Showing posts from July, 2013

Pope celebrates Mass in Rome to honor St. Ignatius of Loyola

July 31, 2013. (  St. Ignatius of Loyola founded the Society of Jesus, and Pope Francis, as the first Jesuit Pope, celebrated his feast day at the Church of Gesù in Rome, along with his fellow Jesuits. The Pope arrived by car and was greeted at the door by the Society's Superior General, Father Adolfo Nicolás, who commended him on his recent trip to Brazil. -Congratulations on your trip to Brazil In his welcome remarks, Father Nicolás told the Pope that all the Jesuits are willing to take on any task assigned by the Pope. During his homily, Pope Francis said their lives should be decentralized to allow Jesus to be the at the center of it all. POPE FRANCIS “I would like to propose three simple thoughts based on three expressions: keep Christ and Church in the center; let yourselves be conquered by Him to serve others; feel shame in our limits and sins, so we can become humble before Him and before mankind.” At the end of the Mass, the Pope approached

October 2013: Calling on all families to meet Pope Francis in Rome

July 31, 2013. ( This year, the Vatican plans to celebrate family to highlight its role a fundamental institution in Christian life. To celebrate this, the Vatican is organizing a unique pilgrimage to St. Peter's tomb. The event, which will take place on Saturday, October 26th and Sunday 27th, is sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Family. It's included in the list of celebrations for the Year of Faith. Specifically, the Council wants to emphasize the the key role the family plays in transmitting the faith to younger generations. Msgr. Carlos Simón Vázquez Under-Secretary, Pontifical Council for the Family “We think that this is an excellent way to end the Year of Faith. This pilgrimage underlines how the family is the first and fundamental means of transmitting faith in the new millennium. It is where one lives faith, passes it on and witnesses it.” In the summer of 2012, World Day of Families in Milan was attended by nearly one million pilgr

St. Ignatius of Loyola

Today is the memorial of St. Ignatius of Loyola, priest, and founder of the Society of Jesus. St. Ignatius of Loyola was born in 1491 in the Basque Country of Northern Spain to parents of distinguished families in that area. He was the youngest of 13 children and was called was called Iñigo. At the age of 15, he served as a page in the court of a local nobleman and later embraced a military career and became a valiant soldier. Wounded in battle by a cannonball , which broke one leg and injured the other, he was taken prisoner by the French, who set his leg and eventually allowed him to go home to Loyola. He spent his time recuperating at the home of his brother. Confined to his sick bed , he was given pious books to read, which he grudgingly accepted. To his surprise, he enjoyed them and began to dream of becoming a "knight for Christ", pursuing the ideals of St. Francis and St. Dominic. He eventually promised to devote his life to being a knight for St. Peter if he re

Missionary Pope: Francis in Brazil

Catholic News Service looks at the impact of the first Latin American pope's visit to his native continent.

St. Peter Chrysologus

Today, July 30, we celebrate the feast of St. Peter Chrysologus, Early Church Father, Bishop, and Doctor of the Church. He was born (380) and died (450) in Imola in northern Italy. Peter's life was full of accomplishments. An adult convert, he became a deacon, then a priest, and finally the Bishop of Ravenna in 433. He fought paganism, enforced reforms, and built several churches in his see. He performed many corporal and spiritual works of mercy, and lovingly guided his flock. As a preacher, he was recognized for his simple, plain, and humble oratorical style—delivering sermons that reached all who listened. His eloquence earned him the name “Chrysologus,” meaning “golden-worded” in Greek. Known as "The Doctor of Homilies," Peter was renowned for his short, but inspired speeches; he is said to have been afraid of boring his audience.  In his homilies, Peter urged frequent reception of the Holy Eucharist, saying, “the Body of the Lord should be the daily food of our

Prayers needed for Thomas Peters; Surgery likely

I just learned this: Last week, things seemed to be going so well.  Thomas Peters (aka the American Papist), who fractured the fifth cervical vertebra in a swimming accident on July 16, had been outfitted with a HALO and it appeared that spinal surgery would not be necessary. Today the report is not so good.  Infection has set in, resulting in fever and exhaustion.  Thomas’ vertebrae have shifted, making surgery likely. Read more . Please continue to pray for Thomas, his new bride, Natalie, and their families! Also, join the prayer group on Facebook for daily prayers and reminders.

Best Images of Pope Francis celebrating World Youth Day and My Personal Favorite

 My Personal Favorite: As he boarded a helicopter to meet with World Youth Day volunteers in Rio, Pope Francis made the sign of the Cross, before taking off. Then a few moments later, as crowds bid him farewell, the Pope used his fingers to outline a heart, by the helicopter's window.

St. Martha

Today is the feast of St. Martha, Virgin (who died in France around 80). Mary and Martha lived with their brother Lazarus at Bethany, a village not far from Jerusalem. They are mentioned in several episodes in the Gospels. On one occasion, when Jesus and His disciples were their guests (Luke 10:38-42), Mary sat at Jesus' feet and listened to Him while her sister Martha busied herself with preparing food and waiting on the guests, and when Martha complained, Jesus said that Mary had chosen the better part. When Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, had died, Jesus came to Bethany. Martha, upon being told that He was approaching, went out to meet Him, while Mary sat still in the house until He sent for her. It was to Martha that Jesus said: "I am the Resurrection and the Life." (John 11:1-44) Again, about a week before the crucifixion, as Jesus reclined at table, Mary poured a flask of expensive perfume over Jesus' feet. Mary was criticized for wasting wha

Massive Flash Mob performed for Pope Francis

July 28th, 2013 ( Millions of pilgrims took part in the world's largest flash mob, by performing a simple dance for the Pope. In fact, the title of the song they danced to is called 'Francis.' Before celebrating Sunday's closing Mass in Rio's Copacabana beach, millions of youths took a few minutes to carry out the performance. The choreography was created by two Brazilian professional dancers, who actually created a video beforehand, so people could practice the moves, before the big day.

Husband of 57 Years Stops at Nothing to Save His Wife's Life

Larry Swilling's wife of 57 years needs a kidney to survive... and he will stop at nothing until she gets one. He even walks around town every day, searching for a donor. We pray he finds one to save her life. This is what true love looks like.

The Seven Best Dance Moves of World Youth Day 2013

The Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida, one of the sites Pope Francis will visit in Brazil

July 23, 2013. ( Every day, hundreds of buses with thousands of pilgrims flock to a very special Brazilian known as the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Aparecida. With over 11 million visits per year, it is one of the most visited Marian shrines in the world. In fact, it welcomes much more pilgrims than other famous sites like that of Lourdes and Fatima. On arrival, many pilgrims light a candle, to thank Our Lady for the graces they've received. Others spend hours praying in this room suited for over 70,000 people. In it, some leave personal items like letters and pictures to thank Our Lady or to make a special prayer. Our Lady of Aparecida is the patroness of Brazil, and devotion to Her statue dates back to 1717. According to tradition, in October of that year, two fishermen prayed to Our Lady, asking Her to grant them a good catch for the day. As they dragged up their nets, they found this small clay statue of Our Lady and many fishes. The name “Aparecida” comes

Our Lady of Aparecida, Patroness of Brazil

History of the Devotion On a certain day in 1716 three fishermen were at work on the Paraiba River. There were no fish in the nets they lifted from the water. Instead there was an artistic terracotta image of Our Lady of the Conception, which they dubbed "Nossa Señnora Aparecida". The chronicles relate that once the Virgin was placed in the boat, the catch was so great that the frightened men returned to port because, the weight of the fish threatened to sink their craft. It is not known how the small (less than three feet high) statue came to rest at the bottom of the river, but its artist is known, Frei Agostino de Jesus, a "carioca'' monk from Sao Paulo who created artistic clay sculptures. The image was made around 1650 and must have stayed submerged in the river for many years because it lost its original polychromy. The image is now a brilliant dark brown color, and is covered by a stiff mantle of richly embroidered thick cloth, allowing only her face a

Breaking down the Pope's first World Youth Day in numbers

July 23, 2013. ( With World Youth Day underway, the massive gathering is bound to break some records. The official registration number exceeds 350,000 youths, but that number could easily be multiplied during the closing ceremony, since on that day, there's no need to register to attend. Some estimate that up to 2 million youths could show up to celebrate with the Pope. According to Brazil's Civil Aviation Department, about 70,000 pilgrims are arriving on a daily basis to Rio's airports. Young Catholics from 190 countries are making their way to Brazil, but the top 10 countries are of course Brazil, followed by Argentina, the U.S, Chile, Italy, Venezuela, France, Paraguay, Peru and Mexico. There are over 200,000 registered Brazilians. From Argentina, the Pope's native country, there are about 20,000 pilgrims. From the United States, more than 11,000. From Chile, the number stands at 9,100, which is actually the highest number since the year 2000.

Pope to Youth: 'Go and make disciples.' Go beyond the confines of what is humanly possible

July 22nd, 2013 ( After a 12 hour flight, Pope Francis made it to Brazil. With a cheering crowd in the background,  the Pope was greeted by the country's president, Dilma Rousseff and Brazil's religious leaders. The transportation that came afterward, seemed a bit cumbersome. He first boarded a modest gray car, where he was swarmed by enthusiastic crowds and heavy traffic. The Pope then hopped on his open air popemobile, as he went through the city's streets. He finally took a military helicopter to Rio's Guanabara Palace. There, during his first official speech, he thanked Brazil for its hospitality, adding that he hopes to give them, the most valuable gift of all. POPE FRANCIS “I have neither silver nor gold, but I bring with me the most precious thing given to me: Jesus Christ! I have come in his name, to feed the flame of fraternal love that burns in every heart; and I wish my greeting to reach one and all: The peace of Christ be with you!”

Thomas Peters is in critical condition and needs our prayers -- Updated

Thomas Peters, a blogging friend at American Papist and Catholic Vote, was involved in an accident yesterday evening and has sustained major injuries . He is awake, responsive, and in stable but critical condition. Family and friends are with him. Please pray for Thomas, and for his family, especially his parents at this time. I have been praying for his healing through the intercession of Venerable Fr. Emil Kapaun. Here is the prayer, if you would like to join me: Father Emil Kapaun gave glory to God by following his call to the priesthood and serving the people of Kansas and those in the military. Father Kapaun, I ask your intercession not only for these needs which I mention now -- the healing of Thomas Peters--but that I too may follow your example of service to God and my neighbor. For the gifts of courage in battle and perseverance of faith, we give you thanks O Lord. Recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory Be. You can read about one of Fr. Kapa

Blogging Break

For the next two weeks, I will be on a blogging break. Although I wish I were visiting the tropical white sand island pictured above, what I will actually be doing is working on a writing project. See you all soon.

St. Henry

Today we commerorate St. Henry. Henry II, successively Duke of Bavaria, King of Germany and Emperor, devoted himself to the spread of religion by rebuilding churches and founding monasteries.  Henry II, son of Henry, Duke of Bavaria, and of Gisella, daughter of Conrad, King of Burgundy, was born in 972. He succeeded his father as Duke of Bavaria, and in 1002, he was elected emperor. In 1014, he went to Rome and received the imperial crown at the hands of Pope Benedict VIII. Henry worked hard to establish peace in Europe. However, to defend justice, he had to fight many wars. He was honest in battle and insisted that his armies be honorable too. Henry married a gentle and loving woman named Cunegund (or Kunigunda) around 998. She, too, has been proclaimed a saint. The couple remained childless. Some sources claim the two lived chastely, but there is no proof of this. Emperor Henry was one of the best rulers of the Holy Roman Empire. He promoted needed reforms in the monaste

St. Ignatius Delgado

The saint of the day for July 12 is St. Ignatius Delgado, Dominican bishop and martyr. “This stranger, who was introduced clandestinely into the kingdom, spends his life in the study of things of the heart and in the meditation on what is incomprehensible…” (From the death sentence of Bishop Ignatius Delgado). This group of 117 martyrs, of which Bishop Delgado OP was part, suffered and shed their blood out of love for Christ in the region known today as Vietnam. Of this group, 59 were associated to the Dominican Order. There is little known of the life of these martyrs before they were captured. Bishop Delgado died together with bishop Dominic Henares OP and a catechist. Both bishops were from Spain and bishop Delgado was born in 1762. From the sentence of condemnation itself we learn that Bishop Delgado had laboured for nearly fifty years in Tonkin, which argues that he must have been a resourceful man as well as a zealous one, before he died at the age of seventy-six. In 1

St. Benedict of Nursia

July 11 is the feast of St. Benedict of Nursia, the twin brother of St. Scholastica, the patron of Europe, and the founder of Western monasticism. Biography Tradition teaches that St. Benedict lived from 480 to 547, though we cannot be sure that these dates are historically accurate. His biographer, St. Gregory the Great, pope from 590 to 604, does not record the dates of his birth and death, though he refers to a Rule written by Benedict. Scholars debate the dating of the Rule though they seem to agree that it was written in the second third of the sixth century. Saint Gregory wrote about St. Benedict in his Second Book of Dialogues , but his account of the life and miracles of Benedict cannot be regarded as a biography in the modern sense of the term. Gregory's purpose in writing Benedict's life was to edify and to inspire, not to seek out the particulars of his daily life. Gregory sought to show that saints of God, particularly St. Benedict, were still operative in

Breaking: Texas House passes law banning abortions after 20 weeks in final vote

Praise God! It was a nasty battle, but we won. Now to move onto the abolishment of all abortion.  AUSTIN, TX, July 10, 2013 ( – The Texas House of Representatives has passed a pro-life law that would restrict abortions to the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. On the third reading, HB2 passed the chamber by a vote of 96-49. The bill stalled during a first special session as a mob of pro-abortion activists shouted down a vote, and an 11-hour filibuster by Wendy Davis prevented lawmakers from voting on the measure. Gov. Rick Perry has promised to ensure that the bill passes and is signed into law. Yesterday, Democrats attempted to hinder the passage of the law by proposing more than two dozen amendments to water down or sidetrack the bill during 10 hours of debate. However, all amendments were voted down. The bill now heads to the Senate, where it is expected to pass. Read the full story

Setting the stage in Rio for World Youth Day 2013...literally

July 10, 2013 ( Preparations for WYD 2013 started months ago, but there is still a lot on the agenda. One of the issues organizers are working on, is the  installations of two main stages, where most of the gathering with Pope Francis will take place. They include stages in Copacabana and Campus Fidei. Organizers say, they goal is to build a structure where everyone can see Pope Francis, even from a distance. It's not just about logistics. Organizers are also looking for  an artistic touch. Abel Gomes, who designed the main stage at Copacabana, said its layout was inspired by the picturesque mountain skyline in Rio. Another imposing stage, at Campus Fidei, was inspired by the shape of ancient Gothic cathedrals. Its main features are two towers at the ends of the altar which resemble two hands held in prayer. Between them, a golden coated cross, that's over 100 feet high. Organizers hope the projects will be completed as soon as possible, to welcome the

Blessed Emmanuel Ruiz and Companions

Born in 1804 in the province of Santander in Spain, Emmanuel joined the Franciscans with the hope of becoming a missionary. Ordained in 1831, following his request, he was sent to the Holy Land. There he had two terms of service. During the second, he was appointed guardian of Damascus in 1858 with a community of eight friars, six of whom were priests. A quarrel between a Maronite and a Druse in 1860 sparked atrocious rioting in which the Druses pillaged towns and massacred some 3,000 people, among them the Franciscan community at Damascus. The other Franciscan martyrs were priests - Carmel Volta (aged 57), Engelbert Kolland (33), Nicanor Ascanio (46), Peter Soler (33), Nicholas Alberga (30) - and lay friars, Francis Pinazzo (58) and John James Fernandez (58). All were Spanish except Engelbert who was from the diocese of Salzburg in Austria. They were all beatified with three Maronite laymen by Pius XI in 1926, the seventh centenary year of the death of St Francis.

Security Council Says Abortion Not a Human Right Even in Cases of Rape

by Michelle Riestra and Rebecca Oas, Ph.D. The UN Security Council rebuffed suggestions that victims of wartime rape have a right to abortion in a landmark resolution on women in peace and security last week. Actress Angelina Jolie urged the United Nations to help victims and punish perpetrators as part of the effort to garner celebrity status for UN causes. She told harrowing tales of women and children being sexually abused in refugee camps. The Security Council adopted a resolution that focuses on preventing and addressing sexual violence in situations of conflict, but does not mention abortion and the morning-after pill and this angered some. Delegations that promote abortion internationally expressed their frustration. “Why are the sexual and reproductive rights of victims of sexual violence still in dispute?” questioned French delegate Najat Vallaud-Belkacem. Speaking for the Nordic countries, Karin Enstrom said the availability of abortion and the morning-after pill w

Wisconsin governor signs ultrasound bill

Gov. Scott Walker has signed into law a measure that requires Wisconsin abortion clinics to offer women the option of viewing an ultrasound of their unborn child. The Wisconsin Catholic Conference had offered testimony on behalf of the legislation. “In every other medical procedure, women are offered the opportunity to see their sonogram and mammogram images, chest and bone x-rays, etc.,” said Barbara Sella, associate director of the Wisconsin Catholic Conference. “Abortion providers should routinely do the same.” A federal judge has blocked enforcement of separate Wisconsin legislation requiring abortionists to have hospital-admitting privileges. Source

Canonization process of Cardinal Van Thuan goes forward

July 9, 2013 ( The life of late Cardinal, Francis Xavier Van Thuan was unique, and perhaps even saintly. From being imprisoned for over a decade to becoming one of the main prelates of his native Vietnam. WALDERY HILGEMAN Van Thuan Cause for Canonization “Saints stand out from the rest, not because they were perfect but because they made it a point, despite the challenges, to follow Christ closely. It's about living one's Christian vocation at a heroic level.” The first stage of his canonization process,  known as the Diocesan Process, has come to a close. It involved thousands of pages that include testimonies, his own writings and accounts on his life and how he carried out his faith. LUISA MELO Cardinal Van Thuan Canonization “The presence of Cardinal Van Thuan is alive. He may not be here physically, but spiritually he is. I feel it.” He served as a Cardinal and as the President of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Justice and Peace

Honoring Martyrs, through the streets of Vatican City

July 9, 2013 ( The Vatican held a special celebration for the early martyrs of the Church. The so called 'protomartyrs', were those who died during the first centuries AD, a time when practicing Christianity was forbidden by Roman authorities. Some of the best known saints in the Catholic tradition, such as Saint Peter, died a martyr's death in Rome, in places that are still famous today. REGINALDO LUCIOLI Vatican City State Marching Band “The Roman Protomartyrs are the very first martyrs of the Catholic Church. Right next to us here there once stood Nero's so-called 'garden', where Saint Peter was crucified upside down at his own request. But also other martyrs are celebrated, such as those who were eaten alive by the lions in the Coliseum and other places.” The Feast of the Roman Protomartyrs began with a special Mass celebrated by Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, at the end of June.  The office was also attended by the Choir of the Dioce

Fr. Robert Barron: A Franciscan Generation of Priests

Father Robert Barron discusses Pope Francis' impact on vocations to the priesthood.

St. Augustine Zhao Rong and Companions, Chinese Martyrs

Today is the optional memorial of St. Augustine Zhao Rong , priest, and companions, Chinese martyrs. Saint Augustine Zhao Rong was a Chinese diocesan priest who was martyred with his 119 companions in 1815. Among their number was an eighteen year old boy, Chi Zhuzi, who cried out to those who had just cut off his right arm and were preparing to flay him alive: "Every piece of my flesh, every drop of my blood will tell you that I am Christian." Christianity arrived in China by way of Syria in the 600s. Depending on China's relations with the outside world, Christianity over the centuries was free to grow or was forced to operate secretly. The 120 martyrs in this group died between 1648 and 1930. Most of them (eighty-seven) were born in China and were children, parents, catechists or laborers, ranging from nine years of age to seventy-two. This group includes four Chinese diocesan priests. The thirty-three foreign-born martyrs were mostly priests or women religiou

Pope's Mass with seminarians and nuns: Announce joy to the world

July 8, 2013 ( The four-day pilgrimage of over 6,000 seminarians and novices culminated with a special Mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter's Basilica. The Pope addressed those on a vocational journey by stressing the fact that their young age is a great treasure for their mission within the Church. POPE FRANCIS “You represent the Church’s youth! If the Church is the Bride of Christ, you in a certain sense represent the moment of betrothal, the Spring of vocation, the season of discovery, assessment, formation. And it is a very beautiful season, in which foundations are laid for the future. Thank you for coming!” Pope Francis said that the true goal of consecrated people must be that of announcing joy and serenity to the world. This, the Pope said, should be a natural consequence when someone has experienced God's consolation and tenderness. POPE FRANCIS “Sometimes I've seen consecrated people who are afraid of God's consolation. Poor


Pope explains meaning behind his first encyclical

July 8, 2013 ( During his Sunday Angelus prayer and following his special Mass with seminarians and novices,  Pope Francis reflected upon the role of ordained ministers as successors of the disciples, whom Jesus sent to the world as missionaries and witnesses to this message. POPE FRANCIS “He forms immediately a community of disciples, which is a missionary community. Right from the start, He trains them for the mission, to go on a mission. Beware, however! The purpose is not to socialize, to spend time together – no, the purpose is to proclaim the Kingdom of God, and this is urgent! There is no time to waste in small talk, no need to wait for the consent of all – there is need only of going out and proclaim. After the prayer to Our Lady, Pope Francis also gave a little insight on the genesis of his recently published first encyclical, 'Lumen Fidei.' POPE FRANCIS “As you know, two days ago the encyclical letter on the subject of faith, entitled Lumen

St. Jeanne-Marie Kerguin

  The saint of the day for July 8 is St. Jeanne-Marie Kerguin, Franciscan Missionary and Martyr. Jeanne-Marie was born on May 5, 1864, at Belle-Isle en Terre, France to a poor peasant family. Her mother died when she was quite young, and she was forced to take over the household chores for the family. With her home obligations fulfilled, she joined the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary in 1887, taking the name Marie Santa Natalia. There she happily threw herself into a life of prayer and devotion to the simplest and most menial tasks of her house. She was assigned first to Paris, then to Carthage in north Africa. She encountered health problems and was sent to Rome to recover. There she answered the call of her Order to work as a missionary. She arrived in China in March 1899, and was almost immediately hospitalized for several months with typhus. Her short lived career ended during a crackdown on foreign missionaries during the Boxer Rebellion. St. Jeanne - Marie Kerguin was behea

The Pope's New Encylical Lumen Fidei: The Basics

Dr. Taylor Marshall (one of my favorite bloggers) sums up the new Encylical Lumen Fidei   (Latin for "The Light of Faith") written by both Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis in 15 simple points: He begins with referring to Nietzsche as the pioneer of non-faith for our era. Consequently, "humanity renounced the search for a great light, Truth itself." He then refers to Dante, who in the Divine Comedy, after professing his faith to Saint Peter, describes that light as a "spark, which then becomes a burning flame and like a heavenly star within me glimmers." The encyclical builds on Saint Peter's initial faith when he said, "You are Christ, the Son of the Living God!" Next, he traces the history of faith from Abraham and up on through the Hebrews of the Old Testament. The Incarnation reveals the ultimate object of faith - Jesus Christ. "In many areas in our lives we trust others who know more than we do. We trust the architect wh

Book Review - The New Evangelization and You: Be Not Afraid

By Greg Willits, released June, 2013, Servant Books, Cincinnati, Ohio, 149 pages, Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook,CD, and Audible Audio Edition, CD abridged. Available from Servant Books, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble, Major books stores and Catholic and Christian book stores. Reviewed by JEAN M. HEIMANN, M.A. in Theology, adult educator, new evangelizer, freelance writer, and oblate with the Community of St. John. Archbishop Charles Chaput recently made the following controversial statement: “A new evangelization must start with the sober knowledge that much of the once-Christian developed world, and even many self-described Christians, are in fact pagan. Christian faith is not a habit. It’s not a useful moral code. It’s not an exercise in nostalgia. It’s a restlessness, a consuming fire in the heart to experience the love of Jesus Christ and then share it with others — or it’s nothing at all” ( In The New Evangelization and You:  Be Not Afraid , Greg Willit

St. Maria Goretti: Martyr and Witness to Chastity

Today is the feast of St. Maria Goretti (1890-1902), a peasant girl who was stabbed fourteen times, while fighting off a rapist. She died forgiving her killer. Maria Goretti was born on October 16, 1890, in Coranaldo in the province of Ancona in Italy, the third of seven children of Assunta and Luigi Goretti. When Maria was six, her father, realizing he could not support his growing family on the barren countryside, took them south, toward Rome, to a village near Anzio, believing that in the rich, warm farmlands of the Mediterranean he would find a more prosperous living and a make a better life for his family. In order to make ends meet, Maria’s father entered into partnership with a man called Serenelli, and shared a house with him and his two sons, one of whom was called Alessandro. Luigi was a hard worker, but suffering from malaria, typhus, meningitis and pneumonia, he died in 1900, leaving his family peniless. Maria, now a child of ten, was doing the work of a grown woman, w

Pope's encyclical: may the light of faith shine upon everyone

July 5, 2013 ( Pope Francis has published his first encyclical titled 'Lumen fidei', or 'The light of faith.' The document was started by Benedict XVI when he was still Pope and later passed on to Pope Francis. The result is a text combining theology and current affairs that bears the hallmark of both Popes. Pope Francis invites everyone to let faith 'cast light' upon their existence. He also states that 'faith is not arrogant', it 'strengthens the bonds between people' and is 'in the concrete service of justice and peace.” The prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith was one of the speakers in charge of presenting the encyclical. ARCH. GERHARD LUDWIG MULLER Prefect, Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith “The encyclical wants to reaffirm the fact that faith in Jesus Christ is a fundamental value for mankind and that it is 'good for everyone, for the common good': 'it does not only cast ligh

It's Official. Pope Francis to canonize John Paul II and John XXIII

July 5, 2013 ( Pope Francis has cleared John Paul II for sainthood. On Friday morning, he signed a decree that attributes a miracle to the intercession of the late Polish Pope. This gives the green light for the Polish Pope to be declared a saint of the Catholic Church. The Pope also approved the canonization of Blessed John XXIII, who is remembered for calling the Second Vatican Council. A special consistory has been called by the Pope, to set a date for his canonization, even without the required miracle. FR. FEDERICO LOMBARDI Vatican Spokesperson “The road is open for the canonization of John XXIII, but a decree on a miracle has not yet been approved by the Pope. The Vatican's Causes for Saints has presented the situation to the Pope, so that a canonization can take place even without the second miracle.” A decree approving a miracle by Alvaro del Portillo, former prelate of Opus Dei, has also been approved, paving the way towards his future beatificat

St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria

Today, July 5, the Church remembers Saint Anthony Mary Zaccaria. A renowned preacher and promoter of Eucharistic adoration, he founded the order of priests now known as the Barnabites. Saint Anthony Maria Zaccaria was born at Cremona, Italy, in 1502, of noble parents. His father Lazzaro died when Anthony was two, and  Antonietta, his eighteen-year-old mother, never remarried, but devoted herself to performing charitable works for the poor. She passed on her love for the poor to her son. As a child, Anthony gave his coat to a poor beggar who was shivering with cold. Anthony studied philosophy and medicine at the Universities of Pavia and Padua. He became a licensed physician at the age of 22 and returned to Cremona. He cared for his patient's physical needs, but was even more concerned about their spiritual well-being, encouraging them to frequent the sacraments to obtain spiritual healing. He studied theology, and, at the age of 26, was ordained to the priesthood. Those pr

Happy 4th of July!

An Independence Day Message from a genuine  American President:

Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati

 Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati Prayer for the Courage to be Great Heavenly Father, Give me the courage to strive for the highest goals, to flee every temptation to be mediocre. Enable me to aspire to greatness, as Pier Giorgio did, and to open my heart with joy to Your call to holiness. Free me from the fear of failure. I want to be, Lord, firmly and forever united to You. Grant me the graces I ask You through Pier Giorgio's intercession, by the merits of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen." Prayer to Walk the Path of the Beatitudes "O Father, you gave to the young Pier Giorgio Frassati the joy of meeting Christ and of living his faith in the service of the poor and the sick; through his intercession may we, too, walk the path of the beatitudes and follow the example of his generosity, spreading the spirit of the Gospel in society. Through Christ our Lord, Amen." +Cardinal Giovanni Saldarini, Archbishop of Turin Related Post: Blessed Pier Giorgio

Blessed Pier Giorgo Frassati

Today is the feast of Blessed Pier Giorgo Frassati , a Dominican tertiary, and the patron saint of World Youth Day.  Here are some of my favorite Quotes:  "The end for which we are created invites us to walk a road that is surely sown with a lot of thorns, but it is not sad; through even the sorrow, it is illuminated by joy." “To live without faith, without a patrimony to defend, without a steady struggle for truth, that is not living, but existing.”  "You ask me whether I am in good spirits. How could I not be, so long as my trust in God gives me strength. We must always be cheerful. Sadness should be banished from all Christian souls. For suffering is a far different thing from sadness, which is the worst disease of all. It is almost always caused by lack of Faith. But the purpose for which we have been created shows us the path along which we should go, perhaps strewn with many thorns, but not a sad path. Even in the midst of intense suffering it is one

Speak Up for Conscience Rights Today!

A nurse, a Franciscan sister running a hospital system, and a business owner are being pressured to act against their deeply-held beliefs. Join Cathy, Sr. Jane Marie and Christine. Ask Congress to protect conscience rights today! Go HERE to learn more about what you can do.

Girl Born With No Eyes or Nose Receives a Miracle

Archbishop Jackels on restoring America's forgotten values

Archbishop Michael O. Jackels reflects on the challenge of being both Catholic and American today.

One More Day for Fr. Emil Kapaun Book/DVD Giveaway

Independence Day is a holiday that unites us as we celebrate our freedom and independence as “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” It also is the final day of a “Fortnight for Freedom ,” a two-week period of prayer and action called by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to address many current challenges to religious liberty, including the HHS mandate and attempts to redefine marriage. It’s a time to honor the men and women who have courageously fought, and continue to fight, for our religious freedom, as well, including the late military chaplain Fr. Emil Kapaun. Kapaun posthumously received the Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama in April, nearly 60 years after he heroically gave his life as a POW in the Korean War. The Vatican is also considering him a possible candidate for Sainthood. His life, service and hero’s death is the subject of an incredible new book, THE MIRACLE OF FATHER KAPAUN , co-written by Roz Wenzl and Travis Heying, and published

Seminarians and novices flock to Rome for special event with Pope Francis

July 03, 2013. ( Between July 4th and 7th, Rome will be the center of a special event dedicated to seminarians and novices from all over the world. According to the Vatican, the city will welcome more than 6 thousand people from at least 70 countries around the world. Most of these pilgrims will be youths, so the event will in a way be a preview of WYD in Rio. The train of celebrations in the Eternal City has been organized by the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization. ARCH. RINO FISICHELLA President, Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization “I think that the presence of thousands and thousands of young people in Rome will be a witness of joy, first of all, and a witness that youths today can be once again able, even with difficulty, to follow Jesus Christ.” The series of events will have a special focus on formation. On Saturday, July 6th, pilgrims will attend a special conference to analyze the role of clergy education plays within the new eva

Religious groups demand liberty

We are not going away and we will not comply with legislation that violates our conscience. It's that simple.

Pope's Mass: Encounter Jesus through the poor, sick, marginalized

July 03, 2013. ( During one of his last public Masses before starting his summer vacation, the Pope reflected on the life of St. Thomas, whose feast day is celebrated on Wednesday. He explained that the apostle was full of doubts, before seeing Jesus Resurrected and directly touching His wounds. To encounter God, the Pope said,  it's necessary, to kiss the wounds of Jesus through those who are hungry, poor, sick and incarcerated. POPE FRANCIS “We find Jesus' wounds in carrying out works of mercy, by helping the body – the body – the soul too, but – I stress - the body of your wounded brother, because he is hungry, because he is thirsty, because he is naked, because he is humiliated, because he is enslaved, because he is in jail, because he is in hospital. Those are the wounds of Jesus nowadays. And Jesus asks us to take a leap of faith towards Him, but through these wounds. Some say: 'Oh, great! Let's set up a foundation to help everyone and do so

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