Sunday, November 30, 2008

"He who saves one life... saves the world entire!"


This is a powerful scene from Schindler's List. Schindler's List is a 1993 biographical film directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Steven Zaillian. It is a dramatized account of the true story of Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who saved the lives of more than one thousand Polish Jews during the Holocaust by employing them in his factories.

A Prayer for Advent

An Advent Prayer by Henri J.M. Nouwen

Lord Jesus,

Master of both the light and the darkness, send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.

We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day.

We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us.

We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom.

We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence.

We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light.

To you we say, "Come Lord Jesus!"

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Fight FOCA!

Please sign the Fight FOCA petition!

Praying for Priests: Trinitarians of Mary


I found this new religious community at the Roman Catholic Vocations site. The Trinitarians of Mary are a special group who seems to be growing and attracting vocations despite having been founded only 16 years ago! The special vocation of the Trinitarians of Mary is to give their lives in prayer and sacrifice in support of Catholic Priests! As spiritual mothers they accept every priest with unconditional love and seek to become channels of grace for their sanctification. I had better send them my name! Thank God for so many good young religious out there praying for priests! We need all the prayers we can get! Let all of us continue to pray for this young community and for others like it that make so many sacrifices for the life of the Church.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Benedict XVI: It is our decision whether to follow evil or the good


It is up to us to decide to practice justice, whether to embrace love and forgiveness or murderous revenge and hatred. This was underlined Benedict XVI, in his speech to three thousand Italian faithful of the diocese of Amalfi-Cava dei Tirreni, who came to the Vatican at the conclusion of the eighth centenary celebrations of the arrival of the relics of St. Andrew. The choices we make, said the Pope, impact our personal salvation, but also the salvation of the world. Jesus calls us to work together to bring about his Kingdom of love, justice and peace. It is up to us to respond, not with words, but with deeds: by choosing the way of generosity towards our neighbor, we allow God to extend his dominion over time and space.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Model of Christian Hope: Nick Vujicic

I think this young man Nick has something to teach all of us! We have to persevere no matter what difficulty comes our way. God bless him in his outreach to others!


My name is Nick Vujicic and I'm 25 years old. I was born without arms or legs and given no medical reason for this condition. Faced with countless challenges and obstacles, God has given me the strength to surmount what others might call impossible. Along with that, the Lord has placed within me an unquenchable passion to share this same hope and genuine love that I’ve personally experienced with more than two million people all over the globe. Traveling extensively to over 19 nations, I've been extremely humbled by the continuous opportunities that the Lord has given me to share my testimony along with the hope that I have in Jesus with people in so many nations and situations. My greatest joy in this life is to introduce Jesus to those I meet and tell them of His great desire to get to know them personally by allowing Him to become their Lord and Savior. http://www.lifewithoutlimbs.org

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Praise on German TV from an amazing teen!


Be sure to wait for the second song at the end... it's amazing! She forgets the English words but, she is great! She's a Swedish 13 years old on a German T.V. show.

Peter Kreeft: How to Win the Culture War

The writer and professor Peter Kreeft has some suggestions on how we can win the culture war that we are in. This is well worth reading! Enjoy!

How to Win the Culture War

To win any war, the three most necessary things to know are: (1) that you are at war, (2) who your enemy is, and (3) what weapons or strategies can defeat him.

You cannot win a war (1) if you simply sew peace banners on a battlefield, (2) if you fight civil wars against your allies, or (3) if you use the wrong weapons.

Here is a three point checklist for the culture wars.

1. We Are at War
If you don’t know that our entire civilization is in crisis, I hope you had a nice vacation on the moon.

Many minds do seem moonstruck, however, blissfully unaware of the crisis—especially the “intellectuals,” who are supposed to be the most on top of current events. I was dumbfounded to read a cover article in Time devoted to the question: Why is everything getting better? Why is life so good today? Why does everybody feel so satisfied about the quality of life? Time never questioned the assumption, it just wondered why the music on the Titanic sounded so nice.

It turned out, on reading the article, that every single aspect of life that was mentioned, every single reason for life getting better, was economic. People are richer. End of discussion.

Perhaps Time is just Playboy with clothes on. For one kind of playboy, the world is one great big whorehouse. For another kind, it’s one great big piggy bank. For both, things are getting better and better.

There is a scientific refutation of the Pig Philosophy: the statistical fact that suicide, the most in-your-face index of unhappiness, is directly proportionate to wealth. The richer you are, the richer your family is, and the richer your country is, the more likely it is that you will find life so good that you will choose to blow your brains apart.

Suicide among pre-adults has increased 5000% since the “happy days” of the ’50s. If suicide, especially among the coming generation, is not an index of crisis, nothing is.

Night is falling. What Chuck Colson has labeled “a new Dark Ages” is looming. And its Brave New World proved to be only a Cowardly Old Dream. We can see this now, at the end of “the century of genocide” that was christened “the Christian century” at its birth.

We’ve had prophets who warned us: Kierkegaard, 150 years ago, in The Present Age; and Spengler, 100 years ago, in The Decline of the West; and Aldous Huxley, seventy years ago, in Brave New World; and C. S. Lewis, forty years ago, in The Abolition of Man; and above all our popes: Leo XIII and Pius IX and Pius X and above all John Paul the Great, the greatest man in the world, the greatest man of the worst century. He had even more chutzpah than Ronald Reagan, who dared to call Them “the evil empire”: He called Us “the culture of death.” That’s our culture, and his, including Italy, with the lowest birth rate in the world, and Poland, which now wants to share in the rest of the West’s abortion holocaust.

If the God of life does not respond to this culture of death with judgment, God is not God. If God does not honor the blood of the hundreds of millions of innocent victims then the God of the Bible, the God of Israel, the God of orphans and widows, the Defender of the defenseless, is a man-made myth, a fairy tale.

But is not God forgiving?

He is, but the unrepentant refuse forgiveness. How can forgiveness be received by a moral relativist who denies that there is anything to forgive except a lack of self-esteem, nothing to judge but “judgmentalism?” How can a Pharisee or a pop psychologist be saved?

But is not God compassionate?

He is not compassionate to Moloch and Baal and Ashtaroth, and to Caananites who do their work, who “cause their children to walk through the fire.” Perhaps your God is—the God of your dreams, the God of your “religious preference”—but not the God revealed in the Bible.

But is not the God of the Bible revealed most fully and finally in the New Testament rather than the Old? In sweet and gentle Jesus rather than wrathful and warlike Jehovah?

The opposition is heretical: the old Gnostic-Manichaean-Marcionite heresy, as immortal as the demons who inspired it. For “I and the Father are one.” The opposition between nice Jesus and nasty Jehovah denies the very essence of Christianity: Christ’s identity as the Son of God. Let’s remember our theology and our biology: like Father, like Son.

But is not God a lover rather than a warrior?

No, God is a lover who is a warrior. The question fails to understand what love is, what the love that God is, is. Love is at war with hate, betrayal, selfishness, and all love’s enemies. Love fights. Ask any parent. Yuppie-love, like puppy-love, may be merely “compassion” (the fashionable word today), but father-love and mother-love are war.

In fact, every page of the Bible bristles with spears, from Genesis 3 through Revelation 20. The road from Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained is soaked in blood. At the very center of the story is a cross, a symbol of conflict if there ever was one. The theme of spiritual warfare is never absent in scripture, and never absent in the life and writings of a single saint. But it is never present in the religious education of any of my “Catholic” students at Boston College. Whenever I speak of it, they are stunned and silent, as if they have suddenly entered another world. They have. They have gone past the warm fuzzies, the fur coats of psychology-disguised-as-religion, into a world where they meet Christ the King, not Christ the Kitten.

Welcome back from the moon, kids.

Where is the culture of death coming from? Here. America is the center of the culture of death. America is the world’s one and only cultural superpower.

If I haven’t shocked you yet, I will now. Do you know what Muslims call us? They call us “The Great Satan.” And do you know what I call them? I call them right.

But America has the most just, and moral, and wise, and biblical historical and constitutional foundation in all the world. America is one of the most religious countries in the world. The Church is big and rich and free in America.

Yes. Just like ancient Israel. And if God still loves his Church in America, he will soon make it small and poor and persecuted, as he did to ancient Israel, so that he can keep it alive. If he loves us, he will prune us, and we will bleed, and the blood of the martyrs will be the seed of the Church again, and a second spring will come—but not without blood. It never happens without blood, sacrifice, and suffering. The continuation of Christ’s work—if it is really Christ’s work and not a comfortable counterfeit—can never happen without the Cross.

I don’t mean merely that Western civilization will die. That’s a piece of trivia. I mean eternal souls will die. Billions of Ramons and Vladamirs and Janes and Tiffanies will go to Hell. That’s what’s at stake in this war: not just whether America will become a banana republic, or whether we’ll forget Shakespeare, or even whether some nuclear terrorist will incinerate half of humanity, but whether our children and our children’s children will see God forever. That’s what’s at stake in “Hollywood versus America.” That’s why we must wake up and smell the rotting souls. Knowing we are at war is the first requirement for winning it.

The next thing we must do to win a war is to know our enemy.

2. Our Enemy
Who is our enemy?

Not Protestants. For almost half a millennium, many of us thought our enemies were Protestant heretics, and addressed that problem by consigning their bodies to battlefields and their souls to Hell. (Echoes of this strategy can still be heard in Northern Ireland.) Gradually, the light dawned: Protestants are not our enemies, they are our “separated brethren.” They will fight with us.

Not Jews. For almost two millennia many of us thought that, and did such Christless things to our “fathers in the faith” that we made it almost impossible for the Jews to see their God—the true God—in us.

Not Muslims, who are often more loyal to their half-Christ than we are to our whole Christ, who often live more godly lives following their fallible scriptures and their fallible prophet than we do following our infallible scriptures and our infallible prophet.

The same is true of the Mormons and the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Quakers.

Our enemies are not “the liberals.” For one thing, the term is almost meaninglessly flexible. For another, it’s a political term, not a religious one. Whatever is good or bad about political liberalism, it’s neither the cause nor the cure of our present spiritual decay. Spiritual wars are not decided by whether welfare checks increase or decrease.

Our enemies are not anti-Catholic bigots who want to crucify us. They are the ones we’re trying to save. They are our patients, not our disease. Our word for them is Christ’s: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” We say this of the Chinese communist totalitarians who imprison and persecute Catholics, and to the Sudanese Muslim terrorists who enslave and murder Catholics. They are not our enemies, they are our patients. We are Christ’s nurses. The patients think the nurses are their enemies, but the nurses know better.

Our enemies are not even the media of the culture of death, not even Ted Turner or Larry Flynt or Howard Stern or Disney or Time-Warner. They too are victims, patients, though on a rampage against the hospital, poisoning other patients. But the poisoners are our patients too. So are homosexual activists, feminist witches, and abortionists. We go into gutters and pick up the spiritually dying and kiss those who spit at us, if we are cells in our Lord’s Body. If we do not physically go into gutters, we go into spiritual gutters, for we go where the need is.

Our enemies are not heretics within the Church, “cafeteria Catholics,” “Kennedy Catholics,” “I Did It My Way” Catholics. They are also our patients, though they are Quislings. They are the victims of our enemy, not our enemy.

Our enemies are not theologians in so-called Catholic theology departments who have sold their souls for thirty pieces of scholarship and prefer the plaudits of their peers to the praise of God. They are also our patients.

Our enemy is not even the few really bad priests and bishops, candidates for Christ’s Millstone of the Month Award, the modern Pharisees. They too are victims, in need of healing.

Who, then, is our enemy?

There are two answers. All the saints and popes throughout the Church’s history have given the same two answers, for these answers come from the Word of God on paper in the New Testament and the Word of God in flesh in Jesus Christ.

Yet they are not well known. In fact, the first answer is almost never mentioned today. Not once in my life have I ever heard a homily on it, or a lecture by a Catholic theologian.

Our enemies are demons. Fallen angels. Evil spirits.

So says Jesus Christ: “Do not fear those who can kill the body and then has no more power over you. I will tell you whom to fear. Fear him who has power to destroy both body and soul in Hell.”

So says St. Peter, the first pope: “The Devil, like a roaring lion, is going through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Resist him, steadfast in the faith.”

So says St. Paul: “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers of wickedness in high places.”

So said Pope Leo the XIII, who received a vision of the 20th century that history has proved terrifyingly true. He saw Satan, at the beginning of time, allowed one century in which to do his worst work, and he chose the 20th. This pope with the name and heart of a lion was so overcome by the terror of this vision that he fell into a trance. When he awoke, he composed a prayer for the whole Church to use to get it through the 20th century. The prayer was widely known and prayed after every Mass—until the ’60s: exactly when the Church was struck with that incomparably swift disaster that we have not yet named (but which future historians will), the disaster that has destroyed a third of our priests, two-thirds of our nuns, and nine-tenths of our children’s theological knowledge; the disaster that has turned the faith of our fathers into the doubts of our dissenters, the wine of the Gospel into the water of psychobabble.
The restoration of the Church, and thus the world, might well begin with the restoration of the Lion’s prayer and the Lion’s vision, because this is the vision of all the popes and all the saints and our Lord himself: the vision of a real Hell, a real Satan, and real spiritual warfare.

I said there were two enemies. The second is even more terrifying than the first. There is one nightmare even more terrible than being chased and caught and tortured by the Devil. That is the nightmare of becoming a devil. The horror outside your soul is terrible enough; how can you bear to face the horror inside your soul?

What is the horror inside your soul? Sin. All sin is the Devil’s work, though he usually uses the flesh and the world as his instruments. Sin means inviting the Devil in. And we do it. That’s the only reason why he can do his awful work; God won’t let him do it without our free consent. And that’s why the Church is weak and the world is dying: because we are not saints.

3. The Weapon
And thus we have our third Necessary Thing: the weapon that will win the war and defeat our enemy.

All it takes is saints.

Can you imagine what twelve more Mother Teresas would do for the world? Can you imagine what would happen if just twelve readers of this article offered Christ 100% of their hearts and held back nothing, absolutely nothing?

No, you can’t imagine it, any more than anyone could imagine how twelve nice Jewish boys could conquer the Roman Empire. You can’t imagine it, but you can do it. You can become a saint. Absolutely no one and nothing can stop you. It is your free choice. Here is one of the truest and most terrifying sentences I have ever read (from William Law’s Serious Call): “If you will look into your own heart in complete honesty, you must admit that there is one and only one reason why you are not a saint: you do not wholly want to be.”

That insight is terrifying because it is an indictment. But it is also thrillingly hopeful because it is an offer, an open door. Each of us can become a saint. We really can.

What holds us back? Fear of paying the price.

What is the price? The answer is simple. T.S. Eliot defines the Christian life as: “A condition of complete simplicity/Costing not less than/Everything.” The price is everything: 100%. A worse martyrdom than the quick noose or stake: the martyrdom of dying daily, dying to all your desires and plans, including your plans about how to become a saint. A blank check to God. Complete submission, “islam,” “fiat”—Mary’s thing. Look what that simple Mary-thing did 2000 years ago: It brought God down and saved the world.

It was meant to continue.

If we do that Mary-thing—and only if we do that—then all our apostolates will “work”: our missioning and catechizing and fathering and mothering and teaching and studying and nursing and businessing and priesting and bishoping—everything.

A bishop asked one of the priests of his diocese for recommendations on ways to increase vocations. The priest replied: The best way to attract men in this diocese to the priesthood, Your Excellency, would be your canonization.

Why not yours?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Spanish cardinal: Society is sick because the family is being destroyed

The Cardinal of Toledo, Spain has some tough words for our modern culture. He takes the gloves off on this one and tells it like it is. He should be applauded for speaking out. We need to hope and pray that the Church is able to respond to the needs of our day with courage, charity and fidelity.

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During his homily on Sunday, Cardinal Antonio Canizares of Toledo said, “We are suffering a true illness in our society because of the weakening, if not the destruction, of the family, which together with the Church, are obstacles to be overcome in order to impose a new plan for mankind and for society that certainly has no future.”

“I know I’m going to get criticized. Who cares? Our society is sick, very sick and we cannot hide it. We have the abominable crime of abortion, although--why not say it?—a small light has been lit recently in our sister country of Uruguay,” the cardinal said in his homily.

The cardinal said abortion symbolized the illness that society is experiencing, together with “other attacks on life, such as euthanasia, experimentation with embryos and their use for economic reasons.”

He also pointed to a fear of the Christian faith that is manifested in the removal of crucifixes from schools and other efforts to suppress religious expression.

“These are difficult times we are going though,” the cardinal said, “and nobody can predict what is going to happen in the future. The grave crisis in schools and businesses is part of a deeper crisis, of which the economic crisis is not the most important, and that is the crisis of the meaning of life, the human and moral crisis of universal values.”

Prayer Need: Cuban Salesian Priest dies in an accident

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Padre Héctor Rodríguez Casacó, SDB. He died in a car accident this past weekend in Cuba. Fr. Héctor studied Theology in Mexico just before me and I met him once on a return visit there. He was a very friendly and well liked person. Here is the news story from the Salesian News site:

(ANS – Santiago di Cuba) – On 22 November the Salesians in Cuba suffered the loss of Fr Héctor Rodríguez Casacó, Rector of the Santiago di Cuba community, who died following a car accident on his way back to the house.

Fr Héctor, 41 years of age was driving home after taking part in an Assembly of the Salesian Delegation in Cuba and the consultation for the appointment of the new Superior for the Province of the Antilles. At the end of the meeting he spent the night at Camagüey and left the next morning to return home.

According to the information provided by the Provincial centre, the only details of the accident were that the car driven by Fr Rodríguez collided with a lorry belonging to a building firm near Bayamo.

In communicating the sad news to the communities in the Province Fr José Pastor Ramírez, Superior of the Salesians in the Antilles recalled Fr Héctor Rodríguez as “a great person, cheerful, enthusiastic, a great worker, devoted to his people and with a sense of humour found only in a few. ”

On the day of his death, Mass was said for Fr Rodríguez in Santiago di Cuba. The following day, Sunday November, the body was taken to Havana where the funeral Mass was celebrated in the church of Saint John Bosco in La Víbora.

Irish Vocations Rising!


This is good news! Let's pray this trend continues all over Europe and the world!

Skate on Brother, skate on!


Friar Gabriel of the Franciscans of the Immaculate is an amazing skateboarder! He uses his skills to reach out to young people and share his faith with them. I think Don Bosco would approve! God bless him in his mission!

They Could Be Saints: Fr. Solanus Casey


Bernard Francis Casey (November 25, 1870 – July 31, 1957) was born in Oak Grove, Wisconsin. A Capuchin priest, Casey was known for his great faith, humility, and role as spiritual counselor and intercessor. The first United States-born man formally to be declared "Venerable" by the Roman Catholic church, Casey is a candidate now for beatification and possible sainthood.

Father Benedict Groeschel examines the life of Father Solanus Casey, a Capuchin priest who was not granted full priestly faculties because his seminary grades were poor, but nevertheless became one of the most sought after spiritual advisors in America.

Monday, November 24, 2008

INTP - The Thinkers


This is not my own personality type, but it is the personality of my blog! Check out your blogs type by clicking here.
The logical and analytical type. They are especialy attuned to difficult creative and intellectual challenges and always look for something more complex to dig into. They are great at finding subtle connections between things and imagine far-reaching implications.

They enjoy working with complex things using a lot of concepts and imaginative models of reality. Since they are not very good at seeing and understanding the needs of other people, they might come across as arrogant, impatient and insensitive to people that need some time to understand what they are talking about.

188 Japanese Martyrs to be Beatified Today in Nagasaki


The following comes from Asianews:
The beatification ceremony for 188 Japanese martyrs killed in the XVII for their faith will take place next year on Nov. 24 in Nagasaki. The public announcement was made by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan (CBCJ) spokesman Fr. Manyo Maeda, who read a letter sent by the Vatican to Conference president Msgr. Takeo Okada, bishop of Tokyo.

Card. Saraiva Martins, who heads the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints will represent Pope Benedict XVI at the ceremony, the first beatification to be conducted in Japan. According to Fr. Isao Hashimoto, Nagasaki Diocesan chancellor, over 20 faithful have already declared their intent to participate in the mass.

In a letter to Japan’s Catholics Msgr. Okada announced the Vatican’s decision with “great joy” and added: “I hope we take to heart the meaning of the treasure our predecessors in the faith left us”.

Among the 188 Japanese martyrs killed in the XVII century for their faith there were priests, nuns and lay: the cause has become known as “the beatification of Fr. Kibe and his 187 companions”.

Jesuit Father Pietro Kassui Kibe, a convert to Christianity, had fled persecution from the government to Rome where he entered the Society of Jesus and was ordained priest. He returned to Japan to carry out his ministry among the oppressed faithful and in 1639 was captured tortured and killed in Tokyo.

Saint of the Day: Andrew Dung Lac and the Vietnamese Martyrs

Today the Church remembers St. Andrew Dung Lac and the Vietnamese Martyrs. The following comes from American Catholic:

St. Andrew was one of 117 martyrs who met death in Vietnam between 1820 and 1862. Members of this group were beatified on four different occasions between 1900 and 1951. Now all have been canonized by Pope John Paul II.

Christianity came to Vietnam (then three separate kingdoms) through the Portuguese. Jesuits opened the first permanent mission at Da Nang in 1615. They ministered to Japanese Catholics who had been driven from Japan.

The king of one of the kingdoms banned all foreign missionaries and tried to make all Vietnamese apostatize by trampling on a crucifix. Like the priest-holes in Ireland during English persecution, many hiding places were offered in homes of the faithful.

Severe persecutions were again launched three times in the 19th century. During the six decades after 1820, between 100,000 and 300,000 Catholics were killed or subjected to great hardship. Foreign missionaries martyred in the first wave included priests of the Paris Mission Society, and Spanish Dominican priests and tertiaries.

Persecution broke out again in 1847 when the emperor suspected foreign missionaries and Vietnamese Christians of sympathizing with the rebellion of one of his sons.

The last of the martyrs were 17 laypersons, one of them a 9-year-old, executed in 1862. That year a treaty with France guaranteed religious freedom to Catholics, but it did not stop all persecution.

By 1954 there were over a million and a half Catholics—about seven percent of the population—in the north. Buddhists represented about 60 percent. Persistent persecution forced some 670,000 Catholics to abandon lands, homes and possessions and flee to the south. In 1964, there were still 833,000 Catholics in the north, but many were in prison. In the south, Catholics were enjoying the first decade of religious freedom in centuries, their numbers swelled by refugees.

During the Vietnamese war, Catholics again suffered in the north, and again moved to the south in great numbers. Now the whole country is under Communist rule.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI's Life


Know more about Pope Benedict XVI's Life and the houses where he lived before his pontificate. In this short video you can see a pope's neighbor talking about his relationship with him and the house where he live when decided to be a seminarian.

Anthem to my King!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI: The Monastery is an oasis of ascetic life


Monasteries are called to be places which give space to the celebration of the glory of God, to adoration and singing of the mysterious but real divine presence in the world, where the new commandment of love and mutual service is lived out.

The Servant of God Jan Tyranowski on the way to the altars

The following comes from the Salesian News Agency in Rome:
On November 19 the Postulator General of the Salesian Family, Fr Enrico dal Covolo was received by the Archbishop of Krakow, Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz. Among matters dealt with in their cordial meeting were the causes beatification and canonisation of Jan Leopold Tyranowski, a lay man, and Fr Jan Swierc and companions.

The Postulator was accompanied by the Vice Provincial Fr Dariusz Bartocha, and the Vice Postulator of the cause of beatification and canonisation of Tyranowski, the Salesian Fr Adam Nyk.

In the troubled times of the Second World war Jan Tyranowski (1901-1947) was a valued co-worker in the “St Stanislaw Kostka” Salesian parish in Krakow. At that time because of the Nazi persecution the parish of Debniki, in Krakow was almost entirely without priests. In these same years the Servant of God played a fundamental role in the story of the vocation of Karol Wojtyla, the future John Paul II. He had founded the “Living Rosary” Group from among whose numbers many priestly and religious vocations emerged including that of the young Karol.

It was Jan who first introduced Karol Wojtyla to the writings of St. John of the Cross, the Spanish mystic who would be one of his great inspirations in life. It was from St. John he would learn that union with God requires a person to give up everything; everything they know as well as all that the own. Looking back he would feel that in Jan Tyranowski he had a living example of that quest for union with God before his very eyes:

He was one of those unknown saints, hidden amid the others like a marvellous light at the bottom of life, at a depth where night usually reigns. He disclosed to me the riches of his inner life, of his mystical life. In his words, in his spirituality and in the example of a life given to God alone, he represented a new world that I did not yet know. I saw the beauty of a soul opened up by grace.

In the course of the audience with the Archbishop the Postulator spoke, in addition to the cause of Tyranowski – since last year entrusted to the Salesian Postulator’s Office –, about the diocesan enquiry regarding Fr Jan Swierc and his companions in Krakow, martyred in 1942.

Pope Pius XII: Vatican Exhibit Reveals the Truth


In recent years there has been a lot of discussion about the figure of Pius XII, Pope Pacelli, who has been attributed in some circles with having a neutral attitude towards Nazism and the war and paying little attention to the Jewish people who were so persecuted in that time.
An exhibition at the Vatican, which draws upon archives from various countries, restores the historical truth about the Pontiff.

"It comes from the great 'bias' of Pius XII in favor of the Jews and against the Nazis. There's a lot of documentation of Jewish origin that speaks of the concern of the Holy See during the war in favor of the Jews from all of Europe."

Important evidence is revealed:

"We have a collage that guides us in one direction only. It is a historiographical view, it is not an issue of beatification or non-beatification."

And after the war, he expressed his precise way of thought:

"The international life of countries - states the Pope's speech of 1948 - is not possible without social obligations. This social dimension is clearly expressed with help to the poorest populations."

Friday, November 21, 2008

Be Not Afraid: Time for Spiritual Battle!


The election of our president-elect ensures us of a certain battle over the right to life. What are we Catholics and Christians to do? We cannot be complacent, but need to let our voices be heard. This video from 4marks is excellent and challenges us to get up and defend life! This is a spiritual battle that we must not be afraid to engage in. Let's pray that all of us have the courage to stay faithful! The following is added comment from Fr. Z's blog:

What this video asks is that Catholics embrace the teachings of Holy Church and the truth written into our hearts.

It asks that Catholics practice their Catholic faith, that they be Catholics.

In no way does being Catholic take us out of the public square or place us entirely out of the sphere of what Caesar justly requires. We have obligations to the state, as well as rights.

But our obligation to God and the truth has priority. Only in our fidelity as Catholics can we offer our special contributions to the common good. We have a right and duty to participate in the public square.

We can only have something good to contribute if we know who we are as Catholics, if we embrace that identity, and act accordingly according to our vocations in our proper spheres of life.

We must first fight the battle for our Catholic identity before we can make a difference in the world.

We must make choices.

Pope pondering change to Mass liturgy

This is interesting. The Vatican may change the placement of the sign of peace. Here is the AP story:

VATICAN CITY (AP) — A high-ranking Vatican official says Pope Benedict XVI is considering introducing a change to the Mass liturgy.

Cardinal Francis Arinze, who heads the Vatican office for sacraments, says the pope may move the placement of the sign of peace, where congregation members shake hands or hug.

Arinze told the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano in an interview published Friday that the pope has asked bishops to express their opinions and will then decide.

Under the change, the sign of peace, which now takes place moments before the reception of communion, would come earlier. Arinze said the change might help create a more solemn atmosphere as the faithful are preparing to receive communion.

The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin and the Cloistered Life

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin! Click here to learn more about this feast day!

Pope Benedict XVI has set Nov. 21, the Feast of the Presentation of Mary, as a day to pray for cloistered religious. It is called Pro Orantibus Day (for those who pray).


The faithful around the world are encouraged to develop their own way of commemorating the day and honoring cloistered women and men religious, at Mass and in other special ways, such as by offering up their prayers, by visits to monasteries and cloistered convents, by sending cards or letters to contemplative religious, and by coordinating school or catechetical activities. Pro Orantibus Day is intended to be a moment of thanksgiving, solidarity and support involving the entire Church. For as Pope Benedict XVI said in his Angelus message marking last year’s event, “As a spiritual oasis, a monastery reminds today’s world of the most important, and indeed, in the end, the only decisive thing: that there is an ultimate reason why life is worth living: God and his unfathomable love.”

Eternal Father,
we honor the holiness and glory of the Virgin Mary.
May her prayers bring us
the fullness of your life and love.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.



Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fr. Patrick Peyton: The Cause for Sainthood moves forward!

Thanks to Deacon Greg for making me aware of this story! The Rosary Priest is on the path to sainthood! I was glad to see this news and thought you might like to read up on another of our holy priests! Let's pray God sends us more like him! The following comes from USA Today:

BALTIMORE — Recognized widely for his catchphrase — "the family that prays together stays together" — the late Rev. Patrick Peyton spread his message to millions by radio and later television, using Hollywood stars to emphasize prayer and moral values.

Now, the man known as the "Rosary Priest" for his penchant to use rosary beads to say Roman Catholic prayers for even activities like riding in a car, Peyton is being considered for sainthood. The Archdiocese of Baltimore will celebrate a Mass on Thursday to mark the start of the investigating process.

Then, three priests from the archdiocese will spend the coming years reviewing documents and examining witnesses who say they were healed after praying to Peyton. The results will be reviewed by a commission at the Vatican.

Peyton, who died in 1992, used technology to reach more people than he ever could by person, founding Family Theater Productions in 1947 in Hollywood, said the Rev. John Phalen, president of Holy Cross Family Ministries, which carries on Peyton's work.

He bolstered his message with Hollywood elites, including Loretta Young, Jimmy Stewart, Bing Crosby and Lucille Ball, who appeared on his shows. He ended many programs with his catchy family message, now trademarked by his ministry.
FIND MORE STORIES IN: Pennsylvania Massachusetts God Hollywood New York Rome Ireland Roman Catholic Church Vatican Scranton Virgin Mary Bing Crosby Lucille Ball Jimmy Stewart Fall River Archdiocese of Baltimore Loretta Young

As Peyton grew up in Ireland, his family prayed the rosary daily and it brought them strength, Phalen said. He thought the centuries-old tradition linked to the Virgin Mary could help other families.

"He was always thinking of Mary and always promoting the rosary," Phalen said. "If you ever went in the car with him, you prayed the rosary with him."

Peyton's driving force in life was a belief that he was healed of tuberculosis after praying to Mary.

"That story is the one he told wherever he went," Phalen said. Doctors said he'd better try prayer because they couldn't do anything for him, and it worked, Peyton would tell people.

Saints are often depicted with a halo over their heads, and those who knew Peyton described him as glowing and holy.

"His saintliness came across in everything he did," said Dorothy Halloran of Albany, N.Y., who worked as his secretary. Even when he dictated a letter, Peyton would start with a prayer, asking God to help him move the reader to aid his ministry, she said.

Peyton emigrated with his brother from Ireland to Scranton, Pa., in 1928 at the age of 19. Later both entered the seminary and were ordained in 1941, following Peyton's recovery from tuberculosis. The next year, Patrick Peyton founded his rosary ministry in Albany, N.Y., and later Family Theater Productions, which produced 600 radio and television shows and aired more than 10,000 broadcasts.

Since the Vatican allowed the canonization process to begin in 2001, Peyton's writings, documents and unofficial testimony have been collected in the Fall River, Mass., diocese, where he is buried. The case was moved to Baltimore because it has the resources and experience, said the Rev. George Lucas, who has worked as a facilitator for the case.

Three priests from Baltimore's archdiocese will spend much of their time reviewing the documents and examining witnesses to prepare Peyton's sainthood case for a three-step process in Rome that requires evidence of two posthumous miracles: a declaration of heroic values, then beatification and canonization, or sainthood.

"Saints are heroes to those of us trying to live our faith," said the Rev. Gilbert Seitz, one of the priests who will review documents and examine witnesses. "We want to know and learn about them and emulate them."

Pope John Paul II: Champion of Vatican II


Theme of the congress organized in Rome by the Pontifical San Bonaventura-Seraphicum Faculty of Theology for the 30th anniversary of the election of Pope John Paul II.
"The Second Vatican Council and the Pontificate of John Paul II" is the theme of the international congress organized in Rome by the Pontifical St. Bonaventura-Seraphicum Faculty of Theology for the 30th anniversary of the election of Pope John Paul II.

Journalist Elisabetta Lo lacono, one of the organizers of the event, explains how John Paul II contributed in this great ecclesial event that Benedict XVI emphasized during the Synod of Bishops.

"John Paul II participated in the council first as bishop and then as Archbishop of Krakow; he contributed greatly to the council during the elaboration period and especially by upholding the guidelines and spirit of the council for the 26 years of his pontificate."

Professor Zdzislaw Kijas, rector of this Pontifical Faculty, underlines the relevance of Vatican II to the present day.

"To show that the council themes are neither abstract nor issues only for the council era, but that they are important issues for any time, because they are the issues that have the strength to sanctify those who welcome them and live them in the strength of the Holy Spirit that was convoked by the council fathers."

Simultaneously occurring with this congress, the centre for documentation on John Paul II displayed a photographic exhibition on Karol Wojtyla during Vatican II.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Papal Message on New Technologies


"New Technologies, New Relationships. Promoting a Culture of Respect, Dialogue, and Friendship" is the Pope's theme for the 43rd World Day of Social Communications 2009, reports VIS, the Vatican Information Service. The message will be published on January 24, Feast of Saint Francis de Sales, patron of journalists.

Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, announced the theme for the Papal message and said that "the media can be of great help in favoring a climate of dialogue and trust".

The World Day of Social Communications will be celebrated in almost all countries on Sunday, May 31, 2009.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Madrid prepares the next World Youth Day


At the end of World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia, Pope Benedict XVI presented the next city that will host the event, the Spanish capital.

"I hope to see you again in three years; World Youth Day 2011 will be in Madrid, Spain."

It will be the second time that a World Youth Day is celebrated in Spain, after Santiago de Compostela in 1989. Cardinal Antonio María Rouco, current Archbishop of Madrid and organizer of both youth events, explains that the years remaining until the event will be characterized by intense conversion."We are going to live intensely these three years of preparation, with a spirit of penitence, pilgrimage and conversion so that we may experience together the great moment of the World Youth Day, welcoming the youth from all around the world.""Straight away you will encounter the truth of the Catholic Church in Madrid in all its strength, vitality, in all its beauty but also with all its humanity: the styles and societies, the personal and social lifestyles that have been nourished and born out of the Christian experience and of the experience of communion in the Church, all demonstrate a great human richness; the families, the homes and our arms will be open to receive all those young people willing to come, may many come, may it come soon."

Rascal Flatts: Everyday




I missed the Country Music Awards last week but these guys won again! I was in a Country kind of mood today!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Pope Benedict: Pray for Cloistered Religious


The following is from the Vatican Information Service:
After praying the Angelus this morning, the Pope recalled the fact that 21 November, the liturgical feast of the Presentation of Mary in the Temple, also marks "por orantibus" Day, an initiative dedicated to cloistered religious communities.


"Let us thank the Lord", he said, "for the sisters and brothers who have embraced this mission dedicating themselves completely to prayer, and who live off what they receive from divine Providence. Let us in our turn pray for them and for new vocations, and undertake to support the material needs of monasteries, Dear sisters and brothers, yours is an indispensable presence in the Church and in the world. I remain close to you and I bless you with great affection".


Benedict XVI then went on to mention "in a special way all those who have died as a result of traffic accidents. We pray for their eternal rest and for the consolation of their families who grieve their loss. ... I implore everyone - drivers, passengers and pedestrians - to heed carefully the words of St. Paul in the liturgy of the Word today: 'stay sober and alert'. Our behaviour on the roads should be characterised by responsibility, consideration and a respect for others. May the Virgin Mary lead us safely along streets and highways throughout the world", he concluded.


Seminarian Reflects on his call to Priesthood



I found this at the Roman Catholic Vocation site and was impressed with the video. Enjoy!

You might not believe that a Methodist founded the St. Paul Seminary. In 1896 James J. Hill endowed and built the institution in honor of his wife Mary, a devout Catholic. Since then, the seminary has ordained about 3,000 priests from 60 dioceses.

Justin Kortuem, 28, is a former General Mills scientist and college athlete in his first year of theological studies. He credits his childhood cancer at age 16 as one factor that led him towards God, but thought that his calling would be to work as a pediatric oncologist.

He heard the call to the priesthood during Mass one day.

"I just felt the Lord say this is what I want you to do, and you don't have to try and figure it out anymore," Kortuem said before the start of daily Mass at the chapel one recent morning. He said he had a great peace and joy in knowing what God has created him to do.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI: The Church promotes the good of the person and of society


The Christian roots of Europe represent the common spiritual "alphabet" of the past, and are a precious legacy to continue, at the service of the true good of man. Pope Benedict XVI stated this at his meeting with Sante Canducci, Ambassador of the Republic of San Marino, during his presentation of credentials. The Church cooperates with all civil authorities, and points out that secularism of the state is meant to construct a venue of common understanding, dialogue and cooperation. When the Church appeals to the value of certain fundamental ethical principles, rooted in the Christian heritage of Europe, for matters of private life and even more for public domain, She is moved only by the desire to ensure and promote the inviolable dignity of the person and the authentic good of society.

Pope Pius XII: Hero and Saint


It is good for us to recall the holiness of Pope Pius XII. It is already 50 years since the death of this wonderful Holy Father.

On July 19, 1943, Rome was bombed again, more heavily, by 521 Allied planes, with three targets, causing hundreds of civilian casualties. After the raid, Pius XII, along with Msgr. Montini (future Pope Paul VI), travelled to the Basilica di San Lorenzo fuori le Mura, which had been badly damaged, and distributed 2 million to the crowds.

An exhibition was inaugurated at the Vatican that retraces, through writings, photographs, personal objects and works of art, the life of Eugenio Pacelli.
"Pius XII died on October 9, 1958, therefore we recall the 50th anniversary of his death and given that he is one of the greatest pontiffs of the last centuries it is important to point that out and to make him better known."

This is the inspiration for the exhibition that was inaugurated near the Braccio di Carlo Magno in the Vatican; it retraces through writings – some of which are unpublished – photographs, personal objects and works of art, the life of Eugenio Pacelli, a pontiff to be discovered anew:

"Historiography insists greatly on the political and diplomatic Pope, on his role during the war; but what is forgotten is that before all this, Eugenio Pacelli had chosen to become a priest, a minister."

Another aspect that must be underlined:

"There is a special link between Pope Pacelli and Rome. He strongly sensed this Roman quality also in the Church. It is an important key to his actions during the war and after it."

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Did you remember to praise Him?


A Life Of Worship from Catholic Media House on Vimeo.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Movie Worth Seeing: The Boy in Striped Pyjamas

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is a 2006 novel by Irish novelist John Boyne. Boyne said that he wrote the entire first draft of Boy in two and a half days, barely sleeping until he got to the end. To date the novel has sold more than 3 million copies around the world. In 2007 it was the best selling book of the year in Spain. The film version is just being released here in the US and looks to be a wonderful adaptation of this fiction story of a horrible time in history.

A visit to the Abbey of Regina Laudis

On Monday I was able to visit the Abbey of Regina Laudis for evening vespers. It was a really beautiful experience. The Sisters sing all of their prayers in Latin and do a beautiful job! Their new Chapel is simple and really beautiful. You could smell the cedar as you walked in the door!

I think I counted 10 young sisters in formation. They must be doing something right!

The Abbey is the home of Mother Dolores Hart. Dolores Hart made her debut in Hollywood alongside Elvis Presley in Loving You. Since 1963, she's inhabited a very different world. She caused a sensation when she became a cloistered nun at the Benedictine Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Conn. Mother Dolores became prioress there in May 2001. She is still a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

To read a recent interview with Mother Hart please check out the vocation.com website.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Bishops Stand Up For Life!

The bishops meeting in Baltimore is about to produce its most important and timely document, probably later today. They are standing up strongly for life! You can read more about their meeting at the Deacon's Bench.

The Lord is enough for us!


This is very cool praise song written by Chris Tomlin. The song is performed in the video by David Crowder Band. They are really good! The lyrics are just below:

Enough

All of You is more than enough for all of me
For every thirst and every need
You satisfy me with Your love
And all I have in You is more than enough

You are my supply
My breath of life
And still more awesome than I know
You are my reward
worth living for
And still more awesome than I know

All of You is more than enough for all of me
For every thirst and every need
You satisfy me with Your love
And all I have in You is more than enough

You’re my sacrifice
Of greatest price
And still more awesome than I know
You’re the coming King
You are everything
And still more awesome than I know

More than all I want
More than all I need
You are more than enough for me
More than all I know
More than all I can say
You are more than enough for me