Wednesday, October 31, 2012

7 Things that frighten me

I have no problem with spiders, nor am I afraid of heights, but here are 10 things that scare the bejabbers out of me:

1. Snakes - So menacing! So prehistoric!

2. Zealots of both Right and Left – political and religious – who are so certain of their righteousness that they can’t begin to get beyond their fanaticism.

3. My own moodiness – there are times when I seem to become a stranger to myself.

4. Tight dark spaces. I don’t think of myself as especially claustrophobic, but I hate being confined in small and narrow places.

5. I worry all the time that I will grow into a bitter and resentful old person. I want to be one of those gentle and generous wisdom figures, but I fear my grumpiness, anxiety and selfishness might get the better of me.

6. I fear that by my actions, or inaction, at times I have not only failed to love, but have done serious and lasting harm to others.

7. My deepest fear is that I am continually failing to see the faces and traces of God all around me.

What are some of the things that terrify you?

Pope's general audience: Faith is not only personal, it's also public

During today's Wednesday's general audience, the Pope explained that believing in God and having faith in Him, is not just a personal matter, but one that should involve a Church community. Benedict XVI said that it's within this community that personal faith flourishes as it's passed on to younger generations.


“Dear Brothers and Sisters, In our series of catecheses for the Year of Faith, we have seen that faith is something intensely personal: a gift of God which transforms and enriches our life. At the same time, the gift of faith is given in and through the community of the Church.

In Baptism I receive and appropriate the faith of the Church; my personal faith finds expression in the recitation of the Creed and in the communal celebration of the sacraments. 

The new life I live in Christ through the gift of his Spirit is received and nourished within the Church’s communion. In this sense, the Church is our Mother. 

As Saint Cyprian says, “No one can have God as Father who does not have the Church as Mother”. Dwelling in the Church’s living Tradition, may we mature in the faith we have received and, by putting it into practice, become beacons of Christ’s light and peace in our world.

Conscious of the devastation caused by the hurricane which recently struck the East Coast of the United States of America, I offer my prayers for the victims and express my solidarity with all those engaged in the work of rebuilding. I now greet all the English-speaking pilgrims present at today’s Audience, including those from England, Ireland, Sweden, Malaysia, Canada and the United States. My greetings go in particular to the group of elders from Nigeria visiting Rome on pilgrimage, and to the members of the Vox Clara Committee. Upon all of you I cordially invoke God’s abundant blessings.”

Benedict XVI: 5th oldest Pope in history

October 30, 2012. ( Benedict XVI is 85 years old. To be even more exact, on Tuesday October 30th, he turns 85.54. When it comes to age, he ranks fifth among the oldest Popes in history. The ranking is based on statistics listed by expert Anura Guruge. The list itself includes Popes who were elected after the year 1400.

Seventy one days from now, so January 9th, the Pope will rank fourth, when he surpasses Pope Pius IX.

At that point, the three Popes who will be ahead of him are Clement X, who lived until the age of 86. He's followed by Clement XII, who lived 87 years. The number one ranking, of the eldest Pope in history is held by Leo XIII, who served until the age of 93.

Halloween Coincides With Feast of Missionary Bishop St. Wolfgang

Oct. 31, though best known as the vigil of the Solemnity of All Saints (All Hallows’ Eve) in the Western Church, is also the liturgical feast day of St. Wolfgang of Ratisbon, who was regarded as one of the greatest German saints of his time.

The Benedictine monk and bishop, who served as a missionary to pagans and a reformer of the Church in southeastern Germany, was born around 934 in the historic southwestern German region of Swabia.

Wolfgang came from a family of nobility and was privately tutored as a child. Later on, the future monk was educated at the renowned Monastery of Reichenau and at Wurtzburg. Wolfgang showed intellectual prowess and found companionship during his years of study, but was also dismayed by the petty jealousies and moral lapses he observed in Wurtzburg’s academic environment.

In 956, his school companion Henry was chosen to lead the Archdiocese of Trier. Though Wolfgang had become interested in monastic life, he chose to go with Henry to Trier, where his service to the Church included a teaching position in the cathedral school.

After Archbishop Henry’s death in 964, Wolfgang left Trier, became a monk of the Order of Saint Benedict, and settled at a monastery in the diocese of Augsburg. Its school prospered under his direction, and the local bishop — the future St. Ulrich — ordained him to the priesthood in 968.

In his youth, Wolfgang had envisioned a secluded life of contemplation; but things turned out differently, as he was sent east to evangelize the Magyars in 972.

By Christmas of that year, Wolfgang had been chosen as the new bishop of Ratisbon (present-day Regensburg in Bavaria). But he continued to live out his monastic vocation, retaining his distinctive Benedictine habit and dedicating himself to the same ascetic lifestyle. Amid the work of preaching and reform, Wolfgang remained a man of prayer, silence and contemplative solitude.

Not surprisingly, the bishop of Ratisbon made monasticism a focus of his Church reforms, reviving religious life in places where it had fallen into disorder. Wolfgang also showed extraordinary care for the poor in his diocese, to such an extent that he was called “the Great Almoner.” On the other hand, he was also involved in affairs of state at a high level and tutored the children of the Duke of Bavaria, including the future Holy Roman Emperor St. Henry II.

Wolfgang, despite being one of the great bishops and saints of his time, still encountered serious difficulties in his leadership of the Diocese of Ratisbon. On one occasion, a political conflict caused him to withdraw from his diocese to a hermitage for a period of time. Wolfgang is also said to have struggled with the great geographical extent of the diocese, parts of which were eventually entrusted to the bishop of Prague.

In 994, while traveling in Austria, Wolfgang became sick and died in the village of Pupping. Miracles associated with his tomb, including many healings, led to his canonization of 1052. Several of St. Wolfgang’s devotees experienced relief from stomach ailments, and he remains a patron saint of such troubles today. His intercession is also sought by victims of strokes and paralysis and by carpenters.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Nigerian Church attacked during Sunday Mass.

A suicide attack in northern Nigeria has killed at least ten people and wounded more than 140. According to reports, on Sunday, a man drove a car into a Catholic church in Kaduna, while Mass was being celebrated. It was then that a car bomb exploded. 

It's said that the driver, even ran over security guards as he drove into the church. 

Even though no one has officially claimed responsibility for the attack, it's highly suspected that it's the work of Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram, which in the past has carried out similar attacks against Christians.

Daily Strength - The Holy Bible

The Holy Bible is like a mirror before our mind’s eye. In it we see our inner face. From the Scriptures we can learn our spiritual deformities and beauties. And there too we discover the progress we are making and how far we are from perfection.

Pope St. Gregory

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pope's angelus: praying for areas affected by Hurricane Sandy

Full text: appeal of the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, for those affected by Hurricane Sandy

In recent days, a devastating hurricane struck Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica and the Bahamas with particular violence, causing several deaths and enormous damage, and forcing many people to leave their homes. I wish to assure you of my closeness and my recollection of those who have been affected by this natural disaster, while I invite everyone to prayer and solidarity, in order to alleviate the pain of the families of the victims and offer support to the thousands of people who have been hurt in various ways by the storm.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Forty Martyrs of England and Wales

These forty were canonised by Pope Paul VI on October 25th, 1970. They are representative of the English and Welsh martyrs of the Reformation who died at various dates between 1535 and 1679. Some 200 of these martyrs had already been declared ‘Blessed’ (i.e. ‘beatified’) by previous Popes. 

They include:
  • SS. John Houghton, Robert Lawrence and Augustine Webster, the first martyrs (1535), all priors of different Charterhouses (houses of the Carthusian Order, including the one in London) who, by virtue of the Carthusian vow of silence, refused to speak in their own defense;
  • St. Cuthbert Mayne, a Devonian, who was the first martyr not to be a member of a religious order. He was ordained priest at the then newly established English College at Douai in Northern France and was put to death at Launceston in 1577;
  • St. Edmund Campion, the famous Jesuit missionary and theologian who published secretly from Stonor Park, the ancient Catholic country house near Henley-on-Thames, who died in 1581 on the same day as St. Ralph Sherwin, the first martyr to have been trained at the English College in Rome;
  • St. Richard Gwyn, the first of the Welsh martyrs, a schoolteacher from Llanidloes in Mid-Wales who died at Wrexham in 1584;
  • St. Margaret Clitherow, the wife of a butcher with a shop in the famous Shambles in York, who allowed her house to be used as a Mass centre, who was sentenced to be crushed to death under a large stone at the Ouse Bridge Tollbooth in the city;
  • St. Swithun Wells, a teacher from Brambridge in the county of Hampshire who owned a London house at Grays Inn Fields which was also a secret Mass centre (1591);
  • St. Philip Howard, eldest son of the fourth Duke of Norfolk (himself executed for treason in 1572) who led a dissolute existence and left behind an unhappy wife in Arundel Castle until he was converted by the preaching of St. Edmund Campion, and died in the Tower in 1595;
  • St. Nicholas Owen, Jesuit lay brother and master carpenter, who constructed many priests’ hiding-holes in houses throughout the country, some of them so cunningly concealed they were not discovered until centuries later (1606).
Under James I and Charles I the purge died down, but did not entirely cease. St. John Southworth, missionary in London, was put to death under Cromwell and is venerated in Westminster Cathedral, and the final martyrs died in the aftermath of the Titus Oates plot in 1679. [SS. John Fisher & Thomas More are not included in this list for they had been canonized in 1935].

Taken from Sacred Heart Parish, Waterloo

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pope nominates six new cardinals

During the general audience in St. Peter's Square, the Pope announced that he will hold a consistory on November 24th to appoint six new cardinals. READ TEXT:

“And now, with great pleasure, I announce that on November 24th, I will hold a Consistory in which I will appoint six new members of the College of Cardinals. The Cardinals have the task of helping the Successor of Peter in the performance of his ministry of confirming the brethren in the faith, and the principle and foundation of unity and communion of the Church.

Here are the names of the new cardinals:

Msgr. JAMES MICHAEL HARVEY, Prefect of the Prefecture of the Papal Household. 

Beatitude BÉCHARA BOUTROS RAÏ, Maronite Patriarch, (Lebanon).

Beatitude BASELIOS CLEEMIS THOTTUNKAL, major Archbishop of the Trivandrum of the Siro-Malankaresi in India. 
Msgr. JOHN OLORUNFEMI ONAIYEKAN, Archbishop of di Abuj (Nigeria)

Msgr. RUBÉN SALAZAR GÓMEZ, Archbishop of Bogotá (Colombia)

Msgr. LUIS ANTONIO TAGLE, Archbishop of Manila (Philippines).

The New Cardinals, as you've just heard, exercise their ministry in the service of the Holy See or as priests and pastors of particular Churches in various parts of the world.

I invite everyone to pray for the newly elected, asking the maternal intercession of the Blessed
Virgin Mary, that they will always love with courage and dedication Christ and his Church."

Daily Strength - When you wonder about

When you wonder about the mystery of yourself, look to Christ, who gives you the meaning of life. When you wonder what it means to be a mature person, look to Christ, who is the fulfillness of humanity. And when you wonder about your role in the future of the world look to Christ.

Pope John Paul II

Optional Memorial of St. Anthony Claret, bishop

Today’s saint was a Spaniard who became a priest and tried to enter both the Carthusian and Jesuit orders but was turned away because of his poor health. It seems that Providence had other plans, for in 1850 he was sent to Cuba and became its archbishop. His strong preaching led many to hate him and he survived several assassination attempts. It’s estimated that he preached over 10,000 sermons and published 200 books. Let us ask this great missionary bishop to intercede with us that the World Mission Day which we have just celebrated may result in a renewed commitment to evangelization as we reflect on these words of St. Anthony Mary Claret.

Driven by the fire of the Holy Spirit, the holy apostles traveled throughout the earth. Inflamed with the same fire, apostolic missionaries have reached, are now reaching and will continue to reach the ends of the earth, from one pole to the other, in order to proclaim the word of God. They are deservedly able to apply to themselves those words of the apostle Paul: The love of Christ drives us on. The love of Christ arouses us, urges us to run, and to fly, lifted on the wings of holy zeal. The one who truly loves God also loves his neighbor. …

For myself, I say this to you: The one who burns with the fire of divine love is a child of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and wherever he goes, he enkindles that flame; he desires and works with all his strength to inflame all people with the fire of God’s love. Nothing deters him: he rejoices in poverty; he labors strenuously; he welcomes hardships; he laughs off false accusations; he rejoices in anguish. He thinks only of how he might follow Jesus Christ and imitate him by his prayers, his labors, his sufferings, and by caring always and only for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Daily Strength - Joy of the Lord

We are at Jesus’ disposal. If he wants you to be sick in bed, if he wants you to proclaim His work in the street, if he wants you to clean the toilets all day, that’s all right, everything is all right. We must say, “I belong to you. You can do whatever you like.” And this is our strength. This is the joy of the Lord.

Mother Teresa


Today’s saint was born in Capistrano, Italy and studied law at Perugia where he became the governor in 1412. During hostilities with a neighboring city he was imprisoned and went through a deep conversion as a result of the humiliation and suffering he endured. He became a Franciscan priest and was so famous for his preaching that the pope sent him as his personal emissary to various places as diverse as Palestine, France, and Poland. Our prayer is from a treatise of St. John that was written for clergy but is applicable to every Christian. As we pray for a greater commitment to evangelization, we keep in mind Pope Benedict’s words in his letter announcing the Year of Faith: “We cannot accept that salt should become tasteless or the light be kept hidden (Mt 5:13-16).

Those who are called to the table of the Lord must glow with the brightness that comes from the good example of a praiseworthy and blameless life. They must completely remove from their lives the filth and uncleanness of vice. Their upright lives must make them like the salt of the earth for themselves and for the rest of mankind. The brightness of their wisdom must make them like the light of the world that brings light to others. They must learn from their eminent teacher, Jesus Christ, what He declared to His apostles and disciples when He said: You are the salt of the earth. But what if salt goes flat? How can you restore its flavor? Then it is good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. Now a light does not illumine itself, but instead it diffuses its rays and shines all around upon everything that comes into its view. So it must be with the glowing lives of [the faithful]. By the brightness of their holiness they must bring light and serenity to all who gaze upon them.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The liturgical memory of John Paul II will be held every October 22

Traditionally, the feast of Saints held the “dies natalis,” which is the day of one's death or their “arrival in heaven.” John Paul II died on April 2 but that day usually falls during Holy Week. To guarantee the day will be solemnly celebrated every year, the Vatican has decided his day of liturgical memory will be on October 22, the anniversary day of the Mass for the inauguration of his pontificate. 

The decree comes from the Congregation for Divine Worship, which noted that until John Paul II is canonized, his memory can only be celebrated in Rome and Poland.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pope Benedict XVI Canonization Homily

Following in the footsteps of Paul VI and John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI celebrated World Mission Sunday by canonizing seven new Saints. Tens of thousands of pilgrims from around the world gathered in Saint Peter’s Square as Jacques Berthieu, Pedro Calungsod, Giovanni Battista Piamarta, Marìa Carmen Sallés y Barangueras, Marianne Cope, Kateri Tekakwitha, and Anna Schäffer were raised to the honours of the altar.

In his homily during the Mass, Pope Benedict noted that the canonization is taking place as Bishops from around the world are gathered in Rome to take part in the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops: “The coincidence between this ecclesiastical meeting and World Mission Sunday is a happy one; and the word of God that we have listened to sheds light on both subjects. It shows how to be evangelisers, called to bear witness and to proclaim the Christian message, configuring ourselves to Christ and following his very path. This is true both for the mission ad Gentes and for the new evangelisation.” 

The Pope gave a brief reflection on the life and works of each of the new saints. Among them is Pedro Calungsod from the Philippines. Pedro “displayed deep faith and charity and continued to catechise his many converts, giving witness to Christ by a life of purity and dedication to faith.” Saint Pedro was martyred in 1672.

Marianne Cope, also canonised today, was born in Germany but moved to the United States at a very young age. She joined the Franciscan order and became Superior General of her congregation. She eventually answered the call to serve the lepers in the Hawaiian island of Molokai. “At a time when little could be done for those suffering from this terrible disease, Marianne Cope showed the highest love, courage, and enthusiasm.”

Today also saw the canonisation of the first Native American saint from North America. “Leading a simple life, Kateri remained faithful to her love for Jesus, to prayer, and to daily Mass. Her greatest wish was to know and to do what pleased God.” Speaking in French, Pope Benedict prayed, “Saint Kateri, Protrectress of Canada and first Native American saint, we entrust to you the renewal of faith in the First Nations and in all of North America! May God bless the First Nations!”

At the end of the Solemn Mass, the Holy Father addressed the faithful before the recitation of the Angelus. In his remarks, he called upon Mary, the Queen of all the Saints, and turned his thoughts especially to the Marian shrine of Lourdes, which is experiencing heavy flooding. “In particular,” he continued, “we wish today to entrust to the maternal protection of the Virgin Mary all missionaries – priests, religious, and lay – that in every part of the world sow the good seed of the Gospel.” He prayed, too, for the Synod of Bishops, as they continue to face “the challenge of the new evangelization for the transmission of the Christian faith.”

The Holy Father concluded his remarks with greetings in several languages to all the pilgrims gathered in Saint Peter’s Square: “On the happy occasion of the canonizations today, I greet the official delegations and all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors, especially those from the Philippines, Canada and the United States of America. May the holiness and witness of these saints inspire us to draw closer to the Son of God who, for such great love, came to serve and offer his life for our salvation. God bless you all!”

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Pope to canonize seven new Saints in St. Peter's Square

On Sunday, October 21st, the Pope will canonize seven new saints. Four of them are women and three are men. They're all from different countries and lived in different time periods, but they all have one thing in common: they dedicated their lives to communicating the faith in their own unique way. 

Among the new saints, are two martyrs: Jacques Berthieu (1838-1896), who was killed in Madagascar and Peter Calungsod, who was killed in the Philippines in 1672. 

Two others dedicated their life to teaching education: Carmen Sallés (1848-1911) was a pioneer in women's education and Giovanni Piamarta Battista (1841-1913) taught marginalized youths a marketable trade. 

The three other saints offered their pain and suffering to God. Kateri Tekakwitha (1656-1680) was a Native American woman who helped the sick, even as she dealt with her own illness. Mother Marianne Cope (1838-1918) worked with lepers in Hawaii. Anna Schäffer (1884-1925) was sick most of her adult life. Despite being bedridden, through her words and letters she inspired people far beyond her native Germany.

People need to believe in miracles, says woman cured of infection

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Though she had always believed in miracles, Sharon Smith never dreamed she would be the recipient of one.

Her unexplained recovery from a near fatal infection in 2005 was the second miracle that cleared the way for the Oct. 21 canonization of Blessed Marianne Cope.

Smith will present Pope Benedict XVI a relic of Blessed Marianne -- a bone fragment housed in a wooden tau cross, or T-shaped cross that is the symbol of St. Francis, the inspiration of Mother Marianne's congregation.

A native of Syracuse, N.Y., Smith fainted in her home one day in 2005 and woke up two months later in St. Joseph's Hospital, her body perforated by tubes as doctors fought to keep her hydrated and alive. She had been diagnosed with pancreatitis, but the inflammation soon caused an infection so severe, it ate away part of her gastrointestinal tract.

Her doctor told her that July, "Sharon, you're not going to make it," she told Catholic News Service in Rome Oct.19. She and about 90 others from the Diocese of Syracuse, including Bishop Robert J. Cunningham, came to Rome for the canonization.

Smith recalled that a friend visiting her at the hospital was given a prayer card of Mother Marianne and told to pray for her intercession. Mother Marianne had been beatified by Pope Benedict in May 2005.

"My friends told me they prayed for me the night before they were going to just disconnect me" from the respirator, "and they prayed to Mother Marianne for me," she said.

The next day, "I woke up in the morning and started talking," she said.

Though she could breathe on her own, the infection was still severe.

St. Francis Sister Michaeleen Cabral and other members of the community soon started praying for Blessed Marianne's intercession.

During one visit, Sister Michaeleen gave Smith, to pin to her hospital gown, a bag of soil that came from Blessed Marianne's grave in Hawaii. Smith said she still has the packet of dirt, which she now keeps in her Bible.

After nearly a year in the hospital and rehabilitation, Smith was given a clean bill of health and released. She said her doctor couldn't believe she had recovered. Doctors said that places where tissue had died had actually healed and regenerated.

Smith said she was so grateful for the prayers the sisters had offered her that she decided to "pay them back" by volunteering at a home for the terminally ill, which is run by the Sisters of St. Francis.

"I figured I was alive for a reason," she said.

But Smith didn't link her recovery to the prayers right away. It was only during her volunteer work at the hospice home that she unexpectedly ran into Sister Michaeleen and another woman who had visited her in the hospital.

"They said, 'Oh my God are you that woman that we saw dying?' And I said, 'Yes,' I took it kind of lightly," she recalled.

But they urged her to go visit Sister Mary Laurence Hanley, who championed Mother Marianne's cause for sainthood for nearly 40 years. The nun died in December 2011.

"You've got to tell Sister Mary Laurence your story. You're our second miracle," the women told Smith. "And I said, 'I'm your what!?'"

"Like, I said, I believe in miracles, I just never thought I'd be one," she said with a laugh.

"I feel that's a welcoming thought for people to believe that a miracle can truly happen."

Kateri and Jake: American Indians are joined in sainthood cause

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Jake Finkbonner knows what it's like to have kids tease him because of the way he looks, but one of his heroes also grew up being teased.

The 12-year-old boy said Kateri Tekakwitha, who was to become an official saint Oct. 21, was "an inspiration because I remember reading that many of the children in her tribe teased her because of her faith, but she continued to praise God and she made her own rosary."

"One of the things she always tried to do was spread her faith, even though her uncle and aunt didn't really approve of it," he said.

Kateri was raised by her Mohawk father's family after her parents died in a smallpox epidemic; Kateri survived, but with a scarred face and damaged vision.

Jake and his parents -- Donny and Elsa -- his two little sisters, all four of his grandparents and lots of aunts and uncles traveled to Rome for Kateri's canonization.

The scars left on Jake's face are all that remain of the flesh-eating bacteria that nearly took his life almost seven years ago. The sudden disappearance of the necrotizing fasciitis was recognized by the Vatican as the miracle needed for the canonization of Kateri, who Jake proudly explains "will be the first Native American saint."

Jake's dad, Donny, is a member of the Lummi Nation. The family lives in Sandy Point, Wash., on the Lummi reservation.

Jake was teased a lot, especially when he was younger and was first recovering, but "now I don't really have problems with that," he said.

Jake said he wants to be a plastic surgeon when he grows up so he can help other children; while he believes Kateri interceded to save his life, he also says his doctors "had a big part in my recovery."

Jesuit Father Paolo Molinari, who has spent more than 50 years as Kateri's postulator, promoting her canonization, said miracles are "the confirmation by God of a judgment made by human beings" that the potential saint really is in heaven. 

Jake's parents provided Father Molinari with Jake's hospital records and photographs taken by his physicians documenting the boy's condition. The material, including interviews of Jake's doctors conducted by officials of the Archdiocese of Seattle, were turned over to the Vatican Congregation for Saints' Causes.

Father Molinari said, "It's really moving to see the declarations of the doctors who gave an account of what they went through for three weeks -- the child really went between life and death, life and death."

The Jesuit said he also was touched by what the Finkbonners' parish priest reported the parents saying: "Father, we've decided to respond like Abraham, and if God wants to take our son, we'll say, 'yes.'" 

But the priest told the parents that they could ask God to return their son to them, and he suggested they pray to Blessed Kateri, who died in 1680.

"That was the beginning of a movement of prayer that was extremely strong and solid," Father Molinari said, describing how the praying spread from the family, to Jake's classmates, the parish and the Tekakwitha Conference, which serves indigenous communities in North America.

Jake attended his first Tekakwitha Conference in July. 

"They were all wanting to touch me and come and hug me and things like that," he said. Jake said he was impressed by "how spiritual they were and how active they were in their faith."

Jake's dad said there was a statue of Kateri in the reservation church where he grew up, and that his own parents had told him Kateri's story. 

"It wasn't like it was a daily thing," he said; "it was just a story that was passed on."

"For us, it's like she's a hero in the Catholic faith," Donny Finkbonner explained. Kateri is "an example for us to follow, somebody who stood up for her faith even though it wasn't a popular thing."

Growing up, he said, Kateri's story was "something we had pride over -- she lived more than 300 years ago and her story's still being told and, so, looking back on her story it's kind of come full circle with Jake's miracle."

Father Scott Connolly is pastor of Assumption Parish where Jake and his sisters go to school. He traveled with dozens of his parishioners on a pilgrimage to Rome for the canonization.

"The saints are so important in our life as a Catholic people," he said. "The fact that we actually have a miracle in our school -- someone we can actually touch and see and talk to and enjoy" -- has an impact on the community, but also on native peoples in the United States and Canada, and on the whole church.

Amid all the fuss, Father Connolly said, "one of the things I've realized is that miracles are happening all of the time and we don't actually recognize that."

Jake -- who took a while to warm up to the idea of being surrounded by reporters, photographers and television cameras -- said he is convinced that "Kateri truly did intercede and if it weren't for her, I wouldn't be here."

Friday, October 19, 2012

Daily Strength

The Holy Bible is like a mirror before our mind’s eye. In it we see our inner face. From the Scriptures we can learn our spiritual deformities and beauties. And there too we discover the progress we are making and how far we are from perfection.

Pope St. Gregory

St. Isaac Jogues, St. John de Brébeuf and Companions

French Jesuits were the first missionaries to go to Canada and North America after J. Cartier discovered Canada in 1534. Their mission region extended from Nova Scotia to Maryland. Isaac Jogues, John de Brebeuf, Gabriel Lalemant, Noel Chabanel, Charles Garnier, Anthony Daniel, Rene Goupil and John de Lalande (the first six Jesuits, the last two laymen) preached the gospel to the Iroquois and Huron Indians, and after being tortured, they were martyred in the area of what is now Auriesville, New York. The martyrdoms took place between 1642 and 1649. Ten years after the martyrdom of St. Isaac Jogues, Kateri Tekakwitha was born in the same village in which he died. These martyrs are co-patrons of Canada.

The missionaries arrived in Canada less than a century after its discovery by Cartier in 1534, in the hope of converting the Indians and setting up "New France." Their opponents were often the English and Dutch colonists. When Isaac Jogues returned to Paris after his first capture and torture, he said to his superior: "Yes, Father, I want whatever our Lord wants, even if it costs a thousand lives." He had written in his mission report: "These tortures are very great, but God is still greater, and immense."

In the Office of Readings we have an excerpt from the mission journal of St. John de Brébeuf, who had been a student of the great Jesuit spiritual writer, Louis Lallemant. He wrote:

For two days now I have experienced a great desire to be a martyr and to endure all the torments the martyrs suffered.... I vow to you, Jesus my Savior, that as far as I have the strength I will never fail to accept the grace of martyrdom, if some day you in your infinite mercy should offer it to me, your most unworthy servant.... On receiving the blow of death, I shall accept it from your hands with the fullest delight and joy of spirit.... My God, it grieves me greatly that you are not known, that in this savage wilderness all have not been converted to you, that sin has not been driven from it.

Excerpted from Saints of the Roman Calendar by Enzo Lodi

Patron: Americas; Canada.

Symbols: men dressed in Jesuit black robes with crucifix in hands; IHS is the symbol for the Society of Jesus; red (color for martyrdom); red roses (symbol of martyrdom).

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Blessed John Paul's popemobile put on display at Vatican Museums

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The white open-air jeep Blessed John Paul II was riding in when he was shot May 13, 1981, was taken out of storage and put on display in the Vatican Museums' newly revamped Popemobile Pavilion.

The move wasn't meant to sensationalize the tragic event or turn it into a sideshow, but to highlight the car that has become "highly symbolic" of that fateful day and help people "reflect on the value of life and everything John Paul did," said Sandro Barbagallo.

Barbagallo, an art critic at the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, was the driving force behind restoring and reopening the Museums' permanent exhibit of historic modes of papal transport. The grand opening took place Oct. 16 -- the 34th anniversary of Blessed John Paul's election as pope.

The underground exhibit, which houses more than a dozen ornate papal carriages and nine papal cars, had been open only sporadically over the years. Deciding to put the 1980 white Fiat Campagnola on display was the impetus to re-launch the space and keep it open to the public to showcase its other transport treasures of the popes.

Some gems include:

-- The very last Volkswagen Beetle to roll off the production line in Mexico. The light teal 2003 Bug with whitewall tires was donated to Blessed John Paul in 2004 to thank him for visiting the country in 2002.

-- The steering wheel of a Ferrari Formula One racing car donated to Blessed John Paul in 2005 by the car-maker's president, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo. An accompanying plaque honors the pope for his "26 years in the pole position on the roads of humanity."

-- An immense six-horse-drawn Gran Gala gilded carriage whose wooden wheels are more than five feet high. It was built around 1826 for Pope Leo XII.

But when horse-drawn carriages started giving way to automobiles, the Vatican was slow to follow.

Archbishop John M. Farley of New York gave an Itala to Pope Pius X in 1909.

The pope refused to accept the newfangled contraption, saying he preferred the "clippity-clop" of horses pulling his Landau carriage to the "chugga chugga" of a gasoline engine, Barbagallo told Catholic News Service.

A car would have been useless at the time anyway since a dispute with the Italian government over the sovereignty of the Holy See kept popes confined inside the tiny Vatican City from 1870 to 1929.

When the 1929 Lateran Pacts finally allowed popes to go freely outside Vatican City walls, Pope Pius XI became the first pope to put the rubber to the road in a Detroit-made Graham Paige.

The auto-producing Graham brothers donated the vehicle to the pope, who used it for the very first time he or any pope was able to leave the Vatican in nearly 60 years.

It was also used by Pope Pius XII when he went to visit Rome's San Lorenzo neighborhood to comfort residents in the wake of a deadly U.S. bombing raid of the area in 1943.

The exhibit also includes the first official white "popemobiles." The first white off-road open-air vehicle used by a pope was a 1976 Toyota Land Cruiser used periodically by Pope Paul VI. That was followed by the 1980 Fiat Campagnola, a 1983 Land Rover Santana and a 1990 Mercedes-Benz 230.

Currently, the papal fleet has three cars that carry the pope: two black sedans and a white Mercedes-Benz popemobile, Barbagallo said.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

'TweetCredo': 100 young people summarize the Creed in 60 videos during the Year of Faith

The Creed summarizes the essence of the Christian faith and is the official prayer of the Year of Faith. This is why a group of over 100 young people decided to transform it into videos. 

The initiative is called "TweetCredo". On this board they have collected 60 contents of the faith that appear in the Creed, such as the existence of Heaven, the Resurrection or eternal life. For each week of the Year of Faith there will be published a video to explain content of the Catholic faith. The first installment explains how God created man and woman in his own image and likeness.

TweetCredo has its own mascot. This bird named Solomon will be responsible for collecting at the end of the video a phrase from the catechism together with a clever comment that explains it.

As the name of the initiative says, these videos will be distributed by Twitter and other social networks. However, they also invite anyone who wishes to collaborate. Its website includes a tab that each Internet user can send with their own videos explaining the faith.

Optional Memorial of St. Hedwig

Hedwig was born in 1174 in Bavaria, the daughter of the Duke of Croatia. She was the maternal aunt of St. Elizabeth of Hungary. She married Duke Henry of Silesia and raised seven children, with the boys being quite a handful. She outlived all but one of her children, Gertrude. Hedwig persuaded her husband to use her dowry to found a Cisterian monastery for nuns at Trebnitz. Their daughter Gertrude later became abbess of the monastery.

Hedwig led a life of piety and solicitude for the sick and poor, including their religious education. She lived a life of poverty and humility, despite her prominent position. Every day, even in winter, she would walk barefooted, so her feet were in bad shape. A story tells us her husband sent her a pair of shoes, insisting that she not be without them — so she kept them under her arm. After the death of her husband Hedwig completely renounced the world and entered the monastery of Trebnitz which she had founded. She died on October 15, 1243 and is venerated as patroness of Poland. She is not to be confused with St. Hedwig, Queen of Poland (1371-1399), canonized by John Paul II. (Her feast day is February 28.)

Patron: Bavaria; brides; duchesses; death of children; marital problems; Silesia; victims of jealousy; widows.

Symbols: noble lady holding statue of Virgin and Child; noble lady holding a church (symbol of monastery); lady holding pair of shoes under arm.

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

A self-effacing nun in the Visitation Convent at Paray-le-Monial, France, was inspired by the Lord Jesus to establish the devotion of the Holy Hour. Her name was St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, and from the age of seven, when she received her first Holy Communion, she had always manifested an intense love of the Most Blessed Sacrament. Our Lord appeared to her often, usually as the Crucified Christ. Her simplicity caused her to feel that these apparitions were also granted to others who had recourse to Jesus in the sacrament of His love. Once the Master appeared to the young girl as she was returning from a dance and reproached her for not espousing Him.

When twenty-four years of age, Margaret entered the cloister, choosing the most menial tasks. Gifted with intelligence and common sense, she made great progress in holiness. Our Lord entrusted to her the mission of establishing the reign of the Sacred Heart among the children of men. Criticism did not hamper her zeal, and her charity toward her opponents won them over to the cause of the Master.

In the first revelation of the Sacred Heart to the nun, Our Lord made known His burning desire to be loved by all men, and His design of manifesting to them His Sacred Heart with its treasures of mercy. Margaret Mary communicated Our Lord's wish that the faithful receive Holy Communion on the first Friday of each month and observe the Feast of the Sacred Heart on the Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi.

After nineteen years in the convent, St. Margaret Mary died October 17, 1690. Many pilgrims to her tomb have sought and obtained favors. Through her apostolate of devotion to the Sacred Heart many sinners have repented and found grace with God.

Patron: against polio; devotees of the Sacred Heart; loss of parents; polio patients.

Symbols: nun in habit of the Order of the Visitation and holding a flaming heart; nun in habit of the Order of the Visitation and kneeling before Jesus exposing His heart to her; Sacred Heart; heart.

Monday, October 15, 2012

L'Osservatore Romano published a special 50th anniversary of Vatican II in 7 languages

With this special edition, in seven languages​​, the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano celebrates the 50 years of Second Vatican Council.

It begins with an unpublished article by Benedict XVI, who participated in the Council as a theological advisor to the Cardinal of Cologne.

The magazine includes some beautiful pictures from the archives, showing the atmosphere of the time and explains some curious details, such as John XXIII deciding the start date in memory of the Council of Ephesus.

The issue gives special importance to the popes who made the Council, from John XXIII who convened it, Paul VI, who concluded it, and John Paul I, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, who explained and put it into practice.

Memorial of St. Teresa of Avila, virgin and doctor

St. Teresa of Jesus, honored by the Church as the "seraphic virgin,"virgo seraphica, and reformer of the Carmelite Order, ranks first among women for wisdom and learning. She is called doctrix mystica, doctor of mystical theology; in a report to Pope Paul V the Roman Rota declared: "Teresa has been given to the Church by God as a teacher of the spiritual life. The mysteries of the inner mystical life which the holy Fathers propounded unsystematically and without orderly sequence, she has presented with unparalleled clarity." Her writings are still the classic works on mysticism, and from her all later teachers have drawn, e.g., Francis de Sales, Alphonsus Liguori. Characteristic of her mysticism is the subjective-individualistic approach; there is little integration with the liturgy and social piety, and thus she reflects the spirit of the sixteenth and following centuries.

Teresa was born at Avila, Spain, in the year 1515. At the age of seven she set out for Africa to die for Christ, but was brought back by her uncle. When she lost her mother at twelve, she implored Mary for her maternal protection. In 1533 she entered the Carmelite Order; for eighteen years she suffered physical pain and spiritual dryness. Under divine inspiration and with the approval of Pope Pius IV, she began the work of reforming the Carmelite Order. In spite of heavy opposition and constant difficulties, she founded thirty-two reformed convents.

Truly wonderful were the exterior and interior manifestations of her mystical union with God, especially during the last decade of her life. These graces reached a climax when her heart was transfixed (transverberatio cordis), an event that is commemorated in the Carmelite Order by a special feast on August 27. She practiced great devotion to the foster-father of Jesus, whose cult was greatly furthered throughout the Church through her efforts. When dying she often repeated the words: "Lord, I am a daughter of the Church!" Her holy body rests upon the high altar of the Carmelite church in Alba, Spain; her heart with its mysterious wound is reserved in a precious reliquary on the Epistle side of the altar.

St. Teresa composed the following well-known lines:
Let nothing affright thee, 
Nothing dismay thee. 
All is passing, 
God ever remains. 
Patience obtains all. 
Whoever possesses God 
Cannot lack anything
God alone suffices.

Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch.

Patron: sickness; against headaches; against heart disease; lacemakers; loss of parents; opposition of Church authorities; those in need of grace; religious; those ridiculed for their piety; Spain; those named Teresa, Theresa, Teresita, Terry, Tessa, Teresina, and Tracy.

Symbols: nun in habit of a Discalced Carmelite; Carmelite nun with her heart pierced by an arrow held by an angel; Carmelite nun holding a pierced heart, book and crucifix; Carmelite nun with book and quill; Carmelite nun receiving a message from a dove; roses and lilies; inflamed heart; IHS on a heart; flaming arrows; dove; book and pen; crown of thorns; heart transfixed with flaming arrows; scapulary; crucifix and lily.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Litany of Our Lady of Fatima

Our Lady of Fatima, Pray for our beloved country. 
Our Lady of Fatima, Sanctify our clergy. 
Our Lady of Fatima, Make our Catholics more fervent. 
Our Lady of Fatima, Guide and inspire those who govern us. 
Our Lady of Fatima, Cure the sick who confide in thee. 
Our Lady of Fatima, Console the sorrowful who trust in thee. 
Our Lady of Fatima, Help those who invoke thine aid. 
Our Lady of Fatima, Deliver us from all dangers. 
Our Lady of Fatima, Help us to resist temptation. 
Our Lady of Fatima, Obtain for us all that we lovingly ask of thee. 
Our Lady of Fatima, Help those who are dear to us. 
Our Lady of Fatima, Bring to Holy Catholic Church those who are in error. 
Our Lady of Fatima, Give us back our ancient fervor. 
Our Lady of Fatima, Obtain for us pardon of our manifold sins and offenses. 
Our Lady of Fatima, Bring all men to the feet of thy Divine Child. 
Our Lady of Fatima, Obtain peace for the world.

O Mary conceived without sin, 
Pray for us who have recourse to thee.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, Pray for us now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Let Us Pray: O God of infinite goodness and mercy, fill our hearts with a great confidence in Thy dear Mother, whom we invoke under the title of Our Lady of the Rosary and Our Lady of Fatima, and grant us by her powerful intercession all the graces, spiritual and temporal, which we need. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Pope will canonize a teenage Filipino martyr on October 21 of this year.

The Pope will canonize a teenage Filipino martyr on October 21 of this year. Pedro Calungsod, from one of the Visayan islands (the exact one is unknown), will be the second canonized Filipino saint and, like St. Lorenzo Ruiz before him, was a layperson during his lifetime.

According to accounts, in his early teens Calungsod accompanied Fr. Diego Luis San Vitores , S. J. to Guam to evangelize the Chamorros. Persevering against hardships, Calungsod, Fr. San Vitores, and other missionaries won over many converts. The prestige of the missionaries among the Chamorros aroused the envy of a certain Choco, who started rumors that the water the missionaries used to baptize was poisonous. The coincidental deaths of some sickly infants after baptism confirmed the rumor in the minds of many people, who apostatized. Persecution of the missionaries ensued.

One morning, Calungsod and Fr. San Vitores went to the village of Tomhon, Guam, to baptize the newly-born daughter of Matapang, a Christian convert who had apostatized. Matapang refused to have the baby baptized. Calungsod and Fr. San Vitores baptized the baby in Matapang’s absence, with the consent of the baby’s mother. When Matapang found out, he attacked them with spears. While defending Fr. San Vitores, Calungsod was pierced by a spear and was hit on the head with a cutlass by Matapang’s companion. The priest gave Calungsod absolution before he himself was killed.

The canonization of the young Filipino martyr is light in difficult times for the Church in the Philippines. I have always loved my country for being a haven for practicing the faith: churches and daily masses still abound, and public manifestations of piety are still considered normal, family values are still generally held in high esteem. But hatred of the faith has not been entirely absent from our shores.

For example, right now, Filipino legislators, in defiance of the bishops, push the passage of the so-called Reproductive Health (RH) Bill, which introduces state-sponsored, state-guaranteed, state-funded access to contraception; mandates hospitals and health workers under the pain of criminal sanctions to provide a “full range” of “reproductive health services” (which includes contraception); requires classroom-style sex education with morally ambiguous content and methodology in schools; and penalizes the dissemination of “malicious disinformation” about contraception. The media, with a few exceptions, publicly vilifies the Church for its position on the RH bill, presenting the Church’s stand as non-intellectual, outmoded, oppressive, unpatriotic, unrealistic, and “uncool”. Never mind the Church’s 2,000 years of infused and acquired wisdom on human sexuality, as well as the strong secular arguments against the premises on which the RH Bill is founded.

While they have not yet started massacring faithful Catholics in our country, religious persecution exists in one form or another. Anyone who publicly admits siding with the Church on the RH Bill and other moral issues runs the risk of being thought naive or unsophisticated, of being called names and subjected to other forms of abuse, as most online discussions of this issue shows. The temptation to choose popular public opinion over the truth to maintain a reputation for being forward-thinking is too strong.

But the example of Calungsod, who was killed for his faith at a young age, strengthens the Filipino faithful of today. If, with the grace of God, a teenage layperson can die for the faith, there’s no reason why, similarly aided, the ordinary Catholic cannot bear the costs of public fidelity to the truth.

As if his example is not enough, Calungsod helps us with his heavenly intercession. From heaven, he supports our struggles, not the least the struggles of his own countrymen. St. Pedro Calungsod, pray for the Philippines, pray for us.

10 Practices for the Year of Faith

  1. The Holy Father asks the Faithful to learn or review our Faith’s teachings. Consider reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Can’t remember to read it? Try this really awesome free application from Flocknote that will send you snippets daily and cover the entire catechism within the Year of Faith.
  2. Attend a conference on the Faith. If there was ever an excuse to attend that one Catholic conference you always wanted, then this is the year. 
  3. Commit to sharing your Faith, a.k.a. Evangelize. Our Confirmation has granted us the grace to be a witness to Christ, even to the point of martyrdom. Maybe we can consider stepping our efforts up a notch. Here are some ideas: invite a close friend to Mass, pray for the conversion of an office mate, or offer a small sacrifice for your priest to continue praying the Liturgy according to our Faith’s teachings. Want to go undercover? Carry religious medals or those small ring Rosaries and leave them in places to be found by others.
  4. Have a favorite book that helped you learn the Faith? How about buying a few copies and passing them out to those you know are questioning their Faith or to those outside our Faith? How about leaving a few copies at your parish for your pastor to pass out?
  5. Share an article. Simple as pushing the “Share” button. You wouldn't believe how many times I found out that another friend shares common beliefs simply by seeing a post on their Facebook wall.
  6. The Sacrament of the Year is Confession. This sacrament continues to offer healing and invigorates, vivifies, and rejuvenates my own faith. Try going at least once a month.
  7. Our Red Hats continue to warn us of the perils of secularism and its grip on our culture. Know the culture. Cardinal Wuerl recently said we are facing a “tsunami of secularism.” There are plenty of great online resources available to get another person’s perspective of cultural matters. I like National Catholic Register, Public Discourse, Crisis Magazine, Catholic Vote, and The Imaginative Conservative to name a few. What are some you would recommend?
  8. Stop drinking coffee. “What do you mean, ‘Stop drinking coffee?’” Ok, well not really. Hold off on the Starbucks and order a yearly subscription to a good Catholic publication. Switching from Starbucks to generic roast will save you the money to do so. 
  9. Write a post. Maybe you could share how you bring your faith into the workplace or how you evangelize the culture around you.
  10. You already go to Mass on Sunday, can you make it another day of the week? Wake up early, take half a lunch hour, or eat supper a little later to make it to a daily Mass. Can’t get to Mass? Maybe you can swing by the Lord and visit Him in the Blessed Sacrament.
Of course, this is not some official and complete list. How do you plan on deepening your faith during this year? If you could pick one, what is the single practice that enriches your own faith the most?

H/O to

Thursday, October 11, 2012

50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council

Today is the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It’s also the beginning of a very graced period for the Church—the Year of Faith. Pope Benedict believes there is a deep crisis of faith in the world and in particular in countries that used to be considered very Christian. As we pray for the New Evangelization, let us reflect on part of Pope Benedict’s letter announcing the Year of Faith.

The Year of Faith … is a summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the one Savior of the world. In the mystery of his death and resurrection, God has revealed in its fullness the Love that saves and calls us to conversion of life through the forgiveness of sins (cf. Acts 5:31). …“Caritas Christi urget nos” (2 Cor 5:14): it is the love of Christ that fills our hearts and impels us to evangelize. Today as in the past, he sends us through the highways of the world to proclaim his Gospel to all the peoples of the earth (cf. Mt 28:19). Through his love, Jesus Christ attracts to himself the people of every generation: in every age he convokes the Church, entrusting her with the proclamation of the Gospel by a mandate that is ever new. Today too, there is a need for stronger ecclesial commitment to new evangelization in order to rediscover the joy of believing and the enthusiasm for communicating the faith. In rediscovering his love day by day, the missionary commitment of believers attains force and vigor that can never fade away. Faith grows when it is lived as an experience of love received and when it is communicated as an experience of grace and joy. It makes us fruitful, because it expands our hearts in hope and enables us to bear life-giving witness: indeed, it opens the hearts and minds of those who listen to respond to the Lord’s invitation to adhere to his word and become his disciples. … Only through believing, then, does faith grow and become stronger; there is no other possibility for possessing certitude with regard to one’s life apart from self-abandonment, in a continuous crescendo, into the hands of a love that seems to grow constantly because it has its origin in God.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Its just a couple of hours before the start of the Year of Faith

The Year of Faith celebrates the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Second Vatican Council, have you thought what you might do during it....? here are some ideas.

St. Francis Borgia

Francis Borgia, viscount of Catalonia and third general of the Jesuits, was born in 1510. On his father's side he was a great-grandchild of Pope Alexander VI; on his mother's side he was the great-grandchild of a son of Ferdinand the Catholic. His holy life atoned for the sins of his ancestors.

As viscount and duke at the palace of Emperor Charles V, Francis stood in high honor. The sudden death of the beautiful Empress Isabella (May 1, 1539) and the sight of her disfigured face as her body was taken to Granada made him resolve to leave the world and serve the King of kings alone.

After the death of his wife (1546), he entered the Society of Jesus with the holy resolve of leading a hidden life and of closing the door forever to all earthly honors. His example of humility exercised an influence upon Charles V when he considered renouncing the throne. Devoted to labor and severe mortification, Francis held himself in such little esteem that he called himself the "poor sinner." In 1565 he became General of the Order. He died at Rome.

Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

Patron: Against earthquakes; Portugal; Rota; Marianas.

Symbols: Skull crowned with an emperor's diadem.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Daily Strength

We need no wings to go in search of Him, but have only to find a place where we can be alone and look upon Him present within us.

-- St Teresa of Avila

St. Denis

St. Denis went as a missionary to France and became the first bishop of Paris. Tradition has it that he was martyred with two members of his clergy. In the second reading that appears in today’s “Office of Readings” for the feast, St. Ambrose writes about different kinds of martyrdom. Not everyone may be called to die for the faith, but everyone is called to evangelize—to witness to their faith. At times this faithfulness will entail pain and suffering as we battle temptations and evil in the world. We know that our sufferings, when united to the cross of Jesus Christ and joined to his Body, will play a role in the salvation of the world. Here is a section from St. Ambrose’s commentary on Psalm 118.

As there are many kinds of persecution, so there are many kinds of martyrdom. Every day you are a witness to Christ. You were tempted by the spirit of fornication, but feared the coming judgment of Christ and did not want your purity of mind and body to be defiled: you are a martyr for Christ. You were tempted by the spirit of avarice to seize the property of a child and violate the rights of a defenseless widow, but remembered God’s law and saw your duty to give help, not act unjustly: you are a witness to Christ. … You were tempted by the spirit of pride but saw the poor and the needy and looked with loving compassion on the, and loved humility rather than arrogance: you are a witness to Christ. What is more, your witness was not in word only but also in deed. …

How many hidden martyrs there are, bearing witness to Christ each day and acknowledging Jesus as Lord! … In another place we read: Do not let sin be king in your mortal body. You see the kings before whom you are made to stand, those who sit in judgment over sinners, where sin is in control. There are as many kings as there are sins and vices; it is before these kings that we are led and before these we stand. These kings have their thrones in many hearts. But if anyone acknowledges Christ, he immediately makes a prisoner of this kind of king and casts him down from the throne of his own heart. How shall the devil maintain his throne in one who builds a throne for Christ in his heart?

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Pope invites families to pray the rosary during the Year of Faith

In his Angelus address, delivered at the close of Mass Sunday in St Peter’s square, Pope Benedict XVI invited faithful worldwide to rediscover the gift of the Holy Rosary, Mary’s school of prayer: 

Dear Brothers and Sisters, we now turn in prayer to Mary, whom we venerate today as Queen of the Holy Rosary. At this time, at the Shrine of Pompeii, the traditional "Supplication" is being elevated to which countless people throughout the world are joined. While we associate ourselves spiritually in this choral prayer, I would like to suggest to everyone to renew the prayer of the Rosary in the upcoming Year of Faith. With the Rosary, we allow ourselves to be guided by Mary, model of faith, in meditating on the mysteries of Christ, and day after day we are helped to assimilate the Gospel, so that it shapes all our lives. Therefore, in the wake of my predecessors, especially the Blessed John Paul II, who ten years ago gave us the Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, I invite you to pray the Rosary personally, in the family and in the community, learning at the school of Mary, which leads us to Christ, the living centre of our faith. 

I greet the English-speaking pilgrims here today! I ask all of you to pray for the work of the Synod on the New Evangelization, beginning today. Later this week, on the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, the Year of Faith begins. May these events confirm us in the beauty and joy of our faith in Jesus Christ which comes to us through the Church! Entrusting these intentions to our Lady of the Rosary, I invoke upon all of you God’s abundant blessings!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Pope names 2 doctors of church

The tapestry of St. Hildegard of Bingen hangs from the facade of St. Peter's Basilica during the opening of the synod of bishops in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. Pope Benedict XVI has named two new "doctors" of the church, conferring the Catholic Church's highest honor on a 16th-century Spanish preacher St. John of Avila, and to St. Hildegard of Bingen, and a 12th— century German mystic who wasn't even officially recognized as a saint until earlier this year. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

The tapestry of St. John of Avila hangs from the facade of St. Peter's Basilica during the opening of the synod of bishops in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 7 , 2012.

Pope Benedict XVI Opens Synod

Pope Benedict XVI leads a Mass for the opening of the synod of bishops in St. Peter square at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Above the altar from the central balcony of St Peter’s basilica hung two giant tapestries depicting St John of Avila and St Hildegard of Bingen. Reciting the solemn formula in Latin Pope Benedict XVI declared them both Doctors of the Universal Church.

Read the full text of Pope Benedict XVI’s Homily

Feast of the Holy Rosary

The feast of the Holy Rosary was established by Saint Pius V on the anniversary of the naval victory won by the Christian fleet at Lepanto, October 7, 1571. The victory was attributed to the help of the holy Mother of God whose aid was invoked through praying the Rosary.

The celebration of this day invites all to mediate upon the mysteries of Christ, following the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary who was so singularly associated with the incarnation, passion and glorious resurrection of the Son of God.

Pope John Paul II asks us to pray the Rosary :-

On September 30, 2001, after the morning Mass opening the Synod of Bishops, Pope John Paul II asked people to pray the Rosary:

“October is the month in which Mary Most Holy, Queen of the Holy Rosary, is venerated. Within the current international context, I invite all — individuals, families, communities — to pray this Marian prayer, possibly every day, for peace, so that the world can be preserved from the wicked scourge of terrorism.

“The terrible tragedy of September 11th will be remembered as a dark day in the history of humanity. In the face of this, the Church tries to be faithful to her prophetic charism and remind all men about their duty to build a future of peace for the human family. Certainly, peace is not separated from justice, but it must be nourished by mercy and love.

“We cannot forget that Jews, Christians and Muslims adore God as the only God. The three religions, therefore, have the vocation of unity and peace. May God allow the Church’s faithful to be agents of peace, in the front line of the search for justice and the prohibition of violence.

“May the Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace, intercede for all humanity, so that hate and death never have the last word!”

On September 29, 2002, Pope John Paul II asked that we pray the Rosary for Peace: —

Castel Gandolfo
Sunday, 29 June 2002

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
1. We are already on the threshold of the month of October, which, with the liturgical memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary, inspires us to rediscover this traditional prayer, so simple yet so profound.

The Rosary is a way of contemplating the face of Christ seeing him – we may say – with the eyes of Mary. For this reason, it is a prayer that drawing upon the core of the Gospel is in full accord with the inspiration of the Second Vatican Council and very much in keeping with the direction I gave in the Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio ineunte: the Church has to launch out “into the deep” in the new millennium beginning with the contemplation of the face of Christ.

Therefore, I wish to suggest the recitation of the Rosary to individuals, families and Christian communities. To give force to this invitation, I am preparing a document which will help to rediscover the beauty and depth of this prayer.

2. I wish once again to entrust the great cause of peace to the praying of the Rosary. We are facing an international situation that is full of tensions, at times threatening to explode. In some parts of the world, where the confrontation is harsher – I think particularly of the suffering land of Christ – we can realize that, even though they are necessary, political efforts are worth little if one remains exacerbated in his mind and no one cares to demonstrate a new disposition of heart in the hope of reviving the struggle and effort of dialogue.

Who but God alone can infuse such sentiments? It is more necessary than ever that from every part of the earth prayer for peace be made to Him. In this perspective, the Rosary turns out to be the form of prayer most needed. It builds peace because, while it appeals to the grace of God, it sows in the one praying it the seed of good from which we can expect the fruit of justice and solidarity for personal and community life.

I am thinking of nations and also of families. How much peace would flow into family relationships if the family would begin again to pray the Rosary.

John Paul II greeted the pilgrims in French, English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish and Italian.
To the English-speaking

3. I extend a warm greeting to the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors, and invite you to make the month of October a time of special attention to the recitation of the Rosary, the great prayer of intercession to Mary. Upon you and your families I invoke the joy and peace of the Lord.

4. The prayer we are about to pray begins by recalling the annunciation of the Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary. In fact, today is the feast of the holy Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. May these powerful ministers of God obtain for us the grace to correspond always with generous love to his will.

Dear Friends, this is the last Angelus of the vacation period. With affection, I greet once again the townsfolk of Castel Gandolfo: Goodbye until next year. Next Sunday, 6 October, God willing, we shall be in St Peter’s Square.

On October 16, 2002, the 25th year of his pontificate, Pope John Paul II issued an Apostolic Letter on the Rosary and declared the beginning of a Year of the Rosary to end in October 2003.

Pope Benedict XVI

Excerpt from Pope Benedict XVI – Angelus Message 10/2/05 …“The month of October is dedicated to the Holy Rosary, the unique contemplative prayer through which, guided by the Lord’s Heavenly Mother, we fix our gaze on the face of the Redeemer in order to be conformed to his joyful, light-filled, sorrowful and glorious mysteries.

This ancient prayer is having a providential revival, thanks also to the example and teaching of the beloved Pope John Paul II. I invite you to reread his Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae and to put into practice its directions on the personal, family and community levels.

We entrust the work of the Synod to Mary: may she lead the entire Church to an ever clearer knowledge of the proper mission of service to the Redeemer truly present in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. “