Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Morning-after pill to be made available over the counter

On April 30, the Food and Drug Administration approved over the counter sale of the morning-after pill Plan B One-Step to all women aged 15 and older.

Plan B One-Step is the name of the drug, made exclusively by Teva Women's Health, Inc., which acts as an emergency contraceptive which reduces the possibility of pregnancy when taken up to three days after sexual intercourse. It is taken as a single-dose 1.5 mg tablet of levonorgestrel.

Pharmacies and retailers with on-site pharmacies will have the drug on shelves, and those wishing to purchase it will have to provide proof of age. Teva has agreed to have a security tag placed on all Plan B One-Step cartons to prevent theft, according to the FDA.

Read the full story.

Dr. Manny Alvarez states:

"I will stay true to my beliefs that there is a danger to providing these types of medications over-the-counter, especially to young children."

"I still believe there are risks associated with these medications, especially potential over-abuse, specifically in young patients. Side effects to Plan B can include, but are not limited to: migraines, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and blood clots."

The sad part about this is that young women will be using this as routine birth control  -- harming their physical, spiritual, and emotional health--encouraging sexual predators to abuse them. Yes, I am saying that it will result in an increase in rape.  

We also know that the Pill is composed of synthetic female steroids that are environmentally toxic, increase the risk of breast cancer, alter phermones, kill libido, and cause depression, anxiety, and mood disturbances. What will this drug that is considerably stronger than the Pill do to our young women? No long term studies have been done.

Papal Quote of the Day

"How marvelous it would be if, at the end of the day, each of us could say: today I have performed an act of charity towards others!"

~ Pope Francis (from his Twitter feed)

Pope's prayer intentions for May

The Pope's general prayer intention for May is: "That administrators of justice may act always with integrity and right conscience."

His mission intention is: “That seminaries, especially those of mission Churches, may form pastors after the Heart of Christ, fully dedicated to proclaiming the Gospel.”

Lila Rose interviewed on O'Reilly Last Night

I watched this interview on O'Reilly last night. If you missed it, it's worth watching. I noticed that ABC news  also reported on Live Action's undercover investigation.

St. Pius V, Pope

The saint of the day for April 30th is St. Pius V, pope.

Michael Ghislieri was born near Alessandria in Italy in 1504. He was a poor shepherd boy, who entered the Dominican Order at the age of 14 and was ordained a priest at the age of 24. He taught theology and philosophy for sixteen years and developed a reputation as a gifted teacher and preacher.

Michael led an austere and holy life in the monastery: he fasted, performed penance, spent long hours of the night in meditation and prayer, and traveled in silence on foot without a cloak.

After being ordained a bishop and named a Cardinal, he became pope at the age of 62, taking the name of Pope Pius V. His holiness and austerity continued in the papacy. He refused to wear the ornate and flowing garments of previous popes, but insisted upon wearing his white Dominican habit even as head of the Church. To this day, the pope wears white, a custom begun by this Dominican pontiff.

His reign, though short, was one of the most fruitful of the sixteenth century. During his six year pontificate, Pius ordered the establishment of seminaries for the training of priests, published a new missal (which remained in use for 400 years), and set up Confraternity of Christian Doctrine classes for the young. He also attempted to uphold the Church's political authority against various European nations. Queen Elizabeth's interference with Church affairs in England led to her excommunication; the pope also struggled against the ambitions of the Holy Roman Emperor and King Philip II of Spain.

Perhaps the most famous success of his papacy was the miraculous victory of the Christian fleet in the battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1571. The island of Malta was attacked by the Turkish fleet, and nearly every man defending the fortress was killed in battle. The pope sent out a fleet to meet the enemy, requesting that each man on board pray the Rosary and receive communion.

Meanwhile, he called on all of Europe to recite the Rosary and ordered a 40 hour devotion in Rome during which time the battle took place. The Christian fleet, vastly outnumbered by the Turks, inflicted an impossible defeat on the Turkish navy, demolishing the entire fleet.

In memory of the triumph he declared the day the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary because of her intercession in answering the mass recitation of the Rosary and obtaining the victory. He has also been called ‘the Pope of the Rosary’ for this reason.

Pope Pius V died seven months later on May 1, 1572. He is enshrined at Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, and was beatified by Clement X in 1672, and canonized by Clement XI in 1712.


"O Lord, increase my sufferings and my patience!" ~ St. Pius V

Monday, April 29, 2013

Archbishop Chaput on the Gosnell Murder Trial

Here is what Archbishop Chaput had to say in his latest column in the Catholic Philly about the murder trial of late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell, who practiced in Philadelphia:

Some stories, no matter how unsettling, just can’t be ignored — even when some people are determined to look away.

The murder trial of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell will soon go to jury. And like every other criminally accused person under the law, Gosnell is innocent until proven guilty. Whatever the verdict though, there’s no ambiguity about the kind of business he ran at his West Philadelphia “Women’s Medical Center” ­— an abortion clinic that critics have likened to a meatpacking plant or a butcher shop, with unborn children delivered into a toilet, and jars of fetal body parts stored around the facility.

Dr. Gosnell was originally charged with one count of infanticide and five counts of “abuse of corpse” for killing fetuses born alive by plunging scissors into their necks. Without explanation, the judge in the case accepted a motion to acquit Gosnell of these charges earlier this week. Gosnell still faces four counts of first-degree and one count of third-degree murder. Eight of his coworkers have already pleaded guilty in the case, including three to third-degree murder.

Or so said The New York Times in a report dated April 23.  The date is important.  Gosnell’s trial began March 18, more than a month ago.  The Times coverage, while modest, is significant.  Why?  The answer is simple.  The Inquirer – Philadelphia’s hometown paper – has done a good job following the trial.  But most prestige national media have seemed remarkably eager to ignore the story until shamed into covering it.

Gosnell is much more than a “local” story. The continuing debate over legalized abortion is a hot-button national issue that drew half a million pro-life demonstrators to Washington in January. The battle over abortion restrictions continues in every state. Forty years after the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, resistance to permissive abortion remains high. And the vivid details of the Gosnell clinic tragedy have the kind of salacious appeal that few national media would normally avoid — if the issue were anything else. But abortion is too often, and in too many news rooms, exactly the kind of topic that brings on a sudden case of snow blindness.

The real story in the Gosnell trial is bigger than the ugly allegations against Gosnell himself; it includes the failure — the allergic disinterest — of some of our most important national media. A headline in The Atlantic magazine, April 12, states the obvious: “Why Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s Trial Should Be a Front-Page Story: The dead babies. The exploited women. The racism. The numerous governmental failures. It is thoroughly newsworthy.”

The Atlantic story by Conor Friedersdorf is worth reading. But don’t stop there.  Read this by Kirsten Powers, columnist for The Daily Beast, in USA Today. And these excellent analyses by journalists Terry Mattingly, Mollie Hemingway and George Conger.

The irony is that much of the media’s lethargy in covering the Gosnell case really doesn’t surprise. It’s part of the fabric of a culture that simply will not see what it doesn’t want to see about the realities of abortion. And it leads to the kind of implausible claim made recently by one local commentator that “no sense of guilt is warranted” by the media because “there is no causal connection between coverage of [the Gosnell] case and bias.” It’s hard to imagine a more untenable alibi.

The brutality in abortion is intimate, personal and permanent. It violates women, and it kills a developing human life every time — whether the venue is a “Women’s Medical Center”-style meat factory or a soothing suburban clinic. What makes the Gosnell story unique is that it should distress anyone with its details, pro-choice or pro-life, regardless of religion or politics.

But of course, people need to know about an evil before they can do anything about it.

Spokesman: Benedict XVI will likely return to Vatican on May 2

April 29, 2013. (Romereports.com) The spokesperson for the Vatican, Father Federico Lombardi, confirmed that Benedict XVI will likely return to the Vatican at about midday on May 2.

The Pope emeritus has been staying at Castel Gandolfo for the past two months, as crews finished work on the Mater Ecclesie convent to turn it into the new home for Benedict XVI.

Joining him back at the Vatican will also be four consecrated women, Memores Domini, a part of Communion and Liberation, that help Benedict XVI in his daily life, as well as his personal secretary, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, who will continue in his role as Prefect of the Pontifical Household.

It is also very likely that the convent will also house the Pope emeritus' brother, Georg Ratzinger, who is also a priest and Benedict's only living family member.

Pope Francis reaches six million followers on Twitter

Inhuman: Undercover in America's Late-Term Abortion Industry - Washington, D.C.

Live Action released a second undercover video today, revealing how leading D.C. late-term abortion doctor Cesare Santengelo would leave a baby struggling for life after a failed abortion to die.

“Hopefully we’ll get this pregnancy out intact, but it doesn’t always happen that way,” Santangelo said to an undercover Live Action investigator who was 24 weeks pregnant. “I try and sever the umbilical cord first, and we wait for that to stop pulsing, and this way the fetus is expired first.”

When asked by the undercover investigator what will happen if the baby survives the abortion, Doctor Santangelo says:

“Technically – you know, legally we would be obligated to help it, you know, to survive.  But, you know, it probably wouldn’t.  It’s all in how vigorously you do things to help a fetus survive at this point.  Let’s say you went into labor, the membranes ruptured, and you delivered before we got to the termination part of the procedure here, you know?  Then we would do things – we would – we would not help it.  We wouldn’t intubate.  It would be, you know, uh, a person, a terminal person in the hospital, let’s say, that had cancer, you know?  You wouldn’t do any extra procedures to help that person survive.  Like ‘do not resuscitate’ orders.  We would do the same things here.”

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Fr. Thomas McDermott, O.P. on St. Catherine of Siena

This excellent video will teach you about St. Catherine of Siena's spirituality. In it, Doug Keck interviews Fr. Thomas McDermott, OP on his book St. Catherine of Siena: Spiritual Development in Her Life and Teaching.

Related Post: St. Catherine of Siena

Saint Catherine of Siena

April 29th is the feast of my Confirmation saint, St. Catherine of Siena, Caterina di Giacomo di Benicasa (1347 - 1380). As a mystic, activist, reformer, contemplative, and Doctor of the Church, she is one of the most prominent figures in Christian history.

Catherine, the youngest of twenty-six children, was born in Siena on March 25, 1347. During her youth she had to contend with great difficulties on the part of her parents. They were planning marriage for their favorite daughter; but Catherine, who at the age of seven had already taken a vow of virginity, refused. To break her resistance, her beautiful golden brown tresses were shorn to the very skin and she was forced to do the most menial tasks. Undone by her patience, her mother and father finally relented and their child entered the Third Order of St. Dominic -- a lay order.

Catherine managed a large household of followers, all of whom called her "Mama". She served as spiritual director to royalty and religious. She lived in poverty and fasted severely (living only on the Eucharist) but always seeing to it that her friends were well fed. She prayed for several hours at a time and often went into ecstasy. She routinely cared for the sick in hospitals and visited those in prisons. Even the most hardened criminals embraced the faith when she visited them. She read the thoughts and knew the temptations of her companions, even at long distances. She saw people's secret sins and confronted these people, urging them to repent. She touched hearts so effectively that the Friars Preachers had to assign three priests to handle the confessions of her penitents.

As time went on, her influence reached out to secular and ecclesiastical matters. She made peace between worldly princes. The heads of Church and State bowed to her words. She weaned Italy away from an anti-pope, and made cardinals and princes promise allegiance to the rightful pontiff. She fought hard to defend the liberty and rights of the Popes and did much for the renewal of religious life. She also dictated books full of sound doctrine and spiritual inspiration. She died on April 29, 1380. In 1970, Pope Paul VI declared her a Doctor of the Church.

Against fire; bodily ills; Europe; fire prevention; firefighters; illness; Italy; miscarriages; nurses; nursing services; people ridiculed for their piety; sexual temptation; sick people; sickness; Siena, Italy; temptations.

St. Catherine of Siena Quotes

"Love is the most necessary of all virtues. Love in the person who preaches the word of God is like fire in a musket. If a person were to throw a bullet with his hands, he would hardly make a dent in anything; but if the person takes the same bullet and ignites some gunpowder behind it, it can kill. It is much the same with the word of God. If it is spoken by someone who is filled with the fire of charity- the fire of love of God and neighbor- it will work wonders."

"Everything comes from love, all is ordained for the salvation of man, God does nothing without this goal in mind."

"Merit consists in the virtue of love alone, flavored with the light of true discretion without which the soul is worth nothing."

"Strange that so much suffering is caused because of the misunderstandings of God's true nature. God's heart is more gentle than the Virgin's first kiss upon the Christ. And God's forgiveness to all, to any thought or act, is more certain than our own being."

Holy Spirit, come into my heart, by your power I journey to You, God, and grant me charity with fear. Protect me, o Christ, from every evil thought, warm me with Your sweet love, so that each burden seems light to me. My holy Father and my sweet Lord, help me always in all my endeavors, Christ love, Christ love.

~Composed and written by St. Catherine at Rocca d'Orcia in 1377, after miraculously having learned to write.

Go here to learn more about St. Catherine of Siena.

Inhuman: Undercover in America's Late-Term Abortion Industry

Gosnell is not alone.

What you are about to see will shock you!

You've heard about the horrifying details of Kermit Gosnell's gruesome late-term abortion spree, but what if he is not the only one?

Watch Live Action's investigative release to find out what happens when an abortion counselor in the Bronx, New York, is asked what will happen to a child that survives an abortion at their clinic. Her answer will shock you...

Note: This video is not intended for children. 

At Dr. Emily's clinic in the Bronx, NY, the abortion counselor is caught on tape describing, in a gruesomely precise way, exactly how late-term abortions happen. She goes on to explain what happens to a baby after the abortion and advises to “flush” the child down the toilet if he or she is delivered at home before the final stage of the two- or three-day abortion procedure.

“If it comes out, then it comes out. Flush it. ... if anything, you know, put it in a bag or something or somewhere and bring it to us.”

When Live Action’s undercover investigator asked what will happen to the baby after the abortion – or what the clinic would do if, after the abortion, the baby is moving – the counselor says:

“If it did come out in one piece, it’s very small. So they would still have to put it in a container – like, a jar – with solution and send it to the lab.”

When the clinic worker is asked what happens if the baby (after the abortion) is breathing or twitching, she responds:

“The solution will make it stop. It’s not going to be moving around in the jar ... that’s the whole purpose of the solution.”

“It’ll automatically stop. It won’t be able to [breathe]...not with the solution.”

Second Fly-In Abortionist Identified Working at Wichita Abortion Clinic

We must pray for the conversion of these abortionists and for an end to abortion. 

April 28, 2013

 Wichita, KS - Operation Rescue has received verification of the identity of a second abortionist who plans to work at a new Wichita abortion clinic located in the same building where George Tiller once operated the largest late-term abortion mill outside Communist China.

Valencia Stephens is an abortionist from Arizona who will fly into Kansas to do first and early second trimester abortions through 14 weeks at South Wind Women's Center, located at 5107 E. Kellogg in Wichita, a new abortion business that opened earlier this month. Prior to its opening, Wichita had been abortion-free for nearly four years. 

Stephens is currently operating in Kansas under a temporary license with no local hospital privileges.

In Arizona, Stephens works for Saguaro Physicians in Sierra Vista, a small boarder community south of Tuscon. (View her profile page at Saguaro Physicians.) Read the entire story.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

St. Zita

The saint of the day for April 27 is St. Zita (1212-72), the patron saint of domestic workers.

She was born in Tuscany, Italy in the village of Monsagrati. Zita came from a poor, but deeply devotional family. To help support the family, she became a maid of a wealthy family, Fatinelli, in the nearby Tuscan city of Lucca, serving them loyally for 48 years.

Zita considered her work as an employment assigned to her by God and obeyed her master and mistress in all things as being placed over her by God. She always rose several hours before the rest of the family and spent time in prayer while they slept. She started each day with Holy Mass before she began performing her duties.

Zita visited the sick and those in prison, giving them hope and spreading the gospel message. She was well - known for all her works of charity and her sweet, joyful disposition.

Zita had a great love for the poor and donated her own food or that of her master to the poor. At first, her employers were upset by her generous gifts of food to the poor, but in time, they were completely won over by her patience and goodness.

On one morning, Zita left her chore of baking bread to tend to someone in need. Some of the other servants made sure the Fatinelli family was aware of what happened. When they went to investigate, they claimed to have found angels in the Fatinelli kitchen, baking the bread for her.

On another occasion, Zita had given away the family's supply of beans to the townsfolk during a severe famine. Upon suspecting this, the Fatinelli family went to the cupboard to find it full - the beans hand been miraculously replaced.

Another recorded event was just as dramatic, if not more so. On Christmas Eve, Zita had given away a prized and treasured family cloak to a shivering man at the doorway of St. Fredaino, the local church. While the elder Fatinelli was in the midst of a fit of fury, an elderly man came to the door and returned the heirloom. When townsfolk heard of the event, they decided that the man must have been an angel. From that point on, the doorway of the St. Fredaino church in Lucca has been called the "Angel Portal".

With the passage of the years Zita’s fellow servants and the Fatinellis came to realize that she was a genuine saint. The family made her mistress of the household and eventually governess of the Fatinelli children.

St. Zita died peacefully in the Fatinelli house on April 27, 1272. It is said that a star appeared above the attic where she slept at the moment of her death. Zita was canonized in 1696.

Activity: Bake some bread today in honor of St. Zita, "the little cook".

Friday, April 26, 2013

Fr Emil Kapaun: A hero and a Catholic priest

Ray Kapaun speaks about his uncle, Fr Emil Kapaun, who was recently awarded the Medal of Honor (posthumously), and is on the road to sainthood.

Our Lady of Good Counsel

Today we commemorate Our Lady of Good Counsel.

On the Feast of Saint Mark, the Evangelist, April 25 1467, the people of Genazzano, Italy witnessed a marvelous sight. A cloud descended upon an ancient church dedicated to Our Lady of Good Counsel. When the cloud disappeared, an image of Our Lady and the Child Jesus was revealed which had not been there before. The image, on a paper-thin sheet, was suspended miraculously.

Soon after the image's appearance many miracles were attributed to the intercession of Our Lady of Good Counsel. Because of this, Pope Paul II ordered an investigation and the results have been preserved.

It was later discovered that the very same image had been seen in a church dedicated to the Annunciation in Scutari, Albania. The image in this church was said to have arrived there in a miraculous manner. Now, the image had been transported from Albania miraculously to avoid sacrilege from Moslem invasion.

A commission of inquiry determined that a portrait from the church was indeed missing. An empty space the same size as the portrait was displayed for all to see.

Many miracles continue to be attributed to Our Lady of Good Counsel. Pope Saint Pius V, for example, credited victory in the Battle of Lepanto to Her intercession.

Several Popes have approved the miraculous image. In 1682 Pope Innocent XI had the portrait crowned with gold. On July 2 1753 Pope Benedict XIV approved the Scapular of Our Lady of Good Counsel, and was the first to wear it. In 1884 a special Mass and Office of the Feast of Our Lady of Good Counsel was approved by Pope Leo XIII.

For more than 500 years the image has continued to attract countless pilgrims.

Although much of the church was destroyed during World War II, the image has remained intact - and continues to be suspended miraculously.

Our Lady of Good Counsel is the patron of those seeking enlightenment.

O Mary of Good Counsel, inflame the hearts of all who are devoted to you, so that all of them have shelter in you, O great Mother of God. O most worthy Lady, let everyone choose you as teacher and wise counselor of their souls, since you are, as Saint Augustine says, the counsel of the Apostles and counsel of all peoples. Amen.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

72 U.S. Representatives express outrage with the mainstream media for the Gosnell black-out

Via LifeNews.Com:

A top pro-life congresswoman exposed late-term abortion practitioner Kermit Gosnell, who is on trial for murder, on the O’Reilly Factor program last night.

Due to a lack of national broadcast news coverage on these issues, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) organized a letter with 71 of her House colleagues last week to ABC, NBC, and CBS. The letters demand these networks stop blacking out coverage on high-profile abortion controversies. Read more

Via David Gittrich at Kansans for Life:

The murder trial of Kermit Gosnell has been ignored by the major media.  Those who are aware of what is happening, are appalled that the media refuses to cover this story.  Over 70 U.S. Representatives sent the following letter to the media.  Representative Tim Huelskamp and Representative Mike Pompeo signed this letter.  The addresses for the major media follow the letter.  All of us should let them know that we are aware of the media's bias -- we are not fools.

Dear­ (News Outlet - see list below),

As Members of Congress, we seldom, and with good reason, take the opportunity to communicate directly to you our views on the subject matter of your national news broadcasts. However, we write this letter to express how profoundly appalled we are that your networks have largely ignored two significant stories: Planned Parenthood’s lobbying efforts in support of infanticide in Florida last month as well as the ongoing criminal murder trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell in Philadelphia.

Surely, the Planned Parenthood lobbying scandal and the ongoing Gosnell murder case, which has been described as a “House of Horrors,” meet your threshold criteria for a national news segment. Yet despite this obvious fact, coverage of these stories has eluded your news divisions. Our modern world offers no shortage of calamities and crimes to occupy the time of writers, video editors, and announcers. Nonetheless, we see no excuse for your failure to report these stories other than blatant media bias. There is nothing “politically incorrect” about reporting the negative impacts of abortion on women and children. People’s reliance on your networks for information has been sorely betrayed as it relates to these cases and it undermines your credibility in the public square.

We welcome your response to tell us that this is not so – that you can explain why Planned Parenthood’s public endorsement of the right to deny medical treatment to children who survive abortion is not of interest to the general public. Help us understand how one of the most notorious cases in our nation’s history of patient abuse of mothers and babies does not merit airtime on your programming. These sentiments have also been raised by community leaders who wrote to you on April 4 under the auspices of the Media Research Center. Their inquiries deserve a response not merely in terms of public accountability, but also as a measure of common decency.

Health care and the protection of the weakest members of society are subjects of high priority for any civilized society. As Americans assess these cases, the condition of our culture, and the utility of our laws, they depend on you. Additionally, public officials and lawmakers rely upon an unprejudiced press to follow the truth and report the news, good and bad, for all to see and evaluate appropriately. For these reasons, we urge you and your colleagues to take seriously our concerns.

(Signed by Mike Pompeo and Tim Huelskamp along with other members of Congress)

Letter sent to:
ABC News
7 West 66th Street
New York, NY 10023

CBS News
524 W. 57th Street
New York, NY 10019

NBCUniversal News Group
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10112

Thousands of Citizen Complaints Lodged Against Carhart for Third-Trimester Abortion Death

In addition to Kermit Gosnell, there is another human butcher on the loose. Hopefully, through our efforts, late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart will be removed from his position soon.

Annapolis, MD — Over 6,000 of citizen complaints against late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart were successfully delivered to the Maryland Board of Physicians yesterday by representatives of Students for Life in America. The complaints were in support of a formal complaint filed on February 19, 2013, by Operation Rescue seeking license revocation for Carhart in the death of 28-year old Jennifer Morbelli.

Morbelli had sought an abortion at Carhart’s late-term abortion clinic in Germantown, Maryland, at 33-weeks into her pregnancy after her pre-born daughter, Madison, was diagnosed with a seizure disorder. After her abortion, Carhart left Maryland and could not be reached by Morbelli’s family when her condition deteriorated later that night. The next day, February 7, Morbelli was taken to Shady Grove Hospital where she eventually died from massive internal bleeding. Hospital staff also failed to reach Carhart, which complicated and delayed the diagnosis of her condition and appropriate treatment that might have saved her life.

Read the entire story.

St. Mark, the Evangelist

Giuseppe Vermiglio, Saint Mark the Evangelist, c. 1630

Today is the feast of St. Mark, the Evangelist. What a great model he is for us during the New Evangelization in this great year of faith!

John Mark, later known simply as Mark, was a Jew by birth. He was the son of that Mary who was proprietress of the Cenacle or "upper room" which served as the meeting place for the first Christians in Jerusalem (Acts 12:12). He was still a youth at the time of the Savior's death. In his description of the young man who was present when Jesus was seized and who fled from the rabble leaving behind his "linen cloth," the second Evangelist might possibly have stamped the mark of his own identity.

During the years that followed, the rapidly maturing youth witnessed the growth of the infant Church in his mother's Upper Room and became acquainted with its traditions. This knowledge he put to excellent use when compiling his Gospel. Later, we find Mark acting as a companion to his cousin Barnabas and Saul on their return journey to Antioch and on their first missionary journey. But Mark was too immature for the hardships of this type of work and therefore left them at Perge in Pamphylia to return home.

As the two apostles were preparing for their second missionary journey, Barnabas wanted to take his cousin with him. Paul, however, objected. Thereupon the two cousins undertook a missionary journey to Cyprus. Time healed the strained relations between Paul and Mark, and during the former's first Roman captivity (61-63), Mark rendered Paul valuable service (Col. 4:10; Philem. 24), and the Apostle learned to appreciate him. When in chains the second time Paul requested Mark's presence (2 Tim. 4:11).

An intimate friendship existed between Mark and Peter; he played the role of Peter's companion, disciple, and interpreter. According to the common patristic opinion, Mark was present at Peter's preaching in Rome and wrote his Gospel under the influence of the prince of the apostles. This explains why incidents which involve Peter are described with telling detail (e.g., the great day at Capharnaum, 1:14f)). Little is known of Mark's later life. It is certain that he died a martyr's death as bishop of Alexandria in Egypt. His relics were transferred from Alexandria to Venice, where a worthy tomb was erected in St. Mark's Cathedral.

The Gospel of St. Mark, the shortest of the four, is, above all, a Roman Gospel. It originated in Rome and is addressed to Roman, or shall we say, to Western Christianity. Another high merit is its chronological presentation of the life of Christ. For we should be deeply interested in the historical sequence of the events in our blessed Savior's life.

Furthermore, Mark was a skilled painter of word pictures. With one stroke he frequently enhances a familiar scene, shedding upon it new light. His Gospel is the "Gospel of Peter," for he wrote it under the direction and with the aid of the prince of the apostles. "The Evangelist Mark is represented as a lion because he begins his Gospel in the wilderness, `The voice of one crying in the desert: Make ready the way of the Lord,' or because he presents the Lord as the unconquered King."

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

Patron: Against impenitence; attorneys; barristers; captives; Egypt; glaziers; imprisoned people; insect bites; lions; notaries; prisoners; scrofulous diseases; stained glass workers; struma; Diocese of Venice, Florida; Venice, Italy.

"Go out into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature." ~ Mark 16:15

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Fox News to air one-hour special on Gosnell trial

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Fox News will air a one-hour documentary on “house of horrors” abortionist Kermit Gosnell in two weeks. The special program will air at 9 p.m. on Sunday, May 5, according to Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life.

The Gosnell story garnered national media coverage after a successful campaign on the social media site Twitter two weeks ago that generated more than half-a-million mentions of the abortionist and hundreds of thousands of uses of the #Gosnell hashtag. Read the entire story.

Note: My research reveals that this special is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET., but be sure to double-check your local listings for the exact time in your area, as times may vary or be subject to change.

Pope Francis: The Church is a love story not a bureaucratic organization

(Vatican Radio) The Church is not a bureaucratic organization, but a love story. This was Pope Francis’ message during Wednesday’s Mass in the Chapel of the Casa Santa Marta.

Attending the Mass this morning were employees of the Institute for the Works of Religion, commonly called the Vatican bank. Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán, President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, concelebrated Mass with the Holy Father.

The day’s readings tell the story of the growth of the first Christian community. In his homily, the Pope warned against being tempted to make "deals" simply to get "more partners in this enterprise."

Instead, he said, “the road that Jesus willed for His Church is otherwise: the way of difficulties, the way of the Cross, the way of persecution . . . And this makes us wonder: what is this Church? Because it seems it is not a human enterprise."

The Church, he said, is "something else." The disciples do not make the Church – they are the messengers sent by Jesus. And Christ was sent by the Father: “The Church begins there,” he said, “in the heart of the Father, who had this idea . . . of love. So this love story began, a story that has gone on for so long, and is not yet ended. We, the women and men of the Church, we are in the middle of a love story: each of us is a link in this chain of love. And if we do not understand this, we have understood nothing of what the Church is."

Read more.

Pier Giorgio Frassati: A commentary by Fr. Barron

St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen

The saint of the day for April 24 is St. Fidelis of Sigmarengen.

Known as Mark Rey and the "Poor Man's Lawyer," Fidelis was born in 1577 at Sigmaringen, Prussia. His studies took him to the University of Freiburg and eventually to the position of tutor for Wilhelm von Stotzingen. Fidelis traveled with Wilhelm extensively throughout France and Italy before returning to Freiburg and earning a doctorate in canon and civil law. He became a prominent lawyer. However, he felt that this career endangered the salvation of his soul and he abandoned law.

Mark joined the Capuchin Friars Minor, changed his name to Fidelis (meaning Faithful) and gave away his worldly wealth to the poor. As a Franciscan priest, he served his friary as guardian, and worked in epidemics, especially healing soldiers. He had a strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Trusting in her intercession, he often begged God for the grace of sacrificing his life in vindication of the Catholic faith.

Fidelis was tireless in his efforts to convert heretics and wrote several pamphlets against Calvinism and Zwinglianism. He was eventually appointed to undertake a mission in the country of the Grisons and to bring that district back to the Catholic faith. He met with terrible opposition, including many cries of, "Death to the Capuchins!" Despite this opposition however, he was extremely successful in bringing many people back to the Catholic faith. It was for this reason that he was bludgeoned to death while saying Mass at Sevins. His body was carried outside the Church where the heretics offered to save his life, if only he would renounce his religious beliefs. He replied, "I came to extirpate heresy, not embrace it." He died on April 24, 1622 and was canonized by Pope Benedict XIV in 1746.

Saint Quote: "It is because of faith that we exchange the present for the future."~ St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen

Lesson: If we desire to please God and give Him the gifts he truly desires, we will bring souls to Him, like St. Fidelis. We can do this through prayer, preaching, penance, and living out our daily lives as good Catholic Christians. We must seek to save souls who but for us would otherwise be lost. By offering God these souls, we offer God the jewels of paradise. "And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'" (Romans 10:15)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

It's a Gosnell World

By Judie Brown

What is it that makes mainstream media all but ignore the horrors perpetrated by Kermit Gosnell? What is it that makes most Americans have only a passing interest, if any, in this gruesome case? And what can be done to change this? Today's commentary addresses the heart of the matter and challenges each and every one of us to overcome this problem that has crippled our society.

There have been literally millions of words spoken and written about the 72-year-old abortionist who is now standing trial because of the aborted-but-born-alive babies he butchered.

Read the entire editorial.

Pope celebrates his saint's day with cardinals: 'absurd' to look for Jesus without the Church

April 23, 2013. (Romereports.com) Pope Francis celebrated the feast day of St. George, his patron saint, with a Mass as the Pauline Chapel, along with the resident cardinals in Rome. At the start of the ceremony, Cardinal Dean Angelo Sodano congratulated him on behalf of others. During the hour-long ceremony, Pope Francis gave a brief homily similar to the ones he offers at the Casa Santa Marta Chapel.

“I also thank all of you who wanted to come today: Thank you. Because I feel welcomed by you. Thank you. I feel good with you, and I like that.”

Without written remarks, but basing himself on the Gospel of the day, he spoke about the Church's expansion, starting with the first persecution of Christians.

“And this is how the Church moved forward. Whose was this initiative to speak to the Greeks? This was not clear to anyone but the Jews. But ... it was the Holy Spirit, the One who prompted them ever forward ... But some in Jerusalem, when they heard this, became 'nervous and sent Barnabas on an "apostolic visitation": perhaps, with a little sense of humor we could say that this was the theological beginning of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.”

The Pope also cited Paul VI twice, when explaining that in order to find Jesus, one has to be a part of the Church.

“But the Christian identity is not an identity card: Christian identity is belonging to the Church, because all of these belonged to the Church, the Mother Church. Because it is not possible to find Jesus outside the Church. The great Paul VI said: 'Wanting to live with Jesus without the Church, following Jesus outside of the Church, loving Jesus without the Church is an absurd dichotomy.'”

Even without prepared notes, Pope Francis continued speaking on three topics: the relationship between the missionary spirit of the Church and the persecution of early Christian, the role of the Mother Church, and the joy apostles experienced in evangelization.

Near the end, he urged everyone present to seek that same apostolic fervor, citing St. Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits.

“And let us ask the Lord for this "parresia", this apostolic fervor that impels us to move forward, as brothers, all of us forward! Forward, bringing the name of Jesus in the bosom of Holy Mother Church, and, as St. Ignatius said, "hierarchical and Catholic."

In addition to Pope Francis, other prelates celebrating their saint day of St. George include: Benedict's brother, Georg Ratzinger, who is at Castel Gandolfo; and the prefect of the Papal Household, Georg Gaenswein, who co-celebrated Mass with Pope Francis at the Pauline Chapel.

Kermit Gosnell Judge Drops Three Abortion-Infanticide Charges

The judge in the trial of abortion practitioner Kermit Gosnell has acquitted him of three of the eight murder charges the abortion business owner faces in his murder trial.

Gosnell faces eight total murder counts — one or killing a woman in a botched abortion and seven for killing babies in abortion-infanticides that involved live-birth abortions and snipping their necks after birth. Read the entire story.

This leaves me speechless. All I can say is this is a sad commentary on our judicial system and on our society. It is very sad indeed. 

St. George

The saint of the day for April 23 is St. George.

St. George was a soldier of the Roman army who was tortured and beheaded for his Christian faith in the year 303, in Lydda (in modern day Palestine).  He was likely born in Cappadocia, of a Cappadocian father and a Palestinian mother of noble rank. At the death of his father (possibly martyrdom) he moved to Palestine with his mother where he joined the military and apparently served with some distinction, meriting several promotions in rank.

One account of the martyrdom of St. George is Eusebius´ Ecclesiastical History, which relates that when the emperor Diocletian issued an edict "to tear down the churches to the foundations and to destroy the Sacred Scriptures by fire…a certain man, of no mean origin, but highly esteemed for his temporal dignities, stimulated by a divine zeal, and excited by an ardent faith, took it as it was openly placed and posted up for public inspection, and tore it to shreds as a most profane and wicked act."  This act of instransigence and holy audacity enraged the emperor who had the man tortured and killed. This man “of no mean origin”, i.e. of nobility, has been identified by more than one ancient source, including Eusebius, as St. George, though most modern historians of the period state that this is unlikely.

St. George is usually depicted in Christian art as a soldier on horseback killing a dragon with a lance. This image is a representation of a popular legend of St. George which first appears in 1265 in a romance titled "The Golden Legend," in which he saved a town terrorized by a dragon with one blow of his lance. The image, however, is also, and more significantly, a powerful symbol of the victory of Christian faith over evil (sometimes interpreted more contextually in the early Church as “paganism”), personified by the devil who is symbolized by the dragon according to the imagery in Revelations.

St. George is invoked as a patron of military causes, not only because he was a soldier, but also, and primarily, due to his appearance to the Christian armies before the battle of Antioch, in which they were victorious, and to King Richard the Lionheart of England during his crusade against the Saracens.

The cult of St.George, while universal, remains strongest in the Eastern Church where he is venerated as “The Great Martyr.” Accounts of early pilgrims identify the seat of the cult of St.George at his burial site in Lydda. The cult has been in existence since the 4th century, soon after his death.

St. George is the patron of soldiers and the patron of many nations, including Palestine; Lebanon; England; Georgia; Malta. He is also the patron of Palestinian Christians and of Boy Scouts.  He is invoked by sufferers of herpes, skin diseases, skin rashes, syphilis, and snakebites.

Blessed Teresa Maria of the Cross

Today we commemorate Blessed Teresa Maria of the Cross, Carmelite nun and founder.

Teresa Maria Manetti (Bettina was her nickname.) was born at Campi Bisenzio, Florence, Italy. Daughter of Salvatore Manetti and Rosa Bigagli, Teresa had one brother, Adamo Raffaello. She lived her entire life in her small village.

Bettina had a cheerful, energetic disposition and a talent for organization and all the qualities which make for a good leader. At the age of 21, she rented a home with two other women who dedicated themselves to a life of prayer, penance, and charity. They cared for the sick and the poor and taught catechism to children. They were inspired by the writings of Saint Teresa of Avila, and had a special devotion to her. Many other women joined the small group. The women were admitted to the Teresian Third Order and Bettina took the new name of Teresa Maria of the Cross.

Two years later, she joined the Discalced Carmelites as a nun. Over the next few years she started schools in several Italian cities, each with it’s little group of Carmelite teachers. Her Institute of teaching nuns received approval from Pope Saint Pius X on February 27, 1904 as the Carmelite Sisters of Saint Teresa of Florence with a mission to teach and care for children, especially orphans. Like her inspiration, Saint Teresa of Avila, Teresa of the Cross met with much resistance to her work with the poor, much slander about her personal life, and a long period of spiritual dryness, but all who met her commented on the air of joy and peace she brought to her work.

She lived joyfully, body and soul the mystery of the Cross in full conformity to the will of God.  Teresa Maria was outstanding for her love for the Eucharist and her maternal care for children and for the poor. Her life was motivated by a consuming love for Christ and a desire to save souls.  She endeavored to live according to God’s holy will, and took delight in all the crosses which came through this purpose.  In a prayer she wrote:

“To suffer, to suffer, always suffer. Do what you want with me, it’s enough that I save souls for you.”

The daily source for her energy was her devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and to the Virgin Mary.  Teresa Mary lived  without gratification instead seeking and finding peace of heart through a simple lifestyle and routine.  This simplicity allowed her to quietly explore the depths of her own soul where she continually united herself with the Lord in each aspect of her day.

She died at Campi Bisenzio on April 23, 1910 and was beatified on October 1986 by Pope John Paul II.

O God, You sustained the virgin, Bl. Teresa Maria, along the way of the Cross by a most ardent love of the Eucharist, and You gave her a mother’s love for Your little ones and the poor. Through her intercession, grant that, strengthened by the bread of angels, we may delight in sharing the sufferings of Christ, and hasten the coming of Your kingdom through our own works of mercy. 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.

"God makes saints with a chisel, not a paintbrush." ~ Blessed Teresa Maria of the Cross

Monday, April 22, 2013

Another Pro-life Victory: Governor Brownback Signs Bill To Create Adult Stem Cell Center

April 22, 2013 --Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has signed legislation creating a new center at the state's medical school for researching potential cures using adult stem cells.

The bill signed into law Monday by Brownback prohibits the new center at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City from using money or resources on research with embryonic stem cells.

Instead, the aim is to make Kansas a leader in research with adult stem cells and stem cells from babies' umbilical cord blood.

Excerpted from KAKE News.

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No room for self-promoters in God's kingdom, Pope says

Vatican City, Apr 22, 2013 / 10:58 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis warned that some people, even in the Church, are “social climbers” that try to promote themselves, instead of seeking to glorify Christ.

“These social climbers exist even in the Christian communities, no? Those people who are looking out for themselves ... and consciously or unconsciously pretend to enter but are thieves and robbers,” he said at an April 22 Mass for Vatican press office and Vatican Radio employees.

“Why? Why steal the glory from Jesus? They want glory for themselves and this is what (Jesus) said to the Pharisees: ‘You seek for each other's approval,’” the Pope responded.

Read the full story.

Franciscans in the Holy Land ask for urgent help for Syrian families

April 22, 2013. (Romereports.com) The Custodian of the Holy Land, Pierbattista Pizzaballa, sent an urgent message asking for emergency donations to help support Syrian families. The ongoing violence is escalating among rival groups, and already hundreds of thousands of people were forced to flee their homes.

One year since the civil war started, Syrian families lack food or work because all industries have been destroyed. This past week, renewed fighting southwest of Damascus killed more than 550 people, mostly women and children.

The Custodians of the Holy Land are active in many Syrian cities like Damascus, Aleppo, Latakia and Orontes.

Inside the Franciscan convents, medical dispensaries have turned into shelters for anyone, without religious or ethnic affiliations. They've received Alawite and Sunni Muslims, Christians, as well as injured government and rebel troops.

For this reason, the Custodians of the Holy Land ask for direct assistance to help keep up their charity works inside Franciscan convents in Syria.

FOX News to air New Gosnell Documentary

This just in from Father Frank Pavonne:

 FOX News is getting ready to air a one-hour documentary on Gosnell. This is our opportunity to really educate the American public about someone who, sad to say, represents the norm, not the exception, of the abortion industry. Stay tuned to Priests for Life for the details of the FOX documentary. It will probably be the first Sunday of May at 9pm. We will confirm that for you, but please begin to spread the word. We need as many people as possible to watch this!

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Blessed Maria Gabriella Sagheddu

Today we commemorate Blessed Maria Gabriella Sagheddu, a Trappist nun.

Maria was born into a family of shepherds in 1914 in Sardinia, the fifth in a family of eight children.  At the age of 18, she taught catechism to the local youth, helped the aged, and developed a deep prayer life. When she was 21, she entered a Trappist monastery in Rome. Her superior was an advocate of ecumenism, and Maria also became devoted to this cause. She offered herself as a victim soul for the unity of the Catholic Church during the week of prayer for Christian unity in 1938. Almost immediately, she developed tuberculosis. After 15 months of intense suffering, she died on April  23, 1939. The Gospel that day included these words which had become Maria’s lifetime motto: “There will be one flock and one shepherd.”  (John 10:16)

Pope John Paul II beatified her on January 25, 1983. Blessed Maria Gabriella is buried at the Trappistine Abbey of Our Lady of Saint Joseph at Vitorchiano (near Viterbo). She is known as the Apostle for Spiritual Ecumenism.

Blessed Maria Gabriella is the patron of ecumenism and sick people.

Quotes from Blessed Maria Gabriella Sagheddu

"In simplicity of heart I gladly offer everything, O Lord."

"The Lord put me on this path, he will remember to sustain me in battle."

"To His mercy I entrust my frailty."

"I saw in front of me a big cross..., I thought that my sacrifice was nothing in comparison to His."

"I offered myself entirely and I do not withdraw the given word."

"God's will whatever it may be, this is my joy, my happiness, my peace."

"I will never be able to thank enough."

"I cannot say but these words: 'My God, your Glory.'"

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Book Review: Catholic Mom’s Café: 5-Minute Retreats for Every Day of the Year

By Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, to be released May 9, 2013, Our Sunday Visitor, Huntington, Indiana, Paperback. Available from Our Sunday Visitor, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Catholic  book stores. Autographed copies are available at Donna- Marie's website HERE.

Reviewed by Jean M. Heimann, M. A. Theology, wife, mother, freelance writer, and oblate with the Community of St. John.

In her latest book, Catholic Mom’s Café: 5-Minute Retreats for Every Day of the Year, Donna-Marie Cooper-O’Boyle offers busy Catholic moms a wonderful way to grow closer to God by rejuvenating their prayer lives. She provides 365 days of devotions based on the virtues of faith, hope, and love that are brief enough to be enjoyed in just five minutes.  Each meditation consists of four parts: Ponder, which is the reading of a Scripture verse or quote, Offer, which entails offering yourself to the Lord through an activity or idea, Pray, which consists of the recitation of a few short prayers related to the theme, and Savor, which is a final thought to ponder and carry with you throughout the day.

As I read through each day’s meditations, I found myself uplifted and inspired by the words of wisdom and also by the diverse and appealing range of themes presented. Each brief meditation is power-packed with spiritual nourishment and is certain to help moms grow in holiness. I especially enjoyed those meditations that focused on prayer and shared stories of the lives of the saints and quotes from the saints. While these meditations were written primarily for moms, at times, it seemed to me that many of them were almost general enough to apply to most women—even those without husbands and children.

In summary,  Catholic Mom’s Café: 5-Minute Retreats for Every Day of the Year  offers busy mothers a quick and simple method of meditation and prayer to help them grow spiritually, while remaining attentive to their families.  These prudent and pithy meditations are ideal for helping busy women rejuvenate their prayer life. I am looking forward to contemplating each of these daily devotions over the course of the coming year in order to grow in the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love, and develop a more intimate union with God.

© Jean M. Heimann, April 2013.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Pope Francis: The Easter Message

Friday, April 19, 2013

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback Signs the Pro-Life Protections Act

Sen. Julia Lynn, Rep. Steve Brunk, Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, KFL Legislative Dir. Kathy Ostrowski, KFL Lobbyist Jeanne Gawdun, KS Catholic Conference Dir. Michael Schuttloffel; KS Catholic Conference Lobbyist, Edward Larson look on as Governor Sam Brownback signs the Pro-life Protections Act into law.

Hip Hip Hooray! Another victory for life in Kansas! I just received this exciting news today from Kansans for Life:

This morning, Governor Sam Brownback signed HB 2253, the Pro-life Protections Act, into law.  HB 2253 codifies abortion informed consent materials authorized by the state health department, and removes all tax streams that pay for abortion and give tax advantages to abortion businesses.

The informed consent section has an added mandate for the state health department to facilitate medical information access and community support for families facing pre-birth and post-birth diagnoses of Down Syndrome and other conditions.

HB 2253 assures taxpayers are not directly funding abortion or abortion training at the state university, and forbids state discrimination against pro-life citizens and entities. The legislation also includes SB 141, the ban on abortions done solely for the gender of the unborn child.

Abortion supporters have spread much misinformation about this legislation, but the truth is easily accessed by scrolling through posts at the Kansans for Life Blog HERE.

We are grateful to Governor Brownback for his strong leadership and dedication to promoting a culture of life in Kansas. Please thank Governor Brownback on his Facebook page or see his official contact info HERE.

A Life of Joy

Blessed James Oldo

The saint of the day for April 19 is Blessed James Oldo, who experienced a radical conversion that led him to become a Franciscan tertiary, and later a priest.

He was born in 1364 into a rich family in Lodi, Italy. He married at a young age, and he and his wife both led a very self-indulgent lifestyle. One day, a traveling reproduction of the Holy Sepulchre came to their town. As a joke, James lay down on it to compare his height to Christ's. As soon as he laid down on it, he was instantly converted, and became a tertiary soon after.

At first, his mother and wife were opposed to the change they saw in him, but soon they grew attracted to his new ways and became tertiaries as well. The family turned their mansion into a chapel and worked with the sick and with prisoners.

When James’ wife died, he became a priest. His acts of penance were so severe that his bishop had to order him to eat at least three times a week. He was a celebrated preacher, who inspired many to enter the religious life. He also prophesied wars and his own death. He died at the age of 40 in 1404. When his body was moved seven years after his death, it was found incorrupt.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

FBI releases video, photos of Boston Marathon bombing suspects

The FBI has identified two suspects in Monday's the Boston Marathon bombing, releasing photos and video showing them and asking the public to help locate them.

Pope prays for victims of Texas explosion

Pope Francis has asked the faithful to join him in prayer for the victims of a fertilizer-plant explosion in Texas.

The Pope posted on his Twitter account: "Please join me in praying for the victims of the explosion in Texas and their families.”

Prayer for the Victims of the Texas Explosion and Their Families

Lord, for those who lost their lives, and those who mourn them, we ask for your loving mercy. Lord, for those who are wounded, we ask for healing and help. Lord, for those reaching out to the wounded, give them the supernatural graces, and the practical and economic resources they need in their efforts.Father, may this true human tragedy become an invitation for all your people to enter into the ongoing mission of reaching out to all your children and seeing in their face and in their suffering the face of your Son. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection,
implored thy help or sought thy intercession,
was left unaided.
Inspired with this confidence,
I fly unto thee,
O Virgin of virgins my Mother;
to thee do I come,
before thee I stand,
sinful and sorrowful;
O Mother of thy Word Incarnate,
despise not my petitions,
but in thy clemency hear and answer me.

Pope's Pontificate to be consecrated to Our Lady of Fatima on May 13th

April 18, 2013. (Romereports.com) Just hours after being elected, Pope Francis asked Portuguese Cardinal José Policarpo for a special request. The Pope asked the patriarch of Lisbon to consecrate his pontificate to Our Lady of Fatima.  

In the month of April, Portuguese bishops held their annual meeting, where they all agreed to carry out the consecration ceremony together.  

The celebration will held on May 13th and it will be led by Cardinal Policarpo, who also serves as the president of Portugal's Episcopal Conference. The bishops have also invited pilgrims to take part in the ceremony to honor the 'Pope's pastoral service.'

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Blessed Marie-Anne Blondin

On April 18, we commemorate the feast of Blessed Marie-Anne Blondin, a Canadian woman whose life was a story of obedience in the face of personal setbacks.

Esther Blondin was born in 1809 to a pious, French-Canadian farm family in southern Quebec. When she was old enough, she began to work as a domestic servant for a merchant and later for the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame. While she worked for the sisters, she learned to read and write.

During that time, Esther decided to enter the congregation as a novice. However, her health forced her to abandon the pursuit. Nevertheless, the literacy she had obtained opened doors for her and she became a teacher, and eventually a director at a parochial school.

She was aware of the high levels of illiteracy in the area, and when she was 39 years old, she sought to found an order that taught both boys and girls in the same school. The year was 1848 and her idea was radical, as schools taught boys and girls separately.

Eventually, the pioneering woman received the requisite permission, and the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Anne was founded. Esther was the superior and took the name Marie-Anne. Though she was the founder and superior, Sister Marie-Anne faced much oppression from the congregation’s chaplain. He eventually had her removed from her position, and she was prohibited from holding any administrative roles for the rest of her life.

She spent her last 32 years without complaining, working in the order’s laundry and ironing room. Despite her demotion, her order continued to grow and spread across Canada and the United States.

Blessed Marie-Anne Blondin died in 1890. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2001.


 "May Holy Eucharist and perfect abandonment to God's will be your heaven on earth".

~ Blessed Marie-Anne Blondin

Pope: "Jesus is like our advocate. He will always defend us, even from ourselves"

April 17, 2013. (Romereports.com) On Wednesday morning, St. Peter's Square was especially busy, during the Pope's general audience. More than 50,000 people came out to the Vatican to hear the Pope's catechesis.

But before getting started, the Pope greeted some of the pilgrims, for about 30 minutes, as he made his way in the popemobile. Among the crowds, one pilgrim gave him a 'papal hat' as a gift. The Pope, in return, gave him the one he had on.

The Pope talked about the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven. As usual, the Pope improvised quite a bit. The Pope said there is no need to fear Jesus, because He is like our personal lawyer.

“We have someone who always defends us from the traps of the devil, from ourselves and our sins. Dear brothers and sisters, He is our advocate. We should not be afraid to ask for forgiveness or to ask for blessings, to ask for mercy. He will always forgive us. As our lawyer, He will always defend us. We must not forget this.”

Thousands of young people were also in the Square. The Pope gave them a special greeting, calling them to live out their faith with enthusiasm.

“To the many youths and students who are here today, be ready to follow Jesus with enthusiasm. Part of being young is being enthusiastic. So, follow our Lord with enthusiasm. Allow Him to look after you.”

Towards the end of the general audience, the Pope talked about a group of Italian pilgrims who didn't make it to the audience, because of a delayed flight.

“A visit from the Archbishop of Sassari, from Sardinia was expected today. As well as that of employees from the 'Eon' society. But their plane was delayed three hours, so they couldn't make it. But still, we have them in our hearts.”

The Pope also prayed for the victims of the 7.8 earthquake that struck Pakistan and Iran, which killed at least 40 people and injured dozens more.

Obama directly asked about Kermit Gosnell

Jill Stanek shares an interview from the Today Show in which President Obama is directly asked about Kermit Gosnell, She also exposes evidence which confirms that Obama supports infanticide. It never ceases to amaze me how the mainstream media can close their eyes and ears to the truth when it is bleeding and screaming out all around them. What is obvious to you and me is not obvious to those who are continually wearing blinders and ear plugs. And, when Obama dances around an issue, their typical response is: "What an articulate man!" or other such nonsense.  It is well worth the read.

St. Stephen Harding

The saint of the day for April 14 is St. Stephen Harding, who is regarded as the founder of the Cistercian monasteries. 

The son of an English noble, Stephen was born at Sherborne in Dorsetshire, England, about the middle of the eleventh century. He consecrated himself to the monastic life in the Abbey of Sherbonne in Dorsetshire, where he received his early education. He later studied in Paris and Rome, where he pursued a brilliant education in humanities, philosophy and theology.

After studying in Paris and Rome, while on pilgrimage, he visited the monastery of Molesmes. Impressed by its leaders, Robert of Molesmes and Alberic (who were later canonized), Stephen joined the community. A few years later, Stephen, along with four other monks, the abbot and prior, requested permission to leave Molesmes to find a more spiritual way of life. They established a more austere monastery in Citeaux.

Eventually, Robert was recalled to Molesme (1099), Alberic died (1110), and Stephen was elected abbot. The number of monks was now reduced, as no new members had come to fill the places of those who had died. Stephen, however, insisted on keeping the strict observance he originally instituted and, having offended the Duke of Burgundy, Cïteaux's patron, by forbidding him or his family to enter the cloister, was even forced to beg alms from door to door.  Stephen began to have doubts that the new institution was pleasing to God. He prayed for enlightenment and received a response that greatly encouraged him and his small community. From Bourgogne a noble youth arrived with 30 companions, asked to be admitted to the abbey. This noble was the future St. Bernard. In 1115, St. Stephen built the abbey of Clairvaux, and installed St. Bernard as its Abbot.

Stephen Harding is credited with writing the famous Carta Caritatis (Charter of Charity - often referred to as the Charter of Love). It was a six page constitution which laid out the relationship between the Cistercian houses and their abbots, set out the obligations and duties inherent in these, and ensured the accountability of all the abbots and houses to the underlying themes of charity and living according to the rule of Benedict.

In 1133, due to poor health, blindness, and his age, Stephen resigned as the head of the order. He died the following year and was canonized in 1623 by Pope Urban VIII.  Stephen had established 13 monasteries. By the end of the 12th century there were 500 in Europe.

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Vatican plans huge pro-life, evangelization gathering

A major highlight for the Year of Faith will be a two-day celebration in Rome on the Church’s teaching about the dignity of life and how it fits with the New Evangelization.

Father Geno Sylva, the English-language official for the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, hopes the event will speak so clearly to the secular world that it is “going to have to listen and say, ‘well, there is a culture of life coming out of the Church.’”

The June 15-16 international gathering will begin on Saturday morning with a catechesis session on “The Gospel of Life and the New Evangelization.”

The event will “explore the enduring and timeless truths of Blessed John Paul II's 1995 encyclical, ‘Evangelium Vitae,’ and the central role that the Gospel of Life continues to have in the Church's mission of the New Evangelization,” according to organizers. More

Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley, prays for victims of Boston Marathon

Cardinal Sean O’Malley, archbishop of Boston, also said: “In the midst of the darkness of this tragedy, we turn to the light of Jesus Christ, the light that was evident in the lives of people who immediately turned to help those in need today. We stand in solidarity with our ecumenical and interfaith colleagues in the commitment to witness the greater power of good in our society and to work together for healing.”

Let's continue to pray for the victims and their families as well as the first responders.

Pope expresses condolences for victims of Boston Marathon explosions

April 16, 2013. (Romereports.com) Pope Francis joined a chorus of world leaders expressing their condolences to the victims of two deadly explosions that disrupted the Boston Marathon on Monday.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican's Secretary of State, send a telegram on behalf of Pope Francis to Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley.

In it, the Pope expressed his “sympathy and closeness in prayer,” with the victims of this “senseless tragedy.” He also prayed for peace of the people killed, and consolation and strength for the survivors and emergency responders. The telegram ends with the Pope's call to unity and to face evil by doing good.





Monday, April 15, 2013

Benedict XVI, My Venerable Predecessor

St. Bernadette Soubirous

Today is the feast of St. Bernadette Soubirous, the renowned visionary of Lourdes.

Born in Lourdes, France, on January 7, 1844, Bernadette was the first child of Francois and Louise Soubirous, a poor peasant family. A severe asthma sufferer, Bernadette was such a poor student that she was unable to make her First Holy Communion until she was 14. She had many trials to contend with as a child -- poverty, health problems, which caused her to be behind in school, many responsibilities as the oldest child of six siblings, moving from one poor place to another, and a father who escaped from his financial problems by drowning them in alcohol.

Her education was entrusted to the Sisters of Charity and Christian Instruction. - a teaching and nursing order whose mother-house is at Nevers, in central France. The Sisters soon discovered that although Bernadette had a quiet, modest demeanor, she had a lively sense of humor and a pleasing personality.

It was to this simple 14-year-old girl that Our Lady chose to appear in what is known as the apparitions at Lourdes. Between February 11 and July 16, 1858, the Blessed Mother appeared to Bernadette 18 times in the hollow of the rock at Lourdes, called “de Massabielle”.

On March 25, the feast of the Immaculate Conception in 1858, she said to the little shepherdess who was only fourteen years of age: "I am the Immaculate Conception." Because the dogma of the Immaculate Conception had been officially proclaimed less than four years earlier, and Bernadette could not have even known of its existence, when Bernadette repeated the words, it gave credibility to her apparitions. It was confirmation from heaven that the dogma of the Immaculate Conception was indeed true.

At age 22, Bernadette entered the convent of the Sisters of Charity in Nevers. Although she had many trials there, she happily performed the menial tasks assigned to her, working initially in the kitchen, then later as an assistant in the infirmary. In September, 1878, at the age of 34, Bernadette made her perpetual vows. After suffering heroically and secretly for years from tuberculosis of the bone in the right knee, which caused excrucixiating pain, she died a holy death on April 15, 1879.

St. Bernadette is the patron of: the poor, the sick, people ridiculed for their piety, and Lourdes, France.

~ © 2013 Jean M. Heimann

Saint Quote:

"Whatever trials the Lord sends you, whatever sacrifices He asks of you, whatever duties He imposes on you, always have this response of love and faithfulness on your lips and in your heart: 'Hear is your servant, O my God, ready to undertake all, to give all, to sacrifice all, as long as Your will may be accomplished in me and on all the the earth'."

~ St. Bernadette Soubirous, From the private notes of St. Bernadette of Lourdes, A Holy Life, by Patricia A. McEachern, Ph.D.

Prayer for those injured in the Boston Marathon Today

Read the details of the explosion here. Lots of photos here.

Let's pray for the victims of this catastrophe.

 A Prayer For Victims Of Violence

Almighty and Ever-Loving God, in you we place our trust and hope.
Violence and cruelty can have no part with you.
You guide everything with wisdom and love.

Hear the prayers we offer for those who have been hurt or lost their lives in attacks of any kind.
May the love and the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ bless and console us.

May your love gently wipe the tears from our eyes and remove the fear from our heart.
Look also with favor upon the families and friends who mourn the victims and comfort those who are in grief and despair.

Console them in the hope all who trust in you will find peace and rest in your eternal Kingdom.
Bless them with your presence and surround us all with your love.

By the wisdom of our leaders and integrity of those around us, may harmony be restored and justice be served.

Allow our leaders to strive for what is right and just.

Grant that peace, the fruit of justice and charity, may reign in every family and nation throughout the world. Amen.

Benedict XVI turns 86 years old, first birthday as Pope emeritus

April 15, 2013. (Romereports.com) One more candle on the birthday cake for Benedict XVI, and for the first time as Pope emeritus. He celebrates his 86th birthday in the intimacy of Castel Gandolfo. Eight years ago, on April 16, 2005, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger turned 78 just two days before the start of of the conclave where he was elected Pope.

During his pontificate, he celebrated seven birthdays with two concerts and Bavarian folk dances, but always working. In fact, in 2006, his first year as Pope, his birthday coincided with the Easter Sunday, where he asked for peace in Africa, Iraq, Israel and Palestine.

In 2007, Benedict XVI celebrated his 80 years at the tune of classical music. The Stuttgart Radio Symphonic Orchestra from Germany performed a concert for him at Paul VI Hall.

“At the end of this stupendous concert, which the Radio Symphonic Orchestra of Stuttgart gave us and elevated our spirits, I wish above all to greet all of you very cordially.”

One year later, in 2008 he packed his bags for the United States. In the morning of his birthday he met with President George W. Bush at the White House, and in the afternoon, with American bishops at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

In 2009, Benedict XVI was able to celebrate with family. He was joined by his brother Georg, as both enjoyed a concert at the Apostolic Palace at Castel Gandolfo.

But no birthday celebration is complete without cake. In 2010, the Papal Foundation gave Benedict XVI this confection which read “Happy Birthday Holy Father.” Well-wishers also congratulated him during the individual greetings.

“God bless you, thank you and Happy Birthday.”

That moment was immortalized in this group photo.

Before traveling to the United Kingdom in September 2011, British Catholic bishops created a Facebook page and email where anyone could send well-wishes to the Pope for his 84th birthday.

His last celebration as Pope was in 2012, and it came with a German touch. Once again joined by his brother Georg, the two enjoyed traditional folk dances from his native Bavaria.

The young dancers congratulated the Pope individually. It was with this Bavarian delegation that Benedict XVI marked his 85th birthday, his last one as Pope.

St. Damien of Molokai

April 15 is the feast day of St. Damien de Veuster, better known as St. Damien of Molokai.

Jozef Damien De Veuster, was born at Tremelo, Belgium, on January 3,1840. Jozef began his novitiate with the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary at the beginning of 1859 and took the name Damien.

He would pray every day before a picture of St Francis Xavier, patron of missionaries, to be sent on a mission. In 1863 his brother, who was to leave for a mission in the Hawaiian Islands, fell ill. Since preparations for the voyage had already been made, Damien obtained permission from the Superior General to take his brother's place. He landed in Honolulu on March 19 1864 and was ordained to the priesthood on May 21.

At that time, the Hawaiian Government decided on the harsh measure of quarantine aimed at preventing the spread of leprosy: the deportation to the neighboring Island of Molokai of all those infected by what was then thought to be an incurable disease. The entire mission was concerned about the abandoned lepers and Bishop Louis Maigret, a Picpus father, felt sure they needed priests. He did not want to send anyone "in the name of obedience" because he was aware such an assignment was a potential death sentence. Of the four brothers who volunteered, Damien was the first to leave on 10 May 1873 for Kalaupapa.

At his own request and that of the lepers, he remained on Molokai. Having contracted leprosy himself, he died on April 15, 1889, at the age of 49, after serving 16 years among the lepers. He was buried in the local cemetery under the same Pandanus tree where he had first slept upon his arrival in Molokai. His remains were exhumed in 1936 at the request of the Belgian Government and translated to a crypt of the Church of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts at Louvain. Damien is universally known for having freely shared the life of the lepers in quarantine on the Kalaupapa Peninsula of Molokai. His departure for the "cursed isle", the announcement of his illness (leprosy) in 1884 and his subsequent death deeply impressed his contemporaries of all denominations.

Damien was above all a Catholic missionary. Fr Damien is known today as a hero of charity because he identified so closely with the victims of leprosy. Damien is the spiritual patron of lepers, outcasts, and those with HIV/AIDS, and of the State of Hawaii.

Pope John Paul II beatified Damien de Veuster in Brussels on June 4, 1995. On October 11, 2009, Damien was canonized.

St. Damien Quote:

“The Blessed Sacrament is indeed the stimulus for us all, for me as it should be for you, to forsake all worldly ambitions. Without the constant presence of our Divine Master upon the altar in my poor chapels, I never could have persevered casting my lot with the lepers of Molokai; the foreseen consequence of which begins now to appear on my skin, and is felt throughout the body. Holy Communion being the daily bread of a priest, I feel myself happy, well pleased, and resigned in the rather exceptional circumstances in which it has pleased Divine Providence to put me.”