Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Novena for the Nativity of Our Lady - Day 2

The Feast of the Birth of Mary is a opportunity for everyone to reflect upon the moment of Divine Grace, in which God had dwelled within the Blessed Virgin Mary at the moment of her birth. Secondly, we are provided with the opportunity to reflect upon the anticipation of the people who awaited the Incarnation and birth of the Divine Son of Mary. Thirdly, we are provided with the opportunity to honour the mother of Our Lord and Saviour.

Mary was created to be a Channel of Mercies. When she came into the world, it was not only for her glory, but also for our good. Through the fullness of her grace, Mary intercedes on our behalf, dispensing to us the grace of God, so that we may be touched by her fullness .

Let us faithfully pray the Novena for the Feast of Birth of Mary , Mother of God

Second Day: O Chosen One among the daughters of Adam, admirable Mary, the Son of God delights in your birth, for He beholds the one chosen to be His Mother, and oh! such a beloved Mother. May your birth give joy to my soul also, by obtaining from your divine Son the grace to be born again spiritually to a holy life, perfectly conformed to yours, so that I may merit to obtain eternal glory.

Hail Mary...

The prayer of each day is ended by the following:
 
Antiphon: Your Nativity, O Virgin Mother of God, was the herald of joy to the whole world; since from you arose the Sun of Justice, Christ our God, who, destroying the curse, bestowed the blessing, and confounding death, rewarded us with life everlasting.

    V. Let us celebrate with joy the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
    R. That she may intercede for us with Our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Let us pray

Grant to us your servants, we beseech you, O Lord, the gift of Your heavenly grace, that as our salvation was begun in the child-bearing of the Blessed Virgin, so from this solemn festival of her Nativity may we obtain an increase of peace. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco: A Culture without Children and the Elderly is Warped

(www.zenit.org) The family is a school of humanity and faith.

Speaking of Italy's negative birthrate (-0.047%), the cardinal asserted that "demographic balance is not only necessary for the physical survival of a community -- which without children has no future -- but is also a condition for that alliance between generations that is essential for a normal democratic dialectic."

A culture without children and without elderly people is seriously warped and unable to function, says the president of the Italian Episcopal Conference.

Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa, made this affirmation Sunday when he celebrated the solemnity of the Madonna della Guardia with a Mass at the shrine of Liguria at the top of Mount Figogna.

The prelate reflected on the beauty of fidelity and on the family as the "womb of life." READ MORE

A Good Teacher

Benedict XVI Recommends "God's Style"

(Zenit.org).- Noting that people frequently live according to a "style of pagans," Benedict XVI is encouraging forging one's life in another mode: "the style of God."

This was the exhortation the Pope made Sunday at the beginning of a Mass he celebrated in Castel Gandolfo with a group of his former students, who were gathered for their annual study weekend. The "Ratzinger Schulerkreis" looked this year at the theme of the implementation of the Second Vatican Council.

The Holy Father's reflection focused on Sunday's Gospel, in which Christ tells the parable of those who seek the places of honor at a wedding banquet, Vatican Radio reported.


Happy 48th Independence Day T&T

It’s been said that Trinidad and Tobago (T&T)  is barely more than a dot on a map of the world. For a small (population of 1.3M), nation, on its 48th anniversary of independence, the country has undoubtedly made its mark on the international scene. This developing country, the most southerly island in the Caribbean, has created several historical first. We are the homeland of steelpan, calypso, soca and Brian Lara the greatest batsman the world has ever seen.

T&T boasts of having two Miss Universe winners in Janelle Commissiong Chow (1977) and Wendy Fitzwilliam (1998), and a Miss World (Giselle La Ronde West) in 1986. Add to these Hasely Crawford’s 100 metres victory at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, a slew of world-renowned writers, academics and athletes who continue to make an impact on the international scene.


Monday, August 30, 2010

50 Best Websites 2010


From the helpful to the distracting, the big hitters to the unknowns, TIME offers a road map to the best of the Web! Visit this article to take a look at the 50 best websites of 2010...

Movie Review: Nanny McPhee Returns


Nanny McPhee Returns is charming, oh so British, family-friendly fun.  Emma Thompson is back as the scary to look at, but wise, no nonsense, magical Nanny McPhee.  This time Nanny is back in 1940’s wartime England in a bucolic town outside of London.  Her task is to help harried Mum, Isabel (Maggie Gyllenhaal) look after her three energetic country kids, Vincent (Oscar Steer), Norman (Asa Butterfield), and Megsie (Lil Woods) and their visiting city cousins, the spoiled and uppity Cyril (Eros Vlahos) and Celia (Rosie Taylor-Ritson).  With the Dad off fighting in the war, Mum struggles alone to save the farm from the clutches of gambling Uncle Phil (Rhys Ifans) all while holding down a job at the local shop and managing five unruly children.  Thank goodness for Nanny McPhee.
The world that Nanny McPhee creates with the tap of her walking stick is one where pigs fly and do synchro swimming, children share beds with goats, cows and elephants and most importantly learn five important lessons that change the course of things.
There is so much that is sweet and charming in this movie that the childish animal poop jokes and silly fantasy sequences only add to the wonderful childlike tone and innocence that makes Nanny McPhee Returns so delightful.  Having the movie set in the 1940’s, with the wonderful music of that era keeps the mood light despite some of the darker subjects of war.
Emma Thompson has done a wonderful job with the writing and acting in this movie.  Perhaps Nanny McPhee will be back for a third visit in another place and time.  With excellent acting all around, the beautiful English countryside, lovely 1940’s music and a wonderfully silly story Nanny McPhee Returns will delight younger children and their parents.  This grown-up found it charming and delightful.

New video on World Youth Day Madrid 2011

Hot Wing Won tons


Wontons are a favourite in our country and family. Here is an easy and delicious recipe from Tasty Kitchen

 Ingredients

   * ½ gallons Oil, For Frying
    * 1 cup Finely Chopped Cooked Chicken
    * ⅓ cups Finely Chopped Cabbage
    * 1 whole Carrot Grated
    * 1 whole Celery Stalk Finely Chopped
    * ½ cups Saucy Mama Hot Wing Sauce
    * 1 package (12 Oz. Package) Wonton Wrappers
    * 1 whole Egg, Beaten With A Little Water
    * 1 cup Blue Cheese Dressing, For Serving

Preparation Instructions

In a deep-sided pot, heat your oil to 350F using a thermometer. Meanwhile, mix together chicken, cabbage, carrot, celery and wing sauce.

Lay out a few wrappers and put a teaspoon of filling in the middle of each.

Brush all 4 sides with a little egg wash and then fold wrapper over and press out all the air and seal the edges.

You can then either leave them in triangles or, for a more bite size package, fold the corners in to create a little purse. Continue until all the wontons are done.

Gently drop 4 or 5 wontons in the hot oil at a time, frying until golden brown all over, about 1-2 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Serve with blue cheese dipping sauce and enjoy!

Pope Assures Prayers for Trapped Chilean Miners

(Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is promising his prayers for the 33 Chilean miners trapped since Aug. 5.
 
The Pope recalled the plight of the miners during Spanish-language greetings to the crowds who gathered with him at Castel Gandolfo to pray the midday Angelus.

He expressed his "particular affection for the miners who are trapped in the San Jose mine in the Chilean region of Atacama" and he said that he commends them and their families to the intercession of St. Lawrence, patron of miners.

The miners were discovered alive last week (17 days after being trapped) when they tied a note to a drill that was looking for them. However, at 2,300 feet (700 meters) below ground, it is estimated that it will take three to four months to dig a shaft wide enough to pull the men out. Digging was supposed to begin today, though the search is on for a faster solution.

The Pontiff assured the miners of his "spiritual closeness and his continuous prayers, so that they maintain calm as they await a happy fulfillment of the work being done for their rescue."

Daily Reading & Meditation Monday (August 30)

"No prophet is acceptable in his own country"Luke 4:16-30

Meditation: How would you react if Jesus spoke this message from the pulpit of your church?

The word "gospel" literally means "good news". Isaiah had prophesied that the Messiah would come in the power of the Holy Spirit to bring freedom to those oppressed by sin and evil (see Isaiah 61:1-2). Jesus came to set people free from the worst tyranny possible – the tyranny of slavery to sin and the fear of death, and the destruction of both body and soul. God's power alone can save us from emptiness and poverty of spirit, from confusion and error, and from the fear of death and hopelessness. The gospel of salvation is "good news" for us today. Do you know the joy and freedom of the gospel? 

"Lord Jesus, you are the fulfillment of all our hopes and desires. Your Spirit brings us grace, truth, life, and freedom. Fill me with the joy of the gospel and inflame my heart with love and zeal for you and for your will".

Sunday, August 29, 2010

May God continue to bless our nation.

On Tuesday  (Trinidad & Tobago) will celebrate 48 years of Independence from British Colonial rule. What does Independence mean to you? What role are you playing in building our nation?

As Pope Benedict XVI said: “Freedom is not only a gift, but also a summons to personal responsibility... .The preservation of freedom calls for the cultivation of virtue, self-discipline, sacrifice for the common good and a sense of responsibility towards the less fortunate.

It also demands the courage to engage in civic life and to bring one’s deepest beliefs and values to reasoned public debate. In a word, freedom is ever new. It is a challenge held out to each generation, and it must constantly be won over for the cause of good.”
Our Independence Day celebrations should be underpinned by a call to unity and service, a call to regenerate the moral and spiritual values of our society and to promote integral human development. In the words of the Holy Father, “...a democracy without values can lose its very soul”.

Pope: There Can Be No Peace Without Respect for Environment



During his Sunday Angelus Address, Pope Benedict said he was thinking with particular affection of the trapped miners in San Jose, Chile. He assured them and their families of his constant prayer in the hope of a happy conclusion to the work that's being done to rescue them. The 33 Chilean miners have been trapped for more than 20 days 700 meters below ground. The Holy Father also recalled that on September 1st in Italy, the Church marks the Day for the Integrity of Creation. He made note that is now a regular event, which is also important at an ecumenical level. He said this year reminds us that there can be no peace without respect for the environment

Castel Sant'Angelo: prison, barracks and residence of popes



The Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome figures prominently in the history of Rome and the history of the Church.

This indestructable fortress was built in the year 125 as the tomb for the Emperor Hadrian. Later the popes used it as a residence, a secure fortress and a high-security prison.

Now the castle's entrances are open allowing the hidden secrets of the place to be revealed. It's a personal view of the history of Rome and the Church.

TWENTY-SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

In today’s Gospel Jesus contrasts people at a banquet who vie for the places of honor with a host who invites “the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind.” Such a host will not be repaid by wealthy guests in this life, but “will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” As we open our hearts with Pope Benedict this month to the unemployed and homeless, to those who are forced to leave their homes because of religious or political persecution, hunger, or war, let us reflect on something Pope Benedict said on January 4, 2008 when he visited a shelter run by the Missionaries of Charity in Rome.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

United Kingdom issues three stamps on the Pope and Cardinal Newman

 
It's been 28 years since the last visit of a pope to the United Kingdom. So Benedict's trip has generated much excitement in the British Isles, so much so that the Postal Service of the Isle of Man has issued three stamps to commemorate the Pope's visit to the UK.

The image is a photograph of Pope Benedict XVI during a general audience in June 2009. The two stamps in honor of Cardinal Newman feature two portraits of the future blessed.

The stamps are likely to be a collector's item for a historic occasion.

One of my favourite saints - ST. AUGUSTINE (354-430)

St. Augustine (354-430) was born at Tagaste, Africa, and died in Hippo. His father, Patricius, was a pagan; his mother, Monica, a devout Christian. He received a good Christian education. As a law student in Carthage, however, he gave himself to all kinds of excesses and finally joined the Manichean sect. He then taught rhetoric at Milan where he was converted by St. Ambrose. Returning to Tagaste, he distributed his goods to the poor, and was ordained a priest. He was made bishop of Hippo at the age of 41 and became a great luminary of the African Church, one of the four great founders of religious orders, and a Doctor of the universal Church.

Favourite Quotes:

“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.”

 'A thing is not necessarily true because badly uttered, nor false because spoken magnificently.'

'Beauty is indeed a good gift of God; but that the good may not think it a great good, God dispenses it even to the wicked.'

'Charity is no substitute for justice withheld.'

'Complete abstinence is easier than perfect moderation.'

'Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.'

'Give me chastity and continence, but not yet.'

'God had one son on earth without sin, but never one without suffering.'

'God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.'

'He that is kind is free, though he is a slave; he that is evil is a slave, though he be a king.'

'He who created us without our help will not save us without our consent.'

'Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.'

PRAYER OF ST. AUGUSTINE

EVER ANCIENT, EVER NEW

Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Rome's homeless celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Mother Teresa's birth



The Vatican celebrated the centenary of the birth of Mother Teresa of Calcutta with a Mass presided over by the Pope's Vicar for Vatican City, Cardinal Angelo Comastri.

The celebration took place in the center of Rome at the Church of San Lorenzo, which was filled with women wearing blue and white saris, the habit of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity, founded by Mother Teresa.

Also onhand were members of the various branches of the Order, including the sisters living a contemplative life. They were accompanied by volunteers and homeless people who are welcomed at the house of the Sisters.

In a packed church and with a festive atmosphere, Cardinal Comastri highlighted the virtues of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.

Currently the congregation has 4,500 sisters and is present in 133 countries. Their work focuses on welcoming the poor and visiting the sick and imprisoned. Mother Teresa use to say that she had no time to think about big projects, and that she was only interested in helping those in need right now.
For Mother Tersea, the important thing was to help with a loving attitude and spirit. She once said - “If you peel a potatoe, do it with love”. But to serve the poor, she said one must first accept those nearest us, and she recommended all people to offer a smile. 
Mother Teresa's words, message and witness came alive in this church of Rome – celebrating the birth and Christian witness of one of the most influential women of the twentieth century.

6 Back-To-School Lessons For Finding God

Back-to-school season has lessons in finding God for all of us.Here are six lessons I’m reflecting on this year.

1. Have your supplies ready.

With school, it’s backpacks, notebooks (spiral or computer kind), pencils, and crayons. For finding God, it might be a notebook for reflective journaling, a helpful Web site for theological information, or a favorite prayer book. We can meet God with nothing, but sometimes it helps to have a few guides on the journey.

2. Do your homework.

We can get by in faith life with going to church once a week, but that’s the minimum in a relationship with God. For maximum understanding, we need to do some work between “classes”—daily prayer being the most important. A relationship with God also grows from time spent in learning more about our faith, whether in a formal parish setting, informal conversations with other people of faith, or private time in reading and conversation with God.

3. Meet new people.

The new school year was always a great chance to make new friends. As adults, we should take the time this autumn to consider our community of faith. Do you know the people who sit around you in church? What can you do to make new friends in faith?

4. Dedicate time in your day.

The school day is marked by a schedule. God doesn’t require a strict schedule from us, but we have to make the time for God in the midst of our overcrowded days if we want to recognize God more easily in the everyday.

5. Take a break for recess.

Educators know that children need breaks in the day for their minds to work most fully when it is time to focus. Retreats are one adult version of recess, allowing us to step back from the everyday tasks and reflect on what’s most important. Even if you don’t have time or resources to go away on a retreat, there are ways to step away from the ordinary to get a fresh perspective.

6. Pay attention.

To recognize God’s presence, we have to pay attention to the ways—both big and small—that God is working in our lives and calling us to be our best selves and people for others.

What lessons does back-to-school season offer you?

H/O - http://peopleforothers.loyolapress.com/



The Bible Moves Online with Browser Based Video Game

FiAA GbmH has announced that it is working on a new massively multiplayer online strategy game called The Bible Online, with the first announced chapter of the experience set to focus on the Genesis book of the Holy Book and allow gamers to experience the biblical narrative and explore the less known aspects of the story.

The first release will be called The Bible Online: Chapter 1 – The Heroes and will deliver a strategy oriented experience.

Players will be set in the role of leader of their tribe, building up their villages, manage limited resources and keep the budget in the black.

As players meet up with one another they will need to decide whether they prefer to try out diplomacy or whether they are ready to go to war to expand their influence.

The final challenge will be to lead Abraham's tribe from Ur to Haran and then to Canaan.

St. Augustine's life shown in a cartoon


St. Augustine died about 1580 years ago. He is one of the most important Saints in the history of Christianity. There are many ways to celebrate the Saint, but a truly original one is seen in this work by Fabrizio Cotogno of Tolentino in Italy, who has authored a cartoon about the life and work of the Saint.

The author says that the 39 pages of illustrations are filled with faith and hope. They tell the story of the conversion of Augustine and his role as bishop of Hippo.

His work focuses on Augustine as a person, and presents him as a real model for a contemporary man or woman. It focuses less on his role as a great philosopher and theologian.

It's a unique initiative to bring the life of St. Augustine to the youngest in a way they can appreciate it.

32 years ago, first words of Pope John Paul I



On August 26, 1978 italian cardinal Albino Luciani was elected Pope.

His first words were: “Yesterday morning I went to the Sistine Chapel to vote tranquilly. Never could I have imagined what was about to happen.” He died 33 days later, on September 28.

ST. MONICA (+387)

Monica was born in North Africa and one of her three children was the great theologian St. Augustine whom we will honor tomorrow. Augustine caused his mother much grief by the wild and heretical life that he led. She prayed thirty years for his conversion and suffered for it as well. She is an example to all Apostles of Prayer because she shows us that suffering and sacrifice, when joined to prayer, become a powerful means for grace to enter the world. From the cross of Jesus to our own individual crosses united to the one saving cross, grace enters the world and transforms lives. Let us unite now in prayer with the Holy Father and millions of people worldwide in lifting up Pope Benedict’s monthly prayer intentions as we reflect on part of his General Audience from August last year.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Pope congratulates the Missionaries of Charity



Benedict XVI is recommending that everyone have devotion to a particular saint -- he suggested, for example, a namesake -- so that the saint can offer closeness through intercession but also be a model to imitate.

The Pope said this today when he reflected during the general audience on the saints. He gave the audience address from Castel Gandolfo, where he is staying at the papal summer residence through next month.

The Holy Father said that it is important "to have 'travel companions' on the journey of our Christian life: I am thinking of a spiritual director, a confessor, persons with whom we can share the experience of faith, but I am also thinking of the Virgin Mary and of the saints."

"Each one," he said, "should have a saint that is familiar to him, to whom he feels close with prayer and intercession, but also to imitate him or her. Hence, I would like to invite you to know the saints better, beginning with the one whose name you bear, by reading his life, his writings. You can be certain that they will become good guides to love the Lord ever more and valid aids for your human and Christian growth."

The Pontiff noted his own closeness to St. Joseph and St. Benedict, as his namesakes, but also reflected on a saint who has "become a good 'travel companion' in my life and my ministry": St. Augustine.

Pursuit

Benedict XVI said that St. Augustine's teaching is particularly relevant today, since "relativism is, paradoxically, the 'truth' that must guide thought, decisions and behavior."

Augustine was a great seeker of truth, the Pope noted -- not '"pseudo-truths' incapable of giving lasting peace of heart, but that Truth that gives meaning to existence and that is the 'dwelling' in which the heart finds serenity and joy."

"St. Augustine understood that it was not he who had found Truth, but that Truth itself, which is God, pursued and found him," the Pontiff reflected.

Referring to a passage from Augustine's "Confessions," in which the saint is with his mother and both "for a moment touch the heart of God in the silence of creatures," the Holy Father said: "[C]reatures must be silent so that there will be a silence in which God can speak. This is also true in our time: Sometimes there is a sort of fear of silence, of recollection, of reflecting on one's acts, on the profound meaning of one's life. [...] [T]here is fear of seeking the Truth, or perhaps there is fear that the Truth will find us, will grip us and change our life, as happened to St. Augustine."

"Dear brothers and sisters," the Pope concluded, "I would like to say to all, also to those in a difficult moment in their faith journey, those who do not participate much in the life of the Church, or those who live 'as if God did not exist' that they not be afraid of the Truth, that they never interrupt their journey toward it, that they never cease to seek the profound truth about themselves and about things with the internal eyes of the heart."

"God will not fail to give Light so that one can see," he said, "and Warmth to feel the heart that loves us and that wants to be loved."

Harvard valedictorian discusses her Dominican vocation


.- A recent Harvard valedictorian who intends to become a Dominican sister says that the Catholic Church has promoted the well-being of women throughout its existence. Discussing how she discerned her vocation, she reports that the elite campus has a “very active” Catholic presence.

A native of Queens, New York, Mary Anne Marks is an alumna of Manhattan’s Dominican Academy. Graduating from Harvard University in 2010 with an undergraduate degree in classics and English, she delivered a valedictory address to her graduating class in Latin.


Novena to St. Monica - Day Nine

I am praying this novena for the members of my family and yours who are lukewarm or not on the path of the Lord. 

Novena

Exemplary Mother of the Great Augustine,
You perseveringly pursued your wayward son
Not with wild threats
But with prayerful cries to heaven.

Intercede for all mothers in our day
So that they may learn
To draw their children to God.

Teach them how to remain
Close to their children,
Even the prodigal sons and daughters
Who have sadly gone astray.

Dear St Monica, troubled wife and mother,
Many sorrows pierced your heart
During your lifetime.
Yet you never despaired or lost faith.
With confidence, persistence and profound faith,
You prayed daily for the conversion
Of your beloved husband, Patricius
And your beloved son, Augustine.

Grant me that same fortitude,
Patience and trust in the Lord.
Intercede for me, dear St. Monica,
That God may favorably hear my plea
For

(mention your petition here)

And grant me the grace
To accept his will in all things,
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
In the unity of the Holy Spirit,

One God forever and ever. Amen.

Bl. Mother Theresa - “God in His love has chosen us to be channels of His love and peace.”



Lord, make me a channel of your peace,
that where there is hatred, I may bring love;
where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness;
where there is discord, I may bring harmony;
where there is error, I may bring truth;
where there is doubt, I may bring faith;
where there is despair, I may bring hope;
where there are shadows I may bring light;
where there is sadness, I may bring joy;
Lord, grant that I may seek rather
to comfort than to be comforted;
to understand than to be understood;
to love than to be loved;
for it is by forgetting self that one finds,
it is by forgiving that one is forgiven,
it is by dying that one awakens to
eternal life. Amen.

100th anniversary of the birth of Mother Teresa


CALCUTTA, India Hundreds of nuns, bishops and volunteers attended a Mass on Thursday marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of Mother Teresa, the selfless nun who dedicated her life to serving the sick and poor in India.

School children, tourists and volunteers, some carrying bunches of flowers or candles, also crowded Mother Teresa's grave in the headquarters of the Missionaries of Charity, the order of nuns she founded in 1950 in the eastern Indian city of Calcutta.

Special feasts to feed the poor, a festival of films on her life and work, the launch of a new train called the Mother Express, and interfaith prayer meetings were among events planned to mark the yearlong anniversary.
"Her life and work continue to be an inspiration for the young and the old, the rich and the poor, from all walks of life, religions and nations," said Sister Mary Prema, the nun who now heads the Missionaries of Charity.

In a message read out at the Mass, Pope Benedict XIV described Mother Teresa as an "inestimable gift" and said "this year will be for the church and the world an occasion of joyful gratitude to God."

India's government plans to release a coin in Mother Teresa's honor. Indian Railways is launching the Mother Express, a blue and white train, like the colors of the saris worn by the Missionaries of Charity, that will travel around the country carrying an exhibition on Mother Teresa.


OUR LADY OF CZESTOCHOWA

Today the Blessed Virgin Mary is honored under the title “Our Lady of Czestochowa,” which is a city in Poland. An ancient image of her with the Child Jesus is preserved there and Pope John Paul II kept a copy of this icon in his private chapel. As we honor our Blessed Mother under this title today, let us present to her Pope Benedict’s monthly intentions and reflect on words that Pope John Paul II spoke when he visited the shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa after he was elected pope.

STRONG> "Mary, Queen of Poland, I am close to you, I remember you, watch!" How greatly these words correspond to the invitation which we hear so often in the Gospel: "Be watchful"! … To be a Christian is to be watchful, as the soldier is watchful, as a mother is with her child, a doctor with his patient. … It means to have an acute awareness of the values which are inherent in the life of every human being, simply because he is a human being created in the image and likeness of God and redeemed by the Blood of Christ. We must be watchful, dear brothers and sisters, we must be watchful and solicitous for the entire well-being of every man, because this is the great task incumbent on all of us. We cannot permit the loss of what is human … and Christian on this earth.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Benedict XVI reflects on St. Augustine's "restless and constant search for Truth"

 
The Pope focused his catechesis on the example of Saint  Augustine, whose feast is celebrated on August 28th. He emphasized the Saint's "constant" search for the one Truth.

Although at times Augustine looked to prestige, material possessions or immediate happiness, he learned to reflect more deeply and look within himself. In this way, the Pope explained, the Saint discovered that the God for whom he was search never had abandoned him and was waiting to become part of his life.

Benedict XVI
“I would say to everyone - including those going through difficult times in their journey of faith, those involved little in the life of the Church, or those living “as if God did not exist” -  do not be afraid of Truth and never break off your journey towards it.”

Benedict XVI noted that the search for truth is a current issue, especially at a time now where relativism often guides thinking and decision making.


In his last general audience of August, the Pope said that all people should choose a saint who can become a "traveling companion” and guide them towards authentic truth – to God.

Cuba will release six political prisoners after talks with the Catholic Church



The Cuban government is going to release six more political prisoners according to the Archdiocese of Havana. The prisoners were serving sentences between 14 and 26 years and will now go to Spain.

The releases are part of an agreement reached in July between the Catholic Church and the Cuban government. Raul Castro promised to release 52 prisoners in four months and Spain offered to take them in. After these six latest releases, 32 people still remain in jail yet to be released. 

All of them were among the 75 dissidents arrested in 2003 during the so-called "Black Spring."

Promoting Abortion in the Year of Youth

Vatican Daily Warns of Aim to Break Parent-Child Bond

(Zenit.org).- It seems a contradiction, but the International Year of Youth that the United Nations began this month is becoming a forum to promote abortion.

The Vatican's semi-official daily, L'Osservatore Romano, made this observation, pointing the finger at international organizations including the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA).

"On UNFPA's Web page are several U.N. initiatives [...] oriented to the promotion of universal access to sexual and reproductive health services, language that, as is known, makes reference to contraception and abortion, as well as to the promotion of brazen sexual education," the Vatican newspaper explains.
 

Quote of the Day

Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams.
 Think not about your frustrations but about your unfulfilled potential.
 Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what is still possible for you to do.
 
~ Pope Blessed John XXIII
 
H/O - http://pilgrimagediary.blogspot.com/

You Are My All In All

Novena to St Monica - Day Eight

I am praying this novena for the members of my family and yours who are lukewarm or not on the path of the Lord. 

Novena

Exemplary Mother of the Great Augustine,
You perseveringly pursued your wayward son
Not with wild threats
But with prayerful cries to heaven.

Intercede for all mothers in our day
So that they may learn
To draw their children to God.

Teach them how to remain
Close to their children,
Even the prodigal sons and daughters
Who have sadly gone astray.

Dear St Monica, troubled wife and mother,
Many sorrows pierced your heart
During your lifetime.
Yet you never despaired or lost faith.
With confidence, persistence and profound faith,
You prayed daily for the conversion
Of your beloved husband, Patricius
And your beloved son, Augustine.

Grant me that same fortitude,
Patience and trust in the Lord.
Intercede for me, dear St. Monica,
That God may favorably hear my plea
For

(mention your petition here)

And grant me the grace
To accept his will in all things,
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
In the unity of the Holy Spirit,
One God forever and ever. Amen.

ST. LOUIS (1214-1270)

Husband, father, king of France—St. Louis is a model for finding holiness in the midst of the world. He showed great concern for the poor and especially enjoyed helping blind people who could not recognize him as the king; in this way he remained hidden and humble. Louis recognized that true glory was not to be found in the earthly power he wielded as a king, but in being a king like Christ the King. Through baptism each of us shares in Christ’s kingly mission. We are servant kings. Asking St. Louis to intercede with us today for the Holy Father’s monthly intentions, we reflect on part of Pope John Paul II’s 1988 Apostolic Exhortation on the Lay Faithful.

The whole Church is directly called to the service of charity. … For this reason, mercy to the poor and the sick, works of charity and mutual aid intended to relieve human needs of every kind, are held in special honor in the Church. Charity towards one's neighbor, through contemporary forms of the traditional spiritual and corporal works of mercy, represent the most immediate, ordinary and habitual ways that lead to the Christian animation of the temporal order, the specific duty of the lay faithful.

Through charity towards one's neighbor, the lay faithful exercise and manifest their participation in the kingship of Christ, that is, in the power of the Son of man who "came not to be served but to serve" (Mk 10:45). They live and manifest such a kingship in a most simple yet exalted manner, possible for everyone at all times because charity is the highest gift offered by the Spirit for building up the Church (cf. 1 Cor 13:13) and for the good of humanity. …

A charity that loves and serves the person is never able to be separated from justice. Each in its own way demands the full, effective acknowledgment of the rights of the individual, to which society is ordered in all its structures and institutions. In order to achieve their task directed to the Christian animation of the temporal order, in the sense of serving persons and society, the lay faithful are never to relinquish their participation in "public life", that is, in the many different economic, social, legislative, administrative and cultural areas, which are intended to promote organically and institutionally the common good.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mother Teresa of Calcutta - the centenary of the mother of the poor’s birth


 
Considered one of the most influential women of the twentieth century, Mother Teresa devoted her life to serving the poorest of the poor, with the motto “To love until it hurts”. The 100th anniversary of her birth is now being celebrated around the world.

Novena to St. Monica - Day Seven

I am praying this novena for the members of my family and yours who are lukewarm or not on the path of the Lord. 

Novena

Exemplary Mother of the Great Augustine,
You perseveringly pursued your wayward son
Not with wild threats
But with prayerful cries to heaven.

Intercede for all mothers in our day
So that they may learn
To draw their children to God.

Teach them how to remain
Close to their children,
Even the prodigal sons and daughters
Who have sadly gone astray.

Dear St Monica, troubled wife and mother,
Many sorrows pierced your heart
During your lifetime.
Yet you never despaired or lost faith.
With confidence, persistence and profound faith,
You prayed daily for the conversion
Of your beloved husband, Patricius
And your beloved son, Augustine.

Grant me that same fortitude,
Patience and trust in the Lord.
Intercede for me, dear St. Monica,
That God may favorably hear my plea
For

(mention your petition here)

And grant me the grace
To accept his will in all things,
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
In the unity of the Holy Spirit,
One God forever and ever. Amen.

Miss Jamaica 2010 believes that life is a gift

As the 1st Runner-Up in the 2010 Miss Universe Pageant Yendi Phillips is the most successful Miss Jamaica Universe to date.

Question posed to Miss Jamaica, Yendi Phillipps:

Is the death penalty acceptable and why? "I believe that life is a gift...I believe that none of us as humans have the right to take a life." 

Ms. Jamaica was true to her beliefs and she should not have compromised that for anyone and certainly not for the Ms. Universe pageant. It's about time that someone stands up for what they believe. This world needs more people like Ms. Jamaica. I am sure that her answer touched many in the audience. I respect her choice to answer the question that was in alignment with her beliefs she will be blessed by God himself and reap the rewards in her life. Mark my words as surely as God is a living God Ms. Jamaica will achieve great things because of her choice.