Friday, April 30, 2010

Music can lead people to God, Pope Benedict says after concert

The following comes from the CNA:

The Holy Father emphasized the value of music to the education of new generations after a concert given by a youth orchestra to commemorate the completion of his fifth year as Pontiff. According to the Pope, music "can open hearts and minds to the spiritual dimension" and contribute to a better future for mankind.

As a gift from the Italian President, the Fiesole Youth Orchestra played for Pope Benedict and thousands of others during the Thursday evening concert at the Vatican.

Recognizing the work of the Fiesole School of Music in the formation of young people through music education, the Holy Father said that in general the study of music has great value in the education of the person.

It "produces positive effects on the development of the individual, favoring harmonious human and spiritual growth," he said.

The experience of a school such as that of Fiesole, the Pope went on, is particularly relevant in the face of today's reality which is marked by the difficulty of educating.

It appears that education is ever more "arduous and problematic," he said, noting that the difficulty of "transmitting basic values of existence and an upright behavior to the new generations" concerns parents, schools and all others in education.

"The current social situation demands an extraordinary commitment to the education of new generations,” he observed.

All young people are sensitive "the great ideals of life" and their needs and expectations cannot be ignored, nor can the obstacles and threats they might encounter, Pope Benedict said.

“They feel the need" for "authentic values such as the centrality of the person, human dignity, peace and justice, tolerance and solidarity. They also seek spirituality and transcendence, often in a confusing and contradictory way, to find harmony and balance."

In this regard, the Holy Father pointed out that "music can open hearts and minds to the spiritual dimension, and leads people to raise up their eyes to Heaven, to open themselves up to the absolute Good and Beauty, which have their ultimate origin in God."

The joy related through song and music, concluded the Pope, are a “constant invitation for believers, and for all men and women of good will, to work so that humankind has a future rich in hope."

Pope Benedict XVI asked for payers, so that "beginning the sixth year of my Pontificate, I may always carry out my ministry as the Lord would wish."

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pope dedicates general audicence to Saint Leonard Murialdo and Saint Joseph Cottolengo

The following comes from the CNA:

Focusing his Wednesday catechesis in St. Peter's Square on a pair of priests from the last two centuries, Pope Benedict underscored the importance of charity, the "love of God and love to God." The Holy Father also spoke of how "signs" can signal the road to our vocations.

Today's teaching is the latest in a series on the priesthood, which the Pope decided to do as the end of the Year for Priests approaches on June 19. For his address today, the Holy Father chose two saints who lived in Turin, Italy as models of the priesthood.

Speaking first of St. Leonard Murialdo, the founder of the Congregation of Saint Joseph who was canonized 40 years ago, Pope Benedict XVI highlighted the joy with which he welcomed his vocation. After a "profound existential and spiritual crisis" in his adolescence, at 17 years old he decided to become a priest following a general confession during which he rediscovered the "immense mercy of God."

The Holy Father underlined the "central nucleus" of Fr. Leonard's spirituality as the "conviction of the merciful love of God: an always good, patient and generous Father, that reveals the greatness and immensity of his mercy with forgiveness."

The Pope added later,"highlighting the greatness of the mission of priests, 'who must continue the work of redemption ... Fr. Leonard always recalled, both to himself and his confreres, the responsibility of living a life coherent with the Sacrament received."

Benedict XVI pointed out that "Love of God and love to God" were "the force of his path to sainthood, the law of his priesthood, the most profound significance of his apostolate among poor young people and the source of his prayer."

The Congregation of St. Joseph continues to be dedicated to the formation of youth, especially the disadvantaged, tending to them as members of a family.

It was with the same spirit of charity as St. Leonard, added Benedict XVI, that the second priest, Joseph Benedict Cottolengo, lived. After experiencing the unfortunate death of a pregnant woman, he prayed to know the meaning of the suffering. Divinely inspired, he went on to dedicate all of his efforts to support those most in need, said the Pope.

Observing the importance of the experience, the Pope said, "The Lord always places signs on our path, guiding us according to His will to what is truly good for us."

Giving himself up completely to the Lord's will, he founded the "Little House of Divine Providence" through which, with the help of many collaborators and volunteers, he was able to provide assistance to address the particular needs of the day.

The Holy Father cited the words of St. Cottolengo in explaining his mentality: "I am a good-for-nothing and I don't even know what I'm doing with myself. Divine Providence, however, certainly knows what it's doing. It's up to me to go along with it.”

"Forward 'in Domino,'" he said, "forward in the Lord."

The "Little House" founded by Fr. Cottolengo still exists in Turin and will be visited by the Holy Father on his visit to the city for the exposition of the Shroud this coming Sunday. His influence is also seen in similar houses throughout the world today which often are known simply by the name "Cottolengo."

More than 16,000 people were on hand to hear the Pope's teaching and visit the See of Peter. Among the diverse group were ecumenical delegations from the Lutheran Church of Norway, the Church of England and a group of Jewish leaders visiting with the Pave the Way Foundation, which has worked to put the Vatican archives regarding the pontificate of Pope Pius XII online.

A Prayer to the Holy Spirit from Medjugorje

God, our Father, we thank You for Your love, we recognize You today as Our God, our Creator. We thank You for our life, for the lives of our parents and all the people whom we have met, and those whom we have yet to meet. Along with Mary we ask You, give us the grace that we may, through prayer and sacrifice, prepare ourselves for the Coming of Your Holy Spirit.

Give the strength that we may be freed of all that which at this moment hinders us from being open to Him, Your Holy Spirit. Lord, we bring before You our entire life, all that which is deformed inside us, all that is bad within us, all that is dark and injured, and we beg You, come and heal us, through You Holy Spirit. And we beg You forgiveness that we were often fearful of You, that we often distrusted You, and did not allow You to transform and to change us. Prepare our heart so that we may recognize Your plan through the Holy Spirit, that we may listen for Your word, and that we may then live it. Send into our heart your Spirit of Truth, that we may recognize You, our true God, and that we may allow ourselves to be led by the Holy Spirit on Your path to Eternal Life.

Lord, we beg You, send Your Spirit of Truth and Love into the hearts of all those who are responsible in the Holy Church, and in the world. Send Your Holy Spirit into the hearts of those who, at this moment, are resisting You, who still distrust You, and change their hearts. Send the Spirit of Love into the hearts of those who hate, send the Spirit of Strength into the hearts of those who have become enslaved by sin, so that we, as Your Children, may come to be able to love in freedom and in love. Give us the grace that we may come to understand the message that the Mother of Your Son Jesus Christ has given us through Her, and that we all may come to live better lives with the strength of Your Spirit. Bless us and heal us, and bless all those who have ever asked for our prayers, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Fr. Slavko of Medjugorje.......Medjugorje; May 28, 1998

Hat tip to Ed at In God's Company 2 for this beautiful prayer!

Holy Trinity Abbey-Utah Trappists

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen: Servant of All

This looks like something I want to see! God bless the people at the Archbishop Sheen Foundation for making this available!

“Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen: Servant of All” is an hour-long documentary about one of the greatest and most loved communicators of the 20th century. Filled with powerful testimonies and beautiful stories that will bring a smile to your face and tears to your eyes, this documentary is sure to inspire audiences worldwide.

Catholic global presence increasing, Vatican study reports

The following comes from the CNA:

The Vatican Publishing House released today a report on the Catholic Church's global presence, showing an increase in the Catholic population in 2008. Although the number of Catholics has risen globally, the study recorded a constant decline in priests, seminarians and non-ordained religious within Europe.

The recently released edition of the Statistical Yearbook of the Church compiled findings from 2000-2008, and documented that the number of Catholics in the world increased from 1.045 billion in 2000 to 1.166 billion in 2009, a growth of 11.54 percent.

Specifically in Africa, the Church grew by 33 percent, in Asia by 15.61 percent, in Oceania by 11.39 percent and in America by 10.93. The number of Catholics in Europe remained generally stable throughout the nine year period, increasing only by 1.17 percent.

The Vatican yearbook also reported that the number of bishops in the world went up from 4,541 in 2000 to 5,002 in 2008, a growth of 10.15 percent.

Non-ordained religious fell from 55,057 in the year 2000 to 54,641 in 2008, with the strongest decline taking place in Europe and Oceania. The number of women religious stood at 800,000 in 2000, but had dropped to 740,000 in 2008. In Africa and Asia, however, the number of women religious increased by 21 and 16 percent respectively.

While the amount of diocesan priests increased globally by 3.1 percent, the study showed that the number of priests was down by 3.04 percent. Europe, the yearbook said, showed a consistent overall decline in priests, representing 51 percent of the world's priests in 2000 yet in 2008, representing just 47 percent.

Although the number of students studying philosophy and theology at diocesan and religious seminaries increased globally from 110,583 in 2000 to more that 117,024 in 2008, Europe again saw a reduction in numbers. The Vatican study reported that the number of seminarians increased in Africa and Asia.

As reported earlier this week, Pope Benedict XVI is expected to release a letter announcing the creation of a new Vatican dicastery called the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization. The new department will be aimed at bringing the Gospel back to Western societies that have lost their Christian identity, most notably Europe and the United States.

The Holy Father has made the restoration of the Catholic faith in Europe one of the major efforts of his pontificate

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Call My Name by Third Day

Air 1 - Third Day "Call My Name" LIVE from Air 1 Radio on Vimeo.

Communion Table Saves Pastor

More from the Laser Monks

Monday, April 26, 2010

Heaven is a Face by Steven Curtis Chapman

K-LOVE - Steven Curtis Chapman "Heaven Is The Face" LIVE from K-LOVE Radio on Vimeo.

Pope expected to create new dicastery to re-evangelize Europe, US

The following comes from the CNA:

Pope Benedict XVI is about to release a letter announcing the creation of a new Vatican dicastery called the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization. The new dicastery will be aimed at bringing the Gospel back to Western societies that have lost their Christian identity.

Andrea Tornielli, the Vatican correspondent for the daily Il Giornale who is usually well-informed on new appointments at the Vatican, wrote today that “Benedict does not cease to surprise: in the upcoming week the creation of a new dicastery of the Roman Curia dedicated to the evangelization of the West will be announced, and be presided over by Archbishop Rino Fisichella.”

The following comes from the

The new dicastery is aimed at evangelizing “countries where the Gospel has been announced centuries ago, but where its presence in their peoples' daily life seems to be lost. Europe, the United States and Latin America would be the areas of influence of the new structure,” Il Giornale says.

According to Tornielli, the new dicastery would be “the most important novelty of Pope Benedict’s pontificate, a Pope that, according to the expectations, was supposed to slim down the Roman Curia.”

Tornielli says that the idea of such a dicastery was first proposed to Pope John Paul II by Msgr. Luigi Giussani, the late founder of the Italian-born movement Comunione e Liberazione (Community and Liberation), but the idea did not move ahead.

In response to the question of how the idea resurfaced, Tornielli says, according to “authoritative sources,” the proposal of the dicastery comes from the Patriarch of Venice, Italy Cardinal Angelo Scola.

During his tenure as Rector of the Pontifical Lateran University, Cardinal Scola promoted intense reflection on the loss of Christian identity in Europe. The Patriarch of Venice was also a member of Communion and Liberation, and in his current position has shown significant concern for the de-Christianization of Europe and the Western world.

Fisichella, the currently embattled head of the Pontifical Academy for Life, succeeded Angelo Scola as Rector of the Lateran University and as such, shared the same concerns of his predecessor.

Discerning God's Call: Pray, Listen, Act, Repeat!

The Miracle of Medjugorje

From a former U.S. intelligence officer to a famous celebrity to a village untouched by a war that raged around it give testimony to the Miracle of Medjugorje. While the story continues to unfold in Medjugorje the Church still has not made an official proclamation on its veracity. While I see great fruits coming from Medjugorje, we will follow the judgment of the Church in this regard.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Revelation Song by Phillips Craig & Dean

Pope Benedict: Pray for Vocations!

The following comes from the CNA:

At noon today, Pope Benedict prayed the Regina Coeli with thousands of gathered pilgrims in St. Peter's Square. On this, the 47th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, the Holy Father reminded the faithful of the ever-present importance of praying for those who may be called to consecrate their lives to God.

“The first kind of testimony that provokes vocations is prayer,” said the Holy Father. He recalled St. Monica, the mother of St. Augustine, who, “supplicating God with humility and persistence, obtained the grace of seeing her son convert to Christianity” through his writing, which said “without doubts, I believe and affirm that, through her prayers, God has granted me the intention of not putting first, not wanting, not thinking, and not loving anything that doesn’t reach the truth.”

The Holy Father invited parents “to pray that the hearts of their children be open to hearing the Good Shepherd and that each small seed of a vocation may come to be a leafy tree, full of fruits for the good of the Church and for all humanity.”

“How can we listen to the voice of the Lord and recognize it?” asked the Holy Father. “The voice of Christ resounds in the teachings of the Apostles and their successors, which call us to communion with God and to the fullness of life. Only the Good Shepherd cares for his flock and defends it from evil with intense tenderness. And only in him can the faithful place their complete confidence.”

The Pontiff also exhorted all ordained ministers to feel committed to “an ever stronger and more incisive Gospel testimony in today’s world. Remember that the priest continues the work of redemption on earth,” he said. “They know how to pause with desire in front of the tabernacle …They are available to listen and to pardon. They form your community in the Christian faith. They cultivate the priestly brotherhood with care,” said Pope Benedict.

“They take their example from wise and zealous pastors, as did St. Gregory of Nazianzus, who wrote to his friend and brother bishop, St. Basil: ‘Teach your love for the sheep, your concern and your understanding, your surveillance ... your severity in sweetness, serenity and gentleness in the activity… fighting in defense of the flock’,” concluded the Holy Father.

After praying the Regina Coeli with the gathered faithful, the Pope greeted pilgrims in no less than eight languages before imparting his apostolic blessing.

Susan Boyle to sing for the Holy Father

I came across this Daily Record story at the Spirit Daily site.

SUSAN BOYLE has been chosen to sing for the Pope during his visit to Scotland later this year.

Catholic Church leaders asked the Britain's Got Talent star to perform in front of the 150,000 crowd expected to greet the Pontiff at an outdoor mass.

She will sing before the papal address and may also perform during the mass in Glasgow's Bellahouston Park.

A senior church source said: "Susan has agreed to sing and everyone is delighted. It is a done deal.

"There are still some of the finer details to be ironed out but it has been approved by the highest echelons in the Vatican.

"Susan has described it as a dream come true and it will be an extra attraction for everyone attending."

Singing sensation SuBo, 49, of Blackburn, West Lothian, shot to fame after her performances on last year's Britain's Got Talent.

But before then the shy spinster's main singing experience was at Our Lady Of Lourdes church in the town where she has worshipped since she was a child.

It is not yet known what Susan, who declined to comment yesterday, will sing at the papal visit in September.

A spokesman for the Catholic Church said: "We would be delighted if Susan Boyle was to perform on the day at Bellahouston Park. She is top of our wish list."

London-based events managers WRG have been hired to organise the details of the visit.

Yesterday, they referred all calls about SuBo to the Catholic Church.

Pope Benedict XVI will visit Edinburgh and Glasgow at the start of a four-day tour of the UK from September 16-19.

It is nearly three decades since the last papal visit to Scotland, when Pope John Paul II celebrated mass at Bellahouston Park on June 1, 1982, in front of 300,000 worshippers.

Susan has also signed a book deal to recount her extraordinary story.

Her autobiography - The Woman I Was Born To Be - will be published in the autumn.

Since her appearances on BGT, where she narrowly lost to dance act Diversity in the final, Susan has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show in the US and had a huge hit with her debut album.

I Dreamed A Dream was released last November and became the biggestselling debut album by a female vocalist and the biggest selling album of 2009.

It has sold over 10 million copies.

Fr. Robert Barron on the Prosperity Gospel

Good Shepherd Sunday

This is Vocations Sunday and a good time for all of us to renew our passion of inviting and working for vocations! Deacon Greg does a beautiful job with his homily this Sunday and speaks well of our call to foster vocations:

Wednesday night, I was home flipping through the channels on TV. I caught part of "American Idol" and I heard something remarkable - and it had nothing to do with music.

It was their annual "Idol Gives Back" charity show, when they raise money for different charities around the world. And throughout the program, they showed some film clips of these donations in action - where the money goes, and the good that it is able to do.

At one point, David Cook, an "American Idol" winner from a couple years back, took a trip to Ethiopia. Cook visited a girls school - one of the charities being helped by the TV show. These were beautiful young girls, six or seven years old. And as the camera showed them, you heard their voices declaring what they wanted to be when they grew up - all the possibilities that now lay before them. "I want to be a doctor." "I want to be a teacher." And on and on, and then one of them said, very happily: "I want to be a nun."

It was so matter-of-fact, and so unexpected. I was startled - and moved. When was the last time a little girl in America said something like that?

But it was a reminder: God is still calling. As Jesus says in the gospel today: "My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me."

The shepherd is calling. But are we listening?

This is Good Shepherd Sunday, and it's also World Day of Prayer for Vocations. It is an opportunity not only to pray for vocations - but also to work for them.

And there is so much work to be done. Beginning here. Beginning now.

Last week, a research group at Georgetown University published the results of a survey of all the men - all 440 of them -- who will be ordained in this country in June: the ordination class of 2010. There are some interesting statistics.

Nearly a third of them were born outside the United States.

92% of them had some sort of full-time job before entering the seminary.

11 of the men are over 65.

But then there is this: of those about to be ordained, a majority -- 63% -- said they were discouraged from becoming a priest by a friend or a classmate.

Fully half - 50% -- said they were discouraged by a parent or family member.

If you want to know why more men don't decide to become priests, there is one answer. And it is an indictment of all of us. The fact is: too many of us are not encouraging vocations. If this survey is accurate, a lot of us are actively working against them, trying to turn people away from religious life.

Which means we are not only failing to support vocations in others. We are also failing in our own vocations as Catholic Christians.

Whether we realize it or not, each of us has a vocation - not just those of us who are ordained, or who wear a habit, or who work in some form of ministry. God has called every single person in this church. Young, old, single, married. He has called us to be the Body of Christ - his hands, his arms, his heart, his voice.

But how do we do that if we discourage those who may feel called to serve God?

How do we do that if we tell our sons and daughters, our friends and neighbors, those we love the most: "Don't"? We should be telling every one of them, "Do! Do listen to that quiet voice. Do offer to give your life to God and His Church. Do this great, beautiful, sacrificial, wonderful thing."

I know, to many Catholics right now, a religious vocation doesn't seem like a wonderful thing. Last week, John Quinn, the Archbishop Emeritus of San Francisco, spoke to a gathering of priests in Houston. He talked about how difficult it is to be a priest today - especially at this dark hour in the church. But he celebrated the joy and heroism and hope of this vocation - good priests doing great work. He told the story of a talented priest he knew named Jack Isaacs. Archbishop Quinn wanted to send him to Rome to study, but Fr. Jack said no. He wanted just to work in a parish. He felt drawn, especially, to the poor. He worked in places without electricity, churches that didn't even have a rectory. Once, the bishop told him they'd get a condominium for him, but Fr. Jack said no, he'd just live in a simple room adjoining the sacristy. He wanted to live like the people he served. At the age of 50 he was diagnosed with cancer. The bishop visited his mother the day before Fr. Jack died and said, very simply, "You are the mother of a saint." Archbishop Quinn concluded: "Jack Isaacs was an American priest."

There are thousands like him. And there are more stories like that waiting to be told, waiting to be lived. How many more future Jack Isaacs are out here, wanting to serve God and His church? How many little girls like that one in Ethiopia dream of a life of holiness and helping others? How many of them might be listening for God's call - but hearing, instead, someone they know and love saying, "No. Don't."

This is a moment when we can begin to change that. This Good Shepherd Sunday, each of us can be a shepherd - maybe to someone we know -- guiding and encouraging another person's vocation, their journey to God.

If we took that as our special calling, maybe stories like the one of that little girl in Ethiopia wouldn't be so rare.

And maybe, a world that has made it a habit of telling God "No"... might finally, joyfully begin to say "Yes."

Called to Witness

For Your Vocation: Br. Tom Dion Featured on New Vocation Site

The US Bishops have begun a great new vocation site! One of the featured videos is of our Salesian Economer Brother Tom Dion, SDB! Check out the video and check out the new site. Anyone interested in Salesian life can check out our Salesian Vocation site here!

The U.S. Bishops’ Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations is initiating a new website on April 25. According to a recent press release on the website sent to Fides by Father David L. Toups, Interim Executive Director of the Secretariat, the site is meant to be a resource for both laity and clergy in the promotion of vocations and will, in fact, be launched on the day the Church celebrates the World Day of Prayer for Vocations and Good Shepherd Sunday.

The site has two goals: to help individuals hear and respond to the call by God to the priesthood or consecrated life and to educate all Catholics on the importance of encouraging others through prayer and activities to promote vocations.

The Vocations Website can be found at A Spanish-language site will be available this fall at

Site elements include discernment resources for men and women, respectively, aids for promoting a vocation culture within the home, and a range of tools for educators, youth leaders and vocation directors including prayers, videos, best practices, lesson plans and vocation awareness programs.

In response to Pope Benedict XVI’s 2010 Theme for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Witness Awakens Vocations, the site also hosts videos of priests and religious men and women giving witness to their vocations, as well as testimonies from family members.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Only You by David Crowder Band

Pope Benedict: Theologian-Pope completes 5 years

It has been five years since the start of Benedict XVI pontificate. Before then, Joseph Ratzinger, was the right hand man of John Paul II, as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith since1981, he was elected his successor in April of 2005.

Australian Vocations on the Rise

Semper Fidelis

Friday, April 23, 2010

Jesus Christ, You are my God

Saint of the Day: George

Priests recognized by Benedict XVI for being servants of Christ

The following comes from the CNA:

The Holy Father sent a special message to the priests of the world at Wednesday morning's general audience in St. Peter's Square. He dedicated a few words to a particular group of clergy represented there in person and expressed his "respect and deep recognition" for all priests.

During the individual language greetings on a mostly cloudy spring day in Rome, the Holy Father once again took the opportunity to recognize clergy as the ongoing Year for Priests unfolds.

In his Italian-language greeting, Pope Benedict welcomed priests from the Diocese of Rome, of which he is the bishop. The priests, led by Cardinal Vicar of Rome and auxiliary bishops, had just returned from a pilgrimage to Ars, France, the home of St. Jean Vianney, as an initiative for the Year for Priests.

Thanking them for their presence, affection and "spiritual closeness," Pope Benedict also expressed his "respect and deep recognition to (these) and to priests who all over the world dedicate themselves with apostolic zeal to serving the people of God, thus bearing witness to Christ's charity."

He encouraged them to be "patient and solicitous pastors" in the line of the Patron of Priests, St. Vianney, "for the good of souls."

The Holy Father also included a reminder that the World Day of Prayer for Vocations will be celebrated this coming Sunday.

Still speaking in Italian, the Pope concluded with special greeting to young people, the sick and newly married couples. He called on the youth to find their "personal answer to His design of love" in their dialogue with God, asked the sick to offer up their suffering for the maturity of "numerous and holy vocations" and exhorted the newlyweds to find the strength to build "an authentic Christian family" in daily prayer.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

NFL Draft: Brees on Saints' needs and drafting QBs

Very Time I Breathe by Big Daddy Weave

Big Daddy Weave - Very Time I Breathe from Ro marin on Vimeo.

Pope Benedict to Youth: Be Heirs to St. Paul

The following comes from the CNA:

Pope Benedict's experience in Malta was the subject of his catechesis at Wednesday's general audience in St. Peter's Square. He spoke of the history of faith on the island, provided a review of the highlights of the trip, and called the Maltese a "big family," praising their Christian vision of life.

The Holy Father said that he, just as St. Paul 1,950 years ago, experienced the "warm welcome of the Maltese," which was "truly extraordinary." He expressed his gratitude to the people and leaders of the island, thinking of the deep-rooted Catholic faith there which is "inseparable" from the history of the island.

"For almost two thousand years, the history of that people has been inseparable from the Catholic faith, which characterizes their culture and traditions. It is said that there are 365 churches in Malta, 'one for each day of the year', a visible symbol of this profound faith," Benedict XVI said.

This fact, he said, "all began with that shipwreck," referring to the manner in which St. Paul arrived on the island.

Attributing it to divine Providence, the Holy Father explained that "from that shipwreck ... was born a fervent and solid Christian community, that after 2,000 years is still faithful to the Gospel and strives to unite it with the complex questions of the contemporary times."

This position, said the Pope, is not always easy, but we can see a sign of the people's Christian vision today as evidenced in the existing laws against abortion and divorce.

The Holy Father went on to say that he found "joy" and "consolation" in the warmth of the people there, having perceived the presence of a "big family" that is united by "faith and a Christian vision of life" at Mass at the Granaries on Sunday.

He further praised the island's history of educating its children in "the sense of God and the Church" and its history of priestly vocations, especially those of missionaries who have inherited the "apostolic spirit" of St. Paul.

The "deepest vocation of Malta," contrary to the impression of the fortresses which are a testament to the past need of the island to defend itself, is "Christian, ... the universal vocation of peace!"

During the audience, the Holy Father also remembered his visit with victims of sexual abuse by priests, relating that he "shared their suffering and, greatly moved, prayed with them, giving them assurances of the Church's action" to address clerical sexual abuse.

Turning to the current issues resulting from the arrival of migrants, who use Malta as a stepping stone to Europe, the Pope said that the complex humanitarian, political and legal problems associated with migration must be addressed on an international level.

Bringing his traditional post-trip reflections to a close, the Holy Father added that his hope is in the youth of the island as "potential heirs of the spiritual adventure of St. Paul."

It is the young people who are called, as St. Paul was, to "discover the beauty of the love of God given us in Jesus Christ; to embrace the mystery of His Cross; to be victors in trials and tribulations; not to be afraid of the 'storms' of life, not even the shipwrecks, because God's plan of love is greater even than storm and shipwreck."

SAINTS SPEAK: John the Baptist, Teresa of Avila, and Robert Bellarmine

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Savior, Please by Josh Wilson

Josh Wilson - Savior, Please from Ro marin on Vimeo.

Desperate and Hungry

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Remedy by David Crowder Band

David Crowder Band - Remedy (Remédio) from Ro marin on Vimeo.

SAINTS SPEAK: Athanasius, Francis de Sales, and Alphonsus de Liguori on Holy Repentance

Unwavering Advocate for Life

The following article of Fr. Frank Pavone comes from the NCR site:

God always blesses his Church with the type of leader it needs at each time in history. That was certainly true when the College of Cardinals elevated Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to the papacy in 2005.

For the last 15 years, a key document for those of us in the pro-life movement has been Evangelium Vitae. Published by Pope John Paul II, it spoke of the “sacred value of human life from its very beginning until its natural end.” As prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, then-Cardinal Ratzinger played a major role in setting the tone for this encyclical that guides us to this day.

The process for producing the encyclical began with a consistory of cardinals called in 1991 by Pope John Paul. The future Pope Benedict presented a comprehensive report in which he said, “By allowing the rights of the weakest to be violated, the state also allows the law of force to prevail over the force of law.” He saw with perfect clarity that “the Church must make claims and demands on public law and cannot simply retreat into the private sphere.”

We accepted those words as a challenge. While every effort pro-lifers make on behalf of the unborn is significant, even sacred, we must understand that the only way to end abortion is in the political sphere. Here in the United States, that means overturning Roe vs. Wade. Pope Benedict has endorsed that effort in his writings since becoming Pope.

In 2005’s “God Is Love,” his first encyclical letter, the Pope asserts that “to say we love God becomes a lie if we are closed to our neighbor.” The pro-life movement is all about love for our neighbors, particularly those in the womb and those whose frailty or illness has pushed them to the margins of society. Later, he writes that the Church “cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice.” Our mandate could not be clearer.

When President Obama visited Pope Benedict at the Vatican last year, the Pope presented the president with two documents, the encyclical Caritas in Veritate and Dignitas Personae, a document on bioethics. A key point of the former document is that social justice cannot advance unless the right to life is protected. This is where pro-abortion politicians and parties so often get it wrong. They trumpet support for human rights, human development and social justice, but also think abortion belongs to those categories. In Dignitas Personae, the Pope reaffirms that just the opposite is true.

“Openness to life,” he writes, “is at the center of true development. When a society moves towards the denial or suppression of life, it ends up no longer finding the necessary motivation and energy to strive for man’s own good. If personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of a new life is lost, then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away.”

I had the privilege of meeting the man who would be pope many times when I worked in Rome for the Pontifical Council for the Family from 1997 to 1999. As a cardinal and now as pope, Benedict XVI keeps his focus on pro-life issues. Those of us who work to protect the “least of our brothers” have a powerful leader indeed.

After Easter

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sing Your Praise To The Lord by Rich Mullins

Confidence and Joy

Pope Benedict uses older ritual for his private Mass

This bit of news comes from the Catholic Culture site:

Pope Benedict XVI, who recently issued a motu proprio allowing all Catholic priests to celebrate the old Latin Mass, uses the older ritual himself for his private Mass, CWN has learned.

Informed sources at the Vatican have confirmed reports that the Holy Father regularly celebrates Mass using the 1962 Roman Missal.

In his motu proprio Summorum Pontificum the Pope says that the older form-- the form in universal use before the liturgical changes that followed Vatican II-- was never abrogated.

Since becoming Roman Pontiff, Benedict XVI has always used the new ritual-- which he identifies in Summorum Pontificum as the "ordinary form" of the Roman rite-- for public celebrations of the Eucharistic liturgy. However few people have witnessed the Pope celebrating his private daily Mass.

Unlike his predecessor John Paul II, who regularly invited visitors to attend the Mass that he celebrated each morning in his private chapel, Benedict XVI has made it his regular practice to celebrate Mass with only a few aides. The Pope's closest associates have established a reputation for preserving confidences.

Pope Benedict has long been known as an ardent defender of the Catholic liturgical tradition. In the early 1990s he raised eyebrows in Rome by writing a laudatory preface to the book The Reform of the Roman Liturgy, in which Msgr. Klaus Gamber decried many of the liturgical changes of the past few decades.

Then-Cardinal Ratzinger also traveled to Wigratzbad, in Bavaria, to ordain priests for the Fraternity of St. Peter, a group devoted to the use of the traditional liturgy. He performed those ordinations, as well as Mass on Easter Sunday in 1990, using the 1962 Roman Missal.

SAINTS SPEAK: Ambrose, Bernard of Clairvaux, and Teresa of Avila on the Blessed Mother

Pray to Virgin Mary as ‘Queen of the Family,’ Pope Benedict tells Malta

The following comes from the Catholic News Agency:

Together with the faithful in Floriana's Granaries Square, the Holy Father prayed the Regina Coeli in Malta on Sunday. Before the recitation of the Marian prayer with thousands of Maltese on Sunday, he acknowledged Malta’s particular devotion to Mary and presented a special gift to Our Lady of Ta' Pinu.

The prayer took place just after Sunday morning Mass celebrated in the same square, the largest on the island. For the celebration, a painting of the Virgin was brought to the square from the island of Gozo for the occasion from the Shrine of Our Lady of Ta' Pinu.

Recalling the Maltese tradition of trust in the Blessed Virgin Mary for protection and prayer intentions, the Holy Father recognized the "great fervor" with which the people of Malta express their devotion to the virgin.

Pope Benedict XVI said he was "pleased" to be able to pray before her image and presented her with a Golden Rose "as a sign of our shared filial affection for the Mother of God."

He asked that she be prayed to as "Queen of the Family," a title introduced by Pope John Paul II to the Litany of Loreto.

Benedict XVI used the occasion to express his gratitude to the people for everything, especially their strong devotion and prayers.

Following the Regina Coeli prayer, the Holy Father made a special Italian-language greeting to pilgrims from that country, asking that St. Paul be for them an example of “solid and courageous faith all adversities."

Celebrating Five Years of the Pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Highway 20 Ride by the Zac Brown Band

Pope Benedict's visit to Malta

Rest in Peace: Captain Ed Freeman

Captain Ed Freeman died on August 20, 2008 due to complications from Parkinson's disease. He was buried with full military honors at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery in Boise.

In the 2002 film We Were Soldiers, which depicted the Battle of Ia Drang, Freeman was portrayed by Mark McCracken. The post office in Freeman's hometown of McLain, Mississippi, was renamed the "Major Ed W. Freeman Post Office" in March 2009. The following comes from an email that I received from my uncle. Let's continue to pray for all of our American heroes past and present:

You're a 19 year old kid.
You're critically wounded and dying in the jungle somewhere in the
Central Highlands of Viet Nam .

It's November 11, 1967.
LZ (landing zone) X-ray.

Your unit is outnumbered 8-1 and the enemy fire is so intense, from 100
yards away, that your CO (commanding officer) has ordered the MediVac
helicopters to stop coming in.

You're lying there, listening to the enemy machine guns and you know
you're not getting out.

Your family is half way around the world, 12,000 miles away, and you'll
never see them again.

As the world starts to fade in and out, you know this is the day.

Then - over the machine gun noise - you faintly hear that sound of a

You look up to see a Huey coming in. But ... It doesn't seem real
because no Medi-Vac markings are on it.

Captain Ed Freeman is coming in for you.

He's not Medi-Vac so it's not his job, but he heard the radio call and
decided he's flying his Huey down into the machine gun fire anyway.

Even after the Medi-Vacs were ordered not to come.
He's coming anyway.

And he drops it in and sits there in the machine gun fire, as they load
3 of you at a time on board.
Then he flies you up and out through the gunfire to the doctors and
nurses and safety.

And, he kept coming back!! 13 more times!! Until all the wounded were
out. No one knew until the mission was over that the Captain had been
hit 4 times in the legs and left arm.

He took 29 of you and your buddies out that day. Some would not have
made it without the Captain and his Huey.

Medal of Honor Recipient, Captain Ed Freeman, United States Air Force,
died last Wednesday at the age of 70, in Boise , Idaho .

May God Rest His Soul.

I bet you didn't hear about this hero's passing, but we've sure seen a
whole bunch about Michael Jackson and Tiger Woods.

Being Young Today

Don Bosco's Dream at the age of 9

Archbishop Sheen: The Stranger Within

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Pope's travels in next five months of 2010 announced

The following comes from the CNA:

As the Pope was preparing to leave for Malta Saturday afternoon, an outline of his schedule for the coming five months was released by the Vatican. Peppered among the four trips the Holy Father is scheduled to make by the end of September are a number of other events in Rome and the surrounding area.

The month of May will see the Holy Father in Turin to meet with the faithful and to venerate the Shroud (May 2) which is on temporary exposition. A pastoral visit will be made to Portugal from May 11-14, during which time he will be in Lisbon, Oporto and Fatima. Planned festivities include celebrations to mark the 10th anniversary of the beatification of Jacinta and Francisco Marto. Later in the month, on May 23, he will preside over Mass at St. Peter's Basilica on Pentecost Sunday.

In June, in addition to his trip to Cyprus (June 4-6) to present the Instrumentum Laboris for the October's Special Synod for the Middle East, the Pope will preside over six other celebrations, according to the official agenda. Among the most notable of these are a prayer vigil and Mass with priests taking part in the International Theological Convention for the conclusion of the Year for Priests (June 9-11) and a Mass for priestly and deaconate ordinations for the Diocese of Rome (June 20).

July and August have only one announced event each. On Sunday, July 4 the Holy Father will make a Pastoral Visit to Sulmona, Italy, in the Abruzzo region, to celebrate the 800th year since the birth of Pope St. Peter Celestine V. The local parish of St. Thomas of Villanova will host Pope Benedict on August 15, where he will preside over Mass.

During the month of September, he is planning one local and one international visit. On Sept. 5, Benedict XVI will go to Carpineto Romano, about 220 miles southeast of Rome, in observation of the 200th year since the birth of Pope Leo XIII. Later, from the 16-19 of the same month, he will travel to Great Britain to beatify Cardinal John Henry Newman, spending time in England and Scotland, where he will meet with Queen Elizabeth II.

Come Awake by Matt Maher

Come Awake! from Igniter Media on Vimeo.

Prayer to the Virgin Mary for Priests by Pope John Paul II

O Mary,
Mother of Jesus Christ and Mother of priests,
accept this title which we bestow on you
to celebrate your motherhood
and to contemplate with you the priesthood
of, your Son and of your sons,
O holy Mother of God.

O Mother of Christ,
to the Messiah-priest you gave a body of flesh
through the anointing of the Holy Spirit
for the salvation of the poor and the contrite of heart;
guard priests in your heart and in the Church,
O Mother of the Savior.

O Mother of Faith,
you accompanied to the Temple the Son of Man,
the fulfillment of the promises given to the fathers;
give to the Father for his glory
the priests of your Son,
O Ark of the Covenant.

O Mother of the Church,
in the midst of the disciples in the upper room
you prayed to the Spirit
for the new people and their shepherds;
obtain for the Order of Presbyters
a full measure of gifts,
O Queen of the Apostles.

O Mother of Jesus Christ,
you were with him at the beginning
of his life and mission,
you sought the Master among the crowd,
you stood beside him when he was lifted up from the earth
consumed as the one eternal sacrifice,
and you had John, your son, near at hand;
accept from the beginning those who have been called,
protect their growth,
in their life ministry accompany your sons,
O Mother of Priests.

Pope Benedict to Malta

Pope Benedict: Before attacks of the world, penance is a necessary grace

The following comes from the Catholic News Agency:

"We must obey God instead of men," said the Holy Father in a memorable address to members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission at Mass on Thursday. During the course of the homily he also spoke of the "attacks of the world," a phrase that was interpreted by some news reports as the recent sex abuse scandals. Pope Benedict said that Catholics must respond to attacks by doing acts of penance.

"Obedience to God has primacy," Pope Benedict XVI began his homily, which he delivered without prepared remarks. The Holy Father told members of the commission gathered in the Pauline Chapel for a Mass to mark the beginning of the Biblical Commission's full assembly on Thursday morning.

Obedience to God makes us free, he said, while the the idea of being "free, autonomous and nothing else," and supposedly free from obedience to God "is a lie."

Being free from obedience to God is an "ontological falsehood, because man doesn't exist of himself and for himself," the Pope said, adding that "it's a political and practical falsehood, because collaboration and sharing of liberties is necessary ..."

The Holy Father also warned that if the majority consensus prevails and becomes the dominant power in a society, it can also be "a consensus of evil." In this way, we can see that "so-called autonomy doesn't free man," he pointed out.

This was the ideology of the Nazi and Marxist dictatorships, he noted, saying the while we are fortunate that they no longer exist, mankind still lives with dictatorships in more subtle forms, such as in conformism. The obligation "to think like everyone thinks, act like everyone acts, and the subtle aggression against the Church, or also less subtle, demonstrate how this conformism can truly be a real dictatorship," the Pope said.

Pope Benedict went on to stress in his homily that for Christians, obedience to God means really knowing Him and wanting to follow his will, and not a question of using Him as a pretext for our own desires.

The Pope applied this practically to the Christian fear of speaking of eternal life. "We speak of the things that are useful for the world, we show that Christianity helps also to improve the world, but that its goal is eternal life and that from the goal might come the criteria of life, we don't dare say it."

We must also work on our avoidance of the word "penance," he explained, noting that the word may seem too strong to Christians in recent times, but that it is through the grace of penance that we recognize our sin, a need for renewal, change and transformation.

"Now," he emphasized, likely alluding to the media accusations against him in the past weeks, "under the attacks of the world that speak to us of our sins, we see that being able to do penance is a grace and we see how it is necessary to do penance, recognize that which is mistaken in our life."

It means opening ourselves to forgiveness, preparing ourselves for forgiveness and allowing ourselves to be transformed, said Pope Benedict XVI. "The pain of penance, that is of purification and transformation, this pain is a grace, because it is renewal, it is the work of divine mercy."

The Pope delivered his homily on the first day of the the Commission's plenary assembly, which will run for five days and be based on the theme "Inspiration and Truth in the Bible."

Friday, April 16, 2010

Happy Birthday Pope Benedict!

Before the Morning by Josh Wilson

Sights and Sounds of Monastic Life

Sights and sounds of monastic life from Mount Angel Abbey, St. Benedict, Oregon.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Pope Benedict: Voice of the Good Shepherd should be heard in priests

The following comes from the CNA:

Pope Benedict XVI dedicated his weekly catechesis to the priestly duty of teaching the faith at today's General Audience. He told an estimated 35,000 people in St. Peter's Square that the duties of the priest, who acts in the person of Jesus, often put him in opposition to the popular culture.

Noting that the series of meditations in the general audiences during the Easter Season will all focus on the subject of the ordained ministry, the Pope used today's address to specifically focus on the priest's duty to teach, which is "so important for our times."

Explaining that priests act in the person of Christ and represent him, the Holy Father presented the three "munera," or duties, of teaching, sanctifying and governing. In exercising these three duties, priests carry out "the actions of the Risen Christ," the Pope taught.

The function of the priest, acting "in persona Christi," is to make the light of the word of God present in the world, he continued. And, it is not on himself that the priest is called to preach "but Jesus Christ and his revelation of the Father," the Holy Father said.

"This teaching, far from an abstract doctrine, is a living proclamation of the person of Christ, who is himself Truth, the source of our joy, peace and spiritual rebirth."

The whole life of the priest must therefore provide a testimony to truth of his message, "in harmony with the apostolic tradition and often in opposition to the spirit of the dominant culture," Benedict told the crowd.

Concluding his catechesis, the Holy Father reminded the faithful of the great task of the priest, "to be announcers of His Word, of the Truth that saves; being his voice in the world to bring that which is useful for the true good of the souls and the authentic path of faith."

The "voice of the Good Shepherd" should always be recognizable in a priest, he said.

Following the catechesis, the Holy Father sent out greetings in 10 languages, including words of comfort in Polish for the loss of their president and those who accompanied him. During the Italian greeting, he called for solidarity with the Chinese people after a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck the city of Gyegu in the Qinghai Province and killed 400 people on Wednesday morning.