Neither are the souls of the pious dead separated from the Church which even now is the kingdom of Christ. Otherwise there would be no remembrance of them at the altar of God in the communication of the Body of Christ. -- Saint Augustine of Hippo from “The City of God

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Decrees of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints

Vatican City, 7 December 2014 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon, 6 December, Pope Francis received in private audience Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. During the audience, the Holy Father authorised the promulgation of the following decrees regarding:

MIRACLES, attributable to the intercession of:

- Blessed Jeanne-Emilie de Villeneuve, France, foundress of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of Castres (1811-1854);

- Blessed Marie-Alphonsine (nee Maryam Sultanah Danil Ghattas), Turco-British Palestine, co-foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Rosary of Jerusalem of the Latins (1843-1927);

- Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified (nee Maryam Baouardy), Turkish Palestine, professed nun of the Order of Discalced Carmelites (1846-1878);


- Servant of God Carmela of Jesus (nee Francesca Paola Prestigiacomo), Italy, foundress of the Institute of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of the Incarnate Word (1858- 1948);

- Servant of God Maria Seiquer Gaya, Spain, foundress of the Apostolic Sisters of Christ Crucified (1891-1975);

- Servant of God Adalberta (nee Vojtecha) Hasmandova, Czech Republic, superior general of the Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy of St. Charles Borromeo (1914-1988);

- Servant of God Praxedes Fernandez Garcia, Spain, laywoman and member of the Third Order of St. Dominic (1886-1936);

- Servant of God Elisabetta Tasca, Italy, laywoman and mother (1899-1978).

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Monday, November 24, 2014

The Pope Canonizes Six New Blesseds

Vatican City, 24 November 2014 (VIS) – During the Mass celebrated this morning on the Solemnity of Christ King of the Universe, the Holy Father canonized blesseds Giovanni Antonio Fraina (1803-1888), Kuriakose Elias Chavara of the Holy Family (1805-1871), Ludovico da Casoria (1814-1885), Nicola da Longobardi (1650-1709), Euphrasia Eluvathingal of the Sacred Heart (1877-1952) and Amato Ronconi (c. 1226-c.1292).

In his homily, the Pope remarked that the kingdom of Jesus is the “kingdom of truth and life, the kingdom of sanctity and grace, the kingdom of justice, love and peace”, and he commented on today's readings show how the Lord established his kingdom, how He brings it about as history unfolds, and what He now asks of us.

Jesus brought about his kingdom “through his closeness and tenderness towards us”, as the prophet Ezekiel foresaw in the first reading that describes the attitude of the Shepherd towards His flock, using the verbs such as to seek, to keep watch, to round up, to lead to pasture, to bring to rest; to seek the lost sheep, to tend to the wounded, to heal the sick, to care for and to graze. “Those of us who are called to be pastors in the Church cannot stray from this example, if we do not want to become hirelings. In this respect, the People of God have an unerring sense for recognising good shepherds and distinguishing them from hirelings”.

After his victory, that is, after the Resurrection – Jesus' kingdom grew, but it was not a kingdom according to earthly models. “For Him, to reign was not to command, but to obey the Father, to give Himself over to the Father, so that His plan of love and salvation may be brought to fulfilment. … The Gospel teaches what Jesus' kingdom requires of us: it reminds us that closeness and tenderness are the rule of life for us also, and that on this basis we will be judged. … The starting point of salvation is not the confession of the sovereignty of Christ, but rather the imitation of Jesus' works of mercy through which He brought about his kingdom”. He explained that those who accomplish these works show that they have understood and welcomed Jesus' sovereignty, because they have opened their hearts to God's charity. “In the twilight of life we will be judged on our love for, closeness to and and tenderness towards our brothers and sisters. … Jesus has opened to us His kingdom to us, but it is for us to enter into it, beginning with our life now – his kingdom begins now – by being close in concrete ways to our brothers and sisters who as for bread, clothing, acceptance, solidarity, catechesis”.

Today the Church places before us the examples of these new saints. Each in her or her own way served the kingdom of God, of which they became heirs, precisely through works of generous devotion to God and their brothers and sisters. They responded with extraordinary creativity to the commandment of love of God and neighbour. They dedicated themselves without reserve to serving the least and assisting the destitute, sick, elderly and pilgrims. Their preference for the smallest and poorest was the reflection and the measure of their unconditional love of God. In fact, they sought and discovered love in a strong and personal relationship with God, from whence springs forth love for one's neighbour”. Pope Francis concluded, “Through the rite of canonisation, we have confessed once again the mystery of God's kingdom and we have honoured Christ the King, the Shepherd full of love for His sheep. May our new saints, through their witness and intercession, increase within us the joy of walking in the way of the Gospel and our resolve to embrace it as the compass of our lives”.

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque

During the centuries of 1550 to 1850 France would undergo what would become known in history as the 'little ice age'. This would also bring major economic problems to the infrastructure of France, and its ability to grow produce in its agricultural provinces.

The bitter frost and winds destroyed crops and made any farming difficult, which then brought much hardship to all in France, as many were dependent upon the land to earn their living.

The weather would not be the only problem for France as its government embarked on a series of wars, which expanded its territory, especially when France intervened in what would be known as 'the thirty year war'.

But, it would be under the leadership of King Louis XlV that France would become one centralised Government, even though it would be riddled with internal divisions for many years to come.

Into this seething political hotbed that was France would come a daughter of the Church, Margaret Mary who was born in the year 1647. Both her parents, Claude Alacoque and his wife Philiberte, were overjoyed at their latest arrival who would join her four other siblings.

The Alacoque family were known for their piety and both parents faithfully instructed all their children on the Church's Teaching. Margaret Mary would prove to be an apt pupil as she listened intently to her parents, and through their guidance Margaret Mary grew in fervour as she longed to receive Communion. But sadness touched the family when her Father died in 1755; Philiberte was distraught at losing her beloved Claude.

So it was decided to send Margaret Mary to the Urbanist Nuns at Charolles, where she stayed for the next 2 years to receive further instruction on the Faith, and to further her education. Because of the good grounding she had received from her parents Margaret was able to partake of Holy Communion at the young age of nine.

But it was after this that a strange malady struck Margaret Mary and she was unable to remain with the nuns as her condition worsened and she became bed ridden. Upon her return home her family was worried for her and wondered if their beloved Margaret would ever walk again. So they along with Margaret Mary began a prayer vigil, and it was when Margaret consecrated herself to the Blessed Mother, that she was miraculously healed.

Margaret Mary attributed her healing to the intervention of the Blessed Mother and vowed to become a Religious herself, for Margaret had longed for this, even at the early age of four.

During all this Philiberte kept up her daughters spirits even though she herself was enduring much stress from inner wrangling with some members of her family. Even though the Alacoque family had been left in good financial circumstances due to her father’s position at court, many members of the family tried to interfere with Philiberte's handling of her children and home. This led to the family being taken advantage of, and Philiberte lost much of her financial independence.

After the family conflict had abated Philiberte tried to marry off her lovely Margaret Mary to a man of substance, and though for a while Margaret immersed herself in society dances and balls she could find no solace in such vanities. So Margaret refused and held fast to her longing to enter the Religious life, for she intended to keep her promise made to the Blessed Mother. It was also during this internal family warfare that Margaret turned increasingly to prayer and spent many hours praying to her beloved Lord and Our Lady, seeking guidance in which direction to take.

It was during this time that Margaret Mary would see a vision of Christ, who appeared before her as if he had been freshly scourged, a most pitiful sight which tore at the young Margaret’s heart. Our Lord rebuked Margaret for forgetting her promise, and this was to touch Margaret’s heart with an inner remorse that would stay with her for life.

So it was that in the year 1671 Margaret Mary entered the Visitation Order situated at Paray and in 1672 Margaret made her final vows. During all this our Lord continued to appear to Margaret Mary, showing through his throbbing and bleeding Heart how much sin grieved Him and his Heavenly Father, and it was through this vision of Christ's most Sacred Heart that a devotion would spring to appease the sins of the world, through this particular devotion of prayer.

These visions of our Lord would also bring much pain to Margaret Mary as many in her community became jealous. Though many were cruel to her, Margaret remained loving and docile, and this won over the hearts of her Superiors and fellow sisters.

It was also through these visions given to Margaret Mary as a Gift from God, that Jesus wished to establish the devotion to His Sacred Heart, by instituting a Holy Hour on the first Friday of each month. For Jesus longed for Reparation from the Faithful when in His hour of need He had been alone, and to afford all those who would keep Him company during this devotion to the Sacred Heart the immensity of His Divine Mercy and Love to Sanctify all who pray in reparation and keep Him company during His agony.

Then in 1675 a holy Priest Claude de la Colombiere was sent to the parish of Paray and became confessor to the Visitation Nuns, which included Sister Margaret Mary. It would be through this young Priest that the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus would be promoted, through his writings.

For both Sister Margaret Mary and Fr. Claude had a devout love for Jesus and longed to keep Him company when he was deserted by all. Through their combined love of God they were to spread this mission and devotion throughout the world and the promises contained for those who follow this devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Sister Margaret Mary died in 1690.

St. Margaret Mary was canonised in 1920 by Pope Benedict XV.

These are the twelve promises of Jesus for those devoted to His Sacred Heart.

1: I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life

2: I will establish peace in their families.

3: I will console them in all their troubles.

4: They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of their death.

5: I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings.

6: Sinners shall find in My Heart the source of an infinite ocean of mercy.

7: Tepid souls shall become fervent.

8: Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection.

9: I will bless the homes where an image of My Heart shall be exposed and honored.

10: I will give to priests the power of touching the most hardened hearts.

11: Those who propagate this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart, never to be effaced.

12: The all-powerful love of My Heart will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under my displeasure, nor without receiving their Sacraments; My heart shall be their assured refuge at that last hour.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi (From Goffine's Devout Instructions)

October 4
Saint Francis was born at Assisi, in Italy, in the year 1182. His father, a rich merchant, intended him for trade, and Francis applied himself with aptness to this employment, in which, though fond of show, he exhibited, at an early day, a particular love for the poor. Agreeable and amiable, affable and kind to all, he was beloved by all around him, and the world sought to draw him to its side. But, enlightened from above, and by heavenly apparitions rendered attentive to the call he was about to receive, he followed the leadings of grace which drew him on to imitate Christ in poverty and humility. Hearing one day at Mass the words of the Gospel: "Do not possess gold, nor silver, nor money in your purses, nor scrip for your journey, nor two coats, nor shoes, nor a staff" (Matthew 10:9,10), he began to regulate the whole manner of his life according to this precept of the Gospel, and at once began to preach penance with such evangelical poverty, and with such power, that all who heard him were moved to tears. Disinherited by his father, who was greatly displeased at his poverty and open-handedness towards the poor, he threw himself altogether upon the providence of his Father in heaven, dividing with the poor the alms he thus received. The extraordinary manner of his life soon brought around him disciples, and as the number of them increased daily, he wrote for them a rule, and then set out for Rome, to procure from the Pope a confirmation of it. He came back, rejoicing in the Lord that everything at Rome had gone according to his wish, and established himself about a mile from his native city, at a small church belonging to the Benedictines, which he called Portiuncula (little portion). Here he led a life of the severest penance; here he prayed day and night, and here he laid the foundation of that Order which has filled the world with the splendor of its virtues. Here in this church, dedicated to the virgin Mother of Jesus and to the holy angels, he received from Christ Himself the celebrated indulgence known throughout the whole Christian world as the Portiuncula Indulgence; for while the saint was praying there with glowing devotion, on the day of the dedication of the church, in the year 1221, the Lord appeared to him and said: "Francis, ask whatever thou wilt for the salvation of the nations." He answered: "I desire the remission of guilt and punishment, a plenary indulgence for all who shall visit this church with contrite hearts and sinccrely confess their sins." The Lord replied: "Go then to My representative, the Pope, and ask the indulgence in My name." Forthwith he went to Pope Honorius III, who first, by word of mouth, and afterwards by a proper bull, confirmed to him the indulgence. The same indulgence was, at a latter day, extended to all churches of the Franciscans, and by Pope Pius VII to all parish churches (at least to all in Bavaria), and may be gained on the first Sunday in August of every year.
Burning with desire for the salvation of the people, Saint Francis with his brethren, whom he sent out two by two to preach penance and. the peace of God, labored to establish everywhere the kingdom of heaven. His love for sinners, and his ardent zeal for the salvation of souls, impelled him to visit remote parts of the world to preach the Gospel to unbelievers. For this he was rewarded by God with miraculous graces, among which there is particularly to be mentioned that which was granted him upon Mount Alverno. While he was there engaged, separated from the world, in fasting and praying for forty days, as he was accustomed to do often, the Saviour appeared to him in the form of a seraph on the cross, and imprinted the five wounds of His own body on the body of Saint Francis. On acconnt of this, and for his ardent love for Jesus crucified, Saint Francis received the surname of Seraph.
After this event the saint lived two years in manifold bodily distress and sickness, without murmur or complaint, with perfect resignation to the will of God. Some time before his death he caused his will to be written, in which he left to his brethren poverty as an inheritance in which they should find great treasure for heaven. As the hour of his dissolution drew nigh he had the passion of Christ read to him; he then said the one hundred and forty-first psalm, and at the words, "Bring my soul out of prison that I may praise Thy name," he expired happy in the Lord, 4 October 1226, in the forty-fifth year of his age.
Saint Francis founded three Orders: the first and proper Order of Franciscans, or the Order of Friars Minor; then the Order of Franciscan nuns, or Clares, so called from Saint Clare, their first superior; and lastly, that called the Third Order, for people in the world, of both sexes, who aim at perfection, but do not desire to make the vows of the cloister. This last Order, which has been approved by many Popes, particularly by Gregory IX, Innocent IV, and Nicholas IV, has spread throughout the whole world, and is becoming in our day more and more flourishing.
O God, Who by the merits of blessed Francis dost increase Thy Church by a new progeny, grant us by imitating him to despise earthly things, and ever to rejoice in the participation of heavenly gifts. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.
Epistle: Galatians 6:14-18
Brethren: God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And whosoever shall follow this rule, peace on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. From henceforth let no man be troublesome to me, for I bear the marks of the Lord Jesus in my body. The grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen.
Gospel: Matthew 11:25-30
At that time Jesus answered and said: I confess to Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to little ones. Yea, Father, for so hath it seemed good in Thy sight. All things are delivered to Me by My Father. And no, one knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither doth anyone know the Father, but the Son, and he to whom it shall please the Son to reveal Him. Come to Me, all you that labor, and are burdened, and I will refresh you. Take up My yoke upon you, and learn of Me, because I am meek, and humble of heart, and you shall find rest to your souls. For My yoke is sweet and My burden light.
-- Goffine's Devout Instructions

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Decrees of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints

Vatican City, 17 September 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Angelo Amato S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. During the audience he authorised the promulgation of decrees concerning the following causes:


- Blessed Maria Cristina of the Immaculate Conception (nee Adelaide Brando), Italian foundress of the Oblation Sisters of the Holy Sacrament (1856-1906);

- Venerable Servant of God Pio Alberto del Corona, Italian professed priest of the Order of Preachers, bishop of San Miniato and founder of the Dominican Sisters of the Holy Spirit (1837-1912);

- Venerable Servant of God Marie-Elisabeth Turgeon, Canadian foundress of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary (1840-1881).

The Pontiff also approved the votes of the Ordinary Session of the Cardinal and Bishop Fathers in favour of the canonisation of Blessed Joseph Vaz, Indian priest of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, founder of the Oratory of the Holy Cross of Miracles in Goa (1651-1711).

Finally, the Holy Father decided that a Consistory will be convoked shortly for the canonisation of Blessed Joseph Vaz and Blessed Maria Cristina of the Immaculate Conception, nee Adelaide Brando.

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Thursday, September 04, 2014

Dispute between dioceses stalls cause for beatification of Fulton Sheen : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

The following excerpts are from Catholic Culture's Catholic World News:

Catholic World News - September 04, 2014
A dispute between the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Peoria, Illinois, has blocked progress toward the beatification of Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria made a surprise announcement on September 3 that the Vatican has decided to suspend the cause for Archbishop Sheen's beatification, which had been expected to take place next year. The bishop said that he was making this announcement "with immense sadness," after failing to reach an agreement with the New York archdiocese about the transfer of Archbishop Sheen's remains.

The Peoria diocese, where the renowned preacher was raised and ordained to the priesthood, had taken the lead in promoting the cause for his beatification. In April, a Vatican-appointed panel approved the validity of a miracle attributed to Archbishop Sheen's intercession, and Church officials predicted that the beatification ceremony would take place in Peoria in 2015.

However, Bishop Jenky revealed that the New York archdiocese has balked at a request to transfer the late archbishop's remains to Peoria, for an inspection and the preparation of first-class relics. Bishop Jenky said that he had been "personally assured on several occasions" that the New York archdiocese would cooperate in the transfer, but New York officials later withdrew their support and Vatican officials were unable to negotiate an agreement. Therefore, Bishop Jenky reported, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints "decided that the Sheen cause would not have to be relegated to the Congregation's historic archive."

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Dispute between dioceses stalls cause for beatification of Fulton Sheen : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Memorial of Saint John Mary Vianney

Saint John Mary Vianney (also known as Cure of Ars; Jean Baptiste Marie Vianney; Jean Marie Baptiste Vianney; Jean-Baptiste Vianney; John Baptist Vianney; John Vianney) was born on May 8, 1786 A.D. at Dardilly, Lyons, France, and he was baptized the same day.

His parents, Matthieu Vianney and Marie Beluze, had six children, of whom John was the fourth. John's parents were devout Catholics who helped the poor and gave hospitality to St. Benedict Joseph Labre, the patron saint of tramps, who passed through Dardilly on his pilgrimage to Rome.

John was a farm hand, and as a youngster, he taught other children their prayers and catechism. He was 20 when his father allowed him to leave the farm in 1806 to be taught at a "presbytery-school" in the neighboring village of Écully. The school taught arithmetic, history, geography, and Latin.

John was ordained a priest in 1815 after several years of study. He had a difficult time with his studies as he had little education, was not a very good student, and his Latin was terrible. In 1818, he was assigned to the parish of Ars, a tiny village near Lyons, which suffered from very lax attendance. He began visiting his parishioners, especially the sick and poor, and he spent days in prayer, doing penance for his parishioners.

John was gifted with discernment of spirits, prophecy, hidden knowledge, and working miracles. Crowds came to hear him preach, and to make their reconciliation because of his reputation with penitents. By 1855, there were 20,000 pilgrims a year to Ars. John spent 40 years at Ars as the parish priest. He was a prolific writer, and much of his writing has been preserved.

Saint John Mary Vianney died of natural causes on August 4, 1859 at Ars, France. His body is incorrupt.

In 1959, on the 100th anniversary of his death, Pope Saint John XXIII issued Sacerdotii Nostri Primordia, an encyclical on Vianney. Pope Saint John Paul II himself visited Ars in 1986 at the 200th anniversary of Vianney’s birth and referred to the saint as a “rare example of a pastor acutely aware of his responsibilities”.

In honor of the 150th anniversary of Vianney's death, Pope Benedict XVI declared a year for priests, running from the Feast of the Sacred Heart 2009-2010.

The Vatican Postal Service issued a set of stamps to commemorate the 150th Anniversary. With the following words on June 16 , 2009, Benedict XVI officially marked the beginning of the year dedicated to priests, "…On the forthcoming Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Friday 19 June 2009 – a day traditionally devoted to prayer for the sanctification of the clergy –, I have decided to inaugurate a ‘Year for Priests’ in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the dies natalis of John Mary Vianney, the Patron Saint of parish priests worldwide…"

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Saint Ignatius of Loyola

Saint Ignatius of Loyola (also known as Inigo Lopez de Loyola) was born in 1491A.D. at Loyola, Guipuzcoa, Spain, as Inigo Lopez de Loyola. He was Spanish nobility, and the youngest of twelve children. He was a page in the Spanish court of Ferdinand and Isabella, and he received a military education.

He entered the army in 1517, and served in several campaigns. He was seriously wounded in the leg by a cannonball at the siege of Pampeluna on May 20, 1521, an injury that left him partially crippled for life.

During his recuperation, the only books he had access to were “The Golden Legend”, a collection of lives of the saints, and the Life of Christ by Ludolph the Carthusian. These books, and the time spent in contemplation, changed him.

Upon his recovery, he took a vow of chastity, hung his sword before the altar of the Virgin of Montserrat, and donned a pilgrim's robes. He lived in a cave from 1522 to 1523, contemplating the way to live a Christian life. He wrote about his religious experiences, and later made them the foundation for the spiritual exercises, which he drew up for his Order.

He was a pilgrim to Rome and the Holy Land in 1523, where he worked to convert Muslims. In 1528, he began studying theology in Barcelona, Alcala, and Paris, receiving his degree in 1534. His meditations, prayers, visions and insights led to forming the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus in August of 1534, and the order received papal approval in 1541.

Ignatius was a friend of James Lainez, Alonso Salmerón, Nicholas Bobadilla, Simón Rodriguez, Blessed Peter Faber, and Saint Francis Xavier, the group that formed the core of the new Society. He never used the term Jesuit, which was coined as an insult by his adversaries. Today the Society uses the term with pride.

He traveled Europe and the Holy Lands, and then settled in Rome to direct the Jesuits. His health suffered in later years, and he was nearly blind at death.

Today the Jesuits have over 500 universities and colleges, 30,000 members, and teach over 200,000 students each year.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola died of fever in 1556 at Rome, Italy. His relics are at the Gesu in Rome, Italy.

Below are some quotations from Saint Ignatius of Loyola:

Do not let any occasion of gaining merit pass without taking care to draw some spiritual profit from it; as, for example, from a sharp word which someone may say to you; from an act of obedience imposed against your will; from an opportunity which may occur to humble yourself, or to practice charity, sweetness, and patience. All of these occasions are gain for you, and you should seek to procure them; and at the close of that day, when the greatest number of them have come to you, you should go to rest most cheerful and pleased, as the merchant does on the day when he had had most chance for making money; for on that day business has prospered with him.

If God causes you to suffer much, it is a sign that He has great designs for you, and that He certainly intends to make you a saint. And if you wish to become a great saint, entreat Him yourself to give you much opportunity for suffering; for there is no wood better to kindle the fire of holy love than the wood of the cross, which Christ used for His own great sacrifice of boundless charity.

Idleness begets a life of discontent. It develops self-love, which is the cause of all our miseries, and renders us unworthy to receive the favors of divine love.

He is generous even to exhaustion; and what is most wonderful is, that He gives Himself thus entirely, not once only, but every day, if we wish it. Every fresh Communion is a new gift which Jesus Christ makes of Himself. 

Few souls understand what God would accomplish in them if they were to abandon themselves unreservedly to Him and if they were to allow His grace to mold them accordingly.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Saint Lawrence of Brindisi, Priest and Doctor of the Church

Saint Lawrence of Brindisi (also known as Julius Caesar Rossi; Laurence of Brindisi; Lorenzo da Brindisi) was born in 1559 A.D. at Brindisi, Italy as Julius Caesar Rossi. He was a son of Guglielmo de Rossi and Elisabetta Masella. He felt an early call to the religious life, and was educated by the Friars Minor Conventuals of Brindisi. Lawrence's father died when the boy was twelve.

Saint Lawrence joined the Capuchin Friars in 1575 at the age of 16, taking the name Brother Lorenzo. His studies at the University of Padua included theology, the Bible, Bohemian, French, German, Greek, Spanish, Syriac, and Hebrew. He was a brilliant student known for his facility with languages. Lawrence was a priest, and he taught theology. He served as linguist and military chaplain. He became a famous, effective and forceful preacher in any of his several languages. Lawrence became head of his order and founded convents at Vienna, Prague, and Graz.

Lawrence was chaplain of the army of the Holy Roman Empire in 1601. He rallied the German princes to fight a superior Turkish force, and was asked to lead the army into battle at Stuhlweissenburg (modern Albe-Royal) carrying no weapon but a crucifix. The Turks were completely defeated.

Saint Lawrence was the master general of his order from 1602 to 1605 and he was the choice for another term, but turned it down. He was assigned in 1605 to evangelize in Germany, where he had great success. He also convinced King Philip III of Spain to join the German Catholic League. Lawrence was the commissary general of his order for the provinces of Tyrol and Bavaria, and he was spiritual director of the Bavarian army.

Saint Lawrence of Brindisi died of natural causes on July 22, 1619 at Lisbon, Portugal. He is buried in the cemetery of the Poor Clares at Villafranca. In 1956, the Capuchin Order compiled fifteen volumes of his sermons, letters and writings. Pope John XXIII proclaimed Lawrence an Apostolic Doctor of the Church in 1959. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Feast of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist (From Goffine's Devout Instructions)

SAINT JOHN could not have had any greater panegyrist than Jesus Christ Himself, Who said: "There hath not risen, among them that are born of women [in the natural manner], a greater than John the Baptist" (Matthew 11:11). The Lord made him great, even from his mother's womb, by causing his birth to be foretold by an angel, by giving him his name, and by sanctifying him while yet in his mother's womb through the presence of Christ. To escape from the world and its allurements he withdrew to the desert, and there occupied himself only with God and with what concerned his vocation. His food was locusts and wild honey; his clothing a garment of camel's hair, fastened by a leathern girdle; his bed the hard ground. Thus he lived till his thirtieth year, in which, by the command of God, he was to proclaim the coming of the Messias, Whom he himself afterwards baptized and pointed out to men as the Lamb of God. With extraordinary zeal and earnestness he preached the necessity of true penance.

For having reproved Herod for living in adultery he was thrown into prison, and finally, at the instigation of Herodias, was beheaded.

We celebrate the day of his birth rather than that of his death, as is the case on most saints' days, because, while other saints arrive at sanctity only through long and difficult contests, John was already sanctified in his mother's womb.

The Introit of the Mass is as follows:
"The Lord hath called me by my name, from the womb of my mother, and hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of His hand He hath protected me, and hath made me as a chosen arrow. It is good to give praise to the Lord, and to sing to Thy name, O Most High."
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.


O God, Who, by the birth of John, made this day worthy to be honored by us, grant to Thy people the grace of spiritual joys, and guide the minds of all the faithful in the way of eternal salvation. Through our Lord, etc.

Epistle: Isaias 49:1-3, 5-7

Give ear, ye islands, and hearken, ye peoples from afar. The Lord hath called me from the womb, from the bowels of my mother He hath been mindful of my name. And He hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of His hand He hath protected me, and hath made me as a chosen arrow; in his quiver He hath hidden me. And He said to me: Thou art my servant Israel, for in thee will I glory. And now saith the Lord, that formed me from the womb to be His servant, that I may bring back Jacob unto Him, and Israel will not be gathered together, and I am glorified in the eyes of the Lord, and my God is made my strength. And He said: It is a small thing that thou shouldst be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to convert the dregs of Israel. Behold I have given thee to be the light of the gentiles, that thou mayest be My salvation even to the farthest part of the earth. Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, His holy One, to the soul that is despised, to the nation that is abhorred, to the servant of rulers: Kings shall see, and princes shall rise up and adore for the Lord's sake, because He is faithful, and for the holy One of Israel, Who hath chosen thee.


This prophecy refers, it is true, to Christ, Whom God has made the head, teacher, ruler, and salvation of all nations. The greater part of it, however, may be applied to Saint John, as is evident from his life.

Gospel: Luke 1:57-68

Elizabeth's full time of being delivered was come, and she brought forth a son. And her neighbors and kinsfolk heard that the Lord had showed His great mercy towards her, and they congratulated with her. And it came to pass that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they called hIm by his father's name, Zachary. And his mother answering, said: Not so, but he shall be called John. And they said to her: There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name. And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called. And demanding a writing-table, he wrote, saying: John is his name. And they all wondered. And immediately his mouth was opened, and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. And fear came upon all their neighbors; and all these things were noised abroad over all the hill-country of Judea. And all they that had heard them laid them up in their heart, saying: What an one, think ye, shall this child be? For the hand of the Lord was with him. And Zachary, his father, was filled with the Holy Ghost, and he prophesied, saying: Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, because He hath visited and wrought the redemption of His people.


The neighbors and kinsfolk of Elizabeth rejoiced with her at her happiness, and gave her joy. We too, in like manner, should be glad when anything good happens to our neighbor, and thank and praise God therefor.


Saint John, blessed forerunner of Jesus Christ, mirror of true penance, burning and shining light, who by thy teaching and example didst show to men the way to Christ, I beseech thee, by thy penitential life, that thou wouldst obtain for me, from Him Whom thou didst point out as the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world, grace that, fearing God's wrath against the impenitent, I may at last do true penance for my sins, mortify my sinful flesh according to thy example, serve God in purity and sanctity, and finally, in the land of eternal happiness, follow forever the Lamb Who on the altar of the cross was slain for me. Amen.
-- Goffine's Devout Instructions

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Saint Faustina of Divine Mercy Memorial

Saint Faustina of Divine Mercy

Saint Faustina brought to the world a Divine Message of Epic proportion, one cannot underestimate the impact this one woman has had upon the twentieth century.

She was born into a poor Polish family and given the name Helena Kowalska. No one could have then predicted how God would work in this woman's soul. Her family were very devout Catholics and they loved Helena as their favourite daughter, so it was with trepidation that they at first refused Helena her dearest wish to become a religious and devote her life in the service of God, for they could not bear the pain of separation from this most loving of daughters. So in an effort to please her parents and to try and ignore the 'inner calling Helena threw herself into her work as a nanny for a more wealthier family.

But Gods call was much stronger and more insistent, and it was during a social event when their was a dance that Jesus appeared to her and said to her "How long will I put up with you, and how long will you keep putting me off?" Helena knew she could no longer resist this calling nor could she refuse her Lord who she loved above all others, and upon hearing our Lord say to her, "Go immediately to Warsaw; you will enter a convent there." Helena then made sure her affairs were in order and once this was done she confided to her sister her plans to enter the Convent, and with a last goodbye to her sister she embarked on a course that would not only change her life, but would impact and change the world. Upon reaching Warsaw, Helena worked as a servant until she saved the dowry needed to enter the Order of The Sisters of Mercy, a year later, on August 1, 1925, she entered as a postulant. On April 30, 1926, Helena became a novice, taking as her "name in religion," the name "Sister Mary Faustina of the Blessed Sacrament."

Life was not easy for this most obedient of daughter of God, and upon receiving what would be her mission her life became even more difficult, when she started to receive messages and visions of our Lord requesting her to reveal to the world His most Divine Mercy and the Love which Jesus has for each soul. Sister Faustina faced much ridicule and open contempt from some of her fellow Sisters, but even though this pained her deeply she never lost focus on what was essential, Sister Faustina kept her eyes on our Lord and kept her note book in which she wrote down this most astounding and also most important message for the world.

Eventually Sister Faustina's health became fragile, and her Superiors doubted her ill health which quickly detoriated over time, but even when she was under so much pressure and intense suffering Sister Faustina trusted in her Lord and Savior and kept working on the note book which would become 'Divine Mercy in My Soul', Sister Faustina died on October 5, 1938 a most Holy and devoted soul. The task of spreading her message then fell to Father Sopocko, who worked tirelessly on this most Divine and most Intimate of Messages.

Many years later when our late Beloved Pope John Paul was shot in St Peters Square he requested that this book 'Divine Mercy in My Soul' be brought to him, the Holy Father as he recovered from the wound that nearly ended his life reflected much on this Divine Message.

Sister Faustina, as St. Faustina was beatified on April 18, 1993 and canonized on April 30, 2000.

I would encourage ALL to read her book and the Revelations found within from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Divine Mercy Poster
Divine Mercy Poster by stvsmith2009
Find more Divine mercy Posters at Zazzle

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Decrees For The Causes Of Saints

Vatican City, 3 April 2014 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father Francis received in audience Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, during which he extended the liturgical cult of the following blesseds to the universal Church, inscribing them in the book of Saints:

-Francois de Laval, French bishop of Quebec, Canada (1623-1708).

-Jose de Anchieta, Spanish priest of the Society of Jesus (1534-1597).

-Maria de la Encarnacion (nee Marie Guyart), French (1599-1672).

He also authorised the Congregation to promulgate the decrees concerning the following causes:


- Servant of God Giovanni Antonio Farina, Italian bishop and founder of the Institute of the Sisters of Saint Dorothy, Daughters of the Sacred Hearts (1803-1871).

- Blessed Kuriacose Elias Chavara, Indian professed priest and founder of the Congregation of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (1805-1871).

- Blessed Nicola da Longobardi, (ne Giovanni Battista Clemente Saggio), Italian oblate friar of the Order of the Minims (1650-1709).

- Blessed Euphrasia of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (nee Rose Eluvathingal), Indian professed religious of the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel (1877-1952).

- Servant of God Luigi della Consolata (ne Andrea Bordino), Italian professed religious, Brothers of Saint Joseph Benedict Cottolengo (1922-1977).


- Servant of God Francisco Simon Rodenas, Spanish professed priest of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, bishop of Santa Marta (1849-1914).

- Servant of God Adolfo Barberis, Italian priest and founder of the Institute of Sisters of Christian Servanthood (1884-1967).

- Servant of God Marie-Clement (ne Joseph Staub), French professed priest of the Assumptionists and founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joan of Arc (1876-1936).

- Servant of God Sebastian Elorza Arizmendi, Spanish professed religious of the Order of St. Augustine (1882-1942).

- Servant of God Maria Teresa of the Eucharistic Jesus (nee Dulce Rodrigues dos Santos), Brazilian foundress of the Congregation of the Little Missionary Sisters of Mary Immaculate (1901-1972).

- Servant of God Clara de la Concepcion (nee Juana de la Concepcion Sanchez Garcia), Spanish professed religious of the Order of St. Clare (1902-1973).

- Servant of God Maria Magdalena (nee Maria Giuseppina Teresa Marcucci), Italian professed religious of the Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ (1888-1960).

-Servant of God Luigi Rocchi, Italian layperson (1932-1979).

You can find more information at:
The news items contained in the Vatican Information Service may be used, in part or in their entirety, by quoting the source:
V.I.S. -Vatican Information Service.

Copyright © Vatican Information Service 00120 Vatican City

Monday, March 31, 2014

Preparing For The Canonization Of John XXIII And John Paul II

Vatican City, 31 March 2014 (VIS) - This morning a press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office to present the initiatives forming part of the preparations for the canonisations of Blesseds John XXIII and John Paul II, to be celebrated on 27 April. The speakers were Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar of His Holiness for the diocese of Rome, along with Msgr. Giulio Dellavite, secretary general for the Curia of Bergamo, Msgr. Walter Insero, head of the Office for Social Communications for the Vicariate of Rome, and Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office.

The initiatives will include a digital platform, the aim of which is to enable the faithful and pilgrims to have access to news and information regarding the ceremonies as well as a series of spiritual reflections on the life and teachings of both popes. Indeed, the official site is an almost-completed portal which offers contacts, sections for press offices, information, videos and images as well as biographical documentation on John XXIII and John Paul II. It will be available in five languages: Italian, English, French, Spanish and Polish.

The application entitled "Santo Subito", which may be downloaded free in both Android and IOS formats (in Italian, English, Spanish and Polish) and whose title draws on the famed saintliness of both Popes even during their lifetimes, will offer logistical information, as well as access to the main news on the canonisations, and will allow material relating to the various liturgical events to be downloaded.

Existing media include:

Official page of the Postulation with content in five languages:

Official Twitter page with content in five languages:

YouTube channel for the Postulation:

This latter, developed in 2011 for the beatification of Karol Wojtyla, gives a detailed illustration of the stages in the canonical process leading to the recognition of the saintliness of John Paul II and is available in several languages: Italian, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish and Romanian.

The parallel project #2popesaints, realised in collaboration with the students of communication sciences from the Roman university LUMSA involves a series of networks enabling young people to get to know the lives, teachings and testimony of faith of the two new saints. There will be a Facebook page entitled 2popesaints; on Twitter, the account @2popesaints; on Instagram, #2popesaints; and on YouTube, 2popesaints. Every day each one of the above will propose a theme relating to both popes in the media, starting from 16 April until the canonisation, and each event will be transmitted live on each network.

On Google+ there will be the possibility of following in a "hangout" the daily briefings during the week leading up to the canonisation. A QR code will also be created to allow rapid access to the site The initiative "Rome connecting to the World", a form of "twinning" between the faithful arriving in Rome and the young people of the city, will make it possible to get to know the most important locations in Rome along with the history of John XXIII and John Paul II, providing information on the Facebook page.

In the diocese of Rome, on 22 April in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, Cardinal Agostino Vallini will preside at a meeting addressing young people, with the postulators for the causes of both saints: Msgr. Slavomir Oder (John Paul II) and Fr. Giovangiuseppe Califano (John XXIII). On 26 April, starting at 9 p.m., there will be a "White night of prayer" and the churches throughout the centre of Rome will remain open for prayer and confession in various languages.

Similarly, the diocese of Bergamo will pay homage to XIII with the initiative "Le Opere Segno", a series of activities dedicated to charity, human development and solidarity which affect daily lives. They include an aid project for Haiti to guarantee three years' education in the John XXIII school; an invitation to priests to contribute a month's salary and all the alms collected by the parish communities on 27 April to a fund set up in aid of families afflicted by the economic crisis; and the commemoration, on 12 April, of the publication of the encyclical "Pacem in Terris", to be attended by ambassadors representing the countries where Angelo Roncalli carried out his diplomatic mission as an apostolic nuncio (Bulgaria, Turkey, Greek and France), and which will be presented by Jacques Delors, former president of the European Commission.

You can find more information at:
The news items contained in the Vatican Information Service may be used, in part or in their entirety, by quoting the source:
V.I.S. -Vatican Information Service.

Copyright © Vatican Information Service 00120 Vatican City

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