Showing posts from November, 2015

Pope's Prayer Intentions for December 2015

The Pope's prayer intentions for December are:

Universal: That all may experience the mercy of God, who never tires of forgiving.

Evangelization: That families, especially those who suffer, may find in the birth of Jesus a sign of certain hope.

New Mother Teresa film: "The Letters"

The Letters is one film I am looking forward to watching, as I am a big fan of Blessed Mother Teresa, who will be canonized St. Teresa of Calcutta on September 5, 2016. The film will be released on December 4. Take a look at the official trailer:

MOTHER TERESA, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, is considered one of the greatest humanitarians of modern times. Her selfless commitment changed hearts, lives and inspired millions throughout the world. THE LETTERS, as told through personal letters she wrote over the last 40 years of her life, reveal a troubled and vulnerable woman who grew to feel an isolation and an abandonment by God. The story is told from the point of view of a Vatican priest charged with the task of investigating acts and events following her death. He recounts her life’s work, her political oppression, her religious zeal and her unbreakable spirit.

Written and directed by William Riead, THE LETTERS stars the acclaimed four-time BAFTA nominated British Actress Julie…

Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle

Today is the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle. He is the patron of fishermen, singers, unmarried women, and women who wish to become mothers.

St. Andrew, son of Jonah, was the brother of the Apostle Peter, and like his brother, was born at Bethsaida in Galilee. He was a disciple of John the Baptist and became the first to follow Jesus. A fisherman like St. Peter, Saint Andrew first introduced Saint Peter to Christ. Both occupied the same house at Capharnaum.

At first the two brothers continued to carry on their fishing trade and family affairs, but later, the Lord called them to stay with Him all the time. He promised to make them fishers of men, and this time, they left their nets for good.

As one of the Twelve Apostles, Andrew was very close to Our Lord during His public life; he was present at the Last Supper; beheld the risen Lord; witnessed the Ascension; shared in the graces and gifts of the first Pentecost, and helped, amid threats and persecution, to establish the Faith in Pal…

St. Andrew Christmas Novena Begins

During Advent, one Catholic tradition is to pray the St. Andrew Christmas novena. The feast of St. Andrew, which takes places on November 30, marks the end of the liturgical year and the beginning of a new year with the start of Advent. In fact, the Sunday that falls nearest to St. Andrew’s feast day is always the first Sunday of Advent.

On the Feast of St. Andrew, November 30, this beautiful prayer is recited fifteen times a dayuntil Christmas. It is a very meditative prayer that helps us focus on the real meaning of Christmas and aids us in preparing our hearts and souls for Christ's coming.


Hail and blessed be the hour and moment
In which the Son of God was born
Of the most pure Virgin Mary,
at midnight,
in Bethlehem,
in the piercing cold.
In that hour vouchsafe, O my God,
to hear my prayer and grant my desires,
[here mention your request]
through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ,
and of His blessed Mother. Amen.

Ten Tips for a Peace-Filled Advent

1. Attend daily Mass and the sacrament of Reconciliation with your family as often as possible.

2. Attend fewer Christmas parties and spend more time in prayer. Pray the Rosary with the family or spend an hour each week in Eucharistic Adoration together. Light a candle for the Blessed Virgin Mary on her feast days.

3. Laugh. Find humor in the events of your everyday life. Watch classic comedies with clean humor.

3. Buy fewer Christmas presents for family. Instead teach them the real meaning of Christmas by giving more of your time, talents, and money to those who need it. Volunteer at the soup kitchen or the homeless shelter. Collect food, toys, coats, and other articles for the needy.

4. Use an Advent calendar and a wreath to mark this time of preparation. Pray Advent prayers with the family when you light up the candle on the wreath. Sing "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" throughout Advent. Pray the Rosary or the Chaplet of Divine Mercy at this time.

5. Take prayer naps -- rest …

St. Catherine Laboure

Today the Church honors St. Catherine of Laboure, the humble Daughter of Charity to whom Mary appeared, requesting that the Miraculous Medal be struck so that all who wear it would receive great graces.

Saint Catherine Laboure was born in Burgundy, France on May 2, 1806. The ninth of eleven children born to a farm family, she felt a call to the religious life from an early age. Catherine entered the community of the Daughters of Charity, in obedience to a vision of Saint Vincent de Paul, telling her that God wanted her to work with the sick.

The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. Catherine Laboure, who was then a 24-year-old novice, three times. On July 18, 1830, the first apparition occurred in the community's motherhouse. St. Catherine saw a lady seated on the right side of the sanctuary. When St. Catherine approached her, the heavenly visitor told her how to act in time of trial and pointed to the altar as the source of all consolation. Promising to entrust St. Catherine with…

Feast of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal

November 27 is the Feast of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. Devotion to and wearing of the Miraculous Medal is second to the Rosary in popularity among traditional Catholic devotions.


In 1830, the Blessed Virgin Mary revealed the design of the Miraculous Medal to St. Catherine Laboure in an apparition.

In Paris, on June 6, 1830, the Lord appeared to the young (age 24) Daughter of Charity novice Catherine at Mass, and again on the nights of July 18-19 when she was summoned to the chapel by a beautiful "child clothed in white" to converse with the Virgin Mary. Catherine was told prophecies and charged with "a mission" that manifested itself on November 27 in an early morning (5:30 am) appearance of the Blessed Virgin who was "clothed in white" standing on a globe and "a serpent." Rays of light issued forth from rings on her fingers and Catherine was told to commission a medal of what she was seeing. Then, turning the letter "M surm…

My Litany of Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for being alive. Thank you, Lord, for the gift of life!

Thank you for creating me in your image and likeness, Lord.

Thank you for my body, which allows me to serve you daily through the tasks I perform for my family, my parish, and my community.

Thank you for the opportunity to exercise every weekday (and occasionally on weekends) at my gym.

Thank you, Lord, for my health.

Thank you for the amazing food choices I have each day and the delicious and nutritious meals that I am able to prepare.

Thank you, Lord, for blessing me not only with the ability to cook, but also with the enjoyment it brings to others, especially those I love.

I am thankful for my mind, which despite my age (ha!), remains active and interested in many things.

I am thankful that I am able to focus, to reason, to retain information, and am still learning new things every day.

Thank you, Lord, that I know who you are and that each new day provides an opportunity for knowing you better…

St. Catherine of Alexandria

Today we celebrate the memorial of St. Catherine of Alexandria (292 - 310), virgin and martyr.

Catherine was beautiful, brilliant, and extremely wealthy at the age of eighteen when she debated the Emperor Maximin (311-313) and harshly criticized him for his persecution of Christians who refused to worship pagan gods. Astounded by her wisdom, Maximin ordered her to be kept confined, and summoned fifty of his most learned philosophers, promising them great rewards if they could get Catherine to abandon her Christian faith. However, her arguments were so convincing that all fifty of the philosophers were converted to Christianity. Outraged by this, Maximin ordered all of them to be burned alive.

Then the Emperor attempted to win Catherine by flattery and by promises, but his efforts proved equally fruitless. Next, he had her thrown into a dungeon, without food and water. He ordered her whipped with rods, scourged with leaden nodules, and then left to languish eleven days without food in…

St. Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions

Today the Church celebrates the memorial of St. Andrew Dung-Lac, priest and martyr, and companions. This group of 117 Vietnamese martyrs were canonized on June 19, 1988 by Pope John Paul II.

St. Andrew Dung-Lac, whose name was originally Dung An Trân,was born about 1795 in a poor and pagan family in Bac-Ninh in North Vietnam. When he was twelve the family moved to Hà-Nôi (Hanoi). There he met the faith through a Catholic lay catechist. He was baptized in Vinh-Tri with the Christian name Andrew (Andrew Dung). After learning Chinese and Latin he became a catechist, and thereafter taught catechism in the country. On March 15, 1823 he was ordained a priest.

As a parish priest in Ke-Dâm he was fervent in his preaching. He was also very prayerful, fasted frequently,  and lived a simple and moral life. He was a good example for the people and converted many. In 1835 he was imprisoned and repeatedly tortured under emperor Minh-Mang's persecutions (he was called Vietnam's emperor Nero…

Pope Francis: widows are image of Church seeking to stay faithful

The Church remains faithful if she keeps her eyes fixed on Jesus, but she becomes lukewarm and mediocre if she seeks comfort in worldly things. That was Pope Francis’ message on Monday as he reflected on the Gospel reading at Mass in the Casa Santa Marta…

Pope Francis noted that the reading from St Luke’s Gospel tells the story of the widow who puts her two coins in the temple treasury box, while other wealthy worshipers make a great show of the money they're putting in. Jesus says that “this poor widow put in more than all the rest” because the others were giving away money from their surplus wealth, while she, in her poverty, “has offered her whole livelihood”. In the Bible, Pope Francis said, the widow is the woman who is alone, who has no husband to look after her, who has to manage on her own, who survives on charity. The widow in this Gospel passage, he said, was “a widow who had placed her trust only in the Lord”. I like to look at the widows in the Gospel, he said, as an …

Blessed Miguel Pro: Twentieth Century Martyr

By Jean M. Heimann

Today is the feast day of Blessed Miguel Pro, a celebrated Christian hero of the twentieth century. This courageous young Jesuit priest was martyred by the Mexican government in 1927 for performing his priestly responsibilities.

Miguel Agustin Pro was born January 13, 1891 in Guadalupe Mexico. He was the eldest son of eleven children born to Miguel Pro, an affluent mining engineer, and Josefa Juarez, a holy and loving mother. Miguel had an extraordinary empathy for the poor and the working classes. He was known for both his playfulness and his piety. He had a wonderful wit and a great sense of humor. At the same time, he had a strong prayer life and was zealous in living out his faith.

In 1909, at the age of twenty, Miguel Augustin Pro joined the Jesuits as a novice in Mexico. One year later, a revolution broke out and by 1914 the Jesuits were forced to flee. Miguel received his seminary training en route to Belgium, where he was ordained in 1925. Father Pro suffere…

7QT: November plus a Giveaway

1. November can be a beautiful month, with the colors of the leaves continuing to change around us. Here are a few nature photos I took recently. When God uses His paint brush, the earth is transformed. Above is the bell tower in front of my parish church just before 5:30pm Mass. Below is a photo of the trees in my back yard. The oak is a brillant reddish brown, while the crabapple is bare, and the mulberry still green.

2. November is a great month for saints. Just in the past couple weeks we have celebrated the feasts of some of my favorite women saints: St. Francis Xavier Cabrini (Mother Cabrini)St. Gertrude the Great and St. Margaret of ScotlandSt. Elizabeth of Hungary,Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne,

3. November is the month we pray for the holy souls in purgatory, but have you ever wondered how to avoid purgatory? Here are Ten Ways to Avoid Purgatory.

4. Want to win a great book? I have just read and reviewed True Radiance: Finding Grace in the Second Half of Life by Lisa Mladini…

Novena to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal begins

(Recite this prayer for nine consecutive days.)

O Immaculate Virgin Mary,
Mother of Our Lord Jesus and our Mother,
penetrated with the most lively confidence in your all-powerful and never-failing intercession, manifested so often through the Miraculous Medal,
we your loving and trustful children implore you to obtain for us the graces and favors we ask during this novena,
if they be beneficial to our immortal souls,
and the souls for whom we pray.

(Here mention your petition)

You know, O Mary, how often our souls have been the sanctuaries of your Son who hates iniquity.
Obtain for us then a deep hatred of sin and that purity of heart which will attach us to God alone so that our every thought, word and deed may tend to His greater glory.

Obtain for us also a spirit of prayer and self-denial that we may recover by penance what we have lost by sin and at length attain to that blessed abode where you are the Queen of angels and of men.

True Radiance: A Book Review and Giveaway

Lisa Mladinich is a lovely lady with whom I have been acquainted for many years. When I heard she had written True Radiance: Finding Grace in the Second Half of Life, I knew I had to read it. Lisa is exactly the kind of woman you desire to emulate – she is beautiful, intelligent, graceful, wise, congenial, passionate about her faith, and gifted in many areas. A former actress, she is a Catholic wife and mother, a catechist and workshop leader, and the author of three books.

Even before opening this book, I had high expectations. After reading it, all my expectations were not only met, but they were exceeded. True Radiance is a beautiful book written for women  in the second half of their lives, which is intended to: guide them to gratitude, help them appreciate their inner beauty, and renew their spirit by developing a deep faith in God.  The chapters focus on: authentic feminine beauty, the sacramentality of our changing bodies, understanding and caring for our aging brain (which in…

Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne

November 18th is the optional memorial of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, a French Religious Sister and educator. She is the foundress of the American branch of the Society of the Sacred Heart.

Saint Rose was born on August 29, 1769 at Grenoble, France to a family of wealth and political connections. When she was eight years old, she heard a Jesuit missionary speak of his missionary work in America, which sparked a strong desire within her to evangelize. She was educated at home until she was twelve years old, when she was sent to the convent of the Visitation nuns in Grenoble to continue her studies. She joined them when she was nineteen without the permission or knowledge of her family.

Her convent closed quite abruptly during the Reign of Terror of the French Revolution. She spent the next ten years living as a laywoman, but continued to live as if she were still with her Order. She established a school for poor children, cared for the sick and hid priests from the Revolutionaries. …

St. Elizabeth of Hungary

Today many of us are entertained and fascinated by the lifestyles of royalty and their romantic adventures in movies. However, St. Elizabeth was a genuine princess, who served as an exemplary model of the heroic virtues of charity and humility. Her life is true love story.

Born in Bratislava, Hungary in 1207, Princess Elizabeth was the daughter of King Andrew of Hungary and his wife Gertrude. Her aunt was St. Hedwig and her great niece was St. Elizabeth of Portugal.

Elizabeth was betrothed at the age of four to Prince Herman of Thuringia (in central Germany) and grew up in his father's court. In 1216, Hermann, who Elizabeth was to marry, died. After this, she then became engaged to Ludwig, the second son. The couple married when she was fourteen and he was twenty-one.  She loved him and bore him three children. They were very happy together and deeply devoted to one another. Ludwig was protective of his wife and the couple often prayed together, holding hands while kneeling in pr…

Today's Saints: St. Gertrude the Great and St. Margaret of Scotland

St. Gertrude was born in Eisleben, Germany in 1256. As a five-year-old, she was received into the monastery of the Cistercian nuns in Helfta. She was an intellectually gifted student with a gentle disposition who applied herself to her studies, concentrating on literature and philosophy.

At the age of 26, Gertrude had the first of many visions of Jesus which brought about a deep interior conversion, drawing her into the innermost recesses of His Sacred Heart. Her heart symbolically united in a vision to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, she was a precursor of the later devotion to the Sacred Heart. She also advocated frequent reception of the Eucharist and devotion to St Joseph.

Similar to other mystics, such as St. Teresa of Avila, the Passion of Christ was her favorite devotion and when she meditated on it, or on the blessed Eucharist, she was often unable to control the torrents of tears which flowed from her eyes. She frequently went into ecstasy when she meditated or focused on the gre…

Prayer for Paris

Saint Genevieve, you who by the days before, penance and prayer, ensured the protection of Paris, intercede near God for us, for our country, for the devoted Christian hearts. You who cured the sick and fed the hungry, obtain the light of God and make us stronger to reject temptation. You who had the concern of the poor, protect the sick, the abandoned, and the unemployed. You who resisted the armies and encouraged the besieged, give us the direction for truth and justice. You who through the centuries never ceased taking care of your people, help us to keep the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ. May your example be for us, an encouragement to always seek God and serve him through our brothers and sisters. Amen.

-- Thanks to Karina Fabian

Litany to Saint Genevieve

Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God th…

Miracles from Heaven: Official Trailer

MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN is based on the incredible true story of the Beam family. When Christy (Jennifer Garner) discovers her 10-year-old daughter Anna (Kylie Rogers) has a rare, incurable disease, she becomes a ferocious advocate for her daughter’s healing as she searches for a solution. After Anna has a freak accident and falls three stories, a miracle unfolds in the wake of her dramatic rescue that leaves medical specialists mystified, her family restored and their community inspired.

MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN is slated to be released in theaters nationwide Friday, March 18, 2016. The movie features Garner, Martin Henderson, John Carroll Lynch and Kylie Rogers, with Eugenio Derbez and Queen Latifah.

St. Frances Xavier Cabrini: Patron of hospitals, immigrants, and orphans

St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, commonly known as "Mother Cabrini", was the first American citizen to be canonized a saint. Born in Lombardy, Italy in 1850, (one of thirteen children), she founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart in 1880 and established many hospitals, schools, and orphanages.

In 1889, she set out for the United States and arrived in New York, where she and six other Sisters worked with the poor, especially with Italian immigrants. Over the next 28 years, she founded numerous schools, hospitals, and orphanages.

Mother Cabrini was not a strong person physically, but she had a great inner strength. She had an unbending belief and trust in God. Throughout her life and in all her many undertakings, she always knew that God would provide for her and the many schools, hospitals, orphanages, and missions which she founded.

In 1909 Mother Cabrini became an American citizen. She died in Chicago on December 22, 1917.  Her remains are laid to rest in Mother Cabr…

St. Josaphat, Patron Saint of the Ukraine

By Jean M. Heimann

On November 12, the Church celebrates the memorial of St. Josaphat, a Ukrainian Basilian monk. The saint’s birth occurred during a grim period for the Ruthenian Church. At the beginning of the sixteenth century the Ruthenian Church, suffered greatly following its severance from Rome, and the entire body of its clergy became notorious for their ignorance and brutality. After the Union of Berest in 1596, the Ruthenian Church was divided into two opposing parties – the Uniates and those who persisted in schism – each with its own hierarchy. Josaphat is known for being one of the victims of this schism.

St. Josaphat was born in the Ukraine of Ruthenian Orthodox parents about the year 1580 and was given the name John at baptism. His parents raised him to live a holy life. He applied himself with great zeal to his religious studies and to his prayer life – learning the breviary and reciting it from a young age. He also developed relationships with men of character and hig…

St. Martin of Tours, a soldier in the "Army of God"

Not only is it Veteran's day today, but it is the memorial of St. Martin of Tours, a soldier in the "Army of God" who is the patron saint of soldiers.

Saint Martin was born to pagan parents in Hungary. When he was fifteen years old, he was enrolled in the Roman armies and went to serve in Gaul, the land he was predestined to evangelize one day.

The most famous episode of this period in his life is his meeting with a poor man almost naked in the dead of winter, and trembling with cold. Martin did not have a penny to give him, but he remembered the text of the Gospel: “I was naked, and you clothed Me.”

“My friend,” he said, “I have nothing but my weapons and my garments.”

And taking up his sword, he divided his cloak into two parts and gave one to the beggar.

The following night he saw Jesus Christ in a dream, clothed with this half-cloak and saying to His Angels: “It is Martin, still a catechumen, who covered Me.”

Soon afterwards he was baptized.

Charity, purity, and bra…

Veterans' Day: A Personal Tribute and a Prayer

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day in the eleventh month of the year 1918, an armistice was signed, ending the "war to end all wars." November 11 was set aside as Armistice Day in the United States to remember the sacrifices that men and women made during the war in order to ensure a lasting peace. In 1938 Congress voted Armistice Day as a legal holiday, but World War II began the following year. Armistice Day was still observed after the end of the Second World War. In 1953 townspeople in Emporia, Kansas called the holiday Veterans' Day in gratitude to the veterans in their town. Soon after, Congress passed a bill renaming the national holiday to Veterans' Day. Today, we remember those who have served for our country in the armed forces in our prayers. Thank you, veterans, for serving our country and protecting our freedoms!

I am especially thankful to those in my own family who have served in the Armed Forces -- my dad, my brother, and my sister. My dad serv…

St. Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor

Today the Church celebrates the memorial of St. Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor. He is regarded as one of the most important of the Western Fathers of the Church.

St. Leo the Great (d. 461) was born in Rome of Italian nobility. As a deacon of the Church, he opposed the heresy of Pelagianism, which taught that grace was not necessary for salvation, but was rather a bonus that God granted to those who earned it by their good works. He was elevated to the office of Pope in 440 and reigned as pope for twenty-one years. As pope, St. Leo labored strenuously to safeguard the integrity of the faith and vigorously defended the unity of the Church. He affirmed the full divinity and humanity of Christ. His most famous writing, commonly known as the Tome of St. Leo (449), was the basis of the Council of Chalcedon's dogmatic definition of Christ as one Divine Person possessing two complete natures, human and divine.

When Attila the Hun marched on Rome, Leo went out to meet him and pleaded for …

Ten Ways to Avoid Purgatory

Someone recently  asked me, "How do I avoid purgatory?" I had a few suggestions, but here are ten specific ways to avoid it:

1. In every prayer you say, every Mass you hear, every Communion you receive, every good work you perform, have the express intention of imploring God to grant you a holy and happy death and no Purgatory. Surely God will hear a prayer said with such confidence and perseverance.

2. Always wish to do God's will. It is in every sense the best for you. When you do or seek anything that is not God's will, you are sure to suffer. Say fervently, therefore, each time you recite the Our Father: "Thy will be done"

3. Accept all the sufferings, sorrows, pains and disappointments of life, be they great or small: ill health, loss of goods, the death of your dear ones, heat or cold, rain or sunshine, as coming from God. Bear them calmly and patiently for love of Him and in penance for your sins. Of course one may use all his efforts to ward off tr…