Monday, January 30, 2006

God blesses EWTN with 25 Years

The 25th anniversary celebration of the Eternal World Television Network (EWTN) held in San Francisco was a great blessing and a weekend filled with many graces and blessings. Almost the entire EWTN personalities were there including about 80 of their employees manning the stage, the booths and the bookstore. If you have been touched by the EWTN programming like I have, you may consider promoting them in parishes, hospitals and nursing homes by clicking here or by simply sending in a donation.

Deacon Bill Steltemeier, Chairman of EWTN and a few of the nuns at Our Lady of the Angels Monastery, including the Mother Vicar, Sister Mary Catherine, spoke about the fruits of the twenty five years of hard work that God had entrusted to Mother Angelica and the network. To know more about Mother Angelica's health condition and to offer your prayers, click here.
Raymond Arroyo, news director and host, gives a book signing. He is the author of Mother Angelica: The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve, and a Network of Miracles. His book is now a bestseller and he once said "I am the only homeless man on the New York Times Bestseller list! " He asked that we pray for him so that he and his family can find a new home after Hurricane Katrina.
Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration known as the "Phoenix Five" because they are the five young nuns from Hansville chosen to start a monastery in Phoenix upon the invitation of Bishop Thomas J. Olmstead of the Diocese of Phoenix. Here in this photo are Sr. Esther Marie and Sr. Marie St. Paul. Sr. Marie Andre is in the background. They are beautiful cloistered nuns who received a special dispensation from the Bishop to attend the anniversary celebration. Although this was part of their work of evangelization, they said they could not wait to go back home to the monastery to be with Jesus. What a beautiful witness to the world.
Father Francis Mary Stone, MFVA is a great witness to young men for vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Seen here with four young men with custom-made T-shirts that said at the back "Real men watch...." And the rest you can figure out for yourself. If any of you young men out there who think you may be called to the priesthood or religious life, check out the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

The Angelic Doctor

Thomas the Apostle challenged the story that the Lord was risen, and his unbelief brought froth a glowing testimony of the reality of the Resurrection. Twelve centuries later, his namesake, Thomas of Aquino, questioned; without doubting; the great truths of faith, and demonstrated for all time the relationship of faith and reason.

As the first Thomas found by experiment: "Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hands into His side"; that the Man who stood in the midst of them was none other than Jesus Christ, so Thomas, the Angelic Doctor, proved for all time that there is no quarrel between reason and revelation.

Thomas, son of the count of Aquino, (b. 1225-d. 1274) was first trained at the Benedictine abbey of
Montecassino, and here, even in childhood, his great mind was wrestling with theological questions, "Master, tell me--what is God?" In order to better to train the boy's mind, his father sent him at an early age to the University of Naples. There he studied under Peter of Ireland and, undisturbed by the noise and wickedness of the great university city, proceeded rapidly on his quest for God.

Read more

Friday, January 27, 2006

Ss. Angela Merici and John Chrysostom

Today, we honor St. Angela Merici, founder of the Ursuline Sisters. Here is a brief biography from Catholic Culture.

The saint was born in 1474 in the diocese of Verona. Early in life she dedicated herself to Christ as His bride. After the death of her parents, she desired to live solely for God in quiet and solitude, but her uncle insisted that she manage his household. She renounced her patrimony in order to observe most perfectly the rule for Franciscan Tertiaries.

During a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 1524, she lost her eyesight temporarily. Pope Clement VII, whom she visited in Rome, desired her to remain in the Holy City. Later she founded a society for girls, under the protection of St. Ursula; this was the beginning of the Ursuline Order. St. Angela was almost seventy when she died; her body remained incorrupt for thirty days. Remarkable phenomena occurred at her burial in the Church of St. Afra.

In the old calendar, the feast of St. John Chrysostom was celebrated today.

St. John, named Chrysostom (golden-mouthed) on account of his eloquence, came into the world of Christian parents, about the year 344, in the city of Antioch. His mother, at the age of 20, was a model of virtue. He studied rhetoric under Libanius, a pagan, the most famous orator of the age.

In 374, he began to lead the life of an anchorite in the mountains near Antioch, but in 386 the poor state of his health forced him to return to Antioch, where he was ordained a priest.

In 398, he was elevated to the See of Constantinople and became one of the greatest lights of the Church. But he had enemies in high places and some were ecclesiastics, not the least being Theophilus, Patriarch of Alexandria, who repented of this before he died. His most powerful enemy, however, was the empress Eudoxia, who was offended by the apostolic freedom of his discourses. Several accusations were brought against him in a pseudo-council, and he was sent into exile.

More here.

God's Gift In Mozart

Today, the world celebrates the 250th year of birth of the German composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The following article by Zenit's Elizabeth Levs tells of how Pope Clement was impressed by the child prodigy. Obviously, God gave the world the gift of music in Mozart and even the Popes recognized this.

Mozart is one of Pope Benedict XVI's favorite classical composers and listens to his Mozart CD collections. He has been known to play a regimen of Mozart pieces on his baby grand.

ROME, JAN. 26, 2006 ( As any good music aficionado knows, 2006 marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Opera houses worldwide are featuring "Don Giovanni" and "Figaro," while Mozart biographies and boxed sets of concertos and sonatas proliferate in music stores. Even Rome was enchanted by this great composer and, indeed, the child prodigy from Salzburg was warmly received in the Eternal City during his brief sojourn here in 1770. Mozart is often associated with the Freemasons -- he joined the Masons of Vienna in 1784 -- and "The Magic Flute" is held by many scholars to be a Masonic opera.

The most important moments of his life, however, took place in the Catholic Church. Mozart was born on Jan. 26, 1756, and baptized Catholic with the name Johann Chrysostom Wolfgang Theophilus. "Theophilus," which means "lover of God," was soon transformed into the more celebrated moniker "Amadeus." He married Costanza Weber in the Cathedral of Vienna, his children were baptized Catholic and he was given last rites by a Catholic priest. In this light, the visit to Rome must have held great meaning for the 14-year-old Catholic Mozart. Immediately upon entering the city through the splendid Piazza del Popolo, the young Mozart and his father Leopold made their way to St. Peter's Basilica. Thanks to Wolfgang's fine clothes and Leopold's clever strategies, the two were allowed through the Vatican gates.

It was Holy Week in Rome -- Holy Tuesday to be exact. Pope Clement XIV was busy serving meals to the poor gathered in the Vatican, shortly before celebrating Mass in the Sistine Chapel. The two Austrian musicians managed to find their way into the papal presence and then accompanied the court into the chapel. It was custom during Holy Week in the Sistine Chapel to sing the exceptionally beautiful piece of music known as the "Miserere," written a century earlier by Giorgio Allegri. The work, performed by two choirs of nine voices, was exclusive to the Sistine Chapel and could not be published, but was handed down from choirmaster to choirmaster.

The remarkable prodigy Wolfgang stunned everyone by returning to his lodgings and transcribing the music he had memorized during the liturgy. His proud father wrote to Wolfgang's mother Anna, "Perhaps you have heard of the famous 'Miserere,' whose publication is prohibited under pain of excommunication. Well, we have it. Wolfgang wrote it from memory." Word spread fast throughout Rome of the child who could memorize music after hearing it once. The news eventually reached the ears of the Pope. Far from excommunicating the boy, Pope Clement received Wolfgang several times in audience, conferring medals and titles on him.

The Mozarts visited Santa Maria Maggiore and the Quirinal Palace in the Pope's company. Like good pilgrims, they acquired relics, including a piece of the Holy Cross. And, although perhaps not as salubrious for the soul, during that July in Rome, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart learned how to play bocce ball.

More news here.

"God is ever before my eyes. I realize His omnipotence and I fear His anger, but I also recognize His love, His compassion and His tenderness toward His creatures. He will never forsake His own. If it is according to His will, so let it be according to mine. Thus all will be well, and I must be happy and contented." (Mozart's letter to his father in 1777:)

Sample some of Mozart's Sacred Music.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

God Speaks of His Love Through Benedict


The Holy Father signs his first encyclical. I wonder if he gave it to the Cardinal as his autographed copy.

The Holy Father at Vespers talking about his encyclical.
The Curia announces to the International Press Pope Benedict's first encyclical.

Pope Benedict XIV presents his encylical. Notice how Heaven blesses and rejoices!

Monday, January 23, 2006

500 Years of the Swiss Guards

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI thanked the Swiss Guards on Sunday for their 500 years of service protecting the popes, as the Vatican opened its official commemorations of the anniversary of the first mercenaries' arrival from Switzerland. More here.

Read the history of the Swiss Guards here.

Swiss Guards depicted in a painting, genuflecting during High Mass.

Traditional full dress uniform. Pleated gorget or throat-piece, white gloves, grey metal morion with ostrich-feather plume.

Contemporary uniforms: plain white collar and black beret.

The main weapon of the Swiss Guards is the halberd. A halberd is a weapon that looks like an axe with a spear at the top and it sits on a long pole.

Everyday uniforms or drill uniforms are all blue.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

A Papal Tradition on St. Agnes Day

Thanks to one of our readers, Patte, who has informed me of a tradition by the Pope on the feast of St. Agnes. She writes of this wonderful tradition...

"Pope Benedict XVI blessed two lambs today, from whose wool the palliums (pallia) will be woven. With the blessing of the Agnes lambs (agnus being Latin for lamb; and St. Agnes), the Pope is following an old tradition for the Feast Day of the martyr St. Agnes". (

Walk For Life West Coast 2006

Father Joseph Fessio, SJ, Founder of Ignatius Press and Provost of Ave Maria University was there to accept the St. Gianna Molla Award in behalf of James Holman, who was the leading contributor in helping place the parental notification measure on the ballot, Proposition 73.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Unborn, pray for us!

Father Francis Mary Stone, MFVA, host of EWTN's "Life on the Rock" seen here walking for life!

For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and the whole world!

Over the hill and through the woods... our legs were burning... but we're doing it for life, from conception to natural death! For the unborn babies and for the protection and sanctity of life!

We'll see you next year, God willing!

For more information check out Walk for Life West Coast 2006.

"...the greatness of this little unborn human creature, formed by God's hands and surrounded by his love." It is a biblical tribute to the human being from the first moment of his existence.

...God already sees the entire future of that embryo, still an 'unformed substance,' is extremely powerful. The days which that creature will live and fill with deeds throughout his earthly existence are already written in the Lord's book of life."
- Pope Benedict XVI

Prayer for the Helpless Unborn

Heavenly Father, in Your love for us, protect against the wickedness of the devil, those helpless little ones to whom You have given the gift of life.

Touch with pity the hearts of those women pregnant in our world today who are not thinking of motherhood.

Help them to see that the child they carry is made in Your image - as well as theirs - made for eternal life.

Dispel their fear and selfishness and give them true womanly hearts to love their babies and give them birth and all the needed care that a mother can give.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, Your Son, Our Lord, Who lives and reigns with You and Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever. Amen. (EWTN coverage of March for Life)

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Chair of Peter Kicks Off Prayer for Christian Unity

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

God Is Love

Pope Benedict's encyclical is due to be made public in January 25. It is entitled "Deus Caritas Est" (God Is Love). In today's general audience, the Pope expounded on its theme of love.

Today, in the terminology that it is known, "love" often seems something very remote from what a Christian thinks when he speaks of charity. I would like to show that it is one movement with different dimensions. The "eros," the gift of love between man and woman, comes from the same source of the Creator's goodness, as well as the possibility of a love that denies itself in favor of the other.

The "eros" is transformed in "agape" in the measure in which the two really love one another and one no longer seeks oneself, one's enjoyment, one's happiness, but seeks above all the good of the other. In this way, the "eros" is transformed in charity, in a path of purification, of deepening. From one's family one opens wide to the larger family of society, to the family of the Church, to the family of the world.

I also try to show that the totally personal act that comes to us from God is a unique act of love. It must also be expressed as an ecclesial, organizational act. If it is really true that the Church is the expression of God's love, of that love that God has for his human creature, it must also be true that the fundamental act of faith, which creates and unites the Church and gives us the hope of eternal life and of the presence of God in the world, engenders an ecclesial act.

In other words, the Church, including as Church, as community, must love in an institutional manner. And this "Caritas" is not a mere organization, as other philanthropic organizations, but a necessary expression of the profound act of personal love with the God who has created us, awakening in our hearts the thrust to love, reflection of God-Love, that his image makes us. Time has passed before the text was ready and translated. Now the fact that it will be published precisely on the day in which we pray for the unity of Christians seems a gift of Providence. I hope it might illuminate and help our Christian life.

(from Zenit)

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Catholic Philippines is Under Attack

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Meditating for the New Year

Whenever the new year ushers in, there is a natural tendency to reminisce on the past year and to lay out plans for the year ahead. We have somewhat of an idea of practical things that we want to accomplish but sometimes we don’t exactly know how to approach the year as far as our spiritual life is concerned. When we come to this dilemma, one sure measure is to meditate on the themes of the Christmas season.

The Manger and the Eucharist

When we think of Christmas, we think of the Infant Jesus lying in a manger. Why did God choose to be born in a manger? First of all, what is a manger? It is a box or a trough for food for horses or cattle. This is a very simple description of a very simple object. The Son of God humbled Himself to become one of us, born in a box that was used for animal feed, precisely so that He may become our Spiritual Food. The Infant Jesus in the manger is our Food, the Eucharist. May we come to a deeper love for the Eucharist this new year.

Activity to strive for: Daily Mass and Eucharistic Adoration

The Manger and the Cross

Jesus came as an Infant Babe so as to save mankind from sin by dying on the Cross. On Christmas day, He is cradled by His Mother in a box made of wood. On Good Friday, His Mother watches as He is crucified to the wood of the Cross. May we learn to meditate on the sufferings of Jesus so that we may receive the grace of uniting our daily crosses with the Cross of Our Blessed Lord.

Activity to strive for: Making the Stations of the Cross

The Swaddling Clothes and the Resurrection

Mary wrapped her Infant Son with swaddling clothes. Swaddling clothes is defined as the strips of cloth often wrapped around a newborn or infant child. Mary’s heart was filled with joy when she wrapped her Son with these strips of cloth. Little did she know that after thirty three years, she would see her Son’s Body being wrapped in strips of burial cloth. Her heart would once again be filled with joy when she learns of His Ressurection! May we come to a deeper longing for Heaven, that we may strive to live holier lives so as to be united with our Lord Jesus in Heaven.

Activity to strive for: Spiritual readings and direction

The Three Kings and the call to Conversion

The Magis, Melchior, Balthazar, and Gaspar, were the kings of Ind, Chaldea, and Persia. They watched the star that brought them to the King whom they wanted to worship. Now why would three kings from the east who were “stargazers” even want to worship a King? They were good men who heard God’s voice in creation. The Creator called them through his creation, the star of Bethlehem. They were the first converts to Christianity because they responded to God’s call by making the first Christian pilgrimage. May we also seek out Jesus by making spiritual recollections and pilgrimages and may we come to do His Will by responding to the call to daily conversion.

Activity to strive for: Spiritual pilgrimage and frequent Confession

(An original reflection by St. Peter's Helpers inspired by Mary Magdalene)

Friday, January 06, 2006

A Man Devoted to St. Joseph

Today is the optional memorial for Blessed Andre Bessette.

Blessed Andre was born near Quebec, and entered the Congregation of the Holy Cross as a Brother. He performed humble tasks for over forty years and entrusted all of the poor and sick who flocked to his cell to the care of St. Joseph. During his life he was able to have a chapel built to the spouse of the Virgin Mary. After his death, the shrine grew into the great basilica known as St. Joseph's Oratory in Montreal.

Brother Andre expressed a saint's faith by a lifelong devotion to Saint Joseph.

Sickness and weakness dogged Andre from birth. He was the eighth of twelve children born to a French Canadian couple near Montreal. Adopted at twelve, when both parents had died, he became a farmhand. Various trades followed: shoemaker, baker, blacksmith-all failures. He was a factory worker in the United States during the boom times of the Civil War.

At twenty-five, he applied for entrance into the Congregation of the Holy Cross. After a year's novitiate, he was not admitted because of his weak health. But with an extension and the urging of Bishop Bourget (see Marie-Rose Durocher, October 6), he was finally received. He was given the humble job of doorkeeper at Notre Dame College in Montreal, with additional duties as sacristan, laundry worker and messenger. "When I joined this community, the superiors showed me the door, and I remained forty years."

(Catholic Culture)

Also, visit the magnificent St. Joseph Oratory here.

Come Let Us Adore Him!

In the traditional liturgical calendar, today is the feast of the Epiphany. In the United States, this feast has been moved to Sunday.

The three Magis made the very first pilgrimage, seeking the King and adoring Him in the Manger. Following are excerpts of Pope John Paul II's message for the 20th World Youth Day. This was written before he died. It is a treasure, rich in spiritual wisdom. I recommend slow reading of the entire message.

"They fell down and worshipped Him" (Mt 2:11). While the Magi acknowledged and worshipped the baby that Mary cradled in her arms as the One awaited by the nations and foretold by prophets, today we can also worship Him in the Eucharist, and acknowledge Him as our Creator, our only Lord and Saviour.

"Opening their treasures they offered Him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh" (Mt 2:11). The gifts that the Magi offered the Messiah symbolised true worship. With gold, they emphasised His Royal Godhead; with incense, they acknowledged Him as the priest of the New Covenant; by offering Him myrrh, they celebrated the prophet who would shed His own blood to reconcile humanity with the Father.

My dear young people, you too offer to the Lord the gold of your lives, namely, your freedom to follow Him out of love, responding faithfully to His call; let the incense of your fervent prayer rise up to him, in praise of His glory; offer Him your myrrh, that is your affection of total gratitude to Him, true Man, who loved us to the point of dying as a criminal on Golgotha.

Be worshippers of the only true God, giving Him pride of place in your lives! Idolatry is an ever-present temptation. Sadly, there are those who seek the solution to their problems in religious practices that are incompatible with the Christian faith. There is a strong urge to believe in the facile myths of success and power; it is dangerous to accept the fleeting ideas of the sacred which present God in the form of cosmic energy, or in any other manner that is inconsistent with Catholic teaching.

More here.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Twelfth Day of Christmas

Today we celebrate the twelfth day of Christmas on the memorial of St. John Neumann.

John Neumann was born in Bohemia on March 20, 1811. Since he had a great desire to dedicate himself to the American missions, he came to the United States as a cleric and was ordained in New York in 1836 by Bishop Dubois.

In 1840, John Neumann entered the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists). He labored in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland. In 1852, he was consecrated bishop of Philadelphia. There he worked hard for the establishment of parish schools and for the erection of many parishes for the numerous immigrants. Bishop Neumann died on January 5, 1860; he was beatified in 1963.

Catholic Culture)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Happy eleventh day of Christmas. Today we celebrate an American saint, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton was born Elizabeth Ann Bayley on August 28, 1774 in New York City. Her remarkable life spans the full spectrum of human experience:

*a New York socialite,
*a devoted wife,
*dedicated volunteer in charitable organizations,
*mother of five children,
*convert to Roman Catholicism,
*educator, social minister and catechist,
*spiritual leader and formator,
*and a tireless servant of God.

Read more about her by visiting her National Shrine here.

The Pope's Intentions for January 2006

Intention for the Apostleship of Prayer for the month of January, 2006 is: "That the effort to bring about the full communion of Christians may foster reconciliation and peace among all the peoples of the earth".

His missionary intention is: "That Christians may know how to welcome migrants with respect and charity, recognizing in each person the image of God".

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Most Holy Name of Jesus

The tenth day of Christmas is the feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus.

From apostolic times, the Church has professed that "at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil 2:10-11). Through the particular efforts of St. Bernardine of Siena, devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus was promoted through the inscription of the monogram of the Holy Name (IHS) and the addition of the name of Jesus to the Hail Mary. Pope Sixtus V first granted an indulgence for the uttering of the phrase used so often by the present Holy Father, John Paul II and included among the pious invocations of the current Enchiridion Indulgentiarum: "Praised be Jesus Christ!" (Women for Faith and Family)

Yesterday, on the ninth day of Christmas was St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzus. St. Basil was Bishop of Caesarea, and one of the most distinguished Doctors of the Church. Born probably 329; died 1 January, 379. He ranks after Athanasius as a defender of the Oriental Church against the heresies of the fourth century. With his friend Gregory of Nazianzus and his brother Gregory of Nyssa, he makes up the trio known as "The Three Cappadocians", far outclassing the other two in practical genius and actual achievement. (New Advent)

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Solemnity of Mary Mother of God

The first day of the new year is the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God. We celebrate today the eigth day of Christmas.

St. Francis of Assisi's Prayer to the Mother of God

Hail, holy Lady, most holy Queen, Mary, Mother of God, ever Virgin. You were chosen by the Most High Father in heaven, consecrated by Him, with His most Holy Beloved Son and the Holy Spirit, the Comforter. On you descended and still remains all the fullness of grace and every good. Hail, His Palace. Hail His Tabernacle. Hail His Robe. Hail His Handmaid. Hail, His Mother. Hail, all holy Virtues, who, by grace and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, are poured into the hearts of the faithful so that from their faithless state, they may be made faithful servants of God through you.

In honor of Mary Mother of God, let us sing to her the

"Redemptoris Mater" (click here)

+ Consecrated to the Blessed Virgin Mary + Click to play "REGINA CAELI"

Apostolic Blessing by Pope Benedict XVI

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