Showing posts from February, 2013

Benedict XVI on leaving Vatican: I am now a pilgrim entering last phase on Earth

February 28, 2013. ( It was the first time ever a Pope's farewell was televised live. Benedict XVI left his home inside the Vatican joined by cardinals Angelo Comastri and Agostino Vallini. At about 5 p.m., before getting in the car that would take him to the helicopter, he said goodbye to the staff at the Vatican.  

At 5:05 p.m., as the bells at St. Peter's Basilica rang out across the Square, the helicopter took off towards Castel Gandolfo. The ride took Benedict XVI across the Eternal City, taking a detour along some of the major landmarks, like the Colosseum and the Basilica of St. John Lateran.

Upon arriving at Castel Gandolfo, the Pope was welcomed by Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, the bishop of Albano, as well as the town mayor.

A small caravan took him to the the Apostolic Palace at Castel Gandolfo at about 5:30 p.m. Thousands of pilgrims, donned with banners, thank you signs and flags, cheered on the last few words of Benedict XVI as Pope.


Highlights of Pope Benedict's 2008 Apostolic Visit


Pope says farewell to the world in his last general audience

February 27, 2013. ( Benedict XVI led his last general audience, which is also his last public event as Pope. With more than 200,000 people in St. Peter's Square, he thanked everyone for their support during these last eight years and especially since he announced his resignation.  

“I am also deeply grateful for the understanding, support and prayers of so many of you, not only here in Rome, but also throughout the world.”

He made his way through St. Peter's Square in the popemobile, greeting pilgrims and even hugging a few newborns along the way. His speech was interrupted with applause a total of 17 times. The Pope then said that ever since he was elected Pope, back in 2005, he has asked one question to God.

“Lord, what do you ask of me? This mission is a great responsibility to have on my shoulders, but if You call me to it, with Your words I will launch the fishing nets, knowing that You will guide me.”

Benedict XVI said that eve…

Cardinals bid Pope farewell with hearts full of thanks

Via EWTN/CNA News:

Echoing the disciples on the Road to Emmaus, Cardinal Angelo Sodano told Pope Benedict that the cardinals’ hearts “burned when walking with you in the past eight years.”

“Yes, Holy Father, I know that our hearts that burned when walking with you in the past eight years. Today we want to once again express our gratitude. We repeat in chorus a typical expression of his dear native land ‘Vergelt's Gott,’ which means
 God reward you!” Cardinal Sodano said on behalf of the cardinals.

Read more

The town and monastery where Benedict XVI will retire

February 28, 2013. (   As a retired Pope, this is where Benedict XVI will live for about two months.  It's the town of Castel Gandolfo, about 25 miles southeast of Rome.  The property includes the Papal Palace, two convents, one school, farms, gardens and the Vatican Observatory.  

Only about 8,000 people live here and the Pope's summer residence is a key part of the town. In fact just a few feet away from the Papal Palace is this local ice cream shop, where John Paul II and Benedict XVI have ordered from.

Gelateria Carosi
“Benedict XVI would order ice cream for some of his visitors. Personally he liked the 'Fior de Latte' flavor and also vanilla.”

Benedict XVI spent his first summer here as Pope,  back in 2005 to avoid Rome's intense summer heat. He  would spend those months studying, reading and even writing books. The tradition itself goes back generations. The first Pope to use the summer residence in Castel Gandolfo was Urban V…

Pope Benedict and Me

I am blessed to have personally met Pope Benedict on my pilgrimage to Rome in February, 2006. If you asked him if he remembered me, I would be amazed, as there were approximately 1800 people in his audience that day – although it was considered to be a “private” audience with the Community of St. John. As an oblate with the Community, I was part of that large “private” audience, who were also celebrating the 30th anniversary of the founder of the Community of St. John – Fr. Marie-Dominique Philippe.
While this day may be a blur in the mind of Pope Benedict today, it is a day that I will remember for the rest of my life. We were up at the crack of dawn and entered St. Peter’s Basilica three hours early to get the best possible view of the Holy Father. However, my view seemed to be slightly hindered by a pillar. I tilted my head from side to side as I stretched my upper body, hoping just to catch a glimpse of our new pope. I could see the papal chair, but that darn pillar was obstructi…

Blessed Villana de’Botti

The saint of the day for February 28 is Blessed Villana de’Botti, a wife and a Third Order Dominican.

The daughter of a Florentine merchant, Villana was born in 1332. When she was thirteen she ran away from home to enter a convent but her attempts were unsuccessful and she was forced to return.

To prevent her from running away again, her father gave her in marriage to Rosso di Piero. The rejection at the convent and the marriage seemed to change Villana. She became lazy and worldly, concerned only with pleasure.

One day, as she was about to go out for entertainment, dressed in a gorgeous gown adorned with pearls and precious stones, she looked at herself in a mirror. To her dismay, the reflection that met her eyes was that of a hideous demon. A second and a third mirror showed the same ugly form.

Thoroughly alarmed and recognizing in the reflection the image of herself as her sinful soul, she tore off her beautiful clothes and put on in the simplest clothes she could find. Weeping, s…

Thousands go to St. Peter's Square to say farewell and thank you to the Pope

February 27, 2013. (  They came to say farewell. Early in the morning, thousands of pilgrims made their way to St. Peter's Square to witness history during Benedict XVI's last General Audience.

“The truth is, this is a historic moment and its a beautiful opportunity to experience this with so many people. This is definitely a precious moment.”

“I am very greatful for the opportunity to be here, really and as he was talking and we were all waiting I was just praying for him and for the next Pope.”

Benedict XVI thanked the Church and its people for their support since announcing his resignation.  People from every corner of the world came to say farewell and to say thank you.

 “I'd like to thank him for all his work and honesty. For his courage. He has showed us many a things.”

 “It was very emotional knowing that this is the last time that we will ever see him in public and I was very moved to be here, I know that its a very special time and I'm really …

Quote: Civil Rights activist Reverend Bill Owens on Marriage

Reverend Bill Owens
“Gay activists are wrong to claim the mantle of the civil rights movement in their push to redefine marriage for all – the most important civil right related to marriage is the right of every child to a mother and father."

~  Civil Rights activist Reverend Bill Owens, who has joined with the National Organization for Marriage to promote and lead the March for Marriage occurring in Washington, D.C. next month.

Pope Benedict's faith encyclical could appear in different form

Pope Benedict XVI's anticipated encyclical on faith will not be released before his resignation but it may appear in another form, according to the head of the Holy See's press office.

“It remains an awaited document, but one that we will not have in the way we expected, perhaps we will have it in a different way,” Father Federico Lombardi said at a Feb.12 press meeting.

The encyclical, he added, “will not be published before the end of the month, it was not in a state to be made public.”

An encyclical on faith was expected sometime in the first six months of this year, to coincide with the Year of Faith. It was to have formed a trilogy of encyclicals on the theological virtues: faith, hope, and charity.

Read more.

Benedict XVI rides Popemobile for last time

For the very last time Benedict XVI rode the Popemobile to greet the pilgrims gathered for the general audience at St. Peter's Square.

Blessed Maria Caridad Brader

Today the Church commemorates Blessed Maria Caridad Brader (1860-1943),  Foundress of the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of Mary Immaculate.

She was an unusually intelligent child who had an intense love for Jesus Christ and devotion to Our Lady. Aware of her daughter's talents and ability, her mother took pains to give her a good education.

When all the world lay at her feet, to entice her, she followed Christ's call and decided to embrace the religious life. Initially, her mother predictably opposed this decision, since she was a widow and Maria was her only child.

At the age of 20, she entered the Franciscan convent. Several months later, she was clothed with the Franciscan habit and was given the name of "Mary Charity of the Love of the Holy Spirit". Because she well-educated, she was assigned a teaching position at the convent school.

Sr Caritas volunteered to do missionary work in Ecuador. After catechizing countless groups of children there, she was s…

St. Paula Montal Fornés

Today is the feast of St. Paula Montal Fornés, foundress of the Daughters of Mary, Sisters of Pious Schools.

Paula was born in a small seaside village near Barcelona, Spain in 1799 to Ramon and Vicenta Fornes Montal. She was the oldest of five daughters and was only ten when her father died. To help support the family, Paula went to work as a seamstress and lace-maker and helped her mother raise her younger sisters. She also taught catechism in her parish and, in doing so, discovered her gift for teaching. Denied an education herself, Paula promised God that she would devote her life to the Christian education of girls and young women.

Paula believed that women needed an education to prepare them for life. Women in society at that time were treated as subordinate to men, which Paula and her followers perceived as a factor in the breakdown of the family unit and other social maladies. They were determined to advance women and their status in society through education -- a comprehensive…

Obama Undermines Marriage and Family with Brief on DOMA

Source: U.S. News & World Report

Last Friday, the Obama administration filed a brief urging the Supreme Court to strike down the federal Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Marriage as the union of one man and one woman is the first foundation of a stable and healthy government. The federal Defense of Marriage Act affirms the commonsense definition of natural marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Same-sex unions would establish an irresponsible and dangerous policy that children do not need moms and dads.

The Obama administration brief alleges that DOMA is discriminatory because it does not extend federal benefits to same-sex couples. President Obama and his Administration have been the most hostile in American history towards marriage and the family. Obama’s radical policies will undermine marriage and morality and ultimately will harm children and society. Obama’s advocacy of anti-family policies is shameful.

Read the News Release for more details.

What characteristics is Cardinal Pell looking for in the new pope?

In an article from The Telegraph, Cardinal Pell,  The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, described what he will look for in the next pope:

"We want somebody with vision, able to plan for the future, who can take charge with the media and speak to the world, especially to those who half believe or don't believe at all'' Cardinal Pell told the Inner West Courier during his visit to St Vincent’s Catholic Primary School in Ashfield today.

Cardinal Pell said he was also looking for someone with "managerial” skills in the papal role.

"It's far and away from the most important task but it's one the tasks,'' he said.

Read the article.

Cardinal Wuerl: Next pope must confront secularism

Ahead of the conclave that will elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington said that the next pope must confront the challenge of secularism.

What is love?

It looks like this:

Cardinal O'Brien will not take part in conclave, number of electors down to 115

February 25, 2013. ( Scottish Cardinal Keith O'Brien gave up his right to take part in the upcoming conclave, lowering the number of papal electors to 115. As of today, O'Brien will no longer be archbishop of Edinburgh, having reached the retirement age of 75. More recently, he's been accused of “inappropriate behavior” dating 33 years back.  

In a press release, Cardinal O'Brien asked for forgiveness for his failures, and explained he will not take part in the conclave to avoid drawing attention from Benedict XVI and his successor.

Jakarta Cardinal Julius Riyadi Darmaatmadja will also miss out on the conclave for health reasons.

Pope issues law to allow conclave to start earlier

February 25, 2013. ( On Monday the Vatican announced that Benedict XVI made a few modifications to the rules of the coming Conclave and the Sede Vacante. The changes were made to apply to the Pope's resignation, since before that, the rules were mostly based on a Papal death.  

The change itself could only be approved by the Pope. The first change allows the dates of the Conclave to be moved up, before the 15th of March, if all cardinal electors are in Rome.

Vice Camerlengo
“The Motu Proprio still notes this window of 15 days, but it gives the College of Cardinals, the power to move the date of the Conclave before this window. That is, if all cardinal electors are in Rome."

Before this modification, the Conclave could only begin 15 days after the death or resignation of a Pope.

Once the Pope resigns, cardinals will begin to meet on a daily basis, starting on March 1st. It's a time to discuss the state of the Church, its strengths a…

How can I forgive?

At Roman Catholic Spiritual Direction, Fr. John Bartunek and Dan Burke discuss forgiveness, and ways that we can overcome the challenges we face when wounded by others.

If someone has an abortion and regrets it, will God forgive them?

Monsignor Eric Barr, Episcopal Vicar for Clergy and Religious for the Diocese of Rockford, IL, responds to the frequently asked question - "If someone has had an abortion and regrets it, is there any chance God will forgive them?"

Favorite Quotes for Lent 2013

"Look at His adorable face.
Look at His glazed and sunken eyes.
Look at His wounds.
Look Jesus in the Face.
There, you will see how He loves us."

~ St. Therese of Lisieux

"My beloved Jesus, Your face was beautiful before You began this journey; but, now, it no longer appears beautiful and is disfigured with wounds and blood. Alas, my soul also was once beautiful when it received Your grace in Baptism; but I have since disfigured it with my sins. You alone, my Redeemer, can restore it to its former beauty. Do this by the merits of Your passion; and then do with me as You will."
~St Alphonsus Liguori

"Yes, I love the cross, the cross alone, because I always see it behind Jesus' shoulders."
~ St. Pio of Pietrelcina

"How can we complain when He Himself was considered 'as one struck by God and afflicted'." (Isa. 53:4)
~ St. Therese of Lisieux

"Are you capable of risking your life for someone? Do it for Christ."
~Pope John Paul …

A Digital Retreat for Lent

Roman Catholic Spiritual Direction offers a digital retreat for Lent presented by Fr John Bartunek, LC, S.Th.D. Check it out here.

Saying Farewell to Benedict XVI in his last Angelus


Ask Fr. Barron: What's the relationship between faith and reason?


Pope's Last Angelus: I will not abandon the Church. I will serve in a different way.

February 24, 2013. ( It was the last time that Benedict XVI appeared before his studio window to lead the Angelus as Pope. It's estimated that about 200,000 pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square to thank the Pope for his eight year Pontificate.

Some came with banners to thank the Pope and be part of history. With only days left as Pope, Benedict XVI clearly spoke about his retirement. In Italian he said, God is asking me to serve the Church in a way that's more appropriate for my age and strength. 

“The Lord is calling me 'out to the mountain' to devote more time to prayer and meditation, but this does not mean I'm abandoning the Church. In fact, if God is asking this of me, it's precisely to continue serving the Church with the same dedication and love with which I have served so far, but in a way that's more suited for my age and strength.”

The Pope's Angelus was repeatedly interrupted by applause and cheers. Before …

Conclave expected between March 9 and 11

This story via CNA:

The conclave to choose the next Pope will likely begin between March 9th and 11th.

A Vatican official speaking on background to CNA said Feb. 24 that the dates being discussed for the start of the conclave to elect Benedict XVI’s successor are somewhere between March 9th and 11th.

The possibility of foregoing the normal 15-day waiting period for opening a conclave has been raised by Pope Benedict announcing that he will resign on Feb. 28, giving everyone 17 days advanced notice of his intention.

The cardinals are not able to choose a date earlier than March 15 as the rules currently stand, but Pope Benedict will publish a declaration tomorrow clearing the way for an accelerated timeline.

Before the conclave begins, the cardinals will hold a series of General Congregations, at which they will take up any administrative items, discuss the needs of the Church and talk about who can best respond to those needs as the next Pope.

During the conclave, the 117 cardinals w…

Blessed Maria Adeodata Pisani

Today, February 25, the Church commemorates Blessed Maria Adeodata Pisani.

Blessed Maria Adeodata Pisani was born into a noble family in Naples, Italy in 1806. Her father was an alcoholic and was exiled after being involved in a revolt. Maria's grandmother raised her. When her grandmother died, the 10 year-old was sent to a boarding school until she was 17.

During these years, Maria declined several marriage proposals because she preferred to lead a quiet life of prayer.

When she turned 21, she entered the Benedictine Community in St. Peter's Monastery and took the name Maria Adeodata. She made her solemn profession two years later.

In the cloister, Maria was a seamstress, sacristan, porter, teacher and novice mistress. Her fellow nuns and many people outside the cloister benefited from her charity.

Maria Adeodata wrote various works, the most well-known of these is a collection of her personal reflections between the years 1835 and 1843 titled “The mystical garden of the soul…

Father Kapaun To Receive Congressional Medal Of Honor

This just in, from KAKE News:

The Secretary of Defense has recommended to President Obama that Kansan and Korean War hero Father Emil Kapaunreceive the Congressional Medal of Honor.

During the Korean War, Father Kapaun served as a chaplain of the 8th Cavalry Regiment of the First Army Division. Amidst the devastating Battle of Unsan, Kapaun pulled wounded soldiers to safety and attended to their injuries. He was taken prisoner along with other American soldiers and carried severely injured fellow soldiers on his back, while rallying others to help in a similar fashion.

While in the prison camp he served his comrades by escaping to steal food from nearby farms to bring back to the starving prisoners. He cared for sick soldiers, washed them, shared his food with them, and inspired them with his unfailing faith and acts of generosity until his death in May 1951. Father Kapaun was from Pilsen, Kansas.

Fellow soldiers who benefitted from or witnessed the many examples of Father Kapaun’s se…

St. Polycarp

The saint of the day for February 23rd is St. Polycarp (- 155), a disciple of the apostles, bishop of Smyrna, and a friend of St Ignatius of Antioch. He is one of the earliest Christians whose writings still survive.

St. Polycarp was one of the immediate disciples of the Apostles, in particular St. John the Evangelist. He embraced Christianity very young and was named bishop of Smyrna, a post which he held for 70 years. He was greatly respected by the faithful, wrote many letters and formed many holy disciples. His epistle to the Philippians - the only one to be preserved - demonstrates his apostolic spirit, his profound humility and meekness, and his great charity.

St. Polycarp fought against heresy. He was a staunch defender of orthodoxy and an energetic opponent of heresy, especially Marcionism and Valentinianism (the most influential of the Gnostic sects). He also taught that Christians must walk in truth, do God’s will, keep all of His commandments, and love whatever He loved. C…

Jesuit Professor Describes His Pro-Life Conversion

This is a great example of why it is important for us to persist in our prayers for those who are ensnared in the culture of death.

Via Tim Drake at the Cardinal Newman Society:

Reflecting on the 40th anniversary of the Roe v.Wade decision, Jesuit Father John J. Conley, Knott Professor of Philosophy and Theology at Loyola University Maryland took the occasion to write an article in America magazine. In "An Unwelcome Anniversary," he describes how he went from a “personally opposed, but abortion should be legal” position to a pro-life position.

“As the pro-life movement continues its resistance, the case against abortion has become stronger than ever,” he writes. “The omnipresent sonogram has graphically advanced it.”

Advancing the pro-life argument, Father Conley also talks about the very real threats of euthanasia and infanticide.

“For those of us called into the pro-life movement, the defense of the right to life of the innocent can never become just one cause among others…

Friday Fun: Why Shouldn't Men Go to the Grocery Store?

Why Shouldn't Men Go to the Grocery Store? This Hilarious Comedian Will Tell You!
from yabbadabbadoo on GodTube.

Top ranking cardinal reveals future title for Benedict XVI

February 22, 2013. ( There is finally an answer to one of the most popular questions. Once the resignation of Benedict XVI goes into effect on February 28 at 8 p.m. local time in Rome, he will still be addressed as “Your Holiness Benedict XVI.”  

According to Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, the president for the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, the same procedure will apply to the Pope as with other bishops and archbishops. After that date, Benedict XVI will be referred to as the Bishop Emeritus of Rome.

Mother sues Planned Parenthood over forced, botched abortion

Via Live Action News:

When Ayanna Byer scheduled an appointment at Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains to take an abortion pill to end her pregnancy, there was no way for her to foresee the horrors ahead of her.  Earlier this month, Byer, through the assistance of the attorneys at Alliance Defending Freedom, brought a lawsuit to hold Planned Parenthood liable for the botched abortion that she did not consent to.

According to that complaint, when Byer arrived at the Planned Parenthood clinic, it was determined that her pregnancy was too far along to be terminated through the use of a pill, therefore a surgical abortion was recommended. Ms. Byer agreed upon the condition that she would receive IV anesthesia, for which she would be charged extra.  Although the employees could not get the IV started, the doctor came to start the procedure anyway.

The complaint states:

At this time, Plaintiff immediately told the Planned Parenthood Doctor to stop and that she did not want to go thro…

Feast of the Chair of St. Peter

Altar of the Chair of St. Peter
Today, February 22nd, is the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter. The Church has celebrated this occasion since at least the mid-4th century. It is a commemoration of St. Peter, the first pope, and his primacy over the Church as well as an acknowledgment of the primacy of the pope today. Before giving a history of the Chair itself, a little background on St. Peter is necessary.

St. Peter

St. Peter is consistently shown in the Scriptures to be the head or Vicar of Christ's Church on earth after Christ's Ascension. Peter's primacy over the rest of the apostles is clearly delineated. Peter presided over the election of Matthias as an apostle replacing Judas the traitor. After the Holy Spirit came among the apostles on Pentecost, it was Peter who first went forth to preach to the crowd that day. And it was he who worked the first miracle.

In fact, so great was his power that merely his shadow falling upon the sick as he passed by healed their maladie…

An Unseen Hero: A Unique Teacher and His Special Needs Son

Jeffery Wright has been selected as EWTN's "Unseen Hero" due to his Catholic vocation as teacher and father of his special needs son. He is truly an amazing man, living out his Catholic faith in his life.

Contraception and Abortion News and Views for February 21

I have written many times here about the reasons for not using contraception. Today I read a post by Marcel at Aggie Catholics, which is excellent. Click here to read "There Are no Good Reasons to Use Contraception."

Lila Rose comments on the closure of 4 Planned Parenthood Clinics in Wisconsin.

Chelsea  addresses the problems with using the term "pro-life" and shares her views on the topic in her post "Abortion is Not the Only Pro-life Battle Before Us."

Dr. Gerard Nadal writes about "No exceptions" and "No compromise", which is the goal of every true pro-life citizen when it comes to abortion legislation in his post "Abortion and the Morality of Exceptions Clauses in Anti-Abortion Legislation."

Cardinal Dolan asks for prayer for the Holy Father on the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York is calling on his archdiocese to pray in a particular way for Pope Benedict on Feb. 22, the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter.

“I have...asked that tomorrow, February 22, the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter,we remember Pope Benedict in a special way with special Masses and Eucharistic adoration,” Cardinal Dolan wrote today in his column for “Catholic New York.”

“In these days of novelty and uncertainty, when many may be anxious and nervous, we need more than ever to return to the Lord, as individuals and together as the Church.”

On Feb. 11, Pope Benedict announced his intention to resign the office of the papacy, which will be effective on Feb. 28. It marks the first time a pope has abdicated since Gregory XII in 1415.

Cardinal Dolan has also instituted a novena in the New York archdiocese lasting from Feb. 20 to 28 to pray in thanksgiving for Pope Benedict, for his health, and for “guidance as awe await his successor.”


Youth pay video homage to 'young man of 85' Benedict XVI

February 21, 2013. (  Young people from across the world contributed to a video to give thanks to Benedict XVI. Titled “For a young man of 85,” they thanked the Pope for his generosity, for beatifying John Paul II, for his affection and his humility.

The young participants also thank him for his example, his visits to other countries and the three World Youth Days held during his pontificate.

Further details released on last public event for Benedict XVI

February 21, 2013. ( Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesperson, released more details about the last public appearance for Benedict XVI as Pope. It will take place on Wednesday, February 27 at St. Peter's Square and will follow the structure of a regular general audience.

However, a much larger number of pilgrims are expected to attend. So far, they Vatican has received 30,000 requests for the seated areas of the square.

His last general audience will promptly begin at 10:30, as is usual. Before it starts, Benedict XVI will quickly ride through the square on the Popemobile to greet the pilgrims.

First, there will be the day's reading of the Gospel, and after, the catechesis by Benedict XVI in several languages.

Vatican Spokesperson
“There won't be a particular or complex structure. Father Sapienza says it won't even last longer that usual. He thinks it will be done by midday.”

During the conference, Lombardi also rebuked sever…

How to Become Pope


George Weigel: Reforming the Vatican bureaucracy

George Weigel, author of "Evangelical Catholicism", talks about the challenges the next pope will face in reforming the Roman Curia.

St. Peter Damian

The saint of the day for February 21 is St. Peter Damian, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, who was one of the Church's greatest reformers in the Middle Ages.

Peter was the youngest child born to a large family in Ravenna, Italy in 1007. His parents both died when he was young and he was placed in the care of one of his brothers, who treated him like a slave. His oldest brother, a priest in Ravenna, rescued him and sent him away to study. Peter was brilliant and excelled in his studies (theology and cannon law), later returning to Ravena as a professor. Unable to endure the scandals and distractions of university life, he joined a group of Benedictine monks living in northern Italy. There he became a prior at the young age of 36: a position he held unto his death. While at the hermitage, Peter performed austere penances to the extent that he developed near permanent insomnia and was forced to modify them.

Although living in the cloister, Peter kept close watch on the Church and wo…

Your guide to the conclave rules


Medical Examiner Confirms 33-Week Abortion Killed Young Woman

Abortion not only destroys the lives of innocent babies, but it injures their mothers, too. This legal abortion resulted in the death of the mother. Just because an abortion is legal, it does not mean it is safe. According to Dr. Gunta Lazdane, Advisor to the World Health Organization on Reproductive Health and Research, “up to 20 percent of maternal deaths are due to abortion, even in those situations where abortion is legal.” In addition, there are numerous other physical and emotional complications that accompany an abortion. Abortion never resolves problems, but only makes things worse.

The chief medical examiner’s office in Baltimore has confirmed that a botched late-term abortion claimed the life of a young New York women who died recently at a Maryland abortion clinic. Jennifer McKenna Morbelli, a 29-year-old woman from New Rochelle, New York died from a botched 33-week abortion on February 7.

Now the chief medical examiner in Baltimore has confirmed she died when amniotic flui…

Twitter event allows users to thank Benedict XVI for his work

February 20, 2013. ( Ever since Benedict XVI announced his resignation, the most active Catholics online have launched initiatives to show their support.

One of them titled “Give Thanks,” an idea from Regnum Christi and the Legion of Christ, to show their support for Benedict XVI through Facebook and Twitter. It allows them to share experiences, videos, photos, and other initiatives to thank him, or even pray for the Pope.

Using the hashtag #2BXVI they encourage users to write a message to the Pope on Wednesday, February 20 at 8 p.m. local time in Rome. The organizing group is analyzing the possibility of repeating the virtual event until February 28, the last day of Benedict XVI as Pope.

Joseph Ratzinger's Anthropological Writings For "Communio" Gathered In New Book

Vatican City, 20 February 2013 (VIS) – Fourteen texts with an anthropological theme written by Joseph Ratzinger between 1972 and 2005―before being elected Pope―are being published in the volume "Joseph Ratzinger in Communio: Anthropology and Culture (Michigan/Cambridge, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2013), edited by David L. Schindler and Nicholas J. Healy. The texts―articles and contributions―address, among others, themes such as humanity between reproduction and creation; Jesus Christ today; the meaning of Sunday; hope, technological security understood as a problem of social ethics; and God in John Paul II's "Crossing the Threshold of Hope".

As reported by "L'Osservatore Romano", the connecting theme in the Pope's writings is that they been published or re-edited in the American edition of the international Catholic periodical "Communio". This is the second volume dedicated to Joseph Ratzinger's texts, the first of which, "…

American Idol Contestant Sings a Powerful Song About Jesus on National Television

Angela Miller sang for her church prior to being on this season of American Idol. Watch her lift up beautiful praises to Jesus with this incredible song she wrote and it was all on National television . She COMPLETELY blew the judges away!

Prayer for the Church

O Lord Jesus Christ, Supreme Pastor of Your Church,
we thank you for the ministry of Pope Benedict XVI
and the selfless care with which he has led us
as Successor of Peter, and Your Vicar on earth.

Good Shepherd, who founded Your Church
on the rock of Peter’s faith
and have never left Your flock untended,
look with love upon us now,
and sustain Your Church in faith, hope, and charity.

Grant, Lord Jesus, in Your boundless love for us,
a new Pope for Your Church
who will please You by his holiness
and lead us faithfully to You,
who are the same yesterday, today, and forever.


Pledge to Pray here.

Faces and places of the papal transition plus a personal pick

This is a beautiful video. I just wish it included Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke. He's one of my personal favorites. However, I doubt if the conclave will be consulting me on this matter. After all, it is the Holy Spirit who will be guiding them in their selection of the next Bishop of Rome. Still, it doesn't hurt to post his photo here. :)

A brief look at some of the key faces and places of the upcoming papal transition.

Evangelizing Through Beauty: A commentary by Fr. Barron


Blessed Francisco and Jacinto Marto

Today the Church commemorates Blessed Francisco and Jacinto Marto, the visionaries at Fatima.
Francisco, 11, and Jacinta, 10, are the youngest non-martyrs to be beatified in the history of the Church. The brother and sister, who tended to their families’ sheep with their cousin Lucia Santo in the fields of Fatima, Portugal, witnessed the apparitions of Mary, now commonly known as Our Lady of Fatima.

During the first apparition, which took place May 13, 1917, Our Lady asked the three children to say the Rosary and to make sacrifices, offering them for the conversion of sinners. The children did, praying often, giving their lunch to beggars and going without food themselves. They offered up their daily crosses and even refrained from drinking water on hot days.

In October 1918, Francisco and Jacinta became seriously ill with the Spanish flu. Our Lady appeared to them and said she would to take them to heaven soon.

Bed-ridden, Francisco requested his first Communion. The following day, F…

Lenten Gospel Meditation: Lead us Not


Saint Conrad of Piacenza

The saint of the day for February 19 is St. Conrad of Piacenza (1290-1350), a friar and hermit celebrated for his piety and miraculous cures at Noto in Sicily.

Conrad was born into a noble family in northern Italy. He married the daughter of a nobleman, Euphrosyne.

One day, while he was hunting, Conrad ordered his attendants to make a fire. The wind carried the flames, which set fire to nearby fields, forests, towns and villages. Upon seeing this, Conrad ran away in fear.

Because he ran, an innocent man was convicted for spreading the fire and was condemned to death as punishment.

Upon hearing of this, Conrad stepped forth to accept the blame, saving the innocent man's life. He paid for the damaged property and he and his wife gave everything they owned to the poor in recompense.

Conrad then left to join a group of Franciscan hermits, and his wife joined the Poor Clares.

Word eventually spread of Conrad's holiness, piety and gift of healing.

When many visitors began to destro…

3 Things I’ve Learned from Pope Benedict XVI

This wonderful story comes from Brandon Voight at Ignitum Today:

As an Evangelical Christian in 2008, “God’s Rottweiler” worried me. From what I heard, he was a cold and stodgy disciplinarian with a hyper-traditionalist streak, more likely to crack a whip than save a soul. But then I became Catholic. I devoured his books and studied his speeches, and I discovered a much different man. He was humble, spiritual, and wise—more Gandalf than Stalin.

In the five years since becoming Catholic, Pope Benedict has taught me several lessons. But three stick out in particular: the priority of encountering Christ, the proper interpretation of the Bible, and the astounding power of the new media.

First, when you study Pope Benedict’s work you’ll quickly notice his evangelical bend. He incessantly reminds us that Christianity is not about a philosophy, a set of doctrines, or a moral list of do’s and don’ts: it’s about a relationship with Christ. Those other things certainly matter but they aren’t c…

What's the Pope doing? Details on his current spiritual retreat

February 18, 2013. ( This week, Benedict XVI will not be seen in public. On Sunday afternoon he began a spiritual retreat, to reflect on the first week of Lent. These spiritual exercises have become part of a tradition now, where the Pope stops all activities and gathers in prayer with other members of the Roman Curia.

But of course, this time around the retreat coincides with the last days of his pontificate, making it even more appealing to the public. Italian Cardinal, Gianfranco Ravasi will be leading the spiritual exercises.

President, Pontifical Council for Culture
“We begin these days with great excitement. They are days of solitude, silence, meditation,with all my brothers and friends here present. We come to show our affection, of our gratitude, and our admiration.”

Cardinal Ravasi is an active user of the social networking sites, especially Twitter. So he has decided to write posts that summarize the key messages of the day. In fact, …

Pilgrims cover St. Peter's Square to thank Pope for his pontificate

February 17, 2013. ( In his second to last Angelus, the Pope greeted thousands of pilgrims, as he looked over his studio window in St. Peter's Square. The Pope gave his catechesis on Lent, but with thousands of people there, he also thanked them for their prayers these last few days.

“Let me also thank you for the prayers and support you have shown me in these days.
May God bless all of you! ”

To say farewell to Benedict XVI, thousands of pilgrims made their way to St. Peter's square to witness one of the Pope's last public events. Among cheers and applause, people held banners thanking the Pope for his eight year pontificate.

In his catechesis he talked about how Jesus was tempted out in the desert. He also explained the true meaning of Lent.

“The Church, which is our mother and teacher, calls all its members to a spiritual renewal. A call to refocus our energy towards God, leaving behind pride and selfishness to instead live wit…

Priest conceived in rape recounts journey to forgive father

Father Luis Alfredo Leon Armijos
This is an amazing story of faith and forgiveness:

A priest who was conceived in rape when his mother was only 13 years old is sharing the story of how he met, forgave and heard the confession of his father, who is now living a life of faith.

“I could have ended up in a trash can, but I was allowed to live,” said Father Luis Alfredo Leon Armijos of Loja, Ecuador.

In a Feb. 6 telephone interview with CNA, Fr. Leon, who is pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Loja, said his mother, Maria Eugenia Armijos Romero, was working as a maid to help her parents support their eight children.

“The owner of the home took advantage of her working alone, raped her and left her pregnant,” he said.

His mother always defended his life, even though she was young and alone, without the support of her family members, who tried to cause an abortion by giving her concoctions to drink and punching her stomach.

“She prayed and felt that the Lord was saying to her in her heart: defen…

Blessed Fra Angelico and His Paintings

Today is a special day for me and my community. It is the feast of Blessed Fra Angelico.

Bl. John of Fiesole, popularly known as Bl. Fra Angelico, was a Dominican painter in the mid-fifteenth century known for the beauty of his paintings and the holiness of his priestly life. Nicknamed “Angelico” by his brothers, his Dominican consecration and life are worthy of imitation as he preached Jesus Christ by his life, his words, and his paintings.

Given the name Guido at Baptism, this saint was born near Vicchio, in the vicinity of Florence, at the end of the 14th century. From his youth he practiced the art of painting. Having entered the Dominican convent in Fiesole, he was given the name Brother Giovanni (Brother John). After ordination he held various responsibilities, one of which was that of prior of the convent in Fiesole.

Faithful to the promises he made as a Dominican, to preach the Gospel after having contemplated it in prayer, Fra Angelico put his creativity at the disposal of t…