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Showing posts from December, 2011

New Year: The Gift of Time

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St. Sylvester I, pope

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Today is the seventh day in the octave of Christmas. The Church celebrates the optional memorial of St. Sylvester I, pope and confessor.

St. Sylvester, a native Roman, was chosen by God to govern His holy Church during the first years of Her temporal prosperity and triumph over Her persecuting enemies. Pope Melchiades died in January, 314. St. Sylvester was chosen as his successor. He governed the Church for more than twenty-one years, ably organizing the discipline of the Roman Church, and taking part in the negotiations concerning Arianism and the Council of Nicaea. He also sent Legates to the first Ecumenical Council.

During his Pontificate were built the great churches founded at Rome by Constantine — the Basilica and baptistery of the Lateran, the Basilica of the Sessorian palace (Santa Croce), the Church of St. Peter in the Vatican, and several cemeterial churches over the graves of martyrs. No doubt St. Sylvester helped towards the construction of these churches. He was a frie…

Feast of the Holy Family: Jesus, Mary, and Joseph

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Today is the feast of the Holy Family. I have a special fondness for this feast day as it has been my ongoing prayer that my family will imitate the Holy Family in holiness, which brings peace to my heart as I envision that happening.

The primary purpose of the Church in instituting and promoting this feast is to present the Holy Family as the model and exemplar of all Christian families.

On this special feast day of the Holy Family let us pray that we may emulate their holiness in our own family. Say a prayer dedicating your family to the Holy Family. Pray also for all families and for our country to uphold the sanctity of the marriage bond, which is under attack.

Prayer for the Feast of the Holy Family

Dear Lord, bless our family. Be so kind as to give us the unity, peace, and mutual love that You found in Your own family in the little town of Nazareth.

Saint Joseph, bless the head of our family. Obtain for him the strength, the wisdom, and the prudence he needs to support and di…

Best Papal Images of 2001

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December 29, 2011. (Romereports.com) 2011 was a busy year for Benedict XVI. From local trips in Italy to international trips to Spain, Germany and Benin, the pope kept a full schedule throughout the year. Some of the highlights include the Beatification ceremony of John Paul II and the inter-religious meeting in Assisi. The 84 year old pope also embraced social media by using twitter for the first time.

St. Thomas Becket

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Today is the optional memorial of St. Thomas Becket, also known as St. Thomas of Canterbury, a 12th century archbishop from England martyred as a result of his strong loyalty to the Church of Rome in opposition to the monarchy of King Henry II.

St. Thomas Becket was born in London, England in 1118. His father was a Norman knight, Gilbert, who had become a prosperous merchant in London; his mother was also Norman, and he had at least two sisters.

Thomas was noted for his piety, his strong devotion to Our Lady, and his generosity to the poor.

He was educated at the Merton Priory in Sussex and at the University of Paris. When he returned to England at twenty-one, he obtained an appointment as a clerk to the sheriff’s court, where he showed great ability. He was determined to make it on his own in the world now that his parents were both deceased.

After three years, he was taken into the household of Theobald, the Norman monk-archbishop of Canterbury. The young Thomas gradually climb…

Feast of the Holy Innocents

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Children under the age of two in Bethlehem were massacred by Herod the Great in an attempt to kill the child Jesus. We call these Holy Innocents martyrs because they died in the place of Christ. St. Augustine called them "buds, killed by the frost of persecution the moment they showed themselves."

In modern times, we have our own "holy innocents" -- those children who are killed daily in the place that should be the safest and most protective environment of all for them -- their mother's wombs. On this day, we recall the over 50 million children in our country alone (since 1973) and the vast number of children throughout the world who have been killed under the insane laws permitting abortion. Let us pray daily for an end to this tragedy.

The Holy Innocents

Today, dearest brethren, we celebrate the birthday of those children who were slaughtered, as the Gospel tells us, by that exceedingly cruel king, Herod. Let the earth, therefore, rejoice and the Church exult…

St. John the Evangelist

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Today is the feast day of my Community -- the feast of St. John, the Apostle and Evangelist. St. John is also my patron saint and the saint I try most to emulate in my daily life.

St. John, a fisherman, the son of Zebedee, and the brother of St. James the Great, was called to be an Apostle by our Lord in the first year of His public ministry, and he travelled everywhere with Him.

St. John is known as the Beloved Disciple, the Apostle of Love. Why was he identified in this way? John loved Jesus greatly, and he demonstrated a meek, mild, tender, humble, and peaceable disposition that made him very much like Our Lord himself. Also, his singular privilege of chastity, his virginal purity rendered him worthy of this more particular love.

As St. Augustine explains, "He was chosen by our Lord, a virgin, and he always remained such. Christ was pleased to choose a virgin for his mother, a virgin for his precursor, and a virgin for his favorite disciple. His church suffers only those who …

Feast of St. Stephen, First Deacon and First Martyr

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St. Stephen was the first deacon as well as the first Christian martyr. All that we know of him is contained in the Acts of the Apostles, chapters 6 and 7. In Acts 6:5 seven men were selected and specially ordained by the Apostles to take care of the temporal relief of the poorer members. Of these seven, Stephen, is the first deacon mentioned and the best known. The Church had, by selecting him for a deacon, publicly acknowledged him as a man "of good reputation, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom" (Acts 6:3). He was "a man full of faith, and of the Holy Ghost" (vi, 5), "full of grace and fortitude."

Certain Jews, members of the Synagogue of Roman Freedmen, debated with Stephen but proved no match for the wisdom and spirit with which he spoke. They persuaded others to make the charge of blasphemy against him. He was seized and carried before the Sanhedrin.

Stephen spoke to the crowd and recalled the mercies of God towards Israel during its long history and…

Urbi et Orbi: Pope sends Christmas greeting in 65 languages

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December 25, 2011. (Romereports.com) By noon, thousands of people had flocked to St. Peter's Square in Rome to hear the pope's Christmas greeting, which this year sounded like this: “May the birth of the Prince of Peace remind the world where its true happiness lies; and may your hearts be filled with hope and joy, for the Saviour has been born for us”.

The pope read his Christmas speech, which mentioned the situation in the Middle East and remembered those who are facing special difficulties.

Benedict XVI
“Together let us ask God’s help for the peoples of the Horn of Africa, who suffer from hunger and food shortages, aggravated at times by a persistent state of insecurity. May the international community not fail to offer assistance to the many displaced persons coming from that region and whose dignity has been sorely tried”.

Among the dozens of languages used by the pope, among them was Chinese, Urdu, Latin and Esperanto, which brought the applause of many of the language…

A Blessed Christmas!

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Lorenzo Lotto, The Nativity, 1527



Wishing you and yours a blessed Christmas Season!

Christmas Eve Meditation

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Luke 2: 1 - 14

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town.

And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.



While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.



Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear.

The angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great …

My Eighth Blogiversary

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Today is my 8th anniversary of blogging. In commemoration of this special occasion, I would like to share my joy with all those who read my blog. To show my appreciation, this beautiful (virtual) flower arrangement is yours. I would like to thank all my faithful readers and fellow bloggers -- all those who have supported and encouraged me over the years. God bless you!

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St. John of Kanty

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Today the Church celebrates the optional memorial of St. John of Kanty, priest.

St. John was born at Kanty, in the Diocese of Krakow, Poland in 1390 to Stanislaus and Anne who were pious country people. He was educated at the Academy of Krakow, where he impressed his professors and colleagues with his pleasant and friendly disposition; always happy, but serious, humble, and holy, he won the hearts of all who came in contact with him. He earned his doctorate in theology and philosophy, was ordained priest and was then appointed professor of theology at the Academy of Krakow. Shortly afterwards, he was reassigned to the Diocese of Krakow, to be a parish priest. He was then re-appointed professor of Sacres Scripture at the Academy of Krakow, a position he held for the rest of his life. John taught his students this philosophy again and again, "Fight all error, but do it with good humor, patience, kindness, and love. Harshness will damage your own soul and spoil the best cause."…

Fr. Barron comments on Christmas

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Blessed Jacopone da Todi, "Crazy Jim"

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The saint of the day for December 22 is Blessed Jacopone da Todi (1230-1306), an Italian noble from the Benedetti family of Todi and a successful lawyer at Bologna. He was married to Vanna di Guidone in 1267, who considered him too worldly, and did penance for him. In 1268, Jacomo insisted she attend a public tournament against her wishes; the stands in which she sat collapsed, and Vanna was killed. The shock of this event, and his discovery of her penance for him, caused a radical change in Jacomo. He gave his possessions to the poor, dressed in rags, and joined the Third Order of Saint Francis. His former associates called him Jacopone, Crazy Jim; he embraced the name.

After ten years of this penance and abuse, Jacomo tried to join the Franciscans; his reputation as "Crazy Jim" preceeded him, and he was refused. To prove his sanity and intentions, he wrote a beautiful poem about the vanities of the world; it swayed the Franciscans, and he joined the Order in 1278. He refu…

St. Peter Canisius, priest and doctor

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Today is the optional memorial of St. Peter Canisius, priest and doctor.

Peter Canisius was born in Holland on May 8, 1521. Peter was a brilliant, but humble, young man, who studied at Cologne and received his license as doctor of civil law; he then went to Louvain (Belgium) to learn canon law. After he attended a retreat given by Blessed Peter Faber, the first disciple of St. Ignatius, he decided to become a Jesuit. On the day of his final vows, as he knelt in St. Peter's, Our Lord showed him a vision of His Sacred Heart. From that time forward, he never failed to make an offering of all his work to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Sent to Germany, he worked strenuously for many years by his writings and teachings to confirm the Catholic faith. Of his numerous books, the Catechism is most renowned. It remains a monument of the triumph of the Church over error in the time of Luther.

A man of great energy, he taught in several universities, founded 18 colleges, and authored 37 books; his…

The 2012 pro-life film "October Baby"

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December 20, 2011. (Romereports.com) In March 2012 the film “October Baby” will be released in the USA. It's the story of Hannah, a 19 year old girl who discovers she survived an attempted abortion when her mother was seven months pregnant.

In seeking answers to her life, she begins a journey to find her biological mother. It's a journey full of hope, love and reconciliation with some of her friends.


The film touches on the power of forgiveness, love and life. It's based on the story of Gianna Jessen, a woman that travels the United States sharing her testimony and showing the miracle of life to women considering abortion.

The seven new saints approved by Pope Benedict

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December 20, 2011. (Romereports.com) Benedict XVI has approved the canonization of seven blessed. Among them is the first Native American to ascend to the altars and the main colloborator of Father Damien.

The pope has recognized a miracle attributed to the intercession of each one of them. He has not officially called for their canonization but, he's expected to do so next fall.

One of the future saints is the Italian Giovanni Battista Piamarta, born in 1841 and founder of two religious orders.

Then there is the French Jacques Berthieu, a Jesuit priest shot to death in Madagascar in 1896 for defending Christianity.

Another is the Spanish nun Mary of Mount Carmel. In 1892 she founded the Congregation of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception.

Also on the list is Marianne Cope, the nun who in 1888 traveled to Hawaii to help Father Damien of Molokai in the care of leprosy patients.

Possibly the most unique is the American Indian Katherine Tekakwitha, who in 1676 was marginalized …

Saint Dominic of Silos: Patron of Pregnant Women

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Today we commemorate St. Dominic of Silos, a Benedictine abbot born in 1000 in Cañas, Navarre, Spain, a shepherding town in the Pyrenees.

As a shepherd boy, Dominic enjoyed looking after his father's flocks as well as the solitude of the fields. He entered the Benedictine monastery in Navarre, where he became prior. When Dominic refused to hand over the monastery’s property and possessions to the King of Navarre, he and two other monks were exiled to Castille. There the king of Castille appointed him to be the abbot of the monastery of St. Sebastian at Silos.

The monastery was in terrible shape physically, financially, and spiritually. Dominic rebuilt the dilapidated building, and restored its finances. He also renewed the spirit of the monastery, increasing its works of charity. Dominic died on December 10, 1073 in Silos, Spain.

About 100 years after his death, a young woman made a pilgrimage to his tomb and prayed that she would conceive a child. There St. Dominic of Silos appea…

Blessed Pope Urban V

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The saint of the day is Blessed Pope Urban V.

Blessed Pope Urban V was born Guillaume de Grimoard at Grisac in Languedoc, 1310. He studied canon law and theology in Avignon and became a Benedictine monk. He was named abbot of his monastery in 1352, served as a papal diplomat and was sent as an ambassodor to various locations. He also served as a bishops around Italy and throughout Europe.

He was elected pope in 1362 while on diplomatic business, even though he was not a cardinal. His reign was blessed by his peacekeeping activity between the French and Italian kings, the founding of many universities, his zeal for the crusades and his decision to return the papacy to Rome and end the Avignon exile of the popes.

However, the breakout of war between England and France, forced him to return to Avignon on a peacekeeping mission. On his return to Avignon he died, and his body, which had been buried at Avignon was then transferred to Marseille according to his own wishes, and his tomb …

"Catholics Come Home" launches new campaign inviting rediscovery of faith

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December 17, 2011. (Romereports.com) This group of Catholics are sharing their stories of faith and how they found the Catholic Church. They're called "Catholics Come Home" and it's meant to reach out former Catholics, the non-religious, as well as strengthening the faith of current faithful.

They have just launched a 4 million dollar ad campaign on television throughout the United States meant to go through the Christmas season.

Their website catholicscomehome.org provides a sneak peak at the videos. The site also offers guidance on the Church's teachings on some of life's more difficult moments such as divorce, the death of a loved one, or different issues on morality.

These advertisements will air more than 400 times on some of the biggest networks such as CBS, NBC, and CNN. The 30 and 60 second commercials will be aired in English and Spanish. The ads are expected to reach some 250 million viewers in 10,000 cities, exposing every diocese of the United…

Pope to canonize and name Hildegard of Bingen as Doctor of the Church

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Pope Benedict XVI is set to appoint Hildegard of Bingen as a Doctor of the Church in October of 2012. She was a German Benedictine nun and was known for her visions and prophecies.

Saint José Manyanet y Vives

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The saint of the day is Saint José Manyanet y Vives.

He was born January 7, 1833 in Catalonia, Spain; died December 17, 1901 in Spain, and canonized on May 16, 2004 by Pope John Paul II.

At the age of five, José’s mother dedicated him to the Virgin Mary, and he entered the seminary in as a youth. Was ordained in 1859 and served as the secretary of the bishop of Urgell, the seminary librarian, the chancery administrator before responding to the call to found two religious congregations.


He founded the Congregation of the Sons of the Holy Family in 1864 and the Missionary Daughters of the Holy Family of Nazareth in 10 years later, both dedicated to the education and protection of the Christian family, and education and parish ministry.

He also founded schools and centers, encouraged devotion to the Holy Family, wrote many books on family issues, and spiritual guidance. Also in the cultural ambit he worked for the construction of the Servant of God Antonio Gaudí’s masterpiece Temple of …

Fr. Barron comments on the Advent Revolution

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Learn more about Father Barron at Word on Fire and at Catholicism.

St. Adelaide

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The saint of the day is St. Adelaide of Burgundy. St. Adelaide was a marvel of grace and beauty, according to her spiritual director and biographer, St. Odilon of Cluny. She was born a princess in 1931 and was to became not only the Queen of Italy, but the Empress of Italy. More importantly, this woman of grace lived a holy life, which wasn't an easy endeavor, given her circumstances in life, and was later canonized a saint.

The daughter of King Rupert II of Burgundy, France, at age 16, she married Lothar of Italy, who eventually became king of Italy. She was widowed in 950 while still a teenager. Lothair was thought to be poisoned by his successor to the throne, Berengarius. As part of his attempt to solidify his grip on power, Berengarius ordered Adelaide to marry his son; she refused, and was imprisoned.

It is believed that a priest came and dug a tunnel to where she was being kept and helped her escape. She remained hidden in the woods until the Duke of Canossa, who had found…

Blessed Marianne Cope from state of New York is one step away from being declared a Saint

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December 15, 2011. (Romereports.com) The Diocese of Syracuse in New York announced that Marianne Cope is just one step away from being declared a saint.

In the 1860's, the Franciscan sister served in Syracuse, New York, before moving to Hawaii. On the Island, she ministered and cared for patients who suffered from leprosy.

The miracle that now paves the way for her canonization, involves a woman who was on her death bed, yet was miraculously cured through the intercession of Cope. The Congregation for the Causes of Saints approved the miracle after it was re-examined by a group of theologians and cardinals.

Now Benedict XVI himself, must approve the recommendation before setting a date for the canonization ceremony.

In addition to being a teacher and principal in upstate New York, Cope also helped establish St. Elizabeth Hospital in Utica and St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse. Both were among the first hospitals to open in central New York. During her time in Hawaii she ope…

9 Days of Prayer to "End Abortion in Kansas Forever"

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From Jan. 14th through Jan. 22nd, there will be 9 Days of state wide: Prayer and Fasting to "End Abortion in Kansas Forever".

Catholics in all four dioceses (Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, Diocese of Salina, Diocese of Dodge City and the Diocese of Wichita), will pray for "An End to Abortion in Kansas Forever". Non-Catholics are asked to join in the 9 Days of Prayer which ends on the Anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, by joining in prayer, fasting and their prayer meetings, etc.. Catholics are asked to Pray, Fast, Pray the Rosary, Chaplet of Divine Mercy, Go to Confession, Attend Mass Daily and Receive Holy Communion, Pray One Hour in Prayer before Jesus in the Eucharist, make daily sacrifices and daily pray this prayer: "We entrust and consecrate Kansas to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus forever. Amen". Over 100 Catholic churches throughout the state will offer Masses for this intention.

Demand that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, protector of child rapists, Resign

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It is time for Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services,
to RESIGN


Sign the Petition.

St. Virginia Centurione Bracelli

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The saint of the day is St. Virginia Centurione Bracelli. She was born in Genoa, Italy April 2, 1587; died in Genoa on December 15, 1651, and canonized by Pope John Paul II on May 18, 2003.

Born and raised in an aristocratic family which was nonetheless pious, she longed to consecrate herself to God in the religious life, but she was pressured into an arranged marriage at the age of 15 on account of her social status, and had two daughters.

Her husband, a drinker and gambler, died after five years of marriage and Virginia dedicated her time to raising her children and prayer and works of charity, which she devoted herself to entirely once her children had grown up, caring for the sick, elderly and abandoned.

She founded a refuge center in Genoa in 1625 which soon became overrun with the needy and she rented an empty convent in 1631 where she cared for the sick with the help of other women, and she instructed the women in the faith.

She constructed a church dedicated to Our Lady of Re…

St. John of the Cross

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St. John of the Cross (along with St. Teresa of Avila) is one of the founders of the Discalced Carmelites and today is one of their principal feast days. I wish all my Discalced Carmelite friends a very happy feast day!

Among the Church's contemplatives, St. John is one of the acknowledged masters of mystical theology. Indeed, perhaps no other writer has had greater influence on Catholic spirituality.

Gonzalo de Yepes, John's father, was disowned by his wealthy family of silk merchants for marrying a humble silk weaver, Catalina Alvarez. When forced to adapt to surroundings of poverty and hard work, Gonzalo died young, shortly after the birth of John, his third son.

John received his elementary education in Medina del Campo at an institution for the children of the poor, in which he was also fed and clothed. At 17 he found work at a hospital in Medina and was able to enroll in the Jesuit College, where he received solid training in the humanities.

In 1563, he entered the Carm…

St. Lucy, Virgin and Martyr

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Today is the memorial of St. Lucy, virgin and martyr. Lucy was born of noble Greek parents in Syracuse, Sicily about the year 283. She made a vow of virginity and distributed her wealth to the poor. This generosity angered the youth to whom she had been unwillingly betrothed and who denounced her to Paschasius, the governor of Sicily. When it was decided to violate her virginity in a place of shame, Lucy, with the help of the Holy Spirit, stood immovable. A fire was then built around her, but again God protected her. She was finally executed by a sword.

As the name, Lucy, derives from 'lux' or 'light', she has become associated with festivals of light and with invocations against afflictions of the sight. Legend has it that she was blinded by her persecutors. The church of San Giovanni Maggiore at Naples even claims to possess her eyes.

Patronage

against hemorrhages; authors; blind people; blindness; cutlers; dysentery; eye disease; eye problems; glaziers; hemorrhages; …

Our Lady of Guadalupe: Miracles and Hope for Human Life

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Five centuries ago, in the country now known as Mexico, senseless human sacrifices were performed. Between 20,000 and 50,000 human beings were murdered a year in the Aztec empire. Most of them were slaves and included men, as well as women, and children. An early Mexican historian estimated that one out of every five children in Mexico was sacrificed to the gods.

The climax of these ritualistic killings came in 1487 when a new temple (ornately decorated with snakes) was dedicated in what is now modern day Mexico City. In a single ceremony that lasted four days and four nights, accompanied by the constant beating of giant drums made of snakeskin, the Aztec ruler and demon worshiper Tlacaellel presided over the sacrifice of more than 80,000 men.

It was Our Lady of Guadalupe who crushed the head of the wicked serpent in 1531.

For, it was then that she appeared to a poor, humble, uneducated man, Juan Diego. In bare feet, he walked every Saturday and Sunday to church, departing before daw…

Guadette Sunday

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Angel Voices - ''Stay With Me''

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St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin

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Today the Church in the United States celebrates the optional memorial of St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin (1474-1548), an Indian convert, to whom the Virgin Mary appeared as he was going to Mass in Tlatlelolco, Mexico.

Little is known about the life of Juan Diego before his conversion, but tradition and archaelogical and iconographical sources, along with the most important and oldest indigenous document on the event of Guadalupe, "El Nican Mopohua" (written in Náhuatl with Latin characters, 1556, by the Indigenous writer Antonio Valeriano), give some information on the life of the saint and the apparitions.

Juan Diego was born in 1474 with the name "Cuauhtlatoatzin" ("the talking eagle") in Cuautlitlán, today part of Mexico City, Mexico. He was a gifted member of the Chichimeca people, one of the more culturally advanced groups living in the Anáhuac Valley.

When he was 50 years old he was baptized by a Franciscan priest, Fr Peter da Gand, one of the fir…

The Greatest Miracle: Movie Review

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This will be a quick movie review, as I pull an overnight study session and get ready to finish  another semester of graduate school. This film opens Friday.


I had the wonderful opportunity of previewing a unique, uplifting, and inspiring film of hope and faith, which I thoroughly enjoyed -- The Greatest Miracle. It is an animated film, focusing in on the graces of the Holy Mass. The Greatest Miracle revolves around the lives of three people who find themselves at the same Catholic Mass because of crises they are struggling to endure. Going to Mass is not new to any of them – but they need assistance to embrace its true meaning. Their guardian angels help them to find this meaning in the Mass. What they experience in that particular Mass changes their lives forever.

The animations are beautiful and the characters in the film are contemporary, true to life, with problems that we can all relate to. The story line will hold your interest and attention. There is also a part of the story t…

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

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Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, the solemn dogma defined by Blessed Pope Pius IX in 1854. As Our Lady Immaculately Conceived is the patroness of the United States of America, this is a holy day of obligation in the United States.

Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, "full of grace" through God, was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Blessed Pope Pius IX proclaimed on December 8, 1854: "The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin."

~ Catechism of the Catholic Church

Today's meditation from Fr. Philippe, OP, founder of the Community of St. John:

Gospel Lk 1:26-38

Today we celebrate Mary as the Father's beloved, as …

Pope Benedict's General Audience: The Power and Prayer of Humility

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December 7, 2011. (Romereports.com) (-ONLY VIDEO-) During Wednesday's general audience, Benedict XVI talked about the power of prayer and humility. The pope said the combination of these two factors help people fulfill the will of God.

FULL TEXT:


“Dear Brothers and Sisters, In our continuing catechesis on Christian prayer, we are considering the teaching and example given us by Jesus himself. In the “cry of exultation” recorded for us by the evangelists Matthew and Luke, Jesus gives thanks to the Father because he has willed to reveal the mystery of salvation not to the wise and learned, but to the “little ones” (cf. Mt 11:25-30; Lk 10:21-22).

This magnificent prayer has its source in Jesus’ profound communion with the Father in the Holy Spirit; as the eternal Son, Jesus alone “knows” the Father and rejoices in complete openness to his will. Indeed, “no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him” (Lk 10:22). In this prayer, then, the …

St. Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor: Brief Biography, Quotes, and Prayers

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By Jean M. Heimann

Today is the memorial of St. Ambrose, one of the most illustrious Fathers and Doctors of the Church.

Ambrose was born into Roman nobility around 340 in Trier, Germany.

Following his father's death, Ambrose went to Rome and began a career in law and politics. He later became the Imperial governor of Northern Italy.

When the bishop of Milan died in 374, a violent dispute broke out between the Catholics and the Arians over his replacement. Ambrose intervened and the people were so impressed with the way he handled the situation that they demanded that be made their bishop, although he was only a catechumen at the time. He resisted, claiming that he was not worthy, but to prevent further violence, he finally agreed. He was baptized, ordained a priest, and consecrated a bishop all within a brief period of time.

Aware of his lack of preparation for this great responsibility, Ambrose immediately changed his life and began studying prayer, Scripture and theology. He gav…

Happy Feast of St. Nicholas!

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Saint Nicholas of Myra was born in the village of Patara in Lyrica, Asia Minor, about the middle of the third century, of devout and wealthy parents who provided him with a Christian upbringing and education. He was orphaned at an early age.

Later he was ordained a priest, and when the bishop of his district died, he was made Bishop of Myra.

Saint Nicholas is distinguished for his great faith and especially for his charity.

His faith was so great, that with his prayer he calmed a stormy sea while on a trip to the Holy Lands. For this reason sailors pay homage to him as their protector.

He is particularly well known for his charity and his love for children. He used his great wealth to assist all who were in need: poor families, widows, and especially orphans and poor children. As Bishop, he established a poorhouse and a hospital.

Perhaps the best-known story about Nicholas concerns his charity toward a poor man who was unable to provide dowries for his three daughters, who were all h…