Thursday, March 31, 2011

Blessed Jane of Toulouse

The saint of the day for March 31 is Blessed Jane of Toulouse.

Blessed Jane lived in the French town of Toulouse during the 13th century. A Carmelite monastery was founded in the same town in 1240 which exposed Jane to the Carmelite lifestyle and spirituality.

In 1265 when St. Simon Stock, a 13th century reformer of the Carmelites, was passing through Toulouse, Jane met him and requested to be affiliated with the Carmelites. Simon agreed and Jane became the first Third Order Carmelite.

Jane vowed herself to perpetual chastity and applied herself completely to the Carmelite Rule. In addition to many daily holy practices and penances, she reached out to the community and worked to help the sick and poor. One of Jane's primary missions was encouraging the boys of the town to help her serve the poor and help them discern whether or not they were called to be Carmelites.

Blessed Jane is considered to be a founder of the Carmelite tertiary order and is considered to be its first member.

She died in 1286.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Planned Parenthood cheats taxpayers with imaginary mammograms

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 30--A series of new undercover phone calls reveals that contrary to the claims of Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards and other supporters of the nation's largest abortion chain, the organization does not provide mammograms for women.

In the tapes, a Live Action actor calls 30 Planned Parenthood clinics in 27 different states, inquiring about mammograms at Planned Parenthood. Every Planned Parenthood, without exception, tells her she will have to go elsewhere for a mammogram, and many clinics admit that no Planned Parenthood clinics provide this breast cancer screening procedure. "We don’t provide those services whatsoever,” admits a staffer at Planned Parenthood of Arizona. Planned Parenthood’s Comprehensive Health Center clinic in Overland Park, KS explains to the caller, “We actually don’t have a, um, mammogram machine, at our clinics.”

Opponents of defunding Planned Parenthood have argued in Congress and elsewhere that the organization provides many vital health care services other than abortion, such as mammograms. Most prominently, Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards recently appeared on The Joy Behar Show to oppose the Pence Amendment to end Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer subsidies, claiming, “If this bill ever becomes law, millions of women in this country are gonna lose their healthcare access--not to abortion services--to basic family planning, you know, mammograms.”

The calls were recorded by Live Action, the youth-led pro-life group responsible for recent undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood staff, from management on down, willing to aid and abet the sex trafficking of young girls at 7 clinics in 4 different states. Live Action president Lila Rose says the new recordings further confirm Planned Parenthood’s corruption: “Planned Parenthood is first and foremost an abortion business, but Planned Parenthood and its allies will say almost anything to try and cover up that fact and preserve its taxpayer funding. It’s not surprising that an organization found concealing statutory rape and helping child sex traffickers would misrepresent its own services so brazenly, playing on women’s fears in order to protect their tax dollars.”

Former Planned Parenthood Director Abby Johnson notes that the recordings demonstrate Planned Parenthood is not a comprehensive health care provider. “For so long PP has touted that they are a provider of mammogram services.  This is just one of the lies that PP uses to draw people into their clinics.  PP is not able to provide quality services on their own, so they are forced to lie to the public about services they don't provide--and mammograms are just one of those services."

Both Rose and Johnson call on Congress to revoke all taxpayer subsidies from Planned Parenthood. In the last reported year, Planned Parenthood received $363 million in government money.

~ Via Live Action.

New Film on Saint André Bessette: God's Doorkeeper

On January 6, 1937, the death of a humble doorkeeper for a boys' college drew over a million people to Montreal for his funeral. For 40 years, Brother André Bessette of the Congregation of Holy Cross welcomed people at the door and became known as a miraculous healer. God's Doorkeeper looks at the heart and legacy of Brother André -as a man of prayer, of hospitality, and of compassion; a man who draws people in to experience a God who is love. On October 17, 2010, Brother André became the first male Canadian-born saint and the first saint for the Congregation of Holy Cross. He is living proof that "it is with the smallest brushes that the divine artist paints the most beautiful pictures."

The film features interviews from Montreal, Rome, and the United States-with people who knew him and others who continue Brother André's work today. It also includes footage of the Beatification and Canonization ceremonies in Rome and the celebrations in Canada, with footage of the unforgettable events of Brother André's road to sainthood.

St. John Climacus: My Favorite Quotes

It is sheer lunacy to imagine that one has deserved the gifts of God. You may be proud only of the achievements you had before the time of your birth. But anything after that, indeed the birth itself, is a gift from God. You may claim only those virtues in you that are there independently of your mind, for your mind was bestowed on you by God. And you may claim only those victories you achieved independently of the body, for the body too is not yours but a work of God.

A chaste man is someone who has driven out bodily love by means of divine love, who has used heavenly fire to quench the fires of the flesh.

A person is at the beginning of a prayer when he succeeds in removing distractions which at the beginning beset him. He is at the middle of the prayer when the mind concentrates only on what he is meditating and contemplating. He reaches the end when, with the Lord, the prayer enraptures him.

Humility has it signs: ...poverty, withdrawal from the world, the concealment of one's wisdom, simplicity of speech, the seeking of alms, the disguising of one's nobility, the exclusion of free and easy relationships, the banishment of idle talk.

If pride turned some of the angels into demons, then humility can doubtless make angels out of demons. So take heart, all you sinners.

Pride is utter poverty of soul disguised as riches, imaginary light where in fact there is darkness.

The fruit of arrogance is a fall; but a fall is often an occasion of humility for those willing to profit by it.

The lover of silence draws close to God. He talks to Him in secret and God enlightens him.

You will know that you have this holy gift (of humility) within you and not be led astray when you experience an abundance of unspeakable light together with an indescribable love of prayer.

Related Post:

St. John Climacus

St. John Climacus

The saint of the day for March 30 is St. John Climacus.

St. John Climacus was born around the year 525 in Palestine. As a youth, he excelled in his studies and was highly regarded by his peers for his knowledge. At the age of 16, John decided to leave the world and retired to a hermitage near the base of Mount Sinai. For the next four years, John spent his time in prayer, fasting, meditation and discernment while preparing to take solemn vows to the religious life. Through the direction of Martyrius, John curbed his vices and worked to perfect his virtues.

After professing his solemn vows, John began to spend more of his time studying scriptures and the early fathers of the Church. He became very knowledgeable in these subjects but his humility caused him to hide his talents and not presume to share them with others. Near the end of his life, he was encouraged to share his knowledge with others and wrote the "Climax" also known as "The Ladder of Paradise." This work was a collection of sayings and examples to illustrate how to live the monastic life. From this work, he received the name Climacus, a derivative from the Latin root for climax or ladder.

As John progressed in years and wisdom, many of the religious living on Mount Sinai began to seek his advice in spiritual matters. He freely offered his advice and was highly regarded for his wisdom and holiness. Around the year 600 the abbot of all the religious in the region of Mount Sinai died and John was chosen to replace him. John ruled until his death in 605 and always tried to lead through his own example.

Gross: Biotech company using cell lines from aborted babies in food enhancement testing

 We need to boycott Pepsico, Kraft Foods, Campbell Soup Solae and Nestlé products.

 LifeSiteNews has the story:

Pepsico, Kraft Foods, and Nestlé are among the corporations partnered with a biotech company found using aborted fetal cell lines to test food flavor enhancers, according to a pro-life watchdog group.

The internationally recognized biotech company, Senomyx, boasts innovation and success in “flavour programs” designed to reduce MSG, sugar and salt in food and beverage products. Senomyx notes their collaborators provide them research and development funding plus royalties on sales of products using their flavor ingredients.

Pro-life watchdog group, Children of God for Life (CGL), has called upon the public to target the major corporations in a boycott, unless the company ceases to use aborted fetal cell lines in their product testing.

“Using isolated human taste receptors,” the Senomyx website claims, “we created proprietary taste receptor-based assay systems that provide a biochemical or electronic readout when a flavor ingredient interacts with the receptor.”

“What they do not tell the public is that they are using HEK 293 – human embryonic kidney cells taken from an electively aborted baby to produce those receptors,” stated Debi Vinnedge, Executive Director for CGL, the watch dog group that has been monitoring the use of aborted fetal material in medical products and cosmetics for years.

“They could have easily chosen COS (monkey) cells, Chinese Hamster Ovary cells, insect cells or other morally obtained human cells expressing the G protein for taste receptors,” Vinnedge added.

Responses from major corporations to CGL’s letter campaign succeeded in warning the pro-life watchdog that these companies would need significant public pressure to admit involvement in and convince them of the need to change Senomyx’s unethical testing methods.

After three letters, Nestlé finally admitted the truth about their relationship with Senomyx, noting the cell line was “well established in scientific research”.

Pepsico wrote: “We hope you are reassured to learn that our collaboration with Senomyx is strictly limited to creating lower-calorie, great-tasting beverages for consumers. This will help us achieve our commitment to reduce added sugar per serving by 25% in key brands in key markets over the next decade and ultimately help people live healthier lives.”

“If enough people voice their outrage and intent to boycott these consumer products, it can be highly effective in convincing Senomyx to change their methods”, Vinnedge noted. “Otherwise, we will be buying Coca-Cola, Lipton soups and Hershey products!”

To contact the companies:

Kent Snyder, CEO
4767 Nexus Centre Drive
San Diego, California 92121

Paul Bulcke, CEO
Nestlé USA
800 North Brand Boulevard
Glendale, CA 91203

Jamie Caulfield, Sr.VP
PepsiCo, Inc.
700 Anderson Hill Road
Purchase, NY 10577

Irene Rosenfeld, CEO
Kraft Foods/Cadbury Chocolate
Three Lakes Drive
Northfield, IL 60093

For more Information:

Children of God for Life: Biotech company using aborted fetal cell lines to test its flavor enhancers

Boycott Pepsico, Kraft, Campbell Soup, Solae, Nestlé Products: Using Cell Lines from Aborted babies....

Nasty:  Biotech company using cell lines from aborted babies in food enhancement testing

Buy Your Pro-life Bread Here

Check it out -- Seattle's first pro-life Bread Company!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

St. Francis de Sales on the Season of Lent

“Lent is the autumn of the spiritual life during which we gather fruit to keep us going for the rest of the year. Enrich yourselves with these treasures, which nobody can take away from you and which cannot be destroyed. I am accustomed to say that we will not spend Lent well unless we are determined to make the most of it. Let us, therefore, spend this Lent as if it were our last, and we will make it well. Listen to the sermons, because holy words are pearls; they are ships of infinite mercy – the true ocean of the East.”

~ St. Francis de Sales

St. Joseph of Arimathea

The saint of the day for March 29 is St. Joseph of Arimathea.

We learn about Joseph of Arimathea in Sacred Scripture. Arimathea was his place of birth, which was most likely the same city also known as Ramatha, birthplace of the prophet Samuel.

All the authentic information that we have about Joseph is from Sacred Scripture in the New Testament. These are some of the facts about Joseph: He was a member of the Sandhedrin, a council of 71 members that had supreme executive, legislative, and judicial power over the Jewish faith. He apparently was a wealthy man and also a good and just man, according to Luke’s gospel (Luke 23:50). He was a disciple of Jesus, but this was concealed for fear of the Jews or members of the Sandhedrin who were against Jesus. It is unlikely that Joseph attended the meeting of the council that sentenced Jesus to death, as he did not agree with the others in their condemnation of Him.

After the crucifixion, Joseph was bolder in his support of Jesus. This is evinced by the fact that he went to Pilate and asked to have the body of Jesus released to him. He then not only provided his own new tomb for the burial of Jesus but, along with Nicodemus (another secret disciple), he provided the spices and burial cloth, which was a very fine white linen shroud. He and the others placed the body of Jesus in Joseph’s new, unused tomb, which was hewn out of rock in a nearby garden. After rolling a great stone in front of the opening, they left the garden. This is the last mention in Scripture about Joseph of Arimathea.

Patronage: funeral directors, pall bearers, tin miners, undertakers

Lenten Reflection: The Season of Mercy

Abby Johnson Exposes Planned Parenthood

See American Papist's post Video: CatholicVote helps Abby Johnson expose Planned Parenthood for more information about this video.

Monday, March 28, 2011

St. Josemaría Escrivá on Lenten Conversion

 Lent should suggest to us these basic questions: Am I advancing in my faithfulness to Christ, in my desire for holiness, in a generous apostolate in my daily life, in my ordinary work among my colleagues?

Each one of us, silently, should answer these questions, and he will see that he needs to change again if Christ is to live in him, if Jesus' image is to be reflected clearly in his behaviour. "If any man has a mind to come my way, let him renounce self, and take up his cross daily and follow me." Christ is saying this again, to us, whispering it in our ears: the cross each day. As St Jerome puts it: "Not only in time of persecution or when we have the chance of martyrdom, but in all circumstances, in everything we do and think, in everything we say, let us deny what we used to be and let us confess what we now are, reborn as we have been in Christ."

It's an echo of St Paul's words: "Once you were all darkness. Now, in the Lord, you are all daylight. You must live as children of the light. Where light has its effect, men walk in all goodness, holiness and truth, seeking those things which please God."

Conversion is the task of a moment; sanctification is the work of a lifetime. The divine seed of charity, which God has sown in our souls, wants to grow, to express itself in action, to yield results which continually coincide with what God wants. Therefore, we must be ready to begin again, to find again — in new situations — the light and the stimulus of our first conversion. And that is why we must prepare with a deep examination of conscience, asking our Lord for his help, so that we'll know him and ourselves better. If we want to be converted again, there's no other way.

~St. Josemaría Escrivá, in Christ is Passing By, Number 58 (excerpt)

St. Sixtus III, Pope

The saint of the day for March 28 is St. Sixtus III, Pope.

St. Sixtus was born in Rome, Italy and ascended to the papacy in 432.

As the 44th Pope, he approved the results of the Council of Ephesus and actively protested against the heresies of Nestorianism and Pelagianism. He restored many Roman basilicas and corresponded with St. Augustine of Hippo.

He died August 18, 440 of natural causes.

For more information, see: SQPN, Catholic Encyclopedia, and Butler's Lives of the Saints.

Lenten Reflection: Boasting

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Woman at the Well

Related Reflections:

Fr. Tom Hoisington - The Third Sunday of Lent [A] - 27 MAR 2011

Fr. Philip Powell, OP - Share the well, or guard it?

Prayer - For the Holy Spirit's Gifts of Healing

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord

The Annunciation by Philippe de Champaigne

The Solemnity of the Annunciation celebrates the coming of the Angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary to announce to her the special mission God had chosen for her in being the mother of His only son.

The Annunciation heralds the beginning of our salvation. By Mary's obedient "Fiat" the earth has become heaven. "In Jesus, God has placed in the midst of barren, despairing mankind, a new beginning which is not a product of human history but a gift from above" (Pope Benedict XVI). All that our heart cries out for became flesh in Mary's wound. When we repeat the words of the angel by praying the Hail Mary, the word of God germinates in our soul. Christianity is this never-ending event of encounter with God made present in the maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

"What came about in bodily form in Mary, the fullness of the godhead shining through Christ in the Blessed Virgin, takes place in a similar way in every soul that has been made pure. The Lord does not come in bodily form, for ´we no longer know Christ according to the flesh´, but He dwells in us spiritually and the Father takes up His abode with Him, the Gospel tells us. In this way the child Jesus is born in each of us."

~Gregory of Nyssa

For More Information on this feast day:

Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord: Mary's Yes Invites Our Response

Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Archbishop Sheen: A Personal Encounter with Christ

"Neither theological knowledge nor social action alone is enough to keep us in love with Christ unless both are proceeded by a personal encounter with Him. Theological insights are gained not only from between two covers of a book, but from two bent knees before an altar. The Holy Hour becomes like an oxygen tank to revive the breath of the Holy Spirit in the midst of the foul and fetid atmosphere of the world."

~Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

Image Source

Kansas Senate Approves Historic Pro-Life Legislation

Yesterday, the Kansas Senate approved two bills that will transform our state, long known as the late-term abortion capital of the country, into a model for Pro-Life legislation. The Senate approved Fetal Pain legislation and late-term abortion and parental consent legislation by votes of 24-15. The House of Representatives has already passed both bills by wide margins and will need to do so again. Governor Brownback has expressed strong support for the bills.

~ Via Kansas Catholic Conference.

For more information, read KS Senate passes protections for teens & 20-week unborn.

Redemptive Suffering: Power Against Evil

St. Catherine of Sweden

The saint of the day is St. Catherine of Sweden, the patron saint against abortion and miscarriages.

Catherine was born in 1331, the fourth of eight children, to Saint Bridget of Sweden and Ulf Gudmarsson.

At the age of seven, Catherine was sent to Risberg Convent to be educated. She desired to remain in the convent to pursue a religious vocation, but she was promised in marriage to the virtuous and pious German noble Eggard Lydersson von Kürnen, a lifelong invalid. At age 13, the two were united in the sacrament of matrimony. Although Catherine was very beautiful, she and Eggard took a mutual vow of perpetual chastity. They devoted themselves to a life of Christian perfection and active charity.

In 1348, Catherine's father died. With Eggard’s permission, Catherine joined her mother on various pilgrimages. During these pilgrimages, they visited the tombs of the martyrs the churches, and together practiced works of piety, caring for the poor and the sick. In 1349, Catherine traveled with her mother to Rome for the Jubilee; it was at this time that Eggard died. Following his death, Catherine turned down numerous marriage proposals.

When her mother died in 1373, she returned to Sweden, taking the mortal remains of Saint Bridget with her for burial. Catherine entered a monastery at Vatzan, where she lived a very austere life. For the last twenty-five years of her life, Catherine participated in the Sacrament of Reconciliation daily to purify her soul. She died on March 24, 1381. At the time of her death, Catherine was the superior of the convent of Wadstena, founded by her mother; hence the name, Catherine Vastanensis, by which she is occasionally called. She was canonized in 1484 by Pope Innocent VIII.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Fr. Barron on God, the Tsunami, and the Problem of Evil

Baby Joseph Maraachli Baptized, Family Pleased with Tracheotomy

Praise God!  

Baby Joseph Maraachli, the infant who escaped Canada to come to the United States for a tracheotomy procedure his parents wanted so he could breath easier as he dies from a debilitating disease, has been baptized.

Moe Maraachli, Joseph’s father, commented on the developments: “It’s a miracle. My son now has freedom. I’m very happy. My wife and I will respect the second opinion from the hospital in St. Louis. We will accept it with all my heart because Joseph got his human right to get a chance to get a second opinion. When God wants to take his life He’ll take it and nobody can say ‘No’ to God.”

Continue reading.

St. Toribio de Mogrovejo

The saint of the day is St. Toribio Alfonso de Mogrovejo.

Born in Spain and educated for the law, he became so brilliant a scholar that he was made professor of law at the University of Salamanca and eventually became chief judge of the Inquisition at Granada. He succeeded too well. But he was not sharp enough a lawyer to prevent a surprising sequence of events.

In 1580 the archbishopric of Lima, capital of Spain's colony in Peru, became vacant. He was the one person with the strength of character and holiness of spirit to heal those who had infected that area. He protested the assignment, but was overruled. He was ordained priest and bishop and sent to Peru, where he found colonialism at its worst. The Spanish conquerors were guilty of every sort of oppression of the native population. Abuses among the clergy were flagrant, and he devoted his energies (and suffering) to this area first.

He began the long and arduous visitation of an immense archdiocese, studying the language, staying two or three days in each place, often with neither sleep nor food. He confessed every morning to his chaplain, and celebrated Mass with intense fervor.

His people, though very poor, were sensitive, dreading to accept public charity from others. Toribio solved the problem by helping them anonymously. After serving as Bishop of Lima for 26 years, he died in 1606. He was canonized in 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII.

St. Toribio is the patron saint of: Native rights, Latin American bishops, and Peru.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Lenten Journey

St. Lea

The saint of the day is St. Lea .

St. Lea was a widow who lived in fourth century Rome and died around the year 384. After the death of her husband, she retired from the world to a monastery and eventually became superior of the community there. Much of the information available concerning the life of St. Lea, who has long been honored in the Roman Martyrology, comes from a letter from St. Jerome to Marcella which compares Lea's life to that of the Counsul Praetextaus. An excerpt of this letter, the twentieth epistle of St. Jerome is found below.

"Who will praise the blessed Lea as she deserves? She renounced painting her face and adorning her head with shining pearls. She exchanged her rich attire for sackcloth, and ceased to command others in order to obey all. She dwelt in a corner with a few bits of furniture; she spent her nights in prayer, and instructed her companions through her example rather than through protests and speeches. And she looked forward to her arrival in heaven in order to receive her recompense for the virtues which she practiced on earth."

"So it is that thence forth she enjoyed perfect happiness. From Abraham's bosom, where she resides with Lazarus, she sees our consul who was once decked out in purple, now vested in a shameful robe, vainly begging for a drop of water to quench his thirst. Although he went up to the capital to the plaudits of the people, and his death occasioned widespread grief, it is futile for the wife to assert that he has gone to heaven and possesses a great mansion there. The fact is that he is plunged into the darkness outside, whereas Lea who was willing to be considered a fool on earth, has been received into the house of the Father, at the wedding feast of the Lamb."

"Hence, I tearfully beg you to refrain from seeking the favors of the world and to renounce all that is carnal. It is impossible to follow both the world and Jesus. Let us live a life of renunciation, for our bodies will soon be dust and nothing else will last any longer."

Monday, March 21, 2011

All Illinois Planned Parenthoods Willing to Hide Child Rape

Many pro-lifers don’t know that before Lila Rose came Mark Crutcher.

In 2002 Crutcher’s organization, Life Dynamics, conducted a comprehensive sting of every Planned Parenthood and National Abortion Federation clinic in the U.S. Continue reading at Jill Stanek.

St. Nicholas of Flue

Today, the universal church celebrates the feast of St. Nicholas of Flue. During his lifetime, the Swiss saint had 10 children, became a hermit and later prevented a civil war.

Nicholas was born in 1417 near the Lake of Lucerne in Switzerland. He married at the age of 30 and had 10 children. In addition to his duties as a husband and a father, Nicholas donated his talents and time selflessly to the community and always strove to give an excellent moral example to all.

The saint was also able to devote much of his private life to developing a strong relationship with the Lord. He had a strict regime of fasting and he spent a great deal of time in contemplative prayer.

Around the year 1467, when he was 50 years old, Nicholas felt called to retire from the world and become a hermit. His wife and children gave their approval, and he left home to live in a hermitage a few miles away. While living as a hermit, Nicholas soon gained a wide reputation on account of his personal sanctity and many people sought him out to request his prayers and spiritual advice.

Nicholas lived the quiet life of a hermit for 13 years. However in 1481, a dispute arose between the delegates of the Swiss confederates at Stans and a civil war seemed imminent. The people called on Nicholas to settle the dispute, so he drafted several proposals which everyone eventually agreed on.

Nicholas' work prevented civil war and solidified the country of Switzerland. But, as a true hermit, he then returned to his hermitage after settling the dispute.

He died six years later on March 21, 1487 surrounded by his wife and children.

St. Nicholas is the patron saint of: councilmen, difficult marriages, large families, magistrates, parents of large families, Pontifical Swiss Guards, separated spouses, and Switzerland.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Second Sunday in Lent: A Taste of Glory

Saturday, March 19, 2011

St. Joseph

Today is the solemnity of St. Joseph, husband of the Virgin Mary, foster father of Jesus, and patron of the universal Church.  On May 31, we honor St. Joseph as the patron of workers.

Most of the reliable information on St. Joseph is contained in the first two chapters of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Here we discover that Joseph was of royal descent from David, that the family was from Bethlehem in Judea and that Joseph, who was a builder, had moved from Bethlehem to Nazareth in Galilee.

Joseph was engaged to Mary and upon learning that she was pregnant; he had plans to divorce her. Described in Matthew as a righteous man, he intended to dismiss her quietly. Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream to tell him, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins" (MT 1:20-21). "When Joseph woke from sleep he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him." (MT 1: 24).

What a strong man of faith Joseph was! How he must have suffered, not knowing the secret of Mary's incarnation. Of course, she could not tell him - he would not have understood. "It was a mystery beyond the capacity of the human intellect and the possibilities of human language." (Pope John Paul II, The Holy Father's homily during the celebration of Mass on the Feast of St. Joseph, at the L. Liberati Stadium. Vatican, March 1981.)

Pope Benedict  shares the following: "St. Joseph teaches us that it is possible to love without possessing. "

"In contemplating Joseph, all men and women can, by God's grace, come to experience healing from their emotional wounds, if only they embrace the plan that God has begun to bring about in those close to him, just as Joseph entered into the work of redemption through Mary and as a result of what God had already done in her."

"Joseph was caught up at every moment by the mystery of the Incarnation. Not only physically, but in his heart as well, Joseph reveals to us the secret of a humanity which dwells in the presence of mystery and is open to that mystery at every moment of everyday life."

"In Joseph, faith is not separated from action. His faith had a decisive effect on his actions. Paradoxically, it was by acting, by carrying out his responsibilities, that he stepped aside and left God free to act, placing no obstacles in his way. Joseph is a 'just man because his existence is 'ad-justed' to the word of God."

"The life of Saint Joseph, lived in obedience to God’s word, is an eloquent sign for all the disciples of Jesus who seek the unity of the Church."

"His example helps us to understand that it is only by complete submission to the will of God that we become effective workers in the service of his plan to gather together all mankind into one family, one assembly, one 'ecclesia.'"

Patron: Against doubt; against hesitation; Americas; Austria; Diocese of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; California; Belgium; Bohemia; bursars; cabinetmakers; Canada; Carinthia; carpenters; China; confectioners; craftsmen; Croatian people (in 1687 by decree of the Croatian parliament) dying people; emigrants; engineers; expectant mothers; families; fathers; Florence, Italy; happy death; holy death; house hunters; immigrants; interior souls; Korea; laborers; Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin; Archdiocese of Louisville, Kentucky; Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire; Mexico; Diocese of Nashville, Tennessee; New France; New World; Oblates of Saint Joseph; people in doubt; people who fight Communism; Peru; pioneers; protection of the Church; Diocese of San Jose, California; diocese of Sioux Falls, South Dakota; social justice; Styria, Austria; travelers; Turin Italy; Tyrol Austria; unborn children Universal Church; Vatican II; Vietnam; Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston West Virginia; wheelwrights; workers; working people.

Friday, March 18, 2011

How to love like Mother Teresa

March 18, 2011. You don't have to move to the slums of an Indian city to love like Mother Teresa, says Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, the postulator of her Cause of Canonization. In order to love like her, he says, you just need to practice great love in small ways.

Father Brian said that Mother Teresa's message could be summed up by the phrase that is enscribed on her tombstone, which is from the Gospel of John: “Love one another as I have loved you.”

Fr. Brian Kolodiejchuk
Postulator, Cause of Canonization of Mother Teresa
“Whenever Mother Teresa used to speak, she would try to bring the message to the people so that they could practice it in their own ordinary life even beginning with their own family. So, for example, she would say to do 'Ordinary things with extraordinary love,' or to do 'Small things with great love,' something everyone can do no matter what they are doing. But the important thing for Mother Teresa was the love with which we do it.”

Father Brian said that Mother Teresa's message could be summed up by the phrase that is enscribed on her tombstone, which is from the Gospel of John: “Love one another as I have loved you.”

According to Father Brian, Mother Teresa believed that God wants to love us through our own expressions of love for one another.

In view of the coming beatification of John Paul II, Father Brian emphasized the close relationship Mother Teresa had with the pope.

Fr. Brian Kolodiejchuk
Postulator, Cause of Canonization of Mother Teresa
“It is interesting to note that Mother Teresa won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, and John Paul II was elected in 1978. So, for both, their, say, most public times were almost the same years, and so there was a real connection both on the human level but maybe that connection was even more because of, let's say, being on the same spiritual wavelength.”

Father Brian said that devotion to Mother Teresa would be especially good for travelers, because she traveled much for her ministry, and for women that are trying to conceive, because she was known for helping couples conceive by giving them the miraculous medal.

Via Rome Reports.

What does it look like when we cooperate with God's plan?

Father Barron speaks about the manifestation of our humble submission to the will of God in our lives.

St. Cyril of Jerusalem

Today the Church honors  St. Cyril of Jerusalem (315-381), Bishop and Doctor of the Church.

Cyril, bishop of Jerusalem, was banished from his see on three occasions. With St. Athanasius and others, he belongs to the great champions of faith in the fight against Arianism. Famous as a teacher and preacher, he has left a series of catechetical instructions that constitute a priceless heirloom from Christian antiquity. Of the twenty-four extant discourses, nineteen were directed to catechumens during Lent as a preparation for baptism, while five so-called mystagogical instructions were given during Easter time to make the mysteries of Christianity better known to those already baptized.

Cyril of Jerusalem was given to the study of the Holy Scriptures from childhood, and made such progress that he became an eminent champion of the orthodox faith. He embraced the monastic institute and bound himself to perpetual chastity and austerity of life. He was ordained priest by St. Maximus, Patriarch of Jerusalem, and undertook the work of preaching to the faithful and instructing the catechumens, in which he won the praise of all. He was the author of those truly wonderful Catechetical Instructions, which embrace clearly and fully all the teaching of the Church, and contain an excellent defense of each of the dogmas of religion against the enemies of the faith. His treatment of these subjects is so distinct and clear that he refuted not only the heresies of his own time, but also, by a kind of foreknowledge, as it were, those which were to arise later. Thus he maintains the Real Presence of the Body and Blood of Christ in the adorable sacrament of the Altar. On the death of Patriarch St. Maximus, the bishops of the province chose Cyril in his place.

As Bishop he endured, like blessed Athanasius, his contemporary, many wrongs and sufferings for the sake of the faith at the hands of the Arians. They could not bear his strenuous opposition to their heresy, and thus assailed him with calumnies, deposed him in a pseudo-council and drove him from his see. To escape their rage, he fled to Tarsus in Cilicia and, as long as Constantius lived, he bore the hardships of exile. On the death of Constantius and the accession of Julian the Apostate, Cyril was able to return to Jerusalem, where he set himself with burning zeal to deliver his flock from false doctrine and from sin. He was driven into exile a second time, under the Emperor Valens, but when peace was restored to the Church by Theodosius the Great, and the cruelty and insolence of the Arians were restrained, he was received with honor by the Emperor as a valiant soldier of Christ and restored to his see. With what earnestness and holiness he fulfilled the duties of his exalted office was proved by the flourishing state of the Church at Jerusalem, as described by St. Basil, who spent some time there on a pilgrimage to the holy places.

Tradition states that God rendered the holiness of this venerable Patriarch illustrious by signs from heaven, among which is numbered the apparition of a cross, brighter than the sun, which was seen at the beginning of his Patriarchate. Not only Cyril himself, but pagans and Christians alike were witnesses of this marvel, which Cyril, after having given thanks to God in church, announced by letter to Constantius. A thing no less wonderful came to pass when the Jews were commanded by the impious Emperor Julian to restore the Temple which had been destroyed by Titus. An earthquake arose and great balls of fire broke out of the earth and consumed the work, so that Julian and the Jews were struck with terror and gave up their plan. This had been clearly foretold by Cyril. A little while before his death, he was present at the Ecumenical Council at Constantinople, where the heresies of Macedonius and Arius were condemned. After his return to Jerusalem, he died a holy death at sixty-nine years of age in the thirty-fifth year of his bishopric. Pope Leo XIII ordered that his office and mass should be said throughout the Universal Church.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick, Apostle of Ireland

Today is the feast of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.

St. Patrick was born in Wales about 385 AD. His given name was Maewyn.

Until he was 16 he considered himself a pagan. He was kidnapped from the British mainland at that time by a group of Irish raiders who sold him into slavery. He escaped from slavery after six years and returned to his homeland. There he heard the call to return and bring Christianity to Ireland, so he went to Gaul and studied in the monastery under St. Germain, bishop of Auxerre for a period of twelve years.

He was ordained a priest, consecrated a bishop and returned to Ireland around 435 AD. Patrick was quite successful at winning converts, which led to clashes with the Celtic Druids. He was arrested several times, but escaped each time. He travelled throughout Ireland, establishing monasteries across the country. He also set up schools and churches which would aid him in his conversion of the Irish country to Christianity. In thirty-three years, he successfully converted Ireland. After that time, Patrick retired to County Down. He died on March 17, 461.

Patron: Ireland; against snakes; against ophidiophobia; archdiocese of Boston, Massachusetts; diocese of Burlington, Vermont; engineers; excluded people; fear of snakes; diocese of Fort Worth, Texas; diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; archdiocese of New York; Nigeria; diocese of Norwich, Connecticut; ophidiophobics; diocese of Portland, Maine; diocese of Sacramento, California; snake bites.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

François-Marie Lethel explains what he said to the pope in spiritual retreat

Pope Benedict XVI began his spiritual exercises with the cardinals of the Roman curia, in preparation for Easter. During the one week retreat he will spend his time in prayer and meditation. All the cardinals of the Roman Curia were invited to attend.

Lenten Reflection: The Capacity to Share

St. Abraham

Today's saint of the day is St. Abraham.

St. Abraham was born near the city of Edessa in the region of Mesopotamia of a wealthy family during the third century. After receiving an excellent education, Abraham was encouraged to get married. Following the wishes of his parents, he married but as soon as the ceremonies were over he told his bride of his wishes to remain a virgin and dedicate his life to God. His bride accepted this resolution and Abraham left her and retired to a hermitage near Edessa.

Ten years after he retreated from the world, his parents died and left a great amount of wealth to Abraham. As soon as he was aware of this, he asked a friend to distribute it to charitable causes. Through actions like this and his deep prayer life, Abraham became known throughout the region as a holy man and many came to him for guidance. His reputation even came to the ears of the bishop, and when Edessa became poisoned with sin and idolatry, Abraham was ordained and asked to go to the city preaching reform. Abraham was greatly distressed by this, but obeyed the wishes of the bishop.

When Abraham arrived in Edessa, none of the residents would listen to his words, but eventually Abraham converted them, not through his preaching, but through his constant prayer. After gaining success in converting the city, Abraham returned to his hermitage to continue his life of solitary prayer. Around the year 360 Abraham died after a life of faithful service to God.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Adoration U

First Place Winner in the Defund Planned Parenthood Contest

This powerful video won first place in the Defund Planned Parenthood video contest sponsored by Live Action.

Join in Catholic Media Promotion Day Today

Today is “Catholic Media Promotion Day.” Greg Willits of The Catholics Next Door and The Rosary Army came up with this creative and brilliant way of supporting and promoting Catholic Media.

First, I encourage everyone to go to the Facebook page and “like” it:

Then, using your blog, podcast or Facebook, list your favorite 3 blogs, 3 podcasts, 3 other media, 3 random Catholic things online, and your own projects. Once you’ve done that, post your link at the “Catholic Media Promotion Day” facebook page.

It’s also recommended that you go to iTunes and leave at least three positive written reviews for various Catholic podcasts and 3 positive written reviews for Catholic mobile applications.

Last…but certainly not least…go to Amazon and leave three positive reviews for three Catholic books you like (hint, hint…I have two Catholic books on Amazon: links are at the side bar…)

Please join with other bloggers, writers and Catholics worldwide to participate in this worthy endeavor!

My Favorites?

Podcasts: ( I'm not a podcaster! Maybe someday...)
 Catholic Websites:
Random Catholic Stuff Online:

My Own Projects:
My Book Reviews:

Continuing to work on my Master of Arts Degree in Theology -- Prayers Appreciated!

Thanks to my loyal readers for continuing to read Catholic Fire!

God bless you!

H/T:  Elllen Gable Hrkach

A Thank You From Moe Maraachli, Father of Baby Joseph

Moe Maraachli, father of Baby Joseph, and Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests For Life, send out their thanks and gratitude to everyone who showed support for Baby Joseph though their trying times.

Details of Baby Joseph's Rescue, Touching Interview with Baby Joseph's Father and Fr. Frank Pavone

A Fox News report on Baby Joseph, brought over from Canada to SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center in St. Louis, MO. Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, accompanied Baby Joseph and his father, Moe Maraachli.

Touching Interview with Baby Joseph's father and Fr. Frank Pavone on Fox News:

Lenten Reflection: Extreme Love

St. Louise de Marillac

Today's saint is St. Louise de Marillac. Louise was born in Ferrières-en-Brie (near Meaux), Auvergne, France, on August 12, 1591. Born out of wedlock in Paris in 1581, Louise never knew who her mother was but was acknowledged and raised by her father, a member of the aristocracy. When her father married, Louise had a difficult time adjusting as was sent as a resident student to a Dominican convent where her aunt was a religious. This experience deepened her intellectual skills, as well as her desire to be a religious. When her father died and resources were limited, she lived in a boarding house where she had the opportunity to learn many basic domestic and organizational skills, as well as the secrets of herbal medicine.

When Louise was about sixteen years old, she developed a strong desire to enter the Capuchinesses. Her spiritual director discouraged her from entering the religious order, however, and her father having died, it became necessary to decide her vocation. Interpreting her director's advice, she accepted the hand of Antoine Le Gras, a young secretary under Maria de' Medici. The couple had a son and Louise devoted most of her time in her motherly duties.

While at prayer, Louise had a vision in which she saw herself serving the poor and living the vows of religion in community. She wrote this experinence down on parchment and carried it on her person as a reminder that despite her difficulties, God was guiding her life. In that vision a priest appeared to her, whom she later identified as Vincent de Paul, her future confidante and collaborator in ministry.

In 1619 she met St. Francis de Sales, who was then in Paris, and Mgr. Le Campus, Bishop of Belley, became her spiritual adviser. Troubled by the thought that she had rejected a call to the religious life, she vowed in 1623 not to remarry should her husband die before her.

As a young matron, Louise traveled and socialized among both the royalty and aristocracy of France, but she was equally comfortable with the poor, no matter their desperate situations. She held a leadership role in the Ladies of Charity, an organization of rich women dedicated to assisting the poor.

Her husband died on December 21, 1625, after a long illness. In 1629, Vincent de Paul, who in 1625 had established the Congregation of the Mission (the Vincentians), invited Louise to assist him with the Confraternities of Charity in the parishes of France. These tasks were therapeutic for Louise and were influential in preparing her for her future work. She conducted site visits to assure the quality of the service being offered; reviewed financial accounts for stewardship reports; and encouraged the workers and volunteers to see Christ in those whom they served.

On November 29, 1633 Louise began to train young women to address the needs of the poor and to gain support from their life together. From this humble beginning, the community of Daughters of Charity emerged. Louise provided leadership and expert management to the evolving network of services she and Vincent inspired.

Louise, who died on March 15, 1660 just a few months before Vincent de Paul, was proclaimed a Saint of the Church in 1934. In 1960 Pope John XXIII proclaimed her the Patroness of all Social Workers. As a wife, mother, teacher, nurse, social worker and religious foundress, she stands as a model to all women. She lives today in the 25,000 Daughters of Charity serving throughout the world, as well as in their many lay collaborators.

Patron: Disappointing children, widows, loss of parents, sick people, social workers, Vincentian Service Corps, people rejected by religious orders.

Monday, March 14, 2011

St. Matilda

Today is the feast of St. Matilda, who was the Queen of Germany and wife of Henry I. She was born in Engern, Westphalia, Germany in 895 to Count Detrich and his wife, Reinhild. Raised by her grandmother, an abbess, she entered into an arranged marriage with King Henry the Fowler of Saxony in 1913. Matilda became the mother of: Otto I, Emperor of Germany; Henry, Duke of Bavaria; St. Bruno, Archbishop of Cologne; Gerberga, who married Louis IV of France; Hedwig, the mother of Hugh Capet. As queen, Matilda was humble, holy, and very generous -- always ready to help the poor and the down-trodden.

Following her husband's death, Matilda made an unsuccessful attempt to secure the throne for her favorite son Henry, but his elder brother was elected and crowned in 936. Later, the two brothers joined in persecuting their mother, whom they accused of having impoverished the crown by her lavish almsgiving. To satisfy them, she renounced the possessions the deceased king had left her, and retired to her villa at Engern in Westphalia. Later, when she suffered financial difficulties, Matilda was called back to the palace, and both Otto and Henry asked for her forgiveness.

She built many churches and founded and supported numerous monasteries; she was known for her great charity. She died of natural causes in 968 and was buried in the monastery at Quedlinburg, Germany. Matilda was venerated as a saint immediately after her death.

She is often pictured with a purse, and alms.


death of children
disappointing children
falsely accused people
large families
people ridiculed for their piety
second marriages

'Baby Joseph' Gets Second Chance at Life in U.S

Thanks be to God for Fr. Frank Pavone and Bobby Schnidler! Our prayers have been answered.

This is an update of my previous post on Baby Joseph from FOX News:

The baby who was hours from being pulled off life support at his Canadian hospital has been rescued by the national director of Priests for Life and taken to the U.S. for treatment.

Thirteen-month-old Joseph Maraachli, who is currently kept alive by a respirator and was recently denied a transfer to a Michigan hospital to undergo a tracheotomy, arrived in the U.S. early Monday morning with Fr. Frank Pavone and other Priests for Life staff.

Read more.

Previous Posts:

Baby Joseph airlifted to St. Louis hospital

Supporters of Baby Joseph Head for London, Ontario in the Battle for Life and Parental Rights

Update: Canadian Hospital Agrees to Let Baby Joseph Die at Home

Fr. Frank Pavone seeks to save baby from death mandate

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Baby Joseph airlifted to St. Louis hospital

The Press Release from London Health Services Centre:

LONDON, Ontario, March 13, 2011 – Despite the strongest possible medical advice to the contrary from medical experts in Canada, the United States and Europe, the parents of Baby Joseph Maraachli have accepted an offer to transfer him by air to the faith-based Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri.

His parents exercised their legal right to have him discharged after LHSC exhausted all its legal options in attempting to deliver to Baby Joseph the best possible and most appropriate medical care, given the progressive, fatal neurodegenerative disease from which he suffers. An LHSC medical team transported Baby Joseph to London International Airport in the presence of his father.

The private plane carrying Baby Joseph, and any care to be provided in the U.S., will be paid for by U.S.-based interests and not by LHSC. The plane took off from London at approximately 10:20 p.m. on Sunday, March 13, 2011.

"As one of Canada’s top teaching and medical research health care centres, LHSC physicians make their medical judgments in the best interests of every patient, based on experience, fact and scientific evidence. LHSC continues to be proud to stand behind their judgments and the care given to Baby Joseph. The judgments were sound, both medically and ethically, and the care Baby Joseph received from our staff was second to none anywhere in the world,” says LHSC CEO, Bonnie Adamson.

The medical judgments about Baby Joseph made by LHSC physicians remain unchallenged by any credible medical or legal source. Those judgments remain supported by 9 pediatric specialists in Ontario as well as pediatric specialists in the U.S. and Europe, Ontario’s Consent and Capacity Board, and the Superior Court of Ontario, as being in the best interests of Baby Joseph.

LHSC physicians and staff were targeted by well-organized social media feeds and directly via email with personal threats, threats to their families, innuendoes and falsehoods. The threats, many of which emanated from members of U.S.-based groups, have been passed along to LHSC lawyers who will liaise with police where appropriate.

Despite these intimidation tactics, LHSC physicians and administration continued to explore all available legal options to ensure that the best interests of Baby Joseph were met and Baby Joseph was provided with compassionate, quality care up until and during his transfer to London airport.

Prior to the St. Louis offer to accept Baby Joseph, a number of U.S. hospitals had refused, on medical grounds, to accept him, noting in doing so that LHSC was delivering the most appropriate care possible. A network of special interest groups refused to accept these facts and attempted to interfere with the most appropriate care possible by advocating for a hospital to accept the baby to implement an alternative care plan.

LHSC’s plan of care did not involve performing a tracheostomy, which is not a palliative procedure. It is an invasive procedure in which a device is installed in a hole cut in the throat. It is frequently indicated for patients who require a long-term breathing machine. This is not, unfortunately, the case with Baby Joseph, because he has a progressive neurodegenerative disease that is fatal.

Baby Joseph had been in the care of LHSC since October 2010 and has a severe and progressively deteriorating neurological condition. He is breathing with the assistance of a machine and receives nourishment via a feeding tube through his abdominal wall.

"This is a very difficult time for the Maraachli family and our thoughts are with them. We also appreciate the concern expressed for baby Joseph by members of our community," says LHSC CEO, Bonnie Adamson.

Reflection for the First Sunday in Lent

Our Youth Are Disgusted With Planned Parenthood

This says it all:

H/T: Dr. Gerard M. Nadal

Monday, March 07, 2011

Brief Blogging Break

Due to my studies, I will be taking a brief break from blogging. Have a happy and holy Ash Wednesday!

In the meantime, here's my Ash Wednesday post from last year, a quote for Ash Wednesday , altered Ash Wednesday prayers,  and Lenten Ideas 2011.

Be sure and check out Marcel's Lenten 2011  at Aggie Catholics.

Have a good week! Don't go away now -- I shall return!

Saturday, March 05, 2011

St. John Joseph of the Cross

Historically today is the feast of St. John Joseph of the Cross.

Self-denial is never an end in itself but is only a help toward greater charity—as the life of Saint John Joseph shows.

John Joseph was very ascetic even as a young man. He devoted himself even at his youngest years to a life of poverty and fasting. At 16 he joined the Franciscans in Naples; he was the first Italian to follow the reform movement of Saint Peter Alcantara. John’s reputation for holiness prompted his superiors to put him in charge of establishing a new friary even before he was ordained.

Obedience moved John to accept appointments as novice master, guardian and, finally, provincial. His years of mortification enabled him to offer these services to the friars with great charity. As guardian, he saw himslef with no higher priveledge and insisted on working in the kitchen or carrying the wood and water needed by the friars.

When his term as provincial expired, John Joseph dedicated himself to hearing confessions and practicing mortification, two concerns contrary to the spirit of the dawning Age of Enlightenment. John Joseph was canonized in 1839 and he is the patron saint of Ischilia, Italy, the place where he was born.

Image Source

Friday, March 04, 2011

Vatican consults the bishops of the world on the New Evangelization

The Vatican has asked every bishop from around the world how to bring the Christian message to those who have never heard the word of God and those who have left the faith.

Sisters of Life , a religious order that helps women facing questions of abortion

In the heart of New York City, a group of nuns are hitting the streets to help build a sense of community in their neighborhoods. This group called the Sisters of Life, lives in the Bronx but travels throughout the five boroughs as they encounter people from every corner of the world.

St. Casimir

The saint of the day is St. Casimir of Poland, confessor, who was also known as "The Peace-maker."

St. Casimir was born on October 3, 1458, the third of thirteen children of King Casimir IV and Elizabeth of Austria, daughter of Albert II of Habsburg.

The young prince was trained in spirituality and displayed holiness at an early age. In contrast to the other members of the royal court, he was a shining example of faith, piety, humility, and chastity. He had a great love for the Eucharist and for the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Hungarian nobles prevailed upon Casimir's father to send his 13-year-old son to be their king; Casimir obeyed, taking the crown, but refusing to exercise power. His army was outnumbered, his troops deserting because they were not paid. Casimir returned home, and was a conscientious objector from that time on.

Casimir foretold the hour of his death, and chose to die a virgin, refusing the advice of physicians who told him to marry, suggesting that this would improve his health and possibly prolong his life.

St. Casimir was a charismatic person who was noted for his strong sense of justice and for his charity. In an atmosphere of luxury and magnificence the young prince had fasted, worn a hair-shirt, slept upon the bare earth, prayed by night, and watched for the opening of the church doors at dawn. His charity to the poor and afflicted knew no bounds. The young prince consoled the poor with his gracious words, and frequently helped with generous alms. He was known to visit the sick and served them in their needs counting it an honor as he saw in the afflicted one the person of Christ Himself. Thus he earned the title, "Father of the poor."

He expressed his deep love for our Blessed Lady by frequently singing a beautiful hymn in her honor. He was buried with this favorite song to Our Lady -- a Latin hymn to Mary called "Omni die dic Mariae" which we know as "Daily, Daily Sing to Mary."

Casimir died at the age of 26 on March 4, 1484, a victim of tuberculosis. Buried at Vilnius, Lithuania, his tomb became famed for many miracles. He was canonized in 1522 by Pope Adrian VI.

Casimir is the patron of Poland, Lithuania, bachelors, kings, and princes and is represented by a crown and a lily (which symbolizes purity).

It's Time to Protect Our Young Girls: Stop Tax-Funding Planned Parenthood

Tell Congress to stop funding Planned Parenthood, the biggest abortion chain in America.

In their last report, Planned Parenthood made a profit of over $63 MILLION.

They received $363 million in tax dollars in the last year.

Besides being the biggest abortion chain, Planned Parenthood puts it's "abortion-first" mentality above the well-being of young girls and women.

Planned Parenthood covers up the sexual abuse of minors and is willing to aid and abet the trafficking of children for sexual exploitation.

Go to and Call Congress Now -- Protect our young girls.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Catholic Fire Music Spotlight: Interview with Sarah & Josh Holthusen

I recently had the wonderful privilege of listening to the glorious music of the gifted singer/songwriters Sarah and Josh Holthusen, a devout Catholic couple from Wichita, Kansas, and they agreed to let me interview them. They are both  graduates of Benedictine University in Atchison, Kansas and the parents of four boys.

Listen to their music.

How did the two of you meet?

SARAH:  We met on our very first day of college at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. We just happened to be in the same orientation group. Josh overheard me say that I was interested in taking guitar lessons, and he offered to teach me. We became instant friends, and he eventually asked me to be his RCIA sponsor. A few months later, we began dating. Josh proposed to me nine months later, and we got married the summer before we graduated. We have been married almost 15 years!

How did you get started in the music business?

JOSH:  A couple of months after we graduated, we loaded a U-Haul full of dreams and moved to Nashville, Tennessee. There we learned a lot about the music business…from how to write a song, getting a song published, the recording process, and all the ins and outs of the Nashville music scene. After our second son was born, however, we knew we wanted to move closer to home so that our children could grow up knowing their relatives. So we packed the U-Haul again and moved back to Kansas.

What types of musical activities do you do now?

With four young boys in the house, we stay very busy, but in our spare time, we enjoy singing and playing at Mass and performing at various festivals, special events, weddings, etc. We also enjoy writing for upcoming recording projects after the boys go to bed at night. We have a small recording studio in our home, so we are able to record our own c.d.’s as well as demos for other songwriters.

To those who may not be aware of your versatility, what music genres do you perform?

We love many types of music, but our sound tends to be simple and accoustic music, as though you were sitting in our living room listening to us perform. We love Catholic, Christian, and Country music.

What are your current recordings and which seems to be the most popular?

We have recorded a Catholic c.d., which is a collection of original, contemporary and traditional songs (“You are Mine,” “I Am the Bread of Life,” “Prayer of St. Francis,” etc). We also have a Christian c.d., which is a collection of traditional Christian hymns and a couple of original songs. We also have a Country c.d., which includes original songs that we wrote and recorded while we lived in Nashville. Our Catholic c.d. is our most popular one right now, as we have been playing primarily in front of Catholic audiences. It has been exciting to know that there are Catholics all over the world who are listening to our music after finding us on iTunes and other downloading sites.

Do you have any upcoming recording projects?

Yes! We are getting ready to record a “Christmas” c.d., and we have plans in the near future to record another “Catholic” c.d. and a project of original positive Country-Christian songs.

How is your Catholic faith integral to your music ministry?

Well… has definitely brought us to where we are today! While living in Nashville, our faith helped us make positive choices that kept us on the “narrow trail” and helped us make the decision to move back to Kansas. Our faith has also helped keep us focused on what is important as our family has continued to grow. We incorporate our faith into every song we sing and write, and we hope that comes through to the listener.

Where does the inspiration for your compositions come from?

 The songs that are the best are always the truest songs. Some of our songs, we have lived. Others have been inspired by people we know and love. In the end, though, we are simply instruments of the Lord. We are just holding the pen.

What future plans do you have?

As our boys get older, we are hoping to find more opportunities to perform wherever God leads us.

Any closing comments?

We don’t know exactly what God has planned for us, but we plan on using these gifts He has given us for His glory and honor. We will go wherever He needs us to be.

Listen to their music. 

For more information on Sarah and Josh, visit them at

Saint Katharine Drexel

Today the Church celebrates the feast of St. Katharine Drexel, a Philadelphia heiress who abandoned her family’s fortune to found an order of sisters dedicated to serving the impoverished African American and American Indian populations of the United States.

Katharine, the second daughter of Francis Anthony and Hannah Drexel, was born in Philadelphia in 1858. Hannah died about a month after Katherine's birth.

A few years later, Katharine’s father, a wealthy and prominent banker and philanthropist, married Emma Bouvier – a distant aunt to Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onasis. Emma was a deeply religious woman. Three years later, Emma gave birth to her own child, a third daughter whom they named Louise. The deeply religious couple taught their children that wealth was meant to be shared with others, particularly the poor.

The three siblings – Elizabeth, Katharine and Louise -- were inseparable. They traveled out west together where they encountered native American Indians who lived on reservations and learned of their plight. These travels instilled within Katharine the desire to alleviate the sufferings of the Indians as well as those of the African Americans.

When she visited Pope Leo XIII in Rome, Katharine asked him to send missionaries to the Indian missions that she as a lay person was financing. He surprised by responding, “Why don’t you go? Why don’t you become one?”

As a teenager, Katharine had considered convent life, but in a letter to Bishop James O’Connor, stated that: she couldn’t bear separation from her family, she hated community life and the thought of living with “old-maidish” dispositions, did not like to be alone, and could not part with luxuries. At that time, the Bishop discouraged her from entering the convent.

After she nursed her stepmother through a three-year terminal illness, Katharine began to realize that all the money her family had could not purchase protection from suffering or death. It was then that her life changed dramatically.

As time passed, Katharine became more and more convinced that she should become a religious. She once again wrote the Bishop, stating that she wanted to give herself completely to the Lord, adding, “The world cannot give me peace.” Thus, Katharine made the decision to give herself totally to God by her service to African Americans and Native Indian Americans. On February 12, 1891, Katharine took vows as a religious, founding the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament.

St. Katharine established many ministries, founding schools for African Americans and native Indian Americans, including, Xavier University, the only predominately black Catholic institution of higher learning in the United States.

In 1935, Katharine suffered a severe heart attack and spent the next twenty years of her life in prayer until her death on March 3, 1955. She was canonized on October 1, 2000 by Pope John Paul II.

Lenten Spiritual Helps (Quotes from St. Katharine Drexel):

“The patient and humble endurance of the cross – whatever nature it may be – is the highest work we have to do.”

"If we wish to serve God and love our neighbor well,we must manifest our joy in the service we render to Him and them."

"Often in my desire to work for others I find my hands tied, something hinders my charitable designs, some hostile influence renders me powerless. My prayers seem to avail nothing, my kind acts are rejected, I seem to do wrong things when I am trying to do my best. In such cases I must not grieve. I am only treading in my Master's steps."

“And here is the passive way – to be filled unto the fullness of God. The passive way – I abandon myself to it, not in a multiplicity of trials, extraordinary penances accomplished, practices of great works – but in peaceful abandonment to the tenderness of Jesus, which I must try to imitate, and by being in constant union with his meek and humble heart.

What likeness is there between me and my Mother? Do I try to be like her, in her love for Jesus? In her devotion for the cause for which he died – the salvation of souls – in her absolute submission to the will of God, in her patient suffering? Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, too, let me stand at the foot of the cross with you, to learn its lesson and to learn to be like the Mother of Sorrows. Amen.