my ministry has focused on bringing hope to Americans from Catholic churches. This recording reflects that hope," says Talbot. "It was my goal to create songs that facilitate genuine worship and praise, and a Christian experience of deeper meditation through modern chant and song."

Worship and Bow Down will be available digitally this Spring with a formal release scheduled for Summer 2011. However, fans of Talbot can follow the album's production process through daily updates and pictures on his Facebook fanpage -- starting February 14, 2011.

John Michael Talbot, sits down with Interactive Media to discuss his career, ministry, and the "hermit within":

On how the Virgin Mary appeared 18 times in Lourdes

In 1858 the Virgin appeared 18 times to Bernadette Soubirous in Lourdes, a small town in the French Pyrénées. There the Virgin Mary recalled the importance of prayer, the rosary, penance and humility. She also recalled God's mercy toward sinners and the importance of taking good care of the sick.

Final agenda for World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid is released

Fr. Barron comments on Why Exorcism Films Still Fascinate

Saint Scholastica

Today is the memorial of St. Scholastica (480 - 543), the twin sister of St. Benedict, founder of the Benedictine order.

Scholastica was born into a wealthy Catholic family in Nursia, Italy and was consecrated to God at a very early age. She was very close to her twin brother. When Benedict established his monastery at Monte Cassino, Scholastica founded a convent in nearby Plombariola, about five miles away. The monastery was under Benedict's direction, so she is considered to be the first Benedictine nun.

The two met annually at a house near the Monte Cassino monastery to discuss spiritual matters.

Saint Gregory tells the charming story of their last meeting. The saints had spent their time together in the mutual comfort of "heavenly talk" and with nightfall approaching, Benedict prepared to leave. Scholastica believed that it would be their last opportunity to see each other alive, so she asked Benedict to spend the evening in conversation. Benedict sternly refused because he did not wish to break his own rule by spending a night away from his monastery in Monte Cassino. Scholastica cried, laid her head upon the table, and prayed that God would intervene. As she did so, a sudden storm arose. There were brilliant flashes of lightning, a loud peal of thunder, and the rain and hail came in such a torrential downpour that Benedict and his companions were unable to depart.

"May Almighty God forgive you, sister" said Benedict, "for what you have done.""I asked a favor of you," Scholastica replied, "and you refused it. I asked it of God, and He has granted it!"They shared a beautiful, intimate spiritual conversation throughout the night.

Just after his return to Monte Cassino, Benedict saw a vision of Scholastica's soul departing her body, ascending to heaven in the form of a dove. She died just three days after their last meeting.

Patron: Against rain; convulsive children; nuns; storms.

Symbols: Nun with crozier and crucifix; nun with dove flying from her mouth.


O God, to show us where innocence leads, you made the soul of your virgin Saint Scholastica soar to heaven like a dove in flight. Grant through her merits and her prayers that we may so live in innocence as to attain to joys everlasting. This we ask through our Lord.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Beatification process for Jacques and Raissa Maritain in the works

The sainthood process is a lengthy procedure. It's even longer and more complicated when you are dealing with the sainthood of a couple, like these two French intellectuals. Born into a Protestant family, Jacques Maritain and his wife, Raissa, a Russian Jewish émigré, converted to Catholicism, after studying the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas. Their sainthood would serve as an enduring example of a holy marriage.

No tickets will be needed for the beatification of John Paul II

Here is the new website for the cause of John Paul II's canonization.

Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich

Today the Church commemorates Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774 - 1824), an Augustinian nun, stigmatic, mystic, visionary and ecstatic.

Anne was born in the small farming community of Flamsche, near Coesfeld, in the Diocese of Münster, Westphalia, Germany. Her family was poor, but pious and virtuous. As a child, she suffered with poor health and received visions and prophesies so often that she thought all children had them. She was a gifted healer and was able to diagnose illness and to prescribe cures.

At age 28, she entered the Augustinian convent. Here, her great enthusiasm for the faith, as well as her strange and unusual ways, disturbed and puzzled the other sisters.

When the convent was closed by government order in 1812, Anne found refuge in a poor widow's home. She became very ill and in 1813, at the age of 38, was bedridden. From that time on, her visions increased and she she began manifesting the wounds of Christ: first, a circle of bleeding wounds around her head, followed by wounds on her hands and feet and the imprint of a cross on her chest. During this time of illness, she showed her great love for others by sewing clothes for poor children and graciously accepting visitors, listening to their concerns, praying for them, and comforting them with words of encouragement and inspiration. During the last twelve years of Anne's life her sole sustenance was the Holy Eucharist.

In 1833, The German Romantic poet, Clemens Brentano, offered to write down her visions and the result was The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This was followed by The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1852, and The Life of Our Lord from 1858 to 1880.

During the summer of 1823, Anne grew weaker, yet continued to unite her sufferings with the sufferings of Jesus, offering it up for the salvation of all souls. She died on February 9, 1824 and was beatified by Pope John Paul II on October 3, 2004.

~ © February 9, 2010, Jean M. Heimann, Updated and Revised, February 9, 2011.


"Man's value before God is estimated by the dispositions of his heart, its uprightness, its good-will, its charity, and not by keenness of intellect or extent of knowledge."

"The prayer most pleasing to God is that made for others and particularly for the poor souls. Pray for them, if you want your prayers to bring high interest."

"O who can tell the beauty, the purity, the innocence of Mary! She knows everything, and yet she seems to know nothing, so childlike is she. She lowers her eyes and, when she looks up, her glance penetrates like a ray, like a pure beam of light, like truth itself! It is because she is perfectly innocent, full of God, and without returns upon self. None can resist her grace."

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Planned Parenthood Offers Taxpayer-Subsidized Service to 'Pimp' in New Video

Local, National Pro-Life Leaders Call on Government to End $363 Million in Tax Funding

News Release:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 8, 2011  -- Today, new undercover footage was released showing a New York City Planned Parenthood clinic supervisor and medical practitioner aiding and abetting the sexual exploitation of minors, even giving the undercover "pimp" advice on how to pose as a legal guardian and get the taxpayer funded discount for his sex workers, some as young as 13 years old. Local and national pro-life group leaders cited outrage over the steady stream of recorded violations released over the past week as evidence of a system-wide crisis within Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

The Expose Planned Parenthood coalition, an alliance of pro-life groups including Live Action, Susan B. Anthony List, Manhattan Declaration, 40 Days for Life, RedState, LifeNews, Students for Life of America, Concerned Women for America, Catholic Advocate, Catholic Vote, Family Research Council, Americans United for Life Action, American Principles in Action, New York State Right to Life, New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, New Jersey Right to Life, Hispanic Leadership Fund, Cornerstone, Family Foundation, Arizona Right to Life, Iowa Right to Life, Ohio Right to Life, Oregon Right to Life and Indiana Right to Life, called upon federal, state and local governments to defund Planned Parenthood of the hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars it receives annually.

The Planned Parenthood annual report disclosed receiving more than $363 million in government grants and contracts, including Title X funds, between 2008 and 2009. Over the same period, Planned Parenthood reported performing 324,008 abortions, the most it has ever performed.

The new video, the latest in a series of more than a dozen previous Live Action sting operations, was unveiled today by 22-year old Lila Rose and her investigative team and shows a clinic manager and a medical practitioner conspiring with a man posing as a pimp. The staffer and clinical supervisor counsels the pimp to secretly secure STD testing, contraception and access to abortion services for his prostitutes, as young as 13 years old, under a taxpayer subsidy referred to in the video as a "family planning benefit."

Below are statements from local and national pro-life leaders:

Marjorie Dannenfelser
President, Susan B. Anthony List
"Planned Parenthood has now been exposed as a frequent and unapologetic ally of those who deal in the sex trafficking of minors. The repeated horrors exposed in these videos are proof that exploiting women and underage girls is a repeated and systemic occurrence in this organization's dark history. Still, the fact that Planned Parenthood has the gall to insist that it deserves continued taxpayer support is appalling. There is a time in legislative initiatives where all points converge and the door opens. For defunding Planned Parenthood, that time is now."

Lila Rose
President, Live Action
"Planned Parenthood has shown, repeatedly, for the past three years of our investigation, that they are willing to aid and abet the sexual exploitation of minors and young girls, even girls as young as 13 and here illegally, all under a sick code of 'confidentiality.' For Planned Parenthood, this 'confidentiality' supersedes a zero tolerance for sex trafficking and exploitation of minors and young women. Today, we are making full footage and transcripts available to New York law enforcement officials and we are calling upon New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to launch a formal investigation as has been done in New Jersey by Attorney General Paula Dow. This footage shows that underage girls and young women are at potentially grave risk when they walk into a Planned Parenthood clinic."

Lori Kehoe
Executive Director, New York State Right to Life
"Governor Cuomo, defund Planned Parenthood now. Planned Parenthood is killing babies, aiding sex traffickers, abandoning women and robbing taxpayers. The state is in financial crisis. Abortion is not health care, sex trafficking is illegal, and Medicaid fraud is illegal. Enough!"

Brian Burch
"Planned Parenthood's charade has finally been exposed, and the abortion giant simply cannot be trusted any longer with taxpayer support. The evidence against Planned Parenthood continues to mount. The newest hidden camera investigations show Planned Parenthood staff putting pimps and abortion ahead of women and their health. Planned Parenthood leadership must be held accountable and a thorough investigation of their entire organization is needed. Big Abortion is the last place taxpayers should be investing their money."

Steven Ertelt
"These videos make it clear that elected officials at all levels of government need to push for removing any and all taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood immediately. Forcing taxpayers to fund an organization that is willing to not just look the other way at the horror of sexual trafficking but provide abortions and advice for the alleged perpetrators is an abomination. Any federal, state or local government funds directed to Planned Parenthood should be directed to efforts that provide real help for women, not exploitation of them."

Kristan Hawkins
Executive Director, Students for Life of America
"The new Live Action video in New York shows that the problem with Planned Parenthood aiding and abetting sex trafficking is a widespread problem and is not an isolated issue. Young women continue to be targeted by Planned Parenthood, and we now see that this supposedly pro-woman organization is now working with pimps and prostitutes to further enslave young women trapped in sex trafficking. We must defund Planned Parenthood and ensure that no taxpayer dollars go towards an organization that protects and promotes the sexual exploitation of minors."

Dr. Charmaine Yoest
President and CEO, Americans United for Life
"The burden of proof is on Cecile Richards, President of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, to show that every Planned Parenthood affiliate complies with medically -- and legally -- appropriate standards of care and maintains adequate oversight of the federal and state funding it receives. Congress needs to get the American tax payer out of subsidizing the abortion business."

Wendy Wright
CEO, Concerned Women for America
"Each new tape reveals Planned Parenthood’s institutional complicity with sex abusers and human traffickers. Even their official response exposes their attitude toward sex abuse and trafficking: They call their shocking practice of aiding child sex traffickers 'professional.' Neither the Planned Parenthood agents in clinics or at their headquarters seem at all surprised or disturbed that sex traffickers would be using their services. All of Planned Parenthood's actions thus far reveal that it is business as usual for them to assist rapists and sex traffickers to continue abusing girls. Planned Parenthood, a tax-funded entity, partners with criminals against their female victims. Government officials now have a choice: will they side with child sex traffickers and their accomplice Planned Parenthood, or will they criminally investigate and end taxpayer funding of this group that openly aids and abets modern day slavery?"

Tony Perkins
President, Family Research Council
"Now that Planned Parenthood is vulnerable and almost hysterical with panic, liberals are circling the wagons, understanding that any more slip-ups could mean the end of their federal gravy train. The fact that Planned Parenthood not only left these teenagers trapped in prostitution-but encouraged it-shows an incredible lack of humanity on their part. What goes on behind the windowless offices of Planned Parenthood, as these videos show, is both saddening and shocking, but the fact it is done with taxpayer dollars is indefensible."

Fr. Frank Pavone
Priests for Life
"One who is convinced that baby-killing is justified will be able to justify anything. The revelations about Planned Parenthood illustrate a timeless principle: You can't practice vice virtuously. That's why these scandals are the norm, not the exception."

Matt Smith
Vice President, Catholic Advocate
"Planned Parenthood clearly has a problem following the law in its 800 clinics when these crimes are happening up and down the east coast. The troubling part is our tax dollars being used by Planned Parenthood are the accomplices to these crimes."

Rev. Jason J. McGuire
Executive Director, New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms
"Planned Parenthood has demonstrated a complete disregard for the law. In multiple states we are seeing Planned Parenthood employees respond with the same basic disregard for children being sold into sexual slavery and abused by their pimps. From New Jersey to Virginia and now New York, it has become clear that there is a pattern of institutional corruption within the Planned Parenthood network. We can no longer stand by and allow this injustice to continue."

Abby Johnson
Former Planned Parenthood Clinic Director turned Pro-Life Advocate, Author of Unplanned
"When watching these videos, something immediately struck me. Planned Parenthood has become so concerned about not passing judgment on the women who enter their clinics that they have forgotten to protect them. Planned Parenthood is an organization that states they are dedicated to the 'protection of women's health.' However, we now see that they are not concerned about protecting females in the womb, they will cover up abortion complications, they do not protect the minority women in our country, they do not protect young women who are being abused, and now we see that they will even aid and abet in the trafficking of young women in the sex industry. So, who are these women who Planned Parenthood wants to protect? We can't be sure. We see that these incidents are not, after all, isolated. We see them repeated over and over again. We didn't need the cameras to know that Planned Parenthood was a corrupt organization. The cameras only confirmed what we already knew."

Mario Lopez
President, Hispanic Leadership Fund
"Planned Parenthood is showing an amazing and reckless disregard for the health and well-being of women and underage girls. Aiding and abetting sex trafficking, prostitution and other laws is deadly serious and there is no reason that Planned Parenthood should continue to receive hundreds of millions of dollars from the pockets of American taxpayers and families."

David Bereit
National Campaign Director, 40 Days for Life
"These shocking undercover videos confirm what we have seen time and time again while holding 40-day-long, round-the-clock vigils outside of more than 100 Planned Parenthood offices over the last three years. Planned Parenthood arrogantly believes it is above the law, regularly aiding and abetting the exploitation of vulnerable, underage girls. It is time for an immediate federal investigation into Planned Parenthood’s facilitation of sex trafficking and Congress must immediately strip the organization of its $363 million in tax funding."