Monday, October 31, 2011

Pope Benedict: Catholics must live the faith we profess

The following comes from the CNA:

Pope Benedict XVI has urged Catholics to practice what they preach.

“Christ urges us to combine humility with our charitable service towards our brothers and sisters. Indeed, may we always imitate his perfect example of service in our daily lives,” said the Pope to pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square for his Sunday Angelus address Oct. 30.

The Pope reflected upon the gospel passage of the day in which Jesus tells the apostles to “do everything” the Pharisees teach as they “sit in Moses’ seat,” but not “to do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.”

“In today’s passage,” he said, Jesus “reproaches the scribes and Pharisees” who were teachers of the community “because their conduct was clearly contrary to the teaching which they rigorously offered to others.”

Hence “good teaching must be accepted, but may be contradicted by inconsistent conduct,” said the Pope.

“Jesus’ attitude is exactly the opposite,” Benedict XVI noted. “He practices the first commandment of love that teaches all, and can say that it is light and gentle because he helps us to carry it along with him.”

The Pope then warned against “masters who oppress the freedom of others in the name of their authority,” quoting the 13th century Italian theologian St. Bonaventure who said that no true teacher, “can teach or even work, or reach knowable truth without seeing the Son of God.” Thus it is Jesus who is our “one true and only teacher.”

“We, therefore, are called to follow the Son of God, the Incarnate Word, who expresses the truth of his teaching through fidelity to the will of the Father, through the gift of himself.”

The Pope also noted that Jesus “strongly condemns” vanity, as work that is “placed at the mercy of human approval,” can undermine “the values that underpin the authenticity of the person.”

“Dear friends,” the Pope concluded, “the Lord Jesus has been presented to the world as a servant” even to the point of being “giving himself totally on the cross,” which is our “most eloquent lesson in humility and love.”

After the Angelus Pope Benedict prayed for the victims of recent flooding in Thailand and Italy.

“Dear brothers and sisters,” said the Pope, “I express my closeness to the people of Thailand hit by serious flooding, as well as in Italy, to those of Liguria and Tuscany, recently damaged by the consequences of heavy rains.”

The floods in Thailand have already claimed almost 400 lives while in Italy nine people were killed last week in the northwest regions of Liguria and Tuscany.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

How He Loves Us by Kim Walker

Friday, October 28, 2011

Saint of the day: Jude Thaddeus

Today we remember St. Jude, the patron of hopeless cases! The following comes from the Catholic Online site:

St. Jude, known as Thaddaeus, was a brother of St. James the Less, and a relative of Our Saviour. St. Jude was one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus.

Ancient writers tell us that he preached the Gospel in Judea, Samaria, Idumaea, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Lybia. According to Eusebius, he returned to Jerusalem in the year 62, and assisted at the election of his brother, St. Simeon, as Bishop of Jerusalem.

He is an author of an epistle (letter) to the Churches of the East, particularly the Jewish converts, directed against the heresies of the Simonians, Nicolaites, and Gnostics. This Apostle is said to have suffered martyrdom in Armenia, which was then subject to Persia. The final conversion of the Armenian nation to Christianity did not take place until the third century of our era.

Jude was the one who asked Jesus at the Last Supper why He would not manifest Himself to the whole world after His resurrection. Little else is known of his life. Legend claims that he visited Beirut and Edessa; possibly martyred with St. Simon in Persia.

Jude is invoked in desperate situations because his New Testament letter stresses that the faithful should persevere in the environment of harsh, difficult circumstances, just as their forefathers had done before them. Therefore, he is the patron saint of desperate cases and his feast day is October 28. Saint Jude is not the same person as Judas Iscariot who betrayed Our Lord and despaired because of his great sin and lack of trust in God's mercy.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I Saw God Today by George Strait

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sun to Shine

SUN TO SHINE from Anson Fogel on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Voyage from Marco Aslan on Vimeo.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Catholicism on The Church

Friday, October 21, 2011

I and Love and You by The Avett Brothers

Preview of Fr. Robert Barron's Catholicism

The New Roman Missal

Thursday, October 20, 2011

More Landscapes

Landscapes: Volume One from Dustin Farrell on Vimeo.

Fr. Robert Barron on Religious Drifters

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Lover of the Light by Mumford and Sons

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pro-Life Student Advocate Jon Scharfenberger Passes Away

The following comes from

Jon Scharfenberger, a staff member for Students for Life of America, passed away Tuesday morning from complications suffered after a tragic automobile accident that also claimed the lives of Kortney Blythe Gordon and her unborn baby Sophy.
Gordon, Scharfenberger and two pro-life students were driving back from the Students for Life of America Georgia conference when their vehicle was struck by another head on in a massive collision. The driver of the other vehicle was reportedly speeding and passing cars on a two-lane road. Gordon and her unborn child, Sophy, were immediately killed upon impact and Scharfenberger was in critical condition following the accident.
“The team at SFLA is beyond saddened by the news that Jon Scharfenberger, Pregnant on Campus Coordinator and Campus Support Coordinator for Students for Life of America, passed away this morning due to complications from injuries he sustained from the same car accident that claimed the life of SFLA leader Kortney Blythe Gordon and her pre-born daughter, Sophy, on October 8th,” SFLA said in a statement.
“Jon had many successes in his short time with us at SFLA, including establishing a pro-life campus group at Florida International University that was successful in saving the life of a pre-born baby, a mere one week after its creation,” SFLA said. “We continue to offer prayers of support for Jon’s family and friends and grieve during this incredibly difficult time for our organization and mission.”
“Because of your outpouring, the team at SFLA was able to pay Kortney and Sophy’s burial costs 100%. We encourage all of our supporters to donate to help pay for Jon’s burial costs as well.  All proceeds are tax-deductible and 100% of gifts received through this page or otherwise noted will be donated to the Scharfenberger family,” SFLA said. “All of our love and prayers to Jon, Kortney, Sophy, and the Scharfenberger, Blythe, and Gordon families.”
On Monday of last week, SFLA executive director Kristan Hawkins he was not doing well and she had flown to Georgia to be with Jon and his family.
After the accident, Gerard Nadal, the director of Medical Students for Life and a LifeNews blogger, kept the pro-life community informed of Jon’s condition. Yesterday, Nadal reported that Scharfenberger was facing significant medical difficulties.
“Late yesterday I received word that the physicians have induced a 72-hour coma in Jon. In the meantime, we wait, and hope, and pray,” he wrote Monday morning. Later in the day, he added, “Jon has spiked a fever of 108 degrees F, which can be lethal. Urgent prayers are needed as this battle has taken a terrible turn for him.”
Scharfenberger was the Campus Support Coordinator and Pregnant on Campus Coordinator for Students for Life of America and he traveled to college campuses working with pro-life groups to create and obtain tangible goals that impact both their campus and local community. He worked to provide a vision and plan to the over 600 campus pro-life groups across the nation by creating guides and projects that pro-life groups can use in order to provide timely and essential resources to students facing unplanned, crisis pregnancies.
A native of Warwick, New York, Jon graduated with a BA in Philosophy from Ave Maria University in the spring of 2011. He served as President of AMU Students for Life where he led many successful pro-life initiatives. In his years as President, he helped fundraise over $30,000 for the club and committed membership soared from 30 members to over 150 by his final year. In September, 2009 he organized a successful overnight prayer vigil to protest the opening of a new Planned Parenthood, which gained widespread media coverage.
He interned for SFLA in the summer of 2010 and also gained experience on Capitol Hill as an intern for Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS.) Jon joined SFLA in the summer of 2011 to continue to train and equip the next generation of pro-life leaders. Jon also interned at the National Right to Life Committee.

Murder in the City by The Avett Brothers

Confession by Archbishop Sheen

Pope Benedict's letter explains urgent need for 'Year of Faith'

The following comes from the CNA:

Pope XVI Benedict says the Church's “Year of Faith,” starting October 2012, comes in response to a “profound crisis of faith that has affected many people” and left them searching for answers.

“Ever since the start of my ministry as Successor of Peter, I have spoken of the need to rediscover the journey of faith so as to shed ever clearer light on the joy and renewed enthusiasm of the encounter with Christ,” the Pope wrote in his letter, "Porta Fidei" (Door of Faith), announcing the yearlong initiative.

“The 'door of faith' is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and offering entry into His Church,” he reflected. “It is possible to cross that threshold when the word of God is proclaimed and the heart allows itself to be shaped by transforming grace.”

The Year of Faith will begin Oct. 11, 2012, the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. That same date is the 20th anniversary of Blessed John Paul II's publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a text Pope Benedict said was meant to show “the power and beauty of the faith.”

It will conclude on Nov. 24, 2013, the Solemnity of Christ the King.

October 2012 will also be the occasion of the Church's next General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, on the theme of “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith.” This event, the Pope noted, “will be a good opportunity to usher the whole Church into a time of particular reflection and rediscovery of the faith.”

Next year's celebration is not the Church's first “Year of Faith.” In 1967, Pope Paul VI presided over an observance on the same theme, which that Pope described as a response to the “disturbance” and “perplexity” surrounding the faith after the Second Vatican Council.

Pope Benedict explained that the new Year of Faith gives an opportunity to show how that council's documents support the historic traditions of the Church, when properly understood. He encouraged believers to study the Catechism of the Catholic Church during the upcoming year, saying the text was “one of the most important fruits of the Second Vatican Council.”

By studying their faith, believers can learn to explain it in light of new circumstances driving others to doubt or disbelieve.

“To a greater extent than in the past, faith is now being subjected to a series of questions arising from a changed mentality which, especially today, limits the field of rational certainties to that of scientific and
technological discoveries,” Pope Benedict observed.

“Nevertheless, the Church has never been afraid of demonstrating that there cannot be any conflict between faith and genuine science, because both, albeit via different routes, tend towards the truth.”

The Pope said it would be a matter “of decisive importance” for Catholics to look back on the history of their faith during the 2012-2013 year, to gain an understanding of how the Church continues Christ's mission of redemption.

“In him who died and rose again for our salvation,” he said, “the examples of faith that have marked these two thousand years of our salvation history are brought into the fullness of light.”

Pope Benedict has asked the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to draw up more specific guidelines on how to “live this Year of Faith in the most effective and appropriate ways, at the service of belief and evangelization.”

He cited the words of the Virgin Mary's cousin Elizabeth, on the occasion of their visitation before Christ's birth, as he asked Catholics to “entrust this time of grace to the Mother of God, proclaimed 'blessed because she believed.'”

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

Monday, October 17, 2011

Give Me Your Eyes by Brandon Heath

Pope Benedict stood strong in the face of the storm

The following comes from the CNA:

As thunder, lightning and wind whipped through the World Youth Day prayer vigil this past August, Pope Benedict XVI was advised to leave the event three times. But he insisted that if the young people stayed, then he would too.

The revelation comes from a young Honduran woman was who stood next to the Pope throughout the event.

“The masters of ceremony were asking him if the wanted to leave because it was raining, it was pouring and the wind was really strong and he kept on saying that he would not leave. In fact, he twice waved his finger saying ‘no, no, no’,” 27-year-old Erika Rivera told CNA.

The advisers then asked a third time if the Pope wanted to leave. But this time he responded even more firmly, pointing to the 2 million drenched young pilgrims and saying, “If they are staying, then I am staying too.”

“And when he said that, we, the young people who were there next to him, were just so happy to have him as the Holy Father. So it was a fantastic, unique experience,” Rivera said.

Rivera was a senior press officer at August’s World Youth Day, but she also served as the host at a number of the week’s papal events, including the Saturday night vigil at Madrid’s Cuatro Vientos airbase.

While the rain lashed and lighting flashed, Pope Benedict seemed to remain prayerfully composed beneath two white umbrellas. Meanwhile, the 2-million strong congregation youthfully sang, danced and prayed in the soaking rain.

We were not afraid at all because we could see that the first one who was serene was the Holy Father,” said Rivera.

“He transmitted a lot of serenity, a lot of calmness and therefore, you know, we thought what else could happen to us?”

After approximately 15 minutes, the rain abated, allowing Pope Benedict to thank the crowd for their “joy and resistance” in enduring the storm. “Your strength is bigger than the rain,” he told them, adding that “the Lord sends you lots of blessings with the rain.”

He then proceeded to lead the young people in Eucharistic adoration.

“It was just fantastic, amazing; it was like a masterpiece,” she said. “The Eucharist was there, the Holy Father was there and the future of the Church was there too - the young people - it was just amazing.”

Two months later Rivera believes there is a deeper lesson to be learned from Pope Benedict’s fortitude in the face of a Spanish storm.

While modern society often opts to “take the easy exit,” she said, to “see Pope Benedict willing to stay there, to make the sacrifice for him who died on the cross for us -- it was truly inspiring for me.”

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Blessed John Paul II will soon be a saint

The following comes from the Vatican Insider:

Karol Wojtyla will soon become a saint. Salesian Cardinal, Angelo Amato is working on an evaluation of the second miracle attributed to John Paul II. Joseph Ratzinger’s “minister”, in charge of following the process of canonization and beatification throughout the Catholic Church, is trying to counter sceptics inside and outside the Curia who want to slow down a process begun as a result of overwhelming public pressure, by speeding things up.

And he stated he was closet o recognising the second miracle to be attributed to Karol Wojtyla, the Polish Pope who was so loved across the entire Catholic spectrum. The case of scientifically unexplainable healing, was placed “under investigation” by the Vatican minister for the Causes of Saints. In order to be canonised, following his beatification last 1 March, Karol Wojtyla needs to receive the Holy See's recognition of a second miracle.

A great number of miraculous healings attributed to John Paul II have already been closely examined by the Postulation of the former pope’s canonization cause. One, in particular, is considered to be ideal and especially important in order for Karol Wojtyla to be catapulted to sainthood, following the occurrence that allowed Benedict XVI to proclaim his immediate predecessor Blessed; that is, the healing of the French nun, Sister Marie Simon-Pierre form Parkinson’s disease, the same illness that the last phase of his Pontificate into a nightmare. The Vatican assured that the other miracle which took place after his beatification will be analysed with no hurry and with usual scruple. The Vatican has also said Joseph Ratzinger’s decision to elevate John Paul II to sainthood has been the cause of much joy among the Catholic community across the world. The second miracle attributed to the Blessed John Paul II, must be recognised by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on behalf of the deceased pope. The dossier of miracles attributed to Karol Wojtyla is constantly being updated with new testimonies.

Before the beatification, the Holy See took numerous other miracles into account, for example that of a man who was saved in Cleveland in the United States, from a serious head wound caused by a firearm and a Polish child who was paralysed at the legs but all of a sudden started walking again, after having prayed at the tomb of John Paul II.

The healing of the Polish child, also received the approval of Cracow’s Archbishop, Stanislao Dziwisz, Karol Wojtyla’s right hand man in Poland and in the Vatican for four years. Cardinal Dziwisz witnessed the little boy who had sat immobile in his wheelchair because of a tumour in his kidneys, “walk after visiting the tomb of John Paul II in the Vatican grottoes.” The cardinal affirmed: “I have born witness to so many acts of grace bestowed by John Paul II. Especially on people who were suffering from tumours. The Polish boy is 9 years old, he is from Danzica, and he could not walk because he had kidney cancer. He was taken to the tomb of John Paul II in his wheelchair. There, he prayed and when he came out of St. Peter’s Basilica, to the astonishment of his parents, he said: “I want to walk.” He got up and started walking.” On the day of his funeral, thousands of people called out: “John Paul II for saint.”

In Cleveland, in the American state of Ohio, a 26 year old boy who had suffered a serious head injury during a mugging was saved and regained his health just when doctors had started to give up hope. The hospital chaplain endorsed the fact that this prodigious act of healing was due to a blessed rosary used by John Paul II. In January 2006, a website was launched to gather the testimonies of Catholics who had witnessed or received acts of grace or miracles after the death of John Paul II, in support of the process of beatification of Karol Wojtyla.

Tens of thousands of messages were sent to the website, available in five languages. In order to assess the candidacy for beatification, the Catholic Church requires proof of “signs” witnessed following the death of a figure in the odour of sanctity. Thus, as of 13 May, when Pope Benedict XVI agreed a dispensation of a five year wait from the death of an individual, after which, the process of beatification could begin, it was decided that testimonies were to be collected via internet from across the world, in Italian, Polish, English, French and Spanish. Catholics were impatient and did not want to wait for ecclesiastical bureaucracy. Messages were posted on the website asking for Wojtyla to be made a saint immediately and the appeal was also made at his funeral on 8 April 2005. There are dozens of cases of people who were healed by the Polish pope: a 34 year old woman from Palermo was cured of breast cancer out of the blue; a little deaf boy from Baltimore, all of a sudden gained perfect hearing before his gobsmacked doctor; a Mexican bride who had wanted a child for a long time, finally gave birth, despite doctors saying that her state of health made this impossible.

Winter Winds by Mumford and Sons

Pope Benedict declares the Year of Faith

The following comes from the CNA:

Pope Benedict XVI has declared a “Year of Faith” which will begin in October 2012, the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council.

“It will be a moment of grace and commitment to a more complete conversion to God, to strengthen our faith in Him and proclaim Him with joy to the people of our time,” said the Pope, making his announcement during Sunday Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica.

The Year of Faith will run from October 11, 2012, until November 24, 2013, which is the Solemnity of Christ the King.

The Pope said in his Oct. 16 remarks that it will give “new impetus to the mission of the whole Church to lead men out of the desert in which they often find themselves, to the place of life, of friendship with Christ.” He also said that “reasons, purposes and guidelines” for the year will be set out in an Apostolic Letter to be published “in the coming days.”

The vast congregation at this morning’s Mass largely consisted of those involved in the “new evangelization,” who were in Rome for a summit organized by the recently formed Pontifical Council for Promotion of the New Evangelization The new evangelization aims to revivify Catholicism in traditionally Christian countries which have been particularly affected by secularization in recent decades.

Unusually, the 84-year-old pontiff was wheeled both in and out of the Mass on a mobile platform. Normally Pope Benedict would walk the approximately 110 yards down the central aisle of St. Peters. “This is just not to tire him,” papal spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., told reporters, adding that “nothing else should be read into the general state of his health, which is good.”

Drawing upon the Scripture readings for today, the Pope outlined a roadmap for the new evangelizers. In the first reading, the Prophet Isaiah recounts how King Cyrus, the Persian Emperor in the 6th century B.C., played his part in fulfilling a divine plan despite that fact that he “did not know” God and was not even Jewish.

“Even the mighty Cyrus, the Persian Emperor, is part of a greater plan, that only God knows and carries forward,” observed the Pope.

This demonstrates, he said, the need for a new “theology of history” as an “essential part” of the new evangelization “because “the men of our time, after the disastrous season of totalitarian empires of the 20th century, need to find a comprehensive vision of the world and time,” more compatible with the vision of the Church.

In the second reading, taken from St. Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians, the Pope said new evangelizers are reminded that “it is the Lord who touches hearts by His Word and His Spirit, by calling people to faith and communion in the Church.”

The fact that it is God and not the evangelist who touches hearts, shows the importance of recognizing God as the prime mover in any apostolic activities which “must always be preceded, accompanied and followed by prayer,” he said.

Pope Benedict also highlighted the importance of having collaborators like St. Paul who had Silvanus and Timothy as his companions in his work, and said today’s new evangelizers should also seek coworkers in spreading the Gospel.

He then turned today’s Gospel and said that it provides the key message the new evangelizers must bring to the world. In it, Christ tells the Pharisees to “render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” This is a reminder that the Church’s message is not primarily a political one, the Pope said.

“The mission of the Church, like Christ,” he said, “is essentially to speak of God, to commemorate His sovereignty, reminding everyone, especially Christians, who have lost their identity, of God’s right over what belongs to Him, which is our lives.”

Later in the morning, the Pope used his Sunday Angelus address to further explain his plans for a “Year of Faith” to over 40,000 pilgrims gathered in St. Peters Square. He summed up the initiative as “proclaiming Christ to those who do not know him or have, in fact, reduced him to a mere historical character.”

He finished his address by placing all those involved in new evangelization under the protection of the Virgin Mary who “helps every Christian to be a valid witness to the Gospel.”

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I'm Going To Love You Through This by Martina McBride

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pope Benedict: Pray the Rosary Every Day!

The following comes from

Benedict XVI is encouraging the daily recitation of the rosary, emphasizing that it is a tool to grow in the theological virtues and a path for cooperating in the plan of salvation.
The Pope said this Wednesday at the end of the general audience when he gave multilingual greetings to various groups gathered with him in St. Peter's Square.
In Slovakian, he referred to the rosary as a "school of prayer for us," and he expressed his wish that the month of October, which is dedicated to the rosary, would assist in discovering "the beauty of this simple but efficacious prayer."
Oct. 7 is the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.
The Holy Father invited Portuguese-speakers to "persist in the daily recitation of the rosary."
He reflected that through this prayer, families can be united with Our Lady, and "fully cooperate in the plans of salvation God has for you."
A similar message went to Hungarians, when the Pontiff presented the rosary as a prayer to "strengthen you ever more in faith, in hope and in love."

We Are Not As Strong As We Think We Are by Rich Mullins

Come Back Around by Matt Brouwer

K-LOVE - Matt Brouwer "Come Back Around" LIVE from K-LOVE Radio on Vimeo.

Fr. Robert Barron comments on the The Swerve

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pope Benedict gives push to New Evangelization

The following comes from
Benedict XVI is showing his support for leaders of the new evangelization, as he will address this weekend a group of "new evangelizers."
The Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization is hosting a conference Saturday and Sunday, for international leaders engaged in spreading the Gospel message.
The Holy Father will receive participants in the meeting on Saturday. And on Sunday, he will celebrate a Mass with them in St. Peter's Basilica.
The theme of the conference is New Evangelizers for the New Evangelization. Its motto is taken from the Acts of the Apostles, "The Word of God Grew and Multiplied."
Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, the president of the council, will open the event. Then, there will be various contributions: Mother Veronica Berzosa, Spanish founder and superior of the new religious institute Iesu Communio, will speak on spirituality. Italian journalist Vittorio Messori will give an address on "The West and Its Questions on Christ."
An Italian professor will talk of the science-faith dialogue, and a Colombian bishop will discuss new evangelization in Latin America.
The former director of ZENIT, Jesús Colina, will present Aleteia, the project he has been developing with Olivier Bonassies, of the Mary of Nazareth Center, and others.
Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli will offer a recital; this "moment of spirituality and art" will precede the arrival of Benedict XVI in Paul VI Hall.
In the evening, the groups and ecclesial realities will be welcomed to the Diocese of Rome, where in various churches and centers, they will lead moments of reflection and prayer with Rome's Catholics.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mary, Help of Christians, pray for us!

During this changing and confusing time in the history of the nation and all around the world it is time for us to recommit ourselves to Our Blessed Mother. Don Bosco was clear that "The help of God and of Mary will not fail you...I recommend devotion
to Mary Help of Christians and frequent Holy Communion..."

She is with us in every trial and has always protected the Church. Here is a bit of history on the devotion. The following comes from Fr. George Rutler:

I need not remind the Navy personnel in our parish that the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 ranks as one of the most important sea engagements of history. It may even top the list which includes the battles of Salamis in 480 B.C., Trafalgar in 1805, Tsushima in 1905, Jutland in 1916 and Midway in 1942. Years before he wrote Don Quixote, Cervantes, who was wounded in the battle, called it the greatest scene of centuries. A quiet Dominican friar, Pope Pius V, formed a Christian fleet with the navies of the Papal States, Venice, Spain, Genoa, Savoy and Malta under the command of Don Juan of Austria, who was called “the last Knight of Europe” in Chesterton’s poem “Lepanto.” Don Juan, the half-brother of the King of Spain, was an illegitimate son of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, by a popular singer of the day named Barbara Blomberg.

Assisting admirals included Agostino Barbarigo of Venice, who would be killed by arrows, and Giovanni Andrea Doria of Genoa. With great skill, the assembled fleet of 212 ships rowed and sailed from Messina in Sicily to the Gulf of Patras off Cyprus. The Muslim fleet of the Ottoman Turks under the command of Ali Pasha had 230 galleys and 56 smaller galliots. The combined forces numbered 150,000. With tremendous engineering skill, the fleets engaged each other in torrid combat all day long on October 7. Before the battle, Don Juan sailed by all his ships under a banner of Our Lady while praying the Rosary. Remarkably, Don Juan was only 24.

That night, far away in Rome, Pius V opened a window and cried out with tears of joy as he saw in the sky a vision of the battle exactly as it happened: “Thank God for the victory which He has just given the Christian army!” October 7 became the Feast of Our Lady of Victory. Two years later Pope Gregory XIII changed the name to Our Lady of the Rosary, and the Blessed Virgin received a new title, “Help of Christians.”

This is not just an interesting chapter in war history. The Battle of Lepanto was fought to save Christian civilization. Had it failed, we would not be living in a recognizable world. Not everyone at the time recognized its importance. King Charles IX of France did not participate, nor did King Louis XIV help when the Ottoman forces sought revenge at Vienna in 1683. Austria, and indeed Europe, was saved then by the Polish King Jan Sobieski who arrived just in time on September 11.

October is the month of the Rosary, poignantly so, as Europe is fast losing its Christian hope, not through military conquest, but through contraception, abortion and spiritual indifference. Our Lady will always secure victory, but only for those who do the will of her Son.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hallelujah by Heather Williams

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pope Benedict: "Monasteries have a valuable function in today's world"

Pope Benedict: Modern Life Needs Silence

The following comes from the CNA:

The lack of silence in contemporary society is making many people’s lives “more agitated and at times convulsed,” Pope Benedict XVI has said.

“Some people are no longer able to stay long in silence,” he told members of a silent Carthusian monastery in the southern Italian region of Calabria on Oct. 9.

“Most young people, who are already born in this state, seem to fill every empty moment with music and images, almost afraid to feel, in fact, this void.”

The monastery visit was the Pope’s last stop on a one-day trip to the south of Italy. Upon his arrival in the town of Serra San Bruno, crowds of over 30,000 greeted the Pope as he made his way through the streets in the popemobile.

The local monastery was established over 900 years ago by St. Bruno, a fellow German and founder of the Carthusian Order.

The Pope contrasted the silence of the order with the noise of modern life.

“Without realizing it, people are immersed in a virtual dimension, because of the audio-visual messages that accompany their life from morning to evening,” he said.

He called the Carthusian charism of silence “a precious gift for the Church and the world,” and one that contained “a profound message for our life and for humanity.”

“Retiring into silence and solitude, man, so to speak, is ‘exposed’ to reality in his nakedness,” said the Pope. This allows man to experience “the fullness, the presence of God, of the most real Reality that there is, and that is beyond the dimension of the senses.”

The Pope joined the monks for Vespers, the evening prayer of the Church. Before entering the monastery, he remarked that the ancient monastic life is a rebuke to a certain modern mindset “that is not Christian, or even human, because it is dominated by economic interests,” or is only concerned with earthly and not spiritual things.

A society based on such a mindset, he said, “not only marginalizes God, but also our neighbor, and we do not strive for the common good.” The monastery, though, is instead “a model of a society that focuses on God and fraternal relationship.” This is something for which we have “so much need in our time,” said the Pope.

While some may think it “impossible to remain for life in a monastery,” said the Pope, “a lifetime is just enough to get into this union with God.”

He concluded by telling the Carthusians that their vocation is in “the heart of the Church” and puts “the pure blood of the contemplation and love of God” into its veins.

Pope Benedict also visited a monastic cell and the community’s infirmary before signing the monastery’s visitor's book. He then set off on his return to Rome by helicopter and plane.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Prayer Need: Students for Life Leader, Unborn Baby Die in Tragic Accident

The following comes from the LifeNews site:

Students for Life of America, the national organization for pro-life college and university students, has suffered a terrible loss, as one of its staffers and her unborn baby perish and another staffer was injured in a fatal automobile accident Saturday night.

Around 8:00 p.m. local time, SFLA field director Kortney Blythe Gordon was driving back from the Students for Life of America Georgia conference when her vehicle was struck by another head on in a massive collision. Gordon and her unborn child, Sophy, were immediately killed upon impact and another SFLA staff member, Jon Scharfenberger, is in critical condition following the accident.
In addition, two local students, whose names were not released to LifeNews, were injured in the accident as well, and were in the vehicle with the two Students for Life staffers when they were struck by the oncoming car. The accident also claimed the life of a passenger in another vehicle.

“The entire team at Students for Life of America is heartbroken by the loss of our dear friend, Field Director, and tireless abortion abolitionist, Kortney Blythe Gordon, and her pre-born daughter, Sophy,” a grief-stricken Kristan Hawkins said in a statement this afternoon. “There are no words to describe what a loss we suffer alongside her husband Benjamin and their entire family, but we are comforted knowing that Kortney and her daughter are in the arms of our Lord and Savior.”

“Please pray for the families of Kortney and Benjamin, for the family of our other gravely injured staffer and his recovery, and for healing for all who were touched by Kortney’s infectious spirit and tireless efforts to stop the injustice of abortion in our nation,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins said Kortney lived by one of her favorite sayings: “To live is Christ, to die is gain.”

“She passed doing what she loved, and we are beyond blessed for the countless gifts that she bestowed to our staff, our students and pro-life leaders across the country,’ the SFLA leader said.

Students for Life of America, on behalf of the Blythe and Gordon families, is taking up a collection to help pay for Kortney and her daughter Sophy’s burial costs. All proceeds are tax deductible and 100% of gifts received through this pledge will be donated to the Blythe and Gordon families. To donate, please visit

“Please keep the mission of Students for Life of America as we mourn the loss of our beautiful and dear friend and a true leader within the pro-life movement,” Hawkins said. “All of our love and prayers to Kortney, Sophy, and the Blythe and Gordon families.”

Gordon joined Students for Life of America as Field Director in June 2010 where she manages the SFLA Field Agents and travels across the nation to mobilize, activate, and train new and existing student pro-life groups. As a child, Kortney was introduced to the pro-life movement through her uncle, a full-time sidewalk counselor, who, in the past 25 years, has saved over 3,000 children from abortion through his clinic presence.

Her pastor and apologist father encouraged her passion for the preborn, and in 2005, she graduated magna cum laude from Montreat College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a focus on Communication. Directly out of college, she took a position as residential supervisor for an unwed mother’s home in Charlotte, NC. Then, in summer 2006, she joined Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust as the Director of Campus Life Tours in southern California. During her time with Survivors, she led a team of 6-10 young adults, traveling to 600 high school and college campuses setting up pro-life displays and distributing over 200,000 pieces of educational literature.

Kortney mentored dozens of rising pro-life youth at Survivors’ annual Pro-life Leadership Training Camps, where she provided hands-on instruction on activist tactics, free speech rights and defending the pro-life position. She brought her experience and knowledge to Australia in spring 2009 with a whirlwind tour of the country that included street activism, training and an appearance on a local Catholic television program.

She has participated in countless pro-life demonstrations, counter-protests and prayer vigils. As a result, her frequent stands against first amendment violations have successfully struck down dozens of unconstitutional ordinances and school policies.

In 2009, she moved back to the East coast to work with Rock for Life as the Chapter and Street Team Coordinator. Her activities included starting nearly twenty new chapters, frequent blogging on trending pro-life topics and recording a weekly podcast, broadcast on National Pro-life Radio.

Friends of Gordon’s who wish to send her family their prayers and thoughts can do so by sending it via Kortney’s email.

Heaven is the Face by Steven Curtis Chapman

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

Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Abandoned in Guatemala: The Failure of International Adoption Policies

Happy Priests

The following comes from

Priests in general are among the happiest members of society, says Monsignor Stephen Rossetti, and contrary to secular opinion, most embrace celibacy as a positive aspect of their vocation.
These were some of the conclusions outlined by Monsignor Rossetti in his book, “Why Priests Are Happy” (Ave Maria Press), which will be released Wednesday.
The author, who is currently serving as associate dean for seminary and ministerial programs at The Catholic University of America, also wrote “Born of the Eucharist,” “The Joy of Priesthood,” and “When the Lion Roars.” As a licensed psychologist, Monsignor Rossetti previously worked as president and CEO of Saint Luke’s Institute, a treatment and education center for clergy and religious.
The author surveyed 2,500 priests, and made discoveries that modern society might find surprising.
In this interview with ZENIT, he explained some of these findings, including the correlation between a priest’s happiness and his relationship with God and others, and the signs of hope for the future of the priesthood.
ZENIT: Your research showed a conclusion that the public might find surprising: Priests are among the happiest people in the country. Why do we not hear about this happiness more often?
Monsignor Rossetti: There have been a number of studies in the United States over the last few years with exactly the same findings: About 90% of priests report that they are happy. In my study, it was 92.4%.
In a similar study, when the National Opinion Research Center recently conducted its scientific poll of 27,000 Americans, they found that clergy in general were the most satisfied and happiest of all Americans. This is especially remarkable since over 50% of Americans report being unhappy with their jobs.
But this consistent and astounding finding of priestly happiness remains a secret.
Why? First of all, good news doesn’t make the news. Tragedies and scandals fill our front pages but the faces of our many happy priests do not.
Second, and just as important, the secularization of our culture breeds a kind of negativism toward organized religion. There is a secular belief among some today that practicing the faith must be constraining and joyless.
Some modern thinkers suggest that the only way to true human happiness is to be freed from the constraints of religion. They see religion as repressive of one’s true human freedom and humanity. Thus, using this logic, being a priest must be the unhappiest life of all.
Therefore, to hear that priests are among the happiest people in the country is met with disbelief.
The fact of priestly happiness is a fundamental and powerful challenge to the modern secular mind.
But for us Christians, it only confirms the truths of our faith. Jesus prayed, “That my joy might be yours, and your joy might be complete.”
Joy is one of the unmistakable fruits of the Holy Spirit.
To be truly and fully Christian is to know God’s gift of joy. The secular mind searches for this joy, but it is looking in the wrong place.
It only makes sense that those men who have dedicated their lives in the service of God and others in the Catholic faith as priests would be slowly and gently filled by God with an inner happiness and joy.
Jesus promised us his joy and it is demonstrably true.
ZENIT: What have you found to be the key factors that contribute to a priest’s happiness?
Monsignor Rossetti: I ran a multiple regression equation to find the most important variables that contributed to priestly happiness. The first, most powerful predictor of priestly happiness was the variable “inner peace.”
Those who reported a good self-image and a sense of inner peace were the happiest of priests.
Upon reflection, this makes perfect sense. The most important predictor of anyone’s happiness is what they bring to their jobs and their lives.
If we feel good inside, we are likely to be happy with what is around us.
This also is a challenge to all of us: If we are unhappy with our lives, perhaps the place to begin is not to criticize what is outside of us, but to look within.  
Interestingly enough, my research demonstrated that the most powerful predictor of inner peace is one’s relationship with God. The correlation was a large r=.55, which is a very strong correlation in social science research.
So, where does inner peace come from? When one has a solid relationship with God, there is much inner peace.
Jesus promised us this gift. He said, “My peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you.”
It was exciting for me to see the truths of the Gospels displayed right in front of my eyes in these statistical findings. We find true and lasting peace only in God.
And, of course, one’s reported relationship with God was strongly predictive of happiness as well.  Again, there was a strong correlation (r=.53).
So we see our spiritual life as being a powerful contributor both to inner peace and personal happiness.
If there is so much violence and unhappiness in our world today, where does it come from?
My findings suggest that we will never find the inner peace and joy that we are searching for until we find a personal relationship with God. Most of our priests have found such a relationship, and they are happy men because of it.
ZENIT: Could you say something about the role of interpersonal relationships -- with family, friends, cohorts, or parishioners -- in a priest’s happiness?
Monsignor Rossetti: There were several surprising findings in the research, which upon reflection, made perfect sense.
For example, I ran another multiple regression equation and asked what was the strongest predictor of one’s relationship with God, that is, what variable most likely contributes to a positive relationship to God. The response was clear: having close friends (the correlation was a strong r=.46).
Developing a healthy relationship with others helps us to connect with God.
Many times Jesus himself spoke of love of God and love of neighbor as two sides of the same coin. Or, as the Scriptures tell us, “For whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.”
And the statistical results confirmed this Gospel teaching: To love our neighbors and to build a charitable relationship with friends, family and neighbors helps us to love God, and vice versa. All of these are important in becoming happy people.
Isolation causes unhappiness. We are meant to be connected with others.
The good news here is that the vast majority of priests -- over 90% -- reported having solid friendships with other priests and with the laity.
One of the great joys and supports for the life of a priest is his connections with others.
The secular notion that priests are lonely, isolated men is simply not true.
Indeed, priestly happiness has been rising over the past several years and will likely rise even higher. In my research only 3.1% of priests were even thinking of leaving the priesthood. Given the enormous pressure on priesthood today and the many real challenges facing these men, this is remarkable.   
ZENIT: What about celibacy? How does it relate to a priest’s happiness?
Monsignor Rossetti: This was also an interesting finding. Those priests who felt called by God to live a celibate life and who experienced celibacy as a personal grace, despite its challenges, were much more likely to be happy men. The correlation between this positive view of celibacy and priestly happiness was a strong r=.47.
The good news here is that over 75% of priests have found celibacy to be a positive part of their lives.  
This percentage is likely to rise even higher in the future. It is the youngest priests who most strongly support mandatory celibacy.
So, contrary to a secular mentality, support for priestly celibacy will likely rise in the future among priests in the United States. It is disappearing as a “hot button” issue among priests in the United States.
But this is challenging. It is one thing to accept celibacy as a necessary part of a priest’s life, but it requires a much deeper level of spirituality to experience celibacy as a gift from God and a personal grace. It requires a depth of living that is profound.
As I sit back and reflect upon the findings of this study, I find myself inspired by the commitment and spiritual vitality of these priests’ lives.
This is the real truth underlying the findings of the study: Our priests are happy and holy men.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Amazing Grace by Jotta A

'If you get lost, take Mary's hand,' Cardinal Angelo Amato, SDB tells conference

The following comes from the CNA:

Cardinal Angelo Amato,SDB told attendees at a major Marian conference in Rome that “if you get lost, take the hand of Mary and she will lead you to Jesus.”

The Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints was addressing the 13th International Mariological Symposium, which concludes Oct. 7.

“For conversion to Christ you must go to the Virgin Mary so that she leads us back to Him,” he told the delegates, adding that Mary leads us to “drink from the cool waters of Jesus Christ.”

The International Mariological Symposium is organized by the “Marianum” Pontifical Theological Faculty and takes place every two years. Its aim is to “foster studies on the Mother of God in the context of today.”

This year’s topic for the four days of discussion has been “The figure of Mary in the Context of Faith, Reason and Sentiments; Theological and Cultural Aspects of Modernity.”

Cardinal Amato told CNA that the conference not only widens the Church’s knowledge of Mariology but “serves to deepen knowledge in relation to other issues such as Christology, the Trinity, grace, anthropology or the Bible.”

“Marian studies have grown very well and are of high quality,” he said, noting the high quality of conference contributors throughout the week.

“Mary acts in the world today in many different ways,” explained Fr. Gian Matteo Roggio of the Marianum Pontifical Theological Faculty in remarks to CNA.

He explained that whenever Christ is manifested in the liturgy, then Mary is there too because “Mary is in Christ, she is in the body of Christ.” Fr. Roggio said that Mary is also present today as a model of Christian life. “Mary acts also in the life of the believers, because she is an example.”

“The meaning of Mary is not only for the believer. Because she was a woman of freedom, she is for all men and all women,” he concluded.

The symposium will culminate with the award the “René Laurentin - Pro Ancilla Domini” prize for studies in the field. It is named after the internationally renowned French priest and mariologist. This year the prize will be given to the Italy-based International Association for Research in the Shrines.

On Friday, Oct. 7 the conference will be concluded by, amongst others, Cardinal Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, the President of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Remebering Archbishop Hannan

Archbishop Hannan: An Amazing Life

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Head Full of Doubts/Road Full of Promise by The Avett Brothers

Martin Sheen speaks about The Way of St. James

The following comes from the CNA:

Actor Martin Sheen spoke in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 1 about his latest movie, which was filmed entirely along The Way of St. James, a European pilgrimage that leads to the city of Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

“If this is the last thing I ever do, I couldn’t be happier,” Sheen told his audience at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

The talk was part of a national tour to promote Sheen’s upcoming film, “The Way,” which opens Oct. 7.

Sheen stars in “The Way” alongside his son, Emilio Estevez, who directed the film.

“The Way” tells the story of an American doctor who receives news that his son has been killed in Europe while walking the Way of St. James. He decides to finish the pilgrimage in his son’s place.

“In the journey, he becomes himself,” Sheen said.

“It’s a story of renewal and healing. It’s also a story of redemption and faith.”

Sheen explained that as the pilgrimage progresses, the characters are forced to unload the things that burden them, both physically and spiritually.

“The real pilgrimage starts to take place on the interior,” he said.

“The pilgrims begin to open up their hearts,” he explained. “They begin to let go of anger and judgment and envy and all of the things that had kept them from being themselves.”

Sheen said that he has been amazed by “the number of young people that have been inspired by our film and are interested in making the pilgrimage.”

“The most rewarding part of the journey that we’re taking across America is really introducing pilgrimage to young people,” he said. “And the response has been so tremendous.”

Sheen also gave the audience a brief history of his own spiritual growth. He explained that he was born Ramón Estévez. When he moved to New York to pursue acting, he found himself faced with racial discrimination and decided that he needed a stage name.

He chose the last name “Sheen” after Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, whom he described as having an “extraordinary presence” in his household when he was young.

“I grew up watching him,” Sheen said.

“I thought of him as this magnificent actor,” he explained, recalling the archbishop’s sharp sense of humor.

“He had this fire in his eyes that was a reflection of his passion.”

Sheen challenged his audience to evaluate their lives in terms of how they can serve those around them.

“We need a far more realistic understanding of who we are and why we’re here,” he said. “Whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, I believe we’re all responsible for each other.”

“There remains a very real and mysterious yearning deep within each and every human heart that compels us to reach outside of ourselves and serve others,” Sheen said.

“My fondest wish for all of you is that you will find something in your life worth fighting for.”

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Réquiem ætérnam dona eis Dómine

Fr. Kenneth Allen has posted on the funeral of Archbishop Hannan in New Orleans.  The Archbishop's funeral began at the seminary with the priests of the Archdiocese.  Cardinal Egan of New York joined them for the evening prayer service.

Pope Benedict to European Bishops: Evangelize with Courage

The following comes from the CNA:

Pope Benedict encouraged the bishops of Europe to be zealous and fresh in their approach to evangelizing modern culture, particularly young people.

During a Sept. 29-Oct. 2 gathering in Albania, the bishops were read a message from the Pope in which he urged them to “courageously” identify “new missionary paths of evangelization, especially in serving the new generations.”

The annual assembly of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences was held in Tirana, Albania.

In his message to the bishops, Pope Benedict praised the council as “a vital structure connecting the European episcopates, which for forty years has promoted fruitful collaboration in pastoral and ecumenical activities.”

The council, which is headed by Cardinal Peter Erdo of Esztergom-Budapest, dedicated this year's theme to the new evangelization—the late Pope John Paul II's call to re-evangelize formerly Christian societies.

In the opening session of the gathering, Cardinal Erdo recalled how the mission of the council “is to support the Church throughout the continent of Europe, focusing particular attention on those Churches which, during the course of last century, suffered greatly under the dictatorship of atheist regimes.”

“Today we can confidently affirm that the rebirth of the Church in those countries is proof of Divine Providence and of faith in Christ, who was crucified and rose again,” he said.

In addition to the topic of evangelization, the assembly focused on the council's service to the Church in Europe as well as progress made in the area of ecumenical dialogue. The bishops then met with His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Latin Rite Patriarch of Jerusalem, to discuss ways to help Christians in the Holy Land.

The bishops also reflected on Pope Benedict's trips this year to Germany, Croatia and Spain, where he attended World Youth Day.

During the assembly, the council re-elected Cardinal Peter Erdo of as president of the body. He will serve a five-year term ending in 2016.

Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, president of the Italian bishops’ conference, and Archbishop Jozef Michalik of Przemysl, head of the Polish bishops’ conference, were elected as vice presidents. They will replace Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard of Bordeaux and Cardinal Josip Bozanic of Croatia.

The bishops thanked the newly elected leaders for their readiness to serve and encouraged them in their work of evangelization in Europe. They also thanked “all the members of the outgoing presidency for their work for the good of the Church and for their devotion to promoting fraternal communion among the European episcopates.”