Showing posts from September, 2011

18 Catholic universities join in appeal against contraceptive mandate

A group of 18 Catholic colleges and universities have joined in an appeal to the Obama administration to back away from a mandate that would require the institutions to provide contraceptive coverage in health-care plans.

The appeal was organized by the Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education, a division of The Cardinal Newman Society, with legal support from the Alliance Defense Fund. Bishop Thomas Curry, an auxiliary of the Los Angeles archdiocese, also signed the appeal. Bishop Curry, who signed in his individual capacity, chairs the education committee of the US bishops’ conference.

“Catholic institutions will not compromise on the question of the immorality of contraception and sterilization or the grave injustice of abortion,” said Msgr. Stuart Swetland, the executive director of the Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education, in explaining the appeal. “The administration seems to be telling Catholic institutions that the only way we can operate in …

St. Jerome

'Saint Jerome and the Angel' by Simon Vouet, 1625

Today is the memorial of St. Jerome, translator of the Bible into its official Latin version (the Vulgate), brilliant scholar, monk, traveler, teacher, letter writer, and consultant to Popes and Bishops. He is one of the most important figures in the history of the Church.

St. Jerome was born in Dalmatia around 340-345 AD to a wealthy Christian family. At the age of 20, he was sent to study in Rome, where he became fluent in Latin and Greek and developed a love for the classical writers. Here he acquired many worldly ideas, made little effort to control his pleasure-loving instincts, and lost much of the piety that had been instilled in him at home. He traveled throughout western Europe with a friend but that ceased when he had a conversion experience in Trier and decided to become a monk. He joined a community in Aquileia in 370, where he met some who would become his close friends and others his enemies. When the community dis…

Feast of the Archangels: Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael

The three Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael are the only angels named in Sacred Scripture and all three have important roles in the history of salvation.

Michael's name means "who is like God?" Three books of the Bible speak of St. Michael: Daniel, Revelation and the Letter of Jude. In the book of Revelation or the Apocalypse, chapter 12:7-9, we read of a great war that went on in heaven. Michael and his angels battled with Satan. Michael became the champion of loyalty to God. We can ask St. Michael to make us strong in our love for Jesus and in our practice of the Catholic religion.

Patron: Against temptations; against powers of evil; artists; bakers; bankers; battle; boatmen; cemeteries; coopers; endangered children; dying; Emergency Medical Technicians; fencing; grocers; hatmakers; holy death; knights; mariners; mountaineers; paramedics; paratroopers; police officers; radiologists; sailors; the sick; security forces; soldiers; against storms at sea; swordsmiths; t…

St. Lorenzo Ruiz and St. Wenceslaus, Martyrs

Today is the optional memorial of St. Lorenzo Ruiz and Companions, martyrs; St. Wenceslaus, martyr.

Saint Lorenzo Ruiz is the first canonized martyr of the Phillipines, and was canonized along with 15 companions - nine Japanese, four Spaniards, one Frenchman and one Italian - all of whom were on mission in Nagasaki, Japan, to evangelize and minister to the Japanese Christian community who were suffering the persecutions of the Japanese feudal Lords. Thirteen of the martyrs were Dominicans and three were Dominican Tertiaries

Lorenzo Ruiz was born in about 1600 to a Chinese Christian Father and a Tagala Christian mother in Manila, Phillipines. He was a devoted and active Catholic, involved in a Rosary Confraternity and became a husband and father of three.

In 1637 he was falsely accused of murder and forced to leave his country. The Domincan fathers who knew Lorenzo arranged to have him take a ship to Japan.

Soon after arriving in Japan, Lorenzo was captured for being Catholic and brough…

Congress to Investigate Planned Parenthood Abortion Business

A Congressional committee has taken the first steps in investigating the Planned Parenthood abortion business over abuses ranging from financial disparities to its compliance with federal regulations on taxpayer funding to concerns that it is covering up cases of sex trafficking.

In a September 15 letter obtained, Rep. Cliff Stearns, a Florida Republican who is the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Investigations, writes to Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood.

“Pursuant to Rules X and XI of the United States House of Representatives, the Committee on Energy and Commerce is examining the institutional practices and policies of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and its affiliates, and its handing of federal funding,” Stearns writes. “That Committee has questions about the politics in place and actions undertaken by PPFA and its affiliates relating to its use of federal funding and its compliance with federal restrictions on …

St. Vincent de Paul

Today is the memorial of St. Vincent de Paul, priest.

Born to a poor family in Pouy in the soutwest of France in 1581, Vincent was an intellectually gifted youth who began his theological studies at the age of 15 and was ordained at the age of 20.

On a voyage to the Holy Land, Vincent's ship was boarded by pirates and he was captured and sold into slavery in Africa, where he was held for two years before he converted his master to Christianity and was freed.

He returned to France and was appointed to a parish near Paris, from where he began to initiate and organize missions for the poor, destitute, forgotten, sick, uneducated, and unemployed.

He founded the Congregation of Priests of the Mission and the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity and sent priests to Africa to minister to and ransom slaves.

He vigorously opposed Jansenism and helped reform orders of priests and religious, famously preaching retreats around France.

The humble St. Vincent often spoke on humility saying…

Pope plans to travel to Africa

September 26, 2011. ( Even though the pope just got back from his four day trip to Germany, his eyes are already set on his next international trip to Africa. From November 18th to the 20th, the pope will visit the country of Benin to meet with African bishops.

Two years ago, their Synod took place. So, during his visit, the pope plans to deliver the post Synodal exhortation to the group, which it use as a guide in the coming years.

During his visit, the pope will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Benin's evangelization. He will also honor the life and work of local cardinal Bernardin Gantin, who served as the Dean of the College of Cardinals for much of John Paul II's pontificate.

Sts. Cosmas and Damian, Martyrs

Today is the optional memorial of Sts. Cosmas and Damian.

Nothing is known of the lives of Saints Cosmas and Damian except that they suffered martyrdom in Syria during the persecution of Diocletian. A church erected on the site of their burial place was enlarged by the emperor Justinian. Devotion to the two saints spread rapidly in both East and West. A famous basilica was erected in their honor in Constantinople. Their names were placed in the canon of the Mass, probably in the sixth century.

Legend says that they were twin brothers born in Arabia, who became skilled doctors. Known as the "moneyless" and the "silverless", they never accepted money for their services, but offered them in the spirit of charity. When the persecution under Diocletian broke out, their very prominence rendered them marked objects of persecution. Being apprehended by order of Lysias, governor of Cilicia, they were arrested, tortured, and beheaded in the year 283.

St. Cosmas and St. Damian…

St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio): Priest, Mystic, and Stigmatist

Today is the memorial of St. Pio of Pietrelcina (1887-1968).

St. Pio is one of my favorite saints. Miracles happened everyday of his life. He was a priest, a mystic, and a stigmatist who possessed many rare and mysterious gifts. He was bi-locational, that is, he appeared in two places at one time. He was able to communicate with others through mental telepathy. When he thought of them, they began to smell the scent of violets, which they associated with him. In the Confessional, he was able to tell people their sins in detail, even those which they did not confess to him. Through the simple means of touch, he was able to heal others. God had blessed him with an abundance of gifts that he used wisely to build up the body of Christ and to convert sinners.

Padre Pio was born in 1887 in the small village of Pietrelcina in southern Italy, the son of a shepherd. His baptized name was Francesco (Francis) Forgione. He joined the Capuchin friars at the age of 16 and was ordained as a priest seve…

Pope to German lawmakers: Decision based on human nature will assure justice and peace

September 22, 2011. ( During his speech before Germany's parliament, the pope challenged all politicians to recognize right from wrong. During his speech before Germany's parliament, the pope challenged all politicians to recognize right from wrong.

Upon arrival, he was greeted with a long applause by his fellow German countrymen. Even though roughly 100 members of parliament boycotted his speech, their absence went mostly unnoticed, since some of their seats were occupied by former members of parliament.

In his speech, the pope talked, among other things, about the Nazi's rise to power and the importance of recognizing human rights. He went on to reflect on how a “legislator” or lawmaker can distinguish between good and evil.

Benedict XVI
“For most of the matters that need to be regulated by law, the support of the majority can be sufficient criterion. Yet it's evident that for the fundamental issues of law, in which the dignity of man and of hu…

St. Thomas of Villanova: "Father of the Poor"

Today's saint of the day is St. Thomas of Villanova.

Thomas García was the son of a miller who was born in the village of Villanova de los Infantes, Castille, Spain in 1486. He studied theology at the University of Alcalá, where he later taught arts, logic, and philosophy.

Thomas was offered the chair of philosophy at the prestigious University of Salamaca, but declined it, but, instead, entered the Augustinian Order. Ordained to the priesthood in 1520, he celebrated his first Mass on Christmas day. Thomas served as prior of the Augustinian houses in Salamaca, Burgos, and Valladolid, and was later elected provincial of Andalusia and Castile. As provincial, he sent the first Augustinian missionaries to the New World to evangelize what is now modern Mexico.

Thomas' many gifts, particularly his scholarship, powerful oratory, skills as a mediator and administrator, and his love and compassion for others, brought him to the attention of Emperor Charles V, who appointed him court ch…

Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist

Today is the feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist.

St. Matthew was born at Capernaum. He was working as a tax collector when Jesus called him to be one of the twelve apostles. He wrote his gospel in Hebrew. His gospel, with its familiar references to the messianic prophecies, throws light on the continuity between the covenants. Moreover, his vocation is one of the most popular episodes in the life of Jesus, because of the personality of the one called the tax collector and the revelation of redeeming love that concludes and crowns the story. Matthew's position as tax collector equated with collaboration with the enemy by those from whom he collected taxes. Jesus' contemporaries were surprised to see Christ with a traitor, but Jesus explained that he had come "not to call the just, but sinners."

"Mark and Luke call Matthew by his Jewish name Levi and Mark says that he was "the son of Alphaeus" (Mark 2:14). He may have been the brother of James,…

Fr. Barron on St. Teresa of Avila's Mysticism

In this exclusive sneak peak of CATHOLICISM, find out about St. Teresa’s “Interior Castle” and where to find your very own castle. Fr. Barron also shares some excellent thoughts on the place of all those “freaky supernatural elements” of our faith and on the scientific reductionism that doesn’t get them.

This exclusive preview clip was from CATHOLICISM, Episode IX: “THE FIRE OF HIS LOVE –PRAYER AND THE LIFE OF THE SPIRIT”.

In this episode, Father Barron explores Catholic spirituality, which is centered on prayer. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “Prayer is the lifting up of the mind and the heart to God.” On pilgrimage to the places where the great saints and spiritual masters lived, Father Barron explores the different types of prayer: contemplation; adoration; petition; and intercession. In telling the stories of Catholics like Thomas Merton, St. Theresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, Fr. Barron demonstrates how the human person can be transformed through prayer…

Pope prepares for busy trip to Germany

September 20, 2011. ( The pope will have a busy schedule in his upcoming trip to Germany. To start off, the Vatican says, the pope will meet with representatives of other major religions during the visit which runs from September 22nd to the 25th. He has a total of 18 official speeches planned in Berlin, Erfurt and Freiberg. The pope will have a busy schedule in his upcoming trip to Germany. To start off, the Vatican says, the pope will meet with representatives of other major religions during the visit which runs from September 22nd to the 25th. He has a total of 18 official speeches planned in Berlin, Erfurt and Freiberg. The first major speech will be on the 22nd, when the pope addresses Germany's parliament in Berlin. He's also planning on meeting the local Jewish community. Afterward, the pope will celebrate a Mass in Berlin's Olympic Stadium. On Friday the 23rd, the pope will meet with the Muslim community. Then, he plans to travel to the cit…

St. Andrew Kim Taegon, St. Paul Chong Hasang, and Companions (Korean Martyrs)

Today is the memorial of St. Andrew Kim Taegon, priest and martyr, St. Paul Chong, martyr, and companions. During the persecutions of 1839, 1846, 1866, and 1867, one hundred and three Christians in Korea gave their lives as martyrs. The martyrs included clergy, but were, for the most part, members of the laity. They consecrated the rich beginnings of the Church in Korea with their blood. Among them were Fr. Andrew Kim of Taegon, the first Korean priest and pastor, and Paul Chong of Hasang, a lay apostle.

St. Andrew Kim Taegon was born into a noble Korean family. He traveled to China to become a Catholic priest and he was ordained in Macao. When he returned to Korea, as the first native priest, he was arrested, tortured, and eventually beheaded.

Paul Chong Hasang was a seminarian, aged 45. As a layman, he was one of the great founders of the Catholic Church in Korea. He was persecuted before he could be ordained.


"We have received baptism, entrance into the Church, and…

What's It For?

What is the purpose of life? One of my favorite priests, Fr. Eric Weldon, from the Catholic Diocese of Wichita, provides a one-minute homily on this topic.

Pope addresses agnostics in Germany

September 19, 2011. ( This video of the pope is part of a four minute speech, which was recently aired by a German Television Network. In it, the pope talks about his eagerness to visit his home country, but most importantly he talks about the apostolic trip.

The pope's visit will run from September 22nd to the 25th. It includes a visit to Berlin, where the pope will address Germany's national parliament. Afterward, he'll celebrate a Mass at the Olympic Stadium.

During the short speech, the pope said he's also looking forward to his visit in Erfurt, where aside from visiting the Augustinian monastery he will also pray with representatives of the Evangelical Church.

Germany has a population of roughly 82 million people, of which 71 percent are Christians. Five percent are Muslim and 24 percent are agnostic. During his speech, the pope addressed those who have religious doubts.

Benedict XVI

“You ask me, but does God exist? And if He exists does He really…

Feast of Our Lady of La Salette

Today we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of La Salette.

On Saturday, September 19, 1846, the feast day of Our Lady of Sorrows about 3:00 in the afternoon, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared on the mountain in La Salette, France to fifteen-year-old Melanie Calvat and eleven-year-old Maximin Giraud, two young shepherds. Mary appeared in a resplendent light as a beautiful woman dressed in a strange costume, seated on a stone, her face buried in her hands, crying. The beautiful lady then stood up and crossed her arms. She told the children not to be afraid but reassured them that she had great news to share. She gave them both a public message and asked them to make her message known to all her people. Our Lady called the townspeople to repent of their sins and to turn back to Christ.

 The Blessed Mother told them: "If my people do not wish to submit themselves, I am forced to let go of the hand of my Son. It is so heavy and weighs me down so much I can no longer keep hold of it."…

"Ben Hur Live" comes to Rome


Fr. Barron on Conscience


Fr. Frank Pavone: Greetings from Amarillo


Sts. Cornelius and Cyprian

Today is the memorial of Sts. Cornelius and Cyprian. These two contemporaries, martyred in 253 and 258 respectively, were linked by one particular issue: what to do with those Christians who lapsed through fear in time of persecution, and then wished to return? An influential Roman priest, Novatian, maintained that they could not be forgiven (along with murderers, adulterers and those in second marriages). Cornelius and Cyprian strongly took the opposite view.

A Roman priest, Cornelius was elected Pope in 251 to succeed Fabian, at the time of the persecution of the Christians by the Emperor Decius. Novatian denied the Church’s authority to forgive serious sins, such as abandoning the faith during a time of danger. Novatian even had himself consecrated as a rival bishop of Rome, thereby becoming an anti-pope. Pope Cornelius, backed by St. Cyprian and Saint Dionysius, upheld the Church’s teaching, and allowed sinners to do penance and return to the Church. In 253, St. Cornelius was exil…

Fr. Barron comments on The Two Minus One Pregnancy

Father Barron comments on the NY Times article in which a woman chooses to kill one of the healthy unborn twins she conceived via IVF:

Pope speaks with new bishops about their relationship with different Catholic movements

September 15, 2011. ( These bishops were named within the last year. In a private meeting, they met with Benedict XVI at Castel Gandolfo, where they were asked to reflect on their mission and responsibility as they take on their new role in the Church.

Benedict XVI
“With serenity, you can listen and welcome the message given to the Church by the Holy Spirit. With this you can harvest the unity of faith and love.”

Above all, the pope also highlighted the need for bishops to work together not only with their congregation, but also with different movements and lay groups. With unity said the pope, one's community will be even stronger.

Benedict XVI
“A bishop, as you well know, is not one single person, but rather part of an episcopal unit that comes from an Apostolic body, so that every day it may lead us to Jesus.”

The pope concluded by saying that the work of the bishops both in their lives and in their diocese, should be an example to other priests in their commu…

Our Lady of Sorrows

Today is the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. On this feast, we commemorate the seven great sorrows which Mary lived in relation to Her Son, as they are recorded in the Gospels or through Tradition. Today we are invited to reflect on Mary's deep suffering:

1. At the prophecy of Simeon: "You yourself shall be pierced with a sword - so that the thoughts of many hearts may be laid bare." (Luke, 2:35).

2. At the flight into Egypt; "Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt." (Matt. 2:13).

3. Having lost the Holy Child at Jerusalem; "You see that your father and I have been searching for you in sorrow." (Luke 2:48).

4. Meeting Jesus on his way to Calvary;
5. Standing at the foot of the Cross; "Near the cross of Jesus there stood His mother." (John, 19:25).
6. Jesus being taken from the Cross
7. At the burial of Christ.

Patron: people named Dolores, Dolais, Deloris, Dolorita, Maria Dolorosa, Pia, and Pieta.


Pro-life Memorial Day is October 3, 2011

On the first Monday in October, the U.S. Supreme Court begins its new term. This is a day on which pro-lifers across the nation will mourn the victims of America's hidden holocaust: abortion.

Who will hear the cries of these preborn children? Who will be their voice? Who will mourn their deaths? On October 3rd, thousands of Americans will be mourning the victims of abortion by gathering for prayer and candlelight vigils at the U.S. Supreme Court and abortion facilities nationwide.

Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Today is the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. This feast is also called the Triumph of the Cross, Elevation of the Cross, Holy Cross Day, Holy Rood Day, or Roodmas.

The public veneration of the Cross of Christ originated in the fourth century, beginning with the miraculous discovery of the cross on September 14, 326, by Saint Helen, mother of Constantine, while she was on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem -- the same day that two churches built at the site of Calvary by Constantine were dedicated.

In the Western Church, the feast came into prominence in the seventh century, after Emperor Heraclius of Constantinople recaptured the cross of Christ from the Persians and returned it to Jerusalem.

On this feast day, we honor the Holy Cross by which Christ redeemed the world. The Cross -- because of what it represents -- is the most potent and universal symbol of the Christian faith. We revere the instrument by which Jesus Christ, Our Lord, saved us. Once an object of scorn, the cross ha…

Fr. Frank Pavone Appealing to the Vatican

Jill Stanek and the Anchoress provide the background for this story, but here we get it "straight from the horse's mouth." Here is Fr. Pavone's official statement about the charges made against him via Alveda King's blog. Father Pavone is appealing his case to Rome. I am praying for the restoration of his good name and that justice prevail in his case:

For the past several years, my Ordinary, the Most Reverend Patrick Zurek, Bishop of Amarillo, has given me permission to do the full-time pro-life work that I have done since 1993. In 2005, I made a public promise in a Church ceremony in Amarillo, presided over by a Vatican Cardinal, that this full-time pro-life work would be a lifetime commitment. That’s a commitment I promise to fulfill without wavering.

This past week, however, I received a letter from the Bishop insisting that I report to the Diocese this Tuesday, September 13 and, for the time being, remain only there.

I am very perplexed by this demand…. [H]…

St. John Chrysostom

Today is the memorial of St. John Chrysostom (ca. 347-407), a famous and controversial fourth century bishop and doctor of the Church.

Born in Antioch, he studied law as a young man, but then went off to the mountains and became a hermit for several years. In 381, he became a deacon and was later ordained as a priest and served in his native city of Antioch. It was there that his powerful and eloquent oratory earned him the title "Chrysostom" (golden-mouthed). His homilies ranged from the Gospels to personal conversion to the moral reformation of society. He delivered 88 sermons alone on the Gospel of St. John.

He was offered the position of Bishop of Constantinople (the imperial capital), which he initially declined, but finally accepted in 398 John. John tried to avoid politics as he exercised his pastoral duties, but often became involved in controversy. His sermons were frequently critical of the rich and powerful, which made him numerous enemies. He also prevented the s…

Pope prays for 9/11 victims, says religion can't justify terrorism


Feast of the Holy Name of Mary

Today the Church celebrates the feast of the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary to teach us how useful and advantageous it is for us to invoke her holy name in our needs. The name Mary by which we honor the Most Blessed Virgin means "Star of the Sea". It is, says Saint Bernard, very well given to her, because she is indeed a star which enlightens, guides, and leads us to a harbor in the stormy sea of this world.

This feast day was first observed at Cuenca, Spain, 1513, then extended to the universal Church and assigned to its present place and rank by Innocent XI (1683) in thanksgiving to God and the Blessed Virgin for the liberation of Vienna and the signal victory over the Turks on September 12, 1683.

Go here  to pray the Litany of the Holy Name of Mary.

Saint Quotes:

"After the most sacred name of Jesus, the name of Mary is so rich in every good thing, that on earth and in heaven there is no other from which devout souls receive so much grace, hope,…

Remembering 9/11 Ten Years Later

Pope Benedict's Prayer at Ground Zero
O God of love, compassion, and healing, look on us, people of many different faiths and traditions, who gather today at this site, the scene of incredible violence and pain. We ask you in your goodness to give eternal light and peace to all who died here— the heroic first-responders: our fire fighters, police officers, emergency service workers, and Port Authority personnel, along with all the innocent men and women who were victims of this tragedy simply because their work or service brought them here on September 11, 2001.
We ask you, in your compassion to bring healing to those who, because of their presence here that day, suffer from injuries and illness. Heal, too, the pain of still-grieving families and all who lost loved ones in this tragedy. Give them strength to continue their lives with courage and hope.
We are mindful as well of those who suffered death, injury, and loss on the same day at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvani…

Saint of the Day: St. Peter Claver

Today is the memorial of St. Peter Claver, a Jesuit priest who dedicated his life to the service of black slaves.

Born in Spain, the son of a farmer, Peter Claver entered the Society of Jesus and was ordained in 1615 in Cartagena, South America, where he had made his higher studies. Cartagena was the center of the infamous slave trade, where many thousands of African slaves were landed after crossing the ocean amid inhuman conditions, and then penned like animals in yards. Their terrible plight, corporal and spiritual, tore at the heart of the young Jesuit and he determined to devote himself to the alleviation of their misery. At his profession he had vowed "to be a slave of the slaves forever," and he now began to carry out this vow.

Though his main concern was the salvation of the slaves, he realized that their bodily misery needed attention first. "We must speak to them with our hands," he said, "before we can speak to them with our lips." His love an…

My Conversion Story: Why I Love Being Catholic

By Edie Loughmiller, Guest Blogger

There were three key factors that brought me into the Catholic Church nine years ago. The first and most compelling was simply thatMary Won My Heart. As a protestant, my choice of church generally was based upon whether or not I could feel the Holy Spirit at work in worship and at Bible study, filling my lamp with oil to keep me going in my daily life. Generally, I was disappointed in this quest. Then, a friend from work invited me to RCIA, giving me an opportunity to learn about the Catholic Church. At the time, I felt like nothing else was helping me spiritually, and that I should certainly give it a try. After I learned from other Catholics about the apparitions of Mary at Fatima and Lourdes, I began to say the Rosary. To my surprise, the Holy Spirit filled my heart as I was giving my heart to the Blessed Mother in prayer and meditation. I discovered quite a secret – that in loving Mary, I was placing myself directly within the flow of Love that e…

Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

 Birth of the Virgin, Le Nain Brothers, c.1645,(Paris, Notre-Dame)
"The Creator of all things gave me a commandment...and He said, 'Make your dwelling in Jacob, and in Israel, your inheritance'." ~ Sirach 24:8

Let us celebrate the birth of the Virgin Mary; let us worship her Son, Christ the Lord.

Each Year, the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary is celebrated on September 8. Usually the church celebrates the feast day of a saint on the date of their death, which is actually the day remembered as their birth into everlasting life. Mary, however, was conceived without sin as a special grace because God had selected her to become the Mother of His Son. Her birth is a cause for great joy as it is considered the "dawn of our salvation" (Pope Paul VI, Marialis Cultus,1972.)

Although there is no reference to Mary's birth in the Sacred Scriptures, the names of Mary's parents, Joachim and Anna, appear in the Protoevangelium of James (5:2), which…

Mary, the "Dawn of Hope"

The Birth of the Virgin Mary, 1655, Esteban Murillo, (Louvre, Paris)
"Who is this?" asks the Holy Spirit as Mary comes into the world. "Who is this that comes forth like the dawn, as beautiful as the moon, as resplendent as the sun?" (Sg 6,10)...

She "comes forth like the dawn." Our first father was made in the image and likeness of his Creator in the full light of day (Gn 1,26). What could be more wonderful for a created being than to share the Creator's likeness?... He granted him the everlasting image but the likeness was still to be achieved: man was to become like his Creator. Yet he rejected the honor of such a privilege..., delivering himself over to death, into the darkness, along with all his descendants. Darkness covered all the earth (cf. Gn 1,2) until the coming of the Virgin. There was none who could escape the shadows, none to disperse them... but with the coming of the Virgin, dawn arose. Mary makes known the true light and, by her nati…