Friday, June 29, 2012


On this feast last year Pope Benedict talked about the words of Jesus: “I no longer call you servants, but friends” (John 15:15). As Apostles of Prayer we are called like Peter and Paul to be friends of Jesus. Out of this friendship arises our concern and prayer for the world. Let us pray for Pope Benedict’s monthly intentions now as we reflect on his words.

What is friendship? … wanting the same things, rejecting the same things: this was how it was expressed in antiquity. Friendship is a communion of thinking and willing. The Lord says the same thing to us most insistently: “I know my own and my own know me” (Jn 10:14). The Shepherd calls his own by name (cf. Jn 10:3). He knows me by name. I am not just some nameless being in the infinity of the universe. He knows me personally. Do I know him? The friendship that he bestows upon me can only mean that I too try to know him better; that in the Scriptures, in the Sacraments, in prayer, in the communion of saints, in the people who come to me, sent by him, I try to come to know the Lord himself more and more. Friendship is not just about knowing someone, it is above all a communion of the will. It means that my will grows into ever greater conformity with his will. For his will is not something external and foreign to me, something to which I more or less willingly submit or else refuse to submit. No, in friendship, my will grows together with his will, and his will becomes mine: this is how I become truly myself. … Lord, help me to come to know you more and more. Help me to be ever more at one with your will. Help me to live my life not for myself, but in union with you to live it for others. Help me to become ever more your friend.

Jesus’ words on friendship should be seen in the context of the discourse on the vine. The Lord associates the image of the vine with a commission to the disciples: “I appointed you that you should go out and bear fruit, and that your fruit should abide” (Jn 15:16). The first commission to the disciples, to his friends, is that of setting out – appointed to go out -, stepping outside oneself and towards others. Here we hear an echo of the words of the risen Lord to his disciples at the end of Matthew’s Gospel: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations ...” (cf. Mt 28:19f.) The Lord challenges us to move beyond the boundaries of our own world and to bring the Gospel to the world of others, so that it pervades everything and hence the world is opened up for God’s kingdom. We are reminded that even God stepped outside himself, he set his glory aside in order to seek us, in order to bring us his light and his love. We want to follow the God who sets out in this way, we want to move beyond the inertia of self-centredness, so that he himself can enter our world.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Sistine Chapel Choir will sing as a single chorus with the Westminster Abbey Choir at a historic papal Mass tomorrow.

The Westminster Abbey Choir, the world-renowned chorus that last year performed at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, will join the Sistine singers at a special papal Mass on Friday in St. Peter's Basilica, a historic event seen as a perfect symbol of Christian harmony after centuries of discord.

It's the first time in its 500-plus year history that the pope's personal choir will sing as a single chorus with another choir, let alone one from the breakaway Anglican church.

And this isn't any ordinary chorus: The Westminster Abbey Choir represents some of the finest of the Anglican church's liturgical music traditions.

As a result, the symbolism of the choirs from the two churches uniting into one is enormous, particularly given Pope Benedict XVI's stated aim of trying to unite all Christians.

The Mass marks the feast of St. Peter and St. Paul and is the day in which newly appointed Catholic archbishops receive a woolen stole, known as the pallium, as a sign of their communion with the pope.

"It's the big Mass for underlining our links to the Holy Father, and to ask at that occasion for a non-Catholic choir to take part is deeply significant," said Monsignor Mark Langham, the Vatican official responsible for relations with Anglicans.

Ways to Lighten Your Summertime Laundry Load

The last thing you probably want to do in the midst of summer is spend a lot of time cleaning. But with all of those beach days, pool and picnics, the house can quickly be overrun with sand and damp towels. Find out how to set up a smart laundry system that will see you through the summer with ease.
Minimize laundry loads. Doing a load here and there works best for most people. When laundry builds up to giant mountain levels, it can feel overwhelming to tackle. Using smaller baskets can be a helpful reminder to take the laundry in and start a load. If doing frequent loads of laundry doesn't work for you, a good alternative is to invest in a large three-bin laundry sorter that can keep things tidy until you have a chance to get to it.
Stop wet, sandy clothes before they enter the house. Putting up a simple peg rail or a row of sturdy hooks on the exterior of your home makes it easy to remember to hang damp beach towels to dry.
Keep fresh towels and suits in a designated spot. Inside the door, a second set of hooks or pegs can hold fresh, clean towels ready to grab and go.
traditional utility tubs by Lehman's
Galvanized Washtub - 
Make hand washing chores a snap. Keep a washtub at the ready in the bathroom and toss in bathing suits and other delicate items as needed.
by CB2
by CB2
eclectic bathroom by backporchcoKeep towels off the floor. Provide wall hooks for each member of the household, plus a bench or shelf to stow extras and a small hamper for dirties. For larger households, labeling each hook with a number or letter is an easy way to keep track of whose towel is whose.
Try this easy summer cleaning routine. Of course every once in a while it's a good idea to do a deeper cleaning, but who wants to deal with that in the summer heat? By sticking with this routine, your bath can stay fresh looking in only a few minutes each day.

1. Keep a stack of microfiber cloths in the cupboard or under the sink.
2. Whenever you think about it, give everything a quick swipe with a microfiber cloth dampened with water.
3. Start with the cleanest area (mirror, sink) and end with the grimiest (tub, then toilet). Toss the cloth in a hamper.
4. Summer can mean more mildew buildup, so every once in a while throw the shower curtain and bath mat in the wash, too.
Put a laundry basket in (almost) every room.Kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms each need their own laundry basket. I've found that generally, if you keep the basket on the small side, it makes it easier to keep on top of the laundry.
Designate a spot for pocket contents. A bowl or basket placed on top of the washer serves as a visual reminder to check those pockets before washing that lip balm or money. For extra organizing credit, give each person their own little basket for small items that would otherwise be easily lost

St. Irenaeus

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 all Christians may recognize in the Eucharist the living presence of Christ. May St. Irenaeus intercede with us for the people of Europe to whom he brought the faith.

Directing his disciples to offer God the first-fruits of his own creation—not because he stood in need of them, but that they themselves might be neither unfruitful nor ungrateful—he took that created thing, bread, and gave thanks, and said, “This is My Body” (Matthew 26:26). And the cup likewise, which is part of that creation to which we belong, he confessed to be his Blood, and taught the new oblation of the new covenant. This the Church has received from the Apostles, and offers now to God throughout all the world….

Then how can they say that the flesh, which is nourished with the Body of the Lord and with his Blood, goes to corruption and does not partake of life? Let them, therefore, either alter their opinion, or cease from offering the things just mentioned. But our opinion is in accordance with the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn establishes our opinion. For we offer to him his own, announcing consistently the fellowship and union of the flesh and Spirit. For as the bread, which is produced from the earth, when it receives the invocation of God, is no longer common bread, but the Eucharist, consisting of two realities, earthly and heavenly, so also our bodies, when they receive the Eucharist, are no longer corruptible, having the hope of the resurrection to eternity.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Archbishop Joseph Harris to receive the pallium on June 29

The Holy See Press Office today issued a note explaining the new form of the rite for imposing the pallium on metropolitan archbishops, which takes place annually on 29 June, Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul Apostles. 

Things will remain substantially the same, the note reads, "but this year, following a logic of development in continuity, it has been decided simply to move the rite itself, and it will now take place before the Eucharistic celebration. 

The modification has been approved by the Holy Father and is motivated by the following reasons: 

1. To make the rite shorter. The list of new metropolitan archbishops will be read out immediately before the entry of the opening procession and the singing of 'Tu es Petrus', and it will not be part of the celebration. The rite of the palliums will take place as soon as the Holy Father reaches the altar. 

2. To ensure that the Eucharistic celebration is not 'interrupted' by a relatively long rite (the number of metropolitan archbishops now stands at around forty-five each year), which could make attentive and focused participation in the Mass more difficult.  

3. To make the rite of imposing the pallium more in keeping with the 'Cerimoniale Episcoporum', and to avoid the possibility that, by coming after the homily (as happened in the past), it may be thought of as a Sacramental rite. Indeed, the rites which take place during a Eucharistic celebration following the homily are normally Sacramental rites: Baptism, Confirmation, Ordination, Matrimony, Anointing of the Sick. The imposition of the pallium, on the other hand, is not Sacramental in nature". 

The following metropolitan archbishops will receive the pallium in this year's ceremony: - Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, archbishop of Berlin, Germany. - Cardinal Francisco Robles Ortega, archbishop of Guadalajara, Mexico. - Archbishop Francesco Moraglia, patriarch of Venice, Italy. - Archbishop Alfredo Horacio Zecca of Tucuman, Argentina. - Archbishop Mario Alberto Molina Palma O.A.R. of Los Altos, Quetzaltenango-Totonicapan, Guatemala. - Archbishop Charles Joseph Chaput O.F.M. Cap. of Philadelphia, U.S.A. - Archbishop Luc Cyr of Sherbrooke, Canada. - Archbishop Salvador Pineiro Garcia-Calderon of Ayacucho or Huamanga, Peru. - Archbishop Francesco Panfilo S.D.B. of Rabaul, Papua New Guinea. - Archbishop Ulises Antonio Gutierrez Reyes O. de M. of Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela. - Archbishop Stanisław Budzik of Lublin, Poland. - Archbishop Wilson Tadeu Jonck S.C.I. of Florianopolis, Brazil. - Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher of Gatineau, Canada. - Archbishop Luis Antonio G. Tagle of Manila, Philippines. - Archbishop Patrick D’Rozario C.S.C. of Dhaka, Bangladesh. - Archbishop Wiktor Pawel Skworc of Katowice, Poland. - Archbishop Jose F. Advincula of Capiz, Philippines. - Archbishop Filippo Santoro of Taranto, Italy. - Archbishop Jose Francisco Rezende Dias of Niteroi, Brazil. - Archbishop Esmeraldo Barreto de Farias of Porto Velho, Brazil. - Archbishop Jaime Vieira Rocha of Natal, Brazil. - Archbishop Joseph Harris C.S.Sp. of Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. - Archbishop Waclaw Depo of Czestochowa, Poland. - Archbishop Ignatius Chama of Kasama, Zambia. - Archbishop Pascal Wintzer of Poitiers, France. - Archbishop John Moolachira of Guwahati, India. - Archbishop William Charles Skurla of Pittsburgh of the Byzantines, U.S.A. - Archbishop Joseph Coutts of Karachi, Pakistan. - Archbishop Romulo Geolina Valles of Davao, Philippines. - Archbishop Airton Jose dos Santos of Campinas, Brazil. - Archbishop Timothy Costelloe S.D.B. of Perth, Australia. - Archbishop Jacinto Furtado de Brito Sobrinho of Teresina, Brazil. - Archbishop Thomas D’Souza of Calcutta, India. - Archbishop Arrigo Miglio of Cagliari, Italy. - Archbishop John F. Du of Palo, Philippines. - Archbishop Paulo Mendes Peixoto of Uberaba, Brazil. - Archbishop Christian Lepine of Montreal, Canada. - Archbishop William Edward Lori of Baltimore, U.S.A. - Archbishop Mark Benedict Coleridge of Brisbane, Australia. - Archbishop Jesus Carlos Cabrero Romero of San Luis Potosi, Mexico. - Archbishop Andrew Yeom Soo jung of Seoul, Korea. - Archbishop Benedito Roberto C.S.Sp. of Malanje, Angola. - Archbishop Alfred Adewale Martins of Lagos, Nigeria. - Archbishop Samuel Joseph Aquila of Denver, U.S.A. 

The following two archbishops will receive the pallium in their metropolitan sees: - Archbishop Gabriel Justice Yaw Anokye of Kumasi, Ghana. - Archbishop Valery Vienneau of Moncton, Canada....

The Pope celebrated the last general audience of the summer at the Vatican's Paul VI Hall

The Pope celebrated the last general audience of the summer at the Vatican's Paul VI Hall. At the end of this week he will head out to his summer residence of Castelgandolfo, to start off his summer vacation. 

With roughly 7,000 people in attendance, the Pope talked about St. Paul's letter to the Philippians, by focusing on the human condition and the divinity of Jesus. 

Benedict XVI -“As Jesus' exaltation took place through his abasement, so in our lives and in our prayer we discover that, by lowering ourselves in humility and love, we are lifted up to God.”

The Pope said that true Christianity is more than following the example of Jesus. It's also about living and acting as He would. 

Benedict XVI -“May we more frequently bend the knee in praise and worship of Christ's divinity and his Lordship over all creation. In our prayer, may we be ever more faithful witnesses of his sovereignty in our every thought, word and deed.”

The Pope then encouraged the youth to take advantage of the summer. In addition to relaxing, he said, they should also take part in social projects to care of the needy.

Read full address here

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

St. Josemaría Escrivá

St. Josemaría Escrivá was born in Barbastro, Spain, on January 9, 1902. He had five siblings: Carmen (1899-1957) and Santiago (1919-1994) and three younger sisters who died when they were small children. His parents, José and Dolores, gave their children a deep Christian education.

In 1915, José Escrivá's business failed and he found other work, which required the family to move to Logrono. It was as a teenager in Logrono that Josemaria for the first time sensed his vocation. Moved by the sight of footprints left in the snow by a barefoot friar, he sensed that God was asking something of him, though he did not know exactly what it was. He thought becoming a priest would help him discover and fulfill this calling from God, so he began to prepare for the priesthood, first in Logrono and later in Saragossa.

Josemaría's father died in 1924, leaving him as head of the family. After his ordination in 1925, he began his ministry in a rural parish, and subsequently continued it in Saragossa. In 1927, Fr. Josemaría's bishop gave him permission to move to Madrid to obtain his doctorate in law.

On October 2, 1928, during a spiritual retreat, Fr. Josemaría saw what it was that God was asking of him: to found Opus Dei, a way of sanctification in daily work and in the fulfillment of the Christian's ordinary duties. From then on he worked on carrying out this task, meanwhile continuing his priestly ministry, particularly to the poor and the sick. During these early years of Opus Dei, he was also studying at the University of Madrid and teaching classes in order to support his family. When the Civil War broke out in Madrid, religious persecution forced Fr. Josemaría to exercise his priestly ministry clandestinely and to move from place to place seeking refuge. Eventually, he was able to leave the Spanish capital; and, after a harrowing escape across the Pyrenees, he took up residence in Burgos. When the war concluded in 1939, he returned to Madrid and finally obtained his doctorate in law. In the years that followed he gave many retreats to laity, priests, and religious, and continued working assiduously to develop Opus Dei.

In 1946 Fr. Josemaría took up residence in Rome. During his years in Rome, he obtained a doctorate in Theology from the Lateran University and was appointed by Pope Pius XII as a consultor to two Vatican Congregations, as an honorary member of the Pontifical Academy of Theology, and as an honorary prelate.

He traveled frequently from Rome to various European countries, and to Mexico on one occasion, to spark the growth of Opus Dei in those places. In 1974 and 1975, he made two long trips to a number of countries in Latin America, where he met with large groups of people and spoke to them about their Christian vocation to holiness.

Msgr. Escrivá died in Rome on June 26, 1975. By the time of his death, Opus Dei had begun in dozens of countries and had touched countless lives. After his death thousands of people, including more than a third of the world's bishops, sent letters to Rome asking the Pope to open his cause of beatification and canonization.

Pope John Paul II beatified Msgr. Escrivá on May 17, 1992, in St. Peter's Square in Rome. The ceremony was attended by approximately 300,000 people. "With supernatural intuition," said the Pope in his homily, "Blessed Josemaría untiringly preached the universal call to holiness and apostolate."

Ten years later, on October 6, 2002, John Paul II canonized the founder of Opus Dei in St. Peter's Square before a multitude of people from more than 80 countries. In his discourse to those who attended the canonization, the Holy Father said that "St. Josemaría was chosen by the Lord to proclaim the universal call to holiness and to indicate that everyday life, its customary activities, are a path towards holiness. It could be said that he was the saint of the ordinary."

Information Office of Opus Dei on the Internet
Read a longer biography of St. Josemaría.

Visit these sites to find out more about Opus Dei, St. Josemaría Escrivá and his writings.

Monday, June 25, 2012

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.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist

In a world that has become increasingly relativistic, that thinks there is no objective truth but simply a matter of opinion, we are called to witness to the truth as John the Baptist did. We continue our prayer for Europe and our own nation—that we may witness to the truth at all times—as we reflect on part of a homily by Pope Benedict.

Today, 24 June, the liturgy invites us to celebrate the Solemnity of the Birth of St John the Baptist, whose life was totally directed to Christ, as was that of Mary, Christ's Mother. John the Baptist was the forerunner, the "voice" sent to proclaim the Incarnate Word. Thus, commemorating his birth actually means celebrating Christ, the fulfillment of the promises of all the prophets, among whom the greatest was the Baptist, called to "prepare the way" for the Messiah (cf. Mt 11: 9-10). …

The baptizing prophet became so famous that many asked themselves whether he was the Messiah. The Evangelist, however, specifically denied this: "I am not the Christ" (Jn 1: 20). Nevertheless, he was the first "witness" of Jesus, having received instructions from Heaven: "He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit" (Jn 1: 33). This happened precisely when Jesus, after receiving baptism, emerged from the water: John saw the Spirit descending upon him in the form of a dove. It was then that he "knew" the full reality of Jesus of Nazareth and began to make him "known to Israel" (Jn 1: 31), pointing him out as the Son of God and Redeemer of man: "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (Jn 1: 29).

As an authentic prophet, John bore witness to the truth without compromise. He denounced transgressions of God's commandments, even when it was the powerful who were responsible for them. Thus, when he accused Herod and Herodias of adultery, he paid with his life, sealing with martyrdom his service to Christ who is Truth in person. Let us invoke his intercession, together with that of Mary Most Holy, so that also in our day the Church will remain ever faithful to Christ and courageously witness to his truth and his love for all.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Can a child with dyslexia learn to love words?

My son has been diagnosed with dyslexia – a neurological disorder that affects your ability to read and write. But my pain has little to do with a label or a disability. In fact, the emptiness I’m trying to fill by writing these words is exactly what is creating the void.

I’m a mother and a lover of words since the day I learned to read.

As I watch my son struggle to learn reading skills that came so naturally to me, a fear takes root. I cannot imagine how it would feel not to be able to read well.

When I sit down to patiently read with my son it’s amazing to watch the process of someone working to become literate, right before your eyes. Almost every syllable is difficult for him. Each slight variation in pronunciation makes his nose wrinkle up as he deciphers each letter and word. It’s so very taxing. And the very nature of the difficulty is so hard for me to comprehend.

And, throughout this labored process, the “what if’s” sing out louder. “What if he can’t learn to read?” “What if he is able to read, but, since it’s so burdensome, he never truly learns to love the written word?”

I now realize that literacy is so much more than the ability to read and write at the functional level that our country’s education system strives toward as its universal goal. Yes, we want our children to learn the language, to be able to read a map or a medicine bottle so they can get where they’re going, take care of themselves and get a job.

But what about the language of literacy? True literacy, I mean. Literacy – as in the ability to read and to write fluently, not just for basic information, but for pleasure. The ability to love reading a classic, a gorgeously written piece of literature.

I know in my heart that my son is going to be fine. He is funny and already clearly gifted in the area of visual  reasoning, as many dyslexics are. I am confident that he will work hard, and just as important, learn to embrace what makes him different.

Maybe the question is not, will my son speak the language that I love so well, but, will I appreciate his form of expression? Perhaps my son will one day help me become literate in whatever language he finds most fitting to his sense of self and his unique gifts. And I look forward to becoming fluent in it together.

Unique Bookshelves

If you are a person who reads a lot you know you need to have a way to organize your books and put them into shelves. Most of the bookshelves that you find in stores are simple and really dull, but there are certain designers who create unique bookshelves to be placed in offices or at home, to blend in the interior design that you have. If you want to have a cool library at home, you have to use one of these unusual bookcase designs. Via design your way.

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

St. Aloysius Gonzaga

Today’s saint was the eldest son of a prominent Italian nobleman who wanted him to follow in his footsteps. He even sent young Aloysius to be a page in the court of King Philip II of Spain. But Aloysius found life in the court—with its sensual temptations, riches, and intrigues—empty. He desired instead to serve the King of heaven and earth and made know to his father his desire to enter the Jesuits. At first his father opposed him but in time relented and in 1585 he joined the Society of Jesus. During his studies in Rome the plague broke out. Aloysius went around the city looking for the sick whom he carried to hospitals where he cared for them both physically and spiritually, preparing them for death. In time he contracted the plague and died on this day at the age of 23. In 1726 he was canonized and shortly thereafter was named the patron saint of youth.

As we continue our prayers that Christians in Europe may rediscover their true identity and participate with greater enthusiasm in the proclamation of the Gospel, let us ask St. Aloysius to intercede with us. Today also begins the “Fortnight for Freedom,” a special two week period of prayer that the U.S. bishops have initiated in response to the threats to religious liberty in this nation. The following is a prayer that St. Aloysius used to say.

Holy Mary, my Queen, into your blessed protection and special keeping, and into the bosom of your mercy, I, this day and every day of my life and in the hour of my death, commend my soul and my body. I entrust to you all my hopes and consolations, all my trials and miseries, my life and the end of my life, that through your most holy intercession and your merits, all my actions may be ordered and directed according to your will and that of your Son. Amen.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Great advice

Make it the best summer yet! 
How to UnPlug More: 10 things you can do: 
Pick 1 before you Click