Thursday, June 30, 2011


( Here is the prayer Benedict XVI wrote for the 60th anniversary of his priestly ordination, which he celebrated today.
* * * 
We thank you because you have opened your Heart for us;
Because in your Death and Resurrection
You have become source of life.
Make us living persons,
Living from your source,
And give us the power to be sources ourselves,
Able to give to this, our time
The water of life.
We thank you
For the grace of the priestly ministry.
Lord, bless us
And bless all men of this time
Who are thirsty and in search
Benedictus PP XVI

First Martyrs of the Church of Rome

There were Christians in Rome within a dozen or so years after the death of Jesus, though they were not the converts of the "Apostle of the Gentiles" (see Romans 15:20). Paul had not yet visited them at the time he wrote his great letter in A.D. 57-58.
There was a large Jewish population in Rome. Probably as a result of controversy between Jews and Jewish Christians, the Emperor Claudius expelled all Jews from Rome in A.D. 49-50. Suetonius the historian says that the expulsion was due to disturbances in the city "caused by the certain Chrestus" [Christ]. Perhaps many came back after Claudius's death in A.D. 54. Paul's letter was addressed to a church with members from Jewish and gentile backgrounds.
In July of A.D. 64, more than half of Rome was destroyed by fire. Rumor blamed the tragedy on Nero, who wanted to enlarge his palace. He shifted the blame by accusing the Christians. According to the historian Tacitus, a "great multitude" of Christians were put to death because of their "hatred of the human race." Peter and Paul were probably among the victims.
Threatened by an army revolt and condemned to death by the senate, Nero committed suicide in A.D. 68 at the age of thirty-one.
Wherever the Good News of Jesus was preached, it met the same opposition as Jesus did, and many of those who began to follow him shared his suffering and death. But no human force could stop the power of the Spirit unleashed upon the world. The blood of martyrs has always been, and will always be, the seed of Christians.
Excerpted from Saint of the Day, Leonard Foley, O.F.M.
Symbols: Red is the color for marytrs; red rose symbol of martyrdom; crown, symbolizing victory over death and sin; white horse with a white banner and cross and sword; fire or flames; palm, symbol of victory.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

iPope! - Twitter blessed as Pope issues first tweet

Pope Benedict XVI officially launched the new Vatican news site with a click of the mouse on Tuesday evening, June 28. 

The Pope opened the news service with a short personal message, which went out on Twitter and Facebook feeds: 

Dear Friends, I just launched Praised be our Lord Jesus Christ! With my prayers and blessings, Benedictus XVI 

  1. Pope Benedict XVI touches a touchpad to send a tweet for the launch of the Vatican news information portal "", at the Vatican Tuesday, June 28, 2011. Benedict's tweet reads: "Dear Friends, I just launched News. va Praised be our Lord Jesus...
    Pope Benedict XVI touches a touchpad to send a tweet for the launch of the Vatican news information portal "", at the Vatican Tuesday, June 28, 2011. Benedict's tweet reads: "Dear Friends, I just launched News. va Praised be our Lord Jesus Christ!

Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, apostles

These two great saints, pillars of the Church, were both missionaries who left their homeland and gave the ultimate witness to the faith as they were martyred in Rome. Let us pray for the Holy Spirit to raise up many missionary vocations in our day as we reflect on part of Pope Benedict’s homily from the celebration of vespers for this feast a year ago.

Pope John Paul II represented the Church's missionary nature "in the flesh" with his Apostolic Journeys and with the insistence of his Magisterium on the urgent need for a "new evangelization": "new" not in its content but in its inner thrust, open to the grace of the Holy Spirit which constitutes the force of the new law of the Gospel that always renews the Church; "new" in ways that correspond with the power of the Holy Spirit and which are suited to the times and situations; "new" because of being necessary even in countries that have already received the proclamation of the Gospel. It is evident to all that my Predecessor gave the Church's mission an extraordinary impetus, not only I repeat because of the distances he covered but above all because of the genuine missionary spirit that motivated him and that he left as a legacy at the dawn of the third millennium.

In receiving this legacy, I was able to state, at the beginning of my Petrine ministry, that the Church is young and open to the future. And I repeat this today, close to the tomb of St Paul. The Church is an immense force for renewal in the world. This is not, of course, because of her own strength but because of the power of the Gospel in which the Holy Spirit of God breathes, God Creator and Redeemer of the world. The challenges of the present time, the historical and social and, especially, the spiritual challenges, are certainly beyond the human capacity. It sometimes seems to us Pastors of the Church that we are reliving the experience of the Apostles when thousands of needy people followed Jesus and he asked them: what can we do for all these people? They were then aware of their powerlessness. Yet Jesus himself had shown them that with faith in God nothing is impossible and that a few loaves and fish, blessed and shared, could satisfy the hunger of all. However, there was not and there is not hunger solely for material food: there is a deeper hunger that only God can satisfy. Human beings of the third millennium want an authentic, full life; they need truth, profound freedom, love freely given. Even in the deserts of the secularized world, man's soul thirsts for God, for the living God. It was for this reason that John Paul II wrote: "The mission of Christ the Redeemer, which is entrusted to the Church, is still very far from completion", and he added: "an overall view of the human race shows that this mission is still only beginning and that we must commit ourselves wholeheartedly to its service" (Encyclical Redemptoris Missio, n. 1). There are regions of the world that are still awaiting a first evangelization; others that have received it, but need a deeper intervention; yet others in which the Gospel put down roots a long time ago, giving rise to a true Christian tradition but in which, in recent centuries with complex dynamics the secularization process has produced a serious crisis of the meaning of the Christian faith and of belonging to the Church.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


(Zenit.orgThis Wednesday, Benedict XVI will be celebrating the "high point of his life" as he marks the 60th anniversary of his priestly ordination.
Joseph Ratzinger was ordained at age 24, together with his brother Georg, and more than 40 candidates, at the cathedral of Freising, near Munich, by Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber.
"Adsum," (here I am), were the words the young Ratzingers pronounced in Latin before God and the people.
As the universal Church relives that day on Wednesday, the Pope has not wished it to be a moment of personal exaltation. Rather, it has been designated a day to promote thanksgiving to God for the gift of the priesthood and to ask him to call forth new vocations.
In his Memoirs of 1927-1977, Ratzinger recalls that "radiant summer day."
"We should not be superstitious," he wrote, "but at the moment when the elderly archbishop laid his hands on me, a little bird -- perhaps a lark -- flew up from the high altar in the cathedral and trilled a little joyful song. And I could not but see in this a reassurance from on high, as if I heard the words, 'This is good; you are on the right way.'"
The following four weeks of discovery were like "an unending feast," the memoirs recount.
"Everywhere we were received even by total strangers with a warmth and affection I had not thought possible until that day," he remembered. "In this way I learned firsthand how earnestly people wait for a priest, how much they long for the blessing that flows from the power of the sacrament. The point was not my own or my brothers' person. What could we two young men represent all by ourselves to the many people we were now meeting? 
"In us they saw persons who had been touched by Christ's mission and had been empowered to bring his nearness to men."

New multimedia Vatican news site goes live June 28

The Vatican is launching a multimedia internet portal to provide news coverage of the Holy See.
The new site——will go live on Tuesday evening, June 28: the eve of the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. Pope Benedict himself is expected to click the link that will make the site active. A preview version is already available to visitors.
The new site will provide news from all of the main Vatican media sources: L’Osservatore Romano, Vatican Radio, the Vatican Television Center, the Fides news agency, the Vatican Information Service, and the press office. News items added to the site will also be made available on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter when appropriate.
Available at first in Italian- and English-language translations, the site will add Spanish later this summer. Plans for French and Portuguese versions are underway.
The news site will not replace the regular Vatican web site, which will remain active for general information about the Holy See.
At a June 27 press conference announcing plans for the effort, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, the president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, said that he was grateful to collaborators—especially to technical advisers—for “having completed the task.”
Source(s): these links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

Memorial of St. Irenaeus, bishop and martyr

Today’s saint was born in Asia Minor and was a third generation Christian. He studied in Rome and went to France as a missionary, becoming the Bishop of Lyons where he gave his life in witness to the faith that had been handed down to him from the Apostles. In his great work entitled “Adversus Haereses” or “Against the Heresies”, St. Irenaeus explained what Christians of all times have believed about the Eucharist. As we reflect on the following words of his, we pray that our faith in the mystery of Christ’s Body and Blood may grow so that we may be filled with the hope and love that leads us to offer our lives one day at a time.

We must make an offering to God and show ourselves in everything grateful to him who made us, in the purity of our thoughts, the sincerity of our faith, and the firmness of our hope and our burning charity, as we offer him the first fruits of the creatures that are his. This is the pure offering that the Church alone makes to her creator, presenting her gift to him gratefully from his creation. …

When a vine-stock is set in the ground, it bears fruit in due season; when a grain of wheat falls into the earth, it dies, only to be restored to life and multiplied by the Spirit of God, who holds all creatures in being. Then by the providence of God the grape and the vine become available for man’s use, and when they receive God’s word, they become the Eucharist, the body and blood of Christ. In the same way, if our bodies are nourished by the Eucharist, after being buried in the earth and decaying there they shall rise again in due season, when the word of God confers resurrection upon them for the glory of God the Father. For God confers immortality on what is mortal, and bestows incorruptibility on what is corruptible, because his power is made perfect in weakness.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Our Lady of Perpetual Help (or of Perpetual Succour) is a Byzantine icon from the late middle ages and has resided in Rome since the late 1400s. The Eastern Catholics call it "Holy Theotokos of the Passion."
The image depicts the Blessed Virgin Mary wearing a blue mantle and veil. On the left side is the Archangel Michael, carrying the lance and sponge of the crucifixion of Jesus. On the right is the Archangel Gabriel carrying the cross and nails. The Christ child rests in her arms and looks intently at the cross.
Tradition states that the icon memorializes an occasion in which the young Christ awoke from a dream in which He saw the instruments of His passion. Mary comforted Him, but remained solemn since she knew that that the dream was a portent of her Son's future passion. The icon brilliantly captures both the reality of the incarnation and the reality of the crucifixion of Christ in one single image that mystically links the events to Mary - who was present for each.
The icon was brought to Rome by a pious merchant, who desired that the picture should be exposed in a church for public veneration. It was exposed in the church of San Matteo, Via Merulana, between St. Mary Major and St. John Lateran.
The rascally French invaded Rome in 1812 and destroyed the church - and the icon disappeared.
In 1865, the icon was rediscovered to the joy of many. Pope Pius IX as a boy had prayed before the icon in the church of San Matteo before it was lost during the French invasion. Pius IX took great interest when the icon was finally rediscovered - since he had been especially devoted to it. He subsequently approved a liturgical feast in commemoration of the icon. The Redemptorists especially revered the image for its profound spiritual meaning.
Today it is one of the most popular images of Our Lady and it is one of the few images that is universally revered in every rite of the Catholic Church - East to West.
Excerpted from Canterbury Tales
Things to Do:

St. Cyril of Alexandria

St. Cyril is one of the great Greek fathers of the Church. He was chosen by divine Providence to be the shield and champion of the Church against Nestorius, who denied the unity of person in Christ. If this heresy had succeeded, Mary would not be called the Mother of God.
Excepting Sts. Athanasius and Augustine, his equal as a defender of orthodoxy, can hardly be found in the Church's history. His greatest achievement was the successful direction of the ecumenical council at Ephesus (431), of which he was the soul (Pope Celestine had appointed him papal legate). In this council two important dogmas were defined – that there is but one person in Christ, and that Mary (in the literal sense of the word) can be called the Mother of God (Theotokos). His successful defense of the latter doctrine is his greatest title to honor.
His writings show such depth and clarity that the Greeks called him the "seal of the fathers." He died in 444 A.D., after having been bishop for thirty-two years. In Rome, the basilica of St. Mary Major stands as a most venerable monument to the honor paid Mary at the Council of Ephesus. On the arch leading into the sanctuary important incidents in the lives of Jesus and Mary are depicted in mosaic.
Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch
In 1881, he was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Leo XIII, and in 1944, on the fifteenth centenary of Cyril's death, Pope Pius XII issued his encyclical Orientalis Ecclesiae, commemorating Cyril's place in the history of the Church.
Excerpted from The One Year Book of Saints by Rev. Clifford Stevens
Patron: Alexandria; Egypt.
Symbols: Shown holding a pen; with the Blessed Virgin Mary holding the Child Jesus.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A True Priest

In Pictures: Sunday Angelus June 26, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI blesses the faithful during the Angelus prayer from his studio's window overlooking St. Peter's square at the Vatican Sunday, June 26, 2011. 

Pope Benedict XVI gestures to faithful as he delivers the Angelus prayer from his studio's window overlooking St. Peter's square at the Vatican Sunday, June 26, 2011. 

A young girl looks on as Pope Benedict XVI leads the Sunday angelus prayer from the window of his private apartments in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican June 26, 2011. 

Pope Benedict XVI waves as he arrives to lead the Sunday angelus prayer from the window of his private apartment in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican June 26, 2011.

Pope Benedict XVI: The Eucharist is an antidote to today's individualistic culture

In today's individualistic culture, the Eucharist is an "antidote", which operates in the minds and hearts of believers and continually sows in them the logic of the communion, service, sharing, in other words, the logic of the Gospel. Those were Pope Benedict XVI’s words speaking to the faithful in St Peter’s Square at Sunday’s Angelus. 

He was referring to the feast of Corpus Christi which is celebrated in many countries this Sunday.

“In many places today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ. May our hearts rejoice in the great gift of Jesus, the Bread of Life, who has given himself for us and has come to nourish us.” 

Without the Eucharist, Pope Benedict said the Church does not exist because it “constitutes the Church’s most precious treasure”. 

It is he added, “like the beating heart that gives life to the whole mystical body of the Church, a social organism based on the spiritual but real tie to Christ.”

The Pope then recalled the way life of the early Christians in Jerusalem which he said was the sign of a new style of life, and always, he added, in the history of the Church, the communion with the Body of Christ is the remedy of mind and will, to find taste for truth and the common good. 

The Pope also recalled the proclamation of several new Blesseds over the weekend, among whom were three German priests killed by the Nazis in 1943, and a nun and two priests Beatified in Milan. 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Best summertime snack

See this alternative on Real Simple: Watermelon pops! An easy way to give your kids fruit and they’ll have fun eating it too. Wouldn't it taste so refreshing on a hot day? I love the idea of adding a cupcake liner to the stick (for catching juicy drips) like it’s shown below.

Who needs plain-old Popsicles, anyway? These 50 frozen treats will keep your family cool all summer!

WYD Madrid 2011, announces winning songs

It's official. World Youth Day has picked its winning tunes. After listening to dozens of songs for the “Tuned into Madrid,” competition, the jury has selected seven songs among a pool of 25. But, the selection committee didn't agree with the public's taste. Only two of the seven winning songs, were among the voter's favorites.

The jury went for an international feel in its selection.

Many say this song definitely deserves praise. It's sung by Darryll Wilson from Nepal and it's titled “We've been made one.” It got 3, 899 votes, but it was number 25 among voter's choice.

Another winner is called “Elevando mi canción,” or “Raising my song.” It's from a Colombian group named “Jóvenes Misioneros del Santo Padre.” It had almost 15,000 votes and it ranked fourth in the voter's choice category.

The judges also liked the song called “Joy” from the French Community of Emmanuel. It's arguably the most animated song in the contest, but it wasn't too popular with voters. When it came to the public's choice, it ranked 17th. 

The selection jury also chose a song by Italian singers Andrea Daconte, Alessandro Grasso and Antonio Minervini. It's called "Radicati in te.” But in the overall standings it was number six. 

The only Spanish winner is entitled “Síguele” or “Follow Him.” The tune is actually sung by nuns of the group “Orden y Mandato de San Miguel.”

The catchy melody attracted 95,000 votes and also the number one spot among voter's choice. 

The song that got the most visits on the web, is “Faith in You,” by British singer Cherrie Anderson. With more than 400,500 votes, the singer was also recognized for popularity. 

And finally Colombian singer, Leonardo Jáuregui has been honored as the best voice of the contest for his song “ Venimos,” or “We Come.” The singer's voice is without a doubt, something to talk about. 

Each winner will receive free registration for WYD. But most importantly, their songs will more than likely be played during some of the events of World Youth Day Madrid 2011. 

St. William of Monte Virgine, Abbot

William was born in Vercelli, Italy, in 1085. His parents died when he was a baby. Relatives raised him. When William grew up, he became a hermit. He worked a miracle, curing a blind man, and found himself famous. William was too humble to be happy with the people’s admiration. He really wanted to remain a hermit so that he could concentrate on God. He went away to live alone on a high, wild mountain. No one would bother him now. But even there he was not to remain alone. Men gathered around the saint and they built a monastery dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. Because of William’s monastery, people gave the mountain a new name. They called it the Mountain of the Virgin.
After a while, some of the monks began to complain that the lifestyle was too hard. They wanted better food and an easier schedule. William would not relax the rule for himself. Instead, he chose a prior for the monks. Then he and five faithful followers set out to start another monastery, as strict as they were used to. One of his companions was St. John of Mantua. Both William and John of Mantua were leaders. They realized as time went on that they would do better if they split up, each to start a monastery. They were great friends, but they saw things differently. John went east and William went west. Both did very well. In fact, both became saints.
Later, King Roger of Naples helped St. William. William’s good influence on the king angered some evil men of the court. They tried to prove to the king that William was really evil, that he was hiding behind a holy habit. They sent a bad woman to tempt him, but she was unsuccessful. It seems that she repented and gave up her life of sin. St. William died on June 25, 1142.
He is also known as St. William of Vercelli, or St. William of Monte Vergine.
Symbols: Wolf; trowel; lily; passion flower.
Often Portrayed as: a pilgrim, usually near Santiago de Compostela; abbot near a wolf wearing a saddle; receiving an appearance by Christ; saddling a wolf that killed his ass.

Friday, June 24, 2011

In Pictures - Pope Benedict XVI celebrates Corpus Christi

Pope Benedict XVI leads a procession from Rome's Basilica of St John's in Lateran to St. Mary Major Basilica to mark the Roman Catholic feast of Corpus Domini, commemorating Christ's last supper and the institution of the eucharist.

Pope Benedict XVI takes part in a candle-lit Corpus Domini procession in downtown Rome June 23, 2011.

Pope Benedict XVI is helped as he walks up stairs at his arrival in Rome's St. John in Lateran Basilica, Thursday, June 23, 2011. The pontiff will lead the Corpus Christi procession on an open vehicle from St. John in Lateran Basilica to St. Mary Major.

Pope Benedict XVI greets faithful as he arrives at Rome's St. John in Lateran Basilica, Thursday, June 23, 2006. The pontiff will lead the Corpus Christi procession on an open vehicle from St. John in Lateran Basilica to St. Mary Major Basilica.

Pope Benedict XVI incenses the altar as he leads the Corpus Domini mass in Rome's Basilica of St. John in Lateran June 23, 2011.

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Corpus Domini mass in Rome's Basilica of St. John in Lateran June 23, 2011.

Pope Benedict XVI arrives, on June 23, 2011, to celebrate a mass prior a procession from Rome's Basilica of St John's in Lateran to the Basilica of St. Mary Major.

Pope Benedict XVI onCorpus Christi: the gentle power of God

Pope Benedict XVI said Mass in Rome’s Cathedral basilica of St John Lateran yesterday evening, before leading the Roman faithful in Eucharistic procession to the Basilica of St Mary Major, all to mark the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ – known throughout the world by its Latin name, “Corpus Domini” or “Corpus Christi”. In his homily, Pope Benedict focused on the Eucharist as the centre and the apex of a communion based on love and gratitude. “The Gospel,” he said, “has always aimed at the unity of the human family, a unity not imposed from above, or by ideological or economic interests, but from a sense of responsibility towards each other, because we identify ourselves as members of the same body, the body of Christ, because we have learned and continually learn from the Sacrament of the Altar that sharing, love is the path of true justice.”

The Holy Father also spoke of God’s desire to renew the world, saying that the accomplishment of this renewal is through the same path followed by Christ, indeed, the path that is Christ, the Divine Son, Himself. “There is nothing magic in Christianity,” said Pope Benedict. “There are no shortcuts, but everything passes through the patient and humble logic of the grain of wheat that is broken to give life, the logic of faith that moves mountains with the gentle power of God.”

“This,” said Pope Benedict, “is why God wants to continue to renew humanity, history and the cosmos through this chain of transformations, of which the Eucharist is the sacrament. Through the consecrated bread and wine, in which His Body and Blood is truly present, Christ transforms us, assimilating us in Him: He involves us in his redeeming work, enabling us, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, to live according to his same logic of gift, like grains of wheat united with Him and in Him. Thus unity and peace, which are the goal for which we strive, are sown and mature in the furrows of history, according to God's plan.”READ FULL TEXT

Solemnity of the Birth of St. John the Baptist

John the Baptist said that he was not the Messiah but the forerunner, the one who prepared the way for Christ (John 1: 19-28). He declared, speaking about Jesus: “He must increase; I must decrease” (John 3: 30). This is the goal of every Christian but especially of priests. As we pray for holy priests, let us reflect on part of Pope Benedict’s General Audience on this day in 2009.

Jesus speaks of the proclamation of the Kingdom of God as the true purpose of his coming into the world and his proclamation is not only a "discourse". At the same time it includes his action: the signs and miracles that he works show that the Kingdom comes into the world as a present reality which ultimately coincides with Jesus himself. In this sense it is only right to recall that even in the primacy of proclamation, the word and the sign are indivisible. Christian preaching does not proclaim "words", but the Word, and the proclamation coincides with the very Person of Christ, ontologically open to the relationship with the Father and obedient to his will. Thus, an authentic service to the Word requires of the priest that he strive for deeper self-denial, to the point that he can say, with the Apostle, "it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me". The priest cannot consider himself "master" of the Word, but its servant. He is not the Word but, as John the Baptist, whose birth we are celebrating precisely today, proclaimed, he is the "voice" of the Word: "the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight" (Mk 1: 3).

For the priest, then, being the "voice" of the Word is not merely a functional aspect. On the contrary, it implies a substantial "losing of himself" in Christ, participating with his whole being in the mystery of Christ's death and Resurrection: his understanding, his freedom, his will and the offering of his body as a living sacrifice (cf. Rm 12: 1-2). Only participation in Christ's sacrifice, in his kenosis, makes preaching authentic! And this is the way he must take with Christ to reach the point of being able to say to the Father, together with Christ: let "not what I will, but what you will" be done (Mk 14: 36). Proclamation, therefore, always involves self-sacrifice, a prerequisite for its authenticity and efficacy.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Novena to the Immaculate Heart of Mary - June 23 - July 1

O Most Blessed Mother, heart of love, heart of mercy, ever listening, caring, consoling, hear our prayer. As your children, we implore your intercession with Jesus your Son. Receive with understanding and compassion the petitions we place before you today, especially ...(special intention).

We are comforted in knowing your heart is ever open to those who ask for your prayer. We trust to your gentle care and intercession, those whom we love and who are sick or lonely or hurting. Help all of us, Holy Mother, to bear our burdens in this life until we may share eternal life and peace with God forever.

Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus - Day Two

I.O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you." Behold I knock, I seek and ask for the grace of......(here name your request)

Our Father....Hail Mary....Glory Be to the Father....Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

II.O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you." Behold, in your name, I ask the Father for the grace of.......(here name your request) Our Father...Hail Mary....Glory Be To the Father....Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

III. O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not pass away." Encouraged by your infallible words I now ask for the grace of.....(here name your request) Our Father....Hail Mary....Glory Be to the Father...Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, for whom it is impossible not to have compassion on the afflicted, have pity on us miserable sinners and grant us the grace which we ask of you, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, your tender Mother and ours.

Say the Hail, Holy Queen and add: St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus, pray for us.
-- St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

The story of Joseph Ratzinger's vocation: 60 years as a priest

In his autobiography, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, explained how the most important day of his life, was the day he was ordained. It was June 29, 1951. On that day,Cardinal von Faulhaber of Munich ordained the Raztinger brothers in the Cathedral of Freising. Georg was 27 years old. Joseph,24. His family was very religious, so their parents weren't really surprised by their decision.

“I don´t think there was was one precise moment when we told our parents," says his brother, Georg Ratzinger.

Mons. Georg Ratzinger
April 7, 2008
“I don´t think there was was one precise moment when we told our parents. It was a continuous development, something that became increasingly clear, so that we didn´t really have to say anything to our parents. It was somehow unspoken, but our parents sensed that this was the way we wanted to go. And our parents said yes to it. They said that one shouldn´t influence children in their choice of vocation, at most advise, but children must live their own lives.”

The future pope had entered the minor seminary twelve years earlier, in 1939. He had to leave though, because of the ongoing war. During that time Hitler forced teenagers to defend their country. Joseph was assigned to work in the trenches and he also built air defenses.

After the war, his seminary was basically reduced to ruins. The two brothers, Joseph and Georg returned to the city to reconstruct the building and recontinue their studies.

Georg Ratzinger
April 7, 2008
“At that time every soldier coming back from the war had to prove that he had a job, to ensure that no one was idle. That way everyone participated in rebuilding the country which was largely destroyed. The rector of the seminary said: to avoid going somewhere far away, where you are not feeling at ease, why don´t you come here and rebuild the Seminary. We have plenty of work for you! And so my brother and I went to the seminary and helped to clean and repair it.”

Five years of studies and preparation came on June 29, 1951. That day something happened that's forever etched in the memory of Joseph Ratzinger.

Joseph Ratzinger
“My Life”
“When the old archbishop laid his hands on mine, a bird, perhaps a lark, rose from the altar and sang a happy song, for me it was like a voice from heaven telling me ''it's going well, you're taking the right path'.”

His first assignment was in the Church of the Precious Sange Christ in Munich. There, he held daily confession from 6 to 7 am. He was also responsible for youth programs, which included teaching religion to children.

He only served in that parish for a year. When the bishop saw his talent for teaching, he was called to teach at the seminary to prepare future priests.

The Pope continued with his series of catecheses on prayer, on the Book of Psalms.

The summer heat is arriving in full force in Rome, which is why Benedict XVI toured St. Peter's Square with the characteristic “Saturn” hat, it's the red sun-hat that popes usually wear in the summer. The pope then continued his catechesis on prayer. Today he reflected on the Psalms, which he defined as “the main book of prayers.” 

Benedict XVI

“These inspired songs teach us how to speak to God, expressing ourselves and the whole range of our human experience with words that God himself has given us.” 

The pope announced that in his next few catechesis he would reflect on a Psalm every Wednesday in order to help Christians with their prayers. But this will take place in August because the next general audience won't be until August 3rd. READ FULL ADDRESS

Solemnity of Corpus Christi

This is a wonderful day—a wonderful feast day: the feast of Corpus Christi; the feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Today's feast has 3 purposes:

1) To honor Our Lord, who is truly present in the Holy Eucharist
2) To instruct others on the faith, mystery, and devotion concerning the Holy Eucharist
3) To show our appreciate for the great gift of the Holy Eucharist

We believe what Jesus told us: that He promised to give us His Body and Blood as our food and drink. And we believe that Jesus actually fulfilled that promise at the Last Supper when He instituted the Holy Eucharist and gave His Apostles and their successors the power to say Mass and, in His name, to change bread and wine into His Body and Blood.

As the Son of God, He could not leave people in doubt about the meaning of His words on such an important subject. And so He began to repeat seven more times:

(1) "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you."

(2) "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise him up on the last day."

(3) "For my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink."

(4) "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him."

(5) "...the one who feeds on me will have life because of me."

(6) "This is the bread that came down from heaven."

(7) "Whoever eats this bread will live forever."

We know that, as the Son of God, He has the power to do what, humanly speaking, is impossible. We accept the words of Jesus because we accept Jesus Himself as true God and true Man. What He tells us is true, because He cannot deceive nor be deceived. We know, moreover, that Jesus loves us, that He died for us on the Cross, and that He gives us His Body and Blood precisely so that we can live with Him forever in the glory of heaven, in the glory of the Most Blessed Trinity.

This is the wonderful message that the Church proclaims today: that Jesus is truly with us in the Holy Eucharist. He gives us His Body and Blood as an expression of His love. And by our presence today and by our prayers we acknowledge His love and show Him our love in return.

Parents what a magnificent role we exercise in handing on to your children our holy Catholic faith, our belief in the true presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament! In our marriage we have experienced God’s love through one another; we have communicated love and transmitted life to our children and we continue to strive by our own faith and example to introduce our children to the fullness of God’s love that is found in the Holy Eucharist.

The feast of Corpus Christi, this feast of the Body and Blood of Christ is precious for the entire community of the Church, but how personally and profoundly meaningful it is for all our families—parents and children, for whom it is such an outpouring of the love of Jesus Christ, who once again repeats to all of us today: "I am the living bread that came down from heaven; ... and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world." Amen.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

In Pictures - Pope Benedict XVI General Audience June 22, 2011

 Pope Benedict XVI kisses a baby during the weekly audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican June 22, 2011.
    Pope Benedict XVI kisses a baby during the weekly audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican June 22, 2011.

  1. Pope Benedict XVI arrives in St. Peter square at the Vatican for his weekly general audience, Wednesday, June 22, 2011.

    Pope Benedict XVI is helped by his personal secretary Georg Gaenswein to adjust his hat as he arrives in St. Peter square at the Vatican for his weekly general audience, Wednesday, June 22, 2011.
    Pope Benedict XVI is helped by his personal secretary Georg Gaenswein to adjust his hat as he arrives in St. Peter square at the Vatican for his weekly general audience, Wednesday, June 22, 2011.

    Cardinals and bishops shelter from the sun as Pope Benedict XVI leads the weekly audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican June 22, 2011.
     Cardinals and bishops shelter from the sun as Pope Benedict XVI leads the weekly audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican June 22, 2011.

    Pope Benedict XVI's secretary Georg Ganswein adjusts his hat as they arrive for the weekly audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican June 22, 2011.