Showing posts from 2012

St. Sylvester I, pope and confessor

Today 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 friend of Emperor Constantine, confirmed the first …

Pope's prayer intentions for January

The Vatican has released the prayer intentions of Pope Benedict XVI for January 2013.

The Pope’s general intention is: “That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.”

His missionary intention is: “That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.”

An interview with Tom Peterson of 'Catholics Come Home'

Brandon Voight recently interviewed Tom Peterson, the founder of Catholics Come Home. Featuring high-quality television commercials and a beautiful, dynamic website, Catholics Come Home models the New Evangelization. Dioceses and parishes across the world have used their materials to draw thousands of people back to the Church. You can watch the 17 minute interview here:

St. Thomas Becket

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 climbed u…

The New Blesseds of 2012

Left to right: Blessed Giuseppe Toniolo, Blessed Cecilia Eusepi, Blessed Gabriele Maria Allegra, Blessed Hildegard Burjan

Via Catholic World Report:

 In 2012, 28 venerable servants of God—including 15 martyrs, five founders of religious communities, and two converts—have been raised to the altars in 14 beatification ceremonies.

Read the full story here.

Thousands of young people gather in Rome for ecumenical conference, meeting with Pope

December 28, 2012. ( Thousands of youths from across Europe and North America began arriving early Friday morning to Rome. For about a week, nearly 40,000 young men and women will assemble in Rome for Taize's European Gathering, described as one of the largest ecumenical meetings in the world.  

While half of this year's participants are Catholic, the other half come from Orthodox or Protestant backgrounds.

Taizé Community
“It shows that as Christians there's already a certain unity. We all have the same baptism, we all have the same Bible, a lot of our beliefs in Jesus Christ is the same. There are differences but at least we can celebrate our unity and may this gives us the impulse to work for greater unity.”

Organizers have spent the past three months preparing for their arrival. The week long event will take place in more than 200 parishes spread out across Rome.

The annual meeting allows participants to reflect on their faith though a wee…

Feast of the Holy Innocents and our Innocents Martyred Today

Today we commemorate the Holy Innocents. 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 ea…

A look at the top 10 stories from the Vatican that will make headlines in 2013

December 27, 2012. ( Looking ahead it becomes clear what stories from the Vatican will likely top headlines in Rome and around the world in 2013.

One of the biggest stories of the year will be undoubtedly the Pope's visit to the Brazil for World Youth Day 2013 in Rio de Janeiro. The massive event is expected to draw nearly 2 million youths.

Benedict XVI will arrive on Monday, June 22 and take off on that Sunday. The Vatican is also analyzing possible visits to other Latin American countries, with Colombia and Panama allegedly at the top of the list.

In 2013, Benedict XVI will also publish a new encyclical on faith. It will be the fourth of his pontificate and will likely be published in January.

The Pope is expected to continue pushing forward the Year of Faith, with a number of gatherings to mark it.

For example, on June 15 he will host at the Vatican the world gathering on the right to life, described as the defense of a person's dignity from conception to t…

Feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist

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 …

Christmas message from Newtown, Connecticut priest

Less than two weeks after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting left 20 children and six staff members dead, the pastor of the parish where eight of the children were members reflected on the meaning of Christmas.

“I have been asked so often how do we celebrate Christmas this year,” wrote Msgr. Robert Weiss. “I believe that we celebrate it in its truest sense, putting aside all the secularity and simply sitting in silence and praying that the hope, healing and peace promised to us by Christ will be given to us in abundance.”

“We need to know that even in these darkest hours, there is still light, light that is brighter than that great star over Bethlehem, which will take us to the place where we need to be,” he added. “It will take us to the heart of Christ who will heal our brokenness, remove our anger and hurt and fill us with the peace and strength we need to not just move forward but to reclaim the life that is ours as a community in Christ Jesus.”

~ Via CWN.

Read the entire m…

Urbit et Orbi: Benedict XVI issues Christmas greeting in over 65 languages and includes message to China

December 25, 2012. ( The yearly tradition shaped up with thousands of pilgrims gathered at St. Peter's Square in anticipation of the Pope's Christmas message. Benedict XVI stepped out into the main balcony to deliver his speech and issue greetings in over 65 languages, including Chinese, Arabic and Esperanto.

Benedict XVI
"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."

During his speech, the Pope called for global peace, especially in the Holy Land, Syria, and in other areas going though difficult times.

Benedict XVI
"May the Birth of Christ favour the return of peace in Mali and that of concord in Nigeria, where savage acts of terrorism continue to reap victims, particularly among Christians. May the Redeemer bring help and comfort to the refugees from the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and grant peace to Ken…

St. Stephen, First Deacon and Martyr

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 an…

O Antiphon for December 23: "O Emmanuel"

The O Antiphon for December 23, "O Emmanuel," is drawn from Isaiah 7:14. "Emmanuel" means "God with us."

Latin: O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster, exspectatio gentium, et Salvator earum: veni ad salvandum nos Domine Deus noster.

English: O Emmanuel, God with us, our King and lawgiver, the expected of the nations and their Savior: come to save us, O Lord our God.

The manger reminds us of the simplicity and poverty surrounding the birth of Jesus and is representative of His life of humility.

Merry Christmas!

Since there will be little posting here over the next few days, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas. May the love of the infant Savior be born anew in your heart and fill it with peace and joy.

As a Christmas gift to you, I would like to share one of my personal favorites:

Some Christmas Treats


Pope denounces 'fallacy' in gender theories that alter the family unit

December 21, 2012. ( Benedict XVI delivered his Christmas greeting to his closest collaborators at the Vatican, and named the three biggest challenges the Church faces today: the defense of the family, inter-religious dialogue, and the New Evangelization.

The Pope rebuked gender theories by citing French Rabbi Gilles Bernheim, and said that such theories destroy the family unit and hurt a person's dignity.  

“The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being.They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves.”

According to Benedict XVI, the denial of a person's sexual nature end up destroying the cohesion of the family as a unit, specifically the roles of the father, mother and their offsp…

Christmas 2012 Reflection with the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States


December 22: This Blog's Anniversary

December 22 is Catholic Fire's Ninth Anniversary! This blog started out with a very small group of followers and I still don't know exactly how many followers there are today, but I do know this -- even on slow days we have at least 3000 visitors. I will blog as long as God calls me to do so and will continue to spread the Good News in the ways He directs me. I am very thankful for this work and for all those come and visit here to learn more about the Catholic faith.

When I first started evangelizing many years ago, I was given the following passage: "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings glad tidings, Announcing peace, bearing good news, announcing salvation, and saying to Zion, "Your God is King!" (Isaiah 52:7). However, I feel this passage more accurately describes those who have shared the faith with me and those who have gone before us and have sacrificed so much for this beautiful faith we live -- the Apostles, the Fathers, the …

O Antiphon for December 22: "O King of the Gentiles"

The O Antiphon for December 22, "O King of the Gentiles," is drawn from Isaiah 2:4 and 9:7.

Come, and deliver man, whom You formed out of the dust of the earth.

O King of the Gentiles and their desired One, the Cornerstone that makes both one; Come, and deliver man, whom You formed out of the dust of the earth.

O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum, lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum: veni, et salva hominem, quem de limo formasti.

The crown and scepter signify Christ's universal kingship. As we sing in the fifth O Antiphon, Christ is not only the King of the Jewish nation, but the "Desired One of all," the cornerstone which unites both Jew and Gentile.

Recommended Readings: Apocalypse 15:1-4

How a Christmas carol saved one baby's life in Chicago

CHICAGO - Sometimes a song can save a life. That's what happened one year during the Pro-Life Action League's annual "Empty Manger" Christmas Caroling Day at abortion facilities in Chicago and the western suburbs.

"We were singing 'Silent Night' at American Women's Medical Center when a young woman came out of the clinic," said the Pro-Life Action League's executive director, Eric Scheidler. "She approached one of our pro-life counselors and said we got her thinking about Mary and Baby Jesus. She just couldn't go through with her abortion." The counselor directed the young mother to a nearby pregnancy center for help.

Read the full story.

Catholic University Students Petition to Have Starbucks Removed from Campus

From the Cardinal Newman Society:

Over 500 students at The Catholic University of America have signed a petition to have Starbucks removed from the campus, citing the coffee giant’s financial support of Planned Parenthood and its efforts to overturn traditional marriage.

Students currently pay $3 to $5 for a 20 oz cup of coffee at Starbucks Coffee in the Pryzbyla Center. Compare this to $2 to $4 for a comparable 20 oz Dunkin Donuts Coffee at other universities. These high prices help maintain Starbucks’ above average profit margin of 10.66% and fund their numerous political activities.

Starbucks is currently using their revenues to overturn a federal law defining marriage as between one man and one woman, and also for gift-matching to Planned Parenthood. We, the community of Catholic University of America, feel that we are entitled to a less expensive cup of coffee, whose price corresponds only to the quality of the product and not to the political agenda of the corporation.

Read the …

O Antiphon for December 21: O Radiant Dawn – O Oriens

The O Antiphon for December 21, "O Dawn of the East," is drawn from Isaiah 9:2. "Dawn of the East" is often translated as "Dayspring."

O Dawn of the East, Brightness of the Light Eternal and Sun of Justice, come and enlighten them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.

This Antiphon is rich in meaning on many levels. The Latin title O Oriens can be translated several ways. Oriens simply means East, but is also translated as Dawn, Daystar and Morning Star because they all rise in the East. All are harbingers of the sunrise which dispels the darkness.


The significance of this is often lost on those of us who dispel the darkness with our artificial sun, but in a world lit only by fire life was ruled by sunrise and nightfall. Not surprisingly sunrise has been associated with the coming of the Messiah. Thus Radiant Dawn of the Antiphon is reflected in Hosea 6:3: “Let us know, let us strive to know the Lord; as certain as the dawn is his c…

St. Peter Canisius

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…

Mary: A Model for Advent


DC appeals court rules new contraception rule must be issued

A victory for religious liberty:

Washington D.C., Dec 19, 2012 / 04:30 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Religious freedom advocates applauded a federal appeals court’s decision to hold the government accountable for revising its controversial contraception mandate.

Kyle Duncan, general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, called the decision “a win not just for Belmont Abbey and Wheaton, but for all religious non-profits challenging the mandate.”

“The D.C. Circuit has now made it clear that government promises and press conferences are not enough to protect religious freedom,” he said in a Tuesday statement responding to the ruling.

On Dec. 18, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals said that it will hold the government responsible for following through on its promises to issue a proposed revision of the federal contraception mandate for objecting religious organizations by March 2013.

Read the full story.

St. Dominic of Silos

The saint of the day for December 20 is 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. Do…

We Needed a Savior


O Antiphon for December 20: "O Key of David"

The O Antiphon for December 20, "O Key of David," is drawn from Isaiah 9:6 and 22:22.

O Key of David, and Scepter of the House of Israel, who opens and no man shuts, who shuts and no man opens; Come and bring forth the captive from his prison, he who sits in darkness and in the shadow of death.

O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israël, qui aperis, et nemo claudit, claudis, et nemo aperuit: veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris, sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

The key is the emblem of authority and power. Christ is the Key of the House of David who opens to us the full meaning of the scriptural prophecies, and reopens for all mankind the gate of Heaven.

General audience: Pope calls for trust in God, cites Mary as example

December 19, 2012. (  Benedict XVI explained during the general audience how faith shaped Virgin Mary. The Pope invited all the gathered pilgrims at St. Peter's Square to trust in God with as much joy as Mary did nearly 2000 years ago.


Dear Brothers and Sisters, As part of our catechesis for this Year of Faith, it is fitting, during these last days of Advent, to consider the faith of Mary, the Virgin Mother of Christ.  At the Annunciation, the angel Gabriel greets Mary with an invitation to rejoice because the Lord is with her.

This joy is that of the messianic hope of God’s people, the daughter of Zion, now being fulfilled in her.   It is also the fruit of the grace which fills Mary’s heart and shapes her obedience to God’s word.  Mary’s faith, like that of Abraham, combines complete trust in the Lord’s promises with a certain “unknowing”.  In her life Mary knew, as we do, that God’s will can seem at times obscur…

O Antiphon for December 19: "O Root of Jesse"

The O Antiphon for December 19, "O Root of Jesse," is drawn from Isaiah 11:1 and 11:10.

O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum,
super quem continebunt reges os suum,
quem Gentes deprecabuntur:
veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.

"O ROOT of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples;
before you kings will shut their mouths,
to you the nations will make their prayer:
Come and deliver us, and delay no longer."

The flower which springs up from the root of Jesse is another figure of Christ. Isaiah prophesied that the Savior would be born from the root of Jesse, that He would sit upon the throne of David, and in Christ this prophecy is fulfilled.

Pope blesses baby in womb of pregnant Olympic athlete

December 18, 2012. ( Valentina Vezzali is an Italian athlete, winner of two Olympic medals from the London games. The Pope blessed her future child in an unusual gesture that is becoming increasingly common in parishes around the globe. Last year, the Vatican approved a formula for these types of blessings.  

Olympic Medalist, London 2012
-Holy Father, I wanted to ask you for a special blessing... I'm expecting a child.
-How far along are you?
-He is due in May. After the Olympics, the Lord gave me this victory which is greater than any Olympic gold medal, it's a blessing. I'm thankful to God for being on my side and for helping me get great results in sports. I hope to be a good exemple for youths and to be a good Christian.

During the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization, the vice-president of the American bishops conference, Joseph Kurtz, proposed that this blessing be carried out in parishes all over the world. He said it helps s…

Beatification process continues for three martyred Red Cross nurses

December 18, 2012. ( On October 23, 1936, in the midst of the Spanish Civil War, three young nursers from the International Red Cross were murdered, as they cared for wounded victims at a hospital in northern Spain. The Catholic Church could soon declare them martyrs.  

Their names are Olga, 23, Pilar, 25, and Octavia, 41. All three were from Astorga, in Leon province. When the war began, they volunteered to help care for the wounded. While they were not the first volunteers killed in the war, they were the first executed because of their faith. The person leading the beatification process is hoping to present their case to the Vatican in the coming week.

 “One of those direct witnesses says they hear how one of the guards asks, 'Where are the nuns?' The other answers, 'There, praying.? They could have fled, but they didn't. And they didn't because they wanted to remain next to the wounded soldiers, from both…

Fr. Barron: The Tragedy at Newtown


O Antiphon for December 18: "O Adonai"

For December 18, the antiphon is based on Exodus 3:2, Isaiah 33:22; 63:11-12, Micah 6:4 and Acts 7:30-31.

O Adonai, et dux domus Israel, qui Moyse in igne flammae rubi apparuisti, et ei in Sina legem dedisti: veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.

O Adonai and Ruler of the House of Israel! You appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush and gave the Law on Mount Sinai: Come, and redeem us with outstretched arm.

Exodus 3:2: "An angel of the Lord appeared to him in fire flaming out of a bush.  As he looked on, he was surprised to see that the bush, though on fire, was not consumed".

Exodus 6:6: "Therefore say to the Israelites: I am Yahweh.  I will free you from the enforced labor of the Egyptians and will deliver you from their slavery.  I will rescue you by my outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment".

"Adonai" is Hebrew for "my Lord", and was substituted by devout Jews for the name "Yahweh", out of reverence. With …

The 'new' popemobile vs the 'old' popemobile

December 16, 2012. ( This is the Pope's new popemobile. It was given to him as a gift, by car maker Mercedes-Benz. For the first time, the Pope took it for a ride, all the way from the Vatican to
Rome's Spanish steps, for the Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception.

It was a relatively short trip. But still, there are some noticeable differences between this popemobile and the last.

The last popemobile, Benedict XVI used up until a few days ago, was actually designed for John Paul II. It falls under the Mercedes Benz, 'G class'. The old design is softer, but its windows reflect light, which sometimes prevented people from seeing the Pope clearly.

But this new popemobile, is a so called 'M class' It has halogen lighting on the roof, which makes the light seem quite natural. Also, the window glass has a special shield that doesn't reflect light.

The new design in this latest popemobile is quite obvious, not just on the outside, but also in the…

The "O Antiphons" Of Advent: Dec. 17 - Wisdom

The Roman Church has been singing the "O" Antiphons since at least the eighth century. They are the antiphons that accompany the Magnificat canticle of Evening Prayer from December 17-23. They are a magnificent theology that uses ancient biblical imagery drawn from the messianic hopes of the Old Testament to proclaim the coming Christ as the fulfillment not only of Old Testament hopes, but present ones as well. Their repeated use of the imperative "Come!" embodies the longing of all for the Divine Messiah.

December 17
O Wisdom of our God Most High,
guiding creation with power and love:
come to teach us the path of knowledge!

This will help you sing it in Latin and Gregorian chant:

St. Olympias of Constantinople, Deaconess

Today's saint, St. Olympias, was born into a wealthy noble Constantinople family in 368. Her parents died when she was young, and left her an immense fortune.

Olympias married Nebridius, the newly appointed prefect of Constantinople. Within a short time, Nebridius died, and Olympias was left a childless widow. Determined to devote herself to the service of God and works of charity, she refused several offers of marriage, and had her fortune put into a trust until she was thirty. When her husband died, the Emperor Theodosius attempted to pressure her into marrying him by seizing control of her properties and when that failed, he banned her from going to Church or associating with the clergy. However, he gave up one after one year and she regained her estate. In 391, she was consecrated deaconess by Nectarius, the Bishop of Constantinople. She founded a convent, near the Basilica of St. Sophia, which attracted fifty women. Along with her, they consecrated their lives to the service…

St. Virginia Centurione Bracelli

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…

Vatican Chirstmas tree lit up at St. Peter's Square


Pope blames crisis on unregulated financial capitalism

December 14, 2012. ( Benedict XVI blamed unregulated financial capitalism for the increasing wealth disparity between rich and poor, and called for a new economic model. In his message for the World Day of Peace 2013, the Pope also stated that the economic crisis threatens world peace.

The document cites his 2009 encyclical Caritas in Veritate, in which he called for new development models that call for greater opportunity for all.message was delivered by Cardinal Peter Turkson, the president for the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

President, Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
“The other thing about work or job is a very common sense these days that people who are into the psychology of achievement will regularly tell you that one cannot be happy when he doesn't know where his next paycheck is coming from.”

Benedict XVI also addressed world hunger and the rise of food prices. He recalled the importance of protecting marriage an…

Pope Paul VI to be declared venerable next week

December 14, 2012. (  On December 20, Benedict XVI will declare former Pope Paul VI venerable. Cardinals belonging to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints approved on December 10 a report on the heroic virtues of Paul VI.  

The former Pope had a very important role in the Second Vatican Council. The acceptance of his heroic virtues falls exactly 50 years since the start of the Second Vatican Council.

Rooted in Love: Book Review and Book Giveaway

I feel blessed to be able to participate in this blog tour because Rooted in Love: Our Calling as Catholic Women is an exceptional book written by a very special lady.

By Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, released November 2012, Ave Maria Press, Notre Dame, Indiana, 224 pages, Paperback $14.95. Available from Ave Maria Press, Amazon and Barnes & Noble, Major books stores and Catholic and Christian book stores.

Reviewed by JEAN M. HEIMANN, wife and mother, M.A. in Theology, freelance writer, retired psychologist, and oblate with the Community of St. John.

Rooted in Love: Our Calling as Catholic Women is not quite the book I expected it to be.  This particular book exceeded my expectations. Not only was it inspiring and uplifting, but it was candid, funny, enlivening, encouraging, and enlightening. In Rooted in Love, Donna-Marie engages her readers in her intimate, conversational way, which makes you feel as if you are chatting with a close friend over coffee or tea, sitting in front of the …

St. John of the Cross

St. John of the Cross is a co-founder of the Discalced (Latin for "shoeless") Carmelites and today is his feast day. I wish all my Discalced Carmelite brothers and sisters 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 Carmelite Order in …

Pope gains 700,000 new followers after his first Twitter message

December 13, 2012. ( Exactly 24 hours after Benedict XVI sent out his first tweet in several languages, the number of Twitter followers to his eight accounts ballooned in size.

His English-language account, @pontifex, saw the largest surge in popularity. Before sending out his first tweet, he had 672,590 followers. But a full 24 hours since, the number swelled to 1,038,570 followers.

But the other foreign language accounts also saw noticeable gains:

His account in Spanish is the second largest with 376,290 followers. That number is up by a whopping 205,880, nearly tripled in size.

In third place, Italian-language followers numbered 153,620, an increase of 58,508 users.

The Portuguese account is fourth in size with 41,796, closely followed by French with 37,038.

Rounding out the remaining accounts is German, the Pope's native tongue, which saw a 12,330 increase to reach 31,664 followers. His Polish account reached 16,032 subscribers, while Arabic, his least followed accou…

St. Lucy of Syracuse

Today is the feast of St. Lucy (283-304), a noblewoman who was born in Syracuse, Italy, during the Diocletian persecution. She made a vow of virginity and distributed her wealth to the poor. This generosity angered the pagan 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.

In the old Julian calendar, Lucy's feast fell on the shortest day of the year. She continues to be associated with the coming of lo…

Our Lady of Guadalupe: Miracles and Hope for Human Life

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…

New Bishop installed in Orange County