Friday, August 31, 2012

Waiting Here For You by Christie Nockels

Why St. John Bosco Matters!

The following comes from the examiner site:

As another school year begins it is a worthy endeavor to contemplate the teaching and ‘parenting’ skills of John Bosco, a priest who understood that faith and learning go hand in hand 24/7. His example is one that serves for all families, but even more for those that have chosen to homeschool. He was innovative, as anxious to learn as he was to teach, and fully aware that hard work needed to be mixed with quality play.

Francis Bosco was a widower with a son and a dependent mother, who he cared for on his small, poor farm. He married a woman by the name of Margaret Occhiena, who embraced the family and made their humble surroundings into a real home with love and warmth. They became parents to two sons, Joseph, and two years later, John. Then, when the younger boy himself was two, Francis died of pneumonia. Margaret, with little education herself, was dedicated to teaching her children about God. Despite the fact they had very little, she was always able to see the good in what they did have, and Christ in all things.

John watched from his position in the field where he tended the sheep as each year children headed off to school, and he tried to learn what he could. By the time he was nine, his mother recognized that the boy needed something more, but his half-brother, Anthony, was head of the household, and he refused, using the fact that he himself worked hard and never had any schooling, and that would be good enough for John, too. The boy wanted to study to become a priest, and his mother eventually worked out a deal with a schoolmaster/priest to teach him from November through spring, and then John would return to work on the farm. Some biographies say the school was three miles and others, four, but in either case the youngster made the commitment and walked to and from there everyday. He always had problems keeping peace in the family and endured the ridicule of other children who chided him for trying to become a priest.

Starting around the same time as his school years and continuing through his life, John Bosco was blessed with visions of Jesus and his Blessed Mother. The Lord is said to have instructed him that a peaceful nature was the way he would reach many young people. He called the young boy to patience, obedience, and understanding. After he became a priest that was his role as he nurtured and cared for orphan and homeless boys whom he housed in a separate building at St. Philomena’s Hospice where he was the chaplain to girls. When given a choice between the hospice girls and the wild boys, he resigned his post and opened a refuge for boys known as the Oratory. His mother, who had all along been nearby to encourage and teach her son, remained very active in his life and ministry, and joined him in that endeavor.

On the journey John Bosco realized that young boys have no attention span and he began to devise ways to capture their focus. He learned magic tricks, jokes, and acrobatic stunts. Once the group was good and mesmerized, he began to teach. As the news spread, he became an important figure in the life of wayward boys. He built a church, facilitated workshops, taught and preached, and soon had such a large following it took at least ten priests to care for the pastoral needs of the boys. John Bosco was a popular paid speaker and homilist. He wrote best selling books and was graced with many charitable donations to continue his ministry. His work became so big that he needed more help dedicated to serving the Lord through the boys and eventually girls, that he formed a religious order to accept the challenge, the Society of St. Francis de Sales. By the time of his death in 1888, there were more than sixty Salesian foundations in Europe and America, and nearly eight hundred priests, and the order remains quite active today.

The idea given to John by the Lord was a vision of youth ministry that he saw as an inner window comprised of four panes. Each pane was uniquely different, but it took all four to view the entire picture. He expressed the panes as places where youth could thrive in a well balanced structure, and no one would be forced to pursue one pane at the expense of another.

The first window pane, he called ‘home,’ a place of belonging, where a youth could sit down at a meal with others and share his/her story, and hear those of other children. John called the second pane ‘school,’ where youth studied in a way that permitted them to grow rather than be stifled. He saw education as a way for student and teacher to question and learn together. The third window pane was ‘church.’ There, youth would be empowered to become active participants in the sacramental and worship lives of the whole faith community. The fourth was named ‘playground,’ where children were encouraged to be children, to run and play and enjoy the company of others.

Why does this matter today? Largely because it doesn’t happen enough. As early in the Bible as Deuteronomy 6:4-9, parents are called to tend to the education and right thinking of their children. This ancient lesson is the first time the great commandment was encouraged as part of life’s structure. The Book of Proverbs begins by telling the reader it’s purpose is that humankind may appreciate wisdom and discipline and may understand words of intelligence, and that they may receive training in wise conduct, what is honest, just and right (Proverbs 1:2-3). From that point, Proverbs continues to emphasize wisdom taught by parents and elders.

Too often today parents are not involved in their children’s education. One principal complained about a Parent-Teacher Meeting that no parents attended. Is it any wonder that particular school is below the acceptable standard in the Albuquerque Public School system? Looking at it from four window panes, parents need to ask themselves, do they have a home where children are actually able to talk and live, to share their lives around a dinner table, and that doesn’t mean conversing by text with friends. Are the parents active in their children’s education? Not that everyone has the skills or the time and resources, but Catholic homeschooling is quite acceptable, encouraged, and was endorsed by Pope John Paul II among others. Do parents worship with their children or is it preferable to drop them off at church, if at all? Do they celebrate the sacraments together as family and community? And one last point, do they play and have fun together, enjoying all of the gifts from God, especially each other.

Churches of all denominations abound with programs for youth, and some are quite similar to the plan set up by John Bosco one hundred and fifty years ago. The elements of key importance are the same elements of Christian life: that we love God and trust him completely, that we care about one another, including the kids, and that we be involved in each others lives, including what we/they learn. Yes, the ethic of John Bosco matters, perhaps now more than ever. Have you hugged your gift today?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

After All by David Crowder

Pope Benedict: From Prayer We Find Strength

The following comes from the CNA:

Pope Benedict XVI says the heroic sanctity of St. John the Baptist proves that a solid life of prayer is the best source of courage for Christians facing a modern world that is hostile to God and those who love him. 

“The martyrdom of St. John the Baptist reminds us, Christians of our time, that we cannot stoop to compromises with the love of Christ, his Word, the Truth. The Truth is the Truth and there is no compromise,” the Pope stated in his Aug. 29 general audience address at Castel Gandolfo.

Christian life, he said, requires a “daily martyrdom of fidelity to the Gospel” which can be defined as the “courage to let Christ grow in us and direct our thinking and our actions” and can only occur through a “solid relationship with God.” 

Pope Benedict also reflected on the contribution of prayer.

“Prayer is not a waste of time, it does not rob much space from our activities, not even apostolic activities, it does the exact opposite: only if we are able to have a life of faithful, constant, confident prayer will God Himself give us the strength and capacity to live in a happy and peaceful way, to overcome difficulties and to bear witness with courage,” he said.

The Pope’s words were part of his ongoing weekly catechesis on the theme of prayer, with today’s focus being on the prayer life of Saint John the Baptist.

Since Aug. 29 is the liturgical memorial of the martyrdom of John the Baptist, Pope Benedict noted that he is the only saint whose birth and death are celebrated on the same day.

St. John the Baptist was martyred following his denouncement of King Herod’s incestuous marriage to Herodias, who was his brother Philip’s former wife and also King Herod’s niece.

“For the love of truth, he did not stoop to compromises with the powerful and was not afraid to use strong words with those who had lost the path of God,” said Pope Benedict. 

“Where does this life of rectitude and coherency, this interior strength, completely spent for God and to prepare the way for Jesus, come from?” asked the Pope. 

“The answer is simple: from his relationship with God, from prayer, which is the main theme of his whole existence.”

Reflecting upon the life of St. John the Baptist, Pope Benedict observed that since his conception the prophet’s existence was underpinned by prayer, beginning with his father Zechariah’s song of praise, the “Benedictus,” which is now recited by many Catholics during the early morning prayer of the Church.

His example of a prayerful life is so significant, suggested the Pope, that when the disciples asked Christ to teach them the Our Father, their request is formulated with the words “Lord teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”

“St. John the Baptist intercedes for us, so that we always maintain the primacy of God in our lives,” concluded the Pope, before leading the faithful in the singing of the Our Father in Latin.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Our Lady of Częstochowa and my vocation!


This is a post I made last year but thought I would re-post it!  Today is my 12th  anniversary of Salesian Priesthood!  Please pray for my fidelity and for more vocations!  Here is my post from last year:


Today, August 26, is the feast of Our Lady of Częstochowa! I never had a great devotion to this image until the year 2000. That was when I was ordained a priest! That makes today the tenth anniversary of my ordination! When I first found out my ordination would be on August 26th I was a bit disappointed that it would not be on a feast day, but later found out about Częstochowa. It was made more special when I realized the great devotion that Pope John Paul II had for her as well. Pope John Paul II, native of Poland, visited the shrine in 1979 and 1983.The miraculous portrait of Our Lady of Czestochowa is venerated by many as an actual portrait of the Madonna, painted during her lifetime by Saint Luke the Evangelist on the top of a cypress-wood table. Our God is a God of miracles and He is so very generous!

It is in this context that I wanted to write a few words about vocations and about my own vocation story. I am especially mindful of the great gift that ordination brings to the Church, to my family and to the Salesian Family, as well as to me personally. During this Year for Priests it is good to reflect more on this mystery of vocation and the gift that it is for all of us who love the Church and her mission.
My vocation is not so different from many others. Many folks had a hand in it! I think the wonderful prayerful example of my parents was a big part. I can remember seeing my mother frequently in her room with rosary in hand (no doubt praying for us kids!). Also, the hard working example of my Dad and his wonderful availability to others was and is a model to me. I don’t think we ever missed a mass on Sunday. Our parish was a second home to our family. Between school activities, scouting, fairs, picnics and altar serving the parish became a real extension of home.

I can remember being so impressed with the priests of my parish as a youngster and as an altar boy. Our Pastor, the late Msgr. Charles Pagluighi, was a great inspiration to all of us in the parish and he had a particular charism for young people. He had a way of getting his altar boys excited to do a great job at serving at mass. His love for the Chicago Cubs was well known and I remember marveling at the fact that he was an honorary team chaplain! I think the fine example and down to earth goodness of Fr. Pagluighi was a big part of my seeing priesthood in such a positive light.

Another priest of the parish when I was in grammar school was Fr. Arthur Calkins. Fr. Calkins was a very different personality from Fr. Paglughi. Fr. Calkins was a very thoughtful homilist and scholar and had the personality of a university professor. But, it was Fr. Calkins who was the first priest to ask me as a youngster if I had ever thought of the priesthood. I was very surprised by the question and I don’t remember how I responded to his question. However, I do remember that he asked me! The question stayed with me and remained something that I would think about from then on.

I think these good parish priests gave me such a positive view of priesthood that made it possible to say yes years later.

It was also in grammar school that I met Don Bosco. The Salesian Sisters came to our school as I began the 7th grade. They were wonderful, joyful women who had a clear love for God, the Church and this great Salesian Charism. Their love for St. John Bosco, Mary, Help of Christians and for young people was so clear. These sisters didn’t just talk about joy, but they were visibly joyful. I had never seen a religious sister in a habit play softball or basketball before, but these wonderful Salesians sure did! They also loved to tell the many stories of Don Bosco, his dreams, and his miracles to us kids. We saw old movies about the saint and even read comic books about him. This was a cool saint who could do it all! I left grammar school with a love for Don Bosco and his spirit.

I attended Archbishop Shaw High School in Marrero, Louisiana and it was there that I encountered the Salesian Priests and Brothers. My parish priests and the Salesian Sisters tilled the soil and the priests at Shaw planted more seeds. During the summer between my Junior and Senior years of High School I had the chance to help out at a Salesian summer camp in Ipswich, MA. I needed to do 50 hours of service to graduate and the camp sounded like fun. I was supposed to work there for one week, but I was enjoying it so much that I called home to work out staying for a second! It was in working with the young people that summer that I began to see that Don Bosco’s spirit was really growing in me. Was God calling me to be a priest? Was God calling me to be a Salesian? Maybe, but I wasn’t ready to say that out loud!

By the end of my Senior year at Shaw I was all set to go to LSU and begin a new chapter in my life. Just before graduation the school Director Fr. Pat Angelucci called me into his office to ask me a question. He asked me what I planned to do after graduation. I told him I was headed to LSU. He asked the question again. This time he looked me right in the eyes and asked “what do you plan to do with the rest of your life?” Somehow I had the courage to say maybe I will become a Salesian! Six years later that is exactly what happened! On August 15, 1991 I knelt before my provincial and made profession as a Salesian of Don Bosco. Nine years later I was blessed to be ordained a priest!

Pope Benedict called us to celebrate a special Year for Priests last year and I have been thinking about this wonderful mystery of priesthood and the great gift that it is to the Church. No man deserves to be a priest. I know that I don’t deserve this wonderful gift. However, I do know that God doesn’t call the qualified, but qualifies the called. Somehow God works through one’s limitations and brokenness to bring healing, hope and holiness to the people of God. Please pray for us priests that we might continue to grow more and more into the heart of Christ. The Church needs more and more men to say yes! Maybe God is calling you? Don’t be afraid to say YES!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Catholicism - Fr Mitch Pacwa SJ with Fr Robert Barron

A Vocation Prayer by Pope John Paul II


Lord Jesus, once you called the first disciples in order to make them fishers of men. Continue to let resound today Your sweet invitation: "Come and follow me." Grant to young men and young women the grace of responding promptly to Your voice. Sustain our bishops, priests and consecrated souls in their apostolic work. Give perseverance to our seminarians and to all those who are fulfilling an ideal of a life of total consecration to Your service. Enkindle in our communities a missionary zeal. Send Lord, workers into Your fields and do not let mankind be lost because of a lack of pastors, missionaries and people dedicated to the cause of the Gospel.

Mary, Mother of the Church, Model of Vocations, help us say "Yes to the Lord Who calls us to collaborate in the Divine Design of Salvation." Amen.

PRAYER TO OUR LADY OF PROMPT SUCCOR

PRAYER TO OUR LADY OF PROMPT SUCCOR

Patroness of State of Louisiana

Our Lady of Prompt Succor, ever Virgin Mother of Jesus Christ our Lord and God, you are most powerful against the enemy of our salvation. The divine promise of a Redeemer was announced right after the sin of our first parents; and you, through your Divine Son, crushed the serpent’s head. Hasten, then, to our help and deliver us from the deceits of satan. Intercede for us with Jesus that we may always accept God’s graces and be found faithful to Him in our particular states of life. As you once saved our beloved City from ravaging flames and our Country from an invading army, have pity on us and obtain for us protection from hurricanes and all other disasters. (silent pause for individual petitions). Assist us in the many trials which beset our path through life. Watch over the Church and the Pope as they uphold with total fidelity the purity of faith and morals against unremitting opposition. Be to us truly Our Lady of Prompt Succor now and especially at the hour of our death, that we may gain everlasting life through the merits of Jesus Christ Who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen. Our Lady of Prompt Succor, hasten to help us. (Three times)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Heavenly Appeals

Want to Be a Great Leader? Start Reading

The following comes from the Lifehacker site:


Even though global literacy rates are high(84%), people are reading less and less deeply. This trend is especially detrimental to those in leadership roles. As John Coleman explains, deep, broad reading habits are often a defining characteristic of great leaders, and can catalyze insight, innovation, empathy, and personal effectiveness.
The National Endowment for the Arts has found that "reading has declined among every group of adult Americans," and for the first time in American history, "less than half of the U.S. adult American population is reading literature." This is terrible for leadership, where my experience suggests those trends are even more pronounced. Business people seem to be reading less—particularly material unrelated to business.
Note how many business titans are or have been avid readers. According to The New York Times, Steve Jobs had an "inexhaustible interest" in William Blake; Nike founder Phil Knight so reveres his library that in it you have to take off your shoes and bow; and Harman Industries founder Sidney Harman called poets "the original systems thinkers," quoting freely from Shakespeare and Tennyson. In Passion & Purpose, David Gergen notes that Carlyle Group founder David Rubenstein reads dozens of books each week.
And history is littered not only with great leaders who were avid readers and writers (remember, Winston Churchill won his Nobel prize in Literature, not Peace), but with business leaders who believed that deep, broad reading cultivated in them the knowledge, habits, and talents to improve their organizations.
The leadership benefits of reading are wide-ranging. Evidence suggests reading can improve intelligence and lead to innovation and insight. Some studies have shown, for example, that reading makes you smarter through "a larger vocabulary and more world knowledge in addition to the abstract reasoning skills." Reading—whether Wikipedia, Michael Lewis, or Aristotle—is one of the quickest ways to acquire and assimilate new information.
Many business people claim that reading across fields is good for creativity. And leaders who can sample insights in other fields, such as sociology, the physical sciences, economics, or psychology, and apply them to their organizations are more likely to innovate and prosper.
Reading can also make you more effective in leading others. Reading increases verbal intelligence, making a leader a more adept and articulate communicator. Reading novels can improve empathy and understanding of social cues, allowing a leader to better work with and understand others—traits that author Anne Kreamer persuasively linked to increased organizational effectiveness, and to pay raises and promotions for the leaders who possessed these qualities. And any business person understands that heightened emotional intelligence will improve his or her leadership and management ability.
Finally, an active literary life can make you more personally effective by keeping you relaxed and improving health. Reading is a great way to relax, as reading for six minutes can reduce stress by 68%, and some studies suggest reading may even fend off Alzheimer's, extending the longevity of the mind.
Reading more can lead to a host of benefits for people of all stripes. So how can you get started? Here are a few tips:
  • Join a reading group. One of my friends meets bimonthly with a group of colleagues to read classics in philosophy, fiction, history, and other areas. Find a group of friends who will do the same with you.
  • Vary your reading. If you're a business person who typically only reads business writing, commit to reading one book this year in three areas outside your comfort zone: a novel, a book of poetry, or a nonfiction piece in science, biography, history, or the arts.
  • Apply your reading to your work. Are you struggling with a problem at work? Pick up a book on neuroscience or psychology and see if there are ways in which you can apply the lessons from those fields to your profession.
  • Encourage others. After working on a project with colleagues, I'll often send them a book that I think they'll enjoy. Try it out; it might encourage discussion, cross-application of important lessons, and a proliferation of readers in your workplace.
  • Read for fun. Not all reading has to be developmental. Read to relax, escape, and put your mind at ease.
    Reading has many benefits, but it is underappreciated as an essential component of leadership development.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Alive Again by Mark Maher

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

You Are Loved by Josh Groban

Pope explains how Mary's queenship points to Jesus

Pope Benedict XVI recommended that Christians look to the queenship of Mary, who is “queen in the service of God to humanity,” as a sure guide towards her son.

“Dear friends, devotion to Our Lady is an important part of spiritual life. In our prayer we should not fail to turn to her, confident that Mary will intercede for us with her Son,” the Pope said to pilgrims during his Aug. 22 general audience at Castel Gandolfo.

“Looking upon her, let us imitate her faith, her complete openness to the loving plan of God, her generous welcoming of Jesus. We learn to live from Mary.”

The following comes from the CNA:

The Pope recalled how the establishment of a particular day to celebrate the queenship of Mary is actually a “recent establishment,” even though it has “an ancient origin and devotion.” When Pope Pius XII created the feast in 1954, he originally placed it on May 31, at the end of the month dedicated to Mary.

“On that occasion he said that Mary is Queen more than any other creature for the elevation of her soul and for the excellence of gifts received. She never ceases to bestow all the treasures of her love and of her care on humanity,” Pope Benedict said.

Following the Second Vatican Council the feast day was moved by Pope Paul VI to Aug. 22, so that it would be “eight days after the Solemnity of the Assumption to emphasize the close relationship between the royalty of Mary and her glorification in soul and body next to her Son.”
The fact that Mary is “uniquely bound to her Son” both on earth and in Heaven lies at the root of today’s feast, said the Pope, since she now participates in “God’s responsibility for the world and the love of God for the world.”

Just as the kingship of Jesus “has nothing to do with that of the powerful of this world,” as evidenced by his washing of the disciplines feet or death on the cross, so the queenship of Mary “is not (one of) wealth and power” but is “a service of love,” Pope Benedict taught.

She is “queen in the service of God to humanity, is queen of the love that lives the gift of self to God (so as) to enter into the plan of salvation of man. To the angel she replies: I am the handmaid of the Lord.”
This love is expressed, suggested the Pope, in the fact that Mary is continually “watching over us, her children, the children who come to her in prayer, to thank her or to ask for her maternal protection and heavenly help, perhaps after having lost their way, burdened with grief or anguish amid the sad and troubled vicissitudes of life.”

It is the queenship of Mary that we should turn to throughout life, he said, “so that from her Son we may receive every grace and mercy necessary for our journey along the roads of the world.”
“To him who rules the world and holds the destinies of the universe we turn with confidence, through the Virgin Mary.”

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Empty and Beautiful by Matt Maher

Monday, August 20, 2012

Tony Melendez: Giving Hope

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Fr. Robert Barron on Evangelization

Legend: A Journey Through Iceland

Legend: A Journey Through Iceland from Henry Jun Wah Lee on Vimeo.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Why Catholics Love the Blessed Mother

Monday, August 13, 2012

Remembering Fr. Michael McGivney


Tomorrow is the anniversary of the death of Fr. Michael McGivney, the saintly founder of the Knights of Columbus. He was declared venerable last year by Pope Benedict.
Father McGivney’s cause for canonization was opened in 1997 by the Archbishop of Hartford. Its diocesan phase has already been completed. The Congregation for the Causes of Saints at the Vatican is currently reviewing Father McGivney’s life and works and investigating two reported miracles attributed to his intercession.
You can learn more info about Fr. McGivney and his cause for canonization here.

Fr. Robert Barron on Anti-Catholicism

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Blessed John Paul II on Vocations and Holiness



Pope John Paul II, Compostella, Spain, 1989
What do you seek, pilgrims? Each one of us here must ask himself this question. But you above all, since you have your life ahead of you. I invite you to decide definitively the direction of your way. With the very words of Christ, I ask you: “What do you seek”? (Jn 1:38). Do you seek God? The spiritual tradition of Christianity not only underlines the importance of our search for God. It highlights something more important still: it is God who looks for us. He comes out to meet us. Our way to Compostela means wanting to give an answer to our needs, to our questions, to our «search»; it also means going out to meet God who looks for us with a love so great that we can understand it only with difficulty. This meeting with God is achieved in Jesus Christ. It is in him, who has given his life for us, in his humanity that we experience the love which God has for us. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (Jn 3:16).

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Christian Life in the Military

Saint of the day: Clare of Assisi


The following comes from Catholic Online:


Clare was a beautiful Italian noblewoman who became the Foundress of an order of nuns now called "Poor Clares." When she heard St. Francis of Assisi preach, her heart burned with a great desire to imitate Francis and to live a poor humble life for Jesus. So one evening, she ran away from home, and in a little chapel outside Assisi, gave herself to God. St. Francis cut off her hair and gave her a rough brown habit to wear, tied with a plain cord around her waist. Her parents tried in every way to make her return home, but Clare would not.

Soon her sister, St. Agnes joined her, as well as other young women who wanted to be brides of Jesus, and live without any money. St. Clare and her sisters wore no shoes, ate no meat, lived in a poor house, and kept silent most of the time. Yet they were very happy, because Our Lord was close to them all the time. Once, He saved them from a great danger in answer to St. Clare's prayer. An army of rough soldiers came to attack Assisi and they planned to raid the convent first. Although very sick, St. Clare had herself carried to the wall and right there, where the enemies could see it, she had the Blessed Sacrament placed. Then on her knees, she begged God to save the Sisters.

"O Lord, protect these Sisters whom I cannot protect now," she prayed. A voice seemed to answer: "I will keep them always in My care." At the same time a sudden fright struck the attackers and they fled as fast as they could. St. Clare was sick and suffered great pains for many years, but she said that no pain could trouble her. So great was her joy in serving the Lord that she once exclaimed: "They say that we are too poor, but can a heart which possesses the infinite God be truly called poor?" We should remember this miracle of the Blessed Sacrament when in Church. Then we will pray with great Faith to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist: "Save me, O Lord, from every evil - of soul and body." Her feast day is August 11.

Friday, August 10, 2012

"Paschal Sacrifice: A Heavenly Banquet for Earthly Beggars"

What is the Angelus?



The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary:
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit. 
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of
our death. Amen. 
Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to Thy word. 
Hail Mary . . . 
And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us. 
Hail Mary . . . 

Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray: 
Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord.
Amen.

Archbishop Fisichella: We need new evangelizers


The following comes from the Vatican News site:

“We cannot conduct a new evangelisation without new evangelizers”, said Archbishop Rino Fisichella Thursday as he opened a three day conference on New Evangelisation in down town Sydney, Australia.

As keynote speaker at Proclaim 2012, the President of the Vatican Council for New Evangelisation spoke of the decline of the faith in Europe and western societies, which, he said, cannot be stemmed by a “reform of structures” but only by a personal encounter with the Risen Christ. He also urged “new relationships of esteem, of trust and of welcome of people’s various gifts” within the Church.

“To be an evangelizer is a vocation so that all people may be able to hear the Gospel of Jesus, believe in him and call upon him. That vocation is born on the very day of our baptism and it is a vocation to every believer in Christ to make of himself or herself a credible bearer of the good news encapsulated in his teaching. To be sent, then, is intrinsic to the baptismal vocation; this implies for all Christians that they assume this responsibility, each one in their own person, without any possibility of delegating it to others. The proclamation of the Gospel cannot be delegated to others; rather, it requires the awareness specific to the believer that he or she is to be a bearer of Christ wherever they go”.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

ATHLETES PUTTING CHRIST 1ST WITH DAILY MASS IN OLYMPIC VILLAGE


Mass Brings Highest Attendance of Any Religious Service

LONDON, England, AUG. 6, 2012 (Zenit.org).- The Catholic Church of England and Wales is taking advantage of the Olympic Games to evangelize London locals, the thousands of tourists in the city for the events, and the athletes as well.
Speaking to Vatican Radio, James Parker, Catholic executive coordinator for the Olympic Games, reported that not only is daily Mass celebrated within the Olympic Village, it also has the "highest attendance at any of the religious services."
"There are a number of athletes and officials from various nations who are coming there every day and they are placing Christ at the beginning and the center of all they do," he said. 
"People are beginning to come out of their homes they want to meet, to be together for festivities. The Churches have been preparing for this. The Catholic Church and other Christian communities have organized festivals to harness this community spirit. So that people have the opportunity to speak about what brings joy to their lives and an opportunity to speak about Christ," Parker said. 
One year ago this month, Pope Benedict XVI told the future of the global Church that their task was to bring Christ to the ends of the earth and among contemporary society. Again this month he repeated this mandate in his missionary prayer intentions for August: "that young people, called to follow Christ, may be willing to proclaim and bear witness to the Gospel to the end of the earth." 
Proving that they earnestly take him at his word, young Catholics from 21 nations have invaded London’s Olympic borough, pitching their tents on the green lawns of Bonaventure’s Catholic high school, creating their own "Joshua Camp."
Over the next three days, these young men and women, boys and girls will be attending daily catechesis, prayer vigils, Eucharistic Adoration and Mass in the shadow of the Olympic stadium. 
Parker said these days of reflection, prayer and meditation are a vital part of the mission. "It's not just about street evangelization, it's about being open to the message of Christ in our own hearts first and foremost. It's not just a message that we share. We are sharing Christ with the people around us," he said. 
On Tuesday, Joshua Camp will will be out and about mingling with sports fans from across the globe and local East London residents. 
"The Joshua Camp is about going to the poor and needy on the periphery of the Games," Parker said, "and saying 'come and see what it's all about' and not only but also ‘come and take part of this great banquet that God’s got prepared for us.'"

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Marcus Grodi with Dr. Scott Hahn and Kimberly Hahn

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Dr. Scott Hahn on the Paschal Mystery

Pope Benedict challenges believers to put God before worldly cares


The following comes from the CNA:

God's promise of a new and eternal life deserves priority over earthly desires for things that can never satisfy the heart, Pope Benedict XVI taught in his Aug. 5 Sunday Angelus address at Castel Gandolfo.
“Jesus wants to help people move beyond the immediate satisfaction of their material needs, although they are important too. He wants to open a horizon of existence which is not simply that of the daily concerns of eating, dressing and career,” the Pope told pilgrims at his summer residence.

The true “center of existence,” giving “full meaning and firm hope” to life, “is faith in Jesus … our encounter with Christ,” the Pope reflected.

Thousands of enthusiastic visitors listened from the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace as the Pope discussed Sunday's reading from the “Bread of Life” discourse in the Gospel of John.

In it, Christ tells the multitude not to labor for the “food that perishes” but “for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you.” Jesus proclaims himself as “the bread of life,” declaring: “Whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”
Pope Benedict stressed that this encounter with Christ goes far beyond “an idea” or “a project,” to reach Jesus “as a living person” who wants everyone “to be fully involved with him and his Gospel.”
In the midst of everyday concerns, Christ calls humanity to “look ahead and to open the human horizon to the horizon of God, the horizon of faith.”

During their journey of faith, believers are sustained by something infinitely greater than the miraculous manna given to the Israelites in the Old Testament. Jesus, the Pope said, does not merely “give something,” but instead “gives himself” to the faithful in Holy Communion.

“Let us put our faith in him, and let us put our trust in his promises, so that we may have life in abundance,” the Pope urged the crowd, before leading them in reciting the traditional midday Marian prayer.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Fr. Barron and Dr. Scott Hahn discuss God and Human Freedom

St. Francis of Assisi on the Humility of Christ



Everyday, Jesus humbles himself just as He did when He came from His heavenly throne into the Virgin’s womb; everyday He comes to us and lets us see Him in abjection, when He descends from the bosom of the Father into the hands of the priest at the altar.
                                  -St. Francis of Assisi 

The Transfiguration

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Our Lady of the Snows


The following comes from the Patron Saints Index:

A feast that commemorates the dedication of the church of Santa Maria Maggiore on the Esquiline Hill in Rome, Italy. The church was originally built by Pope Liberius, and was known as the Basilica Liberii or Liberiana. It was restored by Pope Sixtus III, and dedicated to Our Lady. From that time on it was known as Basilica S. Mariæ or Mariæ Majoris. Since the seventh century it was known also as Maria ad Præsepe.

The appellation ad Nives (of the snow) originated a few hundred years later, as did also the legend which gave this name to the church. The legend says that during the pontificate of Liberius, the Roman patrician John and his wife, who were without heirs, made a vow to donate their possessions to Our Lady. They prayed that she might make known to them how they were to dispose of their property in her honour. During the night of 5 August, snow fell on the summit of the Esquiline Hill. In obedience to a vision which they had the same night, the couple built a basilica in honour of Our Lady on the spot which was covered with snow. From the fact that no mention whatever is made of this alleged miracle until a few hundred years later, not even by Sixtus III in his eight-lined dedicatory inscription, it would seem that the legend has no historical basis.

Originally the feast was celebrated only at Santa Maria Maggiore. In the fourteenth century it was extended to all the churches of Rome, and finally it was made a universal feast by Pope Pius V. Pope Clement VIII raised it from a feast of double rite to double major. The Mass is the common one for feasts of the Blessed Virgin; the office is also the common one of the Blessed Virgin, with the exception of the second Nocturn, which is an account of the alleged miracle. The congregation, which Pope Benedict XIV instituted for the reform of the Breviary in 1741, proposed that the reading of the legend be struck from the Office, and that the feast should again receive its original name, Dedicatio Sanctæ Mariæ.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Fr. Robert Barron from the Colloseum

St. Pius X and the Olympics


The following comes from Zenit.org:
It was 1908 when, in the wake of a serious economic crisis, Rome renounced hosting the Olympic Games which were eventually celebrated in London, England. In the same year Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympics, sought help from the Vatican to support the Games, and Pope Pius X in person offered him his support.
More than 100 years later, the British capital is hosting the Olympic Games for the third time; the opening ceremonies were today. 
That moment at the beginning of the 20th century is described in a book titled "Pio X: Le Olimpiadi e lo Sport" (Pius X: The Olympics and Sports) by Antonella Stelitano. At that time "less than 1% of the population practiced any sporting activity, ... and sport was used only as a form of military training or as a pastime for the upper classes," the author explained in an interview with Vatican Radio.
However "St. Pius X ... was aware of the educational potential of sports." He saw it as a way "to approach young people, and to bring them together while following certain rules and showing respect for adversaries."
One such example was in a speech that Pius X directed toward youth Oct. 8, 1905. "I admire and bless with all my heart all the games and pastimes, gymnastics, cycling, mountain climbing, boating, jogging, [...], competitions and academics to which you dedicate yourselves The exercise of the body affects wonderfully on the exercise of the spirit. Because these activities require more work, you take away that sloth, which is the father of vices, and finally because the same friendly matches will be in you an image emulation in the exercise of virtue," the Pope said.
"I believe," the author explained, "that he understood that it was possible to bring people together simply, without any problems of race, religion or differing political ideas."
At that time in history many people did not understand the importance of exercise, said Stelitano who concluded her interview by recalling an anecdote where Pius X told one of his cardinals: "All right, if it is impossible to understand that this can be done, then I myself will do exercise in front of everyone so that they may see that, if the Pope can do it, anyone can do it."

Fr. Robert Barron comments on Religious Drifters