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Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Samuel Alito Confirmed to the United States Supreme Court
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Samuel Alito, the nominee to the United States Supreme Court, was confirmed today by a 58-42 vote. This is great news as there are now 5 Catholics on the Supreme Court and we have hope he will vote for the sanctity of human life. See Prolife Blogs for more information on this.

Thanks to CVSTOS for reminding me to post on this.

Image Source: In the Public Domain (Wikipedia)
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God is Always There
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"God is always there. He never leaves our prayers unanswered" (Blessed Mother Teresa).

Image Source: In the Public Domain
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A Daily Schedule for Living a Christ-Centered Life
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I received this excellent email yesterday and wanted to post it here. Even if we incorporate just one more of these suggestions in our lives, we will become much holier. This schedule is one where Jesus Christ is the foundation of daily life. Is your schedule founded on Christ? If not, then please read through this. I'm hoping to add some of these into my life.

A Rule of Life
For Those Who, Living in the World, Aspire after Perfection

By Father Michael Muller, C.Ss.R.

In the Morning

1. Rise at affixed hour, for example, six o'clock; do not remain longer in bed without a reasonable motive.
2. As soon as you awake, offer your heart to God, make the sign of the Cross, and dress yourself quickly and modestly. Then, on your knees, say three "Hail Marys," in honor of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, to obtain a great purity of body and soul.
3. Say your morning prayers, and make a meditation during half, or at least a quarter of an hour. It is better to say short prayers - "Our Father" and "Hail Mary," - or to say your prayers going to or at your work, than to say no prayers at all.
4. Hear Mass, if it is possible.

During the Course of the Day

5. Read a spiritual book for at least a quarter of an hour.
6. Say your beads, if possible, with the rest of the household.
7. Pay a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, and to the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the church if you can do so. N.B. - For these three last exercises you can choose whatever time will
least interfere with your daily occupations.
8. Frequently make short ejaculatory prayers, above all at the beginning and end of your actions. Employ chiefly acts of the love of God, such as these: My dear Jesus, I love Thee ... I wish very much to love Thee ... make me love Thee more and more, etc.
9. Practice the mortification of the eyes, of the ears, and of the tongue, by sometimes refraining from looking, hearing, or saying things, which, though not dangerous, are useless, in order to be able more easily to abstain from what is dangerous, or even bad.
10. Seize carefully every opportunity of suffering any little pain, contradiction, or humiliation, for the love of God. In every such occasion submit yourself to the will of God, saying: O my God, this is Thy Will; may Thy holy Will be done!
11. At your meals deprive yourself in part or entirely of some little thing you are fond of; and never completely satisfy your appetite.
12. Do not eat between meals without necessity.
13. Fly idleness, bad company, and every occasion of sin, especially those in which chastity is in danger.
14. In temptations, especially those of impurity, make the sign of the Cross, if you are alone; and say in your heart, Jesus and Mary, help me. If the temptation still continues, do not be troubled, but pray with greater earnestness, saying, My dear Jesus, I would rather die than offend Thee.
15. If you have the misfortune to commit a sin, so not give way to trouble, even though the sin be grievous, but make immediately a good act of contrition, with a firm purpose not to fall again, and to confess it as soon as possible.

In the Evening

16. At a fixed hour, for example, nine o'clock, say your night prayers, and make your examination of conscience; recite the Litany of the Blessed Virgin, and then read over the subject of the next morning's meditation.

17. Having said, on your knees, the three "Hail Marys," as in the morning, undress yourself with all modesty, and be careful to remain always decently covered in bed, and to preserve a modest posture.
18. Until you fall asleep, occupy your mind with the subject of the tomorrow's meditation, or with the remembrance of death, or some other pious thought.
19. Choose a good [Traditional] Confessor, in whom you have confidence; open your heart to him without reserve, and be guided by his advice; do not quit him without strong reason.
20. Go to confession once a week, and receive the Holy Communion as often as your director judges proper. (Note: This was before Pope St. Pius X's decree encouraging frequent and daily communion.)
21. Attend sermons and instructions as often as you can, endeavoring always to apply them to yourself, and to draw some practical resolution from them; enter some pious confraternity, with the sole view of attending to the interest of your soul.
22. If your health will permit, fast on every Saturday, and on the eves of the Feasts of the Blessed Virgin. At least perform in Her honor some little act of mortification on those days, according to your state of health and your occupations. Nourish in your heart a tender devotion towards the Blessed Virgin, and address to Her from time to time this fervent prayer: My
good Mother Mary, help me to love your divine Son Jesus with all my heart. Wear the scapular, and at least the miraculous medal.

Observation

As this rule of life does not of itself impose any obligation under pain of sin, no one must be alarmed if he cannot follow it in every thing. Let each one take that which is in accordance with the duties of his state of life, which ought always to be attended to in preference to any exercises of piety which are not of obligation. Thus let each one do what he can, but cheerfully, and for the love of God.

A Short Practical Method of Meditation

In the preparation, say: 1. My god, I believe that Thou art really present, and I adore Thee with all my heart. 2. O Lord, I ought to be at this moment in hell; I am sorry for having offended thee: grant me pardon. 3. O Eternal Father, for the love of Jesus and Mary, enlighten me. Then
recommend yourself to the most holy Virgin, to St. Joseph, to your Angel Guardian, and to your Patron Saint; for this purpose say a "Hail Mary," and then pass on to the meditation.
Read the meditation, and pause wherever you find food for reflection. After this, be careful to make affections of humility, gratitude, and, above all, of sorrow and love, resigning yourself in ever thing to the divine will, and make an offering of yourself, saying: O Lord, do with me whatever Thou pleasest, and tell me what Thou wilt have me to do, for I wish to do
Thy will in all things. Be also very careful to ask for particular blessings and graces, as for
example, begging God the grace of holy perseverance, His divine Love, and the light and strength to do always the divine Will, and always to pray. Before concluding your meditation, make a special resolution to avoid some defect, into which you fall most frequently; and then finish with an "Our Father" and "Hail Mary"; and remember always to recommend to God the
souls in Purgatory, and poor sinner. Live Jesus our Love, and Mary our Hope!
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Taken from A Familiar Explanation of Christian Doctrine, 1875
(out-of-print), by Father Michael Muller, C.Ss.R.

---------------------------
The above is a reprint from "Catholic Family News"
( http://www.cfnews.org/cfn.htm ).

Image Source: Photo believed to be in the Public Domain, From the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX)
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Prayer to St. John Bosco
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A Prayer for St. John Bosco

O glorious Saint John Bosco, who in order to lead young people to the feet of the divine Master and to mould them in the light of faith and Christian morality didst heroically sacrifice thyself to the very end of thy life and didst set up a proper religious Institute destined to endure and to bring to the farthest boundaries of the earth thy glorious work, obtain also for us from Our Lord a holy love for young people who are exposed to so many seductions in order that we may generously spend ourselves in supporting them against the snares of the devil, in keeping them safe from the dangers of the world, and in guiding them, pure and holy, in the path that leads to God. Amen.

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain
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St. John Bosco
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Memorial (1969 Calendar): January 31
Double (1955 Calendar): January 31

Today is a feastday I have been eagerly anticipating for a few days. Today the Church remembers and celebrates the sainthood of St. John Bosco (1815 - 1888). St. John Bosco was a man of God, he received visions of Mary and numerous dreams. One of these is a famous dream of a Pope dying with another pope rising up to steer the Church to safety. This famous dream, pictured above, is called the Two Pillars.

St. John Bosco worked countless miracles. He had the gift of multiplication of the loaves, and St. John even raised a boy from the dead to give him the chance of a good confession. The boy confessed his sins and died, but this time he went straight to Heaven.

St. John Bosco was ordained a priest in 1841, and he worked tirelessly with young boys in his neighbor. His goal to make saints out of them, and at least one of his boys became a saint, St. Dominic Savio. St. John founded the Oratory of St. Francis de Sales, and was the chaplain there. He opened up workshops there for tailoring and shoemaking to help the boys not only grow spiritually but have enough money to live.

St. John lived daily for Jesus Christ. He would rise early, hear Confessions, and write letters to those in need for hours into the night. He wrote over 130 works defending the faith, and for that he was hated by anti-Catholics. There were numerous plots to kill him though none succeeded.

In 1854, St. John Bosco formally banded together under the patronage of St. Francis de Sales. With Pope Pius IX's encouragement, St. John Bosco founded the Salesians in 1859, a missionary and education work.

Please say a prayer for St. John Bosco's intercession today.

Prayer:

O God, Who didst raise up saint John Thy Confessor to be father and teacher of youth, and by him, with the help of the Virgin Mary, dist promote new families in Thy Church: grant, we beseech Thee, that inflamed by the same fire of love, we may win souls and serve Thee alone. Through our Lord.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal

Books:

The Forty Dreams of Saint John Bosco

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain
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Monday, January 30, 2006
Today's Gospel (Jan 30, 2006)
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January 30, 2006
Monday in the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Today's Gospel reading was very similar to last Sunday's Gospel reading where Our Lord called the unclean spirit out of a man. Today's Gospel also recounts one of these events. And, it is so important to understand how the world has come full circle. No longer are we hoping and praying for Jesus to drive the evil out of our life, but we try and drive our Lord away. We support contraception, abortion, no prayers in school, and the list goes on.

Jesus Christ is Lord! I will proclaim this from this day forward and for all eternity. But, I will not be a hypocrite. I beg Our Lord for his mercy, and I also know that only Jesus can drive out the evil in us.

This is why Confession is so important. For me it is the 2nd most important Sacrament after the Eucharist itself because in Confession, Jesus Christ forgives us. There are His Divine Words:

"As the Father has sent me, even so I send you. . . . Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained" (John 20:21–23).

Jesus Christ commanded us to go to Him in Confession so that He might again forgive us and drive evil away. This beautiful Sacrament is essential.

Image Source: Bartolomé Esteban Murillo. The Return of the Prodigal Son. 1670-74. Oil on canvas. The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA.
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Stop Planned Parenthood
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Important Pro-life Action:

Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion chain in the United States. It has murdered at least 3 million unborn children and attacked God's commandment of loving our neighbor. This "organization" is nothing more than a Factory of death. And we fund them! They receive 265 million dollars a year from taxpayers including people like you and me!

This must stop! Take a stand for Jesus Christ and the sanctity of all life by signing the Petition against Planned Parenthood.
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Catholic Schools Week
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Darren over at My Catholic Reflections has an excellent post up today on Catholic Schools Week. And with St. Thomas Aquinas' - the patron saint of Catholic schools - feastday being last Saturday according to the Novus Ordo Calendar, it is a great time to focus on Catholic Schools.

St. Thomas Aquinas' Prayer for Students:

O Mary, Mother of enchanting love, of fear, of knowledge, of holy hope, through Whose pious intercession many make admirable progress in studies and piety despite crudeness of understanding, I choose Thee as protectress and patroness of my studies. Humbly I implore Thee that, from the heart of Thy maternal pity, and principally from the Eternal Wisdom that deigned to take on our flesh in Thee, and that exalted Thee in heavenly light above all the saints, Thou obtain grace from the Holy Ghost for me so that I might be able to penetrate with my understanding, retain in my memory, express by my life and words, and teach to others all that brings honor to Thee and Thy divine Son, likewise to the advantage of my eternal joy and that of all men. Amen.

Students Prayer to St. Thomas Aquinas:

O Blessed Thomas, Patron of Schools, Obtain for us from God an Invincible Faith, A Burning Charity, A Chaste Life, And True Knowledge Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Image Source: Photo believed to be in the Public Domain
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St. Hyacintha of Mariscotti
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Double (1955 Calendar): August 17

Today the Holy Church remembers the life of St. Hyacintha of Mariscotti.

She was born in 1585 in Italy and died of natural causes there in 1640. St. Hyacintha was raised in a Franciscan covenant, although she used personal funds for comfortable longing. She lived affluently for several years until she was plagued with a serious illness. Her confessor brought her Communion and was dismayed over the luxuries of her room. He urged her to live more humbly.

And that was when she changed. St. Hyancintha became both modest in her food and dress and even replaced her bed with a few boards to lay upon. She worked for the rest of her life with the aged poor, those less fortunate, and the novices of her convent. St. Hyancintha soon became an inspiration for everyone.

She founded the Oblates of Mary. St. Hyancintha was canonized May 24, 1807, by Pope Pius VII.

Prayer:

O God, Who sendest us joy year by year on the feast of blessed Hyacintha, Thy Confessor, which we are now keeping: mercifully grant on this day of his heavenly birth that we may grow like him in deed. Through our Lord.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
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Some Saintly Advice for Today
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Blessed Mother Teresa - "We need to be able to pray.We need prayer just like we need air.Without prayer, we can do nothing."

St. Padre Pio - "I have no desire except to die or to love God; either death or love, since life without this love is worse than death and for me it would be more unbearable than it is at present. "

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain
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Sunday, January 29, 2006
March for Life Images
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Just like I predicted, the general media showed little attention to the March for Life rally in Washington DC. Even though it's the largest demonstration annually in Washington the Media doesn't seem to want to acknowledge how big it is. But looking at that photo, one can see truly the support for the pro-life cause. After all, pro-life is pro-love.

For other images please see Pro-life Blogs, the source of this photo.

Image Source: Watermarked accordingly
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What's Your Favorite Liturgical Song?
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Ed at Through Jesus Through Mary has a good poll in his sidebar asking readers to vote for their favorite liturgical song. I'm finding it hard with so many good choices. Please go on over through the link and vote.
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A Prayer by St. Thomas Aquinas
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Devoutly I Adore Thee (Adoro te devote)

O Godhead hid, devoutly I adore Thee, Who truly art within the forms before me; To Thee my heart I bow with bended knee, As failing quite in contemplating Thee.

Sight, touch, and taste in Thee are each deceived; The ear alone most safely is believed:I believe all the Son of God has spoken, Than Truth's own word there is no truer token.

God only on the Cross lay hid from view; But here lies hid at once the Manhood too; And I, in both professing my belief, Make the same prayer as the repentant thief.

Thy wounds, as Thomas saw, I do not see; Yet Thee confess my Lord and God to be:Make me believe Thee ever more and more; In Thee my hope, in Thee my love to store.

O thou Memorial of our Lord's own dying! O Bread that living art and vivifying!Make ever Thou my soul on Thee to live; Ever a taste of Heavenly sweetness give.

O loving Pelican! O Jesus, Lord!Unclean I am, but cleanse me in Thy Blood; Of which a single drop, for sinners spilt, Is ransom for a world's entire guilt.

Jesus! Whom for the present veil'd I see, What I so thirst for, O vouchsafe to me:That I may see Thy countenance unfolding, And may be blest Thy glory in beholding. Amen.

Prayer by Saint Thomas Aquinas, translated by E. Caswall

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain
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The Saint for the Year Devotion Continues
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I cannot thank some of you enough. The Saint for the Year Devotion has spread greater than my highest hopes. Well over 300 requests have been made! I've just posted a few more results.

If you would like a special patron saint for this year, or if you know someone that would, please just see my original post and reply.

God Bless and Thank you
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Saturday, January 28, 2006
St. Thomas Aquinas
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Memorial (1969 Calendar): January 28
Double (1955 Calendar): March 7

Today the Church remember my confirmation saint and certainly one the deepest intellectual saints in the Church's history, St. Thomas Aquinas, priest and Doctor of the Church. He is especially dear to me since I chose him as my confirmation saint.

St. Thomas lived between 1225-1274 and in this time he openly rejected all things of the world and passions for intellectual growth. He, at 17 years old, sought to join the Dominican Friars, and his father, being a nobleman, had Thomas' brothers lock him into his room for a year to prevent such holy intentions. In order to stop Thomas from growing closer to God, St. Thomas' father sent him impure women just to make him sin and reject Our Lord. St. Thomas responded by chasing the women away with a flaming torch and from that day he was free from such temptations.

He was taught in Paris and Cologne under St. Albert the Great, but his greatest treasure to the Church was his writings. These writings exhibit some of the greatest harmony ever conceived on paper. He was declared a saint in 1323 and given the title "Doctor of the Church" in 1567.

His works including Summa Theologica (which he did not finish before his death) and his 5 proofs for God's existence are still regarded as theologically brilliant.  Few though also own and read his fantastic Commentary on the Gospels, the four volume set Catena Aurea.  St. Thomas Aquinas's thoughts led to the formation of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception in the 1800s.

Please join me in praying a litany to St. Thomas Aquinas

Studiorum Ducem:
In a recent apostolic letter confirming the statutes of Canon Law, We declared that the guide to be followed in the higher studies by young men training for the priesthood was Thomas Aquinas. The approaching anniversary of the day when he was duly enrolled, six hundred years ago, in the calendar of the Saints, offers Us an admirable opportunity of inculcating this more and more firmly in the minds of Our students and explaining to them what advantage they may most usefully derive from the teaching of so illustrious a Doctor. For science truly deserving of the name and piety, the companion of all the virtues, are related in a marvelous bond of affinity, and, as God is very Truth and very Goodness, it would assuredly not be sufficient to procure the glory of God by the salvation of souls-the chief task and peculiar mission of the Church-if ministers of religion were well disciplined in knowledge and not also abundantly provided at the same time with the appropriate virtues.

Encyclical of Pope Pius XI promulgated on June 29, 1923
Prayer:

O God, through Whom Thy Church is glorified by the wonderful learning of Thy blessed Confessor Thomas and profiteth still from his holy labors: grant, we pray, that we may grasp his teaching with our minds and show it, as he did, in our lives. Through our Lord.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
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Another Catholic Blog
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I wanted to announce another good Catholic blog by Ed called To Jesus Through Mary. He writes well and has some very good posts and novenas at his blog. I've been working on helping him create a good sidebar. So please go on over, have a look around, and say hello.

2007 Update: His blog is no longer online.

Image Source: The Assumption of the Virgin by Veronese
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Thank you for the Prayers for Kathleen
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First, thank you everyone that commented on my post below about a friend of the family dying. It really comforts me to know that other people are out there praying for her. My family recently saw her in November, and she was setting up a camper for the summer. In a few weeks we were supposed to go down and have a little vacation. But it's not going to happen.

But, I entrust her soul completely to Christ, the Most Merciful. Thank you all for your prayers. It really means a lot to me.

Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen.

Image Source: At Prayer by Edwin Longs den Long
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Friday, January 27, 2006
Please Pray for the Repose of the Soul of Kathleen
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A friend of my family just died a few hours ago. Her name was Kathleen and she was Catholic. It is very hard for my family. Please pray that she might now be in God's mercy in His glorious love. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son," and God loves us still.

Please pray for her soul. Please offer up indulgences and prayers. She was so kind to us. It is very upsetting to write about. I ask for your prayers.

Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen.

Image Source: Photo of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen believed to be in the Public Domain
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5th Day of the Novena to St. John Bosco
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Today is my 5th day of the Novena to St. John Bosco, who worked so many miracles in his life. His feast day is approaching - January 31st.

If you have not started this novena, please do so and pray along with me. Here's a link to the Novena.
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St. Angela Merici
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Optional Memorial (1969 Calendar): January 27
Double (1954 Calendar): May 31
Class III (1962 Calendar): June 1

Today the Church remembers St. Angela Merici, virgin. St. Angela was born in 1474 in Italy and ended up forming the Order of Ursulines, which was the first teaching order for women to be approved by the Church.

Early on in her life, St. Angela devoted her life to Christ as His bride. This deep love for God led her to a deeper prayer life and love beyond today's standards. When her parents died, St. Angela lived for Christ and His Gospel every day in solitude. This is the one area that am trying to improve in - solitude. Prayer requires silence and the raising of one's heart and mind to God.

In 1524, St. Angela journeyed on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. She visited Pope Clement VII, in Rome, who desired for her to remain in the city. So, in 1516, she founded a society for girls under St. Ursula's protection, which later became the Ursuline Order.

At age 70, St. Angela Merici died, and her body remained perfectly incorrupted for 30 days afterwards. A remarkable event also happened at her burial in the Church of St. Afra.

Please join me in a litany to St. Angela Merici now:

  • God the Father of heaven,Have mercy on us.
  • God the Son, Redeemer of the world,Have mercy on us.
  • God the Holy Spirit,Have mercy on us.
  • Holy Trinity, one God,Have mercy on us.
  • Holy Mary, Mother of God, and faithful Guardian of our Mother Saint Angela, Pray for us.
  • Saint Angela Merici, Pray for us.
  • St. Angela, favored with the choicest gifts of God from thy infancy, Pray for us.
  • St. Angela, who didst give thyself to the practice of all the virtues from thy tenderest years, Pray for us.
  • St. Angela, who didst always preserve a spotless purity, Pray for us.
  • St. Angela, who by thy love for holy purity, didst merit to receive thy name, Pray for us.
  • St. Angela, who from childhood found thy delight in solitude, Pray for us.
  • St. Angela, who led an angelic life in the house of thy parents, Pray for us.
  • St. Angela, who didst daily hear on thy body the mortification of Jesus, Pray for us.
  • St. Angela, whose gift it was to reconcile the bitterest enemies, Pray for us.
  • (St. Angela, who at thirteen become a Tertiary of St. Francis and ever remained faithful,) Pray for us.
  • St. Angela, gifted with the graces of prayer and contemplation, Pray for us.
  • St. Angela, who visited the Holy Land, and there followed the bloody footprints of Jesus, Pray for us.
  • St. Angela, who triumphed over the illusions of the devil, Pray for us.
  • St. Angela, who wast not afflicted at the loss of thy sight in visiting the holy places, Pray for us.
  • St. Angela, whose sight was miraculously restored in the Island of Candia, Pray for us.
  • St. Angela, whom the love of God had wounded and whom this same love cured, Pray for us.
  • St. Angela, model of perfect self-denial and true humility, Pray for us.
  • St. Angela, who, like Jacob, wast permitted to see the mysterious ladder, Pray for us.
  • St. Angela, chosen by God to be the mother of many holy virgins, Pray for us.
  • St. Angela, Foundress of the illustrious Order of the Ursulines, Pray for us.
  • St. Angela, to whom God promised that this Order should always subsist, Pray for us.
  • St. Angela, who, filled with joy, didst give up thy soul in the embrace of the Lord, Pray for us.
  • St. Angela, whose body remained incorruptible after death, Pray for us.
  • St. Angela, Patroness of Christian mothers, Pray for us.
  • St. Angela, Protectress of young girls, Pray for us.
  • St. Angela, our Mother and Advocate, Pray for us.
  • Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world: Spare us, O Lord.
  • Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world:Hear us, O Lord.
  • Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world: Have mercy on us.
  • V. Pray for us, O glorious Mother Saint Angela:
  • R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.Let us pray.
O God, Who by means of our blessed Mother Saint Angela didst cause a new Order of holy virgins to flourish in Thy Church: grant, through her intercession, that we may imitate her angelic virtues, and, forsaking all earthly things, may be found worthy of eternal bliss. Through Jesus Christ Our Lord. R. Amen.

Prayer Source: Kyrie Eleison — Two Hundred Litanies by Benjamin Francis Musser O.F.M., The Magnificat Press, 1944
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Thursday, January 26, 2006
Governor Rod Blagojevich on Artificial Contraception
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We as Catholics know that contraception is seriously sinful. It has been considered a sin since ancient times and the Church has recently affirmed its complete condemnation of artificial contraception in Pope Paul VI's encyclical Humane Vitae.

Right now, I'm wanting to bring our Catholic faith into practice. For those of you who don't follow Illinois politics, let me explain:


In April 2005, Governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinois instituted a mandate requiring all pharmacists to distribute the morning after pill and other contraceptives. Not only do contraceptives fail, cause serious health side effects, and induce abortions, but now the Governor is forcing all pharmacists to distribute them. There is now no exception for pharmacists who know it's wrong!

Three new bills have been created to change this and the Governor recently said of these:

"Now, I understand that several bills have been introduced that would overturn my executive order," he said in his State of the State address last week. "So let me make something else very clear -- if any of those bills reach my desk, they are dead on arrival." Source: Life News

It is morally wrong for him to refuse conscience rights to pharmacists, the same rights given to doctors who refuse to perform abortions. Rep. Granburg, who purposed the bills, says that he may not go forward with the bills now due to a veto threat.

Please speak out against this. Even if you are not from Illinois, please just write Governor Blagojevich and tell him you are displeased with his mandate. Let him know that pharmacists are entitled to conscience rights. Please spread this message on so that others can contact him. Here is the address:

The Office of the Governor
207 State House
Springfield, IL 62706


Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain
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Links on Deus Caritas Est
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More on Deus Caritas Est, Pope Benedict XVI's 71 page encyclical published yesterday -

There seems to be a technicality with the new copyright rule for the encyclicals. You may republish parts of encyclicals as long as you acknowledge the copyright. If you would rather listen to a human made mp3 version of the post, please see this blog. It would take an hour and a half to listen to completely, but you could also print out the 71 pages and read it. I'm not one for reading 71 pages on an Internet screen. (Thanks, Happy Catholic for the tip)

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain
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Final Day for the Novena for Chrisitian Unity
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Please join me in praying the 9th and final day for the Novena for Christian Unity. Yesterday was the Feast of St. Paul's Conversion, and we remember how anyone can be converted. We must pray for everyone.

Also, today is the 4th day in the Novena to St. John Bosco.

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain
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Wednesday, January 25, 2006
The Conversion of St. Paul
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Today's Readings:

And he saith: I am a Jew, born at Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city, at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the truth of the law of the fathers, zealous for the law, as also all you are this day: Who persecuted this way unto death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women. As the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the ancients: from whom also receiving letters to the brethren, I went to Damascus, that I might bring them bound from thence to Jerusalem to be punished.

And it came to pass, as I was going, and drawing nigh to Damascus at midday, that suddenly from heaven there shone round about me a great light: And falling on the ground, I heard a voice saying to me: Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And I answered: Who art thou, Lord? And he said to me: I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest. And they that were with me, saw indeed the light, but they heard not the voice of him that spoke with me. And I said: What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said to me: Arise, and go to Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things that thou must do.

And whereas I did not see for the brightness of that light, being led by the hand by my companions, I came to Damascus. And one Ananias, a man according to the law, having testimony of all the Jews who dwelt there, Coming to me, and standing by me, said to me: Brother Saul, look up. And I the same hour looked upon him. But he said: The God of our fathers hath preordained thee that thou shouldst know his will, and see the Just One, and shouldst hear the voice from his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness to all men, of those things which thou hast seen and heard. And now why tarriest thou? Rise up, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, invoking his name. Acts 22:3-16 (Douay Rheims)

So Saul was baptized and took the name Paul, by whom the epistles were written and the Church spread a hundred-fold over across the world. I could not help but post the great story of conversion.

While meditating on this passage of Scripture, I'd like to ask my readers, What was your story of conversion? I didn't have a great one as Paul did. I wasn't struck with light, but I knew in my heart the truth of the Catholic faith. I was raised Christian and after visiting a Catholic Mass, my family and I enrolled in RCIA and became Catholic officially at the Easter Vigil in 2002.

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Deus Caritas Est
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So far I have loved Pope Benedict XVI's encyclical, Deus Caritas Est (God is love). The following excerpt is from Yahoo News:

Benedict said the church's work caring for widows, the sick and orphans are as much a part of its mission as celebrating the sacraments and spreading the Gospels. However, he stressed the church's charity workers must never use their work to proselytize or push a particular political ideology.

In his 71 page document, Pope Benedict XVI describes love - which is God. I find beauty in the words of St. John, "God is love" (1 John 4:8). It is one of my favorite lines of scripture. And, Pope Benedict XVI also reminds us that sex outside of marriage is not love but rather is a sin.
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Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul
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Feast (1969 Calendar): January 25
Greater Double (1955 Calendar): January 25

Today the Church celebrates its only feast that is centered on someone's conversion. Today is the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. We remember and also realize how extraordinary it was. Through God's divine light on the Road to Damascus, St. Paul came not only to believe in Jesus but serve Him until his death. Through St. Paul's preaching, the Church was formed. His conversion was fundamental but others have in our time experienced this same conversion. Remember, God hasn't ascended to Heaven and left us alone. He cares about everyone of us so much that He willing gave up His life in atonement for your sins.

Acts of the Apostles 9:1-22

But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he journeyed he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed about him. And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to Him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?" And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And He said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting; but rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do." The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul arose from the ground; and when his eyes were opened, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias." And he said, "Here I am, Lord." And the Lord said to him, "Rise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for a man of Tarsus named Saul; for behold, he is praying, and he has seen a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight." But Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to thy saints at Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call upon thy name." But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine to carry My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of My name." So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came, has sent me that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit." And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized, and took food and was strengthened.

For several days he was with the disciples at Damascus. And in the synagogues immediately he proclaimed Jesus, saying, "He is the Son of God." And all who heard him were amazed, and said, "Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called on this name? And he has come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests." But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.

St. Paul's conversion is "The Example" of how anyone can come to believe and follow our Savior. While we may not be struck by a blinding light on the Road to Damascus as St. Paul was, we too must experience the light of the Gospel changing our hearts.

Remember too, that St. Paul persecuted Christians as is recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. The first martyr, St. Stephen, was sentenced to death by St. Paul. But, through God's love each of us can be converted. Conversion is a life-long process where the end result of a true conversion is Heaven. Just like St. Paul, anyone can find God, and likewise, we must pray for unbelievers.

Prayer:

O God, Who hast taught the whole world by the preaching of blessed Paul the Apostle: grant, we beseech Thee, that we who this day celebrate his conversion, may through his example draw nearer to Thee.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal

Also, please join me in the Litany in Honor of St. Paul

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Novena Reminders: Christian Unity and St. John Bosco
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Please keep praying!

Today is the 8th Day in the Novena for Christian unity and since today is the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, it's a great day to pray for unity. Also, today is the 3rd day of the Novena to St. John Bosco, whose feast day is January 31st.

Please keep praying with me.

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Pope Benedict XVI's First Encyclical is Here!
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Today was the release of Pope Benedict XVI's first encyclical - "Deus Caritas Est" (God is love). I present a link to the document and hope others will have a chance to read this.

I just learned from one of the readers of my blog that the Vatican has now made all Encyclicals copyrighted. This means I can't publish it here, but I can link to the document and read it free of charge. So please go ahead and read, but remember that it is now a copyrighted document along with all encyclicals going back to Pope John XXIII. I don't agree with this because I think that the words of our Holy Father should be free, but that's just me.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Today's Gospel: January 24, 2006
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January 24, 2006
Tuesday in the Third Week of Ordinary Time
Feastday of St. Francis De Sales, bishop, doctor of the Church

The mother of Jesus and his brothers arrived at the house. Standing outside, they sent word to Jesus and called him. A crowd seated around him told him,“Your mother and your brothers and your sisters are outside asking for you.” But he said to them in reply,“Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking around at those seated in the circle he said,“Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” Mk 3:31-35

I liked this reading a lot. First, though it is very easy to understand this passage to be an insult to Jesus. This reference to Jesus' brothers and sisters commonly arises to attack Jesus and the Church. But, "The Truth will set you free" and the Truth has a name - Jesus Christ. The truth was that the phrase "brothers and sisters" was at that time the custom for referring to one's half-brothers and sisters or even cousins. It didn't literally mean "brothers and sisters" like the modern world would use the phrase.

What this passage refers to is the beautiful nature of God. For there is no greater truth than "God is love" (1 John 4:8). Through the beautiful paschal mystery of Jesus Christ's passion, death, and Resurrection we have been freed from the chains of sin and able to enter into glory. And, for those of us who answer Our Eucharistic Lord's calling, we are rewarded with life. A life so beautiful and grand because we become part of God's family in Heaven. We, the unworthy sinners that we are, can become part of the greatest union of love made possible through Our Lord's Resurrection.

But, this calling isn't complicated and impeded by unnecessary diversions. This journey in love is found only through the Sacred Heart of Our Savior, which opened on the Cross for us pouring out blood and water. As St. Francis de Sales - whose memorial is today - taught us, holiness consists of doing the will of God. And, St. Therese of Lisieux showed us that this personal journey to holiness can be accomplished through simple though profound love.

Some of us are parents, pastors, teachers, employees, but all of us are called to live lives of holiness. Parents are called to teach their children and raise them in Catholic fundamentals. Students are called to present written documents, essays, and learn. While employees are called to manually labor for hours at a time. Yet, all of us, no matter what our vocation, are called to the same holiness. We are called to unite our work, whatever it may be, to the One True Work of Jesus Christ - the Cross. Only then can any of our works ever amount to anything.

Let your whole life be as one prayer! Offer up your deeds, words, and thoughts with your best abilities to Christ. For holiness is not complicated; holiness, is doing the will of God. Only by searching our souls can we follow God's will. And, only through devotion we are called to ready ourselves for this profound love of Christ, who we receive in the Highest Beauty - the Holy Eucharist. "Devotion" as St. Francis described it, is the "spiritual agility to serve God with great ardor and readiness." And through our various walks of life, we become united in our search for Heaven. Without a fervor for Christ, we can not achieve holiness.

For Our Lord said, that "For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother," but He also said, "Whoever sins belongs to the devil." Ask yourselves, are you living each day of our life in complete union with Christ? If you say "no" then work harder each day and if you say "yes" then you deceive yourself. For no one is perfect on this earth, but all of us must seek to journey as close to perfection as we can.

Live for Christ!

Image Source: In the Public Domain

Sermon by Saint Augustine
(Sermo 25, 7-8:PL 46, 937-938)


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Stretching out his hand over his disciples, the Lord Christ declared: Here are my mother and my brothers; anyone who does the will of my Father who sent me is my brother and sister and my mother. I would urge you to ponder these words. Did the Virgin Mary, who believed by faith and conceived by faith, who was the chosen one from whom our Saviour was born among men, who was created by Christ before Christ was created in her – did she not do the will of the Father? Indeed the blessed Mary certainly did the Father’s will, and so it was for her a greater thing to have been Christ’s disciple than to have been his mother, and she was more blessed in her discipleship than in her motherhood. Hers was the happiness of first bearing in her womb him whom she would obey as her master.

Now listen and see if the words of Scripture do not agree with what I have said. The Lord was passing by and crowds were following him. His miracles gave proof of divine power. and a woman cried out: Happy is the womb that bore you, blessed is that womb! But the Lord, not wishing people to seek happiness in a purely physical relationship, replied: More blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it. Mary heard God’s word and kept it, and so she is blessed. She kept God’s truth in her mind, a nobler thing than carrying his body in her womb. The truth and the body were both Christ: he was kept in Mary’s mind insofar as he is truth, he was carried in her womb insofar as he is man; but what is kept in the mind is of a higher order than what is carried in the womb.

The Virgin Mary is both holy and blessed, and yet the Church is greater than she. Mary is a part of the Church, a member of the Church, a holy, an eminent – the most eminent – member, but still only a member of the entire body. The body undoubtedly is greater than she, one of its members. This body has the Lord for its head, and head and body together make up the whole Christ. In other words, our head is divine – our head is God.

Now, beloved, give me your whole attention, for you also are members of Christ; you also are the body of Christ. Consider how you yourselves can be among those of whom the Lord said: Here are my mother and my brothers. Do you wonder how you can be the mother of Christ? He himself said: Whoever hears and fulfils the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and my sister and my mother. As for our being the brothers and sisters of Christ, we can understand this because although there is only one inheritance and Christ is the only Son, his mercy would not allow him to remain alone. It was his wish that we too should be heirs of the Father, and co-heirs with himself.

Now having said that all of you are brothers of Christ, shall I not dare to call you his mother? Much less would I dare to deny his own words. Tell me how Mary became the mother of Christ, if it was not by giving birth to the members of Christ? You, to whom I am speaking, are the members of Christ. Of whom were you born? “Of Mother Church”, I hear the reply of your hearts. You became sons of this mother at your baptism, you came to birth then as members of Christ. Now you in your turn must draw to the font of baptism as many as you possibly can. You became sons when you were born there yourselves, and now by bringing others to birth in the same way, you have it in your power to become the mothers of Christ.
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Technical Changes
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First, I wanted to tell everyone that I've posted a few more updates to the Saint for the Year Requests Page. Thank you for your continued participation. It's been a great journey in helping and meeting others; honestly, it has succeeded beyond my expectations.

Second, I've been working on updating some of my sidebar under "Catholic Categories". Do any of you find those links helpful? I specifically edited much of the "Pro-life" link and wanted to any and all opinions.

Thanks in advance.
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St. Francis de Sales
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Memorial (1969 Calendar): January 24
Double (1955 Calendar): January 29

Today the Church celebrates the life of St. Francis de Sales, bishop and Doctor of the Church (1567-1622). St. Francis was a lawyer before he felt called to the priesthood. He recieved the message "Leave all and follow Me," so he left to be ordained a priest. His family fiercely opposed his vocation, but he still followed God. Through a devoted prayer life and his gentle manners, he won over his family.

At 35 years of age, St. Francis became bishop of Geneva. He was a preacher, writer, and spiritual director. He was also a good friend to St. Vincent de Paul.

St. Francis died on December 28, 1622, and was canonized April 19, 1665. He is a Doctor of the Church.

Rerum Omnium Perturbationem:

Whoever attentively reviews the life of St. Francis will discover that, from his earliest years, he was a model of sanctity. He was not a gloomy, austere saint but was most amiable and friendly with all, so much so that it can be said of him most truthfully, "her conversation (wisdom) hath no bitterness, nor her company any tediousness, but joy and gladness." (Wisdom, viii, 16) Endowed with every virtue, he excelled in meekness of heart, a virtue so peculiar to himself that it might be considered his most characteristic trait. His meekness, however, differed altogether from that artificial gentility which consists in the mere possession of polished manners and in the display of a purely conventional affability. It differed, too, both from the apathy which cannot be moved by any force and from the timidity which does not dare to become indignant, even when indignation is required of one. This virtue, which grew in the heart of St. Francis as a delightful effect of his love of God and was nourished by the spirit of compassion and tenderness, so tempered with sweetness the natural gravity of his demeanor and softened both his voice and manners that he won the affectionate regard of everyone whom he encountered.

Encyclical of Pope Pius XI promulgated on January 26, 1923

Prayer by St. Francis de Sales:

Lord, I am yours, and I must belong to no one but you. My soul is yours, and must live only by you. My will is yours, and must love only for you. I must love you as my first cause, since I am from you. I must love you as my end and rest, since I am for you. I must love you more than my own being, since my being subsists by you. I must love you more than myself, since I am all yours and all in you. AMEN.

Prayer Source: Treatise on the Love of God by Saint Francis de Sales


Prayer:

O God, by Whose will blessed Francis, Thy Confessor and Bishop, became all things to all men in his zeal for souls: graciously fill us with the sweetness of Thy love, and grant that by the light of his counsel and with the help of his merits we may attain eternal joy. Though our Lord.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal

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Blessed Mother Teresa's Words
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"We need to give Christ a chance to make use of us to be his word and his work. If we do not radiate the light of Christ around us, the sense of darkness that prevails in the world will increase. The people around us should be able to recognize him by our union with God."

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Today's Novenas: Christian Unity and St. John Bosco
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Today is the 7th Day of the Novena for Christian Unity. Thank you to Darren and all others that are praying spiritually with me.

Also, today is the 2nd day in the Novena to St. John Bosco. Please join me in prayer to St. John Bosco if you have not already.

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Our Lady of Perpetual Help
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With today being Tuesday, January 24th, I wanted to continue my Tuesday tradition to Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Please join me in prayer:

O Mother of Perpetual Help, thou art the dispenser of all the gifts which God grants to us miserable sinners; and for this end He has made thee so powerful, so rich, and so bountiful, in order that thou mayest help us in our misery. Thou art the advocate of the most wretched and abandoned sinners who have recourse to thee: come to my aid, for I recommend myself to thee.

In thy hands I place my eternal salvation, and to thee I entrust my soul. Count me among thy most devoted servants; take me under thy protection, and it is enough for me. For, if thou protect me, I fear nothing; not from my sins, because thou wilt obtain for me the pardon of them; nor from the devils, because thou art more powerful than all hell together; nor even from Jesus, my judge, because by one prayer from thee He will be appeased.

But one thing I fear: that in the hour of temptation I may through negligence fail to have recourse to thee and thus perish miserably. Obtain for me, therefore, the pardon of my sins, love for Jesus, final perseverance, and the grace ever to have recourse to thee, O Mother of Perpetual Help.---3 Hail Marys.
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Monday, January 23, 2006
A Rosary for Life
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The Rosary has been attributed to many, many miracles. Please join me today in praying for an end to abortion as we recall the sad reality of 33 years of legalized murder of the unborn.

"Give me an army saying the Rosary and I will conquer the world." Pope Pius IX
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March for Life is ongoing!
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I'm watching the March for Life right now on EWTN live from Washington DC. It's great!

Also, I was recommend a link to a Pro-life website that has created many great pro-life bulletin boards for highways. Please check it out. Thank you, to the reader who sent this link to me.
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Prayer for the Helpless Unborn
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Prayer for the Helpless Unborn

Heavenly Father, in Your love for us, protect against the wickedness of the devil, those helpless little ones to whom You have given the gift of life. Touch with pity the hearts of those women pregnant in our world today who are not thinking of motherhood.

Help them to see that the child they carry is made in Your image - as well as theirs - made for eternal life.

Dispel their fear and selfishness and give them true womanly hearts to love their babies and give them birth and all the needed care that a mother can give.

We ask this through Jesus Christ, Your Son, Our Lord, Who lives and reigns with You and Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever. Amen.

Source: EWTN
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2005 Pro-life Year in Review
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I watched EWTN last night for their Solumn Mass for Life from the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC. It was amazing. So many people and so many priests were there. It took around 20 minutes just for all the concelebrants to enter for the Mass [no comment on that liturgical issue at the moment though].

And during the Mass, William Henry Cardinal Keeler, spoke of the greatest successes this past year. He is the chairman of the pro-life committee for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and he during the homily he spoke of successes.

He said that 52 pro-life laws were passed last year. Nineteen parential notification laws were proposed. There are so many victories from 2005!

As of the end of 2005, this is true:

"Twenty-nine states mandate that a woman seeking an abortion be given counseling including information intended to discourage her from obtaining the procedure, such as a purported link with breast cancer; 24 states require a woman seeking an abortion to wait a specified period of time, usually 24 hours, between when she receives counseling and when the procedure is performed.

Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia prohibit the use of public funds to pay for abortion for low-income women, even when it is medically necessary, generally making exceptions only in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest. Only 17 states use their own funds to pay for all or most medically necessary abortions for Medicaid enrollees.

Thirty-four states require some type of parental involvement in a minor’s decision to have an abortion: Twenty-one states require one or both parents to consent to the procedure, while 13 require that a parent be notified. "

Source: Guttmacher Institute

Yet, there is still so much to be done! Please join me in supporting life this year in supporting pro-life legislation. Pro-life legislation does make a difference! Again, here is a link to NARAL's grades for states on abortion. Let's strive to fail more states this year and stand up for life.

Please let me know of any pro-life legislation passed by your state this year as I make this master list of pro-life laws from 2005:

Federal:
The Cord Blood Stem Cell Bill became Federal Law

Arkansas:
Parental Consent Law

Illinois:
Born Alive Infant Protection Act signed into law on Aug 12, 2005

Minnesota:
Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act passed

Mississippi:
Prevents minors from crossing state lines & requiring abortion centers within a 30 mile radius of a hospital.

South Dakota:
5 great laws passed

Texas:
Parental Consent Law
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6th Day of the Novena for Unity
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Today is the 6th day of the Novena for Unity. Please join me in praying that all our brothers and sisters may one day unite with us in the Catholic Church.
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Novena to St. John Bosco
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I love reading up on St. John Bosco. One of the most inspirational stories I've ever read has come from him when St. John Bosco raised a boy back to life from death. I'm asking my readers to please join me in praying the Novena to St. John Bosco from today, Jan 23rd to Jan 31st.

The Novena Prayer:
Father and teacher of Young, In need of special help, I appeal with confidence to you, O Saint Don Bosco, for I require not only spiritual graces, but also temporal ones, and particularly... (add your own personal intentions here)

May you, who on earth had such great devotion to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and to Mary Help of Christians, and who always had compassion for those who were suffering, obtain from Jesus and His Heavenly Mother the grace I now request, and also a sincere resignation to the Will of God.

Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be to the Father
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Sunday, January 22, 2006
Pro-life Marches Taking Place
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I hate seeing the secular media run small little stories on pro-life marches. They zoom in on a few people carrying signs and try not to present the whole picture. I was looking through Reuters, and it was disgusting. They refuse to zoom in on the group. One picture is just of the protester's feet! That's why I'm glad I read LifeNews.com. Today was marked by huge protests and thousands and thousands of protesters. LifeNews shows a huge group of abortion protesters; let us unite with them in prayer.

Abortion Grades:

Recently, the disgusting NARAL Pro-Choice America passed out grades to states. You should be proud to receive an F on their report because it means you support life.

Nineteen states received F's (which is good): Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Eleven states received A's (which is insulting to call it such) for supporting the murder of the unborn: Alaska, California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Montana, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.
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Blogs4Life
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If you are like me and are unable to attend the largest gathering of people annually in Washington DC for the March for life, please join me in support with Blogs4life.


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Catechism of the Catholic Church on Abortion
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The Catechism of the Catholic Church:

2271. "Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law: You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish. [Didache 2, 2: SCh 248, 148; cf. Ep. Barnabae 19, 5: PG 2, 777; Ad Diognetum 5, 6: PG 2, 1173; Tertullian, Apol. 9: PL 1, 319-320.] God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes. [GS 51 # 3.]"

2272. "Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. 'A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae,' [CIC, can. 1398.] 'by the very commission of the offense,' [CIC, can. 1314.] and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law. [Cf. CIC, cann. 1323-1324.] The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society."

2274. "Since it must be treated from conception as a person, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed, as far as possible, like any other human being. Prenatal diagnosis is morally licit, 'if it respects the life and integrity of the embryo and the human fetus and is directed toward its safe guarding or healing as an individual.... It is gravely opposed to the moral law when this is done with the thought of possibly inducing an abortion, depending upon the results: a diagnosis must not be the equivalent of a death sentence.' [CDF, Donum vitae I, 2.]"

2322. "From its conception, the child has the right to life. Direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, is a 'criminal' practice (GS 27 # 3), gravely contrary to the moral law. The Church imposes the canonical penalty of excommunication for this crime against human life."

ABORTION STOPS A BEATING HEART!

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Two Anniversaries: Swiss Guard Foundation and Roe v. Wade
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Today we celebrate two anniversaries.

First, today is the anniversary of the founding of the Swiss Guard 470 years ago. This group is composed of Swiss, Catholic men, who guard the Pope. I've always loved seeing them on television.

Second, on a more somber note, today is the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in 1973. Please pray for the unborn. As Catholics we believe life exists from conception to natural death. Please pray for the unborn with me:

Heavenly Father, in Your love for us, protect against the wickedness of the devil, those helpless little ones to whom You have given the gift of life.Touch with pity the hearts of those women pregnant in our world today who are not thinking of motherhood.Help them to see that the child they carry is made in Your image - as well as theirs - made for eternal life.Dispel their fear and selfishness and give them true womanly hearts to love their babies and give them birth and all the needed care that a mother can give.We ask this through Jesus Christ, Your Son, Our Lord, Who lives and reigns with You and Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever. Amen.
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5th Day of the Novena for Christian Unity
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Today is my 5th day of the Novena for Christian Unity. If you have not already, please join me in praying this novena for all Christians to be united in Christ's Church.

Who is already praying this with me?
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Saturday, January 21, 2006
Pray for Religious Vocations
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Please say a prayer for an increase in vocations to religious life. I just read this:

"Let's look at the numbers in the US first. In 1965, at the end of the Council, there were 58,000 priests. Now there are 41,000. By 2020, if present trends continue (and there is no sign of a dramatic upsurge in vocations), there will be only 31,000 priests, and half of those will be over 70. (To offer a personal example of the effect of these demographics, I was ordained in 1981 at the age of 27. Today, at the age of 52, I can still attend gatherings of priests and find myself one of the younger members present.) In 1965, 1,575 new priests were ordained. In 2005, the number was 454, a decrease of more than two-thirds — and remember that the Catholic population in the US increased during these years from 45.6 million in 1965 to the 64.8 million of 2005, a rise of almost 50%."

by Father John McCloskey
The State of the US Catholic Church at the Beginning of 2006
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Stand Up for Life on Anniversary of Roe v. Wade
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Tomorrow, Jan. 22nd, we remember one of the saddest moment in our history. In 1973, the United States allowed mothers to murder their own unborn children. This horrendous and murderous attack on the dignity of life has lead to the murder of millions of babies - 1.3 mil annually in the US and 46 mil. globally in a year!

Stand up for life! Faith demands action!

One abortionist, George Tiller, must be stopped. His actions led to the death of a 19 year old disabled girl! Read on the story through this list, and please write to the District Attorney of that county.

Tomorrow we remember the day the US opened the door for murder. Take a stand against this! Stand up for life, for Our Lord came to save all. He said, "Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it" (Matthew 10:14-15)

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain, Title Unknown
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St. Agnes
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Double (1955 Calendar): January 21
Memorial (1969 Calendar): January 21

Today the Church celebrates the sainthood of St. Agnes, virgin and martyr. St. Agnes lived around 250 AD and died very young at 12 or 13 years old in c. 254 AD.

She was a very beautiful girl with many men offering marriages. But, St. Agnes wished to remain pure to God as a virgin, so one of these men, the son of the governor, contacted Roman officials about her being a Christian. She was dragged to a Roman temple and threatened with rape, but she refused to reject Jesus Christ as Our Lord!

The Governor tried to persuade Agnes to change her mind by forcing her walk naked through the Roman city naked, but her hair miraculously grew to cover her body. The Governor ordred St. Agnes to be burned at the stake, but the flames did not harm her.. She was then sent to the lions, but they refused to attack her. The son of the Governor entered and was immediately attacked by the lions. Agnes prayed for the man's health and he was restored. The Governor then had St. Agnes beheaded. She was buried in a catacomb in Rome that was named after here.

We all can learn that to be a saint doesn't require a certain age but only love for Christ. Ask yourself - Would you die for Jesus Christ? Would you let nails be driven in your hands today on account of love for Him? And if you said "yes" then you have faith in Christ.

St. Peter's Helper has a post on his blog about a special tradition by the Pope to bless two lambs on the feastday of St. Agnes.  Also see the special post on the Agnus Dei Sacramental.

"But if as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name" (1 Peter 4:16)

Prayer:

Almighty and everlasting God, Who dost choose the weak things of the world to confound the strong: mercifully grant that we who keep the solemn feast of blessed Agnes, Thy Virgin and Martyr, may experience her advocacy with Thee. Through our Lord.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain, Title Unknown
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4th Day of the Novena for Christian Unity
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Today is the Fourth Day of the Novena for Christian Unity. If you have not started yet, please join me in praying this novena.
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Friday, January 20, 2006
Please Pray for Speeches Tomorrow
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Tomorrow I will be going out again and giving speeches. But, tomorrow is different. It's an extremely important day. There will be many others there, and I not only want to do well in my speaking but also to serve God completely.

Please pray for me that I might succeed in both. I'll be gone all day on this one.

Thank you all for your prayers.
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Anniversary of Roe V. Wade Approaching
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News Update: The man who shot Pope John Paul ll in the early 1980s has now been re-arrested. When he was arrested he said, "I am the messiah." How sad... May he see the light of Christ espeically through John Paul ll, who knew the real Messiah - Jesus Christ.

Also, The anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the decision that legalized abortion, is approaching. On January 22, it will have been 33 years of legalized murder of the unborn.

"The cemetery of the victims of human cruelty in our century is extended to include yet another vast cemetery, that of the unborn. " - Pope John Paul ll

There are 46 million abortions globally each year. Thankfully some countries have outlawed abortions, but other have not. [Click here for abortions laws]

Let us pray especially with the anniversary of abortion approaching in the US. In the US, 1.3 million of our brothers and sisters are murdered! Let us unite in Christ! Let us be one in the same spirit and fight against this! Faith demands a response. Don't sit idlely go out an peacefuly protest, pray, and preach. Go out - faith demands action!
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St. Sebastian
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Double (1955 Calendar): January 20
Optional Memorial (1969 Calendar): January 20

Today is the Church remembers St. Sebastian (c. 257- c. 288). St. Sebastian was a convert to Christianity and died a martyr for his faith. Sebastian helped imprioned Christians during this time of persecution and converted many others. Aftering learning of St. Sebastian's acts, the emperor ordered Sebastian murdered. Sebastian was pierced with numerous arrows and left to die, but a widow named Irene found him and healed him.

He came before Emperor Diocletian again and was then sentenced to death. He was martyred by being beaten to death with clubs. He refused to give up his love for Jesus Christ.

A Prayer to St. Sebastian:

Dear Commander at the Roman Emperor's court, you chose to be also a soldier of Christ and dared to spread faith in the King of Kings, for which you were condemned to die. Your body, however, proved athletically strong and the executing arrows extremely weak. So another means to kill you was chosen and you gave your life to the Lord. May athletes be always as strong in their faith as their Patron Saint so clearly has been. Amen.

Prayer:

O Almighty God, have regard to our weakness: and since the weight of our own evil deeds is oppressive, may the glorious intercession of Thy blessed Martyrs, Fabian and Sebastian, protect us. Through our Lord.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain, Title Unknown
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