Showing posts from June, 2015

Blessed Junipero Serra, Priest and Missionary

On July 1, we honor Blessed Junipero Serra, a Franciscan priest and missionary, who converted thousands of native Americans.

Miguel Jose Serra was born on the island of Majorca (Spain), on November 24, 1713, and took the name of Junipero in honor of Saint Juniper, who had also been a Franciscan and a companion of Saint Francis of Assisi. In 1730, he entered the Franciscan Order and was ordained seven years later. A brilliant man who had earned his doctorate in theology, he taught philosophy and theology at the University of Padua for two years.At the age of thirty-seven, he arrived in Mexico City on January 1, 1750, and spent the rest of his life converting the people of the New World.

When Father Junipero Serra founded California's first mission in 1769, he was 56 years old and asthmatic, with a chronic sore on his leg that troubled him for the rest of his life, and he suffered frequently from other illnesses, as well. He stood just 5 feet, 2 inches, and, as a journalist later w…

Catholics React to the Supreme Court's Decision on Gay Marriage; What We Do Now?

By Jean M. Heimann

"Harsh rhetoric (of those who oppose gay marriage) will continue because gay activists know the war on America is not over. Only this phase of the battle has been won. They are pushing on to create a new America. Bathing the White House in rainbow colors was just the initial re-branding of the nation. The next step will be changing the understanding of religious liberty. "
-- Al Kresta from his YouTube video (See bottom of the page.)

"Since same-sex marriage is now recognized as a fundamental human right guaranteed by the Constitution, those who oppose it can only be characterized as bigots animated by an irrational prejudice. To be sure, Justice Kennedy and his colleagues assure us that those who have religious objections to same-sex marriage will be respected, but one wonders how such respect is congruent with the logic of the decision. Would one respect the owners of a business who refuse to hire black people as a matter of principle? Would not the…

Sts. Peter and Paul, Co-founders of the Church

June 29 is the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, who are the co-founders of the Church - the solid rock on which it was founded. Both were martyrs for the faith.

Saint Peter by Paolo Emilio Besenzi 
St. Peter

Peter's original name was Simon. He was a fisherman and the brother of Saint Andrew, the apostle who led him to Christ. As an apostle of Christ, Simon was renamed "Peter" (in Hebrew Kephas) or "rock" by Jesus to indicate that Peter would be the rock-like foundation on which the Church would be built.

Peter's house often became the scene of miracles, since Jesus would stay there whenever He was teaching in that locality. Together with his brothers John and Andrew, Peter belonged to the first of Jesus' disciples.

After the Ascension, Peter took the leading role that Christ had assigned to him and became the first Pope. He served as the first Bishop of Rome and died there as a martyr in 64 a.d. crucified with his head downward, as he was not worthy to …

Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help

On June 27 we commemorate Our Lady of Perpetual Help. I have had a long-time devotion to Our Blessed Mother under many titles, but began praying to Our Lady of Perpetual Help early in my childhood and continue to pray for her intercession today. She is such a sweet mother who always asks Jesus to grant me that which will draw me closest to Him.

The Icon

The icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help is perhaps the oldest actual icon of the Blessed Virgin. According to tradition, St. Luke wrote an icon of Our Lady while she was still living in Jerusalem. When she saw the beautiful icon of herself holding the Child Jesus in her arms, she blessed both the artist and his work proclaiming, "My grace will accompany this icon."

The passage of centuries has proven that Mary did not forget this promise. So numerous were the miracles and favors granted by means of this Holy Icon, Pope Innocent III in 1207 stated that Mary's soul seemed to have entered into this icon since it was so beauti…

7QT: Goodbyes, Blogs, Bonfires, and Books

1.  Our pastor, Father Daryl (right), and our associate pastor, Father Max (left), have both been re-assigned to other parishes and this past Sunday, June 21, Father's Day. our parish held a going away reception for both. They are very gifted and dedicated servants of the Lord and I will miss them both -- especially our pastor who has been with us for 16 years.

 Here I am with Fr. Daryl, our pastor.

Here I am with Fr. Max. We look a bit ethereal in this photo, don't we?

2. I love bonfires! Read about the connection between bonfires and the Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist HERE.

3. This past week, we celebrated the feasts of Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher.  Both men gave up their lives in testimony to defend Church unity and the indissolubility of the sacrament of Matrimony. Both men had well-formed consciences and were willing to die for the Truth.
4. How did you spend your Father's Day? Read these inspiring quotes to bring a little joy to your day.
5.  We a…

St. William of Vercelli, Hermit, Abbot, and Founder

The saint of the day for June 24th is St. William of Vercelli, hermit, abbot, and founder of a religious congregation known as the Hermits of Monte-Vergine.

William was born to noble and wealthy parents in Vercelli, Italy in 1085. He lost his father and mother in his infancy and was raised by a relative. At age fifteen, he made a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. When he returned, he became a hermit in Naples and lived there on an uninhabited mountain in solitude. However, he became famous after he worked a miracle, curing a blind man. His desire to live a contemplative life and to focus on God was interrupted; consequently, he moved to another mountain.

On this mountain, he built a beautiful church in honor of Our Lady. His holiness attracted  many followers and, in 1119, he established the Congregation of Monte Vergine, or Mount of the Virgin. These sons of Our Lady lived in great poverty. Some of the monks began to complain that the rule was too strict and the lifestyle…

St. John the Baptist, Bonfires, and “Summer Christmas”

Today is the solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. How will you celebrate this great saint's birthday?

St. John the Baptist was a prophet filled with a fiery zeal for declaring Christ’s coming and the need for repentance. We know that he was "filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother's womb" (Luke 1, 15).  Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he leapt with joy in his mother’s womb when he met Jesus for the first time, proclaiming the Gospel message in utero. When he was thirty, he preached on the banks of the River Jordan against sin and urged men to repent and be baptized "for the Kingdom of Heaven is close at hand."  He attracted large crowds (“people of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem”) and led them to conversion. Like a lantern, he lit the way for many who were lost in the darkness. He led them to the Light (Christ) and out of the darkness of sin. We also know that the birth of St. John the Bap…

St. Joseph Cafasso, Apostle of Hope

Today, June 23, we honor St. Joseph Cafasso, an Italian priest who was a social reformer in Turin during the 19th century. He is the patron of prison chaplains, captives, and prisoners.

He was born on January 15, 1811 in northern Italy, about twenty miles from Turin. Joseph Cafasso was the third child of a family of four. His parents, who were known for their charity to the poor, were small farmers who had to supplement their scanty income by working on neighboring farms.

Although he was born with a deformed spine, Joseph did not allow this defect to influence his need to do penance. Even in his childhood he had certain days set apart for penance, and he fasted every Saturday in honor of Our Blessed Lady. He also attended daily Mass, at which he often served. He was gifted with a keen intellect and a good memory, and was first in his class at school.

He was ordained a priest in 1833 at the age of twenty-two. After Ordination, he was selected to be an assistant professor of moral theo…

Sts.Thomas More and John Fisher, Martyrs

Today is the feast of Sts.Thomas More, martyr, and John Fisher, bishop and martyr. St. Thomas More was born in London, England and was Chancellor of King Henry VIII. He was a devoted, loving husband and father and a dedicated public servant.

St. John Fisher studied Theology in Cambridge and became Bishop of Rochester. He and his friend St. Thomas More gave up their lives in testimony to defend Church unity and the indissolubility of the sacrament of Matrimony. Both men had well-formed consciences and were willing to die for the Truth.

St. Thomas More
Thomas More was born in 1478, son of the lawyer and judge John More and his wife Agnes. He received a classical education from the age of six, and at age 13 became the protege of Archbishop John Morton, who also served an important civic role as the Lord Chancellor. Although Thomas never joined the clergy, he would eventually come to assume the position of Lord Chancellor himself.

More received a well-rounded college education at Oxford, …

Fifteen Heartfelt Quotes on Fatherhood

1.  "As a Father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who trust Him." - Psalm 103:13

2.  “To be a good father, the first requirement is to be present in the family. To be close to his wife, to share in everything, joy and pain, burdens and hopes." - Pope Francis, General audience, Feb. 4, 2015

3.  "A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty." - Unknown.

4.  “The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” – John Wooden

5.  “Any man can be a father but it takes someone special to be a dad.” -Anne Geddes

6.  "Dads don’t need to be tall and broad-shouldered and clever.  Love makes them so." - Pam Brown

7.  "Sometimes the poorest man leaves his children the richest inheritance." - Ruth E. Renkel

8. "Father!–to God himself we cannot give a holier name." - William Wordsworth

9.  "A father acts on behalf of his children by working, provi…

7QT: Three Questions, a Special Request, and More

1. This has been another busy week, as I continue working out at the gym on a daily basis and seeing my Physical Therapists twice a week for treatment of sciatica. I only have a few weeks of therapy left and will probably celebrate when it is over. This has cut down on my time for writing and researching my new book and completion of other projects, but hopefully, I will be a new woman when they are done with me!

Three Questions: Speaking of working out, what do you wear when you work out at the gym in the summer (The gym is very warm.)? Have you been able to find modest work-out clothes? What do you wear for swimming? It seems practically impossible these days to find clothes that are modest, and even if they look modest, they may not be  so when you are doing certain exercises.

2. Happy Father's Day to all dads on Sunday! Here is a piece I wrote about my dad last Father's Day.

Here's what else I have been busy doing this summer:

3. Gardening

4. Attending Daily Mass everyday …

Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help begins

The Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help begins today, June 18 and ends on June 26. The feast day of our Lady of Perpetual Help is on June 27. Our Lady of Perpetual Help is patron of the sick, police, paratroopers, and grocers.

Novena Prayer

Oh Mother of Perpetual Help, grant that I may ever invoke your powerful name, the protection of the living and the salvation of the dying. Purest Mary, let your name henceforth be ever on my lips. Delay not, Blessed Lady, to rescue me whenever I call on you. In my temptations, in my needs, I will never cease to call on you, ever repeating your sacred name, Mary, Mary. What a consolation, what sweetness, what confidence fills my soul when I utter your sacred name or even only think of you! I thank the Lord for having given you so sweet, so powerful, so lovely a name. But I will not be content with merely uttering your name. Let my love for you prompt me ever to hail you Mother of Perpetual Help. Mother of Perpetual Help, pray for me and grant me th…

Vatican Museum: Hidden Treasures revealed for the first time

A new exhibition sponsored by the Vatican Museum presents sculptures in precious metals from the 14th to 18th century.

Blessed Osanna of Mantua: Mystic and Stigmatist

The saint of the day for June 18 is Blessed Osanna of Mantua (1449 - 1505), an Italian Dominican tertiary, who was a mystic and stigmatist. She is the patron of school girls.

The daughter of Italian nobility, Osanna had her first mystical experience at the age of five: a vision of the Trinity, the nine choirs of angels, and Jesus as a child her own age, carrying His Cross.

Feeling called to the religious life, Osanna rejected an arranged marriage and became a Dominican tertiary at the age of 17; however, she waited 37 years to complete her vows so she could care for her brothers and sisters after the death of her parents.

At the age of eighteen, she experienced mystical espousal to Jesus -- like St. Catherine of Siena, she had a vision in which Our Blessed Mother made her a bride of Christ, placing a ring on her finger.

When she was thirty, she received the stigmata on her head, her side, and her feet. She also had a vision in which her heart was transformed and divided into four par…

St. Emily de Vialar, patron of single women

Today, June 17, we honor St. Emily de Vialar, Virgin, Foundress of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition. She is the patron of single women.

Anne Marguerite Adelaide Emily de Vialar was born on September 12, 1797 at Gaillac in southern France to a noble family. She was the oldest of three children and the only daughter of Baron James Augustine de Vialar and his wife Antoinette. At thirteen, she was sent to the boarding convent of Abbaye-au-Bois in Paris, but returned home two years later. Her mother had died and she was needed to perform the housekeeping duties for the family.  Differences arose between Emily and her father when she refused a marriage proposal. She had made a private vow to consecrate her life to God as a virgin. Emily had a vision of our Lord pointing to the wounds of His passion, which moved her deeply and strongly influenced her vocation. In an attempt to repair the harm done by the French Revolution, Emily catechized the children of Gaillac, a ministry whic…

The Catholic Roots of St. Louis, "Rome of the West"

A painting of the coronation of St. Louis IX, King of France, hangs in the "Old Cathedral" in downtown St. Louis, Missouri. It is entitled "Louis IX Venerating the Relic of the Crown of Thorns," painted by Charles Coypel in 1751. It was purchased by Bishop Louis DuBourg in 1817 and later hung in a side chapel of what was then the St. Louis Cathedral, which is now the Basilica of St. Louis, King of France, or the "Old Cathedral."

In the video, Catherine Szeltner shows us the rich Catholic history of the city known as "The Rome of the West."

Old-Fashioned DVD released today, June 16!

The retro-modern love story "Old-Fashioned" comes out on DVD today, June 16. You can purchase it HERE.
Here's my review: 
An introverted, chivalrous small business owner and a sweet, extroverted Midwestern woman meet and attempt the almost impossible: an "old-fashioned" courtship in contemporary America. Amber, an attractive and intelligent young woman, is a drifter, a fun-loving, "free spirit" who moves from one town to another when the going gets tough and drives until she runs out of gas. This time, she has run out of gas in a town in Ohio, where she rents an apartment upstairs from Clay's antique shop. Amber is fascinated and curious about Clay’s old-fashioned ideas concerning women and his strong morals. She becomes so attracted to him that she conveniently invents accidents and repairs for him to fix, so she can see him on a regular basis. After a series of flirtatious episodes, at both her apartment and in the grocery store, he realizes th…

Saint Lutgardis, Patron of the Blind and the Physically Disabled

On June 16, we honor St. Lutgardis, a Cistercian, and one of the first mystics of the Sacred Heart. St. Lutgardis is the patron saint of the blind and physically disabled people. Other areas of patronage include: childbirth, Flanders, and Belgium.

St. Lugardis was born at Tongres, Brabant, the Netherlands, in 1182. She was sent to the Black Benedictine convent of Saint Catherine when she was 12- years-old because her father lost her dowry in a business venture. She had received no specific calling to the religious life, but without a dowry there was little hope of finding an appropriate husband. Then, one day the attractive girl, who was fond of fine garments and simple pleasures, had a vision of Christ that changed her view on life.

A few years after entering the convent, she received a vision of Christ showing her his wounds, and at age 20 she discovered her true vocation as a Benedictine nun. Her visions continued and she is said to have had ecstasies, levitated, and dripped blood…

St. Germaine Cousin, patron of people with disabilities and victims of abuse

Today is the feast day of St. Germaine Cousin, a simple and devout young girl who lived in Pibrac, France in the late 1500s. She was born in 1579 to a humble family. Her father was a farmer, and her mother died when she was still an infant. She was born with a deformed right arm and hand, as well as the disease of scrofula, a tubercular condition.

Her father remarried soon after the death of her mother, but his new wife was repulsed by Germaine's condition. She tormented and neglected Germaine, and taught her siblings to do so as well.
Starving and sick, Germaine was eventually kicked out of the house and forced to sleep under the stairway in the barn, on a pile of leaves and twigs, because of her stepmother’s dislike of her and disgust of her disability. Nevertheless, Germaine tended to the family's flock of sheep everyday.

Despite her suffering, she lived each day full of thanksgiving and joy, and spent much of her time praying the Rosary and teaching the village children a…

St. Anthony of Padua: Powerful Preacher, Hammer of the Heretics, Wonder-Worker

By Jean M. Heimann

St. Anthony of Padua is a Doctor of the Church, a Franciscan priest called the "Hammer of the Heretics", the "Wonder-Worker", and the "Living Ark of the Covenant." Countless conversions, miraculous healings, and powerful preaching were all characteristic of his ministry.

He was born to a noble family in 1195 in Lisbon, Portugal and was baptized Fernando Martins de Bulhões. His parents sent him to be educated by the clergy at the Cathedral of Lisbon.  At the age of 15, he joined the Canons Regular of St. Augustine.  At 17, he transferred to the Abbey of the Holy Cross at Coimba. For a period of eight years, he devoted himself to study and prayer.

When he was 25, Fernando met five Franciscan friars who were on their way to Morocco to serve as missionaries.  Five months later, when the bodies of these five were brought back from Morocco, he expressed an intense desire to suffer martyrdom in a similar manner.  Stirred by their heroic exampl…

Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

By Jean M. Heimann

On June 28, the Church celebrates the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary the day – one day after the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The proximity of both celebrations reflects the deep connection between the Heart of Jesus and the Heart of His Mother.

The connection between the Hearts of Jesus and Mary was prophesied by Simeon at the Presentation in the Temple of Jerusalem. In Luke 2:35, we read: “and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

The fulfillment of this prophesy is found in John 33-34: “But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out.”

It was at the piercing of Christ’s Heart at His death, then, th…