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Showing posts from March, 2016

St. Mary of Egypt: Patroness of Penitent Women

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April 1 is the feast of an obscure saint, whose life illustrates the power of forgiveness, healing, and redemption the Church provides. St. Mary of Egypt was a prostitute for 17 years before she chose the life of a hermitess. She is the patroness of penitent women and reformed prostitutes.

Mary of Egypt, who was born in 344 A.D, moved to Alexandria when she was 12 years old and worked as a prostitute for more than seventeen years. She joined a large group that was making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, fully intending to continue her trade.

On the feast day itself, she joined the crowd as it was headed to the church in order to venerate the relic of the True Cross, again with the goal of tempting others into sin. However, when she reached the door of the church, she was unable to enter. A miraculous force pushed her away from the door each time she approached. After trying to get in several times, Mary of Egypt moved to a corner of the chu…

U.S. Congressman Chris Smith Reflects on Mother Angelica

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Jason Calvi speaks with Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) about his memories of Mother Angelica.

Three Lessons Mother Angelica Taught Me

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Credit: CNA, EWTN
By Jean M. Heimann

I was both saddened and joyful when I learned of the death of Mother Angelica on Easter Sunday, March 27. What a beautiful bride of the Lord! She offered her entire self to Him – body, mind, spirit, and soul. Now, I pray that she is rejoicing in ecstasy with Him for all eternity. Although I did not know Mother Angelica personally, I felt that we were the best of friends. She had that effect on people, not only with me, but with people all over the world. She was a down-to-earth, commonsense type of person who always spoke the truth. She was witty, feisty, funny, and sometimes a little over the top. She was herself and did not put on any airs and I think that is why we loved her. She was warm, empathetic, and very human.

I first heard about Mother Angelica in the ‘80s, shortly after I returned to the Church following a fifteen year absence. I heard that there was a cloistered nun who was appearing on TV who was really shaking things up in the secular…

He is Risen! Alleluia! He is Risen Indeed!

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Wishing all of you and your loved ones a glorious Easter!
Jean

Divine Mercy Novena begins on Good Friday

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The Divine Mercy novena is prayed between Good Friday and the Sunday of Divine Mercy, which is the Sunday following Easter. Those praying the novena are to pray for the special intentions of each day followed by the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

St. Faustina wrote that Jesus told her, “On each day of the novena you will bring to My heart a different group of souls and you will immerse them in this ocean of My mercy … On each day you will beg My Father, on the strength of My passion, for the graces for these souls.”

(Diary of Faustina, 1209)

Special intentions for souls during the Divine Mercy Novena:

Day 1 (Good Friday) — All mankind, especially sinners

Day 2 (Holy Saturday) — The souls of priests and religious

Day 3 (Easter Sunday) — All devout and faithful souls

Day 4 (Easter Monday) — Those who do not believe in Jesus and those who do not yet know Him

Day 5 (Easter Tuesday) — The souls of separated brethren

Day 6 (Easter Wednesday) — The meek and humble souls and the souls of children

Blogging Break for Holy Week

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I will be taking a brief blogging break during the holiest week of the Liturgical Year and will return after Easter. Have a blessed and prayerful Holy Week!

Praying Through Holy Week

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Discover how the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist from Duluth pray during Holy Week, and discover something you can use in your prayer life as we walk with Jesus from his entry into Jerusalem, to Calvary and the Resurrection. The unique prayer commitment Fr. Mike suggests in this video follows Jesus through all of his experiences—from suffering to celebration—in this the holiest week of the year.

Miracles from Heaven: A Movie Review

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Miracles from Heaven is based on the 2015 memoir of Christy Beam (Jennifer Garner), whose daughter suffers from a rare fatal intestinal disease and is miraculously healed by a freak accident. It is the story of this mother’s struggle to initially get her daughter diagnosed after doctors tell her there is nothing seriously wrong with ten-year-old Annabelle (Kylie Rogers), who suffers from constant, severe pain, and abdominal bloating despite diet changes and prescribed medication.

Faith is the theme which runs through the film. The family, which consists of Kevin Beam (Martin Henderson), a large animal veterinarian, Christy, wife and mother, and three daughters, Abbie, 13, Annabelle (nicknamed Anna), 10, and Adelyn, 6, are a loving, happy Christian family from Burleson, Texas (near Fort Worth), who appear to be tuned into their faith. As Christians, they faithfully attend worship services as a family and hear their pastor give a homily on the importance of faith, telling them that it i…

St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church

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March 19 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 Josep…

St. Patrick: Apostle of Ireland

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Today is the feast of St. Patrick, who was a missionary and bishop and is known as the "Apostle of Ireland." He is the patron saint of Ireland.

St. Patrick 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 France 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 woul…

St. Clement Mary Hofbauer: Apostle of Vienna

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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" due to the long period of time he served that city. He is a co-patron saint of both Vienna and Warsaw.

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.

St. Louise de Marillac: Patroness of Social Workers

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The saint of the day for March 15 is St. Louise de Marillac, the co-founder, with Saint Vincent de Paul, of the Daughters of Charity. She is the patroness of: disappointing children, those rejected by religious orders, widows, sick people, and social workers.

Louise was born in Ferrières-en-Brie (near Meaux), Auvergne, France, on August 12, 1591. Born out of wedlock in Paris in 1581, Louise never knew who her mother was but was acknowledged and raised by her father, a member of the aristocracy. When her father married, Louise had a difficult time adjusting as she was sent as a resident student to a Dominican convent where her aunt was a religious. This experience deepened her intellectual skills, as well as her desire to be a religious. When her father died and resources were limited, she lived in a boarding house where she had the opportunity to learn many domestic skills, as well as the secrets of herbal medicine.

When Louise was about sixteen years old, she developed a strong desi…

St. Matilda: Queen of Germany

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Today is the feast of St. Matilda, the Queen of Germany and wife of Henry I. She was born in Engern, Westphalia, Germany in 895 to Count Detrich and his wife, Reinhild. Raised by her grandmother, an abbess, she entered into an arranged marriage with King Henry the Fowler of Saxony in 909. Matilda became the mother of: Otto I, Emperor of Germany; Henry, Duke of Bavaria; St. Bruno, Archbishop of Cologne; Gerberga, who married Louis IV of France; Hedwig, the mother of Hugh Capet. As queen, Matilda was humble, holy, charitable, and very generous -- always ready to help the poor and the down-trodden.

Following her husband's death, Matilda made an unsuccessful attempt to secure the throne for her favorite son Henry, but his elder brother was elected and crowned in 936. Later, the two brothers joined in persecuting their mother, whom they accused of having impoverished the crown by her lavish almsgiving. To satisfy them, she renounced the possessions the deceased king had left her, and …

Bishop Barron on The Doritos Commercial

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Novena to St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church

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March 19 is the feast of St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church. The novena is from March 10-18.

"Saint Joseph gave me everything I asked for," said St. Teresa of Avila.  Please go to Saint Joseph with invincible childlike confidence like St. Teresa of Avila, who said: "For some years now, I think, I have made some request of him every year on his feast day and I have always had it granted. If my petition is in any way ill directed, he directs it aright for my greater good."

Prayer

O Saint Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires.

O Saint Joseph, assist me by your powerful intercession and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers.

O Saint Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your a…

Saint John Ogilvie: Man of Faith, Forgiveness, Courage, and Love

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Today, the Church celebrates the life of Saint John Ogilvie, a former Calvinist who was martyred in Scotland during the Protestant Reformation.

St. John Ogilvie was born of a noble Scottish family in 1579 and was raised as a Calvinist. He converted to Catholicism at the age of 17 when he studied abroad at the Scots College in Louvain, Belgium. He attended several Catholic schools and soon discovered a call to join the Jesuits. In 1599, he entered the Jesuit novitiate in Vienna and was ordained in Paris in 1610, the year before the last two Jesuits working in Scotland were obliged to leave as persecution intensified.

He returned to Scotland in November 1614 disguised as a soldier, and began to preach in secret, celebrating mass clandestinely in private homes. However, his ministry was to last less than a year. In 1614, he was betrayed and arrested and taken to jail.

There, he suffered terrible tortures, including being kept awake for eight days and nine nights, in an attempt to make h…

St. Frances of Rome: Wife, Mother, Mystic

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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…

St. John of God, Patron of the Sick and Dying

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On March 7, the Church honors St. John of God, Founder of the Order of the Brothers Hospitalers, which bears his name. He is the patron of the sick, the dying, firefighters, and alcoholics.

St. John of God was born on March 8, 1495 in a small village in the south of Portugal called Montemor-o-Novo. At the age of eight, he left home and was raised by a Spanish family in Oropesa. John spent most of his life as a wanderer, working as a shepherd, soldier, a religious bookseller and laborer, traveling in Europe and North Africa.

When St. John of God settled in Granada around the age of forty he was so deeply moved by a homily of Blessed John of Avila, that he gave away all his worldly possessions to the poor and went about the city beating his breast, begging for God’s mercy. His conversion experience was so dramatic in its intensity that he was locked up in a lunatic asylum, where he was flogged and placed in solitary confinement.

His brief experience of this kind of treatment made him f…

Top Ten Favorite Films of 2015

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My favorite films for 2015 include the following:

Family



1. Paddington (PG)
2. Cinderella (PG)
3. The Peanuts Movie (G)
4. Inside Out (PG)
5. McFarland USA (PG)

Mature

1. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (PG 13)
2. Do You Believe? (PG 13)
3. Far From The Madding Crowd (PG 13)
4. Where Hope Grows (PG 13)
5. Woman in Gold (PG 13)

Bishop Barron on “The Revenant” (Spoilers)

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Bishop Robert Barron comments on "The Revenant":



Sts. Perpetua and Felicity, Mothers and Martyrs

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On March 7, the Church honors Sts. Perpetua and Felicity, early Christian martyrs and mothers. 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.

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,…

7QT: Spiritual Renewal, Spring, Saints, and Sanctity

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1. Spiritual Renewal -- This year, we are celebrating 30 years of Eucharistic Adoration in our parish, so for our parish mission, we had the sons and daughters of our parish who have entered into the consecrated life return to their home parish to talk about their religious vocations and how Eucharistic Adoration shaped their vocations and impacted their lives. Here I am with the beautiful Sister Sophia Grace, who entered the Franciscan Sisters, TOR of Penance of the Sorrowful Mother. They are a contemplative-active order who "make known God's merciful love" by dedication to prayer and intercession, service to the poor and the sick, and the evangelization at parishes and college campuses. You can learn more about them at their website Franciscans@Torsisters.org or connect with them on Facebook, Youtube, Linked-In or Blogger. Sr. Sophia gives a brief summary of her call on their website. Here is an even more beautiful photo of Sr. Sophia Grace making her perpetual profess…

Prayer to Mary at Election Time

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O most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy,
we entrust the United States of America to your loving care.
and 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.
Trusting in your most powerful intercession, we pray:
Remember, O most gra…

St. Katharine Drexel: Model of Charity

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Katharine Drexel at 16                    Mother Drexel
On March 3, the Church celebrates the feast of 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. She is the patron saint of racial justice and philanthropists.

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on November 26, 1858, Katharine Drexel was the second daughter of Francis Anthony Drexel and Hannah Langstroth. Hannah died about a month after Katherine's birth.

A few years later, Katharine’s father, a wealthy and prominent banker and philanthropist, married Emma Bouvier – a distant aunt to Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onasis. Emma…

St. Angela of the Cross: Mother of the Poor

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Today, March 2, the Church honors St. Angela of the Cross, foundress of the Institute of the Sisters of the Company of the Cross.

Born in 1846 in Seville, Spain, and given the baptismal name "Maria of the Angels" Guerrero Gonzalez, Angela was affectionately known as "Angelita". Her father worked as a cook and her mother a laundress in a Trinitarian Fathers convent. They had 14 children, with only six reaching adulthood.

Angelita was greatly influenced by the teaching and example of her pious parents, and was taught from an early age how to pray the Rosary. She could often be found in the parish church praying before the image of "Our Lady of Good Health", while her mother prepared a nearby altar. In their own home, a simple altar was erected in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary during the month of May, where the family would recite the Rosary and give special honor to Our Lady.

Angelita made her First Communion when she was eight, and her Confirmation whe…

Saint David of Wales: Patron of Poets and Wales

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On March 1, the Church celebrates the feast of Saint David of Wales, the patron of the Welsh people and one of the most prominent British saints. He is commemorated as a sixth century missionary bishop and the founder of numerous monasteries, including his main abbey in southwestern Wales.

David was a popular namesake for churches in Wales prior to the Anglican schism. More than fifty churches in Wales were named after him. His feast day continues to be an important religious and civic observance today.

Although Pope Benedict XVI did not visit Wales during his 2010 trip to the U.K., he blessed a mosaic icon of its patron, and praised St. David as “one of the great saints of the sixth century, that golden age of saints and missionaries in these isles, and...thus a founder of the Christian culture which lies at the root of modern Europe.”

Little is known of David’s life. However, we do know that he was born to Sant, a prince of Cardigan, and St. Non, the daughter of a chieftain in arou…