Saturday, April 29, 2006

St. Catherine, Doctor of the Church


Today we celebrate the feast of St. Catherine of Siena, this blog's patron saint. This great virgin and mystic bore the holy stigmata and Our Lord gave her a wedding ring during their Spiritual Marriage. In one of her ecstasies, she had an exchange of hearts with Our Blessed Lord.

St. Catherine of Siena deliberately told popes, queens and kings how to behave. She was spontaneous, unafraid of authority and fearless in the face of death. She was a Dominican religious who corresponded with Popes and peasants alike.

Born in 1347, at Siena, Italy, Saint Catherine lived through the Black Death, famine and numerous civil wars. During her lifetime the papal residence moved from Rome to Avignon and back again, and the great western Schism pitted Pope against anti-pope.

Even at a young age, Catherine sensed the troubled society around her and wanted to help. Childishly she dreamed of dressing up like a man to become a Dominican friar; more than once she ran into the street to kiss the ground where Dominicans walked.

Catherine's parents tried hard to discourage her from becoming religious, but eventually, when she was about sixteen-years-old, Catherine, with the help of the Holy Spirit, was permitted to enter the sisters of Penance of St Dominic, the Mantellate.

During her life as a religious, St. Catherine had numerous visions and long ecstasies, but she is most remembered for her writings, which eventually led to her being declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Paul VI in 1970.

Truth be known, she didn't learn how to write until the end of her life, but that never stopped her. She dictated her literary masterpieces, sometimes reciting three documents to three secretaries at the same time.

Rebuking Cardinals
Her bold letters, even today, have a way of shocking the reader into reality. The style of her letters was lean and direct. She sometimes broke with polite convention. For example, during the Great Western Schism, in defense of Pope Urban VI, she rebuked three Italian cardinals who were supporting the anti-pope, writing to them, "what made you do this? You are flowers who shed no perfume, but stench that makes the whole world reek."

These words are strong, and it is not recommended that we imitate them. St. Catherine had a unique call from God, which Pope Paul VI referred to as her "charism of exhortation." It was her great love and fidelity to the Pope and college of bishops that prompted her to respond to God's urgings that she be forthright with those who were against the Vicar of Christ.

Encouraging the Pope
Wanting Pope Gregory XI to leave his residency in Avignon and return to Rome, and knowing the Supreme Pontiff was afraid of being poisoned, Catherine wrote to him, "Be not a timorous child, but manly . . ." she spoke to him as a loving daughter would. In other parts of her letters to the Popes she used an affectionate pet name for them: Babbo, which means Daddy.

Giving It To the Queen
To Giovanna, the Queen of Naples, who supported the anti-pope and was accused of murdering her husband, St. Catherine wrote, "You know that you do ill, but like a sick and passionate woman, you let yourself be guided by your passions."

Catherine risked death by sending such words to the authorities of her time. But she was not afraid. "I trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, not in myself" was one of her favorite prayers.

At the Block
There was a dramatic moment in St. Catherine's life, when she proved to the public that death, for her, had no sting.

Once, a young man, Nicolo di Toldo, sentenced to be beheaded, asked Catherine to come to his execution. The saint caressed his head as it lay on the block. Later, she wrote to Blessed Raymond of Capua about the event. "I have just taken a head into my hands and have been moved so deeply that my heart cannot grasp it . . . I waited for him at the place of execution. . . he arrived like a meek lamb and when he saw me he began to smile. He asked me to make the sign of the cross over him . . . I stretched out his neck and bent down to him, reminding him of the blood of the Lamb. His lips kept murmuring only "Jesus" and "Catherine," and he was still murmuring when I received his head into my hands . . . my soul rested in peace and quiet, so aware of the fragrance of blood that I could not remove the blood which had splashed onto me."

It was with this kind of courage that Catherine approached the Vicar of Christ. She succeeded in convincing Pope Gregory XI to return to Rome, but he soon died and Pope Urban VI took his place. Relentless, Catherine began to write to the new Pope. She was direct with him and told him he needed to control his temper. Pope Urban VI appreciated her forthright counsel. When an anti-pope was supported and the Great Western Schism began, Urban VI invited Catherine to Rome. He needed her support. She went to Rome in 1378 and from there wrote regular letters to state and Church leaders in defense of Pope Urban's sole right to the papal throne. Every day she walked to St. Peter's Basilica and prayed for church unity. After two years of this exhaustive work, she died in 1380 at age thirty-three.

St. Catherine's impact on her society was so profound that Europe was unable to forget her. Only eighty-one years after her death, she was canonized by Pope Pius II. Even now, Rome recalls her aptitude for unprecedented action. For example, Pope John Paul II recently honored her "impassioned liveliness" and "freedom of initiative," when he marked the 25th anniversary of her being named one of the FIRST women Doctors of the Church.

Mary Ann Sullivan.

Images from Tradition In Action,
Catholic Tradition, Olga's Gallery.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Children and Youth Deserve True Happiness


In his message to the 12th plenary session of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, Pope Benedict voiced his concern for the children and youth of the world when he articulated that "instead of feeling loved and cherished, appear to be merely tolerated. In 'an age of turbulence' they frequently lack adequate moral guidance from the adult world," and many of them "now grow up in a society which is forgetful of God." Read more here.

Wonderful Saints


Today we commemorate three saints who had a special devotion to the Blessed Mother exemplified by their heroic lives.

1. St. Peter Chanel, Martyr, Marist priest

St Peter Chanel was born on 12 July 1803, the fifth of eight children in a farming family with a small holding in south-western France. The area was still troubled by the political instability that followed the Revolution. That, plus the need to help on the farm, meant his primary schooling was rather fragmented.

In his early teens the parish priest helped him with special lessons in the presbytery, so that at 16 he was ready to begin his four years of secondary education at the minor seminary. He progressed to the major seminary to be ordained at 24 as a priest for the Belley diocese. For his first year of priesthood he was assistant in a medium sized town, already thinking seriously about applying for an apostolate in the foreign missions. Then followed three years as parish priest in a small country town where the Church was still in disarray a generation after the Revolution. With quiet zeal, tact and compassion he transformed it. Underlying his approach was his personal motto “Aimer Marie et faire l'aimer” - to love Mary and bring others to love her.

In 1831, at 28, with his bishop's agreement he joined the small group of diocesan priests who had hopes of starting a Society of Mary. He was one of the three representatives who went to Rome to ask the Pope's approval for their planned Society of Mary. This approval was given in April 1836 when Marists accepted responsibility for new missions in the little-known south-west Pacific. By the end of that year Peter was one of the first band of missionaries, four priests and three catechist brothers, attached to Bishop Pompallier, who sailed from Le Havre on Christmas Eve for this pioneering mission.

Read more of his life

2. St. Louis de Montfort, priest member of the Third Order Dominicans

Louis Marie Grignion was born 31 January 1673 in the small town of Montfort-sur-Meu, just West of Rennes in Brittany, France. He was the eldest surviving child of the large family of Jean-Baptiste Grignion and his wife Jeanne Robert.

Louis Marie passed most of his infancy and early childhood in Iffendic, a few miles from Montfort, where his father had bought a farm known as "Le Bois Marquer". According to those who knew him at this early stage, he showed signs even then of a spiritual maturity uncommon in one of his age.

At the age of 12, he entered the Jesuit College of St Thomas Becket in Rennes, where, as well as doing well in his studies, he developed some of the enthusiasms which were to mark his later life. Listening to the stories of a local priest, the Abbé Julien Bellier, about his life as an itinerant missionary, he was fired with zeal to preach missions. And, under the guidance of some other priests he began to develop his strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin. At the same time, he began to experience the deprivations suffered by the very poor, and his love and care for them grew, not only in theory but in a practical way.
Read more from Monfortian Religious Family.

Make the Total Consecration to Mary.

3. St. Gianna Molla, wife, mother, doctor, profile witness

Gianna Beretta Molla made a heroic choice, but it was something her family members and friends testified she prepared for every day of her life. Her heroic virtue, genuine holiness of life, selflessness, and quiet joy remind all of us that God entrusts us with a personal vocation. Each and every day presents us with choices that have the power to prepare us to take heroic action whenever it will be called for. We can do that, however, only if we surrender ourselves and what we desire to God and His will for us.

" Dr. Molla threw light on the importance of the Christian family, by her life and conscious sacrifice. She threw light on the importance of Christian schools and Catholic Action, in the formation of the human being in Christian values and it gives us guiding principles, to which the Christian subordinates his own life, as Dr. Beretta Molla knowingly did. The heroism of her Christian life will bear fruit."This example of lay sanctity, lived in the Sacrament of Matrimony, as the Vatican Council II teaches, will encourage many Christians to seek God in holy Matrimony. The exemplary fame of Christian conduct, lived by Gianna Beretta Molla is valid proof.

Read more of her heroic life here.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Novena Prayer to St. Catherine of Sienna


Novena Prayer to Saint Catherine of Siena
Patroness of the Third Order of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans)
Feast day: April 30
O marvelous wonder of the Church, seraphic virgin, Saint Catherine, because of your extraordinary virtue and the immense good which you accomplished for the Church and society, you are acclaimed and blessed by all people.

Oh, turn your benign countenance to me who, confident of your powerful patronage, calls upon you with all the ardor of affection and begs you to obtain, by your prayer, the favors I so ardently desire.

You, who were a victim of charity, who in order to benefits your neighbor obtained from God the most stupendous miracles and became the joy and the hope of all, you cannot help but hear the prayers of those who fly into your heart - that heart which you received from the Divine Redeemer in a celestial ecstasy.

Yes, O seraphic virgin, demonstrate once again proof of you power and of your flaming charity, so that your name will be ever more blessed and exalted; grant that we, having experienced your most efficacious intercession here on earth, may come one day to thank you in heaven and enjoy eternal happiness with you.


(Novena and Image from here)

Monday, April 24, 2006

Regina Caeli: Queen of Heaven Rejoice!

Latin Lesson #6

)))) Listen

REGINA, caeli, laetare, alleluia:
O Queen of heaven rejoice! alleluia:

Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia,
For He whom thou didst merit to bear, alleluia,

Resurrexit sicut dixit, alleluia.
Hath arisen as he said, alleluia.

Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.
Pray for us to God, alleluia.

V. Gaude et laetare, Virgo Maria, alleluia,
V. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.

R. Quia surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia.
R. Because the Lord is truly risen, alleluia.

Let us pray

Deus, qui per resurrectionem Filii tui, Domini nostri Iesu Christi, mundum laetificare dignatus es:
O God, who gave joy to the world through the resurrection of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ;

praesta, quaesumus; ut, per eius Genetricem Virginem Mariam,
grant, we beseech Thee, that through His Mother, the Virgin Mary

perpetuae capiamus gaudia vitae. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
we may obtain the joys of everlasting life. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

From Adoremus

Belated Birthday Greetings to Mother Angelica!


This comes a bit late but wishing Mother Angelica a belated happy birthday. She turned 83 on April 20th. Please pray for her continued good health and strength in mind, body and spirit.

Here's an update on
Mother Angelica.

Image from here.

One Year Since Papal Inaugural Mass


Father Stephanos has posted wonderful photos celebrating the first year anniversary of the Papal Inauguration Mass here. Hat tip to Thomas.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Pope of Divine Mercy

Vatican City (AsiaNews) — "A moving reference to John Paul II as ‘Pope of Divine Mercy’ sparked applause among the tens of thousands of pilgrims gathered in St Peter’s square for the Regina Caeli. “The mystery of God’s merciful love was at the centre of the pontificate of my venerated predecessor,” said Benedict XVI. The Pope mentioned John Paul II’ Encyclical Dives in misericordia and his consecration of the shrine in Kraków in 2002 devoted to the Divine Mercy.

Thanks to the Polish pope the traditional Low Sunday or Dominica In Albis, the Octave Day of Easter, became the ‘Sunday of the Divine Mercy’, “making the most of the spiritual experience of a humble nun, St Faustina Kowalska”, canonised by John Paul. Benedict XVI also mentioned that “Providence decided that he [John Paul II] should die right on the eve of that day in the arms of Divine Mercy.”

The theme and experience of the Divine Mercy refer to this Sunday’s Gospel (Jn, 20: 19-31), which mentions the apparition of the Risen Jesus to the circle of disciples to show his nail marks and side.“The holy marks in the hands, feet and side are inexhaustible source of faith, hope and love that each can draw from, especially the souls most thirsty for Divine Mercy,” said the Pope.

Read more here.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Mercy Sunday


Let us celebrate the Unfathomable Mercy of God on Sunday, April 23, 2006. Here are the conditions of obtaining the plenary indulgence on the feast day.

1. Celebrate the Feast on the Sunday after Easter;
2. Sincerely repent of all our sins;
3. Place our complete trust in Jesus;
4. Go to Confession, preferably before that Sunday;
5. Receive Holy Communion on the day of the Feast;
6. Venerate* the Image of The Divine Mercy;
7. Be merciful to others, through our actions, words, and prayers on their behalf.

*To venerate a sacred image or statue simply means to perform some act or make some gesture of deep religious respect toward it because of the person whom it represents ‑ in this case, our Most Merciful Savior.

The Promise.

According to St. Faustina, Our Lord promises to those who go to confession and communion on this day, the remission of the guilt and the punishment of sins.

On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity. (Diary of Sr. Faustina, 699)

Many take this to mean that they must go to Confession ON Mercy Sunday. This is not true. To receive the benefits of the Promise one must be in the state of grace. The Lord does not promise the absolution of grave sin on Mercy Sunday, but points us to the Sacrament of Penance. To receive the grace we should be disposed. This is done by a confession near the time of Mercy Sunday. According to the Cardinal of Krakow, the confession which a Catholic makes during Lent in preparation for Easter is sufficient. Priests do not have to provide confession on Mercy Sunday so that Catholics can satisfy this condition. Since it is a Sunday the condition of Communion can be easily satisfied (including at the Saturday Vigil Mass). Our Communion, as our Confession, should be especially devout.

Some refer to this grace as a Plenary Indulgence. While the effect is the same, complete remission of sin and the punishment due to it, it is not granted by the Church but by a promise of the Lord. Also, the conditions are fewer, only Confession and Communion. While the Lord also asks for veneration of His Image on Mercy Sunday, as well as acts of mercy, these do not appear to be essential to the Promise, though they certainly could manifest the disposition, or lack of disposition, of the person seeking it.

The receipt of the grace is not magic, but necessarily involves the opening of our hearts to mercy. This is best done by deeds, words and thoughts of mercy towards others. That, too, takes God's grace, but we can surely expect the actual graces to be merciful available to us on Mercy Sunday, if we but trust. The message clearly states the Lord's willingness for the greatest generosity on this day. We do what our circumstances permit us, and trust in God. This is true also of those whose circumstances do not permit them to get to Communion on that day, such as the infirm and the home-bound. God does not ask the impossible.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Pope's First Year: Photo Essay

Portraits of Pope Benedict XVI


My portrait of Pope Benedict XVI has been included in Portraits of His Holiness website. A pleasant surprise and an honor to be one of the artists honoring His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. Mine is the second from the bottom, done in pencil. Here's a previous post of it ==> click here.

Pope Asks for Prayers On First Anniversary


VATICAN CITY, April 19 (CNA) - Gathered with more than 60,000 pilgrims in Saint Peters square today, Pope Benedict celebrated the one year anniversary of being elected successorof Peter, and asked the faithful to "continue to sustain me and to prayto God to allow me to be a meek and steady pastor of his Church."

The pontiff vividly recalled the day, one year ago, in which "the conclave of cardinals decided to choose my poor person to succeed the lamented and loved great pope John Paul II", something he called "absolutely unexpected and surprising for me."

"I recall with emotion the first impression I had as I looked down from the central balcony of the basilica, of pilgrims gathered in this very square; it has stayed in my mind and heart," he continued.

Pope Benedict then directly addressed those present saying, "The support of God and the Saints cannot be substituted by anything, and your closeness, dear friends, comforts me, you who never cease to offer me the gift of your indulgence and your love."

"I thank from my heart all those are by my side in various ways," he said, emotionally,"from near and also from far, spiritually, with their affection and their prayers: to each of you, I ask that you continue to sustain me and to pray to God to allow me to be a meek and steady pastor of his Church."

Benedict XVI chose to place today's festive feeling in the context of Easter. He reminded the faithful of the first moments the Risen Lord spent withthe women and the apostles. The Gospel message, "the nucleus of which is the Easter mystery", was spread "with courage" to the ends of theearth, by them and their successors.

And still today, he added, "each Christian is called to proclaim the Gospel". Particularly addressing young people who were present, he said, "Christ exhorts and invites you too to be his witnesses," and asked that "the Virgin Mary help us understand this great mystery of love that changes hearts and allows us to enjoy the joy of Easter."

Following the general audience, Benedict XVI returned to Castelgandolfo, where he will stay until Friday.


Happy Anniversary Pope Benedict XVI!

It's been a year since that unforgettable appearance at the central balcony by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. I was at work at the time but I got to watch it live on the internet! Senior Cardinal Deacon (the Cardinal Protodeacon) Medina Estevèz made the announcement, reading the ritual words: Nuntio vobis gaudium magnum: habemus Papam. Eminentissimum ac Reverendissimum Dominum Josephum sanctae romanae ecclesiae cardinalem Ratzinger, qui sibi nomen imposuit Benedicti XVI. When our dear Cardinal Ratzinger stepped out for the first time, my heart skipped a beat and was momentarily in awe. I cannot forget the joy that filled my heart, silently cheering on! Where were you on that special day and how was your reaction?

“Dear brothers and sisters”

“After the Great John Paul II, the cardinals have elected me, a simple and humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord.

“I find consolation in the fact that the Lord knows how to work with inadequate instruments and use them well, and [speaking to the crowd] I especially entrust myself to your prayers.“In the joy of the Risen Lord, confident in His permanent help, we continue [in our task].

“The Lord shall help us, and Mary, His Most Holy Mother, is with us.

“Thank you!”

There were 100,000 people who waited for the white smoke longing to see their new Pope and to hear his first Urbi et Orbi. Pope Benedict was elected on the fourth ballot after a day and half of conclave. For such a short election we have go back to Pius XII, who became Pontiff in 1939 (AsiaNews).

Let us give thanks to God for blessing us with Pope Benedict XVI! Please include him always in your daily prayers.

God bless you and we love you Holy Father! May the Lord grant you strength, good health and a long life.

Some of my previous posts on the Papal election:

Habemus Papam!

The Cardinals vote and the Holy Spirit chooses.

Sandro Magister has a great article here on the Pope's first year pontificate and gives some excellent exerpts of the Holy Father's answers to a Q&A session.

Images from Associated Press.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Birthday Holy Father!


Pope Benedict XVI turns 79 years old on Easter Sunday. May the Lord grant him strength, good health and long life.

For this intention and the intentions of the Holy Father, let us say one Our Father, one Hail Mary and one Glory Be.




The Kiss of Reparation


A priest gave me this holy card entitled "Reparation for the kiss of Judas".

It leaves us much to reflect about.

In what ways can we make reparation for our sins and the sins of others?

If the Cross is too high to reach, let's tiptoe and kiss the Holy Face.

Pope Benedict tiptoes to kiss the Crucifix during Good Friday services.

The Holy Father kisses the icon of Jesus at Easter Mass.

Reading the Catechism


A new blog is launched on Easter! It is devoted entirely to learning the Catechism of the Catholic Church. All are welcome to participate by making a commitment to reading the CCC for a year. This is a great way to learn about the Catholic faith. What a better way to start the Easter season!

Visit it at
Catholic Catechism Dialogue Blog.

Christ Is Risen Alleluia!


Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.
For He whom you did merit to bear, alleluia.

Has risen, as he said, alleluia.

Pray for us to God, alleluia.

Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.

For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

Let us pray.

O God, who gave joy to the world through the resurrection of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant we beseech Thee, that through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, His Mother, we may obtain the joys of everlasting life. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Image from

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Holy Week


Holy Week is the most sacred of all weeks so there will be no posts beginning Palm Sunday until Easter Sunday.

Let us take this oppurtunity to deepen our union with God by meditating on the Passion of Our Lord Jesus.

Our Lord Himself urged St. Gertrude the Great to the fervent contemplation of His Passion by making known to her that she should venerate constantly the love of His Sacred Heart on the Cross. (p. 36, St. Gertrude the Great by Tan books).

Sacred Image of the Passion of Jesus.

Library of Lenten resources.

Meditations on the Passion.

Jesus Is Nailed To the Cross by Angelina Davis

Image from here.

Have a Blessed Holy Week everyone.

Divine Mercy Novena


The Divine Mercy Novena

Begins on Good Friday, April 14 and ends with the Feast of Mercy on Sunday, April 23, 2006.

The message of mercy is that God loves us — all of us —no matter how great our sins. He wants us to recognize that His mercy is greater than our sins, so that we will call upon Him with trust, receive His mercy, and let it flow through us to others. Thus, all will come to share His joy. It is a message we can call to mind simply by remembering ABC.

A — Ask for His Mercy. God wants us to approach Him in prayer constantly, repenting of our sins and asking Him to pour His mercy out upon us and upon the whole world.

B — Be merciful. God wants us to receive His mercyand let it flow through us to others. He wants us to extend love and forgiveness to others just as He does to us.

C — Completely trust in Jesus. God wants us to knowthat the graces of His mercy are dependent upon ourtrust. The more we trust in Jesus, the more we will receive.

Image from
Marians of the Immaculate Conception.

Benedict To Youth: Be Courageous!


VATICAN CITY, APR 7, 2006 (VIS) - Yesterday evening in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI participated in a gathering of young people from the diocese of Rome. The meeting was held in preparation for 21st World Youth Day (WYD) which will be celebrated on Palm Sunday, April 9, in dioceses all over the world on the theme: "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."

Prior to the Pope's arrival, orchestras and choirs entertained the crowd, their music at times accompanied by dances. Italian singers such as Ron and Giuseppe Povia also participated in the event.

The Pope arrived at 6 p.m. and greeted the young people present. Together with them, he then welcomed the World Youth Day Cross, carried into the square by a group of youths from the German city of Cologne, site of last year's WYD.

Maddalena Santoro, the sister of Fr. Andrea Santoro who was murdered in Trabzon, Turkey in February this year, read out some words recalling the life and testimony of her brother, who was a priest from the diocese of Rome. After her reading, Benedict XVI rose to embrace her and thank her for participating in the event.

The Pope then answered questions from five young people concerning the themes of Holy Scripture, love, apostolate, vocation, and the relationship between science and faith.
"The Bible," said the Holy Father to the first of his questioners, an engineering student who wished to know whether Holy Scripture is always the Word of God, "cannot be read as if it were a history book. ... The Word cannot be read as an academic exercise, but by praying and saying to God: 'Help me to understand Your Word'."

The Pope also recommended Holy Scripture be read while closely following "the masters of 'Lectio Divina,' ... in the company of the People of God, and in communion with the Church which transmits the Word down through the centuries."

Read more of his answers on Love, Apostolate, Vocation and Science from EWTN

Friday, April 07, 2006

St. John Baptist de La Salle


St. John Baptist de La Salle was born in Rheims, France. He was known as the Father of Modern Pedagogy. He opened free schools for poor children, introducing new teaching methods. He organized the congregation called the Brothers of the Christian Schools, which made great contributions to popular education. Generations of schoolboys have been taught by the Christian Brothers, and their founder, St. John Baptist de la Salle, is familiar in their prayers and devotions. "Brothers Boys" are scattered all over the world and all of them have fond memories of their "De la Salle" days. Read more from Catholic Culture.

Other noteworthy information about the Saint:

He instituted the process of dividing students into grades. Established the first teacher's school. Started high schools and trade schools.

In 1950, because of his life and inspirational writings, he was made Patron Saint of all those who work in the field of education.

Worn out by austerities and exhausting labours, he died at Saint Yon near Rouen early in 1719 on Good Friday, only weeks before his sixty-eighth birthday.

Prayer to St. John Baptist de la Salle

Blessed Jesus, Saint John Baptist was the "Father of Modern Education" and the founder of Christian Brothers schools. He made good academic education available to all, not just nobility, and he supported the schools by draining his own wealth. I ask him to pray for all the Catholic, private, and public schools that are in my town, and for our children to be given teachers who have good ethics. O God, purge harmful teachings from our classrooms, and bless the faculty and administrators as they make decisions on how their schools and classes should be run. Saint John Baptist, pray for us. Amen. (by Terry Ann Modica)

A short history of the De La Salle Christian Brothers.
Christian Brothers Vocations.

Image from Catholic Forum

Thursday, April 06, 2006

John Paul On Mary - Conversion



When from the Cross Jesus saw his Mother and the disciple beside her, he said to his Mother: "'Woman, behold your son!' Then he said to the disciple, 'Behold your mother!' And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home" (Jn 19:26-27).

Christ taught us to speak to God just as he himself did, by calling him "Father". In this way we turn to the Invisible One who is in heaven and yet embraces the whole of creation: "Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name". This prayer was taught to us by Christ, the Only-begotten Son of the heavenly Father, himself true God. And he has summed up in this prayer the most important things which we can and must express to our heavenly Father.

In the same way Christ himself, as true man, has taught us to speak to his earthly Mother in the words which found their definitive confirmation at the moment of his death on the Cross: "Woman, behold your son!" Mary receives these words from the mind and heart of the crucified Jesus. These words refer directly to the Apostle standing there with her, at the foot of the Cross, John the Evangelist. To him Christ says: "Behold your mother." But those words also have a wider meaning. At the hour of his death, Christ, the Son of God and Son of Mary, reveals the truth about his Mother's motherhood of all humanity. The Apostle John stands beneath the Cross as a representative of each of us. And in the words which Christ says to John we can discover the same truth about Mary's motherhood as it was communicated to him. From that moment we can say to her: "My Mother" and "our Mother". "My Mother", when we speak as individuals; "our Mother", when we speak as a community. Whole nations can call her Mother, as you do, entrusting to her "every one of your days".

The final words of today's Gospel confirm this. "The disciple took her to his own home" to be his own Mother (cf. Jn 19:27). Mary will live with him, as a mother with her son. This detail, noted in the Gospel of St. John, is also significant for you who call Mary "Mother!" She wishes you to welcome her into your homes; into every Slovak home, into your entire life as a nation. What, indeed, does this shrine of Sastin mean if not that Mary, the Mother of all Slovaks, dwells in this particular house, where all the sons and daughters of your nation feel that they are in their Mother's house?

Here Mary, the Mother of Christ, wants "to be a Mother for you"; she wants you to be especially honest and straightforward with her. Here is her dwelling, and because the home of the Mother of God is found in your land of Slovakia, none of you is without a home. Everyone can come here and feel at home in his Mother's house.

(From L'Osservatore Romano, an excerpt from his visit to Slovakia, 1995)

Monday, April 03, 2006

John Paul II On Mary


Pope John Paul II renews his consecration to Mary, "Totus Tuus", a few weeks after his assasination attempt. Pope Benedict described the late Holy Father as another St. John the Evangelist, who stood by with Mary at the foot of the Cross.

Here are wonderful links on his teachings on the Blessed Mother.


Fasting for Iraq



Apr. 03 ( - Pope Benedict XVI requested two days of prayer for Iraq, at his Angelus audience on April 2. The Holy Father asked "the faithful, believers, and men and women of good will" to devote April 3 and 4 to prayer and fasting for peace in the world, especially in the "martyred land" of Iraq. The Pope said that he was passing along a request from Chaldean Patriarch Emmanuel II Delly of Baghdad and the Iraqi bishops. He encouraged the faithful to join with Iraqi Catholics in prayer, "entrusting this intention to the intercession of Mary most holy, Queen of Peace."

John Paul II We Miss You!


After one year, Pope John Paul II is still very much missed. As I watched the special tributes broadcasted by EWTN today, I couldn't help but get teary-eyed.

Cardinal Ratzinger blessed the Pope's coffin. He was confident that the Holy Father was "watching from the window of the Father's House and blessing us".

His final goodbye to the world! The world came to see him off. Even arch enemies made peace for a day and came together to say goodbye to a man who tirelessly preached the Gospel of Peace and Unity.

Leaving the way he entered: to great adulation and applause, with his flock beside him.

The world was suddenly orphaned. Our Holy Father is gone and we are all alone.

But it wasn't long until God provided us with Pope Benedict XVI, whose mission was to continue the teachings of John Paul II.

A year has passed and we still mourn his passing. He will always be great in our hearts and minds.

"He continues to be present in our minds and in our hearts," Pope Benedict, wearing a red cape over his white cassock, told the crowd from his window overlooking St Peter's Square on a warm Rome evening.

"He continues to communicate his love for God and his love for man," said Benedict, who said the late Pope had taught the world the value of life even in its final stages.

"We are here to give tribute. It is a must for us to be here because being here in St Peter's Square is us giving him our thanksgiving for all the wonderful things he did," said Richard Ricafente, a man in his 20s from the Philippines.

John Paul II, we miss you.

Images: 1,2,3,4, 5, 6, 7.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Poetry of John Paul II

Over This, Your White Grave
by Pope John Paul II

Over this, your white grave the flowers of life in white--
so many years without you-- how many have passed out of sight?
Over this your white grave covered for years, there is a stir in the air, something uplifting and, like death, beyond comprehension.
Over this your white grave oh, mother, can such loving cease?
for all his filial adoration a prayer:
Give her eternal peace--

The poem above written by the time he was twenty, show the heart of a motherless young boy through the pen of talented poet.

Read more of John Paul II's poems.

Thank you to
Dymphna's Well for the inspiration to post this beautiful poem by Pope John Paul the Great. Image from here.

The Great Pope John Paul II

Karol Józef Wojtyla , known as John Paul II since his October 1978 election to the papacy, was born in Wadowice, a small city 50 kilometres from Cracow, on May 18, 1920.
He was the second of two sons born to Karol Wojtyla and Emilia Kaczorowska. His mother died in 1929. His eldest brother Edmund, a doctor, died in 1932 and his father, a non-commissioned army officer died in 1941.
He made his First Holy Communion at age 9 and was confirmed at 18. Upon graduation from Marcin Wadowita high school in Wadowice, he enrolled in Cracow's Jagiellonian University in 1938 and in a school for drama.
The Nazi occupation forces closed the university in 1939 and young Karol had to work in a quarry (1940-1944) and then in the Solvay chemical factory to earn his living and to avoid being deported to Germany.

In 1942, aware of his call to the priesthood, he began courses in the clandestine seminary of Cracow, run by Cardinal Adam Stefan Sapieha, archbishop of Cracow. At the same time, Karol Wojtyla was one of the pioneers of the "Rhapsodic Theatre," also clandestine.
After the Second World War, he continued his studies in the major seminary of Cracow, once it had re-opened, and in the faculty of theology of the Jagiellonian University, until his priestly ordination in Cracow on November 1, 1946.
Soon after, Cardinal Sapieha sent him to Rome where he worked under the guidance of the French Dominican, Garrigou-Lagrange. He finished his doctorate in theology in 1948 with a thesis on the topic of faith in the works of St. John of the Cross. At that time, during his vacations, he exercised his pastoral ministry among the Polish immigrants of France, Belgium and Holland.
In 1948 he returned to Poland and was vicar of various parishes in Cracow as well as chaplain for the university students until 1951, when he took up again his studies on philosophy and theology. In 1953 he defended a thesis on "evaluation of the possibility of founding a Catholic ethic on the ethical system of Max Scheler" at Lublin Catholic University. Later he became professor of moral theology and social ethics in the major seminary of Cracow and in the Faculty of Theology of Lublin.
On July 4, 1958, he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Cracow by Pope Pius XII, and was consecrated September 28, 1958, in Wawel Cathedral, Cracow, by Archbishop Baziak. On January 13, 1964, he was nominated Archbishop of Cracow by Pope Paul VI, who made him a cardinal June 26, 1967.
Besides taking part in Vatican Council II with an important contribution to the elaboration of the Constitution Gaudium et spes, Cardinal Wojtyla participated in all the assemblies of the Synod of Bishops.
Since the start of his Pontificate on October 16, 1978, Pope John Paul II has completed 104 pastoral visits outside of Italy and 146 within Italy . As Bishop of Rome he has visited 317 of the 333 parishes .
His principal documents include 14 encyclicals , 15 apostolic exhortations , 11 apostolic constitutions and 45 apostolic letters. The Pope has also published five books : "Crossing the Threshold of Hope" (October 1994); "Gift and Mystery: On the 50th Anniversary of My Priestly Ordination" (November 1996); "Roman Triptych - Meditations", a book of poems (March 2003); "Rise, Let Us Be On Our Way" (May 2004) and "Memory and Identity" (pubblication spring 2005).
John Paul II has presided at 147 beatification ceremonies ( 1,338 Blesseds proclaimed ) and 51 canonization ceremonies ( 482 Saints ) during his pontificate. He has held 9 consistories in which he created 231 (+ 1 in pectore) cardinals . He has also convened six plenary meetings of the College of Cardinals .
From 1978 to today the Holy Father has presided at 15 Synods of Bishops : six ordinary (1980, 1983, 1987, 1990, 1994, 2001), one extraordinary (1985) and eight special (1980, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998[2] and 1999).
No other Pope has encountered so many individuals like John Paul II: to date, more than 17,600,000 pilgrims have participated in the General Audiences held on Wednesdays (more than 1,160). Such figure is without counting all other special audiences and religious ceremonies held [more than 8 million pilgrims during the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 alone] and the millions of faithful met during pastoral visits made in Italy and throughout the world.
It must also be remembered the numerous government personalities encountered during 38 official visits and in the 738 audiences and meetings held with Heads of State , and even the 246 audiences and meetings with Prime Ministers .
Four million people lined up to view his body and attend his funeral (CBN News).

Images 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

Other noted contributions to history:

~ Triumphed over communism;

~ Consecrated Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary;

~ Called the youth to the Church;

~ Promoter and Witness to Hope and the Gospel of life;

~ Promoter of Divine Mercy;

~ Re-introduced the Holy Rosary with the Mysteries of Light;

~ World leader to set example of forgiveness and mea culpa;

~ Herald of unity and dialogue as he was the first Pope to enter a Jewish synagogue;

~ More than 50 years a priest and more than 25 years the Vicar of Christ.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

John Paul And The Youth

Why were the young people attracted to Pope John Paul II? It was for the simple reason that a child always needs a father. It was because he was their father and they knew he loved them. And today, the youth who knew him remember him with love and pray to him for his intercession. At one time, he admitted that it was because of the Holy Spirit that draws the young people to him. Having been a young pilgrim of the World Youth days of John Paul II and being a speck among the 7 million pilgrims during the 10th WYD in the Philippines, I can attest to the power of the Holy Spirit in him. One cannot help but be moved in his presence and have his pontificate leave an indelible mark on one's spiritual life and vocation. Now, he continues to love us more in Heaven. Pope John Paul II, pray for us!

John Paul II’s pontificate has often focused on young people. When plans for the first World Youth Days were announced in 1986 cynics predicted that perhaps twenty young people would be willing to profess their faith in public by attending. Seventeen years later, over one million young people came out to greet the Holy Father. What attracts these young people? Why do they come out to listen to Pope John Paul. A Romanian academic in France believes, "For a long time no one spoke any more of God or of love. Everyone thought that it would make people laugh in derision. But now the crowds have come to listen, and they do not laugh" (Le Matin, June 4, 1980).
Giuseppe Prezzolini, an Italian intellectual, believes they come to listen because they hear in his words "something that transcends everything else." John Paul II takes young people seriously, as people struggling with the meaning of life. He is virtually the only world figure who calls young people to bear burdens and make sacrifices, and his trust tapped into the young people’s thirst for the heroic and their search for God. He does not modify his message so it will be well received. He speaks the truth candidly, and young people seem to like that. The radical nature of the Gospel message motivates young people, he believes. He said in Paris, "Permissiveness does not make people happy. Consumer society does not make people happy. It has never done so!" (June 1, 1980)
Pope John Paul really believes in young people. He has confidence in them and shows over and over again that he loves them. He delights in their company and listens with interest to what they have to say. He believes that beneath apparent indifference there is a strong religious yearning. It is necessary to rid people of the prejudice that smothers their natural longing for God. "Dear friends, let yourselves be captivated by Christ; heed his invitation and follow him!" (December 21, 1993)

John Paul confessed at Catania, Sicily, in 1994: "Young people always rejuvenate me." The following day he said, "I am always happy to meet with young people; I don’t know why, but I am.."

From Daughters of St. Paul. (Images 1, 2, 3)

In Memoriam of John Paul the Great


~ In Memoriam ~
Pope John Paul the Great
1920 - 2005
View Slideshow

The Pope's Intentions for the Month of April 2006

General prayer intention is: "That the individual, social and political rights of women may be respected in every nation."

Mission intention is: "That the Church in China may carry out its evangelizing mission serenely and in full freedom."

Novena To John Paul II - Ninth Day


I just want to share with you that praying this novena to John Paul the Great has brought signal graces and blessings to my soul. In thanksgiving to God for giving us Pope John Paul II and for the intercession of John Paul II, there will be special posts in his honor in the next few days. John Paul II, pray for us!

Thanks to Moneybags at A Catholic Life for reminding us of this novena to Pope John Paul II in time for the first-year anniversary of his death on April 2, 2006. Today is the ninth day.


O Blessed Trinity, We thank you for having graced the Church with Pope John Paul II and for allowing the tenderness of your Fatherly care, the glory of the cross of Christ, and the splendor of the Holy Spirit, to shine through him.Trusting fully in Your infinite mercy and in the maternal intercession of Mary, he has given us a living image of Jesus the Good Shepherd, and has shown us that holiness is the necessary measure of ordinary Christian life and is the way of achieving eternal communion with you.Grant us, by his intercession, and according to Your will, the graces we implore, hoping that he will soon be numbered among your saints. Amen.
+ 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