Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for June




Vatican City, 31 May (VIS).- Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for June is: "That believers may recognize in the Eucharist the living presence of the Risen One who accompanies them in daily life".

His missionary intention is: "That Christians in Europe may rediscover their true identity and participate with greater enthusiasm in the proclamation of and participate with more enthusiasm in the Gospel".

This Democrats Defeat Bill to Ban Sex-Selection Abortions




This is shocking news!  It is incredible that such a travesty could actually occur in the USA!

Democrats in the House of Representatives prevented passage of a bill that would ban sex-selection abortions. The legislation needed a two-thirds vote and Democrats voted overwhelmingly against the legislation after President Barack Obama and Planned Parenthood came out in opposition.

With a 246-168 vote, the bill did not obtain the two-thirds majority necessary to pass. Republicans voted for the bill on a 226-7 margin while Democrats opposed banning sex-selection abortions on 161-20 vote margin.

The bill would make it a federal offense to knowingly do any one of the following four things: (1) perform an abortion, at any time in pregnancy, “knowing that such abortion is sought based on the sex or gender of the child”; (2) use “force or threat of force. . . for the purpose of coercing a sex-selection abortion”; (3) solicit or accept funds to perform a sex-selection abortion; or (4) transport a woman into the U.S. or across state lines for this purpose. However, the bill says “A woman upon whom a sex-selection abortion is performed may not be prosecuted or held civilly liable for any violation . . .”

The bill also specifically states, “Nothing in this Act shall be construed to require that a healthcare provider has an affirmative duty to inquire as to the motivation for the abortion, absent the healthcare provider having knowledge or information that the abortion is being sought based on the sex or gender of the child.”


Full Story.

Breaking: Obama opposes ban on sex-selections



President Barack Obama appears to oppose the ban on sex-selection abortions that the House of Representatives debated yesterday and will be voting on today.

ABC News White House correspondent Jake Tapper posted a new report indicating President Obama opposes the bill to prohibit performing or coercing abortions to eliminate unborn babies of an undesired sex. Tapper raised the question at Wednesday’s White House press briefing, but did not receive a response to his question about Obama’s position.

“I will have to take that as well. Been focused on other things, but I will get back to you,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said during the White House press briefing.

Now, Tapper reports on the ABC News web site The White House got back to me this evening [May 30] to say the president opposes the bill.”


Read the full story.

For Greater Glory opens this weekend


This is one movie that I can't wait to see!



Read Leticia's excellent review.

To find a theater near you, visit the official website.

ROUND 2: NYC Planned Parenthood implicated in growing sex-selection scandal


NEW YORK, May 31 -- Today, Live Action released a new undercover video showing Planned Parenthood's Margaret Sanger clinic in New York City helping a woman determine if her unborn child was female so she could have a sex-selection abortion. The video is second in a new series titled "Gendercide: Sex-Selection in America," exposing the practice of sex-selective abortion in the United States and how Planned Parenthood and the rest of the abortion industry facilitate the selective elimination of baby girls in the womb.



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.









Wednesday, May 30, 2012

True Beauty: The Inspirational Story of a Young Catholic Woman with a Rare Disease




Here's the story on Lizzie from CNA:

Austin, Texas, May 30, 2012 / 12:06 pm (CNA).- Due to a rare condition, Lizzie Velasquez is unable to gain weight and her appearance made her the target of mockery from her schoolmates who called her “the ugliest woman in the world” in a YouTube video.

The 23-year-old, however, is confident she has been greatly blessed by God, and has become an author and motivational speaker on true beauty. “God is the number one reason why I am here,” she told CNA. “He blessed me with the greatest blessing of my life, which is my syndrome.” Continue Reading.

Benedict XVI: "Prayer is above all God's gift"



May 30, 2012. (Romereports.com) During the General Audience, Benedict XVI explained how the trust in God helped Saint Paul to overcome difficulties. He also taught about the meaning of prayer and the origin of words like 'Amen'.


CATECHESIS IN ENGLISH:


Dear Brothers and Sisters, 

In our continuing reflection on prayer in the letters of Saint Paul, we now consider the Apostle’s striking affirmation that Jesus Christ is God’s “Yes” to mankind and the fulfilment of all his promises, and that through Jesus we say our “Amen”, to the glory of God (cf. 2 Cor 1:19-20).  For Paul, prayer is above all God’s gift, grounded in his faithful love which was fully revealed in the sending of his Son and the gift of the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit, poured forth into our hearts, leads us to the Father, constantly making present God’s “Yes” to us in Christ and in turn enabling us to say our “Yes” – Amen! – to God.  Our use of the word “Amen”, rooted in the ancient liturgical prayer of Israel and then taken up by the early Church, expresses our firm faith in God’s word and our hope in his promises.  Through this daily “Yes” which concludes our personal and communal prayer, we echo Jesus’ obedience to the Father’s will and, through the gift of the Spirit, are enabled to live a new and transformed life in union with the Lord.

I welcome the Vietnamese pilgrims from the Archidiocese of Hochiminh City, led by Cardinal Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Mân.  I also welcome the participants in the Buddhist-Christian Symposium being held in Castelgandolfo.  My greeting likewise goes to the Hope for Tomorrow Foundation from the United States.  Upon all the English-speaking visitors, including those from England, Ireland, Norway, India, Indonesia, Japan and the United States I invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace!

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.

Quote “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

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Summer Blogging



This summer I will be doing light blogging only as I work on a research project to obtain my M.A. degree in Theology. Please keep me in your prayers. Thank you, dear readers. God bless you!

Five patron saints and 13 intercessors named for World Youth Day 2013 in Rio






May 29, 2012. (Romereports.com) The next World Youth Day will take place in Rio in 2013. Now, organizers have announced the five patron saints for the big event.The first is Our Lady of Aparecida, which is also the patroness of Brazil. A basilica is named after her and every year roughly 10 million pilgrims visit the site. Back in 2007 Benedict XVI made a visit, during his first trip to Latin America. 
  
Then, there's also St. Sebastian. He was a soldier who served under the Roman Empire. But he left the army because it persecuted Christians. He died in the year 288, as a martyr.

The third patron is Friar Galvao. In 2007, Benedict XVI made this Franciscan, Brazil's first saint. 

St. Therese of Lisieux, is also on the list. Since 1927, this French nun has been known as the patroness of missions. 

Last but not least, Blessed John Paul II is the fifth. In 1984 he founded World Youth Days. During his pontificate, he was considered 'the Pope of the youth.'

In addition, World Youth Day will also have 13 so called intercessors.  They are St. Rose of Lima, who is known as the first female saint of Latin America. There's also, blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, a young Italian who dedicated his life to helping the poor. Blessed Chiara Luce Badano, who suffered from cancer and offered her pain for the salvation of others. There's also, Frederic Ozanam, a French blessed  who left his mark for living a fully Catholic life. 

There's also, Brazilian Adilio Daronch, who was murdered at the age of 16 for being Christian. St. Teresa of the Andes, a Carmelite sister from Chile. Blessed Jose de Anchieta who preached throughout Brazil in the 16th century. Blessed Isidore Bakanja, who was killed in the Congo for being Christian. Blessed Irmã Dulce, a Brazilian nun who dedicated her life to helping the sick and the poor in the Brazilian city of Salvador de Bahia.

Other intercessors include St. George, a soldier from the Roman Empire who converted to Christianity and was beheaded because of it. Blessed Laura Vicuña is also on the list. She offered the pain of her disease for the conversion of her mother. St. Andrew Kim, the first Korean priest who was martyred in 1846, and Blessed Albertina Berkenbrock, a Brazilian girl who was murdered at the age of 12 for refusing to engage in a sexual relationship. 

Why Catholicism Matters

St. Bona of Pisa


Today's saint of the day is St. Bona of Pisa (1156 - 1207). She was a mystic and visionary. Bona experienced visions from early childhood, in one of which she was blessed by Saint James the Greater. By the age 10 of ten she dedicated herself as an Augustinian tertiary. She regularly fasted from an early age, taking only bread and water three days a week.

At the age of 14, she made the first of her many journeys, travelling to see her father who was fighting in the Crusades near Jerusalem. On her way home, she was captured and imprisoned by Islamic pirates in the Mediterranean, but was rescued by her countrymen. She made pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela and to Spain nine times, leading groups of pilgrims each time. On her final pilgrimage, she became very ill, but was able to return to Pisa and died in her little room near the church of San Martino at the age of 51.

She is the patron saint of travellers, couriers, guides, pilgrims, flight attendants, and the city of Pisa.

NEW VIDEO: Planned Parenthood will kill girls, just because they are girls



Planned Parenthood claims to oppose ‘gendercide.’ So, why was Planned Parenthood staff so focused on aborting a baby girl, just because she was a girl? Even going so far as to coach a late term abortion, in order to confirm that the baby was the unwanted sex?

77% of Americans support a ban on sex-selective abortion. How is it that the practice of girl-murder, which many self-titled ‘pro-choice’ feminists oppose, remains legal across our nation? Our precious baby girls need your protection now.

Sign the “Protect Our Girls” petition and join the growing coalition against sex-selection abortion. Send the message to Planned Parenthood and their anti-girl friends that killing a girl because she is a girl is never OK.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Two Saints to be proclaimed Doctor of the Church in October




May 28, 2012. (Romereports.com) The thousands of pilgrims who went to St. Peter's Square to pray the Regina Coeli with Pope, did not expect that he would announce one of the most important events of his pontificate.

Benedict XVI
“I am pleased to announce that on October 7, the day that begins the assembly of the Synod of Bishops, I will proclaim St. John of Avila and St. Hildegard of Bingen Doctors of the Church.”

The title of Doctor of the Church is given to saints whose theological teaching is valid for all time.

Paul VI named only two doctors of the Church: St. Teresa of Avila and St. Catherine of Siena. John Paul II named one, St. Therese of Lisieux in 1997. When Benedict XVI names the next two in October, there will be a total of 35 Doctors of the Church.

Prayer for the Government

Prayer for Religious Liberty

Memorial Day Tribute 2012




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 27, 2012

Pentecost: The Outpouring of the Holy Spirit


On the day of Pentecost when the seven weeks of Easter had come to an end, Christ's Passover is fulfilled in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, manifested, given, and communicated as a divine person: of his fullness, Christ, the Lord, pours out the Spirit in abundance. (Acts 2:36)

In the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, Christ's paschal mystery was brought to completion. The Holy Spirit prepares us with His grace in order to draw us to Christ. He manifests the risen Lord to us, opening our minds. He makes present the mystery of Christ. And, he reconciles us, bringing us into communion with God. St. Thomas Aquinas says that the Holy Spirit interiorly perfects our spirit, communicating to it a new dynamism so that it refrains from evil for love. With the Holy Spirit within us "it is quite natural for people who had been absorbed by the things of this world to become entirely otherworldly in outlook and for cowards to become people of great courage" (St. Cyril of Alexandria).

~Excerpted from the Magnificat, May 2012, Volume 14, 3.

"Through the Holy Spirit we are restored to paradise, led back to the Kingdom of heaven, and adopted as children, given confidence to call God 'Father' and to share in Christ's grace, called children of light and given a share in eternal glory" (St. Basil, De Spiritu Sancto, 15,36).

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Pentecost in Two Minutes

St. Philip Neri, 'The Humorous Saint'


Today is the feast of one of my favorite saints, St. Philip Neri, who is known for his charm, cheerfulness, and wonderful sense of humor. He was born in Florence, Italy on July 22, 1515, 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.


Prayer

Saint Philip Neri, we take ourselves far too seriously most of the time. Help us to add humor to our perspective -- remembering always that humor is a gift from God. Amen.


 

Friday, May 25, 2012

What is Pentecost?



May 25, 2012. (Romereports.com)
 Pentecost Sunday is celebrated 50 days after the Resurrection. It is the last day of Easter and commemorates the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles and the Virgin Mary.

Benedict XVI
(Pentecost, May 15, 2005)

“The reading from the Acts of the Apostles speaks of how, on the day of Pentecost, under the signs of a strong wind and fire, the Holy Spirit sweeps into the community of the disciples of Jesus who are in prayer, thus bringing the Church into being.”


At that time the Apostles began their mission of proclaiming the Word of God whenever and wherever they could.

In many parts of the world, the feast of the Pentecost is celebrated on Saturday evening with a vigil. Benedict XVI will preside at the Mass of Pentecost in St. Peter's Basilica on Sunday morning.

St. 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.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Praying for Catholics in China



May 24, 2012. (Romereports.com) 
This group may be small, but its mission is huge.  It's easy for them to go unnoticed among the thousands of tourists in St. Peter's Square, but even so, for the last five years, this small group has organized a procession to pray in Rome for the Church in China.

FR. EDMUND DE LA VEGA
China Prayer Group

“Our brothers in China may not be here, but they are joining this procession through their suffering, through trials and tribulations. This pilgrimage is a way to unite. It's a small sacrifice to help us rediscover that we are walking together toward Christ. It's a way to entrust to Our Lady, the Evangelization of China.”

The procession is held every 24th of May, which is actually the day Benedict XVI dedicated to pray for the Church in China. On that day, a very popular image of Our Lady is celebrated in the sanctuary of Sheshan in Shanghai.  In Rome, she is venerated with a procession from St. Peter's Square to the Basilica of St. Mary Major, where Cardinal Julian Herranz celebrates Mass. 

FR. EDMUND DE LA VEGA
China Prayer Group

“We are in the month of May, which is the month of the Virgin Mary, so it's important for us to be here in Rome, and lead a procession to St. Mary Major. To pray at her feet and together with the successor of Peter,  entrust her with our prayer.”

The situation of Christians in China isn't easy. In fact, some of them have left the country all together.  So this group is focused on strengthening the faith of Chinese Christians, wherever they may be. 

FR. EDMUND DE LA VEGA
China Prayer Group

“The group is called China Prayer which came about under the New Evangelization. It's a group of prayer and ministry for Chinese in China, or even for Chinese who migrate to other countries, which is quite common.”

Even though the group is small, its initiative is powerful. Step by step, it tries to bring the New Evangelization, to the East. 

Pope blesses cross to prepare for 2000th anniversary of Jesus' Resurrection


 

May 24, 2012. (Romereports.com) This cross will make its way around the world. It was given to the Pope by a group of Ukrainians, as a way to mark 2,000 years since Jesus' death and Resurrection. The cross will travel to all major capitals, as a way to prepare for the anniversary and celebration in the year 2033.

Benedict XVI blessed the cross and thanked the group for promoting it. So far, it has toured several European countries, including Ukraine, Poland, France and Germany. In the city of Rome, it has visited four basilicas. 

In fact, back in the year 2004, John Paul II also blessed this cross. 

Pope talks about the need of having strong father figures in society




(Romereports.com)
 During Wednesday's general audience, the Pope called on men to improve their role in the family. He talked about the importance of having positive father figures to strengthen the family unit. 


He then highlighted the key role fathers have in people's lives, by reflecting on how Jesus referred to God, as 'Abba' or Father. Following this example, he also called on Catholics to think of God as a Father. 

Benedict XVI
“The word 'Abba' was used by Jesus to express his loving relationship with the Father; our own use of this word is the fruit of the presence of the Spirit of Christ within us.”

With roughly 20,000 people in St. Peter's Square, the Pope reflected on the letters of St. Paul, by explaining that Christian prayer is interconnected with the Holy Spirit. He said, it's a way in which people, as children of God, can communicate with the Father.
Benedict XVI
“Let us open our hearts even more fully to the working of the Spirit within us, so that our prayer may lead us to greater trust in the Father.”

As usual, dozens of groups from around the world gathered in St. Peter's Square to greet the Pope. Among them, was this choir of young Asian girls, who briefly sang for the Pope.

Fr. Barron on Evangelization

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)

Kansas Catholic Bishops to Host Statewide Rally for Religious Freedom


What:  Statewide Rally for Religious Freedom
When:  2:00 – 3:30 PM, 29 June 2012
Where:  South Steps of the State Capitol Building in Topeka
Who:  The Catholic Bishops of Kansas are inviting all people who care about religious liberty to attend.
Why:  The federal government has taken the unprecedented step of requiring religious individuals and institutions to pay for products and procedures that violate their religious beliefs.  Catholic schools, hospitals, and charities are not exempt — they will either have to provide their employees with coverage of immoral products, including abortion-inducing drugs, or they may have to shut down.  Our country’s 200 year tradition of religious freedom hangs in the balance.  Join people of faith across the nation who will be rallying for religious freedom
How:  Save the Date.  Drive the family.  Carpool with friends.  Bus your parish.  Visit the Kansas Catholic Conference website for more details as they become available.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Kansans: Statewide Novena for Religious Liberty Begins Today



In Kansas, May 23rd through May 31st (Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary) join the statewide 9-Day Novena with Prayer and Fasting for Religious Liberty, to Make Reparation and End to Abortion in Kansas and the USA. Catholics throughout the state are asked to Pray, Fast, Pray the Rosary, Chaplet of Divine Mercy, Go to Confession, Attend Mass Daily and Receive Holy Communion, Pray One Hour in Prayer before Jesus in the Eucharist, make daily sacrifices and daily pray the USA Novena Prayer. Masses will be offered across the state for this intention during the Novena. Persons from each parish are asked to organize events such as a Holy Hour, daily Rosary, or daily Chaplet of Divine Mercy, etc., at one’s church; but each person is free to participate in their own way.




 Novena Prayer 

O Father, Author of Life, we forever entrust and consecrate our State and the USA to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. The government is threatening our Religious Liberty by mandating we violate our conscience, and more importantly has taken away the Right to Life of unborn children. By this Novena, we pray for Religious Freedom, Make Reparation for Our Nation's Sins Against Life and Ask You to End: Abortion; Human Embryo Research; In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) which freezes & kills “extra” children; Human Cloning; Euthanasia; Sterilization; and Contraception. Dear Lord, help married couples realize contraception harms their marriage, by preventing the total gift of self to each other and says, No to You, who may deign to bring a child into the world. Father, we have not been told the truth that chemical contraceptives prevent a child from implanting in the mother’s womb within 6-10 days of fertilization, and so the child, You created dies, without the mother knowing she was pregnant. Father, once they sorrowfully realize this truth, forgive them for they knew not what they were doing. Grant young people may live abstinence and purity, rather than promiscuity. O Merciful God, guide the leaders of our nation and all Americans to forever establish a Culture of Life, Love and Liberty. We ask this through the intercession of Mary, the Immaculate Conception, the Patroness of our country, and through the intercession of St. Joseph, Guardian of the Church, in the Holy Name of Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen!

Pope Benedict and the Blessed Virgin Mary

St. Julia of Corsica


Today's saint is St. Julia of Corsica, virgin and martyr in the fifth century.

Saint Julia was a noble virgin of Carthage, who, when the city was taken by Genseric in 439, was sold for a slave to a pagan merchant of Syria. In the most mortifying employments of her station, by cheerfulness and patience she found a happiness and comfort which the world could not give. Whenever she was not employed in household affairs, her time was devoted to prayer and reading books of piety.

Her master, who was charmed with her fidelity and other virtues, thought proper to take her with him on one of his voyages to Gaul. When he reached the northern part of Corsica, he cast anchor and went ashore to join the pagans of the place in an idolatrous festival. Julia was left at some distance, because she would not be defiled by the superstitious ceremonies, which she openly spurned. The governor of the island, Felix, a bigoted pagan, asked who this woman was who dared to insult the gods. The merchant informed him that she was a Christian, and that all his authority over her was too weak to prevail upon her to renounce her religion; nonetheless, he found her so diligent and faithful he could not part with her.

The governor offered him four of his best slaves in exchange for her. But the merchant replied, “No; all you are worth will not purchase her; for I would lose the most valuable thing I have in the world rather than be deprived of her.” Nonetheless Felix, while the inebriated merchant was asleep, attempted to compel her to sacrifice to his gods. He offered to procure her liberty if she would comply. The Saint made answer that she was as free as she desired to be, as long as she was allowed to serve Jesus Christ. The pagan, offended by her undaunted and resolute air, in a transport of rage caused her to be struck on the face, and the hair of her head to be torn off. Finally he ordered her to be hanged on a cross until she expired. Certain monks from the isle of Gorgon transported her relics there, but in 763 the king of Lombardy transferred them to Brescia, where her memory is celebrated with great devotion.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Rome's Marian Street Shrines

Cardinal Scola explains the latest details from the World Meeting of Families




May 22, 2012. (Romereports.com) From May 30th to June 3rd, the city of Milan will host the World Meeting of Families. Its main organizers are Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, who serves as the president of the Pontifical Council for the Family and Cardinal Angelo Scola, who serves as the archbishop of Milan. Most recently they talked about all the latest details. 

Cardinal Angelo Scola
Archbishop Milan
“We've been preparing for this gathering, for quite some time. Now, it's all prepared. We hope to also have good weather during those days.”

The World Meeting of Families includes a theological congress where roughly 6,000 people are expected. The goal is for families to strengthen the way they live out their Catholic faith. It will include 104 guest speakers from 27 countries. Also, about 900 youths have registered for another congress held for younger members of the family. 

On the afternoon of Saturday June 2nd a meeting will take place at the Milan's Bresso airport. That meeting will include personal testimonies and it will involve some 300,000 people. There the Pope will respond to five questions, asked respectively from five families. 

On Sunday June 3rd, about one million people are expected to attend the closing Mass, which will be led by the Pope. Then Benedict XVI will also have lunch with five families and he'll invite some of Milan's poorest families to lunch. 

Finally, to help organize everything, the World Meeting of Families has about 5,000 volunteers to help out with all the big and minor details. 

St. Rita of Cascia


Today is the optional memorial of Saint Rita of Cascia, religious.

St. Rita was born at Rocca Porena in the Diocese of Spoleto in 1386 to Antonio and Amata Lotti, who were quite advanced in years. Rita’s birth was an answer to their prayers. The family was well-known for their charity, which merited them the surname of "Peacemakers of Jesus Christ."

Rita brought much joy to her parents. She was a cheerful, amiable, pious and devout child who spent much of her time in prayer. At the age of twelve, she desired to consecrate herself to God in the religious state. Pious though her parents were, they refused her pleas, but instead gave her away in marriage, at the age of eighteen, to an ill-tempered young man who was the town watchman. The couple had two sons, who inherited their father's temperament. After 18 years of marriage, Rita’s husband was murdered by an old enemy. Her sons swore vengeance on their father’s killers, but through Rita's intercessory prayers, they forgave the offenders. Both of her sons died shortly afterwards.

Rita's former desire to consecrate herself to God in the religious life returned. On three separate occasions, she asked to be admitted to the Augustinian Nuns, but her request was refused each time, and she returned home to Rocca Porrena.

One night, as Rita was praying, she heard someone call her name and a knock on the door. Miraculously she was instantly transported to the Augustinian monastery. Astonished at the miracle, the Nuns received Rita, and accepted her as one of their own.

St. Rita lived a very austere life and performed many severe penances. After hearing a homily on the Passion of Christ she returned to her cell; kneeling before her crucifix, she prayed: "Let me, my Jesus share in Thy suffering, at least of one of Thy thorns". Her prayer was answered. Suddenly one of the thorns detached itself from Christ’s crown of thorns and fastened itself on her forehead so deeply that she could not remove it. The wound became worse, and gangrene set in. Because of the foul odor emanating from the wound, she was denied the companionship of the other Sisters for fifteen years.

As St. Rita was dying, she requested a relative to bring her a rose from her old home at Rocca Porrena. Although it was not the season for roses, the relative went and found a rose in full bloom. For this reason roses are blessed in the Saint's honor. She died May 22, 1456, and both in life and after death has worked many miracles. After St. Rita's death, her face became beautifully radiant, while the odor from her wound was as fragrant as that of the roses she loved so much. The sweet odor spread through the convent and into the church, where it has continued ever since. Her body has remained incorrupt to this day; the face is beautiful and well preserved.

 When St. Rita died her cell was aglow with heavenly light, while the great bell of the monastery rang of itself. A relative with a paralyzed arm, upon touching her sacred remains, was cured. A carpenter, who had known the Saint, offered to make the coffin. Immediately, he recovered the use of his long stiffened hands.St. Rita of Cascia was the first woman to be canonized in the Great Jubilee at the beginning of the 20th century, on May 24, 1900.


Patronage

 Rita is well-known as a patron of desperate, seemingly impossible causes and situations. She is also the patron saint of abuse victims, difficult marriages, infertility, impossible causes, parenthood, sterility, and widows.

 Quote 

 The saint of Cascia belongs to the great host of Christian women who "have had a significant impact on the life of the Church as well as of society" (Mulieris dignitatem, 27). Rita well interpreted the "feminine genius" by living it intensely in both physical and spiritual motherhood. ~ Pope John Paul II

 Prayer to Saint Rita

 Holy Patroness of those in need, Saint Rita, you were humble, pure and patient. Your pleadings with your divine Spouse are irresistible, so please obtain for me from our risen Jesus the request I make of you: {mention your petition}. Be kind to me for the greater glory of God, and I shall honor you and sing your praises forever. Glorious Saint Rita, you miraculously participated in the sorrowful passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. Obtain for me now the grace to suffer with resignation the troubles of this life, and protect me in all my needs. Amen.

Litany of St. Rita of Cascia

Monday, May 21, 2012

Keys for understanding the Second Vatican Council through the eyes of Benedict XVI




May 21, 2012. (Romereports.com) The Second Vatican Council will turn 50 in the coming month of October. To mark the occasion, the Vatican released a book that translates to “Benedict XVI: Keys to Interpreting the Second Vatican Council.”

ARCHBISHOP AGOSTINO MARCHETTO
Author, "Benedict XVI: Keys to interpreting Vatican II"

“The keys are important to fully understand the Council's line of interpretation. It's about reform and continuity not about discontinuity or rupture.”

At this point, the book is only in Italian, its three authors include Cardinal Walter Brandmüller,  Agostino Marchetto and Nicola Bux, who together gathered key points, as explained by Benedict XVI. 

They say it's key to understand that in this case, renovation and tradition can go hand in hand, under the so called hermeneutic of continuity. In fact during his pontificate, the Pope has highlighted the importance of this Council and its role within the Catholic Church. 

BREAKING: Cardinal Dolan of NY, Cardinal Wuerl of D.C., Notre Dame--And 40 Other Catholic Dioceses and Organizations--Sue Obama Administration


(CNSNews.com) - The archdiocese of New York, headed by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archdiocese of Washington, D.C., headed by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the University of Notre Dame, and 40 other Catholic dioceses and organizations around the country announced on Monday that they are suing the Obama administration for violating their freedom of religion, which is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution.

 The dioceses and organizations, in different combinations, are filing 12 different lawsuits filed in federal courts around the country. 

The Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. has established a special website--preservereligiousfreedom.org--to explain it lawsuit and present news and development concerning it. Continue Reading

St. Christopher Magallanes and Companions, martyrs


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

Christopher and his twenty-four companion martyrs were members of the Cristero movement, a response to  anti-Catholic government in Mexico in the 1920s.  The government was determined to weaken the Catholic faith of its people. Churches, schools and seminaries were closed; foreign clergy were expelled. Under the Cristero movement, members pledged 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.

Christopher's last words were: "I am innocent and I die innocent. I forgive with all my heart those responsible for my death, and I ask God that the shedding of my blood serve the peace of our divided Mexico".

These martyrs were beatified in 1992 and canonized eight years later.

A major motion picture will be released soon, which depicts the story of these martyrs. It is entitled "For Greater Glory."

Friday, May 18, 2012

Cardinal Raymond Burke writes book on the Eucharist: 'Divine Love Made Flesh'

Pope addresses American immigration and female religious with US bishops




May 18, 2012. (Romereports.com) This group of American bishops represents the Eastern Catholic Church of the United States. The meeting with the pope marks the conclusion of US Ad Limina visits.

The pope used the encounter as an opportunity to speak on a large extent about the issue of immigration in America.

Benedict XVI
“I would begin by praising your unremitting efforts, in the best traditions of the Church in America, to respond to the ongoing phenomenon of immigration in your country.”

The pope's words come on the heels of a report by the U.S. Census Bureau that showed for the first time there are more minority babies being born that white babies. 

Benedict XVI also recognized the Eastern rites efforts to work toward Catholic unity in the United States.

Benedict XVI
“Throughout our meetings, you and your Brother Bishops have spoken insistently of the importance of preserving, fostering and advancing this gift of Catholic unity as an essential condition for the fulfillment of the Church’s mission in your country.”

The pope also expressed the “deep gratitude” he felt toward female religious of the United States and prayed for the “welfare of society”. These words came after the Vatican recently reprimanded an umbrella group of US nuns for “serious doctrinal problems”. 

LINK TO TEXT OF POPE'S FULL SPEECH HERE

Pope St. John I

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

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.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ascension Thursday



Today is Ascension Thursday, forty days after Easter when we celebrate Our Lord's Ascension. Today is a Solemnity and a Holy Day of Obligation in some parts of the world. The ecclesiastical provinces of Boston, Hartford, New York, Newark, Philadelphia, and the State of Nebraska have retained its celebration on the proper Thursday, while all other provinces have transferred this solemnity to the Seventh Sunday of Easter, May 20.


 

Saint Paschal Baylon: "Saint of the Holy Eucharist"


The saint of the day for May 17th is St. Pascal Baylon.

Born in a small village in between Castille and Aragon in Spain, on Pentecost in 1540, he was christened Pascua (meaning "the pasch of the Holy Ghost") in honor of the feast. As a young man, until he was twenty-four years old, he worked as a shepherd for his poor, but pious family. During this time, he lived a life of penance and showed great devotion for the Holy Eucharist.

One day Paschal heard the bells of a convent announce the approaching consecration at Mass. Such an ardent longing for God overcame him that, prompted by yearning and love, he involuntarily cried out: "O God, most worthy of all adoration, please let me see You!" Hardly had he uttered the prayer when a glowing star appeared in the sky. As he watched, the heavens opened; the star disappeared and was replaced by a chalice with the Host, flanked by two adoring angels. Christian art has selected this vision to show his chief virtue -- love for the most holy Eucharist. (Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch)

 Receiving a vision which told him to enter a nearby Franciscan community, he became a Franciscan lay brother. He became part of the community of St. Peter of Alcantara, who was very instrumental in the life and spirituality of St. Teresa of Avila, who was living at that time. Paschal spent most of his life as a humble door keeper. His charity to the poor and afflicted, his unfailing courtesy and humility were remarkable even by Franciscan standards. While on a mission to France, he defended the Real Presence against the blasphemies of a Calvinist preacher, and narrowly escaped death at the hands of a Huguenot mob. Poorly educated, he served as a counselor sought out by rich and poor alike.

Paschal spent many hours before the Holy Eucharist. During his lifetime he was known by all as "the Saint of the Holy Eucharist". He spent most of the night at the foot of the altar on his knees, or prostrate on the ground. In prayer, he was often favored with ecstasies and raptures. He died at Villa Reale, near Valentia, on May 17, 1592, at the age of fifty-two. As he lay dead in his casket, he opened and closed his eyes twice when the sacred species were elevated at the consecration. His body was exposed three days, during which time a vast number of people visited the church, witnessing to his many miracles.

St. Paschal was beatified by Pope Paul V in 1618, and canonized by Alexander VIII. in 1690.

Patron: Cooks; Eucharistic congresses and organizations (proclaimed by Pope Leo XIII in 1897); Obado, Bulacan, Phillipines.

Quotes from St. Paschal Baylon

"Meditate well on this: Seek God above all things. It is right for you to seek God before and above everything else, because the majesty of God wishes you to receive what you ask for. This will also make you more ready to serve God and will enable you to love him more perfectly."

"God is as really present in the consecrated Host as He is in the glory of Heaven."

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pentecost Novena begins Friday


The Pentecost Novena begins this Friday and is prayed until the feast of Pentecost. In the words of Pope John Paul II:

 "Let us try to persevere in this rhythm of the Church. In the course of these days she invites us to take part in the novena to the Holy Spirit. It can be said that, among the various novenas, this is the most ancient one; it takes its origin, in a way, from the institution by Christ the Lord."

50th Anniversary of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery

General audience: Pope explains how prayer can help people overcome their weaknesses



May 16, 2012. (Romereports.com)
 During Wednesday's general audience, the Pope began a new chapter on catechesis. With roughly 11,000 people in St. Peter's Square, the Pope talked about St. Paul and his strong connection with prayer and the Holy Spirit. “For Paul, prayer is above all the work of the Holy Spirit within our hearts, the fruit of God's presence within us,” said Benedict XVI.

The Pope went on to say that with prayer, the Holy Spirit helps people overcome their weaknesses. Benedict XVI added that prayer is a way to give thanks, and also a means to request.

Benedict XVI
“In our prayer, the Holy Spirit grants us the glorious freedom of the children of God, the hope and strength to remain faithful to the Lord amid our daily trials and tribulations.”

He also called for a personal reflection, by saying that people often want what's best for them, but they don't necessarily act in a way that promotes what's best.  

Benedict XVI
“With St. Paul let us open our hearts to the presence of the Holy Spirit, who prays with us and leads us to an even deeper union in love with the Triune God.”

Members of a Catholic missionary movement called 'Shalom' were also present in the general audience. This year, is the group's 30th anniversary and most recently the Pope approved the community's statutes. This Brazilian movement now has a presence in 16 countries. There was also time to enjoy a bit of music. During the general audience, a band seated front and center, played for the Pope and the thousands of people in attendance.

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.

 Prayer


 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.

 Read this article about St. Simon and the Scapular.