Friday, September 30, 2005

The Code of Christ

It's becoming a reality that even among the Christian community, Jesus has to be "De-Coded". The sin of sloth lingers and we get lazy to know about the truths of our faith.

We forget that God is constant. We forget that God is Truth and that this Truth came as The Word Incarnate Who died on the Cross and rose on the third day. We forget that the Truth is in the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.

Too available are those which are contrary to Truth and sadly, one can fall into the trap of indulging in them and excusing them as leisure. Sometimes this can come in the form of liesurely reading. I guess you'll know what I'm referring to when I am about to segue into this plug for an upcoming television documentary...

Jesus De-coded: Catholic Perspective on the 'Da Vinci Code'

Watch out for this documentary that clears up speculations brought forth by the book.

Filming will start in November. Due out in April.

...and now a word from our sponsor.

The Pope Visits Children's Hospital

Here are some moving images of the Holy Father visiting sick children in the Bambino Gesu hospital, five minutes away from the Vatican. Let us pray for these little ones.

The hospital staff and patients greeting the Pope

The Holy Father waves back!

Pope Benedict blesses a child in his hospital bed.
The Holy Father visibly touched by their suffering.

A Pope's kiss for his child and a child clings to
his spiritual father.

At one point, a child mistook the Holy Father for a doctor and started to cry. The nurse explained that it was because of the white robe, that the child felt scared. It must be traumatic for a child to be visited regularly by the doctor, knowing that he or she will be examined or given a shot or some unpleasant medicine.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael

Today is Michaelmass according to the old calendar. Check out this Michaelmass daisy.

In honor of St. Gabriel, learn how to pray the Angelus in Latin. You never know, you may join the Holy Father in his Sunday Angelus someday.

Read the story of St. Raphael, the healer in the Book of Tobit.

Hat tips to Dymphna's Well, Recta Ratio and Catholic Culture.

The Shrine of St. Michael the Archangel

Take a tour here.

Act of consecration to St. Michael the Archangel

Oh, most Noble Prince of the Angelic Hierarchies, valorous warrior of Almighty God, and zealous lover of his glory, terror of the rebellious angels, and love and delight of all the just, my beloved Archangel Saint Michael, desiring to be numbered among your devoted servants, today I offer and consecrate myself to you, and place myself, my family and all I possess under your most powerful protection.

I entreat you not to look at how little I, as your servant have to offer, being only a wretched sinner, but to gaze rather with favorable eye at the heartfelt affection with which this offering is made, and remember that if from this day onward I am under your patronage, you must during all my life assist me and procure for me the pardon of my many grievous offences and sins, the grace to love with all my heart my God, my dear Saviour Jesus, and my Sweet Mother Mary, and obtain for me all the help necessary to arrive to my crown of glory.

Defend me always from my spiritual enemies, particularly in the last moments of my life. Come then oh glorious Prince and succour me in my last struggle, and with your powerful weapon cast far from me into the infernal abysses that prevaricator and proud angel that one day you prostrated in the celestial battle.

Accompany me then to the throne of God to sing with you, Archangel Saint Michael and all the Angels, praise, honour and glory to the One who reigns for all eternity. Amen.

The Prince of the Heavenly Hosts

St. Michael with Our Lady's banner fighting the devil

Prayer to Saint Michael
Saint Michael, Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray. And you, Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into Hell Satan and the other evil spirits who prowl the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.
-by Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903) formerly said after Low Mass modified slightly (Catholic forum)

The Cave of St. Michael the Archangel in Monte San't Angelo

Italy has an endless list of interesting places to visit due to its Faith, history, beautiful countryside and the Italians' love of art. One such place in Monte Sant’ Angelo is only a forty minute drive from San Giovanni Rotondo.

The town of Monte Sant’ Angelo was built on a spur 850 meters above sea level which overlooks both Gargano Massif and the sea. Dominated by the ruins of Norman Castle it has kept its ancestral customs and its ancient appearance with whitewashed houses squeezed together onto a rapidly sloping mountainside. The surrounding land is all rock and could easily be mistaken for the West of Ireland.

A relic of the original stone from the cave of St. Michael in Monte Sant'Angelo

Interest in this lovely spot is due to the apparitions of St. Michael The Archangel. The Prince of the Heavenly Hosts was prefigured in the Old Testament: Michael in Hebrew means "one who is like God." There was devotion to him in the Eastern Church but not in the Western Church until after these Apparitions took place; it is from here that St. Michael became known throughout Europe and the new world.


"The story of the first apparition blends with legend. It was in 490 during the pontificate of Gelasio I the Bishop of Siponto under whose jurisdiction Monte San’ Angel lies was the Greek, Laurence Maiorano, who was later canonized.

"One day Elvio Emanuele, a nobleman of the area, lost the best bull of his herd. After days of searching, he found it, kneeling in an inaccessible cave. Not being able to get near it he shot an arrow but the arrow turned around and struck him. Surprised by the novelty of the happening he went straight to the Bishop who ordered three days of prayer and fasting.

"Three days later, the Archangel appeared to the Bishop and said: "I am Michael The Archangel and am always in the presence of God. I chose the cave which is sacred to me. There will be no more shedding of bull’s blood (a reference to the fact that among the mountain pagan cult was still thriving. Where the rocks open widely the sins of man may be pardoned. What is asked here in prayer will be granted. Therefore, go up to the mountain cave and dedicate it to the Christian cult!" The Bishop, undecided, deferred the execution of the angelic order.


"Two years later, in 492, the Christian City of Siponoto at the foot of the mountain was besieged by pagan hordes of Odoacre. The city was desperate. Bishop Laurence obtained a three day truce from Odoacre and ordered prayer and penance.

"The Archangel appeared to him and promised his help to the townspeople if they would attack the enemy. They trustfully dared. Suddenly a storm broke out, sand and hail rained upon the formations of Odoacre which were terrorized and irretrievably escaped. Siponoto was saved! The Bishop announced a thanksgiving procession and went up with the people atop the Archangel’s mountain but he did not venture into the grotto.

"In 492, on the third anniversary of the first apparition, still uncertain if he should follow the Archangel’s order, the Bishop asked counsel of the Pontiff who ordered him to go there with other bishops of the region after a three day fast.


"For the third time St. Michael appeared and ordered him to enter the grotto: "It is not necessary that you dedicate this church that I have consecrated with my presence. Enter and pray with my assistance and celebrate the Sacrifice. I will show you how I have consecrated this place." The Bishop finally obeyed. Upon entering the grotto he found an altar covered with a red cloth and a crystal cross upon it while at the entrance the imprint of an infantile foot confirmed the presence of the Archangel Michael.

"The Bishop had a chapel built at the entrance to the grotto and dedicated it on the 29th of September, now kept as the feast of the Archangel Michael, Raphael and Gabriel. The grotto is the only place of cult which is not consecrated by the hand of man. The title of ‘celestial Basilica’ was conferred during the centuries."


The last apparition of St. Michael was in answer to prayer as the terrible plague of 1656 had hit the area. The local bishop with his people invoked the Archangel and the plague ceased. It was at this time that the use of stone chips from the cave began to be used by the faithful much as medals or scupulars are used today. This custom is carried on even now by the local people who take small stones and place them around their homes and in the fields.

(Taken from Fr. Joseph Pius, "Tourist Guide of the Shine, Monte Sant’Angelo" in
St. Michael Fighting)

Police Officer's Prayer to Saint Michael

Saint Michael, heaven's glorious commissioner of police,who once so neatly and successfully cleared God's premisesof all its undesirables, look with kindly and professionaleyes on your earthly force. Give us cool heads, stout hearts, and uncanny flair for investigation and wise judgment.

Make us the terror of burglars, the friend of children and law-abiding citizens, kind to strangers, polite to bores, strict with law-breakers and impervious to temptations. You know, Saint Michael, from your own experiences with the devil, that the police officer's lot on earth is not always a happy one; but your sense of duty that so pleased God, your hard knocks that so surprised the devil, and your angelic self-control give us inspiration. And when we lay down our night sticks, enroll us in your heavenly force, where we will be as proud to guard the throne of God as we have been to guard the city of all the people. Amen.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

In Defense of the Catholic Church

Via Angry Twins, I found the Ecclesia Militans in action with this open letter to B. Walters. On the eve of the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel, let us pray for protection against the snares of the devil including the heresies of the media.

First Filipino Saint

St. Lawrence Ruiz of Manila

Prayer to San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila
for a loved one who is sick
Beloved San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila, we place our faith in you to help our ailing loved one. We call upon you with unfaltering trust to use your supernatural poweres and saintly grace to intercede for us with our Lord God Almighty, to heal (Name...) and make (him/her) vigorous, strong and healthy again. We put our entire confidence in you, because we know that you have the phenomenal powere that all saints have, to help our loved ones. Touch (his/her) body with you love and care; and by it, purify and revitalize every cell, tissue, nerve and organ, so that they may function effectively again. Through you powerful interecession help (him/her) receive the blessings of God's miraculous compassion, so that (he/she) will be completely whole again, and thereby be able to continue (his/her) work on this earth, for the glory of God and the happiness of man. For all this we thank you with all our hearts. This we ask ini the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
The life of the Saint
On September 29,1637, he professed his faith by martyrdom. Lorenzo Ruiz, the first Filipino saint, was the kind of man who could die for God and religion a thousand times if he had to.
Lorenzo Ruiz was was a layman who worked as a calligrapher for the Dominican parish of Binondo, Manila. As an “escriba,” he was exceptionally gifted, and the Dominican friars relied on him to transcribe baptismal, confirmation and marriage documents into the church’s official books. He was also an active member of the Marian confraternity, a man the Dominicans described as someone “they could trust.”

The son of a Chinese father and Tagala mother who lived in the Parian district outside the city walls of Manila, Lorenzo Ruiz married a Tagala like his mother and had three children -- two sons and a daughter -- whose descendants are currently residents of the same area where the original Ruiz family lived.

In 1636, Ruiz was implicated in a murder. He sought help from his Dominican superiors who believed in his innocence. In order to escape what they believed would have been an unjust prosecution for their protege, the Spanish friars immediately sent Ruiz on a missionary expedition outside of the Philippines. Initially, Ruiz thought he was being sent to Taiwan, where he believed his Chinese roots would enable him to start a new life. Little did he know that he and the missionary expedition led by Fray Domingo Ibanez was actually headed for Nagasaki, Japan, where feudalism was fanning the flames of Christian persecution. Lorenzo Ruiz was headed straight into the arms of death.

He was arrested almost immediately upon his arrival in Japan in 1636, and subjected to torture by his Japanese captors for more than a year. Tied upside down by his feet and dropped into a well where sharp stakes lined the bottom, his torturers would stop just before he would be impaled, and thereupon try to convince him to renounce his faith.
“Deny your faith and we will spare your life,” his persecutors said.
To which Lorenzo Ruiz answered, “I will never do it. I am a Catholic and happy to die for God. If I have a thousand lives to offer, I will offer them to God.”

Existing documents attest that the Japanese promised him a safe trip back home where he could be reunited with his loved oneS, but Ruiz staunchly chose to remain faithful to his religion.

On September 22, 1637, Ruiz, Fray Domingo and their 14 companions were led up a hill overlooking the bay of Nagasaki. There they were hung upside down with their heads inside the well. Their temples were slit open to let blood drip slowly until they died either from loss of blood or asphyxiation. Many died after several days. Ruiz died last, on September 29,1637.
Beatified by Pope John Paul II in Manila and later canonized on October 28,1987, San Lorenzo Ruiz holds the distinction of being the first person beatified outside of the Vatican. He also holds the honor of being the first Filipino saint, the “most improbable of saints,” as Pope John Paul II described him during the canonization ceremony.

“The Lord gives us saints at the right time and God waited 350 years to give us this saint,” the Holy Father said. “It is the heroism which he demonstrated as a lay witness to the faith... which is very important in today’s world. The witness of San Lorenzo is the testimony we need of courage without measure to show us that it is possible. Faith and life for Lorenzo was synonymous and inseparable. Life without faith would have been without value...he proved that sanctity and heroism are there for anybody and the final victory is made to size for each one of us.”

(From Philippine Post)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

OP's On Ice

Papal Pad Remodeling

Vatican, Sep. 27 ( - When he returns to the Vatican on September 28, after an 11-week absence, Pope Benedict XVI will find his apartment thoroughly renovated.
The Holy Father left Rome on July 11 for a vacation in the Italian Alps, followed by two months at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo. Although he has returned to the Vatican briefly, by helicopter, for his weekly public audiences, he has not spent a night in Rome since early July.

During the Pope's absence, the papal apartment on the third floor of the apostolic palace has been a busy work site, with more than 100 tradesmen-- carpenters, plumbers, electricians, and painters-- involved in the renovation. During the summer, tourists have often been able to see the scaffolding set up inside the apartment, through the open windows overlooking St. Peter's Square.

The Pope's apartment, which his predecessor had occupied for more than 26 years, now boasts an entirely new kitchen, with a new German stove donated by the manufacturer. There is new furniture throughout the apartment, also contributed by German donors. A miniaturized medical clinic, hastily installed in the papal lodgings for the ailing John Paul II, has been modernized, and expanded to include facilities for dental work as well.

The renovation also included work on the apartments above the papal suite, where his staff aides live and work. And the workers repaired the terrace on the roof of the apostolic palace, which provides an unmatched view of the city of Rome.

Read more here.

The Church and Western Civilization

Hat tip to Denice at Pope Benedict XVI Blog for this excellent article from Zenit.
"Contrary to popular opinion, the Catholic Church historically has been the champion of scientific, economic, legal and social progress. " Read entire story here.

So true! Let's take for example, the history of higher education which finds its roots in the Catholic Church as explained below by The International Federation of Catholic Universities:

As one looks over the 20 centuries of our era, it is not difficult to show that the Church has had a continuing interest and involvement in education. All histories of education recognize the role of the Church, and of its scholars such as Saint Augustine, Alcuin, St Thomas Aquinas, Comenius, Bacon, Copernicus, all of whom wrote on education. One has but to recall the catechetical schools, the cathedral schools, the monastic schools which eventually led to the creation of universities [Universitas Scholarum or Studia Generalia].

Finally the clergy and the teaching congregations, the Dominicans, the Franciscans, the Jesuits, the Ursulines, the Christian Brothers, the Holy Cross Fathers, the SVD's, the CMI's, the OSB's, the CSSP's, the SDB's, to name but a few, and many other groups of Catholics, not forgetting lay people, have all provided significant services to education at all levels and in all parts of the world.

The first universities, Paris, Bologna benefited from support from the Church: charters, privileges and immunities stemmed from Church initiatives. Most of the 75 or so universities founded before 1500 owe much to the Church's contribution in juridical as well as academic and financial matters.

With the Renaissance, civil and lay authorities became involved, but the interest did not wane in the Church. It is in 1588 that the first ministry of education in the world, namely the "Congregatio pro universitate studia romani" was created. In Appendix 12A one may see that between 1400 and 1799, at least 17 universities were founded as Catholic, and still are such.
In the 19th century 118 universities were started and in the 20th century no less than 574 universities were established by a Church group. The Appendix 12B provides a breakdown by region for 1990.

The Directory of Catholic Universities and other Catholic Institutions of Higher Education published in 1990, the first of its kind, lists 1046 Catholic institutions of higher education. All this to indicate ever so briefly the role of the Church in education.

Read more here.

The Life of St. Vincent de Paul

"Let us love God; but at the price of our hands and sweat of our face."
~St. Vincent de Paul~

Important Dates of St. Vincent de Paul

Vincent was born 24 April in Pouy (modern day St. Vincent de Paul), southern France, about four miles northwest of Dax

Vincent went to Dax for about two years as a boarder with the Franciscans to study for the priesthood

Vincent pursues university degree in Toulouse, residing at the College de Foix

He was ordained to the priesthood 23 September at the age of 19 by the very aged Bishop of Perigueux, Francois de Bourdeille in the village chapel of Chateau-l'Eveque

Vincent received the diploma of Bachelor of Theology from the University of Toulouse

Vincent arrived in Paris and took Pierre de Berulle as spiritual director

On 2 May he took possession of the church of Clichy, located north of Paris. The parish has about 600 parishioners, mostly peasant folk

At the advice of Berulle, Vincent entered the service of the Gondi family as tutor to their children and Chaplain of the Gondi Estates

On 25 January, at the request of Madame de Gondi, Vincent preached his sermon on general confession at the church of Folleville, France. This has traditionally been regarded as the first sermon of the mission.

In the same year Vincent left the Gondi estates and traveled to Chatillon-les Dombes (eastern France), where he was named pastor 29 July. After encountering the needs of a poor sick family in August and inspiring an outpouring of generosity by parishioners, on 8 December he canonically established a group of lay women to provide organized material service to the poor: the Confraternities of Charity. The group evolved into the Ladies of Charity, an organization of lay women who offer care, concern, and relief to the poor.

At the insistance of Madame de Gondi and through the influence of Berulle, Vincent returned as chaplain to the Gondi estates in December.

In February Vincent was appointed Chaplain-General of the Galleys in Paris; he was able to stop many abuses to the galley slaves

c. 1623
Vincent met Louise de Marillac (Vincent 42 and Louise 32).

Vincent was named principal of the College de Bons Enfants, which later
became the first Motherhouse (maison mere) of the Community.

At the age of 44, Vincent formally founded the Congregation of the Mission 17 April with the financial help of Madame de Gondi to evangelize the rural poor. In 1632 Vincent made Saint-Lazare ("Lazarists" is a common European name for Vincentians) in Paris the community Motherhouse. This house was ransacked on 13 July 1789 by insurgents who stormed the Bastille the next day. In 1792, during the French Revolution, the buildings were confiscated; they were demolished at the beginning of the twentieth century. The present Motherhouse at 95 rue de Sevres was transferred to the Congregation by the French State in 1817 in compensation for the old Saint-Lazare.

29 November Vincent co-founded the Daughters of Charity with Louise de Marillac, to help the Ladies in their service of the sick and the poor -- doing the harder work to which the Ladies of Paris were not accustomed or suited. They were given official approbation in 1655 by the Archbishop of Paris. Vincent also began his Tuesday Conferences in July of this year.

St. Vincent gave the Community (Little Company) the rule by which it was to be governed.

Vincent died in Paris 27 September at the age of 79. Louise died the
same year 15 March at the age of 69.

Pope Benedict XIII declared Vincent to be Blessed 13 August.

Pope Clement XII declared Vincent to be a Saint 16 June. Louise was declared a Saint in 1934.

Pope Leo XIII declared Vincent to be the Patron of Charitable Endeavors that emanate from him in any way whatever.

(Taken from Seton Healthcare)

Helpful Links:
St. Vincent de Paul Society
Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul
The Vincentians
Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal

Monday, September 26, 2005

Welcome the City of God

Rick Lugari has a new blog De Civitate Dei which is Latin for the City of God. Check out what some of the saints have to say about the author (signature of the Lugari humor) and the fresh look of the whole blog. Nice logo of St. Peter's Basilica. A quick ascent from a lowly insect to human mortal is expected. Neverthelesss let's help by taking a tour of the E-City. Enjoy!

Kung's Meeting with Pope Benedict

Hans Kung who once recommended Joseph Ratzinger for a professorial position at the University of Tuebingen said that Ratzinger would never be pope. Today, after many years, the two met under a friendly atmosphere.

It is interesting to see that even dissidents such as Kung or the Society of St. Pius X seek the endorsement and approval of the Supreme Pontiff. They cannot ignore the fact that Peter is the rock of which Christ built His Church. The Church will always be One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. It will always be open to dialogue and her charity will always extend to those who seek her.

Zenit reports...

"On Saturday, September 24, a conversation took place between His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI and Professor Hans Küng (Tuebingen). The meeting unfolded in a friendly atmosphere. Both agreed that it made no sense, in the framework of the meeting, to enter into a dispute on the persistent doctrinal differences between Hans Küng and the magisterium of the Catholic Church.

The conversation was centered, therefore, on two topics which are of particular interest for Hans Küng's recent work: the question of the world ethic "Weltethos" (world ethic) and the dialogue of the reason of the natural sciences with the reason of the Christian faith. Professor Küng emphasized that his world ethics project is far from being an abstract intellectual construct; but that it manifests the values on which the great religions of the world converge, despite all the differences, and which can be perceived as valid criteria -- given their convincing reasonable character -- by secular reason. The Pope appreciated Professor Küng's effort to contribute to a renewed recognition of the essential values of humanity through the dialogue of religions and the meeting with secular reason. He underlined that the commitment for a renewed awareness of the fundamental values of human life is also an important objective of his pontificate.

At the same time, the Pope reaffirmed his agreement with Professor Küng's intention to revive the dialogue between faith and the natural sciences and to assert, in relation with scientific thought, the sensibleness and the necessity of the question on God ("Gottesfrage"). For his part, Professor Küng applauded the Pope's efforts to foster the dialogue of religions and also the meeting with different social groups of the modern world."

Mixture of Expertise for Bishops Synod

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Our Lady of Mercy

Today is the feast day of Our Lady of Mercy, also known as Our Lady of Ransom. During th 13th century, Europe was praying to God for a remedy of the great evil of persecution especially by the Moors. The King of Aragon, James I and St. Peter Nolasco prayed to Our Lady of Montserrat for her intercession. Thus, she appeared to them and in appearance she carried two bags of coins for use in ransoming Christians by Moors. The order of Mercedarians have included this devotion as part of their fourth vow, which is called the blood vow, that is "remaining hostage for the redemption of captive Christians".

In my previous post on
Our Lady of La Salette, I mentioned that this was the only marian apparition that bore fruit to a religious order. Well, I stand corrected because the order of Mercedarians is also an order established by St. Peter Nolasco after Mary appeared to him, the King of Aragon and St. Raymond Penyafort, with instructions to start a religious Order bearing the name of Her mercy.

Check out
Recta Ratio's image of Our Lady of Ransom.

Friday, September 23, 2005

The Cardinals Vote and the Holy Spirit Chooses

Report has it that Argentinian Cardinal Bergoglio was in the running for the papal election, second to German Cardinal Ratzinger. This is an interesting bit of information but more interesting is how we can finally see the inner workings of the Holy Spirit that one can surely conclude that He chooses who will be Pope.

Let us look at the two cardinals' reactions:

1. Both didn't want to become Pope
2. Both of them prayed to God "Don't do this to me"
3. Cardinal Bergoglio's reaction led to a shifting of support by the other cardinals
4. Cardinal Ratzinger's reaction led to a persuasion of acceptance

Cardinal Bergoglio

In a diary recently revealing some of the dynamics of the conclave leading up to the final outcome, it said that Cardinal Bergoglio "dreaded the prospect of becoming pope".

The diary quoted one cardinal saying, "I watch him (Bergoglio) as he goes to cast his ballot at the altar of the Sistine Chapel. He has his gaze fixed on the image of Jesus, judging souls at the end of time. His face, suffering, as if pleading: 'God don't do this to me'," it said.

The diary said that Colombian Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo -- prominent among Latin American cardinals -- took advantage of a break after the third vote to persuade Bergoglio's supporters to throw their support behind Ratzinger.

Cardinal Ratzinger

In his first audience with German pilgrims, Pope Benedict recounted his feelings during the conclave.

"As the trend in the ballots slowly made me realize that -- in a manner of speaking, the guillotine would fall on me -- I started to feel quite dizzy," he said.

"I thought that I had done my life's work and could now hope to live out my days in peace," he said. "I told the Lord with deep conviction, 'Don't do this to me. You have younger, better candidates with more elan and strength.' "

He told the group: "Evidently, on this occasion He didn't listen to me."

Cardinal Ratzinger could have told the 114 other cardinals that he didn't want to become pope but Benedict suggested he was dissuaded from dropping out by a fellow cardinal who slipped him a note reminding him of a biblical story about Jesus and Peter. In the story, which Ratzinger used as the basis for his sermon at the funeral Mass for Pope John Paul II, Jesus tells Peter to follow him even to places he might not want to go. "Then I had no choice, and I said yes," he told the pilgrims.

This is the reason why speculations during papal election, although a natural human reaction, is a waste of time. Not even journalist John Allen in this article listed Cardinal Ratzinger as "possible papal material".

This is not to say that one cardinal is better than the other but that a Pope is chosen according to the Will of God.

BTW, hat tip to Amy.

St. Pio of Pietrelcina

My parish priest, a Franciscan friar who is from San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy is now visiting his hometown to celebrate St. Pio's feastday. As a young priest, he would go to Padre Pio for confessions. I look forward to his return next week, God willing, as I know he will have many stories to tell.

Pope John Paul II called St. Pio a "model for priesthood". It was also reported that when John Paul II was a priest, he asked Padre Pio to pray for his friend who was suffering from cancer. He did and the Pope's friend was cured.

And now a short history on St. Pio...

Many people believe St. Pio was the greatest man of the 20th century.

On September 23rd 1968, a few weeks before Richard Nixon would be elected president of the United States, while the world was listening to the latest Beatles album, a man died in a small town in eastern Italy. He was born poor; he died poor. Many people mourned. Not just in Italy, but around the world. He was a man loved by God. He was a man who was given many supernatural gifts.

This 81 year old man, was a priest. The only priest in the nearly 2000 year history of the Catholic Church to bear the stigmata - physical wounds like those suffered by Jesus Christ. He had those painful wounds for a full 50 years. He was also believed to be the instrument of many miracles over the course of his long ministry.

The stories of his life are legendary: of his ability to read the souls of those who went to him for confession, so that he could recite their sins even before they opened their mouths. Of his gift of bilocation - the ability to be in two places at the same time. Of the healings that took place after his prayers to God. Of the magnificant hospital he built with the money people sent to him. And, most important of all, of his love for God.

In May of 1987, on the 100th anniversary of St. Pio's birth, Pope John Paul II, said: "How lively was his sense of justice and mercy, his compassion for those who suffered, and how concretely he committed himself to helping them. I wish to thank the Lord with you for having given us dear Padre Pio, for having given him to our generation in this very tormented century. In his love for God and for his brethren, he is a sign of great hope."

On Sunday, June 16, 2002, Pope John Paul II he proclaimed Padre Pio a saint: St. Pio of Pietrelcina.

Teachings of St. Pio

On Christian Perfection

Padre Pio encourages his spiritual children to practice externally the virtue of kindliness, to be agreeable and courteous. Polite manners draw others to imitate him in the devout life. If others do not respond to kindness, we need the virtue of forbearance. Never desist from one's effort to help others, even if they are not deriving benefit of our help.

Strive for meekness, which makes us stifle our anger when we see our efforts repaid with ingratitude, insults or offenses. Add faithfulness, by which the soul gains confidence.

Virtues which perfect the devout person with regard to control of his own senses are modesty, continence and chastity: modesty, governing all exterior acts; continence, restraint over senses of sight, touch, taste, smell and hearing; chastity, which ennobles our nature and makes it similar to the angels.

On Abortion: "A Great Sin"

Often Padre Pio seemed to know aspects of the lives of his penitents which they tried to hide from him or even from themselves.

Albert Cardone first learned of Padre Pio in 1944, when he was eighteen, through the testimony of a neighbor, whose name he could not disclose because she may still have been alive at the time when he related the incident in March 1990: "She went to confession. Padre Pio, before giving her absolution, said, 'Try to remember the other sin.' The woman said, 'Padre, I think I gave you all the sins I know and I think this is it.' Padre Pio said, 'Then, for your penance, go to the cross to say fifteen Ave Marias and fifteen Our Fathers.' Now the cross was at the top of the mountain. The penance was not the Aves or the Our Fathers, it was the journey to get there, as it was a very bad road... So she did that and said the prayers and went back to Padre Pio for a second confession and Padre Pio asked, 'Do you remember all your sins?' She said, 'Padre Pio, I've confessed everything.' Padre Pio said. 'No, you still don't remember all. You've got to go to the cross at the top of the mountain again.'

She went for the second time and when she still did not remember he sent her for the third time to the cross on the mountaintop. When she returned for the third time for confession, Padre Pio asked, 'So, do you remember everything now?' She replied, 'No, Padre, I don't have anything more to confess.' Then Padre Pio said in a loud voice, 'What do you mean, you don't remember anything? Don't you know he could have been a good priest, a bishop, even a cardinal?' She started to think and then began to cry, 'Father,' she said, 'I never knew abortion was a sin.' 'What do you mean,' he said, 'you didn't know that this was a sin? That's killing.' Then she said, Nobody knows about this, only me and my mother. How could you say it would have been a priest or a cardinal?' Padre Pio simply responded by saying, 'But it's a sin, a great sin.' "

The above [story] is taken from the book "Padre Pio: The True Story" by C. Bernard Ruffin, Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, 1991.

Prayer to St. Pio

Beloved Padre Pio, today I come to add my prayer to the thousands of prayers offered to you every day by those who love and venerate you.

They ask for cures and healings, earthly and spiritual blessings, and peace for body and mind. And because of your friendship with the Lord, he heals those you ask to be healed, and forgives those you forgive.

Through your visible wounds of the Cross, which you bore for 50 years, you were chosen in our time to glorify the crucified Jesus. Because the Cross has been replaced by other symbols, please help us to bring it back in our midst, for we acknowledge it is the only true sign of salvation.

As we lovingly recall the wounds that pierced your hands, feet and side, we not only remember the blood you shed in pain, but your smile, and the invisible halo of sweet smelling flowers that surrounded your presence, the perfume of sanctity.

Padre Pio, may the healings of the sick become the testimony that the Lord has invited you to join the holy company of Saints. In your kindness, please help me with my own special request: (mention here your petition, and make the sign of the Cross).

Bless me and my loved ones.

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

(Taken from: St. Pio Website and Padre Pio Foundation of America)

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Pope's First Interview in Polish Television

If you go to this link and click on the little video camera icon (just below the Holy Father's photo) you can watch the Pope's first interview which was televised tonight on Polish television.

A little quiz: Look at the Holy Father's feet when he is sitting on his chair while being interviewed and tell me what you noticed.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Sports Can Have Spiritual Benefits

Pope Benedict during his Wednesday audience says that sports can be "an educational instrument and a vehicle for important human and spiritual values."

The Holy Father receiving a soccer ball from children.

Children visiting the Pope, playing soccer in St. Peter's square.

Pope John Paul II dribbling a soccer ball on the cover of The Catholic Ideal: Exercise and Sports. John Paul II played soccer as a goalie during his youth.


In an article by Robert Feeney, he cites: "St. Thomas’s position on physical exercise helps us to see the potential intellectual gains from it. Contemporary studies have shown that aerobic exercise can improve a person’s intellectual capacity. The theory is that exercise increases the blood supply into the brain. This increase of blood into the brain causes the brain to receive more oxygen. The increase of oxygen in the brain helps people think clearer, the duration of concentration increases as well as the depth of thinking. The research shows that these benefits for the mind definitely help us in prayer and meditation. Aquinas’s teaching on psychosomatic unity helps us to see the wisdom of Holy Mother Church in her appreciation for the value of physical exercise."

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, the incorruptible Dominican blessed was called the "model for athletes" by Pope John Paul II.

Envoy of Divine Mercy

The Vatican is the only "state in the world" to visit Katrina victims. Vatican delegate Archbishop Josef Cordes witnessed enormous destruction but also great compassion toward the victims of Katrina.

The Church is the envoy of the call to the works of mercy.

To feed the hungry
"For I was hungry and you gave me to eat." Mt. 25:35
To give drink to the thirsty
"...I was thirsty and you gave me to drink..." Mt. 25:35
To clothe the naked
"I was...naked and you clothed me..." Mt. 25:36
To visit the imprisoned
"I was in prison and you came to me." Mt. 25:36
To shelter the homeless
"...I was a stranger and you took me in..." Mt. 25:35
To visit the sick
"...I was sick and you cared for me..." Mt. 25:36
To bury the dead
"Amen, I say to you, insofar as you did it for one of these least of my brothers, you did it for me." Mt. 25:40

Get Your Copy Now

Pope Benedict's latest book, On The Way to Jesus is now available. This is a book for everyone - for those who want to know about Jesus and for those who love Jesus.

Here's a synopsis of his book.

Jesus Christ is as popular as ever. Films, books, and news articles ask,"Who was Jesus Christ?" Even outside of Christianity he continues to appeal to people. And yet for so many, the popular Jesus is not the Jesus of Christianity. The popular Jesus makes no demands and never challenges people. He accepts everyone and everything under all circumstances.

On the Way to Jesus Christ is a series of meditations that Pope Benedict XVI wrote while he was Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. The true Jesus, he writes, is the Jesus of the Gospels, who "is quite different, demanding, bold. The Jesus who makes everything OK for everyone is a phantom, a dream, not a real figure. The Jesus of the Gospels is certainly not convenient for us. But it is precisely in this way that he answers the deepest question of our existence, which--whether we want to or not--keeps us on the lookout for God, for a gratification that is limitless, for the infinite. We must again set out on the way to this real Jesus."

This book also examines whether Jesus Christ is the only savior, and the Church's responsibility to evangelize. It concludes with reflections on Jesus' Presence in the Holy Eucharist, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church's presentation of the Christian mystery as seen through the Catechism's dynamic view of Sacred Scripture.

On the Way to Jesus Christ is for anyone--believer or unbeliever-who wants better to understand the true Jesus, the Jesus of the Gospels, the Christ of Christianity.

(Ignatius Press)

Monday, September 19, 2005

Our Lady of La Salette

On September 19, 1846, Mary, the Mother of God, appeared to two shepherd children on the slope of a mountain in the French Alps, near the village of La Salette in France.

The "Beautiful Lady", as they called her, was seated on a stone, her elbows resting on her knees, her face buried in her hands, weeping bitterly. She rose, calming the children's fear by her reassuring look and maternal voice. She told them the cause of her tears: disobedience to the laws of God and of the Church, blasphemy, failure to keep the Lord's day and lack of prayer. (Source: Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette)
Read more of the Appartion of Our Lady of La Salette and take a look at the official website of the Sanctuary of Notre Dame de La Salette.
The highest fruit of conversion is a vocation to the priesthood or religious life. As far as I know, there is only one Church-approved apparition that bore fruit to a religious congregation. This is the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette. Read about their community here.
"Mary's message was much the same as at Fatima, 'If my people do not wish to submit themselves, I am forced to let go of the hand of my Son. It is so heavy and weighs me down so much I can no longer keep hold of it.'
She lamented with tears those who do not keep Sunday holy and who take the name of the Lord in vain. She indicated that if men did not stop offending Our Lord the potato crop would fail. She gave Maximin his secret which he never revealed. She then turned to Melanie and gave her a secret which she revealed 30 years later. This secret was given to the Holy Father, who gave orders that it was never to be revealed." (Catholic Culture)

Friday, September 16, 2005

Ss Cornelius and Cyprian and the Magisterium

These two great saints and martyrs were friends who gave up their lives in service for the Church. They fought against an anti-pope and confirmed papal authority. The following are excerpts of writings on papal infallibility.

Cyprian to Pope Cornelius: "Greeting. . . . We decided to send and are sending a letter to you from all throughout the province [where I am] so that all our colleagues might give their decided approval and support to you and to your communion, that is, to both the unity and the charity of the Catholic Church" (Letters 48:1, 3 [A.D. 253]). "Cyprian to Antonian: Greeting ... You wrote ... that I should forward a copy of the same letter to our colleague [Pope] Cornelius, so that, laying aside all anxiety, he might at once know that you held communion with him, that is, with the Catholic Church" (ibid., 55[52]:1).

"Cornelius was made bishop by the decision of God and of his Christ, by the testimony of almost all the clergy, by the applause of the people then present, by the college of venerable priests and good men ... when the place of Fabian, which is the place of Peter, the dignity of the sacerdotal chair, was vacant. Since it has been occupied both at the will of God and with the ratified consent of all of us, whoever now wishes to become bishop must do so outside [the Church]. For he cannot have ecclesiastical rank who does not hold to the unity of the Church" (ibid., 55[52]:8). "With a false bishop appointed for themselves by heretics, they dare even to set sail and carry letters from schismatics and blasphemers to the chair of Peter and to the principal church [at Rome], in which sacerdotal unity has its source" (ibid., 59:14). (
Catholic Answers)

Vatican II on the Magisterium

The Second Vatican Council, dwelling on the authentic magisterium, states: "In matters of faith and morals the bishops speak in the name of Christ, and the faithful are to accept their teaching and adhere to it with a religious assent of soul. This religious submission of will and of mind must be shown in a special way to the authentic teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra" (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, ch. 3, n. 25).

Some seem to think that the Vicar of Christ exercizes his authentic teaching authority only when he speaks "ex cathedra". They seem to think that only in those solemn circumstances are they bound in conscience to accept his teaching. They seem to think that in all other cases, even in the case of a papal encyclical, or a similarly authoritative document, they are at liberty to challenge, to argue, to criticize, to accept or reject. They do not hesitate to weigh the doctrine imparted against their own arbitrary judgements and reasoning, seemingly oblivious or ignorant of the fact that Christ our Lord has sealed the teaching authority of His Vicar on earth with a special charism for the protection of the People of God, not only against overt error but also against speciousness and plausibility.

Such a mentality is radically uncatholic, radically unorthodox. Plainly it is a rejection of the authentic ordinary magisterium of the Vicar of Christ.

Catholic doctrine, re-affirmed by the Second Vatican Council, demands a special (singulari ratione) religious submission of our will and mind to the authentic ordinary magisterium of the Supreme Pastor. Plainly, our consciences are bound. Plainly, Christ binds. The authentic ordinary magisterium of the Pope "must be acknowledged with reverence, and the judgements made by him sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will" (ibid.)

Authentic ordinary Magisterium

The Council indicates the main criteria by which we are to judge when the Sovereign Pontiff is exercizing his authentic ordinary magisterium. "His mind and will in the matter may be known chiefly either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking". And, we way add, this magisterium is then most certainly exercized when the Pope, having reserved to himself the decision on any matter of faith or morals, finally gives his teaching to the Church.

It is often said that devotion to the Vicar of Christ is at the heart of Catholicism. It is a saying dear to every true son and daughter of the Church. It speaks of love, of reverence, loyalty, generosity. But the real test of devotion to the Holy Father is a spirit of docility—a willing readiness to accept his teachings and decisions.

A loyal Catholic does not seek to distinguish between the different modes by which the Pope exercizes his teaching authority before making up his mind whether he will accept the teaching or not. After all, a Thomas More and a John Fisher did not lay down their lives for a distinction!

The Cathedra of Peter, "the source of priestly unity" (St. Cyprian, Letter to Pope Cornelius, n. 59), was set up by Christ our Lord "so that in that one Cathedra unity might be preserved by all" (St. Optatus Milevitanus, Against Parmenian, c. 2, n. 2).

In these difficult times of renewal, accompanied often by ferment, and sometimes by painful dissension, we can offer no greater service to Christ our Lord and His Church than that of complete loyalty to the teaching authority of the Vicar of Christ. Priestly unity in the unity of the whole People of God—that is the will of Christ for His Church. But that unity can be preserved and intensified only by unswerving devotion to him whom Christ made the foundation—rock of the Church—the very principle of unity, cohesion and stability—and to whom He gave the authentic mission to confirm his brethren in the Faith, and the power to bind and loose the consciences of all members of the Church, without exception.

EWTN Library)

Thursday, September 15, 2005


Mater Dolorosa

John O'Connell reflects on the devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows.
We can trace devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows back to apostolic times. St. John the Evangelist, whom we can consider as one of the first devotees of the Mother of Sorrows, witnessed first-hand and then recorded in his Gospel that Mary stood by the Cross of her Son (Jn 19:25). There on Calvary the Blessed Mother suffered—overwhelmed with grief at seeing her Son, who is also her God, die an agonizing death by crucifixion.

At the Presentation of the Infant Jesus at the Temple, Simeon prophesied that Mary’s soul would be pierced by a sword so that the thoughts of many hearts would be revealed (Lk 2:35). Mary, as the first and greatest disciple of her Son, participated in a most deep and profound way in the redemptive work of Our Lord.

Devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows flowered during the Middle Ages. The well-known medieval hymn Stabat Mater beautifully expresses this devotion to the sorrowing Blessed Virgin Mary at Calvary:

At the Cross her station keeping,
Stood the mournful Mother weeping,
Close to Jesus to the last.

Our Lady of Sorrows is traditionally depicted in art dressed in black with seven swords piercing her heart. These seven swords symbolize the chief seven sorrows of Our Lady’s life. Devotion to the Sorrows of Mary gave rise to the figure in Christian art of the Pietà, the sorrowing Mother holding the dead Body of her Son who has been taken down from the Cross.

Different sorrows of Mary have been honored in the Church’s history, but since the 14th century these seven have come to be regarded as the seven dolors (sorrows) of the Blessed Virgin Mary:

1. The Prophecy of Simeon.

2. The Flight into Egypt.

3. The Loss of the Child Jesus for Three Days.

4. Meeting Jesus on the Way to Calvary.

5. The Crucifixion and Death of Jesus.

6. Jesus Taken Down from the Cross.

7. Jesus Laid in the Tomb.

Note the Christological and scriptural foundation of the devotion to the Seven Sorrows of Mary.

By commemorating Our Lady of Sorrows, we call to mind the sufferings that Mary endured as part of her vocation as the Mother of the Redeemer. No one is closer to Christ than Mary, consequently no one has participated more intimately in the redemptive suffering of Christ than His Mother Mary.

Mary suffered because of her intimate union with Christ, on account of our sins, and in behalf of her spiritual children. Devotion to the Mother of Sorrows and the Seven Sorrows of Mary encourages us to flee from sin and inflames our desire to do penance and make reparation so as to console the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Traditionally, many Catholics have said every day seven Hail Marys in honor of the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady. O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

John O’Connell

Images by
Our Lady of Sorrows Parish

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Pope's Message For Today's Feast

The Holy Father's message on the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross:

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

Next Wednesday, Sept. 14, we celebrate the liturgical feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. In the year dedicated to the Eucharist, this celebration has a particular significance: It invites us to meditate on the profound and indissoluble bond that unites the Eucharistic celebration with the mystery of the cross. Each holy Mass, in fact, actualizes Christ's redeeming sacrifice. To Golgotha and to the "hour" of the death on the cross -- wrote our beloved John Paul II in the encyclical "Ecclesia de Eucharistia," returns "[e]very priest who celebrates Holy Mass, together with the Christian community which takes part in it" (No. 4). The Eucharist is therefore the memorial of the whole paschal mystery: passion, death, descent into hell, resurrection and ascension to heaven, and the cross is the tangible manifestation of the infinite act of love with which the Son of God has saved man and the world from sin and death. Because of this the sign of the cross is the fundamental gesture of the Christian's prayer. To make the sign of the cross is to pronounce a visible and public yes to him who died for us and who is risen, to the God who in the humility and weakness of his love is omnipotent, stronger than all the power and intelligence of the world. After the consecration, the assembly of faithful, conscious of being in the real presence of the crucified and risen Christ, acclaims thus: "We proclaim your death, Lord Jesus, until you come in glory."

With the eyes of faith the community acknowledges the living Jesus with the signs of his passion and, together with Thomas, full of wonder, can repeat: "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28). Like the cross, the Eucharist is mystery of death and glory, which is not a passing incident, but the passage through which Christ entered into his glory (see Luke 24:26) and reconciled the whole of humanity, overcoming all enmity. Because of this the liturgy invites us to pray with confident hope: "Mane nobiscum Domine!" Stay with us, Lord, who by your holy cross have redeemed the world! Mary, present on Calvary by the cross, is equally present with the Church and as Mother of the Church, in each of our Eucharistic celebrations (see "Ecclesia de Eucharistia," No. 57). Because of this, no one better than she can teach us to understand and live with faith the holy Mass, uniting us to Christ's redeeming sacrifice. When we receive holy Communion we also, as Mary and united to her, embrace the wood, which Jesus with his love has transformed into instrument of salvation, and pronounce our "Amen," our "yes" to crucified and risen Love.


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Triumph of The Cross

Adoramus Te, Christe, et benedicimus Tibi, quia per Crucem Tuam redemisti mundum.
We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee, for by Thy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.

Triumph of the Cross

This day is also called the Exaltation of the Cross, Elevation of the Cross, Holy Cross Day, Holy Rood Day, or Roodmas. The liturgy of the Cross is a triumphant liturgy. When Moses lifted up the bronze serpent over the people, it was a foreshadowing of the salvation through Jesus when he was lifted up on the Cross. Our Mother Church sings of the triumph of the Cross, the instrument of our redemption. To follow Christ we must take up his cross, follow him and become obedient until death, even if it means death on the cross. We identify with Christ on the Cross and become co-redeemers, sharing in His cross.

The Sign of the Cross we make over ourselves before prayer helps to fix our minds and hearts to God. After prayer we make it to keep close to God. During trials and temptations our strength and protection is the Sign of the Cross. At Baptism we are sealed with the Sign of the Cross, signifying the fullness of redemption and that we belong to Christ. Let us look to the cross frequently, and realize that when we make the Sign of the Cross we give our entire self to God — mind, soul, heart, body, will, thoughts.

O cross, you are the glorious sign of victory.Through your power may we share in the triumph of Christ Jesus.

(Sources: Catholic Culture and Women for Faith and Family)

Relic of the True Cross

A piece of the True Cross discovered by Saint Helena, the Emperor Constantine’s mother, and brought back to Rome in Fourth Century. To house the single most significant relic in Christianity, St. Helen built the Basilica of Santa Croce in Rome, where a large piece of the cross is kept to this day. Skeptics have said that if all the relics of the True Cross were put together there would be enough wood for two or three crosses. However, in 1870 a Frenchman, Rohault de Fleury, catalogued all the relics of the True Cross including relics that were said to have existed but were lost. He measured the existing relics and estimated the volume of the missing ones. Then he added up the figures and discovered that the fragments, if glued together, would not have made up more than one-third of a cross.

The veneration of the True Cross finds its origin in the legend of Helena, mother of the Emperor Constantine, who is said have unearthed three crosses at Golgotha, and is said to have verified though a series of miracles which was the True Cross of Christ. Pilgrims returning from Jerusalem, and later from Rome, took relics with them and disseminated them in different parts of the world.

The roots of devotion to the Cross, to the instruments of the Passion, and to other objects associated with the life of Christ are long, deep and strong in the piety of the Christian people, beginning with pilgrims in Jerusalem and continuing to our own day.

So strong has the practice of the veneration of the Cross been in Christian history that it has found its way into the Liturgy of Good Friday, where all the faithful are invited to demonstrate their reverence for the Cross of the One whose wounds have healed us. The veneration of the Cross on Good Friday is an expression of our faith and hope in Christ whose Paschal Mystery we celebrate and share in most fully in the Easter celebration of the Resurrection.

(Taken from Apostolate of Holy Relics)

Monday, September 12, 2005

Bowing at the Name of Mary

Today is the feast of the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary. According to Mariology by Juniper B. Carol, O.F.M, "the Hebrew name of Mary, Miryãm, (in Latin Domina) means lady or sovereign; this Mary is in virtue of her Son's sovereign authority as Lord of the World. We call Mary our Lady as we call Jesus our Lord, and when we pronounce her name we affirm her power, implore her aid and place ourselves under her protection."

In reverence to Mary's Most Holy Name, the simple bow of the head during the Mass (which is first used at the Name of Jesus) may also be used at the Name of Mary. This simple bow involves tipping the head slightly so that the chin touches the base of the neck. This gesture is a sign of a loving submission and veneration to the Queen of Heaven and earth, to the Mother of God. L
et's try this the next time we're at Mass.

Update: Fr. Mercer has just informed me that the bowing at the Name of Jesus and Mary is not an option but should always be done at Holy Mass. He also cites specific instructions from the GIRM.

The General Instruction of the Roman Missal states:
"275. A bow signifies reverence and honor shown to the persons themselves or to the signs that represent them. There are two kinds of bows: a bow of the head and a bow ofthe body.A bow of the head is made when the three Divine Persons are named together and at the names of Jesus, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of the Saint in whose honor Mass is being celebrated."

Life is Short

I was watching the very sad recounting of the September 11 tragedy yesterday on televsion when I got a shocking news by a phone call that a close friend from church suddenly died in her home. This came as a total shock because I was with this friend almost the whole day on Sunday. My family and I went to her home immediately and found the Coroner's van outside the house and the priest giving her last rites and annointing. With the September 11th memorial and the sudden passing of Grace on Sept. 11, 2005, it reminds us of how short life is and the gift of every breath we take. I remember a prayer after communion that goes...

Thank you Lord for giving yourself to me and now I give myself to you,
I give you my body so it may be pure and chaste,
I give you my soul so it may be free from sin,
I give you my heart so it may love you always,
I give you every breath that I shall breath especially my last,
I give myself in life and in death.

Please pray for Grace and her family. Let us remember in our prayers also all those who died in the September 11th tragedy and their families who are still mourning their loss.

Crucifix Quiz

Okay, I thought I would try this quiz myself as did Winterr's Words, Dymphna's Well and Unam Sanctam, to see which kind of crucifix I am.

And the result is...

You are the Corpus Christi Crucifix: The cross that
bears the body of Christ is the most venerated
of all the crosses. It hangs in the most sacred
places in the world and inspires the faithful
to contemplate the suffering of Christ.

What Kind of Cross are You?
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Friday, September 09, 2005

A Return to No-Meat-Fridays

Good Friday and Ash Wednesday are the major days for fasting in general for those who have reached the age 18 and are not yet 60. Abstinence, that means no meat on those days for those who are age 14 [or over].

General canon law says that all Fridays are days of abstinence -- no meat -- but if you want to eat meat, you should substitute some other form of penance.

The US rules for abstinence from meat includes all Fridays during Lent; Fast (small meals, no snacks) + Abstinence (as in universal rules -- no meat) on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

Since the Council, the US bishops have never specified a particular penance for the other Fridays of the year; but the universal law still applies -- therefore it is left to the individual to choose the form this penance takes. Since abstinence from meat is traditional (and pretty straightforward), many Catholics observe still this as their form of penance that is required of Catholics on all Fridays (Canon 1250). Many, however, entirely ignore the law of penance on Fridays.

(Taken from Women For Faith and Family)

The Face of the Culture of Death

The Challenge of the Agnostic Journalist

Madame X writes this interesting article about the challenge agnostic journalists face in times of adversities. They almost have to believe in God because everyone else does. The article can be read in its entirety here.

But just how a functionally agnostic press should react gets trickier when the story they are covering is a large-scale tragedy like 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina. Most of the victims – and their families, friends, and attempted rescuers – are Christians. When these people fear for their lives, they implore God's aid. When rescued, they give thanks. When mourning another's death, they beg God's help in their present distress, and comfort themselves by anticipating future reunion with the departed.

The arc of the standard human interest story during times of disaster fits religious protagonists to a tee: Anxiety and distress give way to joy and gratitude or pain leavened by religiously expressed solace. This story line makes for moving copy, but it can pose a dilemma for liberal American journalists (even those who sort of believe in a not-very-interfering God), because it may not resemble how the journalist would react under similar divine provocation. The classic questions about the existence of evil and suffering, combined with our pleasure-seeking age's protracted adolescent rebellion against the laws of nature and nature's God, make Satan's choice in "Paradise Lost" to reign in hell rather than serve in heaven more understandable to the unsubmissive modern mind.

So journalists deliver that classic disaster story arc, complete with their protagonists' profoundly moving acknowledgement of dependence upon God. But these stories, with their slightly alien (to network news or CNN ears) language of being "blessed" or accepting God's will, are often reported from a sort of respectful distance on the part of the journalist. From across the divide of religious belief or religious commitment, the secular media view religious people caught up in national news events with a certain incomprehension, but sometimes also with a note of yearning and wonder. Not a bad picture frame through which to view the difference that God makes.
+ Consecrated to the Blessed Virgin Mary + Click to play "REGINA CAELI"

Apostolic Blessing by Pope Benedict XVI

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John Paul II
You are Pope John Paul II. You are a force to be
reckoned with.

Which Twentieth Century Pope Are You?
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