Thursday, March 31, 2011


( Thursday marks the 20th day of Lent (the half-way point), and Benedict XVI today offered encouragement as the season continues.He mentioned this liturgical time in his traditional greeting to youth, the sick and newlyweds, by which he concludes the general audience.

"May the Lenten season, with its repeated invitations to conversion, lead you dear young people, to an ever more conscious love of Christ and his Church," he said.

The Pope noted his hope that Lent would help those suffering illness to grow in "the certainty that the crucified Lord supports you in your trials."

Finally, he said to newlyweds: May Lent "make of your conjugal life a path of constant growth in faithful and generous love."

A rosary that resonates in all languages

The World Youth Day 2011 team are building a collection of audio rosaries - in every language in the world! They are hoping that pilgrims everywhere will record the Holy Rosary in their own language, and submit it to the WYD team. The entries will be played to all WYD pilgrims during the Vigil in Cuatro Vientos.

Send them your rosary:

Bring to God whatever burden hinders us

If God is for us, who is against us? 
He who did not withhold his own Son, 
but gave him up for all of us, 
will he not with him also give us everything else?

Romans 8:31–32

It’s not that hard to admit that we need God’s help in this life. Only the most proud or the most foolish believe they are truly self-sufficient. Yes, we need God. Yes, we can seek from God whatever we need—help, comfort, or guidance.

But actually taking the step toward God can be not only difficult but complex. A lot of things can get in the way.

Pain. It’s possible to be in so much pain that we cannot move. We are paralyzed, numb, almost without sense. So we do nothing but remain in our deep hurt.

Shame. We can’t come to God and tell lies at the same time. This spiritual process requires that we face our embarrassments, shortcomings, failures, and sins, and the shame of all this holds us back.

Anger. It really is all right to come to God angry, but many of us don’t feel that it’s all right. We’re deeply disappointed in God—for not rescuing us from a situation, for allowing us to suffer loss, for not giving us what we wanted—and that anger prevents any steps in God’s direction.

Fear. We may fear punishment. We may fear God’s disapproval. We may fear that God won’t act or say what we’re hoping for. And we may fear that, in coming to God, we’ll need to change in some way.
How do we overcome these obstacles? How do we come to God when pain, shame, anger, or fear is blocking the path?

Remember one simple fact: God is for us, not against us. God waits for us, eager to help with our pain, shame, anger, or fear. The only thing to do is step forward and bring to God whatever burden hinders us.

This is a reflection by Vinita Hampton Wright, author of Days of Deepening Friendship. This reflection and Vinita's retreat can be found at the Days of Deepening Friendship blog.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pope dedicates general audience to St. Alphonsus Liguori

Continuing his cycle of lessons on the Doctors of the Church, Pope Benedict XVI told believers Wednesday that prayer and confession are the best antidotes to our era marked by “signs of loss of conscience and morality”.

Outlining the legacy of an 18th century Neapolitan Saint, Alphonsus Liguori, during his Wednesday catechesis, the Holy Father spoke of the obvious “lack of esteem” for the sacrament of confession among Catholics today and urged priests to adopt a more “charitable, understanding and gentle attitude” towards penitents while always remaining faithful to Catholic moral teaching. READ MORE

St. John Climacus

Abbot of Sinai, so called “Climacus” from the title of his famous book, The Climax, or The Ladder of Perfection; also known as John Scholasticus. He was a Syrian or a Palestinian who started his eremitical life at sixteen, living for many years as a hermit on Sinai. He then went to Thale. Revered also as a scriptural scholar, he authored The Ladder of Perfection to provide a comprehensive treatise on the ideal of Christian perfection and the virtues and vices of the monastic life. Composed in thirty chapters, it was intended to correspond to the age of Christ at the time of his baptism by John the Baptist. John was elected abbot of the monks of Mt. Sinai at the age of seventy He died there on March 30.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Need for Mortification Today

Lent is essentially a time of prayer and mortification. The body which has been indulged for so many months must now be denied. Even though fasting and abstinence are impossible for some of us, the penitential spirit may not be shirked. Modern creeds approximate more and more the pagan conception of man, and the penitential spirit is, of course, unbearable to those whose only philosophy of life is the song of the banqueter: "Let us eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die."
Modern civilization scoffs at the notion of doing penance as if it were a vice of the pietist who wants to exalt one side of his nature at the expense of the other, although it is no small thing that the soul should be king of the body. Penance has a deeper significance than that, as I have pointed out. But, says the modern scoffer, "a man is no better and no worse than God made him. God who gave him impulses cannot be angry if he obeys them. Let a man snatch the passing pleasure."
In the Cathedral of Lubeck in Germany is a Lenten Monitory which may be taken as God's answer to such blasphemy:
Ye call Me Master, and obey Me not:
Ye call Me Light, and see Me not;
Ye call Me Way, and walk Me not;
Ye call Me Life, and desire Me not;
Ye call Me Wise, and follow Me not:
Ye call Me Fair, and love Me not;
Ye call Me Rich, and ask Me not:
Ye call Me Eternal, and seek Me not;
Ye call Me Gracious, and trust Me not;
Ye call Me Noble, and serve Me not;
Ye call Me God, and fear Me not;
If I condemn you—blame Me not. Amen
Excerpted from Message of the Gospels

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Pope recalls horror of wars, past and present

On Sunday Pope Benedict XVI, visiting the site of a World War II massacre, remembered the “abhorrent effects” of war, of violence on man by man, and in doing so, strengthened the urgency of his appeal for an end to the use of weapons and space for dialogue in the conflicts that are currently raging in Libya and the North African region.

Following the midday Angelus prayer in St Peter’s Square, the Pope described how his “fears” for the safety of the civilian population and his “concern” for the unfolding situation in Libya is growing. He said that it is at moments such as these, of greatest tension, that international bodies and people in positions of responsibility, must use all diplomatic means at their disposal to give space to even the “weakest signs” of openness to dialogue. Appealing to both sides of the Libyan conflict, the Pope concluded with a heartfelt call for end to the use of weapons and an immediate start of dialogue. READ MORE

New website for the Custody of the Holy Land

 For the past 800 years, the Franciscan friars have been committed by the Holy See with the preservation and guardianship of all Catholic shrines in the Holy Land. They have nearly a millenium of experience in welcoming pilgrims to the shrines of Israel and surrounding areas.

These Franciscans have now made their extensive knowledge of the Holy Land available to the world by launching a new website in six languages that explains their work, the shrines, and the available pilgrimages to the land where Christianity was born.

The Holy Land includes Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Cyprus, and Rhodes. The Franciscan friars have guarded the Christian treasures of these lands for centuries, and now are able to share that heritage with those that desire to experience the Holy Land from a distance.

To find out more, visit

Successor of St. Josemaría Escrivá speaks about the film “There Be Dragons”

The director Roland Joffé traveled to Rome to present his film on St. Josemaria Escriva at the Vatican. The film takes place during the Spanish Civil War. Among those in attendance, were those who knew St. Josemaría before he died in 1975.


In the Gospel at Mass today we hear the story of Jesus’ encounter with a Samaritan woman. As we reflect on Pope Benedict’s words about this Gospel that can be found in his annual Lenten Message, let us pray that the Holy Spirit will bring all people together in peace.

The question that Jesus puts to the Samaritan woman: “Give me a drink” (Jn 4: 7), is presented to us in the liturgy of the third Sunday; it expresses the passion of God for every man and woman, and wishes to awaken in our hearts the desire for the gift of “a spring of water within, welling up for eternal life” (Jn 4: 14): this is the gift of the Holy Spirit, who transforms Christians into “true worshipers,” capable of praying to the Father “in spirit and truth” (Jn 4: 23). Only this water can extinguish our thirst for goodness, truth and beauty! Only this water, given to us by the Son, can irrigate the deserts of our restless and unsatisfied soul, until it “finds rest in God”, as per the famous words of St. Augustine.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Pope stresses importance of safety in workplace

Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday addressed pilgrims of Italy’s diocese of Terni-Narni-Amelia to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s visit to the “Steel City”. The southern Umbrian town of Terni is home to Italy’s first steel plant which was visited by Pope John Paul II on March 19th 1981: St. Joseph’s Day.

Speaking to pilgrims in the Paul VI Audience Hall, the Holy Father recalled how the late Pope presented himself at the plant as a “humble worker in the Lord’s vineyard” and reminded all workers to trust in the protection of St Joseph. 

Pope Benedict went on to discuss how the current economic crisis is putting stress on the city, its workers and their families. He reiterated the words of Terni’s bishop, Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia, saying that in times of hardship, one should turn to the Sunday Eucharist as a source of joy, faith and passion to improve the world. Work, the Pope said, helps us be closer to God and to others.

The Holy Father also spoke about the importance of safety in the workplace, saying that every measure should be taken to avoid accidents and preventable deaths. In his concluding remarks, the Pope said the Church encourages all efforts towards safe, dignified and stable work, and expressed his closeness to the families of Terni. 

Armless Pilot Gives Pope Her Guinness World Record Medal

.- Pope Benedict XVI greeted 28-year-old Jessica Cox following his March 23 general audience. Cox, a pilot, earned a Guinness World Record in 2008 for being the first woman to fly an airplane using only her feet.

Cox earned the award and official medal in October 2008. She presented the medal to the Pope “to bear witness to the value of life always and everywhere, in every condition,” L’Osservatore Romano reported.

Cox was born in 1983 without arms in Arizona. Though doctors could not explain her condition, she became involved in gymnastics, dance, singing, tae kwon-do and swimming. She obtained her degree in psychology and can drive her own car without assistance.

Jessica spoke about her life and how she carries out daily tasks without arms. She uses her feet to cook, put in her contacts, send text messages and play the piano. “It’s a way of life that I hope will be contagious to young people who live in despair and have no true values,” she said.

In 2008 she obtained her license to pilot small planes after three years of training and over 89 hours of flight instruction.

One of the reasons for which she wanted to get her pilot’s license was because as a girl she was afraid to fly and she wanted to overcome her fear.

A website for mothers who want to work and enjoy family life

Reconciling work and family life is not an easy feat, but it is not impossible. “Mumpreneuers,” or “Enterprising Mothers,” is a group of mothers collaborating on the internet to exchange ideas on balancing work and play.

“Mumpreneurs” has a particularly strong following in the UK, where mother support groups are creating their own businesses that allow them to work from home, or at least to maintain a flexible schedule.

There are several websites that connect these mother entrepreneurs. They provide forums for mothers to share ideas, news, and tips for success in business. For example, these sites assist mothers to chose the right name for their company, how to manage their website, how to run a good PR strategy, and how to market on Twitter and Facebook.

In addition, the network provides a space for  enterprising mothers to announce the launch of their own business.

“Mumpreneurs” also has competitions for that awards the best entrepreneurial business initiatives. One recent winner was a company that offers children ballet classes. In five years, that company expanded to 31 franchises and has more than 8,000 students per week.

This is a real way to help women entrepreneurs take care of their children and to succeed in their own business.

The Joy of Being Christian

Saturday of the Second Week of Lent

The story of the Prodigal Son is repeated again today. It is the history of the Church; it is the history of our own desertion. In this Gospel we are given an urgent call to repentance and conversion. "Father, I have sinned." Penance alone can save us. Our Father welcomes us with mercy. The sin and its eternal punishment are forgiven; the good works which we did before sin and the merits which we lost through sin are revived. The Father receives us again as His children, and celebrates a joyful banquet with us at Holy Communion.
In the story of each human life, God's mercy stands on one side and the unfaithfulness of man on the other. Will God have to cast us off as He did the people of Israel? Have we not fully deserved it? Sometimes it appears that God wishes to allow our faithless generation to go its own way. If He does, it will merit a well deserved punishment.
What can save us from rejection? Only penance, self-examination, and conversion. "Be converted to Me with all your heart, in fasting and in weeping and in mourning" (Joel 2:12).
Excerpted from The Light of the World by Benedict Baur, O.S.B.
Things to Do:
  • The parable of the lost sheep and the prodigal son in today's Gospel are both very important for your children to learn by heart. The well-known Catechesis of the Good Shepherd for children was developed by Sofia Cavaletti, a Roman Catholic Hebrew scholar who spent 30 years researching the religious development of children, and Gianna Gobbi, an educator who was trained by Maria Montessori. Through her observation of children's responses to different religious themes, Cavaletti found that an overwhelming number of younger children responded especially well to depictions of Christ as the Good Shepherd. Here is a brief article discussing the increasing prevalence of this religious program today. Find out more about this curriculum and try it with your own children. If you are pressed for time, find out about the nearest (Catholic) Good Shepherd program and consider enrolling your child.

Friday, March 25, 2011

WYD 2011 Conquers the Social Networks

The official website is a success story of the WYD Madrid planning committee. Receiving over one million hits per month, the site is available in 11 languages including Russian, Vietnamese, and Polish. In addition to the official website, organizers are taking full advantage of social networks to organize the agenda for WYD and to promote the event.
Officially, 290,000 pilgrims have signed up to attend the upcoming 2011 World Youth Day in Madrid. Organizers predict that 2 million people will attend the August 16-21 events. For this reason, WYD planners are asking those who wish to come to WYD 2011 to sign up through the official website.

Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord

"Love and veneration are due to Mary for her own sake, because she is the Mother of mankind; because above all other mere creatures she has been sanctified by the Holy Spirit; and because in being chosen the Mother of the Incarnate Son, she is the Mother of us all."

Lives of the Saints For Every Day of the Year

Again Lent's austerity is interrupted as we solemnly keep a feast in honor of the Annunciation. The Annunciation is a mystery that belongs to the temporal rather than to the sanctoral cycle in the Church's calendar. For the feast commemorates the most sublime moment in the history of time, the moment when the Second Divine Person of the most Holy Trinity assumed human nature in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Thus it is a feast of our Lord, even as it is of Mary, although the liturgy centers wholly around the Mother of God. — The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch
Today is also the historical feast of St. Dismas, the good thief and St. Margaret Clitherow, wife and mother who was one of the English martyrs.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fr. Barron on God, the Tsunami, and the Problem of Evil

Official EWTN Statement Regarding Fr.John Corapi

Dear EWTN Family:

We are aware that many of our supporters are disappointed in EWTN's decision to remove Father John Corapi's programs from the Network during his administrative leave. We too are greatly disappointed that EWTN had to make this difficult decision. We can assure you that it was made with much prayer and careful discernment.

The fact is that Father John's own religious community has placed him on administrative leave and his capacity to function publicly as a priest has been suspended during the investigation of the charges against him. This was officially communicated to all of the bishops of the country in a statement saying that, "...Fr. Corapi has been placed on administrative leave and has had all of his priestly faculties removed."

In EWTN's thirty years of existence, the Network has never knowingly aired programming featuring any priest whose priestly faculties have been suspended. The Network has always responded consistently and immediately in such situations by removing such programs from the air. We are obliged to do so in obedience to the discipline of the Church.

Father John has long been a friend of EWTN and many of us have worked closely with him throughout the years. He is a tremendously gifted preacher who has led many souls to Christ. We are doing exactly as he has asked and supporting him and everyone involved in the situation in the best way possible, through our prayers.

It is also our prayer that this matter will be brought to a speedy resolution so that Father John's programs can be returned to the airwaves.

Thank you for your understanding. May God bless you.

EWTN Global Catholic Network

On St. Lawrence of Brindisi

Benedict XVI dedicated yesterday's morning’s general audience to St Lawrence of Brindisi, the 16th-century Doctor of the Church (video).

St. Catherine of Sweden

Catherine of Sweden, Saint, the fourth child of Saint Bridget of Sweden (q.v.) and her husband, Ulf Gudmarsson, b. 1331 or 1332; d. March 24, 1381. At the time of her death St. Catherine was head of the convent of Wadstena, founded by her mother; hence the name, Catherine Vastanensis, by which she is occasionally called. At the age of seven she was sent to the abbess of the convent of Riseberg to be educated and soon showed, like her mother, a desire for a life of self-mortification and devotion to spiritual things. At the command of her father, when about thirteen or fourteen years old, she married a noble of German descent, Eggart von Kürnen. She at once persuaded her husband, who was a very religious man, to join her in a vow of chastity. Both lived in a state of virginity and devoted themselves to the exercise of Christian perfection and active charity. In spite of her deep love for her husband, Catherine accompanied her mother to Rome, where St. Bridget went in 1349.
Soon after her arrival in that city Catherine received news of the death of her husband in Sweden. She now lived constantly with her mother, took an active part in St. Bridget's fruitful labors, and zealously imitated her mother's ascetic life. Although the distinguished and beautiful young widow was surrounded by suitors, she steadily refused all offers of marriage. In 1372 St. Catherine and her brother, Birger, accompanied their mother on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land; after their return to Rome St. Catherine was with her mother in the latter's last illness and death.
In 1374, in obedience to St. Bridget's wish, Catherine brought back her mother's body to Sweden for burial at Wadstena, of which foundation she now became the head. It was the mother-house of the Brigittine Order, also called the Order of St. Savior. Catherine managed the convent with great skill and made the life there one in harmony with the principles laid down by its founder. The following year she went again to Rome in order to promote the canonization of St. Bridget, and to obtain a new papal confirmation of the order. She secured another confirmation both from Gregory XI (1377) and from Urban VI (1379), but was unable to gain at the time the canonization of her mother, as the confusion caused by the Schism delayed the process. When this sorrowful division appeared she showed herself, like St. Catherine of Siena, a steadfast adherent of the party of the Roman Pope, Urban VI, in whose favor she testified before a judicial commission. Catherine stayed five years in Italy and then returned home, bearing a special letter of commendation from the pope. Not long after her arrival in Sweden she was taken ill and died. In 1484 Innocent VIII gave permission for her veneration as a saint and her feast was assigned to March 22 in the Roman martyrology. Catherine wrote a devotional work entitled "Consolation of the Soul" (Sielinna Troest), largely composed of citations from the Scriptures and from early religious books; no copy is known to exist. Generally she is represented with a hind at her side, which is said to have come to her aid when unchaste youths sought to ensnare her.
Excerpted from The Catholic Encyclopedia, J.P. Kirsch

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Family Prayers for Lent

One of the real challenges that we too often find in our busy lives is finding time to be together as a family. It is especially difficult to find opportunities to pray together. Here are a few possibilities for praying as a family during Lent or at any other time of the year.

Prayer before Meals
Meals are a natural time to pray as a family. We can begin by simply saying, "Let's pray," or "Let's pause for a minute to give thanks." This can be a brief prayer. Brief prayer doesn't have to be without substance or power.

Praying at Other Times
In the Morning: It can be quite transformative of our family bonds, in faith, to pause very briefly to pray together in the morning. This might be a spontaneous prayer, such as while we are lying in bed. When we are rushing around one another in the kitchen and grabbing breakfast, it can be wonderful to pause to pray and simply ask the Lord to be with each of us in what we are about to do.

Other times: Such as cleaning up or in preparation for guests coming for dinner or for an overnight slumber party. We might share the responsibility for designing the family prayer for special occasions: birthdays, anniversaries, the beginning and end of a school year, the beginning of a new endeavor.

Simple Rituals
We can easily add gestures that bring powerful prayer to our family life. One of the simplest and most natural gestures is to trace a cross on a loved one's forehead.

Praying for One Another
The most important part of family prayer is perhaps the easiest to overlook: how we hold one another up to the Lord. Even when we are not physically together as a praying family, we want to pray for one another.

May our Lord bless our praying, especially at home, in the community of our family, in these days of Lent.

Second Week in Lent: Forgive!

  • This week, search your hearts for the courage to forgive someone. Talk with the family about the need to forgive others and also to forgive ourselves.
  • Remind the family that God our Father forgives us ALL the time.
  • Discuss the special gift of the sacrament of reconciliation: its purpose, its meaning, and the end result: We are closer to God.
  • Go to confession as a family; Mom and Dad set the example for the children.
  • Tell someone you are sorry and ask for forgiveness.
  • Write a note to someone you have hurt. Tell them you are sorry and ask for forgiveness (or make a phone call, but a note is better)
  • Sing 'Father, I have Sinned.' The words of the refrain are so powerful:
'I forgive you; I love you; You are mine; take my hand. Go in peace; sin no more, beloved one.'
  • Another short, but important prayer to include this week in your family prayers is:
'Lord, teach us to forgive, like you yourself forgave.'

Optional Memorial of St. Turibio de Mogrovejo, bishop

Today’s saint was a Spaniard whom the Pope, in 1580, named the Bishop of faraway Lima, Peru, a diocese that was in a state of neglect and crisis. Upon his arrival, Toribio immediately went to work setting things right. He established the first seminary in the New World and encouraged the native Indian people to study for the priesthood. Some of the Spanish conquistadors and clergy opposed his efforts but their Bishop held fast. 

Patron: Peru, Latin American Bishops, Native Rights, (Also, Lawyers may seek his intercession because he was a Lawyer in Spain)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Stations of the Cross, Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent

The Way of the Cross (Via Crucis), as a devotion, may be traced to Christ’s journey along the Via Dolorosa itself at Jerusalem as our Lord walked—and stumbled in pain—to his crucifixion on Mount Calvary. From the earliest years of the Church, pious pilgrims marked out that route to revisit for themselves the scenes of Christ’s passion. The concept of Stations, however, as halting-places along the route, with specific prayers and meditations for each incident, did not develop until the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, especially as a result of reproductions of the holy places being set up in various parts of Europe, for the benefit of those who could not travel to Jerusalem to practice this devotion.

Originally, indulgences were given for making the long and dangerous journey to Jerusalem and devoutly visiting the actual scenes of Christ’s Passion. But in the seventeenth century a new practice developed. In 1686 the Franciscans received from Innocent XI the right to erect Stations in their churches; thus they, and all others affiliated to their order, could gain the same indulgences for making the Way of the Cross in their own churches as if they had made the journey to Jerusalem.
In 1726 Benedict XIII extended the right to gain indulgences in these Franciscan churches to all the faithful. And in 1731 Clement XII permitted indulgenced Stations to all churches—provided they were erected by a Franciscan priest. In 1862 this last restriction was removed, to accommodate those places where no Franciscans were available.

And so today the faithful are able, in their own churches, to make a pilgrimage in spirit to the central scenes of Christ’s sufferings and death.

A plenary indulgence is granted for the Exercise of the Way of the Cross, provided that certain conditions are met: the stations must have been legitimately erected; fourteen crosses of real wood are required (pictures are optional); and movement must be made from one station to the next. Finally, although specific prayers and readings may be used, they are optional; all that is required is “a pious meditation on the Passion and Death of the Lord, which need not be a particular consideration of the individual mysteries of the stations” (Enchiridion of Indulgences).

Monday, March 21, 2011

In Lent, space for Bible, prayer and penance

Dear Friends, we also participate in this vision and this supernatural gift, giving room to prayer and listening to the Word of God. Moreover, especially in this time of Lent, I exhort you, as the Servant of God Paul VI writes, "to respond to the divine precept of penance with some voluntary act beyond that self-denial imposed by the burden of daily life" (apostolic Constitution "Pænitemini," Feb. 17, 1966, III, c: AAS 58 [1966], 182). We invoke the Virgin Mary so that she might help us always to listen to and follow the Lord Jesus Christ even unto the passion and the cross, to participate in his glory also.

[After reciting the Angelus the Holy Father addressed the pilgrims in various languages. In Italian he said:]
In recent days the troubling news that has come from Libya has also stirred trepidation and fear in me. I prayed especially for this to the Lord during the week of retreat. I follow the latest events with great apprehension. I pray for those who are involved in the dramatic situation in the that country and I address a pressing call to the political and military leaders that they take the security of the citizens to heart and guarantee access to humanitarian aid. I wish to assure the people of my affectionate nearness, as I ask God that peace and concord dawn for Libya and the whole region of North Africa as soon as possible.

A prayer by St. Anselm of Canterbury

O my God, teach my heart where and how to seek You, 
where and how to find You. 
You are my God and You are my all and I have never seen You. 
You have made me and remade me, 
You have bestowed on me all the good things I possess, 
Still I do not know You. 
I have not yet done that for which I was made. 
Teach me to seek You. 
I have not yet done that for which I was made. 
Teach me to seek You. 
I cannot seek You unless You teach me 
or find You unless You show Yourself to me. 
Let me seek You in my desire, 
let me desire You in my seeking. 
Let me find You by loving You, 
let me love You when I find You.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Prayer for Peace

Mary, Queen of Peace,
we turn to you, our Mother, 
into your hands we place our prayers.

For our men and women
serving in the military,
protect them!
For innoncent victims
of war and violence
spare them!
For those who mourn
and are injured,
comfort them!
For people of all nations,
unite them
in the love and peace of your Son,
the Prince of Peace.

Mary Queen of Peace,
pray for us.

Benedict XVI concludes Spiritual Exercises

Pope Benedict and the Roman Curia concluded their week-long Lenten spiritual exercises Saturday morning. Preacher, the French Carmelite, Father Lethel, explored the theme of holiness, drawing on the figure of John Paul II in view of the upcoming beatification. 

Pope Benedict XVI, in thanking father Lethel, noted that the meditations were in line with his catechesis on the figures of the saints in the general audience. The Pope said this contemplation on the mystery of Christ reflected in the existence of his most faithful followers is a key element he inherited from Pope John Paul II and one he continues with complete conviction and great joy . The last meditation on Saturday morning was devoted to the figure of St Joseph, coinciding with the Saint’s feast day and onomastic of the Holy Father, who received the best wishes of the Roman Curia. Emer McCarthy reports. 


Every year on this particular Sunday we hear the Gospel account of the Transfiguration. As we journey through Lent, we are reminded, as the apostles were reminded, that glory awaits us if we faithfully follow the way of Jesus. From time to time we seek solitude in order to pray and hear the Father say to us: “You are my beloved son, my beloved daughter.” Then, strengthened with this knowledge, we go forth to bring the Gospel into our daily lives—our families, our work places, our recreation. The following reflection is from Pope Benedict’s 2011 Lenten Message.

The Gospel of the Transfiguration of the Lord puts before our eyes the glory of Christ, which anticipates the resurrection and announces the divinization of man. The Christian community becomes aware that Jesus leads it, like the Apostles Peter, James and John “up a high mountain by themselves” (Mt 17: 1), to receive once again in Christ, as sons and daughters in the Son, the gift of the Grace of God: “This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favor. Listen to him” (Mt 17: 5). It is the invitation to take a distance from the noisiness of everyday life in order to immerse oneself in God’s presence. He desires to hand down to us, each day, a Word that penetrates the depths of our spirit, where we discern good from evil (cf. Heb 4:12), reinforcing our will to follow the Lord.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Father Is Close

The Father cares for you, not merely in a general way by controlling the course of events from afar, but in a profoundly personal way by His presence to you in all the circumstances of daily life.
At no moment is the Father distant from you or unavailable to you. At every moment His providence and His mercy are there for you. Give every care of yours into my Father's hands and go your way in peace of heart, trusting that He will attend to it and cause all things to work together for your ultimate good.


Scenes of a young couple in wheelchairs and an elderly bedridden father rejoicing with his son at Spain's World Cup victory poignantly affirm that "there's always a reason to live" in a video produced by the Spanish Episcopal Conference for this year's pro-life campaign.
The campaign centers on the March 25 Day for Life. READ MORE


Today we exchange the violet of Lent for the white of a great feast in honor of the foster father of Jesus, the husband of Mary. In 1870 Blessed Pope Pius IX declared St. Joseph to be the Patron of the Universal Church. As the guardian and protector of the Holy Family, he is our special patron as well, for we are the Body of Christ. Let us ask St. Joseph to intercede for us as we pray for persecuted Christians and our Latin American brothers and sisters.

O glorious St. Joseph, you were chosen by God to be the foster father of Jesus, the most pure spouse of Mary ever Virgin, and the head of the holy family. You have been chosen by Christ's Vicar as the heavenly patron and protector of the Church founded by Christ. Therefore it is with great confidence that I implore your powerful assistance for the whole Church on earth. Protect in a special manner, with true fatherly love, the Pope and all bishops and priests in communion with the See of Peter. Be the protector of all who labor for souls amid the trials and tribulations of this life, and grant that all peoples of the world may follow Christ and the Church He founded.

Dear St. Joseph, accept the offering of myself which I now make to you. I dedicate myself to your service, that you may ever be my father, my protector, and my guide in the way of salvation. Obtain for me great purity of heart and a fervent love for the spiritual life. May all my actions, after your example, be directed to the greater glory of God, in union with the divine Heart of Jesus, the immaculate heart of Mary, and your own paternal heart. Finally, pray for me that I may share in the peace and joy of your holy death.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The secret of Mother Teresa' success, according her postulator

You don't have to move to the slums of an Indian city to love like Mother Teresa, says Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, the postulator of her Cause of Canonization. In order to love like her, he says, you just need to practice great love in small ways. 

Father Brian said that Mother Teresa's message could be summed up by the phrase that is enscribed on her tombstone, which is from the Gospel of John: “Love one another as I have loved you.”

Fr. Barron on Anti-Catholicism

Optional Memorial of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, bishop, confessor and doctor

Cyril, bishop of Jerusalem, was banished from his see on three occasions. With St. Athanasius and others, he belongs to the great champions of faith in the fight against Arianism. Famous as a teacher and preacher, he has left a series of catechetical instructions that constitute a priceless heirloom from Christian antiquity. Of the twenty-four extant discourses, nineteen were directed to catechumens during Lent as a preparation for baptism, while five so-called mystagogical instructions were given during Easter time to make the mysteries of Christianity better known to those already baptized.
Historically today is the feast of Our Lady of Mercy. Today is an Ember Day in the Tridentine Rite. There are two principal objects for the Ember Days of this period of the year: the first is to offer to God the season of Spring, and, by fasting and prayer, to draw down His blessing upon it; the second is to ask Him to enrich with His choicest graces the priests and sacred ministers who are to receive their Ordination on Saturday.
Things to Do:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Optional Memorial of St. Patrick, bishop and confessor

This day is not all about leprechauns, shamrocks and green beer. This is a day to honor and pray to St. Patrick. He was an influential saint who, 1,500 years ago, brought Christianity to the little country of Ireland. He was born about 385 in the British Isles, was carried off while still very young during a raid on Roman Britain by the Irish and sold as a slave. At the end of six years he contrived to escape to Europe, became a monk and was ordained; he then returned to Ireland to preach the Gospel. During the thirty years that his missionary labors continued he covered the Island with churches and monasteries; in 444 he founded the metropolitan see of Armagh. St. Patrick died in 461. After fifteen centuries he remains for all Irishmen the great bishop whom they venerate as their father in the Faith.

Patron: Ireland; against snakes; against ophidiophobia; archdiocese of Boston, Massachusetts; diocese of Burlington, Vermont; engineers; excluded people; fear of snakes; diocese of Fort Worth, Texas; diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; archdiocese of New York; Nigeria; diocese of Norwich, Connecticut; ophidiophobics; diocese of Portland, Maine; diocese of Sacramento, California; snake bites.
Symbols: A bishop trampling on snakes; bishop driving snakes away; shamrock; snakes; cross; harp; demons; baptismal font.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

How to help Japan?


As the world watches Japan struggle to recover from the the recent earthquake and tsunami, many aid organizations are scrambling their resources in the region to offer help. 

Catholic Relief Services and Caritas International have began accepting donations for anyone who wishes to donate to the relief effort.

The 9.0 magnitude earthquake that sent 30 foot tsunami waves crashing into Japan has left thousands dead with the death toll climbing everyday as more bodies are discovered. 

International aid agencies such as the Red Cross are accepting donations via text messages and through their facebook page to help the survivors. 

The earthquake was the fourth biggest in recorded history and the full extent of it's damage remains to be seen.