Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Immaculate Conception Novena - Day 2


O God,  who by the Immaculate Conception
of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
did prepare a worthy dwelling place for Your Son,
we beseech You that, as by the foreseen death of this, Your Son, You did preserve Her from all stain,
so too You would permit us, purified through Her intercession,  to come unto You.
Through the same Lord Jesus Christ,  Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, world without end.

Day Two O Mary, ever blessed Virgin, Mother of God, Queen of angels and of saints, we salute you with the most profound veneration and filial devotion as we contemplate your holy Immaculate Conception, We thank you for your maternal protection and for the many blessings that we have received through your wondrous mercy and most powerful intercession. In all our necessities we have recourse to you with unbounded confidence. O Mother of Mercy, we beseech you now to hear our prayer and to obtain for us of your Divine Son the favor that we so earnestly request in this novena...

(State your intention here...) 
O Mary of the Immaculate Conception, Mother of Christ, you had influence with your Divine Son while upon this earth; you have the same influence now in heaven. Pray for us and obtain for us from him the granting of my petition if it be the Divine Will. 


Hallelujah Chorus - Must See!

Benedict XVI: Continue Efforts Against Death Penalty

The Church's work is a service to the integral development of human beings and the society in which they live. These were the words of the Pope today in an address to the bishops of the Philippines, currently visiting the Vatican on their Ad Limina visit. The Church's task of proclamation and witness must be clear and must be able to repeat essential principles, the Pope said, namely the defense of life from conception to natural death, and the integrity of marriage and the family. Benedict XVI urged the bishops of the Philippines to continue in their efforts against the death penalty and in favor of social communications in order to effectively evangelize society. READ MORE


According to the Gospel of John, St. Andrew was St. Peter’s brother and the first of the apostles to follow Jesus. Today let us pray especially that the Church in Latin America may move forward with the mission proposed by their bishops in 2007 and assume their share of the universal missionary task of all God’s people. Our reflection is from Pope Benedict’s General Audience of June 14, 2006.

The kinship between Peter and Andrew, as well as the joint call that Jesus addressed to them, are explicitly mentioned in the Gospels. We read: "As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men'" (Mt 4: 18-19; Mk 1: 16-17).

From the Fourth Gospel we know another important detail: Andrew had previously been a disciple of John the Baptist: and this shows us that he was a man who was searching, who shared in Israel's hope, who wanted to know better the word of the Lord, the presence of the Lord. He was truly a man of faith and hope; and one day he heard John the Baptist proclaiming Jesus as: "the Lamb of God" (Jn 1: 36); so he was stirred, and with another unnamed disciple followed Jesus, the one whom John had called "the Lamb of God". The Evangelist says that "they saw where he was staying; and they stayed with him that day..." (Jn 1: 37-39).

Thus, Andrew enjoyed precious moments of intimacy with Jesus. The account continues with one important annotation: "One of the two who heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first found his brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah' (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus" (Jn 1: 40-43), straightaway showing an unusual apostolic spirit. …

The Apostle Andrew, therefore, teaches us to follow Jesus with promptness (cf. Mt 4: 20; Mk 1: 18), to speak enthusiastically about him to those we meet, and especially, to cultivate a relationship of true familiarity with him, acutely aware that in him alone can we find the ultimate meaning of our life and death.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Not even the U.S. intellegence services were able to penetrate the walls of the Sistine Chapel.

Apparently, not even the sophisticated U.S.  intellegence services were able to penetrate the walls of the Sistine Chapel. According to sensitive U.S. documents fed to the Wikileaks website and deemed illegal by the State Department, Joseph Ratzinger's papal election came as a total surprise. 

The report was among a cache of a quarter-million confidential American cables over the past three years.

The not-so-top-secret documents show that the United States was expecting the first South American to rise to the throne of St. Peter's.

Italian right-wing newspaper il Giornale said on its website that American diplomats were thrown off by news reports.

Some top US Vatican correspondents said Ratzinger was an obvious candidate but wouldn't pass the first round of votes in the 2005 Conclave.

Other hotly-contested specifics of the Wikileaks dossier were released to top international news organizations.

The documents allege, among other things, that Saudi Arabia was pushing the United States to thwart a possible attack by Iran and that the U.S. believes North Korea provided Iran with nuclear missles that could be pointed at Western European capitals, like the Vatican's host city of Rome.

Child nears Pope during prayer vigil for the unborn

World Youth Day shows off interactive map

The official website for World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid has added a new feature to their website.  An interactive map allows viewers to see how many participants have signed up to attend World Youth Day from every country. By dragging your mouse over a country one can view the exact number that have registered with the official site madrid11.com.

France is leading the way with close to 45,000 young people planning to attend.  Italy is in second with over 36,000 and the host country of Spain lists 22,000 already preparing for the meeting.  

Some countries only have one or two signed up such as Morocco and Sierra Leone.  While their numbers may dwindle in comparison to other countries, they are nonetheless important in providing an overall representation of the world.  

So far close to 200,000 participants in total have signed up for World Youth Day to take place in Madrid next August. 

Prepared for Heaven


On April 18 of this year Pope Benedict beatified this young Jesuit priest who has been called “the first apostle of the Sacred Heart in Spain.” May he join us now as we offer ourselves to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and pray for the Holy Father’s intentions. Our reflection is from a letter that Bl. Bernard wrote to a fellow Jesuit about inner peace.

Try to have, my beloved brother, a divine and heavenly peace in your heart. I do not speak of peace with others, called by another name, charity; for that I repeat the words of the Apostle to the Thessalonians: “Now concerning love of the brothers, you do not need to have anyone write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another” (1 Th 4:9). I speak of peace within one's own heart, which often is the greater struggle for us, arousing in the soul a thousand disturbances, anguishes, and disquiet with which the demon succeeds in his aim of thwarting us in the way of perfection. The distinguishing characteristic of the friends of God consists in this interior peace, which Christ so often recommended to his disciples, repeating: “Peace be with you” (Lk 10:5; 24:36) for he is called "Prince of Peace" (Is. 9:6). Disturbance, on the contrary, is characteristic of reprobates: “There is no peace for the wicked” (Is 48:22). Jesus cannot abide where there is no peace. The soul is a mirror; it is a crystal-clear stream which reflects all the beauties placed before it; in which the image of our God is reflected: into the same image we are being transformed (2 Cor. 3:18), so long as the waters of this stream are not disturbed or agitated, so long as the clarity of this mirror is not dimmed or obscured.

But if from the depths of this stream emerge the debris of passions, the muck of imperfections; if this mirror is exposed to the dust (which happens more often) the imperceptible cloud of fog dims it, suddenly the beauties it reflects distance themselves. This is precisely what happens to the heart. Suddenly the heart loses peace and like the stream grown turbid, or the mirror darkened, the soul does not receive, but rather repels the rays of the sun that before allowed it to identity itself with this same stream, with the mirror. O beloved brother of mine! Strive to have this peace which is happiness on earth. Happy is the one of whom it can be said: “His place of rest is in peace” (Ps. 75:3).

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pope: nascent life threatened by adults' selfishness

"The embryo in the maternal womb" is not "a pile of organic material," but a "new living being, dynamic and wonderfully ordered, a new and unique individual of the human species," "so it was for Jesus in Mary's womb, so was for each of us in our mother's womb."

With these words, Pope Benedict XVI once again stressed the duty to preserve "nascent life," which is, he said, "most fragile, most threatened by adults, by selfishness and the willful darkening of consciences."

The Holy Father was speaking during the solemn celebration on Saturday evening of First Vespers of the First Sunday of Advent in St. Peter's Basilica, as part of an unprecedented worldwide vigil for unborn life.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Prayer for Life

Lord Jesus,
You who faithfully visit and fulfil with your Presence
the Church and the history of men;
You who in the miraculous Sacrament of your Body and Blood
render us participants in divine Life
and allow us a foretaste of the joy of eternal Life;
We adore and bless you.

Prostrated before You, source and lover of Life,
truly present and alive among us, we beg you.

Reawaken in us respect for every unborn life,
make us capable of seeing in the fruit of the maternal womb
the miraculous work of the Creator,
open our hearts to generously welcoming every child
that comes into life.

Bless all families,
sanctify the union of spouses,
render fruitful their love.

Accompany the choices of legislative assemblies
with the light of your Spirit,
so that peoples and nations may recognise and respect
the sacred nature of life, of ever human life.

Guide the work of scientists and doctors,
so that all progress contributes to the integral well-being of the person,
and no-one endures suppression or injustice.

Gift creative charity to administrators and economists,
so they may realise and promote sufficient conditions
so that young families can serenely embrace
the birth of new children

Console the married couples who suffer
because they are unable to have children
and in Your goodness provide for them.

Teach us all to care for orphaned or abandoned children,
so they may experience the warmth of your Charity,
the consolation of your divine Heart.

Together with Mary, Your Mother, the great believer,
in whose womb you took on our human nature,
we wait to receive from You, our Only True Good and Saviour,
the strength to love and serve life,
in anticipation of living forever in You,
in communion with the Blessed Trinity.


Advent is a season of hope, a virtue that is especially necessary for victims of addiction. Addicts and their families and friends need hope to live “one day at a time.” The temptation is to either dwell on the past with regret and anger, or to think about the future with worry and fear. In both cases, the addiction appears as a way out, a way to deal with stress. But addictions enslave; they don’t solve problems but only make them worse. As we pray for victims of addiction, let us ask for the virtue of hope for them and for ourselves as we reflect on Pope Benedict’s Angelus Message for this Sunday last year.

The contemporary world above all needs hope; the developing peoples need it, but so do those that are economically advanced. We are becoming increasingly aware that we are all on one boat and together must save each other. Seeing so much false security collapse, we realize that what we need most is a trustworthy hope. This is found in Christ alone. As the Letter to the Hebrews says, he "is the same yesterday and today and for ever (Heb 13: 8). The Lord Jesus came in the past, comes in the present and will come in the future. He embraces all the dimensions of time, because he died and rose; he is "the Living One". While he shares our human precariousness, he remains forever and offers us the stability of God himself. He is "flesh" like us and "rock" like God. Whoever yearns for freedom, justice, and peace may rise again and raise his head, for in Christ liberation is drawing near (cf. Lk 21: 28) as we read in today's Gospel. We can therefore say that Jesus Christ is not only relevant to Christians, or only to believers, but to all men and women, for Christ, who is the centre of faith, is also the foundation of hope. And every human being is constantly in need of hope.

Dear brothers and sisters, the Virgin Mary fully embodies a humanity that lives in hope based on faith in the living God. She is the Virgin of Advent: she is firmly established in the present, in the "today" of salvation. In her heart she gathers up all past promises, and encompasses the future. Let us learn from her in order to truly enter this Season of grace and to accept, with joy and responsibility, the coming of God in our personal and social lives.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Pope on the “miracle of life” and the “darkening of souls”

On Saturday evening, St Peter’s Basilica was the focal point for a global event, a vigil of prayer for nascent life. The first of its kind and expressly wanted by Pope Benedict XVI, the event involved the universal Church, with Catholics coming together in prayer in their homes, parishes, religious communities and cathedrals across the world.

In his homily, Pope Benedict said: “there are cultural tendencies that seek to anesthetize consciences with misleading motivations. With regard to the embryo in the womb, science itself highlights its autonomy capable of interaction with the mother, the coordination of biological processes, the continuity of development, the growing complexity of the organism. This is not an accumulation of biological material, but a new living being, dynamic and wonderfully ordered, a new unique human being”. READ MORE

The Pope In Purple - Vigil of Prayer for Nascent Life

Pope Benedict XVI prays during the celebration of the first Vespers in the St. Peter's Basilica at Vatican on November 27, 2010.

Pope Benedict XVI leaves St. Peter's Basilica at Vatican after the first Vespers

 Pope Benedict XVI celebrates the First Vespers on the occasion of the first week of Advent in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican

Feast of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal

Today, We Celebrate the "Awesome Solemnity and Feast of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal".

Saint Catherine Laboure is often associated with this devotion as Saint Catherine Laboure received a number of visions from Our Lady in the 1830's as regards this Medal.

Saint Catherine Laboure was a "Sister of Charity".

Saint Catherine Laboure pray for us.

O Mary Conceived Without Sin, Pray For Us Who Have Recourse To Thee.
Here is some interesting information. http://www.marypages.com/first.htm

Daily Reading & Meditation Saturday November 27, 2010

 "Lest your hearts be weighed down"Scripture: Luke 21:34-36

Meditation: Is there anything holding you back from the joy and freedom of the Lord? God wants our hearts for him and for his kingdom of peace, joy, and righteousness (Romans 14:17). But our hearts can be weighed down by many different things, such as greed, gluttony, drunkenness, and so many other harmful addictions and sinful habits. Jesus, our Lord and Master, offers us true freedom – freedom from the power of sin and wasted life, and freedom from our unruly desires and disordered passions – such as making food, drink or anything else our master rather than our servant. Jesus wants our hearts to be ruled by one thing only – his love and truth which enables us to choose whatever is good and to reject whatever is evil and harmful for us.

"Lord Jesus, rouse my spirit to the truth that this world is passing away. Give me a lively faith, a joyful hope, and a fervent love to see you face to face when you return in glory."

Friday, November 26, 2010

Vatican begins construction of Nativity scene

The countdown to December 24 has begun and the Vatican is preparing for the occasion of one of the most celebrated births in the world. For several weeks a tarp has been constructed around the obelisk in St. Peter's Square to block the view of the progress on the Vatican's Nativity scene from curious onlookers.

It's a nativity scene only to be discovered on Christmas Day and is remaining a secret until then.

Pope will preside over massive global prayer for life

Benedict XVI has called for a worldwide prayer vigil for the unborn on Saturday November 27. The Pope wants all Catholics in the world to pray together at the same time for life.

Benedict XVI
ANGELUS NOV 14, 2010
“On Saturday November 27, at the Basilica of Saint Peter, I will preside over the First Vespers of the First Sunday of Advent and a prayer vigil for the unborn. It is a joint initiative with local churches around the world, I have advised that they be held in parishes, religious communities, associations and movements.”

As Christmas preparations begin, the Pope chose the first Sunday of Advent to pray for life.

Benedict XVI
ANGELUS NOV 14, 2010
“The time of preparation for Christmas is an opportune moment to invoke divine protection upon every human being called into existence, also to thank God for the gift of life received from our parents.”

Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, says this has been a personal initiative of the Pope, proposing that all episcopal conferences worldwide celebrate together.

Card. Ennio Antonelli
President, Pontifical Council for the Family
“The Pope thought of making a moment of common prayer throughout the Church for all to pray with the same intention.”

According to Cardinal Antonelli, with this prayer the Pope wants to increase the sense of responsibility, care, and attention to human life from conception to natural death.

Card. Ennio Antonelli
President, Pontifical Council for the Family
“It's asking God to increase the sense of responsibility for the care of human life from conception to natural death.  Especially with the unborn life which is the embryo in the womb of the mother, as well as babies in general.  It's also to increase accountability and respect for every person, especially for the weak and innocent.”

In Rome, Benedict XVI will preside over the prayer vigil at the Basilica of Saint Peter with families throughout Italy.

Card. Ennio Antonelli
President, Pontifical Council for the Family
“We think that the basilica will be full, in a great sign of communion with the Pope.  Among those attending will be many families with young children and carriages, which is a material sign of nascent life, tenderness, and the care that unborn life deserves.”

This prayer vigil includes the prayers of Vespers, a procession of the Virgin, the rosary and the consideration of some text raised by the Pontifical Council for the Family.  Episcopal Conferences of France, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and the United States have confirmed they will join the initiative to be part of the thousands of Catholics who pray with the Pope for the life of the unborn.

St. John Berchmans

This young saint of the Society of Jesus was born in Flanders, the oldest of five children. He grew up in an atmosphere of political turmoil caused by a religious war between the Catholic and Protestant sections of the Netherlands. He studied at the Gymnasium at Diest and worked as a servant in the household of Canon John Froymont at Malines in order to continue his studies.

In 1615, the Jesuits opened a college at Malines, and St. John Berchmans was one of the first to enter. He was an energetic student and was a leader among the students. In 1616, he entered the Jesuit novitiate at Malines and came under the influence of Father Antoine Sucquet. The young Berchmans developed a strong and deep spirituality based on the loving practice of fidelity. St. Aloysius of Gonzaga was his spiritual model, and he was influenced as well by the example of the Jesuit English martyrs.

It was his realistic appreciation for the value of ordinary things, a characteristic of the Flemish mystical tradition, which constituted his holiness. He was affable, kind, and endowed with an outgoing personality that endeared him to everyone. In 1618, he was sent to Rome to study philosophy and was an exceptional student. He requested after ordination to become a chaplain in the army, hoping to be martyred on the battlefield.

In the summer of 1619, the intense heat of Rome started to affect his health and he began progressively to get weaker. The doctors could not determine what was wrong, and for two years he was continually sick, requiring medical care, and as the summer of 1621 came, it was clear that he would not last long. He died peacefully on August 13, 1621, and numerous miracles were attributed to him at the time of his funeral.

He was beatified by Pope Pius IX in 1865 and canonized by Pope Leo XIII in 1888. His body lies in the church of St. Ignatius in Rome, where Aloysius of Gonzaga is also buried. 
Patron: Altar boys; altar servers; Oblate novices; young people.

Symbols: Standing with hands clasped, holding his crucifix, his book of rules, and his rosary.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Fun

For some, Thanksgiving is a great time to relax, watch football, spend quality time with your family and be thankful for the blessings in your life. However, for Darrell and his family, Thanksgiving doesn't quite have that relaxing and restful feel.

The True Meaning ThanksGiving Give Thanks Pass It On

Thanksgiving Moments

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! 

I'm thanking God today for my faith, my family, my friends and for all my loyal readers. 

Happy moments - praise God. 

Difficult moments - seek God. 

Busy moments - bless God. 

Quiet moments - worship God. 

Waiting moments - trust God.

Painful moments - touch God. 

Lovely moments - thank God.


Today’s saint was born in Alexandria, Egypt—a center for learning in the ancient world. According to tradition, she was a brilliant scholar who, once she became Christian, confounded the philosophers who debated with her. As a result and to silence her, she was sentenced to death. Pope John Paul II reintroduced her feast into the calendar, perhaps because he recognized the need for wisdom in our contemporary world. Wisdom has to do with knowing the nature of things and acting out of this knowledge. We know that we are creatures, that we are not God, and so we give thanks to our Creator for our existence and life. We show this thanks today, when our nation pauses to give thanks with a special holiday, by renewing the offering of ourselves, gratefully returning love for the love we have been shown.

Father of all gifts, we praise You, the source of all we have and are. Teach us to acknowledge always the good things Your infinite love has given us. Help us to love You with all our hearts and all our strength as our expression of thanksgiving for Your many blessings. Fill our hearts with this spirit of gratitude. Today, in particular, we remember that You fulfilled our founding fathers’ faith in Your divine providence by making and keeping us a land rich in the abundance of Your creation. Freedom, justice, and universal brotherhood are for us our precious heritage, but for countless people, in our midst and all over the world, they are still only a dream. May we be faithful in sharing this heritage with the living and transmit it to a people still unborn. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Vatican denounces China's unilateral ordination of bishop

The Vatican expressed its disappointment with the actions of Chinese officials in their decree that the Reverend Joseph Guo Jincai will be ordained as a bishop without the consent of the Pope. Pope Benedict XVI has called this a “grave violation” of canon law and China's actions hampered the dialogue aimed at reconciliation between the two parties. 

The Vatican has stated that China's claim to lead the ecclesial community does not correspond to Catholic doctrine and offends the Church.

The Vatican has also accused the Chinese government of committing “grave violations of freedom of religion and conscience” by pressuring various bishops to attend the ceremony. 

The government of communist China forced local Catholics to end their allegiance to Rome in 1951.  Worship is only allowed in state run churches, although millions of Chinese remain loyal to Rome and belong to unofficial congregations of Roman Catholics.

Pope talks about Saint Catherine and importance of spiritual maternity

In the Pope's general audience he was greeted by pilgrims waving their colored bandanas. He spoke to them about Saint Catherine of Siena, a Dominican tertiary. She promoted the interior reform of the Church and worked to move the papacy back to Rome from its displacement in France.

Benedict XVI
Catherine's life also shows us the importance of the spiritual maternity exercised by so many women in every age. From this great saint let us learn to grow in holiness, love for the Lord and fidelity to his body, the Church.”

She was also an advocate for peace between Italian city-states, serving as an ambassador of Florence. 

Because of her teachings and service for peace she was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope Paul VI in 1970. 

The Pope also enjoyed the the melodies of gospel songs during the audience.

Pope's caretaker dies in car accident

Manuela Camagni was one of four women living in the papal apartment to service the Pope's household. She was tragically hit by a car and died hours later from head trauma. She was part of the Pontifical Family and was responsible for cleaning the apartment, kitchen, chapel and clothing of the Pope.

In his recent book interview, Benedict XVI said that he often eats lunch with the caretakers and stewards of the residence.  

Manuela Camagni was a consecrated layperson in the Catholic movement “Communion and Liberation.”

Book with exclusive interview of Pope Benedict XVI is published

The highly-anticipated book based on a rare interview with the Pope is about to make it to a bookstore near you. “Light of the World” was written by German journalist Peter Seewald, who conducted the interview in six one-hour sessions last summer. Seewald has already published two similar books about Joseph Ratzinger. This time, the Pope took the opportunity to discuss the clerical sex abuse scandal, relations with Islam, the conclave, the notion of a papal resignation and the "threatening catastrophe" facing humanity. 


An Advent Journey

This coming Advent, six Loyola Press blogs will co-host an Advent Online Spiritual Journey. People For Others is joining with Days of Deepening Friendship, dotMagis, Catechist’s Journey, Thrift Store Saints and Men on the Journey for a special Advent experience.


Today we honor St. Andrew Dung-Lac and 116 other martyrs (59 lay people, 50 priests, 8 bishops), native Vietnamese and foreign missionaries, who gave their lives for the faith. In the early Church, during similar persecutions, it was said that the blood of the martyrs was the seed of the faith. After the blood of these martyrs was shed, the Church grew in Vietnam and bore fruit in the life of Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan who died of cancer in 2002. Shortly before his death he spoke at a conference in Los Angeles and told how he was able to survive 13 years in a Communist prison. As we reflect on his words, let us pray that all those who are struggling with addictions may find God who gives the hope of freedom.

Alone in my prison cell, I continued to be tormented by the fact that I was forty-eight years old, in the prime of my life, that I had worked for eight years as a bishop and gained so much pastoral experience and there I was isolated, inactive and far from my people. One night, from the depths of my heart I could hear a voice advising me: "Why torment yourself? You must discern between God and the works of God - everything you have done and desire to continue to do, pastoral visits, training seminarians, sisters and members of religious orders, building schools, evangelizing non-Christians. All of that is excellent work, the work of God but it is not God! If God wants you to give it all up and put the work into his hands, do it and trust him. God will do the work infinitely better than you; he will entrust the work to others who are more able than you. You have only to choose God and not the works of God!"

This light totally changed my way of thinking. When the Communists put me in the hold of the boat, the Hai-Phong, along with 1500 other prisoners and moved us to the North, I said to myself, "Here is my cathedral, here are the people God has given me to care for, here is my mission: to ensure the presence of God among these, my despairing, miserable brothers. It is God's will that I am here. I accept his will". And from that minute onwards, a new peace filled my heart and stayed with me for thirteen years.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

In Pictures : 'Light of World' the book interview with Pope Benedict XVI

New books about the Pope Benedict XVI are seen displayed inside a bookshop near the Vatican November 23, 2010. 

 Pope Benedict XVI holds his new book "Light of the World: The Pope, the Church, and the Sign of the Times" as he poses with the writer German Catholic journalist Peter Seewald (L) and archbishop Rino Fisichella during a meeting at the Vatican November 23, 2010.

Pope's personal secretary Georg Ganswein holds a copy of 'Light of World' during the presentation at the Holy See Press Office.

 The Vatican Spokesman Mgr Frederico Lombardi shows a German and an Italian copy of 'Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times' by German journalist Peter Seewald.

Bishop Rino Fisichella holds a copy in Italian of 'Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times'

Smile Tuesday

Sisters don't need words.


Fr. Miguel Pro was born in Mexico and entered the Jesuit order in 1911. Three years later Mexico entered upon a time of rebellion and anti-Catholicism. The Jesuit novitiate was burned and priests were threatened with torture and death. Miguel and many of his brother Jesuits were forced to flee to California where they were welcomed by the Jesuits there. Eventually he continued his studies in Belgium where he was ordained. Though the persecution in his homeland became worse, he returned to minister to the many Catholics who were without the Sacraments. For 18 months he eluded capture by means of many ingenious disguises that he created, but on November 18, 1927 he was finally captured. Condemned to death, he was led into the prison yard on November 23 to face the firing squad. Holding a crucifix in one hand and a rosary in the other, he held out his arms in the form of a cross and shouted his last words as the order to shoot was given: "Viva Cristo Rey!" Pope John Paul II beatified Fr. Pro in 1988.

As Apostles of Prayer we too pray that Christ the King may live and reign over us and our whole world. Our daily offering is a way in which we renew this prayer. Let us offer ourselves anew with the following prayer to Christ the King:

O Christ Jesus, I acknowledge You to be the King of the universe. All that has been made is created for You. Exercise over me all Your sovereign rights. I hereby renew the promises of my Baptism, renouncing Satan and all his works and pomps, and I engage myself to lead henceforth a truly Christian life. Divine Heart of Jesus, I offer You my poor actions to obtain the acknowledgement by every heart of Your sacred kingly power. In this way may the Kingdom of Your peace be firmly established throughout the earth. Amen.

Monday, November 22, 2010

“Light of the world: The Pope, The Church, and the Signs of the Times”

German journalist Peter Seewald has written a book, based on an exclusive interview with Pope Benedict XVI. The long awaited book has been released and will be available in bookstores around the world in eight languages. The book is called “Light of the world: The Pope, The Church, and the Signs of the Times,” in which the Pope spoke about his life and the most contentious issues in the church such as celibacy, the ordination of women, sexuality, condom use and the sexual abuse crisis.

This is the third interview the Pope has done with the German journalist, but the first during his papacy. The first two books were “The Salt of the Earth” and “God and the World” based on interviews when the Pope was still a cardinal.  

This is not the first time a pope has agreed to an interview to be published in a book.  John Paul II and the journalist Vittorio Messori had similar discussions that turned into the book “Crossing the Threshold of Hope.” READ MORE

Turkey Pancakes for Thanksgiving

Check out Jim's Pancakes for more creative pancake ideas.

The new cardinals receive guests at the Vatican for congratulatory visits

After receiving their red hat and official document from the hands of Benedict XVI at a ceremony in St. Peter's Basilica, the 24 new cardinals have received congratulations from accompanying family members, friends and members of the Church.

Vatican Clarification on AIDS and Condoms

The Holy See Press Office has issued a clarification on the Pope’s comments on condoms and AIDS, according to Vatican Radio:
The head of the Holy See Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, has issued a statement clarifying passages of the book Light of the World, in which Pope Benedict discusses AIDS and condom use.
The statement says Pope Benedict states that AIDs cannot be solved only by the distribution of condoms, and, in fact, concentrating on condoms just trivializes sexuality, which loses its meaning as an expression of love and becomes like a drug.
At the same time, the Pope considered an exceptional situation in which the exercise of sexuality represents a real risk to the lives of others. In this case, the Pope does not morally justify the exercise of disordered sexuality, but believes that the use of condoms to reduce the risk of infection is a “first step on the road to a more human sexuality”, rather than not to use it and risking the lives of others.
Father Lombardi’s statement clarifies Pope Benedict XVI has not reformed or changed the Church’s teaching, but by putting it in perspective reaffirms the value and dignity of human sexuality as an expression of love and responsibility.


According to tradition, Cecilia was a young Roman woman who took a vow of virginity and was beheaded when she refused to renounce her vow and her faith. She is the patron saint of musicians. As we honor her memory, let us pray for the young people of Latin America by reflecting on part of a speech that Pope Benedict gave in 2007 when he attended the Fifth Conference of Latin American Bishops in Brazil and met with young people there.

But as I gaze at you young people here present—you who radiate so much joy and enthusiasm—I see you as Christ sees you: with a gaze of love and trust, in the certainty that you have found the true way. You are the youth of the Church. I send you out, therefore, on the great mission of evangelizing young men and women who have gone astray in this world like sheep without a shepherd. Be apostles of youth. Invite them to walk with you, to have the same experience of faith, hope, and love; to encounter Jesus so that they may feel truly loved, accepted, able to realize their full potential. May they too may discover the sure ways of the commandments, and, by following them, come to God.

You can be the builders of a new society if you seek to put into practice a conduct inspired by universal moral values, but also a personal commitment to a vitally important human and spiritual formation. Men and women who are ill-prepared for the real challenges presented by a correct interpretation of the Christian life in their own surroundings will easily fall prey to all the assaults of materialism and secularism, which are more and more active at all levels.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

In Pictures - New Cardinals recieve their rings

New Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Germany after receiving his ring from Pope Benedict XVI during the Consistory ceremony in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican November 21, 2010.

New Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke of U.S. after receiving his ring from Pope Benedict XVI.

New Cardinal William Wuerl of the U.S.

 New Cardinal Medarbo Joseph Mazombwe of Zambia 

 New cardinal Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don of Sri Lanka

Pope Benedict XVI gives his cardinal ring to Italian Fortunato Baldelli

Pope Benedict XVI celebrates Christ the King with Cardinals

Pope Benedict celebrated the Feast of Christ the King by celebrating the Mass of the Rings, in which he gave the ring of office to the 24 new Cardinals he created on Saturday.
During his homily he reflected on Christ the King, reigning from the Cross.

During a discourse which described in detail the scene surrounding Jesus on the Cross, the Pope mentioned those who mocked him, and called to him to come down from the Cross. He told the Cardinals that the Gospel of the day calls us to be with Jesus and Mary: “Do not ask him to come down from the cross, but stay there with him.”

The Pope said the cross was the critical point of the faith of Simon Peter and the Apostles. He said he and the Cardinals are called to be deeply united, first of all in the lordship of Christ, thinking and acting according to the logic of the Cross – which is never an easy thing to do.

After the Mass, Pope Benedict greeted pilgrims for the Sunday Angelus from his window overlooking St. Peter’s Square.

Prayer to Christ the King

  O CHRIST, JESUS, I acknowledge Thee as Universal King.
  For Thee all creatures have been made. Do Thou exercise
over me all the rights that Thou hast.

Renew my Baptismal Vows, I renounce Satan,
with all his works and pomps, and I promise to live as a
good Catholic: Especially, do I pledge myself, by all
the means in my power, to bring about the triumph of the
rights of God and of Thy Church.

Divine Heart of Jesus, I offer Thee all my poor actions to obtain
that all hearts may recognize Thy Sacred Royalty, and that thus the
reign of Thy Peace may be established throughout the entire world.

Solemnity of Christ the King

The Feast of Christ the King was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925 as an antidote to secularism, a way of life which leaves God out of man's thinking and living and organizes his life as if God did not exist. The feast is intended to proclaim in a striking and effective manner Christ's royalty over individuals, families, society, governments, and nations.

Today's Mass establishes the titles for Christ's royalty over men: 1) Christ is God, the Creator of the universe and hence wields a supreme power over all things; "All things were created by Him"; 2) Christ is our Redeemer, He purchased us by His precious Blood, and made us His property and possession; 3) Christ is Head of the Church, "holding in all things the primacy"; 4) God bestowed upon Christ the nations of the world as His special possession and dominion.

Today's Mass also describes the qualities of Christ's kingdom. This kingdom is: 1) supreme, extending not only to all people but also to their princes and kings; 2) universal, extending to all nations and to all places; 3) eternal, for "The Lord shall sit a King forever"; 4) spiritual, Christ's "kingdom is not of this world". — Rt. Rev. Msgr. Rudolph G. Gandas

Before the reform of the Roman Calendar in 1969, this feast was celebrated on the last Sunday of October. 

Read Pope Pius XI's encyclical Quas primas (On the Feast of Christ the King) which shows that secularism is the direct denial of Christ's Kingship.