Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Mystery of the Rosary and the Real Presence

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sen. McCain introduces Gov. Sarah Palin

This was a very good introduction to the Vice-Presidential nominee! She is a natural!

Pray for Vocations!

As we begin another academic year here in Orange I am most grateful for the 19 young men pursuing their vocations here in our community. We need to continue to pray that God will bless us with good and holy vocations!

Oh Jesus, our Good Shepherd, bless all our parishes with numerous priests, deacons, men and women in religious life, consecrated laity and missionaries, according to the needs of the entire world, which You love and wish to save. We especially entrust our community to You; grant us the spirit of the first Christians, so that we may be a cenacle of prayer, in loving acceptance of the Holy Spirit and His gifts. Assist our pastors and all who live a consecrated life. Guide the steps of those who have responded generously to Your call and are preparing to receive holy orders or to profess the evangelical counsels.

Look with love on so many well disposed young people and call them to follow You. Help them to understand that in You alone can they attain to complete fulfillment. To this end we call on the powerful intercession of Mary, Mother and Model of all vocations. We beseech you to sustain our faith with the certainty that the Father will grant what You have commanded us to ask. Amen

Friday, August 29, 2008

Archbishop Chaput In the Spotlight!

Here is an interesting article from the Washington Times on the recent ativity of the wonderful Archbishop Chaput of Denver:

In retrospect, maybe the Democrats should have included Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput in their convention activities after all.

The party was accused of deliberately snubbing the outspoken archbishop by failing to invite him to lead prayers or participate on its religion panels. Archbishop Chaput is the leader of Denver´s estimated 385,000 Catholics, the area´s largest religious denomination.

But Archbishop Chaput may have gotten the last laugh. Democrats are doing a slow burn over the archbishop´s headline-grabbing criticism of party bigwigs and his decision to schedule major events this week during the convention´s prime-time speeches.

“There are lots of bishops who stay out of politics,” said Denver pollster Floyd Ciruli. “Chaput is exactly the opposite.”

Wednesday night, for example, Archbishop Chaput drew hundreds to a signing of his newest book, “Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life,” at a bookstore about 15 miles from the Pepsi Center.

The signing began at the same time the Democratic National Convention launched a line-up of speakers that included former President Bill Clinton and vice-presidential pick Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Coincidence? Maybe. Three nights ago, however, on the debut of the convention, Archbishop Chaput led a pro-life rally and prayer march outside a Planned Parenthood office in north Denver that started at 7:30 MST, about the same time as Michelle Obama, wife of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, was speaking to the convention.

Dan Caplis, a Denver radio talk-show host and attorney who hosted the march, made reference to the convention overlap in his introductory remarks. About 1,000 people gathered at Martin Luther King Jr. Park to hear Archbishop Chaput and pro-life activist Alveda King, the late Mr. King´s niece.

For the whole story please click here.

Go Sarah Palin!

McCain/Palin 2008!
The following comes from Jack Kelly at

At 44, Sarah Louise Heath Palin is both the youngest and the first female governor in Alaska's relatively brief history as a state. She's also the most popular governor in America, with an approval rating that has bounced around 90 percent.

This is due partly to her personal qualities. When she was leading her underdog Wasilla high school basketball team to the state championship in 1982, her teammates called her "Sarah Barracuda" because of her fierce competitiveness.

Two years later, when she won the "Miss Wasilla" beauty pageant, she was also voted "Miss Congeniality" by the other contestants.

Sarah Barracuda. Miss Congeniality. Fire and nice. A happily married mother of five who is still drop dead gorgeous. And smart to boot.

But it's mostly because she's been a crackerjack governor, a strong fiscal conservative and a ferocious fighter of corruption, especially in her own party.

Ms. Palin touches other conservative bases, some of which Sen. McCain has been accused of rounding. Track, her eldest son, enlisted in the Army last Sept. 11. She's a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association who hunts, fishes and runs marathons. A regular churchgoer, she's staunchly pro-life.

Kimberley Strassel of the Wall Street Journal said Sen. McCain should run against a corrupt, do-nothing Congress, a la Harry Truman. If he should choose to do so, Gov. Palin would make an excellent partner "The landscape is littered with the bodies of those who have crossed Sarah," pollster Dave Dittman told the Weekly Standard's Fred Barnes.

McCain and Palin: I hope so!

I really hope Senator McCain chooses Gov. Sarah Palin! She is an energetic, young, fresh face who will energize the electorate. She is also not connected to the Washington insiders. She is Pro-Life, Pro-Gun and a woman! I am praying this happens!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Saint of the Day: Augustine of Hippo

Today is the Feast of St. Augustine! You can learn more about him from the Patron Saints Index!
O eternal truth, true love and beloved eternity. You are my God. To you do I sigh day and night. When I first came to know you, you drew me to yourself so that I might see that there were things for me to see, but that I myself was not yet ready to see them. Meanwhile you overcame the weakness of my vision, sending forth most strongly the beams of your light, and I trembled at once with love and dread.

I sought a way to gain the strength which I needed to enjoy you. But I did not find it until I embraced "the mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who is above all, God blessed for ever." He was calling me and saying: "I am the way of truth, I am the life."

Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed you fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.

-from the Confessions of Saint Augustine

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"On the Separation of Sense and State"

Thank goodness we have some strong Bishops in our country who are speaking out to defend our faith! After House Speaker Pelosi's interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” some of our Catholic Bishops decided to respond to her interpretation of the Catholic position on life. Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver did a beautiful job of providing some basic catechesis in his article "On the Separation of Sense and State." It was also good to see Cardinal Egan and Archbishop Wuerl get into the mix on this issue as well! Let's pray for all of our Bishops that they might continue to lead and teach the truth during these difficult times. Let's also pray for our political leaders that they might come to defend the most helpless among us. Here are the words of the Archbishop of Denver.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Our Lady of Częstochowa: The Black Madonna

Today 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! That makes today my eighth 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. For more information on Our Lady of Częstochowa click here. Also, today is now the feast of Blessed Ceferino Namuncurá! So this is a real Salesian holiday for me as well!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Hillsong United: Fire Fall Down!

This is one my all time favorite praise songs! Today we begin a new year and we welcome our new seminary candidates to the house! There will be 19 young men in formation this year here in our house! Please pray the Holy Spirit falls upon the work of our Salesian Community this year! God bless!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Beatification for Louis and Zelie Martin: Parents of St. Therese

The parents of St. Therese will be beatified on October 19! You can read the Catholic News Agency story below:

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI has approved the beatification of Louis and Marie Zelie Guerin Martin, the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux.

The couple will be beatified Oct. 19, World Mission Sunday, during a Mass in the Basilica of St. Therese in Lisieux, France, the Vatican announced Aug. 19.

St. Therese and St. Francis Xavier are the patron saints of the missions.

The Vatican did not say who would preside at the Martins' beatification Mass.

With beatification, the diocese where the candidate lived or the religious order to which the person belonged is authorized to hold public commemorations on the person's feast day. With the declaration of sainthood, public liturgical celebrations are allowed around the world.

The Martins were declared venerable, one of the first steps in the sainthood process, in 1994. But despite the active encouragement of Pope John Paul II to move the cause forward, the miracle needed for their beatification was not approved by the Vatican until early July.

Louis lived 1823-1894 and his wife lived 1831-1877. They had nine children, five of whom joined religious orders.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

My Redeemer Lives - Team Hoyt

Incredible video about the relationship between a father and son.... and God's relationship with us.

Jamey Johnson - In Color

This is a fantastic country song! Here are the lyrics:

I said grandpa whats this picture here its all black and white it aint real clear is that you there? He said yeah i was 11 times were tough back in '35 thats me and uncle Joe just tryin to survive a cotton farm in the great depression.

If it looks like we were scared to death like a couple of kids just trying to save each other you should've seen it in color.

Ohh and this one here was taken over seas in the middle of hell in 1943 in the winter time you can almost see my breath that was my tail gunner ole Johnny Magee he was a high school teacher from new Orleans and he had my back right through the day we left.

If it looks like we were scared to death like a couple of kids just trying to save each other you should've seen it in color.

A picture's worth a thousand words but you cant see what those shades of gray keep covered you should've seen it in color

This one is my favorite one. This is me and grandma in the summer sun all dressed up the day we said our vows. You can't tell it here but it was hot that June and that rose was red and her eyes were blue and just look at that smile I was so proud. Thats the story of my life right there in black and white

And if it looks like we were scared to death like a couple of kids just trying to save each other you should've seen it in color.

A pictures worth a thousand words but you cant see what those shades of gray keep covered you should have seen it in color.

You should have seen it in color

Yeah a pictures worth a thousand words but you cant see what those shades of gray keep covered you should have seen it in color.

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Different Look at Classical Music

I found this video on The Anchoress and thought it was pretty interesting stuff!
Benjamin Zander has two infectious passions: classical music, and helping us all realize our untapped love for it -- and by extension, our untapped love for all new possibilities, new experiences, new connections.

Words of Wisdom from President Ronald Reagan!

'Here's my strategy on the Cold War:
We win, they lose.'

'The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'

'The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just that they know so much that isn't so.'

'Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong.'

'I have wondered at times about what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the U.S. Congress.'

'The taxpayer: That's someone who works for the federal government but doesn't have to take the civil service examination.'

'The nearest thing to eternal life we will ever see on this earth is a government program.'

'It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first.'

'Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.'

'Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed, there are many rewards; if you disgrace yourself, you can always write a book.'

'No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is as formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.'

'If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.'

- Ronald Reagan

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Cuban Salesian Saint?

The Salesians have another Servant of God moving closer to beatification! The process for the cause of Fr. Jose Vandor of Cuba is moving forward! This good man was likened to St. Francis de Sales for his kindness. You can read the Salesian News Service story below.

(ANS – Santa Clara) - Sunday 10 August, first Vespers for St Clare, Patronness of Santa Clara Diocese, the Most Rev. Marcelo Arturo González Amador, bishop of Santa Clara in Cuba, presided at the solemn closing session for the diocesan investigation for the Beatification and Canonisation process for Servant of God Fr José Vandor, a Salesian.

The celebration took place in the Salesian parish church at Carmine, where the Servant of God was the first parish priest, and where he carried out his pastoral ministry for 25 years, from 1954 until his death.

In a society where hatred and violence were widespread, Father Vandor was an heroic witness of reconciliation and peace. He was born in Drog, Hungary, on 29th October 1909, but immediately after his priestly ordination in 1936 at Turin`s Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, he was sent to Cuba by his superiors, where he became enculturated to the point of changing his Hungarian surname (Wech,"pilgrim" or "wanderer") into Spanish (Vandor).

Father Vandor had a likeness to St Francis de Sales for his meek patience, prudent zeal, wisdom in spiritual direction of souls; and he was like St John Bosco for his apostolic energy, his love for the poor, his spirit of faith, quiet joy and warm approach. He died in Santa Clara on 8th October 1979. Exactly 24 years later on October 8, 2003 the Diocesan process began.

Besides the Bishop, others who took part in the closing ceremony were: members of the diocesan tribunal (judge delegate, justice promoter, notary); the postulator, Fr Enrico dal Covolo; the vice postulator Fr Raffaele Giordano; Fr Cosimo Semeraro; numerous other Salesians, led by the Rector of the local community, Fr Guillermo García Montaño; religious and a large crowd of the faithful.

At the end of the ceremony the postulator, after having pledged his fidelity to the task now undertaken, took the Acts of the Diocesan process with him (the so-called "Transunto"), in order to bring them to the Congregation for Saintly Causes in Rome, where the second phase of the process will begin, viz., the Roman or Apostolic investigation. To this end, the postulator designated Fr Bruno Roccaro as a collaborator in drawing up the "Positio".

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Josh Turner sings "Me and God"

What's not to love about country music!? This is a fantastic song and Josh does a great job! Enjoy!

Monday, August 18, 2008

George Strait: Run

This is just an amazing song... I know the redneck in me is showing! Enjoy!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Defeat It!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Henry Poole is Here... Check it out!

Henry Poole is Here looks interesting. In a summer filled with blockbuster action movies this movie might be a good change of pace! The trailer looks very different and promising... and there is a faith element! It opens tomorrow around the country.

Luke Wilson (The Royal Tenenbaums, Old School), Academy Award nominee Adriana Barraza (Babel) and Radha Mitchell (Finding Neverland) star in a modern day fable about the unexpected wonders of the everyday from director Mark Pellington (U2 3D, The Mothman Prophesies). Henry Poole is Here tells the funny, poignant and uplifting story of a disillusioned man who attempts to hide from life in a rundown suburban tract home only to discover he cannot escape the forces of hope.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Bethany Dillon - Beautiful (Acoustic)

This is really a simple and beautiful song! Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Kaw-Liga: Johnny Cash and Hank Williams Jr.

This is a rare, but very cool, country song with Johnny Cash and Hank Williams Jr. This comes live from the Grand Ole Opry! Enjoy!

Gun Rights on Trial: Brian Doherty Reacts to D.C. v. Heller

Yesterday, the Supreme Court issued its long-awaited opinion in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller, recognizing an individual right to possess arms for self-defense. Senior editor Brian Doherty, who's currently writing a book about the case, spoke to yesterday about what the decision means for the future of gun rights in America.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Some Words of Thomas Merton on Prayer

It's a risky thing to pray and the danger is that our very prayers get between God and us. The great thing in prayer is not to pray, but to go directly to God.... at the very root of your existence, you are inconstant and immediate contact with the infinite power of God.

There is no such thing as a kind of prayer in which you do absolutely nothing. If you are doing nothing you are not praying.

Prayer is the movement of trust, of gratitude, of adoration, or of sorrow, that places us before God, seeing both Him and ourselves in the light of His infinite truth, and moves us to ask Him for the mercy, the spiritual strength, the material help, that we all need.

The man whose prayer is so pure that he never asks God for anything does not know who God is, and does not know who he is himself: for he does not know his own need of God.

All true prayer somehow confesses our absolute dependence on the Lord of life and death. It is, therefore, a deep and vital contact with Him whom we know not only as Lord but as Father. It is when we pray truly that we really are. Our being is brought to a high perfection by this.

- Thomas Merton

Set Me Free!

The Set Me Free video from Godtube is from Ignite Student Ministries at Victory World Outreach Center. This is well done and impacting!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Father's Love Letter

This is a beautiful video that tells a love story... It is a letter that God is writing to each one of us! Make it a prayer!

Dublin to host International Eucharistic Congress in 2012

Dublin, the capital of Ireland, will host the next International Eucharistic Congress, to be held in 2012. Benedict XVI announced the choice of Dublin at the close of June's International Eucharistic Congress in Quebec. This will be the second Eucharistic Congress in Ireland, the first of which was held in Dublin in 1932. "I trust that those who will participate in the upcoming congress will maintain a source of spiritual renewal that will last forever," the Pope said. International Eucharistic Congresses are a coming together of the Universal Church to celebrate Jesus, alive and present in the Eucharist, source and summit of evangelization and the center of the life of the Church.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

United States: more and more people pray in Spanish

In less than 40 years, the number of Catholic Hispanics has increased 70 percent. According to the Conference of Catholic Bishops of the United States, since 1960 the number of Catholic faithful in the country has also increased more than 70 percent.

The Hispanic migration phenomenon is one of the factors that has contributed to this increase, Zenit Agency reports. The majority come for a better quality of life due to the lack of work opportunities in their countries of origin, as well as to join family members that have emigrated to the north.

Of the more than 35 million Hispanics who live in the United States, approximately 73 percent are Catholic. Many encounter a country with very different traditions and therefore look for something they can relate to.

Mario Paredes, president of the CALL (Catholic Association of Latino Leaders), believes that "currently the identity of the Hispanic Catholic world in the United States is very clear, very open, and is very strong despite all the currents that have arisen recently against immigrants in the United States."

This view reflects the words of Benedict XVI during his trip to the United States, who assured that the Church in this country "welcoming in her midst many of her immigrant children, has been able to grow also due to the vitality of the testimony of faith of the Spanish speaking faithful".

Josh Turner: Long Black Train!

Josh Turner has a fantastic and prayerful voice. This is a great country, and Christian, song!

China's Little Flagbearer Lin Hao

If you didn't see the opening of the Olympics then you missed a spectacle! But, the most impressive moment was when Yao Ming and Lin Hao, China's flagbearers, entered the stadium. Lin Hao has become a national hero since the earthquake that struck on May 12 of this year. 20 out of 30 of Lin's classmates were killed and he himself was dug from the rubble. Lin Hao encouraged his classmates to sing in order to lessen their fears. After being freed he joined rescuers in the search for his classmates. He felt responsible because he was the hall monitor and leader of his class! He did all of this despite his own broken arm and head injuries. God bless him!

BEIJING -- Led by NBA star Yao Ming and Lin Hao, a primary school student from the quake-affected Sichuan province, the Chinese delegation paraded into the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games on Friday night.

The 9-year-old Lin walked ahead of the 1,099-member delegation, side by side with the 7-foot-6 basketballer, who carried the Chinese national flag.

Team China, which includes 639 athletes and has an average age of 24.4, will compete in all 28 sports.

Lin is a second-grader at the Yuzixi Primary School in Yingxiu Town, Wenchuan County. Wenchuan was the epicenter of a devastating 8.0-magnitude earthquake on May 12 that killed over 69,000 people.

According to media reports, when the May 12 tremor struck, Lin Hao risked his life and suffered multiple injuries for rescuing his schoolmates from the collapsed buildings. He was later awarded the title of "Teenage Hero in Earthquake Rescue and Relief."

For more of the story click here.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Flashback: Ballad of the Green Berets!

In 1966 (before I was born!), Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler recorded his #1 Billboard Hot 100 song, the Ballad of the Green Berets. It's a simple ballad that praised America's elite Army division, the Green Berets, and it's one of the few songs recorded during the Vietnam War that was pro-military, and yet it still went to #1 on the charts. Here are the lyrics:

Fighting soldiers from the sky
Fearless men who jump and die
Men who mean just what they say
The brave men of the Green Beret

Silver wings upon their chest
These are men, America's best
One hundred men we'll test today
But only three win the Green Beret

Trained to live, off nature's land
Trained in combat, hand to hand
Men who fight by night and day
Courage deep, from the Green Beret

Silver wings upon their chest
These are men, America's best
One hundred men we'll test today
But only three win the Green Beret

Back at home a young wife waits
Her Green Beret has met his fate
He has died for those oppressed
Leaving her this last request

Put silver wings on my son's chest
Make him one of America's best
He'll be a man they'll test one day
Have him win the Green Beret

Blessed Mary Mackillop: Australia's Saint!

The following comes from the shrine of Blessed Mary.
Blessed Mary was born near Melbourne, Australia, in 1842, the first daughter of Flora and Alexander MacKillop. Her life was never to be an easy one, the path continually beset with obstacles. But Mary was courageous and trusted in God to see her through the difficult times. Before she was 20 years old, Mary knew that God was calling her, but it was not until she was 24 that she was to take up what she called "God’s work".
Her vocation was to open and run Catholic schools for the poor in Southern Australia and, at this time, she became foundress of The Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart. Doubtless, her task brought her much joy, but it also brought great hardship and pain Mary's commitment to God remained unshaken and till her death in 1909 Mary had been a devoted servant of God. In recognition of her devotion.
Pope John Paul 11 declared Mary ‘Blessed’ in Sydney in 1995 an important step towards formal acknowledgement of Mary as a Saint.

To learn more about Blessed Mary please click here.

Saint of the day: St. Dominic de Guzman!

Today is the feast of St. Dominic de Guzman the founder of the Dominicans! To learn more about St. Dominic please check out the Patron Saints Index!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Steven Curtis Chapman Family: Growing in Faith Through Tragedy

The above video is a testimony of faith from the family of Christian music star Steven Curtis Chapman. After the tragic death of their youngest daughter Maria only 4 months ago they are able to share how their love and faith are helping them to face their tragedy each day. Sadly it was her teenage brother who accidently ran over Maria in the family driveway. He speaks in the video as well. Let's continue to pray for this family and thank God for the witness of their faith.
Check out their Maria's miracles fund.

When I Get Where I'm Going: Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton

When I Get Where I'm Going-Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton

This song is amazing! It is also a fantastic video... Enjoy it and pray for someone that you love that has gone before us! God bless!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Remembering the Marian Apparitions in Betania, Venezuela

August 7th is the 4th anniversary of the death of Maria Esperanza. She was the primary visionary of the apparitions at Betania, Venezuela. It is important that we not forget these apparitions nor the wonderful woman who received them. The following is summarized from information I read at Medjugorje USA.

The apparitions of Betania were approved by the Catholic Church, November 21, 1987. Our Lady of Betania, Venezuela appeared to visionary Maria Esperanza under the title, "Mary, Virgin and mother Reconciler of all people and nations."

Maria Esperanza has been considered to be one of the greatest mystics of our time. Showered with many gifts from God during her lifetime, Maria displayed a number of incredible unexplainable phenomena that defies natural humanistic explanation. She suffered with the piercing sign of stigmata, (the bleeding wounds of Christ,) she had the wondrous ability of healing, levitation, bi-location, and capability of predicting future events, many yet to come.

One of the most unusual phenomena which revealed itself on the body of Maria Esperanza was the appearance of a rose which spontaneously bursts out from her chest. This miraculous occurrence took place many times. The Eucharist materialized in her mouth, and emissions of the scents of roses, and fruits emanated from her body, much like Father Pio. Lastly, there was the apparitions of rose petals much like that of St. Theresa, the Little Flower.

There were allege Eucharistic Miracles as well. On December 8, 1991, Fr. Otty Ossa Aristizabal, pastor assigned to the Betania grotto, was celebrating mass in the outdoor church. Fr. Otty performed the consecration; he broke the host into four pieces, then elevated them. He placed them on the patten and consumed one of the four pieces. After consuming the one portion, he looked down to find that a spot of blood had appeared on one of the sections. Medical tests were performed on the blood which proved it to be of human origin.

Mrs. Maria Esperanza was born in the village of San Rafael, Barrancas, Monagas State, Venezuela on November 22, 1928. She had her first mystical experience at the age of five with the apparition of Saint Theresa of the Little Lower, who from the waters of the Orinoco River tossed her a red rose. At twelve she became sick with an acute bronchial-pneumonia; but after having a vision where she saw Our Lady of the Valley, Patroness of Margarita Island, she recovered miraculously. During her adolescence, Mrs. Maria Esperanza's health was frail and her heart grew weaker and weaker. Later on, the onset of another illness partially paralyzed her. She was told by twenty-two physicians she had no hope of life. Then, she was healed again after the Sacred Heart of Jesus appeared to her, and gave her the first of hundreds of messages.

Following her profound desire to be a Religious, she lived for a period of time with the Franciscan nuns in Merida. On October 3, 1954, in the Chapel of the Convent, Mrs. Maria Esperanza had a vision of Saint Theresa of the Little Flower who told her that her vocation was not to be a Religious, but a spouse and a mother; that she would sanctify herself, and would travel the world. That same day, the Sacred Heart of Jesus told her to go to Rome. She lived there with the Sisters of the Ravasco Institute until she married Geo Bianchini Giani on December 8, 1956 in the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception in Saint Peter's Basilica.

She was mother to seven children, a boy and six girls, and all married and have children of their own. Beginning with the eldest they are: Maria Inmaculada, Maria Esperanza, Maria Gracia, Giovanni, Maria Coromoto, Maria Auxiliadora, and Maria del Carmen.

During her lifetime Mrs. Maria Esperanza received countless messages from Our Lady. At times she received more than one message per day. Since the beginning, Our Lady has predicted many historic events, wars, and different occurrences which have taken place around the world. In the months leading up to September 11, she warned that a small power was about to align with a larger power to provoke America. She stated that “The United States must take care of itself a lot because there is much hatred toward the U.S." But, even in such tragic prophecy Mrs. Esperanza always delivered her messages with hope.

Maria Esperanza died 4 years ago today surrounded by her family and friends. It was reported that after her death the room was filled with a strong fragrance of roses. She was 75 years old. As we recall this wonderful mystic lets pray that we stay close the Virgin Mother that she loved and to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament! To learn more about this wonderful woman please check out the archives of Spiritdaily!

Hogar de la Madre (Home of the Mother)

H20 News is always a wonderful source for good news about the Church and new vocations!

Hogar de la Madre (Home of the Mother) is one of the new emerging entities within the Church, with the specific mission of defending the Eucharist, living a special devotion to Mary and working to bring young people closer to Jesus Christ, using the media as the means for evangelization. Its founder is the Spanish priest Rafael Alonso Reymundo.

The women's branch of the youth movement Hogar de la Madre was born in 1982 at the tomb of St. Peter in Rome, as a sign of loyalty to the Pope. The following year, at the same location, the male branch was founded. In this way, the movement was formed: the Servant Sisters and the Servant Priests and Brothers of the Home of the Mother. In 1995 the Community of Adults of the Home of the Mother was established, composed of lay people involved in the same spirituality.

In 2001, responding to the call of Pope John Paul II that Christians participate in the media to participate more effectively in the New Evangelization, Hogar de la Madre launched a television channel, beginning its television production under the slogan: "Yesterday, Today and Forever: the Truth." In 2003, HM Radio began, which is currently available through the Internet.

At the same time, the Servants of the Home of the Mother began establishing communities outside Spain, the first in Rome in October 2002, followed quickly by the first missionary community in Chone, Ecuador. A year later they came to the United States, founding houses in Jacksonville and at Ave Maria University in Naples, Florida. In the following years other communities were also formed.

Only 26 years after its founding, Hogar de la Madre is a new Apostolic reality that stands out for its ability to integrate a great fidelity to the Church with the use of modern means of communication. Among its apostolic works, the "Servants of the Home of the Mother" is committed to collaboration with the agency H2onews, and since the beginning of this service have worked with the daily edition and the video editing and assembly in the nine language editions.

Remembering Pope Paul VI

Today we remeber the death of Pope Paul VI. He died 30 years ago today. Giovanni Battista Montini was born on September 26, 1897 and was ordained a priest on May 29, 1920. In 1953 Pope Paul VI was appointed Archbishop of Milan without the title of cardinal. He revitalized the local Church of Milan and was selected to help prepare for Vatican II. He was elected pope on June 21, 1963, and was determined to hold firm to basic Catholic teaching on faith.

He will always be remembered for his last encyclical Humanae vitae which was published on July 24, 1968. He proved to be a prophetic Pope in so many ways. You can read Janet Smith's article on the subject here.

Pope Paul VI died on the Feast of the Transfiguration, August 6, 1978, at the pope's summer residence in Castel Gandolfo. He is remembered as a humble, brilliant and deeply spiritual man who led the Church during difficult days.

For more information on Pope Paul VI please click here.

Battle of the Bacon Dogs!

In "Food Fight: Battle of the Bacon Dogs," host Drew Carey takes a long look at the human cost of trying to prohibit trade in oh-so-tasty treats.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Leaving Pro Soccer for the Priesthood!

Have you heard the story Chase Hilgenbrinck of the New England Revolution? He has decided to leave pro soccer for the priesthood! Here are some of his words on the subject:

“I felt called to something greater,” Hilgenbrinck said. “At one time I thought that call might be professional soccer. In the past few years, I found my soul is hungry for something else. I discerned, through prayer, that it was calling me to the Catholic Church. I do not want this call to pass me by.”

When he was playing professional soccer in Chile, Chase Hilgenbrinck would seek comfort in the churches to satisfy his spiritual needs and remind him of childhood Sundays spent at Holy Trinity in his hometown of Bloomington, Ill.

“It’s not that I’m ready to leave soccer. I still have a great passion for the game,” he said in a telephone interview. “I wouldn’t leave the game for just any other job. I’m moving on for the Lord. I want to do the will of the Lord, I want to do what he wants for me, not what I want to do for myself.”

For more on this impressive story check out the Roman Catholic Vocations Blog!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Former Saint Danny Abramowicz to host new EWTN Program

The former New Orleans Saints wide receiver will host a new television program for EWTN! I saw this today at CNA:

Irondale, AL, Aug 4, 2008- Former NFL all-pro wide receiver and coach Danny Abramowicz has created a television show which uses a sports show format to encourage men to get themselves into spiritual shape.

The show, called “Crossing the Goal,” was created in conjunction with the EWTN Global Catholic Network. Segments include “The Kickoff,” where the problem of the day is presented; “The Game Plan,” where two hosts examine the facts relevant to the topic; “The Red Zone,” where the hosts talk about how they’ve dealt with the problem in their own life; and “The End Zone,” where each host gives the audience something to think about for the week in hopes of providing real solutions to the spiritual challenges men face.

“We talk to men about the things that are happening in their lives right now and we challenge them to do something about it," said Abramowicz. "Guys respond to a challenge. The Lord will help them, but they have to admit that something is not right in their life."

Abramowicz will be joined on “Crossing the Goal” by co-hosts Peter Herbeck, who is vice-president of Renewal Ministries, the founder of Fellowship of Catholic University Students Curtis Martin and professional broadcaster Brian Patrick.

The former NFL pro, who played for the New Orleans Saints and the San Francisco 49ers, has admitted to being a former “party boy” whose life revolved around booze and his ego. He said he has high hopes for the show.

"The economy is tough," Abramowicz said. "Men don't think of the Lord when things are rockin' and rollin'. When things start turning bad, that's when we need to be available to the men."

“Crossing the Goal” is scheduled to air on Sundays at 6:30 pm Eastern Time beginning August 31 and will re-air on Friday nights and Monday mornings.

Saint John Mary Vianney: The Cure of Ars

Today is the feast of St. John Vianney! St. John is a wonderful role model for priests and confessors. The following comes from the New Advent website:

Curé of Ars, born at Dardilly, near Lyons, France, on 8 May, 1786; died at Ars, 4 August, 1859; son of Matthieu Vianney and Marie Beluze.

In 1806, the curé at Ecully, M. Balley, opened a school for ecclesiastical students, and Jean-Marie was sent to him. Though he was of average intelligence and his masters never seem to have doubted his vocation, his knowledge was extremely limited, being confined to a little arithmetic, history, and geography, and he found learning, especially the study of Latin, excessively difficult. One of his fellow-students, Matthias Loras, afterwards first Bishop of Dubuque, assisted him with his Latin lessons.

But now another obstacle presented itself. Young Vianney was drawn in the conscription, the war with Spain and the urgent need of recruits having caused Napoleon to withdraw the exemption enjoyed by the ecclesiastical students in the diocese of his uncle, Cardinal Fesch. Matthieu Vianney tried unsuccessfully to procure a substitute, so his son was obliged to go. His regiment soon received marching orders. The morning of departure, Jean-Baptiste went to church to pray, and on his return to the barracks found that his comrades had already left. He was threatened with arrest, but the recruiting captain believed his story and sent him after the troops. At nightfall he met a young man who volunteered to guide him to his fellow-soldiers, but led him to Noes, where some deserters had gathered. The mayor persuaded him to remain there, under an assumed name, as schoolmaster. After fourteen months, he was able to communicate with his family. His father was vexed to know that he was a deserter and ordered him to surrender but the matter was settled by his younger brother offering to serve in his stead and being accepted.

Jean-Baptiste now resumed his studies at Ecully. In 1812, he was sent to the seminary at Verrieres; he was so deficient in Latin as to be obliged to follow the philosophy course in French. He failed to pass the examinations for entrance to the seminary proper, but on re-examination three months later succeeded. On 13 August, 1815, he was ordained priest by Mgr. Simon, Bishop of Grenoble. His difficulties in making the preparatory studies seem to have been due to a lack of mental suppleness in dealing with theory as distinct from practice -- a lack accounted for by the meagreness of his early schooling, the advanced age at which he began to study, the fact that he was not of more than average intelligence, and that he was far advanced in spiritual science and in the practice of virtue long before he came to study it in the abstract. He was sent to Ecully as assistant to M. Balley, who had first recognized and encouraged his vocation, who urged him to persevere when the obstacles in his way seemed insurmountable, who interceded with the examiners when he failed to pass for the higher seminary, and who was his model as well as his preceptor and patron. In 1818, after the death of M. Balley, M. Vianney was made parish priest of Ars, a village not very far from Lyons. It was in the exercise of the functions of the parish priest in this remote French hamlet that as the "curé d'Ars" he became known throughout France and the Christian world. A few years after he went to Ars, he founded a sort of orphanage for destitute girls. It was called "The Providence" and was the model of similar institutions established later all over France. M. Vianney himself instructed the children of "The Providence" in the catechism, and these catechetical instructions came to be so popular that at last they were given every day in the church to large crowds. "The Providence" was the favourite work of the "curé d'Ars", but, although it was successful, it was closed in 1847, because the holy curé thought that he was not justified in maintaining it in the face of the opposition of many good people. Its closing was a very heavy trial to him.

But the chief labour of the Curé d'Ars was the direction of souls. He had not been long at Ars when people began coming to him from other parishes, then from distant places, then from all parts of France, and finally from other countries. As early as 1835, his bishop forbade him to attend the annual retreats of the diocesan clergy because of "the souls awaiting him yonder". During the last ten years of his life, he spent from sixteen to eighteen hours a day in the confessional. His advice was sought by bishops, priests, religious, young men and women in doubt as to their vocation, sinners, persons in all sorts of difficulties and the sick. In 1855, the number of pilgrims had reached twenty thousand a year. The most distinguished persons visited Ars for the purpose of seeing the holy curé and hearing his daily instruction. The Venerable Father Colin was ordained deacon at the same time, and was his life-long friend, while Mother Marie de la Providence founded the Helpers of the Holy Souls on his advice and with his constant encouragement. His direction was characterized by common sense, remarkable insight, and supernatural knowledge. He would sometimes divine sins withheld in an imperfect confession. His instructions were simple in language, full of imagery drawn from daily life and country scenes, but breathing faith and that love of God which was his life principle and which he infused into his audience as much by his manner and appearance as by his words, for, at the last, his voice was almostinaudible.

The miracles recorded by his biographers are of three classes:

* first, the obtaining of money for his charities and food for his orphans;
* secondly, supernatural knowledge of the past and future;
* thirdly, healing the sick, especially children.

The greatest miracle of all was his life. He practised mortification from his early youth. and for forty years his food and sleep were insufficient, humanly speaking, to sustain life. And yet he laboured incessantly, with unfailing humility, gentleness, patience, and cheerfulness, until he was more than seventy-three years old.

On 3 October, 1874 Jean-Baptiste-Marie Vianney was proclaimed Venerable by Pius IX and on 8 January, 1905, he was enrolled among the Blessed. Pope Pius X proposed him as a model to the parochial clergy.

[Note: In 1925, Pope Pius XI canonized him. His feast is kept on 4 August.]
To learn more about the St. John Mary Vianney please click here.

NRA: The Untold Story of Gun Confiscation After Katrina

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Latest from Saints Camp!

The following is an article from The Times-Picayune (via writer Peter Finney on the progress of the Saints thus far in training camp. I am getting excited for a big year for the black and gold!

JACKSON, MISS. -- It's a given the Saints have a decent shot to win the NFC South this season for an obvious reason.

Drew Brees is the best quarterback in the division.

By a long completion.

On a golden 97-degree Saturday afternoon, No. 9 was throwing 'em to the left, to the right, and up the gut.

As was the case last year, there was a drop here and there, but the message was the same: Brees is back, as good as ever.

The question is, as it always has been, since Coach Sean Payton's ballclub finished a disappointing 7-9 a year ago: Will a defense that ranked third to last in the league last season get a little closer to the offense, simply to give the offense a better chance to turn "Ls" into "Ws?"

The coach said "yes," the defense will be closer, more effective, that is, if his eyes aren't failing him.

"I think we'll be a lot better in the secondary," Payton said. "A lot better."

And, he suggested, he feels they'll be more effective in the other two areas, at linebacker and up front, because of one word: Quickness.

There were signs of this Saturday, when the No.1s faced one another during a 10-play stretch. There was the kind of up-front penetration that was not evident last year, at least on a consistent basis.

While it was evident in a scrimmage, remember, it was a measuring stick based on a mere 10 plays, not four quarters.

We will not get a real answer until we're well into September to determine if a defense that last year gave up 245 yards per game, 32 touchdown passes, and 54 completions of 20 yards or better has made significant strides.

As far as mini measuring sticks go, the most impressive one Saturday belonged to Skyler Green, the onetime LSU hero trying to win his NFL letter as a kick returner/wide receiver.

On Saturday, Green came up with a 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and a 46-yard reception, a nice catch, but perhaps not as impressive as a sideline grab he made that was erased for his foot being a whisker out of bounds.

In no particular order, here's a rundown on some of the training camp positives.

Robert Meachem: The camp performance by the wide receiver has been what Payton expected last year from a top pick whose rookie season was clouded by injury. He has been running routes and making catches, not like someone who spent his rookie year as a spectator, rather like someone who played to his resume coming out of college.

Sedrick Ellis: This year's No.1 pick was late reporting, but quick in establishing himself as a force up the middle.

Jonathan Vilma: The prized free-agent middle linebacker, still in recovery mode after offseason surgery, has done enough in camp to suggest he's on schedule to move into a starting role.

Bobby McCray: Lured from the Jaguars by a sweet financial deal, the guy's quickness off the corner suggests it was money well spent. If the up-tick continues, he has the makings of a defensive force.

Jermon Bushrod: A huge (6 feet 5, 315 pounds) pick last year at offensive tackle, he has made steady strides as the backup to Jammal Brown at a position critical in protecting the quarterback.

Carl Nicks: Another large body (6-5, 343), the rookie offensive lineman had the draft credentials to go higher than Round 5, where the Saints felt he was a steal. He hasn't done anything yet to suggest he won't be.

Adrian Arrington: Another rookie, a seventh-round pick the Saints traded back into the draft to land, he has shown, so far, he may have the qualities to join the deep pool of receivers Payton has collected.

Usama Young: A third-round pick last year, who contributed primarily on special teams during his rookie season, has been impressive in coverage at a position in need of all the help it can muster.

So stay tuned.

Comments Heard in 1955!

That's only 53 years ago!

'I'll tell you one thing, if things keep going the way they are, it's going to be impossible to buy a week's groceries for $20.00.'

'Have you seen the new cars coming out next year? It won't be long before $2,000.00 will only buy a used one.'

'If cigarettes keep going up in price, I'm going to quit. A quarter a pack is ridiculous.

'Did you hear the post office is thinking about charging a dime just to mail a letter?'

'If they raise the minimum wage to $1.00, nobody will be able to hire outside help at the store.'

'When I first started driving, who would have thought gas would someday cost 29 cents a gallon. Guess we'd be better off leaving the car in the garage.'

'I'm afraid to send my kids to the movies any more. Ever since they let Clark Gable get by with saying DAMN in GONE WITH THE WIND, it seems every new movie has either HELL of DAMN in it.'

'Kids today are impossible. Those duck tail hair cuts make it impossible to stay groomed. Next thing you know, boys will be wearing their hair as long as the girls.'

'I read the other day where some scientist thinks it's possible to put a man on the moon by the end of the century. They even have some fellows they call astronauts preparing for it down in Texas.'

'Did you see where some baseball player just signed a contract for $75,000 a year just to play ball? It wouldn't surprise me if someday they'll be making more than the President.'
'I never thought I'd see the day all our kitchen appliances would be electric. They are even making electric typewriters now.'

'It's too bad things are so tough nowadays. I see where a few married women are having to work to make ends meet.'

'It won't be long before young couples are going to have to hire someone to watch their kids so they can both work.'

'Marriage doesn't mean a thing any more, those Hollywood stars seem to be getting divorced at the drop of a hat.'

'I'm afraid the Volkswagen car is going to open the door to a whole lot of foreign business.'

'Thank goodness I won't live to see the day when the Government takes half our income in taxes. I sometimes wonder if we are electing the best people to congress.'

'The drive-in restaurant is convenient in nice weather, but I seriously doubt they will ever catch on.'

'There is no sense going to Lincoln or Omaha anymore for a weekend, it costs nearly $15.00 a night to stay in a hotel.'

'No one can afford to be sick anymore, at $35.00 a day in the hospital it's too rich for my blood.'

'If they think I'll pay 50 cents for a hair cut, forget it.'

Gridlock: Hell on Wheels with Drew Carey

I enjoy these videos from Drew Carey! He examines the costs and consequences of traffic jams and explores several solutions that can get our roads moving. How does a speedy trip on the "Drew Carey Freeway" sound? Plus, one lucky commuter gets a helicopter ride to work, courtesy of Drew.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Troubadour - George Strait

This is the best... by the best! Gotta love country music and George!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Go Cubs Go!!! 2008 is the year!!!

God bless my team from the windy city!

Winning Hearts in Iraq: The Charity of the US Soldier!

I found this on Amy Proctor's site and thought it was so powerful... God bless our men and women in uniform!

Mt. Soledad Cross Allowed to Remain!

The following comes from the Catholic News Agency and is very good news:

Mt. Soledad Cross Allowed To Remain at War Veteran Memorial

San Diego, Jul 31, 2008 (CNA).- Tuesday the Federal District Court of Southern California ruled that the 29-foot cross overlooking San Diego County will not be removed from its position on Mount Soledad. The cross, originally dedicated in 1954 to honor Korean War veterans is the center of a national veteran’s memorial.

According to the Thomas More Law Center, Federal District Court Judge Larry Alan Burns ruled: “The Court finds the memorial at Mt. Soledad, including its Latin cross, communicates the primarily non-religious messages of military service, death and sacrifice.”

The judge also mentioned a friend of the court brief filed by the Law Center on behalf of the families of two Marines killed in Iraq when a missile hit their attack helicopter. The two Marines are honored along with over 2,400 American war veterans at the national veteran’s memorial.

The President and Chief Counsel for the Law Center, Richard Thompson, commented, “This is a wonderful victory, not only for the families of Majors Martino and Bloomfield who can have some comfort knowing that the memories of their loved ones are preserved under the Cross, but for all Americans who care about our young men and women who have sacrificed their lives in defense of our country.”

He added that the fight is not over. Thompson stated that he fully expects “the ACLU attorneys to appeal this decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.”

This isn’t the first time that the Law Center has defended the cross. In a recent release, the Law Center noted that they defended the cross in 2006 after an agreement was made between the City of San Diego and an atheist who wanted the cross to be removed.

The Law Center began by petitioning Justice Anthony Kennedy to request that the cross remain in its place until the appeals were completed. They also petitioned the federal government to transfer the cross from city to federal property, making any decision by the district court to remove the cross ineffective.

Soon after this victory, the ACLU filed a new lawsuit against the federal government claiming that the relocation was improper and that the cross violated the “wall of separation of church and state.”

The Federal government is defending the cross and, with the help of the Law Center, is planning to demonstrate the importance of the cross to the family members of the deceased war veterans.

Saint of the Day: St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

Today is the feast of St. Alphonsus Liguori. St. Alphonsus was a great influence on the Church of his time and had a great influence on the thinking of St. John Bosco! The saint and doctor of the Church was a great founder, pastor, teacher and moral theologian. We can learn a lot from him still!

The following was taken from the Alphonsian Academy website:

Saint Alphonsus Liguori was born in Marianella near Naples on September 27, 1696. He was the first born of a rather large family belonging to the Neapolitan nobility. His received a broad education in the humanities, classical and modern languages, painting and music. He composed a Duetto on the Passion, as well as the most popular Christmas carol in Italy, Tu Scendi Dalle Stelle, and numerous other hymns. He finished his university studies earning a Doctorate in both civil and canon law and began his practice in the legal profession.

In 1723, after a long process of discernment, he abandoned his legal career and, despite his father's strong opposition, began his seminary studies. He was ordained a priest on December 21, 1726, at the age of 30. He lived his first years as a priest with the homeless and marginalized young people of Naples. He founded the "Evening Chapels". Run by the young people themselves, these chapels were centers of prayer, community, the Word of God, social activities and education. At the time of his death, there were 72 of these chapels with over 10,000 active participants.

In 1729, Alphonsus left his family home and took up residence in the Chinese College in Naples. It was there that he began his missionary experience in the interior of the Kingdom of Naples where he found people who were much poorer and more abandoned than any of the street children in Naples.

On November 9, 1732, Alphonsus founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, popularly known as the Redemptorists, in order to follow the example of Jesus Christ announcing the Good News to the poor and the most abandoned. From that time on, he gave himself entirely to this new mission.

Alphonsus was a lover of beauty: musician, painter, poet and author. He put all his artistic and literary creativity at the service of the mission and he asked the same of those who joined his Congregation. He wrote 111 works on spirituality and theology ( See also Works of St. Alphonsus On Line). The 21,500 editions and the translations into 72 languages that his works have undergone attest to the fact that he is one of the most widely read authors. Among his best known works are: The Great Means of prayer, The Practice of the Love of Jesus Christ, The Glories of Mary and The Visits to the Most Holy Sacrament. Prayer, love, his relationship with Christ and his first-hand experience of the pastoral needs of the faithful have made Alphonsus one of the great masters of the interior life.

Alphonsus' greatest contribution to the Church was in the area of Moral Theological reflection with his Moral Theology. This work was born of Alphonsus' pastoral experience, his ability to respond to the practical questions posed by the faithful and from his contact with their everyday problems. He opposed the sterile legalism which was suffocating theology and he rejected the strict rigorism of the time... the product of the powerful elite. According to Alphonsus, those were paths that were closed to the Gospel because "such rigor has never been taught nor practiced by the Church". He knew how to put theological reflection at the service of the greatness and dignity of the person, of a moral conscience, and of evangelical mercy.

Alphonsus was consecrated bishop of St. Agatha of the Goths in 1762. He was 66 years old. He tried to refuse the appointment because he felt too old and too sick to properly care for the diocese. In 1775, he was allowed to retire from his office and went to live in the Redemptorist community in Pagani where he died on August 1, 1787. He was canonized in 1831, proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1871 and Patron of Confessors and Moralists in 1950.

To learn more about St. Alphonsus click here!