Showing posts from July, 2015

St. Ignatius of Loyola: A Knight for Christ

July 31 is the memorial of St. Ignatius of Loyola, priest, and founder of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits).

St. Ignatius of Loyola (Iñigo) 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 received a courtly education, learned to read books of chivalry and romance, gambled recklessly, became involved with women, quarrled and dueled. He 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 his family home. Confined to his sick bed,  he asked for novels of chivaly to read, but was given pious books instead, which he grudgingly accepted. To his surprise, he enjoyed the…

Fr. Robert Barron: Planned Parenthood and the Loss of Human Dignity

The recently released videos featuring Planned Parenthood employees bartering body parts of aborted infants are startling and appalling. This brings forth dialogue about the human person and the dignity of life, the argument for which is not based upon sentimentality or compassion but rests firmly upon a belief in the existence of God.

St. Martha, patron of cooks and housewives

By Jean M. Heimann

July 29 is the feast of St. Martha, virgin (who died in France around 80). Martha was born into an aristocratic and affluent family, but she is most well-known for her gift of hospitality in serving Jesus.

Martha was the sister of Mary and Lazarus. They were close friends of Jesus, for whom he had great affection, and he often came to visit them in their home in Bethany. In fact, the Gospel tells us: "Jesus loved Martha and her sister Mary and Lazarus" (John 11:5). It was Martha who lovingly served the Lord when he visited them. One day, when she was preparing a meal for Jesus and his disciples, she realized that the task would be easier if her sister would help. She watched Mary sitting quietly at Jesus' feet, listening to him. She asked Jesus to persuade Mary to help her. Jesus was pleased with Martha's loving service. However, he wanted her to know that listening to God's Word and praying is even more important. So he said gently, "Mart…

Fr. Robert Barron: The Mystery of God

Lesson 1 from Fr. Robert Barron's "The Mystery of God" film and study program. Learn more at This sample lesson is on "Atheism and What We Mean By 'God'".

Brief Blogging Break

Dear Readers,
I will be taking a brief blogging break as I finish my work on a major writing project. Don't go away! I will return shortly!

7QT: Summer Activities

1.  First of all, I would like to thank Matthew Coffin at  Big C Catholics for the wonderful review of my book, Seven Saints for Seven Virtues. This is the best and most comprehensive review I have had so far. I would also like to thank Chris Stewart of Casting Nets Ministry and Maria Stewart for their fine reviews on Amazon, as well. 

2.  What are we doing for fun this summer? Here's what I have in mind: Attending the Midwest Catholic Family Conference from August 7-9 in Wichita, KS. Then, traveling to Aspen, Colorado for another wonderful conference on The Future of Christianity? from August 14-16. I am looking forward to both of these conferences.

3. Here are some photo from my flower gardens this July:


Daylilies, Firecrackers, and Rose of Sharon bush

4. Movies (DVDs) I have really enjoyed watching this summer include: Mc Farland USA,  Planes, Selma, Paddington, Big Hero 6, and Dolphin Tale. All are rated PG with the exception of Selma, which is rated PG-13.  I would avoi…

Novena to St. Anne starts July 17

Saint Anne’s feast day is on July 26th, so the St. Anne Novena is traditionally started on July 17th; however, you can pray it anytime. St. Anne (Hebrew, Hannah, grace; also spelled Ann, Anne, Anna) is the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the grandmother of Jesus, and the wife of Joachim. She is mentioned in the Apocrypha, chiefly the Protoevangelium of James, which dates back to the second century. Devotion to St. Anne dates back to the sixth century in the Church of Constantinople and the eighth century in Rome.

St. Anne is the patron saint of the province of Quebec, where the well-known shrine of St. Anne de Beaupre, (the site of many miracles) is located. She is patroness: against poverty;  of broom makers; cabinetmakers; carpenters; childless couples; equestrians; grandmothers; grandparents; homemakers; housewives; lace makers; lace workers; lost articles; miners; mothers; old-clothes dealers; pregnancy; pregnant women; horse riders; seamstresses; stablemen; sterility; turners…

Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Today is the patronal feast of the Carmelites. The Order of Carmelites takes its name from Mount Carmel in Israel, which was the first place dedicated to the Blessed Virgin and where a chapel was erected in her honor before her Assumption into heaven.

In the Old Testament, Mount Carmel was a holy place sanctified by the memory of Elijah and his followers - who fought for the rights of the true God 900 years before Christ.

Christians would interpret Elijah's vision of the cloud rising from the Mediterranean sea as a symbol of the Blessed Virgin Mary whose Son would be the Messiah and Savior (1 Kings 18, 42-45). After the days of Elijah and Elisha other holy hermits lived on Mt. Carmel and led solitary, contemplative lives, praying and fasting. Along with the austere figure of Elijah, they looked for inspiration to the Mother of God. Her Latin title was "Virgo Dei Genitrix", which means "Virgin Mother of God".

July 16th is also the feast of the "Scapular of…

St. Bonaventure: Seraphic Doctor of the Church

By Jean M. Heimann

July 15 is the memorial of St. Bonaventure, O.F.M., who is known as"Seraphic Doctor" because of his burning love for God and his great zeal to do God's work.

St. Bonaventure was born in the small town of Bagnoregio, Tuscany, Italy in 1221 and received the baptismal name of John. An event that occurred when he was a boy profoundly influenced his life. He had a serious illness and not even his father, who was a physician, believed that he would survive. His mother prayed for the intercession of St. Francis of Assisi, who had been canonized a short time earlier. And John was cured.

He went to the University of Paris when he was 14, where he studied theology under the English Franciscan, Alexander of Hales. After he had received the diploma of Master of Arts, John asked himself an important question: "What must I do with my life?" Captivated by the witness of the zeal of the Friars Minor in Paris, John asked to be received into the family of the …

St. Kateri Tekakwitha: First Native American Saint

By Jean M. Heimann

July 14th is the memorial of St. Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American saint. Known as the "Lily of the Mohawks" and the “Geneviève of New France,” Kateri was born near the town of Auriesville, New York, in the year 1656, the daughter of a Mohawk chief and an Algonquin Christian. She was four-years-old when her parents and younger brother died of smallpox. The disease also attacked Kateri, scarring her face and damaging her eyesight. Due to her poor vision, Kateri was named "Tekakwitha", which means "she who bumps into things".

Kateri was adopted by her two aunts and an uncle, who was strongly opposed to Christianity. When she was 18 years of age, Kateri secretly began instructions in the Catholic Faith. Her uncle finally relented and gave his permission for Kateri to become a Christian, provided that she did not try to leave the Indian village. At the age of 20, she was baptized with the name Kateri (Catherine after St. Catherin…

St. Henry II: Peacemaker and Patron of Childless Couples

Today is the optional memorial of St. Henry II.

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. A patron of the Benedictines, he was miraculously cured by St. Benedict. Tradition states that Henry wanted to be a Benedictine and lived as an Oblate.

He 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 around 998. She, too, has been proclaimed a saint. The couple remained childless. Some sources claim the two lived chastely, …

7QT: Summer Edition

1. This week, we welcomed our new priests, Fr. Joshua Evans, assistant pastor, on the left, and Fr. C. Jarrod Lies (pronnounced "Lease"), pastor, on the right.

2. I have been working on two new books along with preparing a new project, which I will announce soon. In the meantime, my book Seven Saints for Seven Virtues is doing well and continues to get good reviews.

3. We're gearing up here for the upcoming Midwest Catholic Family Conference, which will be featuring: Matt Maher, Fr. James Kubicki, Tim Staples, Dr. Pia Solenni, Dr. Tim Gray, and more. We attend this every year in August and it just seems to get better and better!

4. This past week, I posted on Catholic Fire this prayer to the Blessed Mother for the healing of our country.

5. Here is an update on my vegetable and flower gardens:

The first tomato the season -- a big boy!

Our State Flower has popped up!

The butterflys really enjoy the purple echinea  (also known as the Eastern purple coneflower, Purple cone…

St. Augustine Zhao Rong, and companions, martyrs

Today, July 9, marks 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.

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 religious, especially from the Order of Preachers, the Paris Foreign Mission Society, the Friars Minor, Jesuits, Salesians and Franciscan Missionaries of Mary.

One of the martyrs was a 14-year-old girl named Ann Wang, who was killed during the Boxer Rebell…

Saint Jeanne-Marie Kerguin, Franciscan Missionary and Martyr

The saint of the day for July 8 is St. Jeanne-Marie Kerguin, Franciscan Missionary and Martyr. Also known as Sr. Marie Santa Natalia, she is is one of the 29 martyrs of China’s Boxer Rebellion, the 1898-1901 uprising against foreign imperialism and Christianity.

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 took over the household chores for the family. In 1887, she joined the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, 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 e…

Novena to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel begins

The feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel is July 16. Her novena begins on July 7.

First Day 

O Beautiful Flower of Carmel, most fruitful vine, splendor of heaven, holy and singular, who brought forth the Son of God, still ever remaining a pure virgin, assist us in our necessity! O Star of the Sea, help and protect us! Show us that you are our Mother!
(pause and mention petitions)

Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.

Second Day 

Most Holy Mary, Our Mother, in your great love for us you gave us the Holy Scapular of Mount Carmel, having heard the prayers of your chosen son Saint Simon Stock. Help us now to wear it faithfully and with devotion. May it be a sign to us of our desire to grow in holiness.
(pause and mention petitions)

Say: Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.

Third Day 

O Queen of Heaven, you gave us the Scapular as an outward sign by which we might be known as your faithful children. may we always wear it with…

St. Maria Goretti: Model of Mercy and Purity

July 6 marks the feast day of St. Maria Goretti, a young virgin and martyr, who is a model of purity and mercy for all. Maria Goretti was 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 …

Prayer to the Blessed Mother for the Healing of our Country

O Most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy, at this most critical time, we entrust the United States of America to your loving care.

Most Holy Mother, we beg you to reclaim this land for the glory of your Son. Overwhelmed with the burden of the sins of our nation, we cry to you from the depths of our hearts and seek refuge in your motherly protection.

Look down with mercy upon us and touch the hearts of our people. Open our minds to the great worth of human life and to the responsibilities that accompany human freedom.

Free us from the falsehoods that lead to the evil of abortion and threaten the sanctity of family life. Grant our country the wisdom to proclaim that God’s law is the foundation on which this nation was founded, and that He alone is the True Source of our cherished rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

O Merciful Mother, give us the courage to reject the culture of death and the strength to build a new Culture of Life.

Happy Independence Day! God bless America!

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD.” -- Psalm 33:12

 "Be free people! What do I mean? Perhaps it is thought that freedom means doing everything one likes, or seeing how far one can go.... This is not freedom. Freedom means being able to think about what we do, being able to assess what is good and what is bad, these are the types of conduct that lead to development; it means always opting for the good. Let us be free for goodness. And in this do not be afraid to go against the tide, even if it is not easy! Always being free to choose goodness is demanding, but it will make you into people with a backbone who can face life, people with courage and patience.... Be men and women with others and for others: true champions at the service of others." 

- Pope Francis

Happy 4th of July!

Fr. Barron on the SCOTUS Same-Sex Marriage Ruling (video)

In the wake of the United States Supreme Court decision regarding same-sex marriage, a not inconsiderable number of Catholics feel beleaguered and more than a little afraid. So what do we do? 

Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle

July 3rd is the feast of St. Thomas the Apostle, the patron saint against doubt. He is also the patron of  architects, blind people, builders, construction workers, geometricians, masons, stone masons, stone workers, surveyors, theologians, India, and Pakistan.

St. Thomas is known for three episodes in John's gospel, in which he appears as an individual. In the first, "Thomas who is called the twin, said, 'Let us also go [to Lazarus' house] that we may die with him'." (11:16)

In the second, at the Last Supper, Thomas said to [Jesus], 'Lord, we do not know where we are going. How can we know the way?' "Jesus replied that He is the way, the truth, and the life (14: 5-6).

In the third, one of the best known episodes in the gospels, "doubting Thomas", hiding with the other disciples in a locked house, one of the twelve" was not with them [when Jesus came to show them His wounds and thus convince them of the truth of the resurrection.]…

Mother Teresa's poem "Life"

Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is bliss, taste it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is costly, care for it.
Life is wealth, keep it.
Life is love, enjoy it.
Life is mystery, know it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.

Why Redefining Marriage is Not the New Civil Rights Movement


St. Bernardino Realino, Model of Charity and Kindness

On July 2, we comemorate St. Bernardino Realino, "the Apostle of Leece",  who was known for his great charity and kindness to the people of that city.

Bernardino was born in 1530 in Capri, Italy, a city located in the northern part of Italy, to noble parents. He studied law and medicine in Bologna and initially became an attorney, followed by a political career, in which he served as judge, tax collector, Superintendent of the fiefs of the marquis of Naples, and mayor of three different cities in Italy.

While in Naples, Bernardino, now 34 years old, he met some priests of the Society of Jesus and made an eight-day retreat with them. During this retreat, he felt a strong call to the religious life and asked the Jesuits for admittance into their Society. He was accepted and ordained a priest in 1567. For ten years he served in Naples, preaching, teaching catechism, visiting the sick, the poor, and those in prison. He also served as the novice master there. Then he was transfe…

Pope Francis' Prayer Intentions for July

The Holy Father's universal prayer intention for July is: “That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity”.

His intention for evangelization is: “That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society”.