Showing posts from March, 2015

Twelve Ways to Make Holy Week Holy

Holy Week is the week that changed the world. Here are 12 ways you can make this week more meaningful.

1.PRAY throughout the day, speaking to God just as you would to a close friend. Ask Him to save souls, especially those who are dying this day and are most in need of His mercy. Pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for these souls.

2. FAST  Eat smaller portions of food for meals or eat food without salt or pepper this week.

3. REPENT  Examine your conscience daily and go to Confession.

4. ADORE Spend time with the Lord in Eucharistic Adoration this week, even if you only have 15 minutes.

5. PRAY the rosary slowly, contemplatively, meditating on the sorrowful mysteries.

6. ATTENDall of the Triduum liturgies.

7. PRAY the Stations of the Cross.

8. MEDITATE on Christ's Passion daily as you read the various accounts of the Passion in the Gospels.

9. SACRIFICEOffer up any pain or difficulties you are experiencing and unite them with Christ's sufferings.

10. INVITE  family members, friends, neigh…

Fr. Robert Barron on Cinderella

Fr. Barron tells us that Kenneth Branagh’s “Cinderella” is the most surprising Hollywood movie of the year, not because it subverts the traditional fairy story, but because it presents it as a deeply Christian tale.

Seven Quick Takes: Spring, Holy Week, Palm Sunday, Saints, and Books

1. Spring has arrived here in Wichita! Above are just a few of the signs I have been seeing in my yard.

Below is another sign of spring.

2. On Palm Sunday evening, I will be a guest on Fr. Ronald P. Legwin's radio program discussing my book, Seven Saints for Seven Virtues. I am looking forward to that, as well as to my next speaking engagement at Sacred Heart parish in Colwich this coming week.

3. On March 25, we celebrated the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord and I wrote a new blog post on that feast day, focusing on joy and love.

5. On Thursday, I also wrote a blog post entitled Surrender it to God, which focuses in on abandonment, trust, and surrender.

6. What I am reading this week: 30 Days with Teresa of Avilaby Daniel Burke and Anthony Lilles.

7. Here is another book recommendation from my friend, Leticia Velaquez: Review of the book "Joyful Witness: How to be An Extraordinary Catholic" by Randy Hain. 
For more Quick Takes visit This Ain't the Lyceum.   

Have …

St. Margaret of Clitherow: patron of businesswomen, converts, and martyrs

The saint of the day for March 26th is St. Margaret Clitherow, patron of businesswomen, converts, and martyrs.

Margaret was born in Middleton, England, in 1555, of protestant parents. An attractive woman full of wit and cheer, she had a charming personality.

In 1571, she married John Clitherow, a well-to-do butcher (to whom she bore two children). She was a good housewife, capable in business, dearly loved by her husband, whose only regret was that she would not attend church. A few years later, she entered the Catholic Church. Her zeal led her to harbor fugitive priests, for which she was arrested and imprisoned by hostile authorities. They tried every means to make her deny her Faith, but the holy woman stood firm. Finally, she was condemned to be pressed to death on March 25, 1586. She was stretched out on the ground with a sharp rock on her back and crushed under a door loaded down with unbearable weights. Her bones were broken and she died within fifteen minutes.

The humanity an…

Surrender It to God

“Our Lord has shown me the way that leads to love – it is the only way that leads to love – it is the way of childlike trust and surrender; the way a child that sleeps is afraid of nothing in its father’s arms.” -- St. Therese of Lisieux

"We can only learn to know ourselves and do what we can - namely, surrender our will and fulfill God's will in us." – St. Teresa of Avila

“Just surrender it to God!” I heard my wise friend saying as I recounted to her the events of the past week. “I am!” I retorted. “I am going to pray for you”, she replied.

I like to think that I am immune to letting my feelings get out of control. I am an intelligent, rational human being after all, almost Spock-like at times. Of course, I know what I am supposed to do spiritually when things become chaotic and are totally out of my control in this life. The very first thing to do is to pray – to share my intimate feelings with God. After all, He knows me inside and out, and loves me unconditionally eve…

Happy Feast of the Annunciation!

Mary was a great model for us because in her heart there was no obstacle to God's will. Her "Yes" to God's plan for her life is all about her obedience and love for Him.

Related Post:

The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord 

The Solemnity of the Annuciation of the Lord

On March 25, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, which is the coming of the Angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary to announce to her the special mission God had chosen for her in being the mother of His only Son. This solemnity is also the first joyful mystery of the rosary and an event which should fill our hearts with joy and thanksgivng.

The Franciscans tell us: “The Immaculate Virgin Mary joyfully conceived Jesus by the Holy Spirit.” In doing so, they describe the annunciation as the Blessed Virgin Mary’s first joy.

In the first chapter of Luke, we learn that the Angel Gabriel, who was sent by God, shared with the Blessed Virgin Mary the message that she was to be the Mother of God. Imagine the joy in the heart of Mary when she learned from this messenger of God that she, who was willing to be but a handmaid or servant in the household of the Lord, was actually to be the Mother of God!  What joy and happiness at the greeting of the angel! What joy to know that …

Saint Turibius of Mongrovejo: Layman turned Archbishop

The saint of the day is Saint Turibius of Mongrovejo  also known as St. Toribio de Mogrovejo. Together with St. Rose of Lima, St. Turibius of Mongrovejo is the first known saint of the New World, serving the Lord in Peru, South America, for 26 years.

Born in Spain and educated for the law, he became so brilliant a scholar that he was made professor of law at the University of Salamanca and eventually became chief judge of the Inquisition at Granada. He succeeded too well. But he was not sharp enough a lawyer to prevent a surprising sequence of events.

In 1580 the archbishopric of Lima, capital of Spain's colony in Peru, became vacant. He was the one person with the strength of character and holiness of spirit to heal those who had infected that area. He protested the assignment, but was overruled. He was ordained a priest and bishop and sent to Peru, where he found colonialism at its worst. The Spanish conquerors were guilty of every sort of oppression of the native population. A…

Saint Benedetta Cambiagio Frassinello: wife, religious, foundress

The saint of the day for March 21st is Saint Benedetta Cambiagio Frassinello (also known as St. Benedicta Cambiagio Frasinello).

Benedetta Cambiagio Frassinello was born on October 2, 1791 in Langasco (Genoa) Italy; she died on  March 21,1858 in Ronco Scrivia in Liguria. She was a wife, religious and foundress. She let the Holy Spirit guide her through married life to the work of education and religious consecration. She founded a school for the formation of young women and also a religious congregation, and did both with the generous collaboration of her husband. Benedetta was a pioneer in her determination to give a high quality education to young women, for the formation of families for a "new Christian society" and for promoting the right of women to a complete education.

Call to marriage, then to religious life

From her parents Benedetta received a Christian formation that rooted in her the life of faith. Her family settled in Pavia when she was a girl. When she was 20 …

Seven Quick Takes: Saints, Spring, and Books

1. I loveSt. Patrick's Day! This year we attended the local parade, which we enjoyed. Here are just a few photos of the floats and parade entries we viewed.

2.St. Joseph's Dayis also a wonderful day for celebration! Check out these beautifulSt. Joseph Altars in New Orleans.

3.  This week I wrote aboutSt Cyril of Jerusalem, a 4th century theologian and Doctor of the Church, who was accused of Arianism by his brother bishops!  He gave some great advice to the catechumens: "Make your fold with the sheep; flee from the wolves: depart not from the Church." 

4. Here's a FREE BOOK!From the Hub to the Heart by Andy LaVallee and Leticia Velasquez -- FREE from now until Saturday!Go HERE.Read my review

5.  Happy First Day of Spring!

6.  "This is an absolutely wonderful book, inspiring, edifying, informative and beautifully written."
- Ellen Gable Hrkach

"Why I love it: Saints are often depicted as if they’re so holy, they’re almost not human. That’s not the case wit…

The statue of St. Joseph that Pope Francis keeps in his room

The Inaugural Mass of the Pontificate for Pope Francis took place on March 19, Saint Joseph's Day. Joseph is one of  Pope Francis' most beloved saints. He explained why during his trip to the Philippines in January.

January 16, 2015 (Philippines)
"I have great love for Saint Joseph, because he is a man of silence and strength. On my table I have an image of Saint Joseph sleeping. Even when he is asleep, he is taking care of the Church!”

Pope Francis advised people to leave a "note" under the image of the saint for help whenever they have a problem.

January 16, 2015 (Philippines)
"Joseph’s rest revealed God’s will to him. In this moment of rest in the Lord, as we pause from our many daily obligations and activities, God is also speaking to us.”

St. Joseph is described in the Gospel as a discreet but determined man, virtues that Pope Francis values.

January 16, 2015 (Philippines)
"But like Saint Joseph, once we hav…

Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Today is the solemnity of St. Joseph, husband of the Virgin Mary, foster father of Jesus, and patron of the universal Church.  On May 31, we honor St. Joseph as the patron of workers.

Most of the reliable information on St. Joseph is contained in the first two chapters of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Here we discover that Joseph was of royal descent from David, that the family was from Bethlehem in Judea and that Joseph, who was a builder, had moved from Bethlehem to Nazareth in Galilee.

Joseph was engaged to Mary and upon learning that she was pregnant; he had plans to divorce her. Described in Matthew as a righteous man, he intended to dismiss her quietly. Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream to tell him, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins" (MT 1:20-21). "When Joseph w…

St. Cyril of Jerusalem: Doctor of the Church

The saint of the day for March 18 is St. Cyril of Jerusalem, a fourth century theologian, bishop, and Doctor of the Church, whose writings remain significant as examples of the theology of the Church in that era.

Born in Jerusalem around the year 315, well-educated, particularly in the Scriptures, he was ordained a priest by St. Maximus, the bishop of Jerusalem, and succeeded him as bishop in 348. As a priest, he instructed and prepared the catechumens for Baptism during Lent. During his early years as a bishop, around 350, he delivered a series of homilies to new members of the Church. Twenty-four of the homilies have survived and are studied today.

Three years after Cyril became the Bishop of Jerusalem, a large cross-shaped light shone for several hours in the sky over the city – an occurrence that many understood as a sign of the Church's victory over heresy. Others interpreted it as a sign of sufferings that the new bishop would experience in shepherding his flock.

The man wh…

St. Patrick, Apostle of Ireland

Today is the feast of St. Patrick, who is known as the "Apostle of Ireland."

St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was born in Wales about 385 AD. His given name was Maewyn. Until he was 16, he considered himself a pagan. He was kidnapped from the British mainland at that time by a group of Irish raiders who sold him into slavery. He escaped from slavery after six years and returned to his homeland. There he heard the call to return and bring Christianity to Ireland, so he went to Gaul and studied in the monastery under St. Germain, bishop of Auxerre for a period of twelve years.

He was ordained a priest, consecrated a bishop and returned to Ireland around 435 AD. Patrick was quite successful at winning converts, which led to clashes with the Celtic Druids. He was arrested several times, but escaped each time. He traveled throughout Ireland, establishing monasteries across the country. He also set up schools and churches which would aid him in his conversion of the Iris…

St. Clement Mary Hofbauer: "Apostle of Vienna"

March 16 is the feast day of St. Clement Mary Hofbauer (1751-1820), a hermit and a priest of the Redemptorist congregation, who is considered a co-founder of the congregation and called the “Apostle of Vienna.”

John, the name he was given at Baptism, was born in 1751, to a poor family in Moravia [now known as the Czech Republic], the ninth of twelve children. Although he desired to be a priest, the family did not have the money for him to attend the seminary, so he became an apprentice in a bakery at the age of 16.  At 19, he went to work in the bakery of a monastery. At that time, the effects of war and famine were sending many homeless and hungry people to the monastery for help. John worked diligently to feed the poor who came to his door. While this was still not the priesthood that he desired so badly, it was an opportunity to serve God's people who were in great need.

John lived the life of a hermit, but when Emperor Joseph II eliminated hermitages, he went to Vienna, where…

Having trouble cooking without meat during Lent?

Sometimes it can feel like there isn't much to eat without meat in it these days. But a new application helps remind Catholics just how many options they still during Lent. Lentsanity is a practical application for Lent created by the Fellowship of Catholic University Students in Atchison, Kansas.

It is designed with the young and old in mind. It includes prayers and suggestions for making small sacrifices during Lent. And it's all presented with good humor.

It also includes a function called "Meat Police" that reminds the user to refrain from eating meat on Fridays during Lent.

The application is free and can be downloaded for both iOS and Android.

Seven Quick Takes

1. The saint of the day for March 13 is St. Euphrasia.

Saint Euphrasia (382-412), born in Constantinople, was the daughter of Antigonus, senator of Constantinople and related to Roman Emperor Theodosius I.  Her parents were pious people who gave generously to the poor. After her father died, she and her mother became wards of Emperor Theodosius.

When Euphrasia was only five years old, the emperor arranged a marriage for her to the son of a senator. Two years later, she and her mother moved to their estate in Egypt. There, at the age of seven, Euphrasia decided to enter a monastery. Her mother died soon afterward of natural causes, leaving her an orphan. At the age of twelve, Euphrasia was ordered by the Emperor Aracdius, successor to Theodosius, to marry the senator’s son as arranged. Euphrasia requested that she be relieved of the marriage arrangement, that the emperor sell off her family property, and that he use the money to feed the poor and buy the freedom of slaves. Arcadius agr…

St. Serpahina: Patron of the Physically Challenged

Today's saint is a great inspiration for those who suffer from poverty and illness, especially young people. She is the patron of the disabled and those who are physically challenged.

Seraphina was born to a poor family in San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy in 1238. Her father died when she was very young and her widowed mother went to work, leaving her alone at home. She was an attractive girl with a cheerful, congenial nature and a deep empathy for others -- sharing half her food with those less fortunate than herself. She spent her time alone sewing, spinning, and praying.

At the age of ten, Seraphina suffered from diseases, which caused her to become paralyzed from the neck down and which disfigured her body. She became totally dependent on her mother and had to be carried around on a wooden plank, which is where she spent her days -- flat on her back. She suffered immensely and lost her good looks, developing sores on her face, arms, and legs. In spite of her sufferings, she rema…

St. Teresa Margaret of the Sacred Heart

The saint of the day for March 11 is St. Teresa Margaret Redi of the Sacred Heart (1747 - 1770), a Discalced Carmelite nun and mystic, who spread love for Jesus and devotion to the Sacred Heart in a quiet and hidden way.

Born of Tuscan nobility, Anna Maria Redi was the daughter of Count Ignatius Redi and Camilla Billeti, a pious family. It was from her father that Anna Maria acquired the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which played such a crucial role in her spiritual development.

In September 1763, she received a message from Saint Teresa of Jesus inviting her to become a Carmelite nun. Anna Maria entered the Discalced Carmelite monastery in Florence, Italy the following year, at the age of seventeen, taking the name of Teresa Margaret of the Sacred Heart.

In the Community, she worked in the infirmary and served as a sacristan. She was so entrenched in the hidden life and so determined to do God's will that she had no idea how holy she really was. Her entire focus was on …

Miracle at Knock

Irishwoman Marion Carroll and her husband Jim talk about her cure from multiple sclerosis after a visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of Knock.

Novena to St. Joseph begins

Novena Dates March 10-18, Feast Day March 19

O good father Joseph! I beg you,  by all your sufferings, sorrows and joys, to obtain for me what I ask.

(Here name your petition).

Obtain for all those who have asked my prayers, everything that is useful to them in the plan of God. Be near to me in my last moments, that I may eternally sing the praises of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Amen.

(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be)

St. Frances of Rome: Wife, Mother, Mystic

The saint of the day for March 9th is St. Frances of Rome, one of the great mystics of the 15th century.

She was born in Rome to a noble family in 1384 and died in Rome on March 9, 1440. She desired to enter the convent, but in obedience to her parents was instead married at age twelve to a young nobleman named Lorenzo de' Ponziani. Frances was a good wife and homemaker, and the mother to three children.

As a lay person, she became an Oblate with the Benedictine Oblate Congregation of Tor di Speechi and led the life of a religious, without taking formal vows. She spent much of her time in prayer and in doing works. She was humble, detached, and advanced in a life of contemplation. She had the supernatural gift of visions, miracles, and ecstasy and saw the bodily image of her guardian angel. She had visions of heaven and hell and foresaw the Western schism. She also possessed the gift of reading consciences.

Frances was known for her great works of charity to the poor and her zeal…

Sts. Perpetua and Felicity: Mothers and Martyrs

The saints of the day for March 7 are Sts. Perpetua and Felicity. Perpetua was a convert to Christianity who was born to a noble pagan family. She was martyred along with her maid and friend, Felicity, in Carthage in 203 A.D. Both women were mothers.

The two women were arrested and imprisoned, along with three other Christians. Perpetua was 22-years-old, with a son a few months old; Felicity was pregnant at the time of the arrest. Their only crime was converting to Christianity.

The account of their martyrdom and courage, The Suffering of Perpetua and Felicity, is one of the earliest historical accounts of Christianity. It is one of the great treasures of martyr literature, an authentic document preserved for us in the actual words of the martyrs and their friends. Perpetua wrote a vivid account of what happened.

"While I was still with my companions, and my father in his affection for me was trying to turn me from my purpose by arguments and so weaken my faith, 'Father,'…

Seven Quick Takes

1. Saint of the day - Today we celebrate the feast of St. Colette of Corbie, founder of the Poor Clare Colettines, the patron saint of expectant mothers and unborn babies, of  childless couples who long to conceive, and of sick children. She was a miracle baby born to parents in their 60's. Read her entire story.

2.  This week we celebrated the feast of a great American saint -- St. Katharine Drexel -- an American heiress and socialite who shocked the world when at age 31, she abandoned her family’s fortune to become a Roman Catholic nun and to found an order of sisters dedicated to serving the impoverished Blacks and American Indian populations of the United States. Using her inheritance of $7 million, she spent the next 60 years and an estimated $20 million building missions, schools and churches for Native Americans and Blacks. Read more.

3. I have been busy preparing for my upcoming Lenten series at the Spiritual Life Center in Wichita, which are based on my book,Seven Saints fo…

St. John Joseph of the Cross: Model of Charity and Humility

The saint of the day for March 5 is St. John Joseph of the Cross, a Franciscan priest who practiced self-denial in order to grow in the virtue of charity.

Saint John Joseph of the Cross was born on the feast of the Assumption in 1654 on the Island of Ischia in Southern Italy. He was a pious and virtuous child. Even as a child, he devoted himself to poverty and fasting. He wore the clothes of the poor, despite the fact that he was a noble. At the age of sixteen, he entered the Franciscan Order of the Reform of Saint Peter of Alcantara, at Naples.

St. John Joseph was a quiet man of contemplation. He practiced self-denial in the form of strict penances: he fasted constantly, never drank wine, and slept only three hours each night. In 1674, he was sent to found a friary at Afila, in Piedmont and helped to build the friary with his own hands. Afterwards, he was elevated to the priesthood and became the master of novices, becoming an excellent model and mentor to them which he evidenced by…

St. Casimir, Prince of Poland and "Father of the Poor"

The saint of the day for March 4 is St. Casimir of Poland, a prince whose life of service to God has made him a patron saint of Poland, Lithuania, and young people. He is also the patron saint of bachelors and is represented by a crown and a lily (which symbolizes purity.)

Casimir was born on October 3, 1458, the third of thirteen children of King Casimir IV and Elizabeth of Austria, daughter of Albert II of Habsburg. He and several of his brothers studied with the priest and historian John Dlugosz, whose deep piety and political expertise influenced Casimir in his upbringing. The young prince displayed holiness at an early age. In contrast to the other members of the royal court, he was a shining example of faith, piety, humility, and chastity. He had a great love for the Eucharist and for the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Hungarian nobles prevailed upon Casimir's father to send his 13-year-old son to be their king; Casimir obeyed, taking the crown, but refusing to exercise power. His ar…