Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How to face the New Evangelization

(Romereports.com) The pope met with members of the Vatican's newest Council. It's called the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization. Among them was its first chairman, Archbishop Rino Fisichella. In the meeting, the Pope talked about the meaning of the "new evangelization."

Benedict XVI
"The term 'new evangelization' refers to a new approach of teaching the Gospel, especially for those living in a situation like the present, in which the development of secularism has left deep scars in countries with rich Christian traditions."

Benedict XVI said, there's still a correlation between the way the Gospel was taught by early Christians and the way it's taught now. This, despite the huge time lapse.

Benedict XVI
"Giving reasons for faith in today's circumstances, which are different from the past. The crisis involves the exclusion of God from the lives of people, widespread indifference to Christian faith, to the point of marginalizing religion in public life."

While facing these challenges, the pope asked that every Christian lives a life that's consistent with their faith. He said being Christian is not just something for special occasions, but rather it "spans one's entire life and involves all the good in modern society."

The pope also said "it's necessary that the lifestyle led by Catholics is credible and convincing, despite how difficult the situation they're living through may be.”

The Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization was formed in 2010. The goal is to strengthen the Christian faith in the Western world, where the faith seems to be diminishing.

Model Kathy Ireland: Defund Planned Parenthood

“I think Planned Parenthood needs to reassess and look at what their values are, what their mission is, what their goals are, and do they deserve government funding? For example, there are non-profits that I’m involved with, and we don’t get government funding."

“To force people who don’t agree with some of the practices, I don’t believe in that. I don’t think tax payers need to fund something as controversial as [Planned Parenthood]."

Read the full story.

Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Today is the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which recalls Mary's visit with her cousin Elizabeth. This event is also the second joyful mystery of the rosary -- the first being the Annunciation.

Elizabeth had been barren all her life, but in the Annunciation, Mary learned that her kinswoman was miraculously expecting a child in her old age. Upon hearing this good news, Mary fervently desired to share in Elizabeth's joy and serve her during the last part of her pregnancy. So she went "with haste" to visit Elizabeth and remained with her for three months.

Mary's first action after God had come to dwell in her was one of self-denying charity. She undertook a troublesome journey in order to visit her cousin Elizabeth. Thus, she proclaimed charity to be the virtue which above all Christ brought with Him from heaven. God made Mary's visit the occasion of a wonderful miracle. On her entrance into St. Elizabeth's dwelling, St. John the Baptist was cleansed from sin in his mother's womb. Mary was the channel of this exceptional privilege of the cleansing away of sin in the case of the unborn child. As then, so now: Mary is the channel of all graces, and above all, of the restoration of the sinner to friendship with God. Mary's charity is not less present now than at the time of the Visitation. She is far more eager now than then to promote the happiness and console the sorrows of those who come to her for help.

Patronage: St. Elizabeth: Expectant mothers.

Labels: Marian Feast Day, St. Elizabeth, women saints

Across the Fruited Plain

 Operation Rescue Leader Troy Newman presents a one minute commentary on abortion and Kansas. Thanks, Troy, for sharing your inspiring thoughts with us! God bless you for all you do for life!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Saint Joan of Arc

Today's saint is the valiant warrior Saint Joan of Arc, French national heroine, who was born in Domremy, France, 1412 and died in Rouen, France, 1431.

When she was about 13 years old, Joan began to hear the voices of Saints Michael the Archangel, Margaret of Antioch, and Catherine of Alexandria, urging her to free her country from the English. Joan’s visions told her to find the true king of France and help him reclaim his throne. She resisted for more than three years, but finally went to Charles VII in Chinon and told him of her visions. After overcoming opposition from churchmen and courtiers, she was given a small army with which she raised the siege of Orleans on May 8, 1429. Carrying a banner that read “Jesus, Mary”, she led the troops into battle.

She followed the famous campaign of the Loire during which the English were decisively beaten, and Charles was crowned at Rheims, on July 17, 1429.

When she was captured by the Burgundians during the defense of Compiegne, she was sold to the English for 10 thousand francs. She was then put on trial by an ecclesiastical court conducted by Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais, a tool of the English. Although she astounded her judges by her answers, she was condemned to death as a heretic, and burned at the stake on May 30. In 1456, her case was re-tried, and Joan was acquitted (23 years too late). She was canonized by Pope Benedict XV in 1920.

St. Joan is the patroness of: France, imprisoned people, martyrs, prisoners, people ridiculed for their piety, rape victims, soldiers, Women's Army Corps, WAVES, and Women Appointed for Voluntary Emergency Service.


“About Jesus Christ and the Church, I simply know they’re just one thing, and we shouldn’t complicate the matter.”

~ Joan of Arc, as recorded at her trial

Labels: women saints, saint of the day

Memorial Day Tribute 2011

This post is dedicated to all our military heroes -- especially those in my own family -- my dad, my brother, Michael, my sister, Susan, and my brother-in-law, Heinz. Thank you for your service!

A Prayer for Memorial Day

Remember, Lord, the fallen

Who died in fields of war,

In flaming clouds,

in screaming crowds,

On streets that are no more,

That we today might waken

And greet this day in peace

With grateful prayer for those who bear

The storms that never cease.

Remember friends and strangers,

And those forgotten now,

Whose names are known to you alone,

Before whose love we bow

And ask that you surround them

With mercy’s endless light

That they may live,

and we forgive

The foe they went to fight.

Remember, Lord, the living,

Who bear the pain of loss-

A death she died who stood beside

Her Son upon the cross.

Remember all your children

The dead and those who weep,

And make us one beneath the sun

Where love will never sleep.

Text: 7686D; Genevieve Glen, OSB; © 2005, Abbey of St. Walburga, Virginia Dale, CO. Published by OCP Publications.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Four men ordained priests in the Diocese of Wichita

Fathers Marco A. De Loera, Daniel J. Duling, John P. Fogliasso, and Jeremy S. Huser were ordained priests Saturday, May 28, by Bishop Michael O. Jackels at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Wichita, Kansas.

For details and photos, see the Catholic Advance article.

William Shakespeare was probably a Catholic, says Archbishop of Canterbury

 William Shakespeare was probably a Catholic, according to the Archbishop of Canterbury, who discussed spirituality and secularism in the Bard’s plays with the actor Simon Russell Beale.

Little is known of Shakespeare’s life and there is no direct evidence of his religious affiliation, but Dr Rowan Williams said he believed him to be a Catholic. “I don’t think it tells us a great deal, to settle whether he was a Catholic or a Protestant, but for what it’s worth I think he probably had a Catholic background and a lot of Catholic friends and associates.

Read the full story.

How can you learn about heaven?

Grant that we, who are nourished by [Jesus’] Body and Blood, may be filled with His Holy Spirit, and become one body, one spirit in Christ.”

Read today's homily for the Sixth Sunday in Easter by Fr. Tom Hoisington.

Conversation for a Sunday

After brunch, I told my husband, "Now it's time for something special", as I broke off a couple of pieces of my treasured treat -- the 70% dark chocolate that I enjoy so much, handing him one.

"There's only one way to eat this", I remarked, " in tiny bites with your eyes closed."

"No", he replied quite emphatically, "You keep your eyes open so someone doesn't steal it!"

Labels: chocolate, humor, personal files

Gallup Poll: Americans Want All or Most Abortions Illegal

 This news most likely isn't the least bit surprising to to most of us, but it may be to those pro-aborts who are ensnared in the culture of death. It needs to be published for all to see and to destroy the myths that exist in our society.

Gallup released its annual abortion poll today showing Americans want all or most abortions made illegal and saying they believe abortion to be morally wrong, but the poll found Americans split on what they call their abortion position.

The Gallup polling firm conducted a national survey from May 5-8 with a random sample of 1,018 adults, aged 18 and older from across the nation. The poll has a 4 percentage point margin of error.

By a 24 percent margin, 61-37 percent, Americans take the pro-life view that abortions should either be legal under no circumstances or legal only under a few circumstances. Although Gallup doesn't specify those few circumstances, polling data has consistently shown that, when asked about cases such as rape, incest, or the life of the mother, a majority of Americans want all or almost all abortions made illegal leaving only life of the mother or rape and incest as the exceptions.

Read the full story.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Blessed Antoni Julian Nowowiejski

Today the Church honors Blessed Antoni Julian Nowowiejski, priest, professor, and bishop.

Archbishop Antoni Julian Nowowiejski was beatified by Pope John Paul II June 13, 1999, along with another 107 Poles who were martyred during World War II.

He was born in 1858. The late archbishop of Plock, Poland, was arrested by the occupying Germans in 1940. He refused the chance to escape, saying he wouldn't desert his flock. He also refused to profane Christian symbols. He died, after countless beatings, at the Nazi’s Dzialdowo death camp in 1941.

Image Source

Friday, May 27, 2011

Maternal Cat Love

This is an irresistible video for all cat lovers like myself.  I found it over at The American Catholic and had to share it with you here. I'm eager to hear your reactions to it.

Fr. Barron on Papal Infallibility

This is an exclusive preview clip from Fr. Barron's (WordOnFire.org) highly anticipated project, CATHOLICISM.

Here Fr. Barron speaks to one of the most commonly misunderstood dimensions of the Catholic Church:  Papal Infallibility.

St. Augustine of Canterbury

Today is the optional memorial of St. Augustine of Canterbury, a Benedictine Monk who became the first Archbishop of Canterbury in the year 598.

Augustine was the prior of a monastery in Rome when Pope Gregory the Great chose him to lead a party of forty monks to travel to south-eastern England to spread the Gospel there. They landed in 597, and were welcomed by the king of Kent, Ethelbert, who became a Christian along with many of his subjects.

Augustine went to Arles, in France, where he was consecrated archbishop of the English, and then returned to Canterbury to set up his see. The mission prospered, and he founded two more sees, at London and at Rochester in Kent.

Augustine died at Canterbury on May 26, 604 or 605.

St. Augustine has been called "Apostle of England" because of his missionary efforts. He is the patron of England.


"God, in his promises to hear our prayers, is desirous to bestow Himself upon us; if you find anything better than Him, ask it; but if you ask anything beneath Him, you put an affront upon Him, and hurt yourself by preferring to Him a creature which He framed: Pray in the spirit and sentiment of love, in which the royal prophet said to Him, 'Thou, O Lord, are my portion.' Let others choose to themselves portions among creatures, for my part, You are my portion, You alone I have chosen for my whole inheritance."

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pro-Life Groups Call for Pepsi Boycott over Aborted Fetal Cell Lines

Wow!  Pepsi still doesn't get it! Do they think that this "gold standard" of research makes it somehow morally acceptable to exploit the remains of aborted babies for profit? They should be ashamed of themselves for doing this! This is totally outrageous! Let's boycott Pepsi products today (if we aren't already) and spread the word to everyone we know!

(Largo, FL) Scores of prolife groups are calling for a public boycott of food giant, PepsiCo due to their partnership with Senomyx, a biotech company using aborted fetal cells in the research and development of artificial flavor enhancers.

Pepsi is funding the research and development – and paying royalties to Senomyx which uses HEK-293 (human embryonic kidney cells) to produce flavor enhancers for Pepsi beverages.

Senomyx boasts they have over 800,000 unique flavors for foods. The human tongue recognizes only 5 (salty, savory, sweet, sour and bitter). But cells expressing certain proteins produce a chemical signal when flavors are introduced, which determines if it’s the proper flavor. The aborted fetal cells are not in the product itself.

“There are many options PepsiCo could be using instead of aborted fetal cells” noted Debi Vinnedge, President of Children of God for Life, the group spearheading the boycott.

The revelation—a potential public relations nightmare—motivated Campbell Soup to sever all relations with Senomyx.

However, PepsiCo continues their business relationship despite the abortion connection. They drew pubic ire earlier this year when they responded that “our collaboration with Senomyx is strictly limited to creating lower-calorie, great-tasting beverages for consumers.”

When pressed further, PepsiCo attempted to pacify angry consumers with a form letter response insinuating they had been accused of conducting aborted fetal tissue research. Their duplicity again drew public outrage.

Bradley Mattes, executive director of Life Issues Institute, said, “While aborted fetal cells aren’t actually in the product itself, the close relationship is enough to repulse most consumers. To our knowledge, this is the first time a food product has been publicly associated with abortion.”

The pro-life groups noted that additional companies collaborating with Senomyx will be targeted for boycott next.

Pro-life organizations are asking the public to boycott all Pepsi drink products and encourage consumers to contact Pepsi management requesting that they sever all ties with Senomyx. Consumers are also encouraged to contact Campbell Soup and thank them for responding to pro-life concerns.

Pro-life groups joining Children of God for Life in the boycott to date are: Life Issues Institute, American Life League, Colorado Right to Life, American Right to Life, Sound Choice Pharmaceutical Institute, ALL Arizona, Central Nebraskans for Life, Pro-Life Waco, Houston Coalition for Life, Mother and Unborn Baby Fox Valley, Womankind, Billboards for Life, Movement for a Better America, Defenders of the Unborn, Focus Pregnancy Help Center, Idaho Chooses Life, EMC Frontline Pregnancy Centers of NY, Four Seasons for Life, CREDO, Life Choices, STOPP Dallas, CA Right To Life, Human Life Alliance, International Right to Life Federation, Operation Rescue, Pro-Life Nation, LifeNews.com, and Mary’s Outreach for Women.

For a list of Pepsi Beverages included in the boycott: http://pepsico.com/Brands/Pepsi_Cola-Brands.html

To Contact PepsiCo:

Jamie Caulfield, Sr. VP
PepsiCo, Inc.
700 Anderson Hill Road
Purchase, NY 10577
(914) 253-2000
Email form.

Previous post at Catholic Fire:

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

Tear-jerker: Husband gives own life to save wife from Joplin tornado

Tornadoes have been tearing through the heart of America causing tremendous tragedy and devastation. One of the many heartbreaking stories comes from the recent twister that devastated Joplin earlier this week. Don Lansaw gave his life to protect and save his young wife, Bethany Lansaw, when the tornado tore through their house. What an amazing story of selfless love and devotion!

Here is the story from Mail Online:

He is the husband that made the ultimate sacrifice to save his wife’s life.
As the roaring winds of the 200mph tornado ripped through Joplin, Missouri, Don Lansaw did everything he could to protect his wife.

Bethany Lansaw, 25, revealed today that as the devastating tornado tore their home apart, her husband, 31, threw his body over her in the bath tub to cover her.

‘He got on top of me to take the brunt of most of it and he’s my hero,’ Mrs Lansaw said in a tearful interview.

'I mean the house was ripping apart, it all happened so fast. All the pillows were flying off of us, the only thing I managed to do was keep one in front of my face.'

As the winds died down, Mrs Lansaw looked up to see that her husband was turning blue.

Hoping she could still save him, she flagged down a pick-up truck to get help finding an ambulance, but it was too late.

After six years of marriage, her childhood sweetheart had died.

Read more.

All 4 KS US reps nix tax-funded Obamacare abortion training

KS US Reps Huelskamp, Jenkins, Pompeo, Yoder (photo Alton/CJOnline)

I am so proud of our Kansas representatives for standing up for human life and for protecting the conscience rights of health care providers! Thank you for your morals and courage in standing up for what is right and just!

U.S. Congressional reps Tim Huelskamp (1), Lynn Jenkins (2), Kevin Yoder (3), and Mike Pompeo (4) have been voting 100% pro-life for Kansans. All 4 voted Wednesday for a successful cut-off of abortion-training and protection of medical rights of conscience.

All 4 voted Wednesday for a successful cut-off of abortion-training and protection of medical rights of conscience.

The U.S. House of Representatives today adopted, 234-182, a pro-life amendment offered by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R- NC) and backed by the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC).(details here)

The amendment sets up conscience protections for “teaching health centers” (THCs) that receive certain federal funds for graduate medical education; it will prohibit any medical center that receives funds from the program from discriminating against any doctor, nurse, or other health care provider — for example, a medical resident — on grounds that the provider refused to “provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions;” and will prohibit the use of any federal funds in the program to provide abortions or training in abortion, with narrow exceptions.

Read the full story.

Fr. Barron reflects on the dome of St. Peters

Pope Benedict's Telegram Message to the Tornado Victims In Joplin, Missouri

Pope Benedict XVI is assuring his prayers for the victims of the deadly tornado that ravaged Joplin, Missouri, on Sunday, leaving some 122 dead and 750 wounded, making it the deadliest twister in the United States since 1950. I am uniting my prayers with his. Here is his telegram message to the tornado victims via VIS:

"[T]he Holy Father has followed with deep concern the aftermath of the catastrophic tornado which struck Joplin on Sunday and he asks you to convey to the entire community the assurance of his closeness in prayer. Conscious of the tragic loss of life and the immensity of the work of rebuilding that lies ahead, he asks God, the Father of Mercies, to grant eternal rest to the departed, consolation to the grieving, and strength and hope to the homeless and the injured. Upon the local civil and religious leaders, and upon all involved in the relief efforts, his holiness invokes the divine gifts of wisdom, fortitude, and perseverance in every good".

Do you struggle with prayer?

During his general audience yesterday, Benedict XVI, said that "prayer is a struggle, that leads to an encounter with God." The pope chose a portion of the Old Testament that reflects the struggle Jacob faced when trying to speak with God through prayer.

Benedict XVI
"Prayer requires closeness. It's a struggle. Getting the blessing requires strength of mind and tenacity, which we can reached only when we acknowledge our weakness and we abandon ourselves to His mercy."

The pope chose a portion of the Old Testament that reflects the struggle Jacob faced when trying to speak with God through prayer.

Benedict XVI
"The whole story presents his struggle, which has no clear winner, leaving the opponent in mystery. Finally it's revealed that God overcomes Jacob, by making him aware of his reality and his innermost being. But in the process of this defeat, he gets the blessing of God. "

The pope explained how in this struggle, one must address God with perseverance and tenacity.

Benedict XVI
"In our prayers, let us ask the Lord to help us as we fight the good fight of faith, and to bless us as we long to see his face."

Benedict XVI said the search for a good relationship with God is a lifelong task that requires true effort. He also added, that in this struggle, mankind has the support of God.

~ Via Rome Reports.

Inspirational Story: Catholic man finishes run across America with deepened faith

Jeff Grabosky has completed his 3,700-mile run across America, an endeavor he says gave him a new perspective on America and on his Catholic faith. Read the full story.

Teen Sisters Expose Girl Scouts’ Support of Abortion and Planned Parenthood

Sydney and Tess Volanski are two amazing young girls who are standing up for the truth–even though it may be unpopular. These teen girls just launched the website “Speak Now: Girl Scouts” to document Girl Scouts USA’s not-so-secret support of Planned Parenthood and abortion. Sydney and Tess were Girl Scouts for 8 years before they discovered this shocking information—but as soon as they did, they refused to continue to support the organization, left their troop, and are telling the nation the truth about Girl Scouts. Watch Live Action President  Lila Rose's interview here:

Learn more at Live Action.

St. Philip Neri

Today is the memorial of St. Philip Neri, a cheerful saint with a wonderful sense of humor, who was known as Rome's apostle in the sixteenth century.

St. Philip Neri was born in Florence, Italy on July 22, 1515. He was one of four children of the notary Francesco Neri. His mother died when he was very young, but a very capable and competent stepmother filled her place. Although they were related to Italian nobility, the family was quite poor. Philip was a cheerful and friendly boy, and was popular with all who knew him.

At eighteen, Philip was sent to the town of San Germano, where he lived with a childless relative who had a business there to train as an apprentice and heir. Philip had a strong aptitude for business. Soon after his arrival, Philip began speaking of his conversion, which dramatically changed his life. He left his relative’s home and set out for Rome, as he had a vision that he had a mission to fulfill there. He left without money or a specific plan, trusting in God’s providence.

In Rome, he found shelter in the home of Galeotto Caccia who offered him an attic and a few basic necessities in exchange for tutoring his two sons. During his first two years there, he lived as a recluse, spending time in prayer and eating small meals. Then, for the next three years, he studied philosophy and theology at the Sapienza and St. Augustine’s Monastery, where he was a brilliant student. Quite suddenly, he stopped taking classes, sold all his books and gave his money to the poor. Philip now set about on a new venture – to evangelize the people of Rome.

He started out in a very direct manner, making friends with people on street corners and in the public squares. His warm, friendly manner, his cheerfulness, and his wonderful sense of humor would catch the attention of passersby, and once caught, they found it difficult to escape. He had a magnetic personality and an appeal that drew others to him and held their interest. His usual question, “Well brothers, when shall we begin to do some good?” frequently brought a positive response. Without hesitation, he would take them with him to visit and care for the poor in the hospitals or to pray in the Seven Churches. His days were given up totally for others, but his nights were filled with solitude as he spent them either in a church porch or in the catacombs along the Appian Way.

During the Easter season of 1544, while praying in one of the grottos along the Appian Way, he received a vision of a globe of fire, which first entered his mouth and then his chest. He felt a dilation of the chest. He was filled with such strong divine love, that he fell to the ground, crying out in joy, “Enough, enough, Lord, I can bear no more!” When he stood up, he discovered a swelling over his heart, which gave him no pain.In the year 1548, when Philip had been carrying on his mission for ten years, he founded the Confraternity of the Most Holy Trinity – a group of laymen who met regularly for spiritual growth. He also popularized the devotion of the forty hours – exposing the Blessed Sacrament for forty hours, on three successive days, in honor of the forty hours Christ spent in the tomb. Philip had accomplished much by the time he was thirty-four, but his spiritual director felt he could be even more effective as a priest.

On May 23, 1551, he was ordained. He carried on his mission mainly through the confessional. He started hearing confessions before dawn and continued for hours, while men of women of all ages and social rank flocked to him. In his later years, Philip became weak and suffered from many illnesses, each of which was cured through prayer.

On the feast of Corpus Christi, May 25, 1595, Philip was in a radiantly happy mood. All day he had heard confessions and met with visitors. About midnight, he had a severe hemorrhage and the other priests were called to his bedside. They prayed over him and then he raised his hand in Benediction to bless them one last time. As he raised his hand, he passed to his eternal reward.

Six years later, he was beatified and Pope Gregory XV canonized him in 1622. He was known not only as “The Humorous Saint”, but also as the “Apostle of Rome.”

Quotes From St. Philip Neri

“Bear the cross and do not make the cross bear you.”

“There is no purgatory in this world. Nothing but heaven or hell.”

“Sufferings are a kind of paradise to him who suffers them with patience, while they are a hell to him who has no patience.”

“The greatness of our love for God may be tested by the desire we have of suffering for His sake.”

"Cheerfulness strengthens the heart and makes us persevere in a good life. Therefore the servant of God ought always to be in good spirits."

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

Patron: Rome; United States Army Special Forces.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Saint Bede the Venerable

Today's saint of the day is St. Bede the Venerable (672 - 735) Benedictine monk and doctor of the church.

Bede entered the local Benedictine monastery when he was seven years old, and was educated and lived there until his death at the age of 63. He was ordained a deacon at 19 and a priest at 30. He was an avid man of letters who spent all his life serving the Lord through learning, teaching and writing. The majority of his work was commentary on Holy Scripture, which he endeavored to accomplish in full conformity with the teachings of the Fathers of the Church. He subordinated all his studies to the service of the interpretation of Scripture, which was for him the apex of all learning. He also completed works on mathematics, poetry, astronomy, philosophy, and music – he was a composer of several important early works of Gregorian plain chant.

Bede’s most enduring accomplishment, however, is in the field of history. He is known as the “Father of English history,” due to his great work, The Ecclesiastical History of the English People. Virtually nothing is known about pre-8th century England from sources other than his book, the driving theme of which is the manner in which violence and savagery have been constantly overrun by the spiritual, doctrinal, and cultural unity of the Church. At the time of Bede’s writing, all of England had been finally united under Christianity.

Bede was much loved and admired by his fellow monks in the monastery in which he lived all his life and rarely ever left, and it is said that the title ‘venerable’ was accorded him while he was still alive. On his death, Cuthbert, one of his disciples said of him, “I can with truth declare that I never saw with my eyes or heard with my ears anyone return thanks so unceasingly to the living God.”

Patron: Lectors; historians

Prayer to St. Bede

Careful Historian and Doctor of the Church, lover of God and of truth, you are a natural model for all readers of God's inspired Word. Move lectors to prepare for public reading by prayerfully pondering the sacred texts and invoking the Holy Spirit. Help them to read in such a way that those who hear may attain learning and edification. Amen.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Powerful Video: The Race

 Inspiring and awesome!

Via Creative Minority Report.

Pope communicates with astronauts in space

Pope Benedict XVI made history by being the first pope to make a phone call to space. 

I enjoy seeing the Holy Father laugh in this video!

Kansas Likely To Enact Health Care 'Freedom' Law

People do not want government-controlled death care, but desire health care freedom. Kudos to Governor Brownback for supporting this and standing up for the liberty of Kansas citizens!

Kansas is close to joining other states in enacting a law designed to block a key part of last year's federal overhaul of the health care system.

A proposed "Health Care Freedom" law was on Gov. Sam Brownback's desk Tuesday, part of a larger package of changes in various regulations for health care providers. He's expected to act on it by Friday.

Brownback is a strong supporter of language in the bill saying no Kansas resident can be forced to buy health insurance.

That goes against a federal mandate that most Americans buy insurance, starting in 2014.

Brownback spokeswoman Sherriene Jones-Sontag said the governor must review other provisions in the bill before deciding whether to sign it.

Source:  KAKE News

Baby Humor

Mary Help of Christians

Today the Church in Australia celebrates the Solemnity of Mary Help of Christians. Mary Help of Christians was adopted as patron of the new Church of Australia in 1844, at a significant time in their history. British settlement was just over fifty years old, the transportation of convicts was coming to an end, and the first elections in Australian history had been held in 1843. Issues of land, immigration and education had begun to surface and the Church was involved in these social problems. The Holy See confirmed the patronage in 1852.

Prayer to Mary, Help of Christians

Most Holy Virgin Mary, Help of Christians,
how sweet it is to come to your feet
imploring your perpetual help.
If earthly mothers cease not to remember their children,
how can you, the most loving of all mothers forget me?
Grant then to me, I implore you,
your perpetual help in all my necessities,
in every sorrow, and especially in all my temptations.
I ask for your unceasing help for all who are now suffering.
Help the weak, cure the sick, convert sinners.
Grant through your intercessions many vocations to the religious life.
Obtain for us, O Mary, Help of Christians,
that having invoked you on earth we may love and eternally thank you in heaven.

~Saint John Bosco, Franciscan Tertiary and modern Apostle of young people (1815-1888)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Saint Jane Antide Thouret

Today is the feast of St. Jane Antide Thouret, founder of the Institute of the Daughters of St. Vincent de Paul.

Jane was born in Sancy, France, in 1765 to a poor family. Her mother died when she was just 16 years old. leaving her to manage the family and help her father raise her younger siblings. At the age of 22, she joined the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, working among the sick in various hospitals.

During the suppression of the religious during the French Revolution, she was ordered to return home to a secular life. Jane refused, and when she tried to escape the authorities, she was so badly beaten that it took months to recover.

St. Jane Antide Thouret finally returned to Sancy, where she cared for the sick and opened a small school for girls. There she teamed up with other exiled religious and clergy to minister to the sick until she was forced to flee to Switzerland. However, due to anti-Catholic prejudice, the group was forced to move on to Germany. There she founded a school and hospital in 1799 and a congregation called the Institute of the Daughters of St. Vincent de Paul. The community eventually expanded into France and Italy.

She died in 1828 at Naples, Italy of natural causes.

In 1934, she was canonized by Pope Pius XI.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Reflections for the Fifth Sunday in Easter

"I am the way, and the truth, and the life."
~ John 14:6

A beautiful reflection from Fr. James Kubicki, S.J.:

Saturday, May 21, 2011

St. Eugene De Mazenod

Today we commemorate St. Eugene De Mazenod (1782-1861).

Eugene De Mazenod, refused to follow the established modes expected of someone born into nobility. From an early age, Eugene was troubled by the living conditions of the poor and their degraded status in society. When he became a priest, Eugene was not satisfied to accept the traditional role of a pastor serving a large, affluent parish. Instead, he sought out the poor laborers and preached the message of God’s love -- a message they had not heard before.

Born in France in 1782, Eugene lived amid turmoil in his country and in his family. Although he grew up with the privileges and luxuries of wealth, his family life was far from ideal. His parents came from very different backgrounds and they eventually divorced, a rarity for Catholics in the 18th century.

As the French Revolution grew, Eugene’s family was forced into exile, and at different times, he was separated from his mother or father for years at a time.

After years of struggling to find his place in life, Eugene experienced a conversion at the age of 25 and entered the seminary. He was ordained a priest in 1811. In 1816, Eugene invited others to join in his ministry to the poor and founded the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Since that time, thousands of Oblate priests and brothers have dedicated their lives to serving those most in need.

Efforts to have our founder canonized began in 1926 and were rewarded with his beatification in 1975. On December 3, 1995, Pope John Paul II canonized Eugene De Mazenod a saint and recognized his example of untiring dedication to the poor. St. Eugene De Mazenod’s feast day is celebrated on May 21, the anniversary of his death.

~ Excerpted from Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate Website

Patron: Dysfunctional families.

St. Christopher Magallanes and Companions

Today we honor St. Christopher Magallanes, priest and martyr, and his companions, martyrs.

Like Blessed Miguel Agustin Pro, S.J. (November 23), Christopher and his twenty-four companion martyrs lived under a very anti-Catholic government in Mexico, one determined to weaken the Catholic faith of its people. Churches, schools and seminaries were closed; foreign clergy were expelled. Christopher established a clandestine seminary at Totatiche, Jalisco. Magallanes and the other priests were forced to minister secretly to Catholics during the presidency of Plutarco Calles (1924-1928).

All of these martyrs except three were diocesan priests. David, Manuel and Salvador were laymen who died with their parish priest, Luis Batis. All of these martyrs belonged to the Cristero movement, pledging their allegiance to Christ and to the church that he established to spread the Good News in society—even if Mexico's leaders had made it a crime to receive baptism or celebrate the Mass.

These martyrs did not die as a single group but in eight Mexican states, with Jalisco and Zacatecas having the largest number. They were beatified in 1992 and canonized eight years later.

Friday, May 20, 2011

St. Bernardine of Siena

Today is the optional memorial of St. Bernardine of Siena. A Franciscan friar and preacher, St. Bernardine is known as “the Apostle of Italy” for his efforts to revive the country's Catholic faith during the 15th century.

St. Bernardine was born in 1380 in Tuscany. His parents died when he was seven years old and he was taken in by relatives who raised him as if he were their own.

As a youth, he possessed a strong love for the Blessed Virgin Mary and spoke to her as a child speaks to his mother. She kept him chaste and pure. He had a special devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and later wrote that the Immaculate Heart of Mary was "a fiery furnace of Holy Love."

While still a student at the University of Siena, he took charge of the hospital there when an epidemic killed most of the staff. Later he looked after a bedridden aunt until her death.

At the age of 22, he became a Franciscan. He was an energetic and popular preacher who spent years travelling on foot throughout Italy preaching to huge audiences. As a priest, he promoted peace among the warring Italian cities, and worked hard for the reform of the Franciscan order and for church unity. He encouraged devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus and is known for his use of the monogram IHS. Bernadine died on May 20, 1444, at the age of sixty-four in Aquila, Italy.

Bernadine was declared a saint in 1450, by Pope Nicholas V.

Patron: advertisers; advertising; against hoarseness; communications; compulsive or uncontrolled gambling; gambling addicts; lungs; public relations; chest, respiratory, or lung problems; Aquila, Italy; diocese of San Bernardino, California; Italy

Quote: "Jesus, Name full of glory, grace, love and strength! You are the refuge of those who repent, our banner of warfare in this life, the medicine of souls, the comfort of those who morn, the delight of those who believe, the light of those who preach the true faith, the wages of those who toil, the healing of the sick. To You our devotion aspires; by You our prayers are received; we delight in contemplating You. O Name of Jesus, You are the glory of all the saints for eternity. Amen."

~ St. Bernardine of Siena

Prayer: Saint Bernardine of Siena, words were very important to you. You spent most of your life speaking the golden words of Jesus' mercy and his Holy Name. And you abhorred words that were shameful. Pray for us that we may always choose to speak Jesus' name with reverence and choose words of love over words of shame. Amen.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

St. Augustine on Trust

Trust the past to the Mercy of God, the present to His Love, and the future to His Providence.

~ Saint Augustine of Hippo

New Independent Study: What caused sexual abuse of minors in the Church?

May 19, 2011. (Romereports.com) The questions that constantly come up in the sex abuse scandal are “why?” and “how?” A new independent study by a prestigious criminology institution tried to answer those very questions. The findings show that no single factor provoked the abuse of minors by priests. It wasn't caused by mandatory celibacy or homosexuality.

To understand why the abuse happened and how it can be prevented, the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops hired the John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York. The study focused on cases that happened between 1950 and 2010.

The five year study shows the abuse peaked in the 1960's and 1970's when the country was going through its sexual revolution. It was this factor which mostly influenced offending priests. The study says, they had “vulnerabilities, intimacy deficits and an absence of close personal relationships before and during the seminary.” It also shows many of the abusers grew up in families where sexuality was never discussed.

Researchers say, offenders mostly chose to victimize boys because they had more access to them, not necessarily because they were homosexual.

Critics argue the study doesn't shed enough light on why repeat offenders weren't expelled immediately by the Church. They also say more support was given to offending priests than victims.

The study looked into thousands of reports and interviews, which are now summarized in the 142 page report. It shows that only five percent of clergy were credibly accused of abuse. Ninety percent of the cases happened before the year 1990.

The U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops hopes the study can help other dioceses from around the world, to understand and prevent these type of cases from happening again.

St. Celestine V, Pope

The saint of the day for May 19 is Saint Celestine V, Pope, a pious hermit and the founder of the Celestine Order. He is also known as Peter Celestine, Peter Morrone, and Pietro del Morrone.

Born in Isernia, Italy, in 1215, Peter was the eleventh of twelve children of humble, pious parents. His father died when he was very young. When his mother would ask, "Which one of you is going to become a saint?" little Peter would answer "Me, Mama! I'll become a saint!".

He became a Benedictine at the age of 17 and at the age of 20, he became a hermit and spent his days praying and reading the Holy Bible. He left his hermitage to study for the priesthood and was ordained in Rome. He then became a Benedictine monk and founded the Celestine order in 1274.

After the death of Nicholas IV, a conclave which lasted more than two years elected him pope on July 5, 1294. He became known as Celestine V. On December 13, 1294, feeling overwhelmed by the position and his limited abilities in handling them, only five months after receiving the tiara, he resigned and resumed the cherished, simple life of a monk. How humbling this must have been for him! He died on May 19, 1296 and was buried in the church of Saint Agatha, Ferentino, Italy.

St. Celestine V is the patron saint of Aquila, Italy, and of bookbinders.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Today's Spiritual Uplift Links

Read a beautiful and touching story on the crucifix here.

A friendly wager sets some sparks flying in this inspirational courtship story.

Learn the Maxims on True Devotion to Mary from St. Louis de Montfort.

Seeking Peace? Find the answers.

Spiritual Direction for today: how to conquer anxiety and fear.

Fr. Barron comments on A Great Time to Be a Priest

Congratulations to Fr. Barron on the 25th anniversary of his priesthood!

Happy Birthday, John Paul 2!

This Day in Catholic History: Karol Wojtyla’s Birthday (Blessed Pope John Paul II)

This year the pope would have turned 91. He was 58 years old when he was elected pope. His pontificate, which lasted 26 years, was the third longest in history.

The Official Prayer for John Paul II's Intercession


(Note: For canonization, one more miracle must be verified
as having been achieved through the intercession of Blessed John Paul II)

O Blessed Trinity, we thank You for having
graced the Church with Blessed John Paul
II and for allowing the tenderness of Your
Fatherly care, the glory of the Cross of
Christ, and the splendor of the Spirit of love,
to shine through him. Trusting fully in
Your infinite mercy and in the maternal intercession
of Mary, he has given us a living
image of Jesus the Good Shepherd, and has
shown us that holiness is the necessary
measure of ordinary Christian life and is
the way of achieving eternal communion
with You. Grant us, by his intercession, and
according to Your will, the graces we implore,
hoping that he will soon be numbered
among Your saints. Amen.

St. John I, Pope

Today is the optional memorial of St. John I, Pope.

By birth, Pope John was a Tuscan, the son of Constantius. He was an archdeacon for several years before being elected Pope on the death of Pope St. Hormisdas in 523. He was a friend and confidant of the philosopher Boethius.

In 525 Pope John was sent to Constantinople by King Theodoric of the Ostrogoths to reverse the edict of the Emperor Justin against the Arians two years earlier, which required Arians to give back churches which they had taken from orthodox Catholics. Throdoric was himself an Arian and a strong defender of Arianism (a heresy which arose in the 4th century and denied the divinity of Christ).

Even though Theodoric wanted a reversal of Justin’s policy, Pope John did not comply with his wishes, refusing to support heresy, and only counseled the Emperor Justin to be more gentle in his overzealous dealings with the Arians.

The success that Pope John achieved was contrary to the wishes of Theodoric; rather, he was received as the Successor of Peter and all the bishops of the East, with the exception of one, affirmed their communion with him and his precedence as Bishop of Rome, notable by the fact that it was he who presided over the Easter liturgy in Constantinople on April 19, 526. Even the Emperor Justin prostrated himself at the Pope’s feet.

However, on his return to Rome, Theodoric, who had just murdered John’s good friend Boethius, and was furious with the outcome of the mission, had the Pope imprisoned in Ravenna where he died of starvation and ill treatment.

His body was taken to Rome where he now lies buried in the basilica of St. Peter.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

New book encourages families as the foundation of civilization

A heartfelt, encouraging new book provides Catholic families with a model of the civilization of love.

Author Chantal Howard wrote The School of the Family to witness to other families. The sincere, personable book tells the story of a family reaching up from the cultural mire of the 1960s and ‘70s, and finding its way into the heart of the Catholic Church.

Howard writes that The School of the Family is not a school of guilt, but a school of constant conversion, with the power to transform the world through its witness of love. It is the front line in the renaissance of character formation.

Homeschooled daughter, and now homeschooling mother, Chantal Howard emphasizes the school of the family as a path of salvation. Using her family as an example, Howard enlightens and encourages other families as they strive to follow an elevated, loving rule of life.

The School of the Family is available from Leonine Publishers. This inspiring book is priced at $14.95 and currently includes free domestic shipping. Softcover, 220 pages, ISBN 978-0-9843001-8-1. Orders may be placed at www.leoninepublishers.com or by calling 602-795-3539. To learn more or to contact the author visit www.schoolofthefamily.com.

John Paul II would have turned 91

Karol Wojtyla was born on May 18, 1920 in Wadowice, a small town near Krakow in southern Poland. This year the pope would have turned 91. He was 58 years old when he was elected pope. His pontificate, which lasted 26 years was one of the longest in the history of the Church. John Paul II will always be remembered for his fight against Communism and for advocating in favor of human rights and dignity.

John Paul II and the statue that cried blood

Pope John Paul II venerated this image of the Virgin of Civitavecchia. It's a statue of plaster from Medjugorje that supposedly cried tears of blood in 14 different cases.

This is according to the book titled "La Madonnina de Civitavecchia. The true story of a painful drama of love." It was written by Monsignor Girolamo Grillo.

The Vatican, in particular the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has not yet made any official statement on the weeping statue.

Kansas cuts Planned Parenthood funding

I'm proud to be a Kansan and a member of Kansans for Life! Thanks be to God for another pro-life victory. We are winning, one state at a time.

from CNA Daily News:

The Kansas legislature has passed a multi-faceted pro-life bill that cuts Title X funds from Planned Parenthood and excludes automatic abortion coverage from private health care plans and the health insurance exchanges required by federal law to begin in 2014.

Kathy Ostrowski, legislative director of Kansans for Life, said this bill and others show that Kansas is “heading in the right direction.”

HB 2075 requires that over $300,000 in Title X federal money will go to local full-service health clinics instead of Planned Parenthood. It will also put $300,000 into a grant-matched fund for pregnancy maintenance and adoption counseling.

The provision is the second Planned Parenthood funding cut to pass a state legislature this year. In Indiana, Gov. Mitch Daniels signed into law a bill that cuts state funding for the organization, the largest abortion provider in the country.

Under the Kansas law, private health insurance plans will only cover abortions done to save the life of the mother. Kansas insurers may still offer abortion coverage, but through individually purchased riders that cost about $2, the Associated Press says.

Seven other states limit abortion in private health insurance plans.

Read the full story. 

Pictured above is my friend, Mary Kay Culp, of Kansans for Life.

Saint John Summer Conference

Join the Community of St. John for a weekend retreat designed for young adults who desire to grow closer to Christ.

For more information:

Blessed Antonia Messina

Today we commemorate Blessed Antonia Messina (1919 - 1935).

Antonia was born in Sardinia, Italy, the second of ten children. She was forced to leave elementary school, only after taking four years of classes, in order to take over the household duties from her mother, Grazia. She often called Antonia "the flower of my life."

Her mother developed a heart condition that precluded her from continuing to perform her domestic chores. Grazia claimed that Antonia "never once went against me". Antonia was obedient and hard working. She willingly and diligently performed her duties and took on responsibilities as if she were already an adult. For instance, she cooked, baked, cleaned, washed clothes, cared for the children, carried water into the house, and gathered wood for baking.

When she was ten years old, she joined a youth group called "Catholic Action". She thought it was a beautiful experience and said that it "helps one to be good". She was well-liked by her peers and encouraged others to join Catholic Action (even on the day of her death) because they received spiritual benefits from good works and received good catechesis. It is no wonder, she renounced her personal pleasures and sacrificed her wants for that of her family members needs and others.

While coming home from gathering wood in a forest with a friend, Antonia was attacked by a teenage boy from behind. The attacker grabbed her by her shoulders and tried to force her to the ground while her friend screamed and ran for help. Antonia managed to escape twice but was knocked down the third time and severely beaten on the head and face with a rock. Though mortally wounded, Antonia resisted the would-be rapist. At autopsy, the doctors determined that Antonia's body had not been sinfully violated. The beautiful and virtuous, Antonia, died a martyr of holy purity at age 16 similar to St. Maria Goretti who died at age twelve. Pope John Paul II beatified Antonia Mesina on Sunday, October 4, 1987. Pope John Paul II also beatified two other twentieth century laymen and martyrs, Blessed Marcel Callo and Blessed Pierina, during that same ceremony.

Blessed Antonia is a patron of rape victims.

Monday, May 16, 2011

St. Simon Stock

Today’s saint of the day, St. Simon Stock, was born in Aylesford in County Kent, England in 1165. Although we know little about Simon Stock's early life, legend has it that the name Stock, meaning "tree trunk," is based on the fact that, beginning at age twelve, he lived as a hermit in a hollow tree trunk of an oak tree. He drank only water and ate herbs, roots, and wild apples. In 1212, he joined the Carmelites soon after they arrived in England. He finished his studies at Oxford and in 1215, he was appointed Vicar General.

Simon Stock helped the Order spread throughout Europe; he founded many Carmelite Communities, especially in university towns such as Cambridge, Oxford, Paris, and Bologna. He revised the Rule of the Order to make them mendicant friars instead of hermits. He was elected as the sixth superior general of the Carmelites in 1247 around age 82. Simon governed the order with great sanctity and prudence for twenty years. He had a deep devotion to the Blessed Mother and was known for his gifts of miracles and prophecy. He wrote several hymns and decrees for his order. Simon Stock died on May 16, 1265, at the age one hundred and was buried in the cathedral of Bordeaux. He is the patron of Bordeaux, France.

Simon Stock's is best known for an apparition he had in Cambridge, England, on July 16, 1251, during a time of oppression of the Order. In it the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to him holding the brown scapular in one hand. Her words were: "Receive, my beloved son, this scapular of your Order; it is the special sign of my favor, which I have obtained for you and for your children of Mount Carmel. He who dies clothed with this habit shall be preserved from eternal fire. It is the badge of salvation, a shield in time of danger, and a pledge of special peace and protection."

Carmel's Flower,
Vine ever blossoming,
Heaven's splendor!
Virgin who bore a child.
No one is like thee.
Mother gentle and kind.
Yet never touched by man!
To Carmelites give thou the privilege.
Help us Star of the Sea.

~ Simon Stock


Father, You called St Simon Stock to serve You
in the brotherhood of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
Through his prayers help us like him to live in your presence
and to work for the salvation of the human family.

For more information about St. Simon Stock:

Read this article about St. Simon and the Scapular.

Read the life of St. Simon Stock from Butler's Lives of the Saints.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Today is World Day of Prayer for Vocations

Pope Paul VI instituted the World Day of Prayer for Vocations (the 4th Sunday of Easter) on April 11, 1964 by saying; “O Jesus, divine Shepherd of the spirit, you have called the Apostles in order to make them fishermen of men, you still attract to you burning spirits and generous young people, in order to render them your followers and ministers to us” (Pope Paul VI launching the 1st Word Day of Prayer for Vocations)

In the 43 years since, successive pontiffs have called on the Church to focus and pray for vocations.

Vocation Prayer

Oh Jesus, our Good Shepherd, bless all our parishes with numerous priests, deacons, men and women in religious life, consecrated laity and missionaries, according to the needs of the entire world, which You love and wish to save. We especially entrust our community to You; grant us the spirit of the first Christians, so that we may be a cenacle of prayer, in loving acceptance of the Holy Spirit and His gifts. Assist our pastors and all who live a consecrated life. Guide the steps of those who have responded generously to Your call and are preparing to receive holy orders or to profess the evangelical counsels.

Look with love on so many well disposed young people and call them to follow You. Help them to understand that in You alone can they attain to complete fulfillment. To this end we call on the powerful intercession of Mary, Mother and Model of all vocations. We beseech you to sustain our faith with the certainty that the Father will grant what You have commanded us to ask. Amen.

~ Blessed Pope John Paul II

Fourth Sunday of Easter: Good Shepherd Sunday

"I tell you most solemnly, I am the gate of the sheepfold. All others who have come are thieves and brigands; but the sheep took no notice of them. I am the gate. Anyone who enters through me will be safe: he will go freely in and out and be sure of finding pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full."

Read the reflection for Good Shepherd Sunday written by Fr. Tom Hoisington.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

St. Matthias

Today is the feast of St. Matthias, apostle and martyr.

St. Matthias was the one chosen to replace Judas to make up the number of apostles to twelve once more. Matthias was one of the first followers of Jesus -- one of his seventy-two disciples; but not one of the original apostles. And yet, he was to have this great glory, for it was of him that David spoke, when he prophesied that another would fill the vacancy left by Judas the traitor. Two Apostles were nominated for the position and lots were drawn to see which of them should be made one of the Twelve: the choice fell on Matthias.

St. Matthias received the Holy Spirit with the rest of the Apostles soon after his election and he joined them in converting nations to the faith. Greek tradition tells us that tells us that St. Matthias planted the faith about Cappadocia and on the coasts of the Caspian sea. We are also told that he was beheaded. His relics were taken to Jerusalem by the empress Helena when she went to the Holy Land to find the true cross of Christ. Today, some of his relics are in the abatical church of Triers, others are in Saint Mary Major in Rome.

against alcoholism, against smallpox; carpenters, Gary, Indiana, diocese of Great Falls-Billings, Montana, tailors

Friday, May 13, 2011

Feast of Our Lady of Fatima

Today is the 94th anniversary of the first appearance of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the three shepherd children Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco in Portugal in 1917. The visions occurred on the 13th day of each month from May to October, and by October huge crowds were gathering at the site of the visions and reporting visions and miraculous occurrences themselves.

Today is also the 30th anniversary of the near fatal attempt on the life of Pope John Paul II. Pope John Paul II was devoted to Our Lady of Fátima and attributed his survival of an assassin’s bullet on 13 May 1981 to her intervention.

The Vatican has laid a marble plaque on the cobblestone floor of St. Peter's Square at the exact spot where John Paul was shot as he traveled in his open-top 'pope-mobile' on May 13, 1981, by Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Agca.

What is the Message of Fatima?

The public message of Fatima recalls that of Lourdes. Through the children Mary urges prayer for sinners, recitation of the Rosary, and works of penance. On October 13 she said: "I have come to exhort the faithful to change their lives, to avoid grieving Our Lord by sin; to pray the Rosary. I desire in this place a chapel in my honor. If people mend their ways, the war will soon be over."

Fatima is undoubtedly the most prophetic of modern apparitions. At Fatima, Mary revealed three "secrets" to the children. The first and second parts of the “secret” refer to the frightening vision of hell, devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Second World War, and finally the prediction of the immense damage that Russia would do to humanity by abandoning the Christian faith and embracing Communist totalitarianism. The third part of the "secret" is a symbolic revelation, which can be read at the Vatican website.

In 1984, Pope John Paul II, requested that the statue in the Cova da Iria be brought to Rome. He asked all the bishops in the world to join him in entrusting the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The message of Fatima is a simple one. If we are to convert sinners and realize peace in our world, we must pray the rosary daily and do penance.

For more detailed information on Fatima, see the following sites:

The Fatima Network

The Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima

Living Miracles Fatima: A Grace for Mankind

Catholic Culture's special section on Our Lady of Fatima

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Brief Blogging Break

Due to my graduate studies in theology, I will be taking a brief blogging break.

Don't go away now ... I shall return soon.

Monday, May 09, 2011

St. Pachomius

Today is the feast of St. Pachomius (d. 346).

St. Pachomius can justifiably be called the founder of cenobitic monasticism (monks who live in community). Even though St. Antony the Great was the first to go into the desert to live a life of seclusion pursuing evangelical perfection, he lived an eremitic life, that is, a primarily solitary life.

Pachomius first started out as a hermit in the desert like many of the other men and women in the third and fourth centuries who sought the most radical expression of Christian life and he developed a very strong bond of friendship with the hermit Palemon. One day he had a vision during prayer in which he was called to build a monastery, and was told in the vision that many people who are eager to live an ascetic life in the desert, but are not inclined to the solitude of the hermit, will come and join him. His hermit friend Palemon helped him to build the monastery and Pachomius insisted that his cenobites were to aspire to the austerity of the hermits.

However, he knew that his idea was a radical one, in that most of the men who came to live in his monastery had only ever conceived of the eremitic lifestyle; his great accomplishment was to reconcile this desire for austere perfection with an openness to fulfilling the mundane requirements of community life as an expression of Christian love and service. He spent most of his first years as a cenobitic doing all the menial work on his own, knowing that his brother monks needed to be gently inducted into serving their brothers in the same manner. He therefore allowed them to devote all their time to spiritual exercises in those first years. At his death, there were eleven Pachomian monasteries, nine for men and two for women.

The rule that Pachomius drew up was said to have been dictated to him by an angel, and it is this rule that both St. Benedict in the west and St. Basil in the east drew upon to develop their better known rules of cenobitic life.

Learn more about St. Pachomius at the EWTN library.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

A Prayer for Mother's Day

God our Creator, we pray:

for new mothers, coming to terms with new responsibility;

for expectant mothers, wondering and waiting;

for those who are tired, stressed or depressed;

for those who struggle to balance the tasks of work and family;

for those who are unable to feed their children due to poverty;

for those whose children have physical, mental or emotional disabilities;

for those who have children they do not want;

for those who raise children on their own;

for those who have lost a child;

for those who care for the children of others;

for those whose children have left home;

and for those whose desire to be a mother has not been fulfilled.

Bless all mothers, that their love may be deep and tender,

and that they may lead their children to know and do what is good,

living not for themselves alone, but for God and for others.


Saturday, May 07, 2011

St. John of Beverly

The saint of the day for May 7 is St. John of Beverly. John was born in the seventh century at Harpman in Yorkshire and studied at the famous school in Canterbury established by St. Theodore, where he was taught by St. Adrian of Canterbury. From there he returned to Yorkshire and became a monk in the double monastery of Whitby, ruled by St. Hilda. He was consecrated Bishop of Hexham and later Archbishop of York.

He was well-known for his eloquent preaching and his teaching skills, specifically, his ability to help others understand the scriptures. He would continue to teach throughout his life. His most famous pupil was the Venerable Bede, whom John ordained to both the diaconate and the priesthood.

John was known for his holiness, his love of the contemplative life, his love for the poor, and his miracles. Due to ill health, John resigned as archbishop of York in 717 and retired to Beverly Abbey, which he had founded, and remained there until his death on May 7, 721. His shrine was for centuries one of the most popular pilgrim centers in England. He was canonized by Pope Benedict IX in 1037.

Friday, May 06, 2011

First Friday: Pierced Hearts

Blessed Anna Rosa Gattorno

The saint of the day for May 6th is Blessed Anna Rosa Gattorna. Rosa (1831-1900) was one of six children born to the wealthy, pious family of Francesco Benedetta and Adelaide Campanella Benedetta in Genoa, Italy.

Rosa was married at the age of 21 to Gerolamo Custo and moved with him to Marseilles, France. Financial difficulties brought them back to Genoa. Then following a serious illness, their oldest child became deaf and mute, Gerolamo died suddenly, leaving her a widow with three children, after six years of marriage.A few months later, the youngest child also died.

These tragedies opened up Rosa's heart to God and she felt called by God to give herself totally to Him. As a third order Franciscan, she took vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Shortly thereafter, she received the gift of the hidden stigmata.

Rosa received a call from God to found her own congregation. However, she was hesitant to follow up on this call, as it would mean separation from her two surviving children. She met with Pope Pius IX, who urged her to found the order immediately.

In 1866, along with Father Giovannio Battista Tornatore, she founded the the Daughters of Saint Anne, Mother of Mary Immaculate in Piacenza, Italy. The order served the sick and the poor. She established schools for the poor and for nurses, womens' shelters for former prostitutes, etc. She advised her sisters: "Be humble ... only think that you are the lowliest and the most wretched of all creatures who render service to the Church... and have the grace to belong to her". At her death, there were 368 houses in which 3,500 sisters were carrying out their mission.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Is It Morally Okay to Rejoice in Osama bin Laden's Death?

May: The Month of Mary

May is Mary’s month. Some perhaps have asked, "Why May?" The poet, Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins S.J. asks this question in his poem "May Magnificat,"
"May is Mary’s month, and I
muse at that and wonder why."

Perhaps the answer is that, in many places, May is the month for Spring’s return of flowers. As the flowers return we honor Mary Whom we call the "Mystical Rose."

A poem entitled "Mary’s May" by Elywn Rhyl states,
"May is
Our Lady’s
with all
its lovely
May is
and heavenly
just like
Our Lady’s ways."

And of course, the name "May" is a form of Mary and is sometimes used as a "nickname" for women named Mary and then it's spelt Mae. May devotions began during the beginning of the 1700’s in Italy.

It seems the first book of May devotions was published by an Italian Jesuit, Father Anniblae Dionisis, about 1726. In it he explains: "When we make an offering we ought to give of our best, so that among all the months of the year we choose the most beautiful, May, the season of flowers, which invites us to crown Mary with the blossoms of good deeds." May devotions were first introduced into England about 1840 by Father Aloysius Gentili of the Institute of Charity. To this day they involve May altars, May Crowning ceremonies and May processions.

May Altar

To make a traditional May altar place a statue of Our Lady in your living room and make a little shrine. Place the statue on a pretty cloth and then decorate with flowers, real ones or perhaps silk. May altars should have flowers. Perhaps by using blue and pink crepe and tissue paper, and also ribbons, a pastel Spring effect can be achieved.

May Crowning

Perhaps on the first Sunday in May have a May Crowning. A crown can be made using silk flowers. Invite your friends and many children for this special event. Traditionally a little girl does the crowning but others can have this honor. During the crowning the hymn to sing, of course, is "O Mary We Crown Thee." (Copyright 1938 St. Basil Hymnal)

O Mary we crown thee
With blossoms today
Queen of the Angels
Queen of the May.
Bring flowers of the fairest
From garden and woodland
And hillside and dale.
Our full hearts are swelling
Our glad voices telling
The praise of the loveliest
Rose of the vale.
We honor and praise thee
Please pray that our hearts
Will forever be thine.
In joy and in sorrow
From thee may we borrow
A faith that is trusting
In Jesus thy Son.

After the crowning ceremony pray together the Joyful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary. Refreshments such as small pastel-colored frosted cakes served at a flower-decked table are appropriate and continue the Spring theme. Then throughout the month of May try to pray the Rosary before your May altar each day.

May Procession

A May Procession can be a parish event or only a neighborhood one. It simply means that before the May Crowning the statue is carried in procession while singing Marian hymns to the place where the crowning will be. Parish processions can add more by way of music, carrying banners, etc.

During May try to grow in your love for Mary. Let Her be your Mother. Talk to Mary. Consecrate your heart to Her Immaculate and Motherly Heart. Let her lead you to her Son.

Marian Shrine

A very special way of honoring Our Lady in May is to build an outdoor Marian shrine. Statues of concrete or fiberglass can be purchased. The statue can be placed on a large rock or you can make a grotto. A ready-made grotto-like structure can be bought made out of concrete or you can build a wooden shelter for the statue. The making of the shrine can be a great family event. Children will love to help. Be sure to plant flowers around the statue. The family Rosary can be prayed at this shrine on pleasant summer evenings. You might also acquire an outdoor bench to put near the shrine.

Mary Garden

If you wish to you could have a "Mary Garden" around the shrine. A Mary Garden is simply a collection of flowers that have been traditionally associated with Our Lady. Here are some examples: Lily of the Valley (called in German Maiglockhen or May Bells) symbolize Our Lady’s humility, as do violets. Italian Asters are called "Our Lady’s Birthday Flowers" because they blossom around September 8th, the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lady. Foxglove with its thimble-like flowers were called "Our Lady’s Thimbles" in the Middle Ages.
Here are some more flowers you can use:
Common Name Marian Name
Canterbury Bells Mary’s Bells
Sweet Alyssum Mary’s Flower
Corn Flower Mary’s Crown
Primrose Our Lady’s Keys
Sweet Scabious Our Lady’s Pincushion
English Morning Glory Our Lady’s Mantle
Lady Slipper originally called Our Lady’s Slipper
Lady Fern Our Lady’s Fern
And of course Roses remind us of Mary, the "Mystical Rose." Pretty blue flowers can be added as blue is Mary’s color. There you have a Mary Garden.
Perhaps you can think of other ways to honor Our Lady this May for truly it is the month of Mary Our Mother.