Friday, August 31, 2012

Pope's September intentions: Politicians and Missionaries




August 31, 2012. (Romereports.com) Each month the Pope calls on Christians to pray for specific intentions. For the month of September, he's focusing on politicians, so “they may always act with honesty, integrity and love of truth.”

Benedict XVI's intentions also include missions, so that within Christian communities more missionaries, priests, laity, and resources can be given to the parishes in need.

Maria Montessori: Physician and teacher honored on anniversary of birth





Maria Montessori was an Italian physician and teacher that is known internationally for her teaching methods that have been adopted by an estimated 20,000 schools worldwide. She is being recognized by 'Google Doodle' on the Google homepage on the 142nd anniversary of her birth.

She was the first woman to graduate from Rome's University of La Sapienza with a degree in medicine. She went on to work in pediatrics and in psychiatry, eventually become a leading expert in children's medicine.

She also began to work with mentally disabled children and would speak out on the role of society to take care of juvenile delinquency at a time when many children in Italy were not attending school.

She eventually created her own school based on her methods that are still used today. They included mixed age classrooms, a hands on learning model, and liberty for children to be able to study what interested them.

Montessori died of a cerebral haemorrhage in 1952 at the age of 81. However, her memory lives on in classrooms around the world as children are are still taught with the methods that she created over a century ago.

St. Raymond Nonnatus, Patron of Expectant Mothers, Midwives, and Newborn Babies


The saint of the day for August 31 is St. Raymond Nonnatus.

Raymond was born at Portella, Catalonia, Spain in 1204, the son of wealthy parents. He was delivered by cesarean section when his mother died in childbirth. Hence his name non natus (not born). In his childhood, he seemed to find pleasure only in his devotions and serious duties. His father, sensing that Raymond was drawn to religious life, ordered him to manage one of the family farms. Raymond readily obeyed but spent his time with the shepherds and workers, studying and praying until his father abandoned the idea of making his son a worldly success.

Raymond later joined the Mercederians, which was founded by St. Peter Nolasco, who devoted to ransoming Christians captured by the Moors. He succeeded Peter as chief ransomer and went to Algeria to ransom slaves. He remained as hostage for several slaves when his money ran out and was sentenced to be impaled when the governor learned that he had converted several Mohammedans. He escaped the death sentence because of the ransom he would bring, but was forced to run the gauntlet. He was then tortured for continuing his evangelizing activities but was ransomed eight months later by Peter Nolasco.

On his return to Barcelona, he was appointed Cardinal by Pope Gregory IX. He died the following year in 1240 and was canonized in 1657.

Patronage: childbirth; children; expectant mothers; falsely accused people; fever; infants; midwives; newborn babies; obstetricians; pregnant women.

Prayers / Novena to St. Raymond Nonnatus

Prayers for Pregnant Women


Cardinal Timothy Dolan at Republican National Convention

Amen! What a beautiful prayer!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

St. Jeanne Jugan



The saint of the day is St. Jeanne Jugan (1792 – 1879) , also known as Sister Mary of the Cross. During the 19th century, she founded the Little Sisters of the Poor with the goal of imitating Christ's humility through service to elderly people in need.

In his homily for her canonization in October 2009, Pope Benedict XVI praised St. Jeanne as "a beacon to guide our societies" toward a renewed love for those in old age. The Pope recalled how she "lived the mystery of love" in a way that remains "ever timely while so many elderly people are suffering from numerous forms of poverty and solitude and are sometimes also abandoned by their families."

Born on Oct. 25, 1792 in a port city of the French region of Brittany, Jeanne Jugan grew up during the political and religious upheavals of the French Revolution. Four years after she was born, her father was lost at sea. Her mother struggled to provide for Jeanne and her three siblings, while also providing them secretly with religious instruction amid the anti-Catholic persecutions of the day.

Jeanne worked as a shepherdess, and later as a domestic servant. At age 18, and again six years later, she declined two marriage proposals from the same man. She told her mother that God had other plans, and was calling her to "a work which is not yet founded."

At age 25, the young woman joined the Third Order of St. John Eudes, a religious association for laypersons founded during the 17th century. Jeanne worked as a nurse in the town of Saint-Servan for six years, but had to leave her position due to health troubles. Afterward she worked for 12 years as the servant of a fellow member of the third order, until the woman's death in 1835.

During 1839, a year of economic hardship in Saint-Servan, Jeanne was sharing an apartment with an older woman and an orphaned young lady. It was during the winter of this year that Jeanne encountered Anne Chauvin, an elderly woman who was blind, partially paralyzed, and had no one to care for her.

Jeanne carried Anne home to her apartment and took her in from that day forward, letting the woman have her bed while Jeanne slept in the attic. She soon took in two more old women in need of help, and by 1841 she had rented a room to provide housing for a dozen elderly people. The following year, she acquired an unused convent building that could house 40 of them.

During the 1840s, many other young women joined Jeanne in her mission of service to the elderly poor. By begging in the streets, the foundress was able to establish four more homes for their beneficiaries by the end of the decade. By 1850, over 100 women had joined the congregation that had become known as the Little Sisters of the Poor.

However, Jeanne Jugan - known in religious life as Sister Mary of the Cross - had been forced out of her leadership role by Father Auguste Le Pailleur, the priest who had been appointed superior general of the congregation. In an apparent effort to suppress her true role as foundress, the superior general ordered her into retirement and a life of obscurity for 27 years.

During these years, she served the order through her prayers and by accepting the trial permitted by God. At the time of her death on Aug. 29, 1879, she was not known to have founded the order, which by then had 2,400 members serving internationally. Fr. Le Pailleur, however, was eventually investigated and disciplined, and St. Jeanne Jugan came to be acknowledged as their foundress.


Quotes

“Remain little, hidden by humility in all God wants from you, as being only the instruments of his work.”

“If you keep the spirit of humility and simplicity, never seeking the world’s esteem, then God will be glorified and you will obtain the conversion of souls.”

“It is so good to be poor, to have nothing, to depend on God for everything.”

“Refuse God nothing … We must do all through love.”


Prayer through the Intercession of Saint Jeanne Jugan

Jesus, you rejoiced and praised your Father for having revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven. We thank you for the graces granted to your humble servant, Jeanne Jugan, to whom we confide our petitions and needs.

Father of the poor, you have never refused the prayer of the lowly, we ask you therefore to hear the petitions that she presents to you on our behalf….

Jesus, through Mary, your Mother and ours, we ask this of you who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.

Saint Jeanne Jugan, pray for us.



Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Abortion Survivor Rips Obama On Infanticide Support in New Ad



Read the story here.

Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist



We celebrated the birthday of St. John the Baptist on June 24; today we honor the anniversary of his martyrdom.

Shortly after he had baptized Jesus, John the Baptist began to denounce Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Galilee. Herod had divorced his own wife and taken Herodias, the wife of his half- brother Philip and also his own niece. John the Baptist declared, "It is not lawful for you to have her," so Herod threw him into prison.

Not only did Herod fear John and his disciples, he also knew him to be a righteous man, so he did not kill him. Herodias was determined to bring about John's death. From prison John followed Jesus's ministry, and sent messengers to question him (Luke 7:19-29). One day Herod gave an eloquent banquet to celebrate his birthday. His entire court was present as well as other powerful and influential Palestinians. Herodias's daughter Salome so pleased Herod when she danced to entertain the company that he promised her whatever she would ask--even half of his kingdom. Salome asked her mother for counsel and was told to request the head of the Baptist (Matthew 14:1-12).

Because of his pride Herod, though deeply sorry, could not decline the request; as St. Augustine said, "an oath rashly taken was criminally kept." He sent a soldier of the guard to behead John in prison. Thus, the "voice crying in the wilderness" was silenced. The head was placed on a platter and taken to Salome, who gave it to her mother.

When John's disciples heard what had happened, they took away his body and laid it in a tomb, where he was venerated in the 4th century.

The Greatness of St. John the Baptist

John's holiness appears so great that the Jews come to ask him if he is the looked - for Christ. but he, forestalled as he is with divine favors, protests that he is but "the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord.

"The other prophets only saw the Messiah afar off; he points him out in person and in terms so clear that all sincere hearts understand them: "Behold the lamb of God," behold the one who is the object of all the desires of the human race, because he takes away the sins of the world; Ecce Agnus Dei. You do not yet know him, although he is in the midst of you: Medius vestrum stetit quem vos nescitis; he is greater than I, for he was before me; he is so great that I am not even worthy to loose the latchet of his shoe; so great that "I saw the Spirit coming down as a dove from heaven, and he remained upon him...and I saw, and I gave testimony that this is the Son of God.

"What more has he yet to say? "He that comes from above, is above all. He who God has seen heard that he testified...he whom God has sent, speaks the words of God; for God does not give the Spirit by measure. The father loves the Son; and he has given all things into his hand. He that believed in the Son, has life everlasting; but he that not believes in the Son, shall not see life; but the wrath of God abides on him.

"These are the last words of the Precursor. By them he achieves his work of preparing souls to receive the Messiah. Indeed, when the Incarnate Word, who alone can speak the words from on high because he is ever in sinu Patris, begins his public mission as the Savior, John will disappear; he will no longer bear testimony to the Truth save with the shedding of his blood.

The Christ, whom he announced, has come at last; he is that Light unto which John bore testimony, and all those who believe in that Light have everlasting life. It is to Him alone that it must be said: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."

~ Blessed Columba Marmion, O.S.B.

Blessed Columba Marmion was abbot of the Benedictine Abbey of Maredsous, Belgium.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Catholic Writers' Conference Live Kicks off August 29 in Arlington Texas




The fourth annual Catholic Writers’ Conference LIVE will take place August 29-31, 2012, at the Arlington Convention Center in Arlington, TX. Sponsored by the Catholic Writer’s Guild and the Catholic Marketing Network (CMN), and held in conjunction with CMN’s annual retailer trade show, the Catholic Writers Conference LIVE provides Catholic authors with a prime opportunity to meet and share their faith with editors, publishers, fellow writers, and bookstore owners from across the globe.

The conference will offer “pitch sessions,” allowing authors an opportunity to meet personally with publishing professionals and pitch their writing projects. In addition, attendees have the opportunity to sign up for critique with professional editors and writers. Some participating publishers are Ignatius Press, Ave Maria Press, Christus Publishing, Tuscany Press, Ascension Press and Servant Books. Information for this event can be found on the conference web site.

This year's conference will focus on “Writing and the New Evangelization.” Speakers include EWTN personalities Teresa Tomeo and Father Andrew Apostoli, CFR, authors Ellen Hrkach (In NAME ONLY) and Patti Armstrong (STORIES FOR THE HOMESCHOOL HEART), Ann Margaret Lewis (MURDER IN THE VATICAN: THE CHURCH MYSTERIES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES), and author and blogger Sarah Reinhard (A CATHOLIC MOTHER’S COMPANION TO PREGNANCY: WALKING WITH MARY FROM CONCEPTION TO BAPTISM). More excellent speakers are still being confirmed.

In partnership with the Catholic New Media Conference, also taking place in the convention center, conference attendees will be able to attend a special track on blogging for $25. Information on this opportunity will be made to attendees upon registration.

“It's not just writing, it's not just fellowship, it's inspiration, too!” says 2011 Conference presenter Sarah Reinhard. “It was great to share the Eucharist and evening meals in person with writers who inspire me, encourage me, and motivate me the rest of the year.”

The Catholic Writers Guild, a religious non-profit organization affiliated with the Archdiocese of Indianapolis sponsors both this live conference in August and an online conference in February to further its mission of promoting Catholic literature. Says CWG President Ann Lewis, “These events are integral to our mission of ‘creating a rebirth of Catholic arts and letters.”

Registration costs $70 for CWG members, $75 for non-members and $40 for students. There's also a discounted combined membership. To register or for more information, go to http://www.catholicwritersconference.com.

St. Augustine of Hippo




Today is the feast of St. Augustine, a Western Father of the Church whose conversion to Christianity is well-known as one of the most important events in the history of the Church.

Augustine was born in Tagaste, Africa in 354 to Patrcius, a pagan Roman official, and to Monica, a devout Christian. Monica raised Augustine in the Christian faith, but when he went to study law in Carthage, he turned away from his Christian beliefs and led a life of immorality and hedonism.

At age 15, he took a took a mistress who bore him a son, Adoedatus, which means “the gift of God,” and at age 18, he and his friend, Honoratus became members of the Manichaean heretical sect, which accepted the dual principle of good and evil.

The late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen explained his attraction to the heresy: “The conflict between flesh and spirit in him was resolved by the heresy of Manichæanism because it enabled him to pursue a voluptuous life without ever being held accountable for it. He could say that the evil principle within him was so strong, so deep, and intense that the good principle could not operate.”

Augustine turned away from his pursuit of law to literary endeavors and won poetic tournaments and made a name for himself in the world of philosophy. Augustine made plans to teach in Rome, but instead went to Milan.


Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen describes St. Augustine’s conversion so beautifully:

“Monica prayed that her son would never go to Italy because she feared that there would be more evil companionship there than in Northern Africa. Her prayers seemed to go unanswered, but at the same time, they were answered in a mysterious way.

In the year 384, Augustine told his mother to go to visit the Church of St. Cyprian the Martyr while he went to visit friends. He slipped away from Africa that night and went to Rome, against his mother's wishes. His reputation as an orator and rhetorician preceded him and he was recognized as one of the most learned men of his time.

When Augustine went to Milan, to plead for the restoration of paganism to the City, he heard of the scholarship and the oratorical powers of Ambrose, the Bishop. Many days he would sit under the pulpit in veneration of Ambrose. Later, he spent many hours in his company, discussing philosophy and he took manuscripts from Ambrose's library to read.

All the while, the chains of habit were strong in Augustine and his carnal nature was resisting his spiritual birth. In August, 386, he met Pontitianus who told Augustine the story of St. Anthony of the Desert. St. Anthony spent more than seventy years in the desert.

After hearing the story, Augustine said: "Manes is an impostor. The Almighty calls me. Christ is the only way and Paul is my guide.

"If Anthony has conquered the libido and sex, why could not he, Augustine asked himself.

Augustine eager to be alone went into the garden. There he underwent a conflict between the old ego and the new one that was being born.

Casting himself at the foot of a spreading fig tree, he cried hot and bitter tears, which overflowed and bathed his spirit. He cried aloud:

"When shall I achieve salvation, when shall I cast off my fetters? Tomorrow perhaps, or the day after? Why not this very hour?"

Suddenly he became aware of the voice of a child, a boy or girl, he knew not, speaking in a neighboring house.

"Take up and read," said the sweet voice.

He hurried back into the room. He found a copy of the epistles of St. Paul, which Pontitianus had been fingering. Seizing it, and opening it at random, his eyes fell upon the words of St. Paul to the Romans 13:13:

"Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying; but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ and make not provision for the flesh."

In that one moment, the carnal passions, which had for sixteen years appeared invincible, were annihilated.

Augustine cries out in deep regret:

"Too late, O Ancient Beauty, have I loved Thee."

On Holy Thursday, which fell on April 22, 387 AD, he recited the Credo aloud in the presence of an assembled congregation. He fasted until Holy Saturday and in the evening he went to the Basilica, where Bishop Ambrose pronounced the last exorcisms over him, made the sign of the Cross upon his forehead and breast, and poured the baptismal waters.

Then, in accordance with the custom used only in the church in Milan, Ambrose got on his knees and washed the feet of Augustine. The two saints were united for perhaps the last time on earth. The elder humbled himself before the younger, the more famous before the more obscure.

Adeodatus, the carnal son of his sinning, received Baptism at the same time.

The nameless woman whom Augustine lived with, and mother of Adeodatus, returned to Carthage and spent her remaining days in penance.

One of the effects of Augustine's conversion was a return to joviality, and a deep sense of inner peace. There was also a great increase of literary productiveness. Between the years 380 and 386, before his conversion, he had not written a single page. Now, in a short space of time, he composed four brief books in succession.

In 397, or twelve years after his conversion, Augustine wrote his Confessions, the greatest spiritual autobiography ever written. It is the work of a teacher who explains, a philosopher who thinks, and a theologian who instructs. It is the work of a poet who achieves chaste beauty in the writing, and a mystic who pours out thanks for having found himself in peace.

"Too late have I loved You, O Beauty so ancient and so new, too late have I loved You. You have called to me, and have cried out, and have shattered my deafness. You have blazed forth with light and have put my blindness to flight! You have sent forth fragrance, and I have drawn in my breath, and I pant after You. I have tasted You, and I hunger and thirst after You. You have touched me, and I have burned for Your peace" (Confessions 10,27).

None of the Freuds or Jungs or Adlers of our 20th century has ever pierced the conscious and the unconscious mind with a rapier as keen as Augustine's. No man can say he has ever understood himself if he has not read the 'Confessions' of Augustine.”

~ St. Augustine of Hippo, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen.

St. Monica died in Ostia (modern Italy) and St. Augustine remained in Italy, for a time, praying, studying and writing, before returning to Tagaste, Africa, where he sold all his possessions and distributed the money to the poor. He was ordained as a priest in 391. He was later made bishop of Hippo at the age of 41 and became one of the four great founders of religious orders and a Doctor of the universal Church. He died on August 30, 430.

Patron: Brewers; diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut; Cagayan de Oro, Philippines; diocese of Kalamazoo, Michigan; printers; city of Saint Augustine, Florida; diocese of Saint Augustine, Florida; sore eyes; diocese of Superior, Wisconsin; theologians; diocese of Tucson, Arizona.



Monday, August 27, 2012

St. Monica, Patron of Married Women and Mothers



Today is the memorial of St. Monica - a saint admire so much for her tenacity, patience, and perseverance in prayer for the conversion of her son, St. Augustine. A persistent prayer warrior, Monica never gave up on her son, Augustine, a great sinner, who later became so strongly drawn to the faith that he was eventually canonized, as one of the Church's greatest teachers and philosophers, and was designated a doctor of the Church.

Monica was born in 332 to Christian parents in Tagaste, northern Africa and married at the age 13 or 14 to an older man named Patricius, who was neither wealthy nor Christian. The marriage was indeed a cross for Monica.  Patricius was irritable and unfaithful and her live-in mother-in-law criticized her constantly. Monica sought refuge in God through an intimate prayer life and in caring for her three children: Augustine, Navigius, and Perpetua.  In answer to her constant prayers, both her mother-in-law and her husband Patricius converted to Christianity. Monica had been praying for the two of them for 20 years. Patricius died the year after his conversion.

At the time of his father’s death, Augustine was 17 and a student in Carthage. Augustine kept bad company and was immersed in a sinful lifestyle. He took a Carthaginian woman as his mistress and lived with her for fifteen years. Monica prayed constantly for his faith. In her sorrow, a certain bishop consoled her: "Don't worry, it is impossible that a son of so many tears should be lost." Then one night she had a vision that assured her Augustine would return to the faith. From that time on she stayed close to her son, praying and fasting for him.

When he was 29, Augustine left North Africa for a teaching position in Italy and Monica tried to follow him, but he outwitted her and had already embarked when she arrived at the docks.  Monica followed him anyway and found him seriously depressed and tried to arrange a wealthy marriage for him. The faithful mistress had left their son with him and had returned to Carthage. Augustine took another mistress and then became engaged to a wealthy young woman, whom he later abandoned when he decided to take a vow of celibacy.

In Milan, Monica found St. Ambrose, who became her spiritual director, and through him, she ultimately had the joy of seeing Augustine convert to Christianity, after seventeen years of resistance. Augustine was baptized by Ambrose in 387 in the church of St. John the Baptist at Milan.

Augustine tired of teaching and resolved to return to North Africa. The family set out on their journey, stopping at Cività Vecchia and then at Ostia. Here Monica died in peace and the finest pages of Augustine’s "Confessions" were penned as the result of the emotion he experienced at that time.

Monica is the patron of:
abuse victims, alcoholics, alcoholism, Bevilacqua, Italy, difficult marriages, disappointing children, homemakers, housewives, Mabini, Bohol, Philippines, married women, mothers, victims of adultery, victims of unfaithfulness, victims of verbal abuse, widows, wives

Quotes of St. Monica:

“Nothing is far from God.”

“Son, nothing in this world now affords me delight. I do not know what there is now for me to do or why I am still here, all my hopes in this world being now fulfilled.”

~ About the conversion of St. Augustine

Prayer to St. Monica

Dear St. Monica, troubled wife and mother, many sorrows pierced your heart during your lifetime. Yet, you never despaired or lost faith. With confidence, persistence, and profound faith, you prayed daily for the conversion of your beloved husband, Patricius, and your beloved son, Augustine; your prayers were answered. Grant me that same fortitude, patience, and trust in the Lord. Intercede for me, dear St. Monica, that God may favorably hear my plea for(mention request here...)and grant me the grace to accept His Will in all things, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

St. Louis IX, King of France



Today, August 25, is the optional memorial of St. Louis IX (1215-1270).

Louis IX, King of France, son of Louis VIII and Blanche of Castile, was born at Poissy, April 25, 1215. Louis was twelve years old when his father's death made him king.At that time, his mother Queen Blanche of Castile, was declared regent and remained an important influence throughout his life.

Louis had tutors who made him a master of Latin, taught him to speak easily in public and write with dignity and grace. But Blanche's primary concern was to implant in him a deep regard and awe for everything related to religion. She used often to say to him as he was growing up, "I love you my dear son, as much as a mother can love her child; but I would rather see you dead at my feet than that you should commit a mortal sin."

At nineteen, he married Marguerite of Provence and the couple had eleven children. Louis was a model father and his children received careful instruction from him in the Christian life.

Louis brought justice to France. When, for example, a baron hanged three students for poaching rabbits, the King's response was firm. He forced the Baron to surrender his forest, imprisoned him for a time, fined him heavily, made him build a chapel in memory of each student, and ordered him to crusade for three years in Palestine.

Louis was a loving and generous king. The poorest of the poor were recipients of his charity and alms everyday. Beggars were fed from his table, he ate their leavings, washed their feet, and ministered to the needs of the lepers. Daily, he fed 120 poor people. He founded many hospitals and houses: the House of the Felles-Dieu for reformed prostitutes; the Quinze-Vingt for 300 blind men (1254), and hospitals at Pontoise, Vernon, Compiégne.

Louis was a faithful Christian sovereign. One of his first acts as King was to build the famous monastery of Royaumont, with funds left for the purpose by his father. Louis gave encouragement to the religious orders, placing the Carthusians in the palace of Vauvert in Paris, and assisting his mother in founding the convent of Maubuisson.

Louis led an exemplary life, secretly spending long hours in prayer, fasting, and penance. He attended Holy Mass twice daily, and was surrounded, even while traveling, with priests chanting the hours.

Louis died near Tunis, August 25, 1270 and was canonized in Orvieto in 1297, by Boniface VIII.

Patron: barbers; builders; button makers; construction workers; Crusaders; death of children; difficult marriages; distillers; embroiderers; French monarchs; grooms; haberdashers; hairdressers; hair stylists; kings; masons; needle workers; parenthood; parents of large families; prisoners; sculptors; sick people; soldiers; stone masons; stonecutters; tertiaries; Archdiocese of Saint Louis, Missouri.

Quotes

"Love all good, and hate all evil, in whomsoever it may be."

"Let no one be so bold as to say, in your presence, words which attract and lead to sin, and do not permit words of detraction to be spoken of another behind his back."

"Love your brothers, and always wish their well-being and their good advancement, and also be to them in the place of a father, to instruct them in all good. But be watchful lest, for the love which you bear to one, you turn aside from right doing, and do to the others that which is not meet."




St. Joseph Calasanz


Today we commemorate St. Joseph Calasanz.

St. Joseph is the founder of the Poor Clerks Regular (Piarists), a community devoted to the task of educating youth. At an early age, Joseph loved to care for children; he gathered them together, conducted religion classes in boyish fashion, and taught them how to pray. After a time of severe illness he was ordained a priest. His zeal found expression as he organized the Order of the Poor Clerks Regular of the Mother of God of the Pious Schools and directed the members in the instruction and rearing of children from poor parents.

While residing in Rome, Joseph endeavored to visit the seven principal churches of that city almost every evening, and also to honor the graves of the Roman martyrs. During one of the city's repeated plagues a holy rivalry existed between him and St. Camillus in aiding the sick and in personally carrying away for burial the bodies of those who had been stricken. On account of his heroic patience and fortitude in the midst of trouble and persecution, he was called a marvel of Christian courage, a second Job. When eighty years old, he was led as a criminal through the streets of Rome by the Inquisition. His life is a consoling example of how God permits misunderstandings and opposition, even from ecclesiastics, to harass noble undertakings. At the time of his death his Order had almost been destroyed. Then, however, it again began to flourish.

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

Patron: Colleges; schoolchildren; schools; schools for the poor; students; universities.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Feast of St. Bartholomew, Apostle and Martyr


The Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew
TIEPOLO, Giovanni Battista 1722

Today, August 24, is the feast of St. Bartholomew, apostle and martyr.

Saint Bartholomew is one of the Twelve Apostles, mentioned sixth in the three Gospel lists (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:14), and seventh in the list of Acts (1:13). The name (Bartholomaios) means "son of Talmai" which was an ancient Hebrew name.

Besides being listed as an Apostle, he is not otherwise mentioned in the New Testament. At least not under the name Bartholomew: many ancient writers, and Catholic tradition have identified Bartholomew as Nathaniel in the Gospel of John (John 1:45-51, and 21:2).

The Gospel passage read at Mass on the feast of Saint Bartholomew is precisely this passage from John (1:45-51) where Nathaniel is introduced to Jesus by his friend Phillip, and Jesus says of him "Here is a true child of Israel. There is no duplicity in him (1:47)."

We are presented with the Apostle's character in this brief and beautiful dialogue with the Lord Jesus. He is a good Jew, honest and innocent, a just man, who devotes much time to quiet reflection and prayer - "under the fig tree (1:48)" - and has been awaiting the Messiah, the Holy One of God.

At Jesus' mention that "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you (1:48)," Nathaniel responded "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel (1:49)!"

Being "a true child of Israel," Nathaniel was a man well-read in the Scriptures and knew what they said of the Messiah and where he would come from. This is why he is skeptical of Phillip's claim that Jesus is the Messiah, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth (1:46)?"

But Nathaniel was lacking "duplicity" - that is, his heart was undivided, his intentions pure - his openness to reality was always ready to recognize and surrender to the truth when he encountered it. He remained open to his friend Phillip's invitation to "Come and see (1:46)."

In encountering Jesus and hearing His words, he found himself face to face with the Truth Himself, and, like John the Baptist's leap in his mother's womb at the Lord's presence, Nathaniel's words lept out of his own heart in a clear and simple confession of faith, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!"

Jesus, in Matthew 5:8, says, "Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God." In Nathaniel we have an example of the pure man who sees - recognizes - God when confronted with Him, and on seeing Him believes in Him, and upon believing in Him follows Him.

Nothing is known for sure about the life of Nathaniel/Bartholomew after the Ascension of Jesus. But tradition has it that he preached in the East and died a martyr's death in Armenia, being flayed alive for having won converts to the Lord Jesus.

St. Bartholomew is the patron of: bookbinders, butchers, corn-chandlers, dyers, glovers, furriers, leather-workers, plasterers, shoemakers, tailors, tanners, vine-growers, and Florentine salt and cheese merchants. He is invoked against nervous disorders and twitchings.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mitt Romney EXCLUSIVE with Raymond Arroyo


Mitt Romney gave a very impressive and powerful interview on EWTN tonight. His professional demeanor, his strong compassion for others, his sense of discipline and purpose, and his strong sense of right and wrong clearly came through. I believe he is a man who will fight for religious freedom in this country.




St. Rose of Lima



August 23 is the feast of St. Rose of Lima, virgin, the first canonized saint of the New World.

Isabella Flores de Oliva was the seventh of eleven children born to Spanish immigrants on the feast of Pentecost 1586 in Lima, Peru. She became known as Rosa when an Indian maid declared her to be as beautiful as a rose. She also took the Confirmation name of Rosa.

She was pious from an early age. At age five, she built a small chapel for herself in the family garden. When she made her first confession, she obtained permission from her confessor to make a vow of virginity.

Rose had a strong devotion for Jesus and His Holy Mother and spent long hours praying before the Blessed Sacrament. With St. Catherine of Siena as her model, Rose fasted three times a week and offered up severe penances. As a result of her exterior mortification, she had interior mystical experiences as well as long periods of darkness and desolation. For fifteen years, she went through the "dark night of the soul."

Rose worked hard to support her poor parents (by embroidering, gardening, and selling flowers from the family garden) and she humbly obeyed them, except when they tried to get her to marry. That she would not do. For ten years, she fought them on this issue as she had secretly taken a vow of virginity, which she was determined to keep. She sabotaged her parents' plans to arrange a marriage by making herself physically unattractive. She cut off her beautiful hair and destroyed her complexion by rubbing her face with pepper to bring on blisters and blotches.

At age 20, Rose joined the Third Order of St. Dominic and and thereafter increased her penances as well as her good works. She moved into a small hut in her parents' garden and served the poor and the sick in a makeshift infirmary. Our Lord frequently manifested Himself to her, filling her heart with peace and joy, leaving her in ecstasy for hours. In her last long, painful sickness, this heroic young woman prayed: "Lord, increase my sufferings, and with them increase Your love in my heart." Rose died of a fever and paralysis at age 31. She was canonized in 1671 by Pope Clement X and became the first American saint.

St. Rose is the patron of: the Americas; Central America; embroiderers; florists; gardeners; India; Latin America; needle workers; New World; people ridiculed for their piety; Peru; Phillipines; diocese of Santa Rosa, California; South America; vanity; Villareal Samar, Phillipines; West Indies.

Quotes

“Apart from the cross, there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven.”

“When we serve the poor and the sick we serve Jesus. We must not fail to help our neighbors, because in them we serve Jesus.”

“Would that mortal men might know how wonderful is divine grace, how beautiful, how precious; what riches are hidden therein, what treasures, what joys, what delights. If they but knew, surely they would direct their energy with all care and diligence to procuring sufferings and afflictions for themselves. Instead of good fortune all men everywhere would seek out troubles, illness and suffering that they might obtain the inestimable treasure of grace. This is the final profit to be gained from patient endurance. No one would complain about the cross or about hardships coming seemingly by chance upon him, if he realized in what balance they are weighed before being distributed to men.”

Prayers to St. Rose of Lima


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

State-wide Novena to End Abortion in Kansas Forever Begins September 7th



From Sept. 7th (Vigil of the Birth of Mary) to Sept. 15th (Our Lady of Sorrows), there will be a 9-Day Novena to End Abortion in Kansas.

Catholics throughout the state are asked to Pray, Fast, Pray a Holy Hour, Attend Mass, Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and Pray the Seven Sorrows Rosary.

On regular Rosary beads, meditate on each of Mary’s 7 Sorrows (2 extra decades).  
1. Simeon’s Prophecy
2. Flight into Egypt
3. Joseph & Mary’s Search for Jesus
4. Mary Meets Jesus on the Way to Calvary
5. Mary at the Foot of the Cross
6. Jesus placed in His Mother’s Arms
7.  Jesus Placed in the Tomb.

Novena Prayer: "Lord God, we forever consecrate our State of Kansas to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.  We ask you to close all abortion clinics immediately and never let abortions occur in our state again.  O Jesus! Hear our petitions. For the sake of the tears of Your Most Holy Mother.  Amen."


Scott Hahn on the Queenship of Mary



Related Posts: 

The Queenship of Mary

Scott Hahn on the Assumption of Mary

The Queenship of Mary



Today, we celebrate a beautiful Marian Feast -- the Queenship of Mary. This special Liturgical Feast was proclaimed by Pope Pius XII on October 11, 1954 through his Encyclical Letter Ad Caeli Reginam. The Catholic Church made this proclamation based upon the fact that whether in time of peace or in time of war, the faithful have incessantly offered prayers of petition and hymns of praise and veneration to the Queen of Heaven.

Following the tremendous destruction that occurred during World War II and considering the reality that the threat of a similar catastrophe filled the faithful with a great anguish, the Church turned its eyes towards Mary, the Heavenly Queen, in the hope of her protection. Mary has never failed those who have sought her intercession in prayer, placing their total trust in her.

Mary’s queenship has its roots in Scripture. At the Annunciation, Gabriel announced that Mary’s Son would receive the throne of David and rule forever. (Luke 1:32 -33) At the Visitation, Elizabeth calls Mary “Mother of my Lord.” (Luke 1:43) As in all the mysteries of Mary’s life, Mary is closely associated with Jesus: Her queenship is a share in Jesus’ kingship. We can also recall that in the Old Testament the mother of the king has great influence in court.

In the fourth century, St. Ephrem called Mary “Lady” and “Queen” and Church Fathers and Doctors continued to use the title. Hymns of the eleventh to thirteenth centuries address Mary as queen: “Hail, Holy Queen,” “Hail, Queen of Heaven,” “Queen of Heaven.” The Dominican rosary and the Franciscan crown as well as numerous invocations in Mary’s litany celebrate her queenship.

The Saints on Mary's Queenship:

“When she became Mother of the Creator, she truly became Queen of every creature.”
~ St. John Damascene

"No one has access to the Almighty as His mother has; none has merit such as hers. Her Son will deny her nothing that she asks; and herein lies her power. While she defends the Church, neither height nor depth, neither men nor evil spirits, neither great monarchs, nor craft of man, nor popular violence, can avail to harm us; for human life is short, but Mary reigns above, a Queen forever."

~  John Henry Cardinal Newman

"Just as Mary surpassed in grace all others on earth, so also in heaven is her glory unique. If eye has not seen or ear heard or the human heart conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9), who can express what He has prepared for the woman who gave Him birth and who loved Him, as everyone knows, more than anyone else?"

~St. Bernard of Clairvaux

"She has surpassed the riches of the virgins, the confessors, the martyrs, the apostles, the prophets, the patriarchs, and the angels, for she herself is the first-fruit of the virgins, the mirror of confessors, the rose of martyrs, the ruler of apostles, the oracle of prophets, the daughter of patriarchs, the queen of angels."

~St. Bonaventure

Queenship of Mary in Scripture

Litany of the Queenship of Mary


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Cardinal Dolan asks for prayers for Cardinal George





Cardinal Timothy Dolan made the following request today on the website of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York:

Prayers for Cardinal George

I would like to ask you to please keep Francis Cardinal George, the Archbishop of Chicago, in your prayers in a special way these days.  The Archdiocese of Chicago has announced that Cardinal George has been diagnosed with cancerous cells in his kidney and in a nodule that was removed from his liver.  The Cardinal previously fought bladder cancer 6 years ago.

Cardinal George is a hero of mine.  He is an outstanding Archbishop, and has been a great help and inspiration to me as my immediate predecessor as president of the USCCB.

I know that the Cardinal will face this latest challenge as he faces all challenges: with great strength and great peace, born of a deep love of God and trust in His divine will.

The House of St. Ignatius of Loyola in Rome




August 21, 2012. (Romereports.com) The Church of the Gesù in Rome receives hundreds of tourists every day that come to see the tomb of St. Ignatius of Loyola. But few actually know that directly next to the church is the house where the founder of the Jesuits used to live.

It was the first house of the Society of Jesus, located near the old Venetian palace used to be the home of the pope at that time. When the Tiber River in Rome flooded in 1598, only four rooms in the house were not ruined. Today, it's hallways are home to the artwork of painter Andrea Pozzo, scenes depict some of the miracles attributed to Saint Ignatius.

DIEGO ALONSO-LASHERAS
Professor, Pontifical Gregorian University
“The four original rooms are conserved where St. Ignatius lived the last 17 years of his life and where he died. There also lived the four successor generals of the order. At that time there was a development of the foundation for the Society of Jesus.”

In these simple rooms is where St. Ignatius wrote the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus and more than seven thousand letters with his signature and the seal of Superior General. They also have some of the original furniture and a copy of the  retain some of the furniture and a copy of the “Our Lady of Writing” located on his desk.

Visitors can see how they would have stood up next to the saint by measuring themselves next to life size statue. The house also has some more personal effects such as clothing, shoes, and the Rules of the Order he composed in 1549.

This small chapel is still in use. It boasts original flooring and a table some 500 years old that also belonged to Saint Ignatius.

DIEGO ALONSO-LASHERAS
Professor, Pontifical Gregorian University
“In the room, which wasn't his, but where St. Ignatius died is used as a chapel today. We have a picture of the Holy Family from the time of St. Ignatius in front of where he would celebrate the Eucharist every day.”

This is the room where the founder of the Jesuits was taken care of until his death on July 31, 1556.
Despite the years, the home continues to bring surprises. In 1991, on the 500th anniversary of his birth, during a restoration, a fresco was uncovered with the initials IHS, the Greek abbreviation for Jesus which is one of the hallmarks for the Society of Jesus.

Our Lady of Knock



Historically today is the feast of Our Lady of Knock, where Our Lady is said to have appeared in Ireland with St. Joseph and St. John the Evangelist at the church's south gable on a wet and windswept evening in August and was witnessed by 15 people.

On August 21, 1879, Margaret Beirne, a resident of Cnoc Mhuire, was sent by her brother to lock up the church for the evening. When she was ready to leave, she noticed a strange brightness hovering over the church. Margaret had other things on her mind, and didn't tell anyone what she saw. Around the same time, another member of the Beirne family, Mary, was leaving from a visit to the church's housekeeper, and stopped with the housekeeper at the gables, where they could see the church. Mary replied:

"Oh look at the statues! Why didn't you tell me the priest got new statues for the chapel?"

The housekeeper responded that she knew nothing of the priest getting new statues. So, they both went for a closer look, and Mary Beirne said:

"But they are not statues, they're moving. It's the Blessed Virgin!"

Thirteen others also came and saw the beautiful woman, clothed in white garments, wearing a brilliant crown. Her hands were raised as if in prayer. All knew that it was Mary, the Mother of Jesus, Queen of Angels. On the right of Our Lady stood St. Joseph, his head inclined toward her. On her left stood St. John the Evangelist, dressed as a bishop. To the left of St. John stood an altar which had a lamb and a cross surrounded by angels on it. The vision lasted about two hours. People who were not at the apparition site reported that they saw a bright light illuminating the area where the church was. Many of the sick were healed upon visiting the church at Knock.

Excerpted from Christus Rex

Learn more about Our Lady of Knock.

Read The Story Behind Our Lady of Knock.


Pope St. Pius X, "Pope of the Eucharist"




Today, August 21st, is the memorial of Pope St. Pius X (1835-1914).

Guiseppe Sarto was born June 2, 1835, the second of ten children born to a poor family in the village of Riese, Province of Treviso, near Venice. His mother, Margherita Sanson, was a seamstress. His father, Giovanni Sarto, who was a cobbler by trade, as well as the caretaker of the city hall and the town's postmaster, passed away when Gisueppe was 16.

Gisueppe entered the seminary at the age of 15 and was ordained at the age of 23. For nine years, he served as chaplain at Tombolo, having to assume most of the functions of parish priest, as the pastor was old and in poor health. He sought to prefect his knowledge of theology by studying Saint Thomas and canon law. He established a night school for adults, and devoted himself to pastoral ministry for 17 years. He became the bishop of Mantua, cardinal patriarch of Venice, and Pope in 1903. As Pope, he took as the motto of his reign "to renew all things in Christ."

Referred to as the "Pope of the Eucharist", he advocated frequent Communion for adults, sacramental preparation for children, and instruction in catechism for everyone. It was by his desire that the Eucharistic Congress of 1905 be held in Rome.

Pius X reformed the liturgy, promoted clear and simple homilies, and brought Gregorian chant back. He reorganized the Roman curia, worked against the modern antagonism of the state against the Church. He helped to draft the New Code of Cannon law, issues in 1917. He encouraged Scripture reading by all the faithful.

Pope Pius X died on August 20, 1914 at Vatican City from natural causes aggravated by worries over the beginning of World War I and was buried under the altar of the Chapel of the Presentation, Saint Peter's basilica.

Patron: Archdiocese of Atlanta, Georgia; diocese of Des Moines, Iowa: first communicants; diocese of Great Falls-Billings, Montana; pilgrims; diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

Quotes

"Holy Communion is the shortest and safest way to Heaven."

"I was born poor, I have lived poor, I wish to die poor."

"My hope is in Christ, who strengthens the weakest by His Divine help. I can do all in Him who strengthens me. His Power is infinite, and if I lean on him, it will be mine. His Wisdom is infinite, and if I look to Him counsel, I shall not be deceived. His Goodness is infinite, and if my trust is stayed in Him, I shall not be abandoned.”

Let the storm rage and the sky darken - not for that shall we be dismayed. If we trust as we should in Mary, we shall recognize in her, the Virgin Most Powerful "who with virginal foot did crush the head of the serpent."

"Truly we are passing through disastrous times, when we may well make our own the lamentation of the Prophet: "There is no truth, and there is no mercy, and there is no knowledge of God in the land" (Hosea 4:1). Yet in the midst of this tide of evil, the Virgin Most Merciful rises before our eyes like a rainbow, as the arbiter of peace between God and man. "


Prayer to Saint Pius X

Glorious Pope of the Eucharist, Saint Pius X, you sought "to resore all things in Christ." Obtain for me a true love of Jesus so that I may live only for Him. Help me to acquire a lively fervor and a sincere will to strive for sanctity of life, and that I may avail myself of the riches of the Holy Eucharist in sacrifice and sacrament. By your love for Mary, mother and queen of all, inflame my heart with tender devotion to her.

Blessed model of the priesthood, obtain for us holy, dedicated priests, and increase vocations to the religious life. Dispel confusion and hatred and anxiety, and incline our hearts to peace and concord. so that all nations will place themselves under the sweet reign of Christ. Amen.

Saint Pius X, pray for me.



Monday, August 20, 2012

Free Online Course in Catholicism



Via Matthew Warner at the NCRegister:

John Paul the Great Catholic University is offering a FREE online crash course in the Catholic Faith. In the span of just 13 weeks - one session per week - you'll get lessons on:

Jesus and Apostolic Succession
Natural Philosophy
Proof for God's Existence
Philosophical Anthropology
Creation-Redemption
Revelation
The Trinity
Church - Family of God - Mystical Body of Christ
Sacraments - Marriage
Eucharist
Moral Issues
Sins - Confession
Prayer

Read more

Here's an introduction video explaining more:


Prayer Intention: Cardinal George faces second bout with cancer



CWN - August 20, 2012- Cardinal Francis George of Chicago has disclosed that he has been diagnosed with cancer in his kidney and liver.

The cardinal’s medical prognosis is uncertain. He is likely to undergo further testing, followed by cancer treatment. This is the 2nd bout with cancer for Cardinal George, who had major surgery in 2006 for bladder cancer. He was pronounced cancer-free after his course of treatment 6 years ago.

Cardinal George, who has led the Chicago archdiocese since 1997, submitted his resignation early this year after celebrating his 75th birthday. But there has been no indication that Pope Benedict intended to accept that resignation soon.

Let us lift up Cardinal George in our prayers.

Phyllis Diller, RIP



Phyllis Diller, one of my favorite comediennes, has died, at the age of 95.

Via Fox News:


LOS ANGELES –  Phyllis Diller, the housewife turned humorist who aimed some of her sharpest barbs at herself, has died at age 95 in Los Angeles.

Her longtime manager, Milton Suchin, says Diller died Monday morning in her sleep. She had survived a near-fatal heart attack in 1999.

Diller was a staple of nightclubs and television from the 1950s until her retirement in 2002. She was famous for her distinctive laugh and portrayed herself as a bizarre housewife with a husband named "Fang."
She would tell audiences that "I bury a lot of my ironing in the back yard."

Diller was nearly 40 when she began performing, with five children and a successful career as an advertising copywriter. At the time, women were a rarity in the world of stand-up comedy.

Image Source


Pope's Angelus: Rediscovering the Power of the Eucharist




August 20, 2012. (Romereports.com) The Pope prayed the Angelus from the balcony of his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, by inviting pilgrims to rediscover the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

Benedict XVI
“Let us rediscover the beauty of the Sacrament of Eucharist, which shows us all the humility and holiness of God, who becomes small.”

Benedict XVI went on to explain that the message Jesus conveyed wasn't always welcomed by people.

Benedict XVI
“It is clear that these words were not well received. Jesus knew this and he says it intentionally.  In fact this is a critical time, a radical change in His public life.”

He ended the Angelus, by reminding pilgrims that the power of prayer and the Virgin Mary can bring Christians closer to Jesus.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux



Today is the memorial of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, abbot and doctor of the Church.

Bernard, the founding abbot of Clairvaux Abbey in Burgundy, was one of the most commanding Church leaders in the first half of the twelfth century as well as one of the greatest spiritual masters of all times and the most powerful propagator of the Cistercian reform. Bernard is also known as the second founder of the Cistercians, the Mellifluous Doctor, and the last of the Fathers of the Holy Church.

He was born to a noble family at Fontaines, near Dijon, France in 1090, the third of seven children.

Bernard left his privileged life near Dijon, France, to join the Cistercians at the age of 22. He was well educated and so passionate about his faith that he convinced 30 of his relatives -- including all of his brothers, his uncle, and later his widowed father -- as well as many friends to join him at the abbey. Bernard first entered the abbey at Citeaux, but only three years later was sent with 12 other monks to establish another monastery in the Diocese of Champagne. The monastery came to be known Clairvaux, the Valley of Light.

As a young abbot he published a series of sermons on the Annunciation. These marked him not only as a most gifted spiritual writer but also as the "cithara of Mary," especially noted for his development of Mary's role as mediator.

Bernard's spiritual writing as well as his extraordinary personal magnetism began to attract many to Clairvaux and the other Cistercian monasteries, leading to many new foundations. He was drawn into the controversy developing between the new monastic movement which he preeminently represented and the established the Cluniac order, a branch of the Benedictines. This led to one of his most controversial and most popular works, his Apologia.

Bernard's dynamism soon reached far beyond monastic circles. He was sought as an advisor and mediator by the ruling powers of his age. More than any other he helped to bring about the healing of the papal schism which arose in 1130 with the election of the antipope Anacletus II. He was commissioned by Pope Eugene III to preach the second Crusade. In obedience to the Sovereign Pontiff he traveled through France and Germany, and aroused the greatest enthusiasm for the holy war among the masses of the population. The failure of the expedition raised a great storm against the saint, but he attributed it to the sins of the Crusaders.

Although he suffered from constant physical pain and illness and had to govern a monastery that soon housed several hundred monks and was sending forth groups regularly to begin new monasteries (he personally saw to the establishment of sixty-five of the three hundred Cistercian monasteries founded during his thirty-eight years as abbot), he yet found time to compose many spiritual works that still speak to us today. He laid out a solid foundation for the spiritual life in his works on grace and free will, humility and love.

His gifts as a theologian were called upon to respond to the dangerous teachings of the scintillating Peter Abelard, of Gilbert de la Porree and of Arnold of Brescia. His masterpiece, his Sermons on the Song of Songs, was begun in 1136 and was still in composition at the time of his death. With great simplicity and poetic grace Bernard writes of the deepest experiences of the mystical life in ways that became normative for all succeeding writers. For Pope Eugene he wrote Five Books on Consideration, the bedside reading of Pope John XXIII and many other pontiffs through the centuries.

Bernard died at Clairvaux on August 20, 1153. He was canonized by Pope Alexander III on January 18, 1174. Pope Pius VII declared him a Doctor of the Church in 1830.

Patron: beekeepers; bees; candlemakers; chandlers; wax-melters; wax refiners; Gibraltar; Queens College, Cambridge.

Some of St. Bernard's writings can be downloaded here.

St. Bernard on the Blessed Virgin Mary:

"In dangers, in doubts, in difficulties, think of Mary, call upon Mary. Let not her name depart from your lips; never suffer it to leave your heart. And that you may more surely obtain the assistance of her prayer; neglect not to walk in her footsteps. With her for guide, you shall never go astray; while invoking her, you shall never lose heart; so long as she is in your mind, you are safe from deception; while she holds your hand, you cannot fall; under her protection you have nothing to fear; if she walks before you, you shall not grow weary; if she shows you favor, you shall reach the goal.”

"If the hurricanes of temptation rise against you, or you are running upon the rocks of trouble, look to the star- call on Mary!"

St. Bernard on Love:

"Love is sufficient of itself; it gives pleasure by itself and because of itself. It is its own merit, its own reward. Love looks for no cause outside itself, no effect beyond itself. Its profit lies in the practice. Of all the movements, sensations and feelings of the soul, love is the only one in which the creature can respond to the Creator and make some sort of similar return however unequal though it be. For when God loves, all he desires is to be loved in return. The sole purpose of his love is to be loved, in the knowledge that those who love him are made happy by their love of him."

Prayer

O God, by whose grace your servant Bernard of Clairvaux, kindled with the flame of your love, became a burning and a shining light in your Church: Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and walk before you as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Saint Helena



Today, August 18, is the feast day of Saint Helena of Constantinople (246-330), mother of Constantine the Great, and finder of the True Cross of Jesus Christ.


St. Helena was the daughter of an innkeeper in Bithynia, Asia Minor. She was married to an ambitious Roman general and they had one son, Constantine.  When her husband was named Caesar, he promptly divorced Helena to marry another woman for political gain. Following the death of his father, Constantine became emperor of Rome, and one of his first acts as ruler was to declare his mother empress. Constantine had converted to Christianity, and with his encouragement, Helena also became a Christian.

 As empress, Helena spent her days in acts of charity, and built magnificent churches on the holy sites of the faith, frequently tearing down pagan temples that had been built on those sites. She worked tirelessly for the poor, released prisoners, and humbly mingled with ordinary worshipers in modest attire. Throughout her life, she spread the Gospel of Christ, bringing many to the faith through her witness.

At the age of 80, she led a group to the Holy Land to search for the True Cross. On a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, she discovered the True Cross. She built a church on the spot where the True Cross was found. The Feast of the Holy Cross on September 14 celebrates the event. Thus in art, she is usually depicted holding a wooden cross.

Patronage:  archaeologists, converts, difficult marriages, divorced people, empresses, Helena, the capital of Montana

Friday, August 17, 2012

Additional Commentary from Fr. Barron on "The Dark Knight Rises"




View "The Dark Knight Rises": a movie review by Fr. Barron.

St. Hyacinth: Apostle of Poland




 The saint of the day for August 17 is St. Hyacinth, a Dominican missionary, known as the "Apostle of the North" and “the Apostle of Poland.” 

Born in Oppeln, Poland, he studied at Krakow, Prague, and Bologna and received the title of Doctor of Law and Divinity. Accompanying his uncle, Bishop Ivo Konski of Krakow, to Rome, he there met Saint Dominic and was among the first to be enrolled in the new Order of Friars Minor. He received the Dominican habit in 1220 from St. Dominic.

Hyacinth founded communities in Sandomir, Kracow, and at Plocko on the Vistula in Moravia. He extended his missionary work through Prussia, Pomerania, and Lithuania; then crossing the Baltic Sea he preached in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Russia, reaching the shores of the Black Sea.

During an attack on a monastery, Hyacinth managed to save a crucifix and statue of Mary, though the statue weighed far more than he could normally have lifted.

He died in Krakow, Poland, on August 15, 1257, and was canonized in 1594. St. Hyacinth is the patron of Poland.

Patronage: against drowning, Camalaniugan, Philippines, Ermita de Piedra de San Jacinto, Tuguegarao, Philippines,  archdiocese of Krakow, Poland, Lithuania (named by Pope Innocent XI in 1686), Poland



Thursday, August 16, 2012

St. Stephen of Hungary



Today's saint of the day is St. Stephen of Hungary, the first Christian king of Hungary.

Born a pagan, Stephen was baptized at age 10, along with his father, and was raised as a Christian. In 996, at age 20, he married Gisela, the daughter of Duke Henry II of Bavaria and devoted much of his reign to the promotion of the Christian faith. He gave his patronage to Church leaders, helped build churches, and was a proponent of the rights of the Holy See.

Stephen also crushed the pagan counterreaction to Christianity, and converted the so-called Black Hungarians after their failed rebellion. In recognition of his efforts, Stephen was crowned king of Hungary in 1000, receiving the cross and the crown from Pope Sylvester II. His crown and regalia became beloved symbols of the Hungarian nation, and Stephen was venerated as the ideal Christian king.

The secret of St. Stephen's amazing success in leading his people to the Christian faith was his deep devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. He placed his entire kingdom under her protection and built a magnificent church in her honor.

Stephen served as King of Hungary for 42 years and died at Szekesfehervar on August 15, 1038. Soon after Stephen's death, miracles of healing occurred at his tomb. Stephen was canonized by Pope Gregory XVII in 1083.

He is the patron saint of: bricklayers, death of children, Hungary, kings, masons, stone masons, and stone cutters.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

"The Dark Knight Rises": a movie review by Fr. Barron

Assisi Network of Catholics recognized for aid given to Jews during World War II




August 15, 2012. (Romereports.com) The honorary title of Righteous Among the Nations is a recognition by the Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem for people who are not Jewish yet risked their lives during World War II to help Jews escape Nazi persecution.

Over 500 of these cases come from Italy alone. During that time, a type of Underground Railroad developed for Jews in Italy known as 'The Assisi Network'.

During the Nazi occupation of Italy and their subsequent man-hunt for Jews, Monsignor Giuseppe Placido Nicolini ordered Father Aldo Brunacci to begin helping the Jewish people by hiding them in monasteries and convents.

Many were provided with false papers, claiming they were from southern Italy, in an area that had already been liberated by American forces. This made it difficult for Nazi troops to verify them.

The Catholic clergy in the region also enlisted the help of locals in order to print the false documents and aid in their escape.

All together, around 300 Jewish people were helped by the Assisi Network. For their bravery, Monsignor Nicolinie and Father Brunacci were both recognized as Righteous among the Nations in 1977. Others in the Assisi Network have also been recognized over the years for the risk they took in helping others to safety.

Shooting at Family Research Council


There was a shooting at the Family Research Council headquarters in Washington, D.C., today. See below for details:

A security guard at the Family Research Council was shot and wounded Wednesday morning after a scuffle in the lobby of the group’s headquarters in downtown Washington, authorities said.

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said the shooter walked into the lobby of the building at about 10:45 and was confronted by the security guard as if the guard were asking him where he was going.

The man then took out a gun and opened fire on the guard, Lanier said. The guard and others wrestled the man to the ground, disarmed him and waited for police, she said. The guard was then taken to the hospital and is in stable condition, the chief said. FBI officials said the guard was shot in the arm.

The shooter is in FBI custody and has not yet been charged, authorities said.

I know the security guard who was shot. I used to work in that building about 10 years ago. He’s a good man.

There are some reports that the shooter may have been upset at FRC’s pro-family agenda, which includes supporting traditional marriage. We’ll see how it plays out but if true, it really is a sad statement about our society that people will use this type of means to settle ideological disputes.

Mitt Romney had this statement:

“I am appalled by the shooting today at the offices of the Family Research Council in our nation’s capital. There is no place for such violence in our society. My prayers go out to the wounded security guard and his family, as well as all the people at the Family Research Council whose sense of security has been shattered by today's horrific events.”

Former Family Research Council President Gary Bauer and the current president of American Values made the following statement:

"We at American Values are heartbroken at the news of a shooting today at the Family Research Council. FRC is an outstanding organization. We know it is a faith-based organization, and we join many friends across the country in prayer for the victim and his family, as well as for FRC's dedicated staff, many of whom are close friends.”

"Sadly, there are press reports that the alleged gunman opened fire after expressing his opposition to FRC's pro-family, pro-life beliefs. These are views that are widely shared by good and decent Americans across the country. Yet in recent years we have seen a disturbing level of intolerance and hate aimed at those who share traditional values, whether it is vandalism at churches or against businesses whose owners embrace traditional values, or today's shooting at the Family Research Council. I hope and pray these initial reports are incorrect. The values of the Family Research Council -- pro-life and pro-family -- are shared by millions of Americans of many backgrounds, and should not make anyone a target of violence."

"Men and women of faith must not be intimidated into silence. I am proud to stand with Tony Perkins and the FRC staff. We will proudly continue to fight the good fight for family, faith and freedom!"

***

According to Fox, when the suspect’s gun was taken away, he said: “Don’t shoot me, it was not about you, it was what this place stands for.”



Scott Hahn on the Assumption of Mary


The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary



The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary celebrates her being taken up body and soul into heaven when her earthly title was finished. It first began to be celebrated as a feast day in the Eastern Church after the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus (431) proclaimed Mary the Mother of God. By the sixth century, the feast celebrated Mary’s Dormition, “her falling asleep”. The western church began to celebrate this feast around 650. The Church’s teaching on the Assumption was formally proclaimed a doctrine by Pope Pius XII in 1950.

In today’s society, many idolize sensuality, materialism, and self-indulgence. In contrast, the celebration of the feast of the Assumption Our Blessed Virgin Mary turns our eyes away from these temporary, earthly attachments and directs our focus on the dignity and destiny of our human body and the beauty and dignity of womanhood. It turns our eyes upon the true life which awaits us beyond the grave – eternal life.

May we take heart that one day our bodies and souls will be reunited with God after death. On her special feast day, let us ask Our Mother for the grace to keep our eyes fixed on her Son as we place our heart in hers, forever united with her, that we may be brought to the glory of the Resurrection.

Quote: 

"[P]recisely because Mary is with God and in God, she is very close to each one of us. While she lived on this earth she could only be close to a very few people. Being in God, who is actually 'within' all of us, Mary shares in this closeness of God."

~ Pope Benedict XVI




Recommended Reading

The Holy Bible (Catholic)
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Munificentissimus Deus
Lumen Gentium
Redemptoris Mater
Introduction to Mary; Mark Miravalle
True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin by St. Louis De Montfort
The Secret of Mary by St. Louis De Montfort.
An Overview of the Life and Spirituality of Saint Louis De Montfort by Father Pat Gaffney.
Montfortian Total Consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary. (This is a 40-day prayer consecrating oneself to Jesus through Mary.)
The Little Crown of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a morning prayer recommended by St. Louis De Montfort.
Methods for Saying the Rosary by St. Louis De Montfort
Mary Mystery of Mercy, Marie-Dominique Philippe, O.P.
Queen Mother: A Biblical Theology of Mary's Queenship, Edward Sri
Catholic for a Reason II: Scripture and the Mystery of the Mother of God; Scott Hahn (Editor) and Leon J. Suprenant, Jr (Author)
Hail Holy Queen, Scott Hahn
The Glories of Mary, St. Alphonsus de Liguori, Tan Books
Theotokos: Woman, Mother, Disciple, John Paul II, Pauline Books and Media
Saint Alphonsus de Liguori: Where is the Tomb of the Virgin Mary and what is its significance?
Mary and the Fathers of the Church: The Blessed Virgin Mary in Patristic Thought, Luigi Gambero
Mary: The Church at the SourceJoseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Hans Urs von Balthasar

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

R.I.P. Nellie Gray, Pro-Life Hero



U.S. March for Life founder, Nellie Gray, has gone to her eternal reward, at the age of 88.

While I never had the privilege of personally meeting Nellie Gray, I watched her from a distance, deeply admiring the dear woman who had the courage and inner strength to establish the first March for Life in Washington D.C. in 1974 and who enthusiastically kept it going for 38 years. What a tremendous use of the gifts of wisdom, leadership, perseverance, and compassion she exercised!  What a mighty warrior she was for God and for the pre-born!

Nellie was a personal inspiration for me and for so many of us. I pray that she is enjoying her heavenly reward with God, His holy Mother, Blessed Mother Teresa, Pope John Paul II, and all the champions of the pre-born.

Thank you, Lord, for this beautiful pro-life warrior, who served as a beacon of light in this culture of darkness and death!  Eternal rest, grant unto her,  O Lord and let the perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Saint Maximilian Kolbe, Patron of the Pro-life Movement



St. Maximilian Kolbe was born in Russian - occupied Poland on January 7, 1894. His baptismal name was Raymond and he was the second of three sons born to two lay Franciscans in a poor, but pious family. Raymond had a reputation as a mischievous child who was, at times, a trial to his parents. However, in 1906 at Pabianice, at age twelve, he received a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary that changed his life.

St. Max explains: "I asked the Mother of God what was to become of me. Then she came to me holding two crowns, one white, the other red. She asked if I was willing to accept either of these crowns. The white one meant that I should persevere in purity, and the red that I should become a martyr. I said that I would accept them both."

Joining the Conventual Franciscans, Raymond took the name Maximilian, pronouncing temporary vows in 1911. In 1917, one year before his ordination to the priesthood, Maximilian founded the Militia of Mary Immaculate in Rome to advance Marian devotion. He was ordained in the Eternal City in 1918 and returned to Poland. There he founded the "Cities of the Immaculate Conception" in 1927, institutions that flourished in Poland, Japan, and India which served as centers of Marian-Franciscan evangelization for the Movement.

Father Kolbe employed the mass media, especially the printed word, to spread the ideals of the MI and to encourage others to consecrate themselves to Our Lady. He became director of Poland's chief Catholic publishing complex, which published both a monthly magazine with a circulation of about one million and a daily paper with a circulation of about 125,000.

As Kolbe grew older, his health, which had never been strong, deteriorated. He was diagnosed as suffering from tuberculosis, which was nearly fatal to him. His bout with this serious illness weakened him and he became quite frail. He bore the effects of the disease for the rest of his life, suffering from severe headaches and was covered with abscesses; but these were only minor problems when compared with what was yet to come.

In 1941, Maximilian was arrested by the Gestapo when the Germans invaded Poland and was sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp. He took the place of a married prisoner, who had a family, in a retaliatory punishment in the camp. Ten prisoners were being executed because one prisoner had escaped. Maximilian volunteered to die in place of the married prisoner and he was condemned to a slow death in a starvation bunker. On August 14, 1941, his impatient captors, eager to see him die, ended his life with a fatal injection of carbolic acid. He was beatified in 1971 and canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1982.

Maximilian was a ground-breaking theologian. His insights into the Immaculate Conception anticipated the Marian theology of the Second Vatican Council and further developed the Church's understanding of Mary as "Mediatrix" of all the graces of the Trinity, and as "Advocate" for God's people.

He is the patron of: drug addicts, families, imprisoned people, journalists, and the pro-life movement.

My Favorite Quotes from St. Maximilian Kolbe:

"Prayer is powerful beyond limits when we turn to the Immaculata who is queen even of God's heart."

"God dwells in our midst, in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar."

"He remains among us until the end of the world. He dwells on so many altars, though so often offended and profaned."

"The culmination of the Mass is not the consecration, but Communion."

"You come to me and unite Yourself intimately to me under the form of nourishment. Your Blood now runs in mine, Your Soul, Incarnate God, compenetrates mine, giving courage and support. What miracles! Who would have ever imagined such!"

"If angels could be jealous of men, they would be so for one reason: Holy Communion."

"Let us give ourselves to the Immaculata. Let her prepare us, let her receive Him in Holy Communion. This is the manner most perfect and pleasing to the Lord Jesus and brings great fruit to us."

- St. Maximilian Kolbe

Prayer for the Intercession of St. Maximilian Kolbe

O Lord Jesus Christ who said, "greater love than this no man has that a man lay down his life for his friends," through the intercession of St. Maximilian Kolbe, whose life illustrated such love, we beseech You to grant us our petitions .....(mention them here).

Through the Knights of the Immaculata movement, which Maximilian founded, he spread a fervent devotion to Our Lady throughout the world. He gave up his life for a total stranger and loved his persecutors, giving us all an example of unselfish love for all men --- a love which was inspired by true devotion to Mary.

Grant O Lord Jesus, that we too may give ourselves entirely without reserve to the love and service of our Heavenly Queen in order to better love and serve our fellowman in imitation of your humble servant, Maximilian. Amen.

(Say 3 Hail Marys and a Glory be....)




Related Posts:

St. Max, Mother Mary, the Pro-life Movement, and Me -- August 14, 2008

St. Maximilian Kolbe: Pro-life Meditation -- July 19, 2006