Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Soldier, Martyr, Servant of God


Fr. Vincent Capodanno, officer of the United States Marin Corp, Navy Chaplain, Maryknoll missionary, priest, martyr, Servant of God.

What did he do? Here's an excerpt of what took place in 1967 in a North Vietnamese village, during the last minutes of his life as a priest and soldier.
The fighting was fierce, hand to hand at times, and the platoon was in danger of
being overrun. Father Capodanno went among the wounded and dying, giving last
rites and taking care of his Marines. Wounded once in the face and suffering
another wound that almost severed his hand, Father Capodanno moved to help a
wounded corpsman only yards from an enemy machinegun. Father Capodanno died
taking care of one of his men. " - from the Biography of Fr. Capodanno

Learn more about the official cause of his canonization here.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Veni Sancte Spiritus!


The Gospel passage takes us today to the Upper Room where, after the Last Supper, a sense of loss has saddened the Apostles. This is due to the fact that Jesus' words arouse disturbing questions: He spoke of the world's hatred of him and of his own, he spoke of his mysterious departure; and there were still many other things to be said, but for the time being the Apostles were not able to bear the weight (cf. Jn 16: 12). To console them, he explains the meaning of his departure: he will go, but he will return; meanwhile, he will not abandon them, will not leave them orphans. He will send the Consoler, the Spirit of the Father, and the Spirit will enable them to understand that Christ's work is a work of love: love of the One who gave himself, love of the Father who has given him.

This is the mystery of Pentecost: the Holy Spirit illuminates the human spirit and, by revealing Christ Crucified and Risen, indicates the way to become more like him, that is, to be "the image and instrument of the love which flows from Christ" (Deus Caritas Est, n. 33).

The Church, gathered with Mary as at her birth, today implores: "Veni, Sancte Spiritus! - Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love!". Amen.

~ Pope Benedict's homily, Pentecost 2006

Friday, May 18, 2007

Holy Spirit Novena


The novena in honor of the Holy Spirit is the oldest of all novenas since it was first made at the direction of Our Lord Himself when He sent His apostles back to Jerusalem to await the coming of the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost. It is still the only novena officially prescribed by the Church. Addressed to the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, it is a powerful plea for the light and strength and love so sorely needed by every Christian.

In preparation for Pentecost, let us pray this powerful novena and ask for the gifts of the Holy Spirit to come upon us on Pentecost.

Novena to the Holy Spirit

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Ascension of the Lord


The fortieth day after Easter Sunday, commemorating the Ascension of Christ into heaven, according to Mark 16:19, Luke 24:51, and Acts 1:2.

In the Eastern Church this feast was known as analepsis, the taking up, and also as the episozomene, the salvation, denoting that by ascending into His glory Christ completed the work of our redemption. The terms used in the West, ascensio and, occasionally, ascensa, signify that Christ was raised up by His own powers. Tradition designates Mount Olivet near Bethany as the place where Christ left the earth. The feast falls on Thursday. It is one of the Ecumenical feasts ranking with the feasts of the Passion, of Easter and of Pentecost among the most solemn in the calendar, has a vigil and, since the fifteenth century, an octave which is set apart for a novena of preparation for Pentecost, in accordance with the directions of Leo XIII.

The observance of this feast is of great antiquity. Although no documentary evidence of it exists prior to the beginning of the fifth century, St. Augustine says that it is of Apostolic origin, and he speaks of it in a way that shows it was the universal observance of the Church long before his time. Frequent mention of it is made in the writings of St. John Chrysostom, St. Gregory of Nyssa, and in the Constitution of the Apostles. The Pilgrimage of Sylvia (Peregrinatio Etheriae) speaks of the vigil of this feast and of the feast itself, as they were kept in the church built over the grotto in Bethlehem in which Christ was born (Duchesne, Christian Worship, 491-515). It may be that prior to the fifth century the fact narrated in the Gospels was commemorated in conjunction with the feast of Easter or Pentecost. Some believe that the much-disputed forty-third decree of the Council of Elvira (c. 300) condemning the practice of observing a feast on the fortieth day after Easter and neglecting to keep Pentecost on the fiftieth day, implies that the proper usage of the time was to commemorate the Ascension along with Pentecost. Representations of the mystery are found in diptychs and frescoes dating as early as the fifth century.

The fact of the Ascension

The elevation of Christ into heaven by His own power in presence of His disciples the fortieth day after His Resurrection. It is narrated in Mark 16:19, Luke 24:51, and in the first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles.

Although the place of the Ascension is not distinctly stated, it would appear from the Acts that it was Mount Olivet. Since after the Ascension the disciples are described as returning to Jerusalem from the mount that is called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, within a Sabbath day's journey. Tradition has consecrated this site as the Mount of Ascension and Christian piety has memorialized the event by erecting over the site a basilica. St. Helena built the first memorial, which was destroyed by the Persians in 614, rebuilt in the eighth century, to be destroyed again, but rebuilt a second time by the crusaders. This the Moslems also destroyed, leaving only the octagonal structure which encloses the stone said to bear the imprint of the feet of Christ, that is now used as an oratory.

Not only is the fact of the Ascension related in the passages of Scripture cited above, but it is also elsewhere predicted and spoken of as an established fact. Thus, in John 6:63, Christ asks the Jews: "If then you shall see the son of Man ascend up where He was before?" and 20:17, He says to Mary Magdalen: "Do not touch Me, for I am not yet ascended to My Father, but go to My brethren, and say to them: I ascend to My Father and to your Father, to My God and to your God." Again, in Ephesians 4:8-10, and in Timothy 3:16, the Ascension of Christ is spoken of as an accepted fact.

The language used by the Evangelists to describe the Ascension must be interpreted according to usage. To say that He was taken up or that He ascended, does not necessarily imply that they locate heaven directly above the earth; no more than the words "sitteth on the right hand of God" mean that this is His actual posture. In disappearing from their view "He was raised up and a cloud received Him out of their sight" (Acts 1:9), and entering into glory He dwells with the Father in the honour and power denoted by the scripture phrase.

New Advent

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Pope's Message to Brazilian Youth


A sea of people, mostly young people cheering for the Pope.

He challenged and encouraged them saying....

"Seek to resist forcefully the snares of evil that are found in many contexts," Benedict told the crowd of some 40,000, with thousands more camped outside the stadium.

"Be promoters of life, from its beginning to its natural end," he said, seated on an elaborately carved red throne.

"I send you out, therefore, on the great mission of evangelizing young men and women who have gone astray in this world like sheep without a shepherd," he said.

Hands of all color.

Monks ... to the left...

Nuns... to the right.

Ahhh... my children!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Pope's First Day in Brazil


American Papist has a line up of great posts on the Holy Father's visit here

.......and here ...

.......and more here ...

.......then here!

Pope Speaks


ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (Reuters) - Pope Benedict' on Wednesday warned Catholic politicians they risked excommunication from the Church and should not receive communion if they support abortion.

It was the first time that the Pope, speaking to reporters aboard the plane taking him on a trip to Brazil, dealt in depth with a controversial topic that has come up in many countries, including the United States, Mexico, and Italy.

The Pope was asked whether he supported Mexican Church leaders threatening to excommunicate leftist parliamentarians who last month voted to legalize abortion in Mexico City.

"Yes, this excommunication was not an arbitrary one but is allowed by Canon (church) law which says that the killing of an innocent child is incompatible with receiving communion, which is receiving the body of Christ," he said.

"They (Mexican Church leaders) did nothing new, surprising or arbitrary. They simply announced publicly what is contained in the law of the Church... which expresses our appreciation for life and that human individuality, human personality is present from the first moment (of life)."

Under Church law, someone who knowingly does or backs something which the Church considers a grave sin, such as abortion, inflicts what is known as "automatic excommunication" on themselves.

The Pope said parliamentarians who vote in favor of abortion have "doubts about the value of life and the beauty of life and even a doubt about the future."

"Selfishness and fear are at the root of (pro-abortion) legislation," he said. "We in the Church have a great struggle to defend life...life is a gift not a threat."


The Pope's comments appear to raise the stakes in the debate over whether Catholic politicians can support abortion or gay marriage and still consider themselves proper Catholics. In recent months, the Vatican has been accused of interference in Italy for telling Catholic lawmakers to oppose a draft law that would grant some rights to unwed and gay couples. During the 2004 presidential election, the U.S. Catholic community was split over whether to support Democratic candidate John Kerry himself a Catholic who backed abortion rights. Some Catholics say they personally would not have an abortion but feel obliged to support a woman's right to choose.

But the Church, which teaches that life begins at the moment of conception and that abortion is murder, says Catholics cannot have it both ways.

"The Church says life is beautiful, it is not something to doubt but it is a gift even when it is lived in difficult circumstances. It is always a gift," the Pope said.

Only Cuba, Guyana and U.S. commonwealth Puerto Rico allow abortion on demand in Latin America. Many other countries in the region permit it in special cases, such as if the fetus has defects or if the mother's life is at risk. Brazil, the world's most populous Catholic country, is mulling bringing the debate to a referendum.

Pope Leaves For Brazil, Entrusting Trip To Mary


Click here for details on the Holy Father's apostolic trip to Brazil

Pope puts Brazil trip under Mary's protectionVatican, May. 7, 2007 (CWNews.com) - At his Sunday public audience on May 6, Pope Benedict XVI strongly encouraged traditional Marian devotions during the month of May, and entrusted his trip to Brazil to the Blessed Virgin's protection.Speaking from the window of his apartment in the apostolic palace to the crowd gathered under overcast skies in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father remarked that May is "the Marian month par excellence."

He endorsed the pilgrimages and processions that many Catholic communities undertake during the month, adding that the remainder of the Easter season gives the faithful an opportunity to imitate the first apostles, going out to spread the faith, strengthened by their union in prayer with the Mother of God."

To the Holy Virgin, Mother of the Church," the Pope added, "I wish to entrust the apostolic trip I will make to Brazil from May 9 to 14." He reminded his audience that he would be opening a meeting of the Latin American bishops' conference at Brazil's most revered Marian shrine, at the basilica of Our Lady of Aparecida.

Nothing that this would be his first visit as Pontiff to Latin America, the Pope urged the faithful to support his effort with their prayers. Nearly half of the world's Catholics live in the region, he observed, and the faithful there as a group are very young. Thus, the Pope said, Latin America is "the continent of hope" for the faith. That hope is badly needed in a world facing many different problems, he said. " That is why it is important for Christians to be formed to become a ferment of goodness and a light of sanctity in our world."

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Pope's Request for Prayers for Trip to Brazil


The Holy Father invited those present "to seek the protection of Our Lady for the success of this event, which is so significant for all of Latin America. May this important ecclesial meeting be an encouragement to the disciples of Christ to welcome with courageous faith and renewed hope the conclusions of this great assembly."


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Month of Mary


May is the month of Mary and the Holy Rosary. Let us not miss out on the graces poured forth from her especially through her Rosary.

If you want to know what abundant blessings you receive by praying the Rosary,
Read Seminarian Matthew's post on The Power of One Hail Mary.

Join the Rosary Confraternity!

The Pope's Intentions For May 2007


General: That, following the example of the Virgin Mary, all Christians should allow themselves to be guided by the word of God and always remain attentive to the signs of the Lord in his own life.

Mission: That in Mission territories there may be no lack of good and enlightened teachers in the major Seminaries and in the Institutes of consecrated life.
+ Consecrated to the Blessed Virgin Mary + Click to play "REGINA CAELI"

Apostolic Blessing by Pope Benedict XVI

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