Monday, October 31, 2005


Deo Gratia!

Benedicere, Laudare, Praedicare!
Yesterday was a very special day for me.
I received my Dominican Cross.

Orare pro me ad Dominum Deum nostrum.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Benedict XVI Portrait

To comemorate his six-month pontificate, SPH presents
a portrait of Pope Benedict XVI in pencil

Benedict XVI

Friday, October 28, 2005

Friday Penance

What things can I offer up as penance today?

1). Humiliation – offer up moments of embarrasment or humiliation
[I was reprimanded for making a U-turn within vicinity of school grounds] Aspiration for increase in humility: "Jesus, meek and humble of Heart, make my heart like unto Yours."

2). Food – abstain from a particular food that I crave for today [I had scones this morning] Aspiration for good intention: "All for You, most Sacred Heart of Jesus."

3). Comfort – offer up anything that makes me warm and cozy [I turned up the heater full blast this morning] Aspiration for patience: "My Jesus, mercy."

4). Health – offer pains and aches in the body [my migraine was this big] Aspiration for resignation: "Heart of Jesus, obedient unto death, have mercy on us."

5). Speech – offer up unnecessary words or conversations [I pointed out somebody else's weakness] Aspiration for prudence: "Seat of Wisdom, pray for us."
(Aspirations taken from Fr. John Hardon's Catholic Prayer Book)

A Legend In Need of Prayers

Talking about the World Cup in my previous post and all the soccer legends I grew up with, I recently read that English soccer legend George Best is fighting for his life. Let us say a Hail Mary for him and let us pray for his final perseverance. Read more here.

Ave Maria, gratia plena Dominus tecum, benedicta tu in mulieribus et benedictus Fructus ventris tui Jesus.Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen

Great Models of Faith

Today is the feast day of Sts. Simon and Jude. Click here for Recta Ratio's images of the saints.

Another saint to be admired and loved is St. Gertrude the Great. Dymphna's Well reminds us of her spiritual martyrdom.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

World Cup 2006 In Germany

My family and I grew up with football or what they call here as "soccer". I would watch the World Cup Soccer with my brothers and grew up knowing soccer legends like Brazil's Pelé, England's Bobby Moore, Bobby Charleton and Gordon Banks and Germany's Franz Beckenbauer.

During the Wednesday General Audience, Beckenbauer who is the president of the Organizing Committe of the World Cup, met the Pope, a fellow Bavarian and presented him with a World Cup 2006 pennant.

According to Associated Press, Beckenbauer said that "the meeting was the highlight of my life". Beckenbauer also told reporters the pope, a known football fan, "had asked how the German team was doing. 'The German team is good, no?' he quoted Benedict as asking. Beckenbauer replied: 'We are becoming good.' Beckenbauer also said the pope told him he would watch 'the most important games'."

God must have a plan to have two world events, two years in a row in Germany, under the pontificate of a German Pope, Benedict XVI - the World Youth Day and now the World Cup Soccer.

Read more here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

What Was Proposed

Yet another report from Sandro Magister on the final propositions presented in the Synod. Here are just some of them.

Proposition 19 suggests the preparation of a set of thematic homilies as an aid to priests, tied to both the Sunday readings and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. [A good initiative to avoid "ad lib" and self-themed homilies]

Proposition 23 warns that the way the Sign of Peace is currently offered sometimes goes on too long, or creates confusion prior to communion, and hence suggests the possibility of putting it somewhere else in the Mass, "taking account of antique and venerable customs." Indirectly, that seems to suggest the idea of moving it to just after the Prayers of the Faithful, before the Liturgy of the Eucharist. [Putting time for beso-beso and handshaking in their proper place... outside of Mass?]

Proposition 36 suggests that in international celebrations the Mass be said in Latin, apart from the readings, the homily, and the Prayers of the Faithful, and that priests be trained from the seminary to use Latin prayers as well as Gregorian Chant. It also recommends that the faithful be educated to do so as well. [What a wonderful opportunity to learn or re-learn the language of the Church. [This should be a great incentive for the laity to memorize latin prayers]

Read entire article here.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Benedict Draws Us Nearer To God

Here's an excellent article by Sandro Magister of Chiesa which was found by way of Ignatius Insight. It takes us to the six-month pontificate of Benedict XVI.

Here are some salient points: Central to Benedict's pontificate is the Eucharist as seen in his deep love and silent adoration for the Blessed Sacrament. He brings all to the Eucharist, always invoking the help of Mary. We saw that in Cologne, in his catechesis with First Communicants and with Bishops during the Synod.

Showing docility to the Holy Spirit, his strength lies in his meekness and humility which brings him to re-introduce Christian life with seriousness and total devotion. He teaches with simple words and actions. Even non-Christians recognize Benedict's role as spiritual compass in the world.

Read how the Holy Father scored (as if we should keep track) in his first six months in Ratzinger’s Revolution Passes with Flying Colors.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Pope's Homily as Year of the Eucharist Ends

Here is the Holy Father's homily at the end of the Year of Eucharist. As he canonized the first five saints in his pontificate, he reiterates the importance of the Eucharist in living out the Christian life. He confirmed priestly celibacy as a gift founded on the Eucharist. He reminded us that on Mission Sunday, we are called to be missionaries, to be "bread broken for others". He invoked the help of Mary, the woman of the Eucharist in renewing our love for her Son. Finally, he emphasized the laity's role saying "Eucharistic spirituality must also be the interior motor of any activity for the lay persons, and no dichotomy is admissible between faith and life in their mission of spreading the spirit of Christianity in the world".

Venerated Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood! Dear Brothers and Sisters!

On this 30th Sunday of Ordinary Time, our Eucharistic celebration is enriched for various reasons that impel us to give thanks to God. Concurrently, the Year of the Eucharist and the Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops have come to an end, dedicated to this Eucharistic mystery in the life and mission of the Church, while, shortly, five blessed will be proclaimed saints: the Bishop Jozef Bilczewski, the priests Gaetano Catanoso, Zygmunt Gorazdowski and Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga, and the religious Capuchin Felice of Nicosia.

Today is also World Mission Sunday, a yearly appointment that reawakens the impulse for the mission in the ecclesial community. With joy, I greet all those present, first the synodal fathers, and then the pilgrims who have come from various nations, together with their pastors, to celebrate the new saints.

Today's liturgy invites us to the contemplation of the Eucharist as the source of holiness and spiritual nourishment for our mission in the world: This supreme "gift and mystery" manifests and communicates the fullness of God's love to us.

The word of the Lord, echoed just now in the Gospel, reminded us that all of divine law is summarized in love. The dual commandment to love God and neighbor encloses the two aspects of a sole dynamism of the heart and of life. Jesus thus achieves the ancient revelation, not in adding an unedited commandment, but by realizing in himself and in his own salvific action the living synthesis of the two great words of the old covenant: "You will love your God the Lord with all your heart ..." and "you will love your neighbor as yourself" (cf. Deuteronomy 6:5; Leviticus 19:18).

In the Eucharist, we contemplate the sacrament of this living synthesis of the law: Christ gives us, with himself, the full realization of the love for God and the love for our brothers. And this love of his, he communicates to us when we are nourished by his Body and his Blood. This is when what St. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians in today's reading is achieved: "You broke with the worship of false gods and became the servants of the living and true God" (1 Thessalonians 1:9). This conversion is the beginning of the path of holiness that the Christian is called to achieve in his own existence. The saint is he who is so fascinated by the beauty of God and by his perfect truth to be progressively transformed by it. Because of this beauty and truth, he is ready to renounce everything, even himself.

The love of God is enough, which he experiences in the humble and disinterested service to the neighbor, especially to those who cannot give back in return. How providential, in this perspective, is the fact that today the Church points out to all its members five new saints who, nourished by Christ the living bread, were converted to love and modeled their whole existence to this! In different situations and with different charisms, they loved the Lord with all their heart and the neighbor as themselves to thus become "an example to all believers" (1 Thessalonians 1:6-7).

St. Jozef Bilczewski was a man of prayer. The holy Mass, the Liturgy of the Hours, meditation, the rosary and the other pious practices formed part of his daily life. A particularly long time was dedicated to Eucharistic adoration. Even St. Zygmunt Gorazdowski became famous for the devotion founded on the celebration and adoration of the Eucharist. Living Christ's offering urged him toward the sick, the poor and the needy. The deep knowledge of theology, faith and Eucharistic devotion of Jozef Bilczewski made him an example for priests and a witness for all the faithful.

Zygmunt Gorazdowski, in founding the Association of Priests, the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph and other charitable institutions, always let himself be guided by the spirit of communion, which is fully revealed in the Eucharist. "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart. You must love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:37-39).

This was the program of life of St. Alberto Hurtado, who wished to identify himself with the Lord and love the poor with his same love. The formation received in the Society of Jesus, consolidated by prayer and adoration of the Eucharist, allowed him to be conquered by Christ, being the true contemplative in action. In love and in the total commitment to God's will, he found the strength for the apostolate. He founded The Home of Christ for the most needy and for those without a roof, offering them a family atmosphere full of human warmth. In his priestly ministry, he emphasized simplicity and availability toward others, being the living image of the teacher, "docile and humble of heart." At the end of his days, amid the strong pains from his illness, he still had the strength to repeat: "Content, Lord, content," thus expressing the joy with which he always lived.

St. Gaetano Catanoso was a worshipper and apostle of the Holy Face of Christ. "The Holy Face," he said, "is my life. He is my strength." With joyful intuition he fostered this devotion to Eucharistic piety. He would express himself with these words: "If we wish to adore the Real Face of Jesus ... we can find it in the divine Eucharist where, with the body and blood of Jesus Christ, the face of our Lord is hidden under the white veil of the Host." Daily Mass and frequent adoration of the Sacrament of the Altar were the soul of his priesthood: With ardent and untiring pastoral charity he dedicated himself to preaching, to catechesis, to the ministry of confession, to the poor, to the sick, to the care of priestly vocations. To the Veronican Sisters of the Holy Face, which he founded, he transmitted the spirit of charity, of humility and of sacrifice, which enlivened his entire existence.

St. Felice of Nicosia loved to repeat during all joyous or sad circumstances: "Be it for the love of God." Thus we can well understand how intense and concrete in him was the experience of the love of God revealed to men in Christ. This humble Capuchin Friar, illustrious son of the land of Sicily, austere and penitent, faithful to the most genuine expressions of the Franciscan tradition, was gradually modeled and transformed by the love of God, lived and realized in the love for the neighbor. Father Felice helps us to discover the value of the little things that make our lives more precious, and he teaches us to grasp the meaning of family and of service to the brothers, showing that true and lasting joy, which every human being's heart desires, is the fruit of love.

Dear and venerated synodal fathers, for three weeks we lived together in a climate of renewed Eucharistic fervor. Now I would like, with you and in the name of the entire episcopacy, to send a fraternal greeting to the bishops of the Church in China. With deep sadness we felt the lack of their representatives. I would like to assure all the Chinese priests that we are close with prayer to them and to their priests and faithful. The suffering path of the communities, entrusted to their pastoral care, is present in our hearts: This will not remain fruitless, because it is a participation in the paschal mystery, to the glory of the Father.

The synodal work allowed us to deepen the salient aspects of this mystery, given to the Church from the beginning. Contemplation of the Eucharist must urge all members of the Church, in the first place the priests, ministers of the Eucharist, to revive their commitment of faith. The celibacy that the priests received as a precious gift and the sign of the undivided love toward God and the neighbor is founded upon the Eucharistic mystery, celebrated and adored. Eucharistic spirituality must also be the interior motor of any activity for the lay persons, and no dichotomy is admissible between faith and life in their mission of spreading the spirit of Christianity in the world.

While the Year of the Eucharist is coming to an end, how can we not give thanks to God for the many gifts given to the Church during this time? And how can we not take up, once again, the invitation by the beloved Pope John Paul II to "start again from Christ"? Just as the disciples of Emmaus who, with hearts warmed by the words of the Risen One and illuminated by his living presence, recognized in the breaking of the bread, without pause returned to Jerusalem and proclaimed Christ's resurrection, we too must take up the path again, animated by the fervent desire to give witness to the mystery of this love that gives hope to the world.

In this Eucharistic perspective, today's World Mission Sunday is well situated, to which the venerated Servant of God John Paul II gave as a theme for reflection: "Mission: Bread broken for the life of the world." The ecclesial community, when celebrating the Eucharist, especially on the Lord's Day, is always more conscious that the sacrifice of Christ is "for many" (Matthew 26:28) and the Eucharist urges the Christian to be the "broken bread" for others, to commit oneself for a more just and more brotherly world. Even today, faced with the crowds, Christ continues to exhort his disciples: "Give them something to eat yourselves" (Matthew 14:16) and, in his name, the missionaries proclaim and witness the Gospel, at times even to the sacrifice of life.

Dear friends, we must start again from the Eucharist. May Mary help us, a Eucharistic woman, to be in love with it, help us to "remain" in the love of Christ, to be intimately renewed by him. Docile to the action of the Spirit and attentive to man's needs, the Church then will be a greater beacon of light, of true joy and hope, achieving fully her mission as the "sign and instrument of the unity of the whole human race" ("Lumen Gentium," No. 1).

Friday, October 21, 2005

Another Exhibit in Rome Opens Today

There is another exhibit in Rome called "Pope John Paul II and Rome" that officially opens today. See some photos posted in Catholic Press Photo.

A Concert for The Pope

Yesterday, a concert in honor of His Holiness Benedict XVI was given by the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, accompanied by the Regensburger Domspatzen choir and the Athestis Chorus. The program included various pieces, among them was Sanctus from Missa for Holy Year by the Pope's brother Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, Mozart's Ave Verum, and Verdi's Te Deum.

(Update) Following the concert, Benedict XVI thanked the conductor of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra and members of the choir of Ratisbone Cathedral and of the Athestis Chorus. The Holy Father said he felt proud that for thirty years the choir of Ratisbone Cathedral "was led with passion by my brother Georg," adding that "now, under Roland Buchner, it is still in excellent hands."

With reference to the music he had heard and to its composers - from Palestrina to Richard Wagner, from Mozart to Verdi and Hans Pfitzner - the Holy Father said: "You have brought us an experience of something of the vastness of musical creativity which has, indeed, always been nourished by the Christian roots of Europe. Even if Wagner, Pfitzner and Verdi transport us to new dimensions for experiencing reality, the shared foundation of a European spirit formed by Christianity still remains present and effective. In this concert have we been able, once again, to feel how sublime music purifies, uplifts and, in the final analysis, makes us feel the greatness and beauty of God."

Benedict XVI concluded by expressing the hope that "the harmony of music and song, which knows no religious or social barriers, may be a constant invitation for believers and all people of good will to seek together the universal language of love, which makes men capable of building a world of justice and solidarity, of hope and peace." (Vatican News)

Regensburger Domspatzen, the boy's choir of the Regensburg Cathedral that Msgr. Georg Ratzinger oversaw when he was music director of the cathedral from 1964 until his retirement in 1994.

The Pope applaudes with Mgsr. Ratzinger behind him.

The Munich Philharmonic Orchestra directed by Christian Thielemann.

The Holy Father greeting pilgrims in the Pope Paul VI Hall.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Psalm 129

Out of the depths I have cried to Thee, O Lord: * Lord, hear my voice. Let Thy ears be attentive * to the voice of my supplication. If Thou, O Lord, wilt mark iniquities: * Lord, who shall stand it? For with Thee there is merciful forgiveness: * and by reason of thy law, I have waited for Thee, O Lord. My soul hath relied on His word, * my soul hath hoped in the Lord. From the morning watch even until night, * let Israel hope in the Lord. Because with the Lord there is mercy: and with him plentiful redemption. And he shall redeem Israel * from all his iniquities. Glory be to the Father and to the Son, * and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, * world without end. Amen.
The Holy Father reflects on the above psalm in his Wednesday general audience. Here is a report from EWTN.

VATICAN CITY, OCT 19, 2005 (VIS) - In the general audience held today, exactly six months since his election to the Chair of Peter, Benedict XVI dedicated his catechesis to Psalm 129, "out of the depths I cry to thee," which is, he recalled, "one of the best-known and most loved psalms of the Christian tradition." The audience, held in St. Peter's Square, was attended by 40,000 people.

Pointing out how the psalm is known as the "De profundis," the Pope explained that "it is, in the first place, a song of divine mercy and of reconciliation between the sinner and the Lord. ... It opens with a voice arising from the depths of evil and guilt. ... then continues over three stages dedicated to the subject of sin and forgiveness."

Benedict XVI commented on the verses: "If thou, O Lord, shouldst mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared," saying: "It is significant that fear, an attitude of respect mixed with love, is generated not by punishment but by forgiveness. More than God's anger, it is His generous and disarming magnanimity that should provoke our holy fear. In fact, God is not an implacable sovereign who condemns the guilty, but a loving Father Whom we must love, not out of fear of punishment, but for His goodness and readiness to forgive."

In the second part of the psalm "watchfulness and hope blossom in the penitent psalmist's heart, along with the certainty that God will pronounce a liberating word and cancel out sin." In the third part, "the personal salvation that the psalmist had originally implored, is extended to the whole community" and "and takes root in the historical faith of the people of the Covenant, 'redeemed' by the Lord, not only from Egyptian oppression, but also 'from all iniquities'."

In this way, "from the dark gorge of sin the supplication of the 'De profundis' reaches God's luminous horizon, dominated by 'mercy and redemption,' two of the great characteristics of the God of love."

In concluding remarks, Benedict XVI placed the psalm in the context of Christian tradition, quoting St. Ambrose who, in his Tractate on Penance, writes: "Never lose hope in divine forgiveness, however great your sin. With God there can always be a change of heart, if you acknowledge your offence."

List of Propositions

The Catholic Church will always be guided by the Holy Spirit. The Bishops have been raising important issues concerning the future of the Church so let us all continue to pray for the success of the Synod and that the Holy Spirit may continue to guide them in their decisions.

Here are some of what the Bishops have proposed during the Synod, taken from Catholic New Report:

-- Proposition 40 said Catholics who have divorced and civilly remarried without an annulment "cannot be admitted to holy Communion" because they are in clear contrast with church teaching on marriage. It encouraged other pastoral efforts toward such Catholics; it suggested that some margin of flexibility might be found in further study of church law on the conditions for annulments.

-- Proposition 46 said there is no "eucharistic coherence" when Catholic politicians promote laws that go against human good, justice and natural law. It indicated that in determining whether specific politicians should receive Communion bishops should "exercise the virtue of prudence."

-- Proposition 41 repeated church teaching that shared Communion with non-Catholic Christians "is generally not possible." An "ecumenical concelebration" of the Eucharist would be even more objectionable, it said. At the same time, it said exceptions that would allow for shared Communion when "precise conditions" are present should be respected.--

Regarding Sunday Liturgies of the Word when no priest is present, Proposition 10 said it was up to bishops' conferences to set policies on distribution of Communion, but it asked the Vatican to consider preparing a new document spelling out universal rules on such liturgies.The issue of ordaining married men of proven virtue, or "viri probati," was raised by several bishops in discussion of the shortage of priests that afflicts many parts of the world.

Proposition 11 said the lack of priests was a cause of "acute pain" and said the situation called for "effective pastoral initiatives."But it added: "In this context, the synod fathers affirmed the importance of the inestimable gift of ecclesiastical celibacy in the practice of the Latin Church." Catholic faithful, it said, need to better know the reasons behind the relationship between celibacy and ordination."Some participants made reference to 'viri probati,' but in the end the small discussion groups evaluated this hypothesis as a road not to follow," it said.The propositions called for new efforts at fostering vocations. They said pastors should not be afraid to propose the priesthood as a radical way of following Christ. They encouraged prayers and eucharistic adoration celebrations for the intent of priestly vocations.They also called for a more equitable distribution of priests and for a willingness among priests themselves to serve where they are most needed.The synod's theme is the Eucharist, and the propositions distilled more than two weeks of discussion by more than 250 participants. The propositions, which are considered secret, will be given to Pope Benedict XVI for possible use in a future papal document.

Significantly placed near the top of the synod's recommendations was a strong endorsement of the Second Vatican Council. Proposition 2 said the changes introduced by Vatican II had greatly benefited the church. It said liturgical abuses had occurred in the past, but said they had diminished substantially in recent times.

Read more here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Eucharistic Miracles Exhibition

Eucharistic Miracle at Lanciano Italy

An exhibit on Eucharistic miracles is being held through November 13 at the St. Charles Borromeo International Ecclesiastical College in Rome. Here is the text of an interview with the Promoter, Monsignor Raffaello Martinelli (Zenit).

Q: Why hold an exhibition on Eucharistic miracles?

Monsignor Martinelli: There are two convergent reasons: above all, the fact that this month of October the Year of the Eucharist closes, convoked by John Paul II. It seems to me a good initiative to offer those who "pass" by the Corso of Rome, the possibility to visit and enjoy an exhibition on Eucharistic miracles that, in the course of several centuries, have taken place in different countries. Moreover, we have been able to count on the kind willingness of Antonia Salzano Acutis, who offered the photographic panels exhibited in the underground halls of the St. Charles Center and in the crypt of the St. Charles Basilica in the Corso.

Q: What is a Eucharistic miracle and how can it be explained?

Monsignor Martinelli: It is an extraordinary event, referring to the mystery of the Eucharist. Precisely because it has been recognized as an extraordinary event, it doesn't have an explanation in scientific facts or reasoning. It goes beyond human reason and questions man, urging him to "go beyond" the sentient, the visible, the human.

Q: A book by the authors of the exhibition has just been published, entitled "I Miracoli Eucaristici e le Radici Christiane dell'Europa" [Eucharistic Miracles and the Christian Roots of Europe]. What do you think of it?

Monsignor Martinelli: It is an interesting and laudable initiative, the main objective of which is to help the reader discover the nature of mystery, the beauty and wealth of the Eucharist that, as the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, approved and published last June by Benedict XVI, "is source and summit of the whole of Christian life. In the Eucharist, the sanctifying action of God toward us and our worship of him reach their summit. It contains all the spiritual good of the Church: Christ himself, our Pasch. The communion of the divine life and the unity of the People of God are expressed and produced by the Eucharist, through the Eucharistic celebration, we are already united to the liturgy of heaven and anticipate eternal life."

Q: For decades, the secularized culture has described miracles in general, and Eucharistic miracles in particular, as simple stories for the naive. How is one to respond to this objection?

Monsignor Martinelli: We must remember above all that our faith in the Eucharist is not based on Eucharistic miracles, but on Christ the Lord, who during his preaching pre-announced the Eucharist and later instituted it, when celebrating the Last Supper with his apostles, on Holy Thursday, before his passion and death on Good Friday. Since then, the Church, faithful to the Lord's mandate, "Do this in remembrance of me," has always celebrated the Eucharist with faith and devotion, above all on Sunday, the day of the resurrection of Jesus, and she will continue to do so "until he comes." Eucharistic miracles can help to know and live this faith, which has its center in Christ Jesus.

Q: From the point of view of reinforcement and dissemination of the faith, to what degree are Eucharistic miracles and the daily miracle of the Eucharist important?

Monsignor Martinelli: It is true that the most important and riveting miracle is the one that occurs every time the Eucharist is celebrated, in which Jesus Christ makes himself present, as the Compendium states, in a unique and incomparable way. He is present, in fact, truly, really, substantially: with his Body and Blood, with his soul and divinity. He is present in it, therefore, in a sacramental way, that is, under the species of bread and wine, the whole Christ: God and man. And in making his sacrifice on the cross present and actual, he makes himself our food and drink, with his Body and Blood, uniting us to himself and among ourselves, becoming our viaticum on our earthly pilgrimage toward our eternal homeland. This is the mysterious miracle par excellence, which we are invited to celebrate above all every Sunday, in the ecclesial community, breaking the one bread, which -- as St. Ignatius of Antioch affirmed -- is "medicine of immortality, antidote not to die but to live in Jesus Christ forever."

Read more about Eucharistic Miracles here.

Monday, October 17, 2005

The Pope's Catechesis with 100,000 Children

The expected outcome was 10,000 but by the time October 15 came around, a crowd of 100,000 turned up and "spilled out of the confines of St. Peter Square into the surrounding streets".

During the Saturday evening event, seven children were asked to pose a question for the Holy Father. As each of them took their turn, each approached the microphone, then stopped in front of the Pope, bowing to him in reverance. The Pope was always smiling and visibly touched by their openness, sometimes chuckling at the innocence of their inquiry.

Out of the seven questions, three of them highlighted the theme of the catechesis, the Eucharist.

Even with children, the Holy Father manages to convey the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. His answers were simple yet profound. Below is an excerpt taken from Catholic World News.

The first questioner-- 10-year-old Emmanuele Roccasalvo-- asked the Pontiff if he remembered his own First Communion. The Pope replied: "It was a Sunday in March 1936, 69 years ago," he said, "the sun was shining, the church was beautiful, and there was music playing." He recalled that he had prayed that day: "Lord, I always want to be with You, but above all I want You to be with me."

The next question was why it is important to go to Confession before Mass, when one's sins are always the same. Smiling, the Pontiff answered: "Don't we clean our houses-- every room-- once a week or more, even though the dirt is always the same?"

In reply to another question, asking for an explanation of Christ's presence in the form of bread, the Pope said: "We cannot see our own reason and intelligence…, We cannot see electricity, but we feel its effect." He reminded the children that Jesus is "the light and the guide of our lives, which we truly need."

Catechism # 1

To offer some basic catechism, I thought I would begin with a series of fundamental questions on Catholic doctrine. They are quite easy to answer and no challenge for theologians but I thought it would be a good thing to share with those who own a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church but have barely opened it (mea culpa). Answers will be posted at the end of the day. (Answers are indicated in bold).

1.The desire for God is written in
a. Latin
b. The human heart
c. Scripture

2. Man comes to accept God’s existence by
a. Faith
b. Reason
c. Both Faith and Reason

3. By revealing Himself, God wishes to make man capable of
a. Responding to Him, knowing and loving Him beyond man’s natural capacity.
b. Praying daily and mortifying our senses.
c. Fighting heretics and becoming martyrs.

4. God revealed Himself first to:
a. Abraham
b. Adam and Eve
c. Noah

5. After the fall of our first parents, God did not cease to show His solicitude to man. He never abandoned man but continued to offer a covenant to man. He sought to save humanity part by part and His first covenant with man was with
a. Abraham
b. Isaac
c. Noah

6. After the flood, God gathered together scattered humanity into His chosen people by calling the “father of a multitude of nations” in the person of
a. Job
b. Abraham
c. Daniel

Pax et Bonum!

Benedict XVI Remembers John Paul II

During the Pope's first television interview, which was shown on Polish television on the occasion of Pope John Paul II day, it was pointed out that Pope John Paul wrote in his book, Arise, and let's be on our way, "I thank God for the presence and help of Cardinal Ratzinger. He is a proven friend."

Read more on Benedict XVI remembers John Paul II.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

The Vicar of Christ

What a powerful image
of the Holy Father giving
his blessing and Jesus
Crucified behind him.

Our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, says, "The priestly vocation is a mystery. It is the mystery of a wondrous exchange ("admirabile commercium") between God and man. A man offers his humanity to Christ, so that Christ may use him as an instrument of salvation, making him, as it were, another Christ.

Unless we grasp the mystery of this "exchange", we will not understand how it can be that a young man, hearing the words "Follow me!", can give up everything for Christ, in the certainty that, if he follows this path, he will find complete personal fulfillment. In our world is there any greater fulfillment of our humanity than to be able to re-present every day in the Person of Christ, ("in persona Christi"), the redemptive sacrifice, the same sacrifice which Christ offered on the cross?"

(By Bishop Fabian W. Bruskewitz S.T.D)

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Pope's Meeting With First Communicants

Today, Pope Benedict will meet with children who made their First Holy Communion this year. (To watch a live or delayed telecast, please click on the EWTN button to the right of this blog.)

Here is the Holy Father's message during his Sunday Angelus delivered in June 2005.

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

The Year of the Eucharist continues, called by our beloved Pope John Paul II, to reawaken ever more, in the consciences of believers, wonder toward this great Sacrament. In this singular Eucharistic time, one of the recurring topics is Sunday, the Day of the Lord, a topic that was also at the center of the recent Italian Eucharistic Congress, held in Bari. During the conclusive celebration, I also underlined how participation at Sunday Mass must be seen by a Catholic not as an imposition or a weight, but as a need and joy. To meet with brothers, to listen to the Word of God and to be nourished of Christ, immolated for us, is an experience that gives meaning to life, which infuses peace in the heart. Without Sunday, we Catholics cannot live.

For this reason parents are called to make their children discover the value and importance of the response to Christ's invitation, who calls the whole Christian family to Sunday Mass. In this educational endeavor, a particularly significant stage is the first Communion, a real celebration for the parish community, which receives for the first time its smallest children at the Lord's Table.

To underline the importance of this event for the family and the parish, next October 15, God willing, I will have in the Vatican a special meeting of catechesis for children, in particular of Rome and Latium, who during this year have received their first Communion. This festive gathering will fall almost at the end of the Year of the Eucharist, while the Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops is under way, centered on the Eucharistic mystery. It will be an opportune and beautiful circumstance to confirm the essential role that the sacrament of the Eucharist has in the formation and spiritual growth of children.

From now on I entrust this meeting to the Virgin Mary, that she may teach us to love Jesus ever more, in constant meditation of his Word and adoration of his Eucharistic presence, and help us to make young generations discover the "precious pearl" of the Eucharist, which gives true and full meaning to life.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Apparition of October 13, 1917

An account of what happened that night, eighty-eight years ago.

During the night of 12-13 October it had rained throughout, soaking the ground and the pilgrims who make their way to Fátima from all directions by the thousands. By foot, by cart and even by car they came, entering the bowl of the Cova from the Fátima-Leiria road, which today still passes in front of the large square of the Basilica. From there they made their way down the gently slope to the place where a trestle had been erected over the little holm oak of the apparitions. Today on the site is the modern glass and steel Capelhina (little chapel), enclosing the first chapel built there and the statue of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fátima where the holm oak had stood.

As for the children, they made their way to the Cova amid the adulation and skepticism which had followed them since May. When they arrived they found critics who questioned their veracity and the punctuality of the Lady, who had promised to arrive at noon. It was well passed noon by the official time of the country. However, when the sun arrived at its zenith the Lady appeared as she had said she would. More here. (EWTN)


The thirteenth of May
In the Cova d'Iria
Appeared, Oh so brilliant,
The Virgin Maria.

R/. Ave, Ave, Ave Maria (2)

The Virgin Maria
Encircled with light,
Our own dearest Mother
And heaven’s delight. R/.

To three little shepherds
Our Lady appeared.
The light of her grace
To her Son souls endeared. R/.

With war and its evils
The whole world was seething
And countless of thousands
Were mourning and weeping. R/.

To save all poor souls
Who had wandered astray,
With sweet words of comfort
She asked us to pray. R/.

By honouring Mary
And loving her Son,
The peace of the world
Will most surely be won. R/.

Friday, October 07, 2005


To learn how to pray the Rosary in different languages, click here. Become a member of the Rosary Confraternity, and pray the Rosary daily.

Just as this image of Jesus and Mary united together by the Rosary in loving embrace, so will the Rosary lead us to Jesus through Mary under the title of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary. The Rosary will be for us a ladder to Heaven, uniting Heaven and earth.

Pope John Paul II declared 2003, the Year of the Rosary. In his Apostolic Letter "ROSARIUM VIRGINIS MARIAE", he introduced a new set of mysteries, the Luminous mysteries, which the faithful can now recite during Thursdays of the week. Here is the introduction to the apostolic letter.

The Rosary of the Virgin Mary, which gradually took form in the second millennium under the guidance of the Spirit of God, is a prayer loved by countless Saints and encouraged by the Magisterium. Simple yet profound, it still remains, at the dawn of this third millennium, a prayer of great significance, destined to bring forth a harvest of holiness. It blends easily into the spiritual journey of the Christian life, which, after two thousand years, has lost none of the freshness of its beginnings and feels drawn by the Spirit of God to “set out into the deep” (duc in altum!) in order once more to proclaim, and even cry out, before the world that Jesus Christ is Lord and Saviour, “the way, and the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6), “the goal of human history and the point on which the desires of history and civilization turn".

The Rosary, though clearly Marian in character, is at heart a Christocentric prayer. In the sobriety of its elements, it has all the depth of the Gospel message in its entirety, of which it can be said to be a compendium.
It is an echo of the prayer of Mary, her perennial Magnificat for the work of the redemptive Incarnation which began in her virginal womb. With the Rosary, the Christian people sits at the school of Mary and is led to contemplate the beauty on the face of Christ and to experience the depths of his love. Through the Rosary the faithful receive abundant grace, as though from the very hands of the Mother of the Redeemer. Read the rest of the letter here.

The Queen of the Most Holy Rosary teaching St. Dominic how to defeat heresy through the Holy Rosary. "when he was preaching to the Albigenses, St. Dominic at first obtained but scanty success: and that one day, complaining of this in pious prayer to our Blessed Lady, she deigned to reply to him, saying: 'Wonder not that you have obtained so little fruit by your labors, you have spent them on barren soil, not yet watered with the dew of Divine grace. When God willed to renew the face of the earth, He began by sending down on it the fertilizing rain of the Angelic Salutation. Therefore preach my Psalter composed of 150 Angelic Salutations and 15 Our Fathers, and you will obtain an abundant harvest.'"


1) MARY, your Holy Rosary is very important in my spiritual life. As a devotion of the Church it imprints a particular Catholic character upon my soul by constantly recalling to me the remembrance of Jesus and you. It expresses the three great phases in the work of our redemption—joy, sorrow, and glory. By saying the Rosary I desire to show my gratitude and love to Jesus and you, to praise God for the benefits of the Incarnation, to make reparation for the sins of the world, and to obtain grace and assistance for my soul and for all mankind.

According to your promises to your favorite children, the Rosary is a guarantee of your special protection and great graces, a happy death and eternal salvation. By the daily recitation of the Rosary may my own devotion to you grow more ardent, more earnest. Let no work prevent me from saying my beads. May my soul find rest, strength and refreshment in the joys, the sorrows, and the glories of my divine Lord, and you, His loving Mother. The fifteen mysteries form your crown. Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, may my Rosary lead me, crowned with an everlasting crown of glory, to your feet.

(2) MARY, through the prayer of the Rosary untold blessings have been showered down upon mankind throughout the ages. Through the Rosary today as in the past times of peril that have threatened civilization, you have again come to save mankind from the evils that overwhelm us.

But make your Rosary most salutary in bringing back homelife to its full splendor, by raising the family to a higher family circle where God is Father and you are Mother and we are all children of God. May the Rosary strengthen the unity of family life, so easily weakened by the modern way of living, and keep it from worldliness, and be a source of great blessing, the greatest of which is peace founded on love.

(3) MARY, in your apparitions you expressed a desire that we pray the Rosary. At Lourdes you appeared eighteen times and invited Bernadette to recite the Rosary with you. In each of the six apparitions at Fatima, you insisted on the recitation of the Rosary. You made your appearances with the Rosary in your hands and said, "I am the Lady of the Rosary, and I have come to warn the faithful to amend their lives and ask pardon for their sins. They must not continue to offend Our Lord who already is so deeply offended. They must say the Rosary."

You made known your Great Promise when you showed your Immaculate Heart to Lucy, the little shepherd girl of Fatima, and said, "I promise to assist at the hour of death with the graces necessary for salvation all those who on the first Saturday of five consecutive months go to confession and receive Holy Communion, say the Rosary and spend a quarter of an hour in meditation on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary with the object of making reparation to me."

Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, you have been pleased to come to Lourdes and to Fatima to reveal to us the treasures of graces hidden in the recitation of the Rosary. Inspire our hearts with a sincere love of this devotion, in order that by meditating on the Mysteries of our Redemption that are recalled in it, we may gather its fruits and obtain blessings for soul and body, peace for the world, freedom for the Church, the conversion of sinners, and the salvation of our souls.

O God, Whose only-begotten Son by His life, death and Resurrection obtained for us the rewards of eternal salvation, grant, we beg of You, that meditating upon these mysteries in the most holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may both imitate what they contain, and obtain what they promise. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. (Feast of the Most Holy Rosary, Oct. 7).
Other helpful readings:
The Secret of the Rosary by St. Louis Marie de Montfort
Indulgences and the Fifteen Promises of the Rosary

St. Bernadette said:

"...Then I looked up and caught sight of the cave where I saw a lady wearing a lovely white dress with a bright belt. On top or each of her feet was a pale yellow rose, the same color as her rosary beads.

At this I rubbed my eyes, thinking I was seeing things, and I put my hands into the fold of my dress where my rosary was. I wanted to make the sign of the cross but for the life of me I couldn't manage it and my hand just fell down. Then the lady made the sign of the cross herself and at the second attempt I managed to do the same, though my hands were trembling. Then I began to say the rosary while the lady let her beads slip through her fingers, without moving her lips. When I stopped saying the Hail Mary, she immediately vanished."

Thursday, October 06, 2005

San Bruno

Bruno was born in Cologne in 1030.
He studied at the Cathedral school at Rheims, and on his return to Cologne about 1055, was ordained and became a Canon at St. Cunibert's.
Bruno taught theology, criticized the worldliness he saw in his fellow clergy, and eventually became chancellor of his archdiocese.
Following a vision he received of a secluded hermitage where he could spend his life becoming closer to God, he retired to a mountain in Dauphiny and founded what became the first house of the Order of the Carthusians.
He and his brothers built an oratory and individual cells, roughly followed the rule of St. Benedict, and thus began the Carthusian Order.
They supported themselves as manuscript copyists, embracing a life of poverty, manual work and prayer, operating without a written rule.
The fame of Bruno and his group spread, and against his wishes, in 1090 Bruno was summoned to Rome by Pope Urban II (whom he had taught at Rheims) to be papal adviser in the reformation of the clergy.
He later became assistant to Pope Urban II. He wrote several commentaries on the psalms and on St. Paul's epistles and died on October 6, 1101.
(from Catholic Exchange)

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Two Apostles of Divine Mercy

During his Wednesday audience, The Holy Father urged the Polish pilgrims to pray for the beatification of John Paul II. A hat tip to De Civitate Dei for this article.

"All of his teachings and the example of his life remain important and contemporary for us," Benedict said in Polish, during his weekly Wednesday general audience. Many Poles in the crowd in St. Peter's Square waved red and white Polish flags." Read more here.

Another Polish Saint whose feast day we celebrate today is Saint Faustina Maria Kawolska. I would have missed honoring her today if not for my sister who was watching EWTN today.

In 2000 Pope John Paul instituted a new feast, the Feast of Divine Mercy which may be celebrated today, the Second Sunday of Easter. It arises out of a series of apparitions which a Polish nun, Sr Faustina, received. Sr Faustina was born in Poland in 1905. When she was twenty years old she entered the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy where she lived for the next thirteen years until her death on October 5th 1938. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1993 and canonised in 2000.

When canonising her the Pope said, “Today my joy is truly great in presenting the life and witness of Sr Faustina to the whole Church as a gift of God for our time. By Divine Providence, the life of this humble daughter of Poland was completely linked with the history of the 20th century, the century we have just left behind. In fact, it was between the First and Second World Wars that Christ entrusted his message of mercy to her. Those who remember, who were witnesses and participants in the events of those years and the horrible sufferings they caused for millions of people know well how necessary was this message of mercy.”

In April 1978 the Holy See in Rome permitted spread of this devotion. This does not mean that you are required to believe in the apparitions or practice this devotion but you are free to do so and free to spread the devotion since the Church has found nothing in it contrary to our faith. The one primarily responsible for the Holy See approving the authenticity of the apparitions was Karol Wojtyla, then Archbishop of Cracow, later that year elevated as Pope. In 1981 Pope John Paul said his destined role was to bring the era of Divine Mercy into the world.

“Right from the beginning of my ministry in St Peter’s See in Rome I consider this message my special task. Providence has assigned it to me in the present situation of man, the Church and the world.” (Bible Prayer Homily Resources)

During the jubilee year 2000, he also said that "The mission of Sister Mary Faustina consists in 3 tasks:

– reminding the world of the truth of our faith revealed in the Holy Scripture about the merciful love of God toward every human being.

– Entreating God's mercy for the whole world and particularly for sinners, among others through the practice of new forms of devotion to the Divine Mercy presented by the Lord Jesus, such as: the veneration of the image of the Divine Mercy with the inscription: Jesus, I Trust in You, the feast of the Divine Mercy celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter, chaplet to the Divine Mercy and prayer at the Hour of Mercy (3 p.m.). The Lord Jesus attached great promises to the above forms of devotion, provided one entrusted one's life to God and practiced active love of one's neighbor.

– The third task in Sr. Mary Faustina's mission consists in initiating the apostolic movement of the Divine Mercy which undertakes the task of proclaiming and entreating God's mercy for the world and strives for Christian perfection, following the precepts laid down by the Blessed Sr. Mary Faustina. The precepts in question require the faithful to display an attitude of child-like trust in God which expresses itself in fulfilling His will, as well as in the attitude of mercy toward one's neighbors. Today, this movement within the Church involves millions of people throughout the world; it comprises religious congregations, lay institutes, religious, brotherhoods, associations, various communities of apostles of the Divine Mercy, as well as individual people who take up the tasks which the Lord Jesus communicated to them through Sr. Mary Faustina.
Read the rest here.

Another must read is his
homily during the solemn Mass of her canonization.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

San Damiano

In honor of St. Francis of Assisi, here are some photos of San Damiano in Assisi, Italy.

Inside San Damiano, a crucifix hangs in one
of the rooms.

The courtyard in San Damiano, Assisi

The reliquary where the cord of St. Francis is kept.

A painting of the death of St. Francis of Assisi
at San Damiano, Assisi.

Happy Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi

Today is one of my feast days since I was named after St. Francis. He is one of my spiritual masters along with Father Dominic.

I was late in posting about him today but I will try and share with you some images in his honor, later today.

In the meantime, I invite you to visit the
National Shrine of St. Francis located in my neighborhood of San Francisco.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Synod of Bishops: October 2 to 23

Prayers for the Success of the Synod
Lord Jesus Christ, whom the Father has commanded us to listen as his beloved Son, shed your light upon your Church, so that she might have nothing more holy than to listen to your voice and follow you. You are the Supreme Shepherd and Ruler of Souls.

Look then upon the Pastors of your Church gathered in these days with the Successor of St. Peter in synod assembly. We implore you to sanctify them in truth and confirm them in faith and love. Lord Jesus Christ, send forth your Spirit of love and truth on the bishops in synod and on all who assist them in fulfilling their task.
Make them more faithful to what the Spirit is saying to the Churches; stir their souls and teach them truth by that same Holy Spirit. Through their work, may the faithful of their Churches be purified and strengthened in spirit, so that they might greater follow the Gospel through which you accomplished salvation and they might make of themselves a living offering to the heavenly Father.
May Mary, the Most Holy Mother of God and Mother of the Church, assist the Bishops in these days, as she assisted the Apostles in the Upper Room, and intercede with motherly affection to foster brotherly communion among them, to allow them to rejoice in prosperity and peace in the calmness of these days, and, in reading the signs of the times, to celebrate the majesty of the merciful God, the Lord of History, to the praise and glory of the Most Blessed Trinity, Father Son and Holy Spirit.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

The Pope's Reflections

Here are some recent reflections of the Holy Father on the start of the Synod. The topic: the Eucharist

"The Eucharist might also be considered as a "lens" with which to constantly examine the face and path of the Church, which Christ founded so that all men may know the love of God and find in him the fullness of life."

"Tolerance that only admits God as a private opinion, but that denies him the public domain, the reality of the world and of our life, is not tolerance but hypocrisy."

"The month of October is dedicated to the holy rosary, singular contemplative prayer with which, led by the Lord's heavenly Mother, we fix our gaze on the Redeemer's face to be conformed in his mystery of joy, light, suffering and glory."

"God waits for us. He wants us to love Him: Should not such a call touch our hearts? Precisely in this hour, in which we celebrate the Eucharist, in which we open the Synod on the Eucharist, He comes to meet us, He comes to meet me. Will he find a response? Or will it be with us as it was with the vineyard, of which God says in Isaiah: "he looked for it to yield grapes but it yielded wild grapes." Is not our life often, perhaps, more vinegar than wine? Self-pity, conflict, indifference?"


Saturday, October 01, 2005

The Pope's Intentions For October 2005

General Intention: "That Christians may not be discouraged by the attacks of secularized society, but with complete trust, may bear witness to their faith and hope."

Mission Intention: "That the faithful may join to their fundamental duty of prayer the support also of economic contributions to the missionary works."

A Painting to Share

"Hmmm... do I wake him up or let him sleep? am I going to finish this now?..."

My family and I were visiting a priest friend at his retirement home. As he toured us around the halls, I found some very interesting artwork that caught my attention.

One of them was this painting, which I found funny and playful. It depicts so many good things about the Church, doesn't it? If you want to see a bigger frame, just click on the image. I'm not sure who painted this but I wanted to share this with everyone.

St. Therese of Lisieux Doctor of the Church

Today is the feast of St. Therese of Lisieux also known as "The Little Flower". She has been an inspiration in my life and a powerful intercessor. She has been instrumental in my own vocation.

Therese at 15 years old

As Sacristan

"I will spend my heaven doing good on earth"

"O God, I love You!" -last words of Therese

See more beautiful pictures of the Saint and her family here. Read more of her life here.

Novena to Saint Therese of the Little Flower
Saint Therese, the Little Flower, please pick me a rose from the heavenly garden and send it to me with a message of love. Ask God to grant me the favor I thee implore (mention your intention) and tell Him I will love Him each day more and more. (from Catholic Forum)
The above prayer, plus 5 Our Father's, 5 Hail Mary's and 5 Glory Be's must be said on 5 successive days, before 11 a.m. On the 5th day, the 5th set of prayers having been completed, offer one more set - 5 Our Father's, 5 Hail Mary's and 5 Glory Be's.)
+ Consecrated to the Blessed Virgin Mary + Click to play "REGINA CAELI"

Apostolic Blessing by Pope Benedict XVI

<< # St. Blog's Parish ? >>
John Paul II
You are Pope John Paul II. You are a force to be
reckoned with.

Which Twentieth Century Pope Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla