Friday, June 29, 2012

Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Martyrs and Co-Founders of the Church

Sts. Peter and Paul are the co-founders of the Church - the solid rock on which it was founded. 

St. Peter 

Peter's original name was Simon. He was a fisherman and the brother of Saint Andrew, the apostle who led him to Christ. As an apostle of Christ, Simon was renamed "Peter" (in Hebrew Kephas) or "rock" by Jesus to indicate that Peter would be the rock-like foundation on which the Church would be built.

Peter's house often became the scene of miracles, since Jesus would stay there whenever He was teaching in that locality. Together with his brothers John and Andrew, Peter belonged to the first of Jesus' disciples.

After the Ascension, Peter took the leading role that Christ had assigned to him and became the first Pope. He served as the first Bishop of Rome and died there as a martyr in 64 a.d. crucified with his head downward, as he was not worthy to die in the same manner as Christ.

Peter is the author of two letters, the first encyclicals. St. Peter is buried beneath the high altar of St. Peter's Basilica on the Vatican Hill in Rome. A visitor to the Vatican Basilica can go into the crypt, which is the floor of the original church built by the Emperor Constantine.

 St. Paul 

 Paul, known as Saul (his Roman name) before his conversion, was the son of Jewish parents who belonged to the tribe of Benjamin, was raised as a Pharisee. A tent-maker by trade, Saul hated and persecuted Christians as heretics and even participated in the stoning of Stephen the martyr.

On his way to Damascus to persecute another group of Christians, Saul was knocked to the ground and struck by a heavenly light, when God gave him the message that in persecuting Christians, he was also persecuting Christ Himself. This profound experience led to his conversion to Christianity. He was baptized, changed his name to Paul, and became traveling and preaching. He met Peter in Jerusalem and was introduced to the Christian Community by Barnabus.

Paul was eventually seized by the Jews and accused of condemning the Law. After being held as a prisoner for two years at Caesarea, he appealed to Caesar and was sent by sea to Rome (60 A.D.). Shipwrecked and delayed on the island of Malta, he arrived at Rome in the spring of 61 and passed the next two years in confinement before being released.The last years of the saint's life were devoted to missionary work. In 66 he returned to Rome, was taken prisoner, and beheaded a year later. His fourteen letters are a precious legacy.

We learn through the selection of these men to lead the Church, Christ teaches us that he chooses ordinary men and women to do his work and to be His leaders. Peter was a simple fisherman whom he chose in an official way, while Paul was a tent maker chosen in a very unconventional manner. Both men were imperfect - Peter denied Jesus three times; Saul persecuted Christians before his conversion. Neither of the men were trained in their work for the Lord, but the Lord provided them with all the graces necessary to spread the Good News. Christ works in a powerful way through weak, imperfect people, if we come to him with humble hearts and surrender to His will. "For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Cor. 12, 10)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fortnight For Freedom Prayer

HLI VP Fr. Peter West at SCOTUS for Obamacare Decision

National Catholic Bioethics Center Response to the June 28 Ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court Upholding the Affordable Care Act

The National Catholic Bioethics Center is deeply disappointed to learn that virtually the entire Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) remains standing in the wake of the June 28, 2012 U. S. Supreme Court ruling.  The ACA includes provisions that violate respect for human life and dignity and the rights of conscience, and that undermine the principle of subsidiarity.  Of course, the Court did not rule that the law is good in its entirety or even that it can be effectively implemented and sustained.  It merely ruled that it does not violate the Federal Constitution.

We find it odd that the Supreme Court, having found an insufficient basis to judge in favor of the ACA on Commerce Clause grounds, chose to accept the secondary justification offered by the administration, namely, that the mandate is a tax on the American people.  As noted in the minority’s dissent, it is dangerous to ignore the legislative intent of the Congress in a case such as this.

The National Catholic Bioethics Center remains opposed to the law not because universal health care coverage is somehow undesirable as a goal, but predominantly because the ACA will provide coverage for abortion on demand and violate the conscience of employers and enrollees who will be forced to subsidize abortion.  There also is little protection of health care providers who may be coerced to provide contraceptives and abortifacients.  Furthermore, the Health and Human Services mandate has come to be woven into the fabric of the ACA as a post-provision that poisons the well of authentic health care and radically contradicts respect for conscience, which is particularly important in healthcare settings where the human person is vulnerable and easily violated. The National Catholic Bioethics Center thus remains compelled to oppose the measure in its entirety until a proper respect for the First Amendment, religious freedom, rights of conscience, and human life are properly incorporated into the law, and safeguarded in medical decision-making.

From the perspective of social justice, this law jeopardizes the principle of subsidiarity, which, like the principle of federalism upon which our Constitution was written, holds that services ought to be provided by those social agencies and instrumentalities of government that are closest to the point of delivery.  Tremendous dangers lie in health care being orchestrated by the highest level of social organization, our federal government.

The Catholic Church and others of conscience remain deeply troubled this law and will continue to work to ensure the protection of the consciences of those providing health care and other social services to those in need.

A Sad Day For Americans

This is a sad day for Americans -- particularly for authentic Catholics who uphold the dignity of human life. Here is the statement from Michael Warsaw, President and Executive Officer of EWTN Global Network, regarding today's U.S. Supreme Court Decision on the Affordable Care Act:

Irondale, AL – “The decision by the United States Supreme Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act is certainly a disappointment for EWTN.  It was our hope that the Court’s decision would stop the implementation of the HHS mandate that requires employee health plans to provide coverage for morally objectionable services like contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs.  Because the Court has upheld the law, the rules which empower the government to issue its unjust mandate appear to remain in effect.  As a result, the EWTN lawsuit seeking relief from the mandate will continue to move forward.”

H/T: A Catholic Mom in Hawaii

Archbishop Fulton Sheen Becomes "Venerable"

Servant of God Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen is now “Venerable” after the Vatican announced today that Benedict XVI had signed a decree recognising that the archbishop heroically lived Christian virtues.

The announcement of the decree marks a significant step in the canonization cause of Peoria, Ill.-born Archbishop Sheen (1895-1979), the Emmy award-winning televangelist whose program, "Life is Worth Living," was broadcast from 1951 to 1957.

 Read more

St. Irenaeus, Bishop and Father of the Church

The saint of the day for June 28th is St. Irenaeus (c.130 - c.200), Bishop of Lyons and Father of the Church.

Irenaeus was born in Smyrna (modern-day Turkey), although he later settled in Rome. He was well educated and was influenced by men who knew the Apostles, especially St. Polycarp, who had been a pupil of St. John the evangelist He became Bishop of Lyons (France) in 178. As bishop, he divided his activities between the duties of a pastor and of a missionary. A prolific writer, he is known for his vigorous defense of the faith against Gnosticism, the prevalent heresy of the time. He was the first great Catholic theologian and his most significant work is Against Heresies (Adversus Haereses).

For a more detailed biography, go here.


"For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God."

"Baptism gives us the grace of new birth in God the Father, through his Son, in the Holy Spirit. For those who bear God's Spirit are led to the Word, that is, to the Son, and the Son presents them to the Father, and the Father confers incorruptibility on them. And it is impossible to see God's Son without the Spirit, and no one can approach the Father without the Son, for the knowledge of the Father is the Son, and the knowledge of God's Son is obtained through the Holy Spirit."

 ~ St. Irenaeus

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Polish musicians compose song dedicated to Pope

It's our 20th Wedding Anniversary!

This one's for you, Bill! ♥

Fortnight for Freedom: Great Moral Issues

Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Today we commemorate Our Lady of Perpetual Help. I have had a long-time devotion to Our Blessed Mother under many titles, but began praying to Our Lady of Perpetual Help early in my childhood and continue to pray for her intercession today. She is such a sweet and generous mother who always asks Jesus to grant me that which will draw me closest to Him.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help is a Byzantine icon from the middle ages that has resided in Rome since the late 1400s. It was brought to Rome near the end of the fifteenth century by a holy merchant, who, dying there, ordered by his will that the picture be exposed in a church for public veneration. It was exposed in the church of San Matteo, Via Merulana, between Saint Mary Major and Saint John Lateran. Crowds flocked to this church, and for nearly three hundred years many graces were obtained through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Eastern Catholics refer to the icon as the "Holy Theotokos of the Passion."

The Message of the Icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help

The child Jesus has just seen the angels who have shown him the instruments of his passion. St. Michael the Archangel holds the lance and gall-sop. St. Gabriel the Archangel holds the Cross and the nails. Frightened by the sight, Jesus has run to his mother’s arms so quickly that he almost lost one of His tiny sandals. It dangles from his foot. Mary holds Him lovingly but her eyes look at us - pleading with us to avoid sin and love Her Son.

His hands are in hers to show that, as a child, Jesus placed Himself in Mary’s hands for protection and to remind us that He now has placed into Her hands all graces, to be given to those who turn to His mother and ask.

The star on Mary’s veil shows her to be the one who brought the light of Christ to the darkened world - the beacon that leads the way to Heaven.

The falling sandal symbolizes a soul clinging to Christ by one last thread--devotion to Mary. The golden background is symbolic of Heaven and shines to show the heavenly joy Jesus and His mother can bring to tired human hearts.

 Prayer to Our Lady of Perpetual Help 

Mother of Perpetual Help, you have been blessed and favored by God. You became not only the Mother of the Redeemer, but the Mother of the redeemed as well. We come to you today as you loving children. Watch over us and take care of us. As you held the child Jesus in your loving arms, so take us in your arms. Be a mother ready at every moment to help us. For God who is mighty has done great things for you, and his mercy is from age to age on those who love him. Our greatest fear is that in time of temptation, we may fail to call out to you, and become lost children. Intercede for us, dear Mother, in obtaining pardon for our sins, love for Jesus, final perseverance, and the grace always to call upon you, Mother of Perpetual Help. Amen.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fortnight for Freedom: Grave Threats

St. Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer

 St. Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer (1902 - 1975) 

St. Josemaría Escrivá was born in 1902 at Barbastro Spain. He was ordained in Saragossa in 1925 and by divine inspiration founded Opus Dei which opened a new way for the faithful to sanctify themselves in the midst of the world. He died on June 26, 1975 and was canonized a saint on October 6, 2002.

You can read his complete biography here and a longer, more detailed biography here.

 A Few of My Favorite Quotes

"You go to pray; to become a bonfire, a living flame, giving light and heat."

"We are children of God, bearers of the only flame that can light up the paths of the earth for souls, of the only brightness which can never be darkened, dimmed or overshadowed. The Lord uses us as torches, to make that light shine out. Much depends on us; if we respond many people will remain in darkness no longer, but will walk instead along paths that lead to eternal life."

 "No Christian married couple can want to block the well-springs of life. For their love is based on the love of Christ, which entails dedication and sacrifice. . . Moreover, as Tobias reminded Sara, a husband and wife know that 'we are children of saints, and we cannot come together in the way of the gentiles, who do not know God.'" " live the virtue of chastity, one doesn´t have to wait until they are old, or without strength. Purity is born of love, and for a pure/clean love the robustness and joy of youth aren´t obstacles..."

"Whoever gives himself to work for Christ cannot expect to have a free moment, for even to rest is not to do nothing: it is to relax with activities that require less effort."

"We live poverty by filling the hours of the day usefully, doing everything as well as we can, and living little details of order, punctuality and good humor."

~ St. Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer

Monday, June 25, 2012

Fortnight for Freedom Prayer

Vatican hires American journalist as its new communications adviser

June 25, 2012. ( The Vatican has hired an American journalist as its new media adviser. His name is Greg Burke. A 52 year old who, up until a few days ago worked as a FOX news network correspondent. Before that he worked as a reporter for TIME Magazine.

He has been based in Rome for over a decade covering everything from politics in Europe, to the Middle East and the Vatican.

The last lay person to be hired to a senior communication position was Joaquin Navarro-Valls, a Spanish journalist who was hired under John Paul II.

Burke, who is originally from St. Louis Missouri will directly report to Archbishop Angelo Becciu, who serves as the deputy secretary of state, and is the third ranking person in the Vatican.

Burke will be an adviser on several different levels, including the Holy See's Press Office and the Vatican's Secretariat of State. But Father Federico Lombardi will continue to be the Vatican's spokesperson. 

St. William the Confessor Prayer

Image Source

Here is a special prayer for today's saint, St. William of Vercelli, also known as William of Monte Vergine.

St. William, 
You were a father to your monks
and a shepherd to your people.
Pray for us that we might have our sight restored --
that we might see
with the eyes of
our hearts and souls,
God's presence in and around us.
Teach us to nourish our spiritual 
journeys with prayer
so that we too might be instruments
of God's light and love to others.
In the spirit of St. Benedict help us
to be people of hospitality who let
our work become prayer.
Let us find God in each other.

Part I: A Vatican scientist

An interview with Jesuit Brother Guy J. Consolmagno, a research astronomer at the Vatican Observatory. Brother Consolmagno speaks on the relationship between science and faith.

Our First, Most Cherished Liberty

St. William of Vercelli

Today's saint is William of Vercelli. Saint William was born to noble and wealthy parents in Vercelli, Italy in 1085. He lost his father and mother in his infancy and was raised by a relative. At age fifteen, he made a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. When he returned, he became a hermit in Naples and lived there on an uninhabited mountain in solitude. However, he became famous after he worked a miracle, curing a blind man. His desire to live a contemplative life and to focus on God was interrupted; consequently, he moved to another mountain.

On this mountain, he built a beautiful church in honor of Our Lady. His holiness attracted  many followers and, in 1119, he established the Congregation of Monte Vergine, or Mount of the Virgin. These sons of Our Lady lived in great poverty. Some of the monks began to complain that the rule was too strict and the lifestyle was too austere. They desired better food and a less strenuous schedule. To resolve the problem, William  assigned a new prior to the monks. Then he and five faithful followers set out for southern Italy, where they founded another monastery, with the same strict lifestyle. Saint William founded several more monasteries, both for men and women, in various places in the kingdom of Naples. He assisted King Roger I of Naples in practicing all the Christian virtues of a worthy sovereign, and in gratitude, the king had a house of the Order built at Salerno directly across from his palace, to have him near for spiritual advice. William retired to his monastery of Gugieto, where he died, and was buried in the church.

When Saint William died, he had not yet written a Rule for his religious; his second successor, Robert, fearing the dissolution of a community without constitutions, placed them under that of Saint Benedict, and is regarded as the first abbot of the Benedictine Congregation of Monte-Vergine.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Pope: John the Baptist proclaims Jesus with humilty and love

Pope Benedict XVI asked the faithful to accompany him in prayer during a visit on Tuesday to the areas affected by a recent earthquake in Northern Italy.

The Pope dedicated his thoughts before the recitation of the Marian prayer to the figure of St. John the Baptist, whose feast day is celebrated on the 24th June.

The Pope noted that John's name means, "the Lord gives grace," . John called the Baptist performed baptisms in the Jordan River, and announced the imminent coming of the Messiah. He also invited everyone to convert, demonstrating his commitment to martyrdom. For John, "was beheaded in the prison of King Herod, and so bore full witness to the Lamb of God, and first recognized and made Jesus known publicly. We follow his example", said Pope Benedict, "making visible the joy and mercy of God for mankind."

Friday, June 22, 2012

Vatican presents the major events for the Year of Faith

 ( The Vatican has presented its plans for one of its most important events of 2012. It with the Year of Faith which begins on October 11, 2012 and ends on November 23, 2013.

October also marks the beginning of the Synod for the New Evangelization and the canonization of seven new saints. Throughout the 13 months of the Year of Faith, events will involve every aspect of the Church, from the young people receiving confirmation, to catechists, seminarians and devoted Marians.

President, Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization

“It's hard to choose what will be the most important event of this year because there are many events that will be very important because they touch different aspects of faith and different categories of people.”

To order the new evangelization, the Congregation for Divine Worship approved a special Mass, but as of now it's only in Latin and Italian, but by October translations will be available in English, Spanish and German.

This will be the logo for the Year of the Faith and its website. The image will be this icon of Christ of Cefalu and the prayer will be the Lord's Creed.
President, Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization

“It is a Christ known throughout the world, one of the most beautiful representations. It is a mosaic dating from the twelfth century. We chose it as the symbol of faith because it is the expression of the unity of all believers.”

There will also be other important anniversaries during the Year of Faith, such as the 50 year mark since the opening of Vatican II and 20th anniversary of the Catechism published by the Catholic Church.

An exhibition is also scheduled to take place at Castel Sant'Angelo and a big concert in St. Peter's Square. These series of events are meant to bring the new evangelization in the Year of Faith to every corner of the world.

Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher

Today is the optional memorial of Sts.Thomas More, martyr and St. John Fisher, bishop and martyr.

St. Thomas More was born in London, England and was Chancellor of King Henry VIII. As a family man and a public servant, his life was a rare synthesis of human sensitivity and Christian wisdom.

St. John Fisher studied Theology in Cambridge (England) and became Bishop of Rochester. His friend, Thomas More, wrote of him, 'I reckon in this realm no one man, in wisdom, learning and long approved virtue together, meet to be matched and compared with him.' He and his friend St. Thomas More gave up their lives in testimony to the unity of the Church and to the indissolubility of Marriage.

~ Excerpted from Catholic Culture.

St. Thomas More

Thomas More was born in 1478, son of the lawyer and judge John More and his wife Agnes. He received a classical education from the age of six, and at age 13 became the protege of Archbishop John Morton, who also served an important civic role as the Lord Chancellor. Although Thomas never joined the clergy, he would eventually come to assume the position of Lord Chancellor himself.

More received a well-rounded college education at Oxford, becoming a “renaissance man” who knew several ancient and modern languages and was well-versed in mathematics, music and literature. His father, however, determined that Thomas should become a lawyer, so he withdrew his son from Oxford after two years to focus him on that career.

Despite his legal and political orientation, Thomas was confused in regard to his vocation as a young man. He seriously considered joining either the Carthusian monastic order or the Franciscans, and followed a number of ascetic and spiritual practices throughout his life – such as fasting, corporal mortification, and a regular rule of prayer – as means of growing in holiness.

In 1504, however, More was elected to Parliament. He gave up his monastic ambitions, though not his disciplined spiritual life, and married Jane Colt of Essex. They were happily married for several years and had four children together, though Jane tragically died in childbirth in 1511. Shortly after her death, More married a widow named Alice Middleton, who proved to be a devoted wife and mother.

Two years earlier, in 1509, King Henry VIII had acceded to the throne. For years, the king showed fondness for Thomas, working to further his career as a public servant. He became a part of the king's inner circle, eventually overseeing the English court system as Lord Chancellor. More even authored a book published in Henry's name, defending Catholic doctrine against Martin Luther.

More's eventual martyrdom would come as a consequence o f Henry VIII's own tragic downfall. The king wanted an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, a marriage that Pope Clement VII declared to be valid and indissoluble. By 1532, More had resigned as Lord Chancellor, refusing to support the king's efforts to defy the Pope and control the Church.

In 1534, Henry VIII declared that every subject of the British crown would have to swear an oath affirming the validity of his new marriage to Anne Boleyn. Refusal of these demands would be regarded as treason against the state.

In April of that year, a royal commission summoned Thomas to force him to take the oath affirming the King's new marriage as valid. While accepting certain portions of the act which pertained to Henry's royal line of succession, he could not accept the king's defiance of papal authority on the marriage question. More was taken from his wife and children, and imprisoned in the Tower of London.

For 15 months, More's wife and several friends tried to convince him to take the oath and save his life, but he refused. In 1535, while More was imprisoned, an act of Parliament came into effect declaring Henry VIII to be “the only supreme head on earth of the Church in England,” once again under penalty of treason. Members of the clergy who would not take the oath began to be executed.

In June of 1535, More was finally indicted and formally tried for the crime of treason in Westminster Hall. He was charged with opposing the king's “Act of Supremacy” in private conversations which he insisted had never occurred. But after his defense failed, and he was sentenced to death, he finally spoke out in open opposition to what he had previously opposed through silence and refusal.

More explained that Henry's Act of Supremacy, was contrary “to the laws of God and his holy Church.” He explained that “no temporal prince” could take away the prerogatives that belonged to St. Peter and his successors according to the words of Christ. When he was told that most of the English bishops had accepted the king's order, More replied that the saints in heaven did not accept it. 

On July 7, 1535, the 57-year-old More came before the executioner to be beheaded. “I die the king's good servant,” he told the onlookers, “but God's first.” His head was displayed on London Bridge, but later returned to his daughter Margaret who preserved it as a holy relic of her father.

St. Thomas More was beatified by Pope Leo XIII in 1886 and canonized in 1935 by Pope Pius XI. The Academy Award-winning film “A Man For All Seasons” portrayed the events that led to his martyrdom.

Patronage: Adopted children; diocese of Arlington, Virginia; civil servants; court clerks; difficult marriages; large families; lawyers; diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee Florida; politicians; politicos; statesmen; step-parents; widowers.

Thomas More: My Favorite Quotes

St. John Fisher

John Fisher was born at Beverly, Yorkshire, England in 1469. He was chaplain to the mother of Henry VIII and chancellor of Cambridge University before being elevated to the bishopric of Rochester in 1504. He counted Thomas More among his friends. John Fisher and his friend Saint Thomas More gave up their lives in testimony to the unity of the Church and to the indissolubility of marriage. John Fisher opposed the divorce between Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon and the constitution of the so-called Anglican Church. Because he refused to swear an oath affirming the supremacy of the king as Supreme Head of the church of England, he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. There he received the title of Cardinal granted him by Pope Paul III. He was condemned to death by torture, but this penalty was changed to beheading because the 66-year-old Cardinal was ill and too weak to endure torture. He was martyred on June 22, 1535 and buried in the churchyard of All Hallows, Barking, without rites or a shroud. His head was exhibited on London Bridge for two weeks as an example, then thrown into the River Thames. His relics are kept in Saint Peter's Church in the Tower of London. He was beatified in 1888 and canonized in 1935 by Pope Pius XI.

Patronage: Diocese of Rochester, New York


"I condemn no other man’s conscience: their conscience may save them, and mine must save me. We should remember, in all the controversies in which we engage, to treat our opponents as if they were acting in good faith, even if they seem to us to be acting out of spite or self-interest."

 ~ St. John Fisher

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Fortnight For Freedom: Everything You Need to Know

Fortnight For Freedom begins today on the vigil of the feasts of Sts. Thomas More and John Fischer, two men who strongly opposed Henry VIII's break with the Catholic Church. We’re beginning two weeks of prayer and events to create greater awareness regarding the current threats to religious freedom here in the United States.

Take a look at the listing of dioceses at the USCCB web page or the EWTN resource page to find out what is happening near you, and make plans for you and your family to attend. Here are some daily reflections on religious liberty.

As part of a national effort to educate, the USCCB announced this morning a text campaign to create a network so that people of goodwill can stay informed on the latest news and projects concerning efforts to promote and defend our religious freedom. Here’s how it works: Send a text to 377377 with either the word “freedom” or “libertad,” depending on whether you want your updates in English or Spanish. You’ll get an automatic response asking for your email and zip code. Then you’ll be connected to a network in solidarity with the bishops that will notify you to pray, learn and act on specific items.

Steven Greydanus shares a Fortnight of Films celebrating religious freedom.

St. Aloysius Gonzaga, Patron Saint of Teenagers

Today is the memorial of St. Aloysius Gonzaga.

The people who mass-produce statues and holy cards have done St. Aloysius Gonzaga no favors. The standard image of the saint as a frail, doe-eyed novice has given us the wrong impression. It may even be responsible for the decline in devotion to St. Aloysius. Yet Aloysius deserves a revival, especially as the patron saint of teenagers.

The time and place where he grew up — 16th-century Italy — is not very different from 21st century America. It was a lax, morally careless, self-indulgent age. Aloysius saw the decadence around him and vowed not to be part of it. He did not, however, become a kill-joy. Like any teenage boy, he wanted to have a good time, and as a member of an aristocratic family he had plenty of opportunities for amusement. He enjoyed horse races, banquets and the elaborate parties held in palace gardens. But if Aloysius found himself at a social function that took a turn to the lascivious, he left.

Aloysius did not just want to be good, he wanted to be holy; and on this point he could be tough and uncompromising. He came by these qualities naturally: among the great families of Renaissance Italy, the Medici were famous as patrons of the arts, and the Borgias as schemers, but the Gonzagas were a warrior clan. While most Gonzaga men aspired to conquer others, Aloysius was determined to conquer himself.

Aloysius wanted to be a priest. When he was 12 or 13, he invented for himself a program he thought would prepare him for the religious life. He climbed out of bed in the middle of the night to put in extra hours kneeling on the cold stone floor of his room. Occasionally, he even beat himself with a leather dog leash. Aloysius was trying to become a saint by sheer willpower. It was not until he entered the Jesuit novitiate in Rome that he had a spiritual director — St. Robert Bellarmine — to guide him. Bellarmine put a stop to Aloysius’ boot camp approach to sanctity, commanding him to follow the Jesuit rule of regular hours of prayer and simple acts of self-control and self-denial. Aloysius thought the Jesuits were too lenient, but he obeyed. Such over-the-top zeal may have exasperated Bellarmine, but he believed that Aloysius’ fervor was genuine and that with proper guidance the boy might be a saint.

To his credit, Aloysius recognized that his bullheadedness was a problem. From the novitiate he wrote to his brother, "I am a piece of twisted iron. I entered the religious life to get twisted straight."Then, in January 1591, the plague struck Rome. With the city’s hospitals overflowing with the sick and the dying, the Jesuits sent every priest and novice to work in the wards. This was a difficult assignment for the squeamish Aloysius. Once he started working with the sick, however, fear and disgust gave way to compassion. He went into the streets of Rome and carried the ill and the dying to the hospital on his back. There he washed them, found them a bed, or at least a pallet, and fed them. Such close contact with the sick was risky. Within a few weeks, Aloysius contracted the plague himself and died. He was 23 years old.

In the sick, the helpless, the dying, St. Aloysius saw the crucified Christ. The man of the iron will who thought he could take Heaven by sheer determination surrendered at last to divine grace.

~ Excerpted from Saints for Every Occasion, Thomas J. Craughwell via Catholic Culture.

AIDS care-givers; AIDS patients; Catholic youth; Jesuit students; relief from pestilence; sore eyes; teenage children; teenagers; young people; youth.


cross or crucifix; lilies; crown at his feet; rosary; Often portrayed as a Jesuit with a cross, lily, and skull


"There is no more evident sign that anyone is a saint and of the number of the elect, than to see him leading a good life and at the same time a prey to desolation, suffering, and trials."

Prayer of Self-Commendation to Mary

O Holy Mary, my Lady, into your blessed trust and safe keeping and into the depths of your mercy, I commend my soul and body this day, every day of my life, and at the hour of my death. To you I entrust all my hopes and consolations, all my trials and miseries, my life and the end of my life. By your most holy intercession and by your merits, may all my actions be directed and disposed according to your will and the Will of your divine Son. Amen.

~ Saint Aloysius Gonzaga

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Prayer for the Protection of Religious Liberty

O God our Creator,

Through the power and working of your Holy Spirit,
you call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world,
bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel
to every corner of society.

We ask you to bless us
in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty.
Give us the strength of mind and heart
to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened;
give us courage in making our voices heard
on behalf of the rights of your Church
and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.

Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father,
a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters
gathered in your Church
in this decisive hour in the history of our nation,
so that, with every trial withstood
and every danger overcome—
for the sake of our children, our grandchildren,
and all who come after us—
this great land will always be "one nation, under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

We ask this through Christ our Lord.


The Threat Against Religious Freedom Under the Obama Healthcare Mandate

Judie Brown, President of American Life League, explains the problems with the Obama healthcare mandate and the response by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops --the Fortnight for Freedom.


Stop The HHS Mandate

This is a powerful video!

Genercide at Planned Parenthood Continues in North Carolina

Live Action undercover video released today again catches Planned Parenthood contradicting its public statements claiming opposition to sex-selective abortion -- this time, in North Carolina.

 The film actually depicts two abortion facilities: the National Abortion Federation (NAF) affiliated “Women’s Choice of Raleigh,” along with Planned Parenthood’s Chapel Hill location. Both willingly and without any discernible hesitation schedule late-term, sex-selective abortions of baby girls -- just because the woman brazenly claims she is "unlucky" to be pregnant with a daughter, not a son.


“Yet again we have caught Planned Parenthood saying one thing in public and doing the opposite behind closed doors,” stated Live Action President Lila Rose.

“The fact is that, contrary to its public claims, the world’s largest abortion chain has no problem with targeted violence against girls. It willingly profits from any abortion, at any time, for any reason," Rose continued. "How is it that this huge abortion profiteer and perpetrator of crimes against innocent girls and boys gets a single dime of our tax dollars?”

The abortion workers at both locations follow the same disturbing pattern of facilitation established in the previous videos in the “Gendercide” series. So far the series has exposed clinics in New York, Texas, Arizona, Hawaii and now North Carolina counseling women to wait for an ultrasound and a late-term sex-selective abortion. They even counsel the Live Action actors to lie to their OB/GYN’s to obtain sex-selection tests and services.

Live Action’s video releases in the “Gendercide” series have sparked national debate on sex-selective abortion. Footage showing illegal activity at NAF abortion clinics in Arizona has been delivered to local authorities.

Just last week, Senator David Vitter (R-LA) introduced a U.S. Senate version of PRENDA (the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act), which would criminalize abortion performed because of the sex of the unborn baby.

Tell Congress that you oppose all abortion, including sex-selective abortion: Sign the petition today!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Saint Romuald, Abbot

Today is the optional memorial of Saint Romuald, abbot and founder of the Camaldolese Benedictines-- one of the Italian branches of the Benedictines. He was born around 950 in Ravenna, Italy of a noble family and died on June 19, 1027 in Val-di-Castro, Italy.

Horrified, after his father killed a relative in a duel, at which he was forced to be present, Romuald retired to the Benedictine monastery of St. Apollinare, near Ravenna, where he became abbot from 996 to 999. For almost thirty years he traveled about Italy, reforming monasteries and establishing hermitages.

Romuald's own father eventually became a monk in one of his monasteries; when he later wavered in his vows, his son's encouragement helped him remain faithful. The last fourteen years of Romuald's life were spent in seclusion at Mount Sitria, Bifolco, and Val di Castro. St. Romuald died in 1027, and was canonized in 1595.

Like all the saints, Romuald fought a lifelong battle against the assaults of devils and men. In the beginning of his spiritual life he experienced numerous temptations, which he conquered by vigilance and prayer. More than one attempt was made on his life, but Divine Providence enabled him to escape from the danger. Like many servants of God, he also became the victim of calumny, which he bore in patience and silence. In his old age, he increased his austerities instead of diminishing them.

Saint Romuald Quotes: 

"Better to pray one psalm with devotion and compunction than a hundred with distraction."

"Oh, my sweet Jesus! God of my heart! Delight of pure souls! The object of all my desires!"


Father, through Saint Romuald you renewed the life of solitude and prayer in your Church. By our self-denial as we follow Christ bring us the joy of heaven. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Fortnight of Freedom on EWTN

Pope recognizes first Italian martyr for helping Jews during the Holocaust

( Odoardo Focherini was an Italian newspaper editor and a father of seven. During World War II, he helped hundreds of Jews escape Nazi persecution by giving them false documents to cross the Swiss border to safety.

He was eventually arrested and deported to the camp of Hersbruck where he died of an infection in December 1944.  

His life is a story that has been retold by historians such as Anna Foa, an expert in European Jewish history. She says the letters he wrote to his family from the concentration camp shows his resolve to help those being persecuted.

Anna Foa
Professor of History, La Sapienza University 
“There is a sentence that he writes 'if you could see how they treat the Jews here in the camp, we would have done much more than what we did.”
On May 10, Benedict XVI announced that Focherini would become a Blessed in recognition of his martyrdom. The act will make him the first Italian to be beatified for helping the Jewish people during the holocaust. 

Anna Foa
Professor of History, La Sapienza University 
“It must be said for Focherini, now there has been this great step toward his beatification and he has been recognized as a savior of the Jews and of the Jewish community.” 
In 1969, Focherini was also recognized for his actions by the State of Israel and the Holocaust Memoral of Yad Vashem. He is also included in the list of 'Righteous Among the Nations', those who risked their lives to help Jews during the holocaust. 

This new recognition by the Catholic Church will make him one step away from becoming a saint.

St. Elizabeth of Schönau, Benedictine Mystic

St. Elisabeth of Schönau, a friend and correspondent of St. Hildegard of Bingen, became a candid critic of corrupt clergy and joined her in a battle against heresy.

Born in Germany in 1129 of a prominent and pious family, she entered the Black Benedictine double monastery at Schönau, at age 12, made her profession in 1147, and became abbess in 1157.

At the age of 23, she began experiencing ecstasies and visions, which helped to provide answers to theological questions. In addition, she uttered prophecies, as well as denunciations of abuses in the Church and of the Cathari heretics. These revelations usually occurred on Sundays and Holy Days at Mass or Divine Office or after hearing about or reading the lives of saints. Christ, His Blessed Mother, an angel, or the special saint of the day would appear to her and instruct her; or she would see quite realistic representations of the Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension, or other scenes of the Old and New Testaments.

Elisabeth left behind a considerable body of writings: three books of visions, a short text about the Assumption of Mary, visions about the martyrdom of St. Ursula and her companions, The Book of the Ways of God, and some letters. Elisabeth’s brother Ekbert, a priest and monk, who later became the abbot at Schönau, served as her secretary and editor.

After her death in 1165, she was buried in the abbey church of St. Florin. Elizabeth was never formally canonized but was added to the list of saints due to great popular devotion.

Elisabeth's works include three visionary journals (Libri visionem primus, secundus, tercius); parts of these were circulated in her lifetime, but not in their entirety. The three complete works that circulated were these:

Liber viarum Dei (1157), which talks about the "ways of God" followed by men and women in various walks of life --- religious and lay --- and at various stages of life --- childhood, adolescence, widowhood. This work became standard reading in many men's and women's monasteries over the next century.

Revelatio de sacro exercitu virginum Coloniensium (1157), in which Elisabeth reports on her questioning of the "sacred company of the virgins of Cologne": an English princess, Ursula, and her companions. A great number of bones had been discovered in Cologne earlier in the century, and if these were indeed those of the martyrs, then there would be a great number of relics to be distributed. This was by far Elisabeth's most popular work; since she "proved" that the relics were genuine, her report seems to have been wanted by every church and monastery that got a relic.

Visio de resurrectione Beate Virginis Marie (1159), which briefly describes Mary's and an angel's response to questions about a old controversy: whether Mary's body had gone to heaven with her soul at her death. This work appears in at least one extant manuscript circulated before Elisabeth's death and in several shortly after.

Patronage:  Against Temptation

St. Elizabeth shares a mystical vision she once had of Mary the mother of Jesus: 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Prayer for Father's Day

God our Father, We give you thanks and praise for fathers young and old.

We pray for young fathers, newly embracing their vocation; May they find courage and perseverance to balance work, family and faith in joy and sacrifice.

We pray for our own Fathers around the world whose children are lost or suffering; May they know that the God of compassion walks with them in their sorrow.

We pray for men who are not fathers but still mentor and guide us with fatherly love and advice.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Cardinal Burke on SSPX

Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, speaks about the ongoing reconciliation talks with the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X.


The Immaculate Heart of Mary

The Church celebrates the liturgical memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary the day after the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The contiguity of both celebrations is in itself a liturgical sign of their close connection: the mysterium of the Heart of Jesus is projected onto and reverberates in the Heart of His Mother, who is also one of his followers and a disciple.

As the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart celebrates the salvific mysteries of Christ in a synthetic manner by reducing them to their fount-the Heart of Jesus, so too the memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a celebration of the complex visceral relationship of Mary with her Son’s work of salvation: from the Incarnation, to his death and resurrection, to the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Following the apparitions at Fatima in 1917, devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary became very widespread. On the twenty-fifth anniversary of the apparitions (1942) Pius XII consecrated the Church and the human race to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and extended the memorial to the entire Church.

The meaning of "the heart of the Virgin" is to be understood in a biblical sense: it denotes the person of the Blessed Virgin herself; her intimate and unique being; the center and source of her interior life, of her mind and memory, of her will and love; the single-mindedness with which she loved God and the disciples and devoted herself wholeheartedly to the saving work of her Son.

The formulary celebrates the loving kindness of God, who, after giving to the Church the heart of our Lord Jesus Christ as a proof of his love, gave it also the heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary to be contemplated as the model of the "new heart" of one who lives by the "new Covenant."

Source: Excerpts from the introductory commentary to the Mass, Collection of Masses of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Volume 1, Sacramentary, Catholic Book Publishing Co., 1992, p. 216.]

Throughout the history of this devotion different titles have been used for the Immaculate Heart of Our Blessed Mother such as "the Maternal Heart of Mary" and also the "Sacred Heart of Mary." Sacred means holy, it does not mean divine.

St. John Eudes (d. 1680) wrote of "the Admirable Heart of Mary."

In St. Luke (2:51) we read of Our Lady pondering all these things—about Her Son Jesus—in her Heart. Also from St. Luke (2:35) we see that Simeon at the Presentation prophesied that Our Lady’s Soul would be pierced with sorrow. This is depicted by showing a sword piercing the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The early theologians of our Faith, the Fathers of the Church, such as St. John Chrysostom (d. 407) and St. Epiphanus (d. 403) referred to Our Lady’s Heart.

St. John Damascene (d. 749) explained that the Immaculate Heart of Mary "lives solely on the contemplation and the love of God." In the Middle Ages St. Bernard (d. 1153) wrote that at Calvary, "as Jesus died in Body so Mary died in Heart." St. Thomas a Becket (d. 1170), the English Martyr, had a special devotion to the joys of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Our Blessed Mother appeared to him and promised to help those who also have this devotion, especially at the hour of death.

St. Gertrude the Great (d. 1302), the German mystic, was granted a vision of three rays of light coming from the Most Holy Trinity and entering the Immaculate Heart of Mary and then returning to God with great speed, to the Source from which they came. The rays represented Power, Wisdom and the Gifts bestowed upon Mary by the Most Holy Trinity.

St. Bridget of Sweden (d. 1373) was told by Our Blessed Lord, "the Heart of my Mother was like mine. Therefore I can affirm that we worked together for the salvation of the world. I, by the sufferings endured by My Body, She by the sorrows and love of Her Heart."

And Our Lady told St. Bridget, "When my Son suffered, I felt as though my Heart endured the sufferings also. When my Son was scourged and torn with whips, my Heart was scourged and whipped with Him. His Heart was my Heart. My Beloved and I redeemed the world as with one Heart." St. Bernadine of Siena (d. 1444), the Italian Franciscan, is especially known for his devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He wrote that the Immaculate Heart of Mary was "a fiery furnace of Holy Love."

St. John Eudes, a great Apostle of Devotion to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, prayed to both the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary by saying "AVE COR," or Hail Heart in the singular, to show the unity of these Two Hearts.

St. Margaret Mary (d. 1690), the great Apostle of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, explained that "the most efficacious way to have devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is through the Immaculate Heart of Mary." And St. Margaret Mary’s spiritual director, St. Claude de la Colombiere stated: "I turn to Mary and ask her to obtain for me the grace to imitate Our Lord’s Heart. I saw how perfectly her Heart copied His."

St. Louis de Montfort (d. 1716), the great Apostle of devotion to Our Lady, tells us, "If you put all the love of all the mothers into one heart it still would not equal the love of the Heart of Mary for her children."

St. Anthony Mary Claret (1807 - 1870), Cistercian Bishop who was also a monk and mystic wrote: “A son of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a man who is consumed with love and who sets on fire everything in his path. He is a man who unceasingly expends himself to light the fire of divine love in the world. Nothing stops him; he places his joy in privations, he undertakes all works for the glory of God; he embraces willingly every sacrifice, he is happy in the midst of calumnies; he exults in torments. He can think of but one thing — working, suffering, and seeking at all times the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls, to imitate Our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The Venerable Father Francis Liberman (d. 1852), a Jewish convert wrote: "You do not know what a treasure the Holy Heart of Mary is. Jesus Christ has placed in it so great a fullness of grace and favors that they would be sufficient to satisfy not merely the whole world but a hundred thousand worlds and much more."

At Fatima, Our Blessed Mother revealed her Immaculate Heart to the three shepherd children. We saw then that Our Mother’s Heart was surrounded by thorns—the thorns of sin. We were then asked to make reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by prayer and sacrifices—to console her Motherly Heart—to remove those thorns. Also at Fatima Our Lady requested that Russia be consecrated to her Immaculate Heart saying, "In the end My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me and she will be converted and a period of peace will be granted to the world."

She also told them: "Jesus wishes to establish devotion to my Immaculate Heart in the world. I promise salvation to those who embrace it. Tell everybody that God grants graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and that they must ask them from her. Tell them that the Heart of Jesus wishes that by His side should be venerated the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Tell them to ask peace through the Immaculate Heart of Mary; God has placed it in her hands."

 ~ Excerpted in part from the Monks of Adoration. For more information on the nature of this devotion and on its history, see the Catholic Encyclopedia.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Vatican document aims to bring morality back into the business sphere

June 15, 2012. ( In light of the economic crisis, for the first time the Vatican has given very specific recommendations in the document “Vocation of the Business Leader”. Those who helped to write it say the recent economic turmoil was the turning point that made them want to publish their “reflections” on the subject. 

Editor, “Vocation of the Business Leader”
“People were lying, they were cheating, they were selling products which had a huge amount of risk in them which other people didn't recognize so these are basic ethical problems that were polluting the economical environment and at the end of the day they had their final result, a major crash.”

Helen Alford is a Dominican nun at Rome's Angelicum University. She is also one of the editors that helped to create this document from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

They made sure to note that business is often working toward the common good, but it also can lose sight of right and wrong. That's why they believe they may have something to offer the business community.

Editor, “Vocation of the Business Leader”

“The role of religion in the business sphere, which is going to become more and more important in our intercultural, inter-religious, globally connected world.” 

The document offers six points of advice that range from helping the poor, being aware of your actions, and moral check-ups for corporations. Sister Helen also noted there could be a Vatican document coming with prescriptions aimed at making governmental change toward financial regulation.
Editor, “Vocation of the Business Leader”

“People in government also need to change. We need to have a more realistic, regulatory environment, where regulations are seriously thought about and then properly applied.”

At the end of the document there is a checklist for the businessperson with questions such as 'Am I creating safe working conditions?' 'Are employees being fairly compensated?' And 'Am I creating wealth or engaging in rent-seeking behavior?'

The business school at the Angelicum University will be including this document as part of their curriculum next year. While Sister Helen hopes that many more Universities, Catholic and non-Catholic, will be interested in including the document in their own teachings of business. 

Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

 "I promise you in the excessive mercy of my Heart that my all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Fridays in nine consecutive months the grace of final perseverance; they shall not die in my disgrace, nor without receiving their sacraments. My divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment" (Jesus to St. Margaret Mary).

Today is the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. On this feast, we focus our attention on Jesus truly present in the Holy Eucharist and reflect on God’s unconditional love and boundless mercy as symbolized by his heart.

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus has as its dogmatic foundation the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. On account of the hypostatic union, every part of our Lord's Human Nature is worthy of adoration. Hence, therefore, we adore His bodily Heart, beating in His Bosom. We also honor the Heart of Jesus as a reminder, or symbol, of His love for us, and we are moved to make Him a return of love, because He has loved us and He is not loved by men. Love, consecration, and reparation are the characteristic acts of this devotion. In this form it is now solemnly approved by the Church.

On the feast of the Sacred Heart celebrated on the Friday after the Octave of Corpus Christi an act of reparation is prescribed for recitation in every church in the world. On the feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King, the last Sunday of October, an act of consecration of the human race is prescribed. Though this devotion was practiced by saintly souls before 1675, it is due to the apparitions of our Lord to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque in the Visitation Monastery at Paray-le-Monial that the feast of the Sacred Heart is now kept on the day assigned by Our Lord.

History of the Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Prayers to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sex-Selection in America: Part 4 - Undercover in Hawaii

The fourth installment in Live Action's “Gendercide” series continues to expose Planned Parenthood’s serial callousness when it comes to the deliberate destruction of unborn baby girls – this time, paid for 100% by public funds.

Pontifical Council for Culture celebrates 30 years with new website and a documentary

Fr. Barron: Why Its Ok to be Against Heresy

Pope reflects on power of prayer during difficult times

 June 13, 2012. ( During the general audience, Benedict XVI continued his catechesis on the series of prayer with the writings of St. Paul.

 The selected passages focused on the apostle’s testimony to his own experience of contemplative prayer.

Benedict XVI “Paul teaches us the need for daily perseverance in prayer, even at times of dryness and difficulty, for it is there that we experience the life-changing power of God’s love.”

 The pope also recognized the participants in the International Eucharistic Congress that is currently taking place in Ireland's capital of Dublin.

 Benedict XVI “I invite all of you to join me in praying that the Congress will bear rich spiritual fruit in a greater appreciation of our Lord’s gift of himself to us in the Eucharist and a deeper love of the mystery of the Church.”

 At the end of the encounter the pope was greeted by the different groups in attendance like this group of German military officers, and this group of musicians from Mexico.

St. Elisha, Prophet

The saint of the day for June 14 is St. Elisha the Prophet, 9th century B.C.

Elisha, whose name in Hebrew means "God is Salvation," was the son of Shaphat. He was called by the prophet Elijah while plowing his father's fields. Elijah came and cast his mantle upon him, indicating thereby that Elisha was to succeed him. Before Elijah was taken up in a fiery chariot and into the whirlwind, Elisha asked to "inherit a double-portion" of Elijah's spirit. Throughout the whole course of his life the prophet Elisha accomplished a significant number of miracles.

He won the gratitude of the people of Jericho for healing its barren ground by adding salt to its waters.

When the armies of Judah, Israel and Edom, then allied against Mesa, the Moabite king, were being tortured by drought in the Idumæan desert, Elisha consented to intervene. His double prediction regarding relief from drought and victory over the Moabites was fulfilled on the following morning (2 Kgs 3:4-24).

To relieve the widow importuned by a hard creditor, Elisha so multiplied a little oil as to enable her, not only to pay her indebtedness, but to provide for her family needs (2 Kgs 4:1-7).

To reward the rich lady of Shunam for her hospitality, he restored to life her son (2 Kgs 4:18-37)

To nourish the sons of the prophets pressed by famine, Elisha changed into wholesome food the pottage made from poisonous gourds (2 Kgs 4:38-41). 

During the military incursions of Syria into Israel, Elisha cured Naaman the Syrian of his leprosy by simply sending him word that he was to bathe in the Jordan seven times. At first reluctant, Naaman obeyed the Prophet, and after washed seven times in the Jordan, he was healed. Jesus referred to this when he said: "And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet: and none of them was cleansed but Naaman the Syrian" (Luke 4:27).

Elisha's life and activities are found in 1 and 2 Kings and he is commemorated on this date in the 2004 Roman Martyrology.

 ~ Via Daily Gospel.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

St. Anthony of Padua

Today is the memorial of my one of my favorite saints -- St. Anthony of Padua, a Doctor of the Church, a Franciscan priest known as the "Hammer of the Heretics", the "Wonder Worker", and the "Ark of the Covenant." (Pope Gregory IX, who heard St. Anthony preach, in his canonization decree gave him the title "Ark of the Covenant," for just as the original Ark held the sacred Scriptures, so did St. Anthony in his person.)

He was born Fernando (Ferdinand) Martin de Bulhom in 1195 in Lisbon, Portugal, the son of a knight of the court of King Alfonso II. At the age of 15, he joined the Augustinian order and at 17, transferred to the priory of St. Cross, a more secluded monastery of the same order, where he devoted himself to prayer and study for eight years.

Ferdinand learned the news about five Franciscan friars who had recently died for their faith in Morocco. When their bodies were brought to Portugal for veneration, he developed a strong desire to imitate their commitment to the Gospel. At the age of 25, Ferdinand joined the Franciscan order, and changed his name to Anthony in honor of St. Anthony of Eygpt, a fourth century desert monk.. He was deeply inspired by the Franciscan martyrs and tried to emulate them. In the same year, his earnest desire to be sent to the missions in Africa was fulfilled.

But God had decreed otherwise. For, Anthony scarcely set foot on African soil when he became gravely ill. Even after he had recovered, he was so weak that he boarded a boat back to Portugal. Unexpectedly, a storm came upon them and drove the ship to the east where it found refuge on coast of Sicily. There Anthony was greeted and given shelter by the Franciscans of that island, and shortly thereafter was sent to Assisi, where the general chapter of the Order was held in May, 1221. Anthony remained there nine months as chaplain to the hermits, occupied in the lowliest duties of the kitchen and convent, and to his heart's content, he practiced interior as well as exterior mortification.

But the hidden jewel was soon to appear in all its brilliance. For the occasion of a ceremony of ordination some of the hermits along with Anthony were sent to the town of Forli. Before the ceremony was to begin, however, it was announced that the priest who was to give the sermon had fallen sick. The local superior, to avoid the embarrassment of the moment, quickly asked the friars in attendance to volunteer. Each excused himself, saying that he was not prepared, until finally, Anthony was asked to give it. When he too, excused himself in a humble manner, his superior ordered him by virtue of the vow of obedience to give the sermon. Anthony began to speak in a very quiet and reserved manner; but soon the power of the Holy Spirit seized him, and he spoke with such eloquence that everyone was amazed.

After learning of the event, St. Francis gave Anthony the responsibility of preaching the gospel throughout Italy.  He was also assigned the task of teaching theology in Italy and France.

Known for his bold preaching and austere lifestyle, Anthony also had a reputation as a worker of miracles, which often came about in the course of his disputes with heretics.

In one miracle, a horse, which refused to eat for three days, and accepted food only after it had placed itself in adoration before the Eucharist that Anthony brought in his hands. Another miracle involved a poisoned meal, which Anthony ate without any harm after making the sign of the Cross over it. Yet in another miracle, a group of fish rose out of the sea to hear his preaching, when heretical residents of a city refused to listen to him.

St. Anthony once received an apparition of the Infant Jesus. Before going to bed for the night, he was reading his Bible. Suddenly, the Infant Jesus appeared resting on the Bible and in the arms of St. Anthony. The Infant Jesus stroked St. Anthony’s face. Here the word of God appeared to the man who had so well preached His word. For this reason, most images of St. Anthony depict him holding a Bible with the Infant Jesus.

 In 1227 A. D., Anthony was elected Minister Provincial of the friars living in northern Italy. Due to his taxing labors and his austere penance, he soon felt his strength so spent that he prepared himself for death. After receiving the last sacraments he kept looking upward with a smile. When he was asked what he saw there, he answered: "I see my Lord." He died on June 13, 1231, at the age of 36.

Anthony was canonized in 1232 and named a Doctor of the Church in 1946. At Padua, a magnificent basilica was built in his honor, his holy relics were entombed there in 1263 A. D. From the time of his death up to the present day, countless miracles have occurred through St. Anthony's intercession.

Patron: Poor, barren and pregnant women, also against shipwrecks, starvation and of American Indians, animals, boatmen, elderly people, fishermen, harvests, lost articles, mail, Portugal, travelers, travel hostesses, and watermen.

Prayers to St. Anthony

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

50th International Eucharistic Congress: Reflection and Prayer

108 Martyrs of World War II

Today we remember 108 martyrs of World War II -- a group of  Roman Catholics from Poland murdered for their faith by the Nazis during World War II. The groups consists of: 3 bishops, 52 priests, 26 members of male religious orders, 3 seminarians, 8 religious sisters, and 9 lay people. They were beatified by Pope John Paul II on June 13, 1999 in Warsaw, Poland.

Monday, June 11, 2012

St. Barnabas

Today is the memorial of St. Barnabas, apostle.

Barnabas was not one of the original apostles, but was a Levite from Cyprus, originally named Joseph but renamed Barnabas, which means "Son of Encouragement" by them. It was Barnabas who presented St. Paul to the other Apostles when, after his long retreat in Arabia, he came to Jerusalem for the first time after his conversion to submit for Peter's approval the mission to the Gentiles entrusted to him by the Master Himself. He was present with Paul at the Council of Jerusalem (ca. 50). Barnabas was Paul's companion and helper on his first missionary journey and returned with him to Jerusalem, but left him when he set out on his second journey and went to Cyprus. After having converted many souls to Christ, Barnabas died in Cyprus during Nero's reign; tradition has it that he was stoned to death in the year 61. The name of St. Barnabas is mentioned in the Canon of the Mass.

St. Luke described Barnabas as 'a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith' (Acts 6:24). He was known for his exceptional kindliness and personal sanctity, and his openness to pagans.

Patronage: against hailstorms; Antioch; Cyprus; invoked as peacemaker; Marino, Italy

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Feast of Corpus Christi -- The Body and Blood of Christ

Saturday, June 09, 2012

St. Ephrem of Syria, Deacon and Doctor

Today is the optional memorial of St. Ephrem of Syria, deacon and doctor.

 St. Ephrem was born around 306 A.D. in Nisibis, Mesopotamia. He is the only Syrian Father who is honored as a Doctor of the Universal Church.

Ephrem was baptized at the age of eighteen and became a disciple of the famous bishop of Nisibis, St. Jacob. He also accompanied St. Jacob to the Council of Nicaea in 325. Due to his great knowledge of the Church and doctrine, Ephrem was put in charge of a school of theology in Nisibis. He lived through three sieges laid to Nisibis by the Persians. Although the Persians failed to capture the town by direct attack, they obtained it in 363 as part of the price of a peace settlement following the defeat and death of the Emperor Julian. The Christians then abandoned the city and Ephrem retired to a cave in a rocky height overlooking Edessa.

 In Edessa, Ephrem led an austere life, sustained only by a little barley bread and a few vegetables. It was here that he wrote the greater part of his spiritual works. His appearance was that of an ascetic. He was of small stature, bald, beardless, and with skin shrivelled and dried up. His gown was all patches and the color of dirt.

As a deacon at Edessa, he vigorously combated the heresies of his time, and to do so more effectively wrote poems and hymns about the mysteries of Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints. His works were described as "a storehouse of treasures," and he was called -- "Harp of the Holy Spirit," "Doctor of the world," and "Pillar of the Church." He was a commentator on Scripture and a preacher as well as a poet, and has left a considerable number of works, which were translated into other Eastern languages as well as into Greek and Latin.

St. Ephrem was deeply devoted to Our Blessed Mother and no one in the early Church wrote more about Mary than Ephrem. He called devotion to her "the unlocking of the gates of the heavenly Jerusalem."

Ephrem died in 373. Benedict XV proclaimed him a Doctor of the Church in 1920. Ephrem is the patron of spiritual directors and spiritual leaders.

 The Prayer of St. Ephrem  


"Virtues are formed by prayer. Prayer preserves temperance. Prayer suppresses anger. Prayer prevents emotions of pride and envy. Prayer draws into the soul the Holy Spirit, and raises man to Heaven."

~Saint Ephrem

Pope leads procession through streets of Rome, to celebrate feast of "Corpus Domini"

Convents and monasteries survive on their online stores

Friday, June 08, 2012

Lila Rose Reveals Growing Trend of Sex-Selective Abortions on The O'Reilly Factor

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Blessed Anne of Saint Bartholomew

The saint of the day is Blessed Anne of Saint Bartholomew. 

Anne was born at Almendral (Avila) on Oct. 10, 1549, and died at Anvers in Belgium on June 7, 1626. In her youth she was a shepherdess, hut already graced by deep mystical experiences. In 1570 she joined the Discalced Carmelite nuns of the first monastery of St. Joseph in Avila as the first lay sister of the reform. Anne was very dear to St. Teresa of Avila, who admitted her to profession on Aug. 15, 1572. She soon became the assistant and travel-companion of the reformer, who ordered Anne to learn to write, which she did almost miraculously. The saint also wished to die in the arms of Anne, at Alba de Tonnes on Oct. 4, 1582. Anne was a member of the communities of Avila, Madrid (1591) and Ocaña (1595); in 1604 she went into France with Anne of Jesus and four other nuns to initiate the reform there.

Shortly after her arrival in Paris, she was obliged to accept, under obedience, the black veil of a choir nun; she was then elected prioress of Pontoise (1605) and of Tours (1608). Having returned to Paris (1611), she obtained permission to transfer to Flanders, despite the opposition of Bérulle, in order to place herself under the direction of the Discalced Carmelites. After a year spent at Mons, in Belgium, on Oct. 12, 1612, she left to found a monastery at Anvers, where she spent the last fourteen years of her life. Here she was surrounded by the esteem of the archdukes and all the people of Anvers. Twice, through her prayers, she freed the city from almost certain occupation by the heretics. She died on the feast of the Trinity in 1626, and God blessed her memory with graces and miracles.

Pope Clement XII approved her heroic virtues on June 29, 1735, and Pope Benedict XV beatified her on May 6, 1917. In 1937 and 1938 the process of examination of asserted miracles was reopened. Her feast is celebrated in the Order on June 7. Her body is preserved in the monastery of Anvers.

~ Via Carmelnet.