Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Saint of the day: Pope John Paul II


The following comes from the Patron Saints Index:

For many years Karol believed God was calling him to the priesthood, and after two near fatal accidents, he responded to God's call. He studied secretly during the German occupation of Poland, and was ordained on 1 November 1946. In these years he came to know and practice the teachings of Saint Louis Marie Montfort and Saint John of the Cross. Earned his Doctorate in theology in 1948 at the Angelicum in Rome, Italy.

Parish priest in the Krakow diocese from 1948 to 1951. Studied philosophy at the Jagiellonian University at Krakow. Taught social ethics at the Krakow Seminary from 1952 to 1958. In 1956 he became a professor at the University of Lublin. Venerable Pope Pius XII appointed Wojtyla an auxiliary bishop in Krakow on 4 July 1958. Servant of God, Pope Paul VI appointed him Archbishop of Krakow on 30 December 1963.

Wojtyla proved himself a noble and trustworthy pastor in the face of Communist persecution. A member of the prepatory commission, he attended all four sessions of Vatican II; is said to have written Gaudium et spes, the document on the Church in the Modern World. He also played a prominent role in the formulation of the Declaration on Religious Freedom. Following the Council, Pope Paul VI, appointed Karol Wojtyla cardinal on 26 June 1967.

In 1960 he published his most famous written work, Love and Responsibility. Pope Paul VI, delighted with its apologetical defense of the traditional catholic teaching of marraige, relied extensively on Archbishop Wojytla's counsel in writing Humanae Vitae. In 1976 he was invited by Pope Paul VI to preach the lenten sermons to the members of the Papal Household.

Archbishop Wojtyla became the first non-Italian pope since Adrian VI. He took the name of his predecessors (John, Paul, John Paul) to emphasize his desire to continue the reforms of the Council.

John Paul II is the most traveled pope in history, having visited nearly every country in the world which would receive him. As the Vicar of Christ he has consecrated each place that he has visited to the Blessed Virgin Mary. On 13 May 1983 he went to Fatima to consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He later repeated the consecration of the world to Mary in union with all the Bishops of the Catholic Church, in fulfillment of Our Lady's promises at Fatima.

In the summer of 1995, Pope John Paul II began a lengthy catechisis on the Blessed Virgin Mary during his weekly Angelus addresses, culminating on 25 October 1995, with his instruction on Our Lady's active participation in the Sacrifice of Calvary. This active participation of Our Lady at Calvary is called the corredemption. Already in 1982 and 1985 Pope John Paul II used the term "corredemptrix" in reference to Our Lady in public addresses. This is significant, for he is the first Pope to do so since Pope Benedict XV at whose prayer Our Lady came to Fatima to reveal Her Immaculate Heart. Since the time of Pope Benedict XV, this terminology was under review by the Holy See; the present Pope's usage is a confirmation of this traditional view of Mary's role in salvation history.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Jesuit Martyrs

Friday, October 18, 2019

"The Father, My Son and The Holy Ghost" by Craig Morgan


This is a beautiful and sad song from Craig Morgan.  He wrote it to remember the loss of his son who passed away 3 years ago in an accident.  Here are the lyrics:

Lights are shining bright
It's always downtown on the road
I have friends that come from outta town
Asking me to go
They say, "There's so much going on
Why don't you come along and show us around?"
I tell them Karen's not feeling well
So I probably shouldn't go out
Besides I've gotta fix a list of things
I need to do around the house
Then I hang up the phone
Turn the radio back on, and sit back down
I know my boy ain't here but he ain't gone
In the mornings I wake up, give her a kiss, head to the kitchen
Pour a cup of wake-me-up and try to rouse up some ambition
Go outside, sit by myself but I ain't alone
I've got the Father, my son, and the Holy Ghost
I've been beat up
I been pushed and shoved
But never ever really knocked down
Between mom and dad, Uncle Sam and friends
I somehow always pulled out
But the pain of this was more
Than I'd ever felt before, yeah I was broke
I cried and cried and cried
Until I passed out on the floor
Then I prayed and prayed and prayed
Till I thought I couldn't pray anymore
And minute by minute, day by day
My God, He gave me hope
I know my boy ain't here but he ain't gone
In the mornings I wake up, give her a kiss, head to the kitchen
Pour a cup of wake-me-up and try to rouse up some ambition
Go outside, sit by myself but I ain't alone
See, I've got the Father, my son, and the Holy Ghost
I hope, I love, I pray, I cry
I heal a little more each day inside
I won't completely heal till I go home
In the mornings I wake up, give her a kiss, head to the kitchen
Pour a cup of wake-me-up and try to rouse up some ambition
Go outside, sit by myself but I ain't alone
I've got the Father, my son, and the Holy Ghost
One day I'll wake up and I'll be home
With the Father, my son, and the Holy Ghost

Saint of the day: Luke


The following comes from the Catholic.org site:



Luke, the writer of the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, has been identified with St. Paul's "Luke, the beloved physician" (Colossians 4:14). We know few other facts about Luke's life from Scripture and from early Church historians.
It is believed that Luke was born a Greek and a Gentile. In Colossians 10-14 speaks of those friends who are with him. He first mentions all those "of the circumcision" -- in other words, Jews -- and he does not include Luke in this group. Luke's gospel shows special sensitivity to evangelizing Gentiles. It is only in his gospel that we hear the parable of the Good Samaritan, that we hear Jesus praising the faith of Gentiles such as the widow of Zarephath and Naaman the Syrian (Lk.4:25-27), and that we hear the story of the one grateful leper who is a Samaritan (Lk.17:11-19). According to the early Church historian Eusebius Lukewas born at Antioch in Syria.
In our day, it would be easy to assume that someone who was a doctor was rich, but scholars have argued that Luke might have been born a slave. It was not uncommon for families to educate slaves in medicine so that they would have a resident family physician. Not only do we have Paul's word, but Eusebius, SaintJerome, Saint Irenaeus and Caius, a second-century writer, all refer to Luke as a physician.
We have to go to Acts to follow the trail of Luke'sChristian ministry. We know nothing about hisconversion but looking at the language of Acts we can see where he joined Saint Paul. The story of the Acts is written in the third person, as an historian recording facts, up until the sixteenth chapter. In Acts 16:8-9 we hear of Paul's company "So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, 'Come over to Macedonia and help us.' " Then suddenly in 16:10 "they" becomes "we": "When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them."
So Luke first joined Paul's company at Troas at about the year 51 and accompanied him into Macedonia where they traveled first to Samothrace, Neapolis, and finally Philippi. Luke then switches back to the third person which seems to indicate he was not thrown into prison with Paul and that when Paul left Philippi Luke stayed behind to encourage the Church there. Seven years passed before Paul returned to the area on his third missionary journey. In Acts 20:5, the switch to "we" tells us thatLuke has left Philippi to rejoin Paul in Troas in 58 where they first met up. They traveled together through Miletus, Tyre, Caesarea, to Jerusalem.
Luke is the loyal comrade who stays with Paul when he is imprisoned in Rome about the year 61: "Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers" (Philemon 24). And after everyone else deserts Paul in his final imprisonment and sufferings, it is Luke who remains with Paul to the end: "Only Luke is with me" (2 Timothy 4:11).
Luke's inspiration and information for his Gospel and Acts came from his close association with Paul and his companions as he explains in his introduction to the Gospel: "Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus" (Luke 1:1-3).
Luke's unique perspective on Jesus can be seen in the six miracles and eighteen parables not found in the other gospels. Luke's is the gospel of the poor and of social justice. He is the one who tells the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man who ignored him. Luke is the one who uses "Blessed are the poor" instead of "Blessed are the poor in spirit" in the beatitudes. Only in Luke's gospel do we hear Mary 's Magnificat where she proclaims that God "has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty" (Luke 1:52-53).
Luke also has a special connection with the women in Jesus' life, especially Mary. It is only in Luke's gospel that we hear the story of the Annunciation, Mary's visit to Elizabeth including the Magnificat, the Presentation, and the story of Jesus' disappearance in Jerusalem. It is Luke that we have to thank for the Scriptural parts of the Hail Mary: "Hail Mary full of grace" spoken at the Annunciation and "Blessed are you and blessed is the fruit of your womb Jesus" spoken by her cousin Elizabeth.
Forgiveness and God's mercy to sinners is also of first importance to Luke. Only in Luke do we hear the story of the Prodigal Son welcomed back by the overjoyed father. Only in Luke do we hear the story of the forgiven woman disrupting the feast by washing Jesus' feet with her tears. Throughout Luke's gospel, Jesus takes the side of the sinner who wants to return to God's mercy.
Reading Luke's gospel gives a good idea of his character as one who loved the poor, who wanted the door to God's kingdom opened to all, who respected women, and who saw hope in God's mercy for everyone.
The reports of Luke's life after Paul's death are conflicting. Some early writers claim he was martyred, others say he lived a long life. Some say he preached in Greece, others in Gaul. The earliest tradition we have says that he died at 84 Boeotia after settling in Greece to write his Gospel.
A tradition that Luke was a painter seems to have no basis in fact. Several images of Mary appeared in later centuries claiming him as a painter but these claims were proved false. Because of this tradition, however, he is considered a patron of painters of pictures and is often portrayed as painting pictures of Mary.
He is often shown with an ox or a calf because these are the symbols of sacrifice -- the sacrifice Jesusmade for all the world.
Luke is the patron of physicians and surgeons.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Saint of the Day: Ignatius of Antioch


The following comes from the CNA:

On Oct. 17, the Roman Catholic Church remembers the early Church Father, bishop, and martyr Saint Ignatius of Antioch, whose writings attest to the sacramental and hierarchical nature of the Church from its earliest days. Eastern Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians celebrate his memory on Dec. 20. 

In a 2007 general audience on St. Ignatius of Antioch, Pope Benedict XVI observed that “no Church Father has expressed the longing for union with Christ and for life in him with the intensity of Ignatius.” In his letters, the Pope said, “one feels the freshness of the faith of the generation which had still known the Apostles. In these letters, the ardent love of a saint can also be felt.” 

 Born in Syria in the middle of the first century A.D., Ignatius is said to have been personally instructed – along with another future martyr, Saint Polycarp – by the Apostle Saint John. When Ignatius became the Bishop of Antioch around the year 70, he assumed leadership of a local church that was, according to tradition, first led by Saint Peter before his move to Rome. 

Although St. Peter transmitted his Papal primacy to the bishops of Rome rather than Antioch, the city played an important role in the life of the early Church. Located in present-day Turkey, it was a chief city of the Roman Empire, and was also the location where the believers in Jesus' teachings and his resurrection were first called “Christians.” 

Ignatius led the Christians of Antioch during the reign of the Roman Emperor Domitian, the first of the emperors to proclaim his divinity by adopting the title “Lord and God.” Subjects who would not give worship to the emperor under this title could be punished with death. As the leader of a major Catholic diocese during this period, Ignatius showed courage and worked to inspire it in others. 

After Domitian's murder in the year 96, his successor Nerva reigned only briefly, and was soon followed by the Emperor Trajan. Under his rule, Christians were once again liable to death for denying the pagan state religion and refusing to participate in its rites. It was during his reign that Ignatius was convicted for his Christian testimony and sent from Syria to Rome to be put to death. 

Escorted by a team of military guards, Ignatius nonetheless managed to compose seven letters: six to various local churches throughout the empire (including the Church of Rome), and one to his fellow bishop Polycarp who would give his own life for Christ several decades later. 

Ignatius' letters passionately stressed the importance of Church unity, the dangers of heresy, and the surpassing importance of the Eucharist as the “medicine of immortality.” These writings contain the first surviving written description of the Church as “Catholic,” from the Greek word indicating both universality and fullness. 

One of the most striking features of Ignatius' letters, is his enthusiastic embrace of martyrdom as a means to union with God and eternal life. “All the pleasures of the world, and all the kingdoms of this earth, shall profit me nothing,” he wrote to the Church of Rome. “It is better for me to die in behalf of Jesus Christ, than to reign over all the ends of the earth.” 

“Now I begin to be a disciple,” the bishop declared. “Let fire and the cross; let the crowds of wild beasts; let tearings, breakings, and dislocations of bones; let cutting off of members; let shatterings of the whole body; and let all the dreadful torments of the devil come upon me: only let me attain to Jesus Christ.” 

St. Ignatius of Antioch bore witness to Christ publicly for the last time in Rome's Flavian Amphitheater, where he was mauled to death by lions. “I am the wheat of the Lord,” he had declared, before facing them. “I must be ground by the teeth of these beasts to be made the pure bread of Christ.” His memory was honored, and his bones venerated, soon after his death around the year 107.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Fr. Leon Pereira Invites All on Pilgrimage to Medjugorje


Fr. Leon Pereira is the English Speaking Chaplain for pilgrims to Medjugorje. He invites you on a Pilgrimage to Medjugorje and explains why you might want to come!

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Fr. Barron on St. Theresa of Avila


Today is the feast day of St. Theresa of Avila.  She was a great reformer, mystic and spiritual writer and is recognized as a Doctor of the Church.  The following comes from the Vatican News:

The daughter of a Jewish convert and his second wife, Saint Teresa of Avila, was born on March 28, 1515. She had a happy childhood with her brothers and cousins, and was fascinated by novels that told tales of chivalry. After the death of her elder brother, John, in 1524 and the loss of her mother, Beatrice, the young woman was sent to study at the Augustinian Monastery of Our Lady of Grace, where she was struck by a first existential crisis. After serious illness, she returned to her father’s home, and witnessed the departure of her beloved brother Rodrigo for the Spanish colonies overseas. In 1536, she was hit by the so-called “great crisis” and came to the firm decision to enter the Carmelite monastery of the Incarnation at Avila. Her father, however, was  opposed, and Teresa fled home. Accepted by the nuns, she made her profession on 3 November, 1537.


“I felt shaken to the core”

Teresa’s health once again failed her. Despite the consequent return to the family, her case is deemed hopeless, and Teresa is returned to the convent, where the nuns begin to prepare her funeral. Inexplicably, however, the gravely ill Teresa returns to life and health. Partially released from the commitments of cloistered life owing to her convalescence, cheerful of character, a lover of music, poetry, reading and writing, Teresa would weave a dense fabric of friendships, drawing to her person various people eager to meet her. She would quickly come to feel these encounters a distraction from the principal task of prayer, and experience her “second conversion”: “My eyes fell on a picture ... It was our Lord covered with sorrows. As soon as I looked at Him I felt completely shaken ... I threw myself before His feet and shed tears, and I begged Him to give me strength not to offend Him anymore.”

Portrayed by Bernini

The most mysterious and interesting parts of Saint Teresa of Avila’s life, are her visions and ecstasies. In her Autobiography (written on the order of the bishop), and in other texts and letters, Teresa describes the various stages of divine, visual and auditory manifestations. She is seen to levitating, falling into disarray, and laying still as death (as Bernini depicts her around 1650, in the statue in the church of Our Lady of Victory in Rome). These events corresponded to a great spiritual growth, which Teresa, who had a natural gift for the literary, would pour into her mystical texts, which are among the clearest, most powerful poetics ever written.
Her intense spirituality did not always meet with understanding. Some of her confessors would even consider her a victim of demonic illusions. She was supported by the Jesuit, St. Francis Borgia, and the Franciscan friar, St. Pietro d'Alcántara, who dissipated the doubts of her accusers.
Read more here.