Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Pro-life Success: Pro-lifers May Not Be Sued Under RICO
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I just heard about this on Yahoo News, and I found this article on Catholic Fire:
Washington, DC - Feb 28, 2006 The United States Supreme Court issued an unanimous ruling today finally clearing pro-life protesters of a 20-year old suit brought by NOW under the Federal Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) laws. Joseph Scheidler, a long- time pro-life activist from Chicago, took the lead in defending the case on behalf of over 20 defendants, including Operation Rescue.

In an historic third trip to the nation’s highest court, Justice Stephen Breyer issued the unanimous opinion clearly stating that the case is over and that pro- lifers may not be sued under RICO. This decision also puts an end to a nationwide injunction against the protesters.“We are very excited to finally see this case put behind us once and for all,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “This is a victory not only for pro-lifers, who can now exercise their First Amendment rights to speak out about abortion without fear of a RICO suit, but it is also a victory for the women and babies who are entering our nation’s abortion mills, who now will have greater access to more information and practical assistance that can help them spare the lives of their pre-born children.”

Read Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life's Reaction
“The proper response to this ruling is to increase our peaceful, legal presence at killing centers everywhere, without fear of ridicule, false arrest, or persecution."

"Killing centers" - he couldn't be more true...
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Mardi Gras Prayer
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Today is Shrove Tuesday, also known as Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras. Today is the traditional day to make reparation to the Holy Face for the sins of Mardi Gras. Click here to learn more.

Fat Tuesday Prayer:

Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for it is from your goodness that we have this day to celebrate on the threshold of the Season of Lent.

Tomorrow we will fast and abstain from meat. Today we feast. We thank you for the abundance of gifts you shower upon us. We thank you especially for one another. As we give you thanks, we are mindful of those who have so much less than we do. As we share these wonderful gifts together, we commit ourselves to greater generosity toward those who need our support.

Prepare us for tomorrow. Tasting the fullness of what we have today, let us experience some hunger tomorrow. May our fasting make us more alert and may it heighten our consciousness so that we might be ready to hear your Word and respond to your call.

As our feasting fills us with gratitude so may our fasting and abstinence hollow out in us a place for deeper desires and an attentiveness to hear the cry of the poor. May our self-denial turn our hearts to you and give us a new freedom for generous service to others. We ask you these graces with our hearts full of delight and stirring with readiness for the journey ahead. We ask them with confidence in the name of Jesus the Lord.

(Source)
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My Lenten Schedule
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This is my daily prayer schedule for the Holy Season of Lent. I'm hoping that some of you readers will be able to join me in praying and reading this Lent.

Morning:

Wake up and say the Guardian angel prayer
Listen to the daily Mass readings (if I can't go to Mass)
Pray Morning Prayer (Lauds)

Throughout the Day:

Go to Mass (if possible)
Meditate and reflect on the passion and death of Our Savior
Read The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ (2 links each day)
Read the segments of the Early Church Fathers

Evening:

Pray Evening Prayer (Vespers)
Pray special prayers for the poor, sick and the souls in purgatory

Above all I'm trying to become holier and reflect more deeply on the passion and death of Our Savior for me. This realization of the ultimate love compels us to serve one another, so I will be emailing and talking this entire season about the importance of the Catholic faith. Throughout the entire season I will be giving up all sweets and "good food" while performing other voluntary acts of penance. I hope to contribute to many other good Catholic and pro-life organizations. I'll also be praying the Stations of the Cross every Friday.

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain
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Prayer, Prayer, and Prayer: Lent Begins
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"Pray for the wicked, pray for the lukewarm, pray even for fervent souls, but pray especially for the Supreme Pontiff, for all the Spiritual and temporal needs of Holy Church, our most tender Mother. A special prayer for all those who are working for the salvation of souls and for God’s glory" (St. Padre Pio).

Lent starts tomorrow! Let us attempt to pray each day in reparation for our sins and for sinners around the world. Lent must include daily prayer for the Holy Father, the poor, the souls in purgatory, and others that are in need. Lent is about shifting the spotlight from ourselves to others in the name and love of Christ.

Prayer:

Dear Lord, we are now in the holy season of Lent. We begin to realize anew that these are the days of salvation, these are the acceptable days. We know that we are all sinners. We know that in many things we have all offended Your infinite majesty. We know that sin destroys Your life in us as a drought withers the leaves and chokes the life from the land, leaving an arid, dusty desert. Help us now, Lord, in our feeble attempts to make up for past sin. Bless our efforts with the rich blessing of Your grace. Make us realize ever more our need of penance and of mortification.

Help us to see, in our ordinary difficulties and duties, in the trials and temptations of every day, the best opportunity of making up for past infidelities. Every day we are so often reminded in field and wood, in sky and stream, of Your own boundless generosity to us. Help us to realize that You are never outdone in generosity, and that the least thing we do for You will be rewarded, full measure, pressed down, shaken together, and flowing over. Then we shall see, in our own souls, how the desert can blossom, and the dry and wasted land can bring forth the rich, useful fruit that was expected of it from the beginning. Amen.

Prayer Source:

THE RURAL LIFE PRAYERBOOK

Imprimi Potest
Leo J. Burns, S.J.
Provincial
Wisconsin Province
Milwaukee, Wis., 17 October 1955

Imprimatur
Fr. Eduardus Caelestinus, O.P.
Episcopus Desmoinen
Des Moines, Iowa, 13 February, 1956

Written and Compiled by
Alban J. Dachauer, S.J.
In cooperation with
The National Catholic Rural Life Conference
Drawings by Tom Chouteau

Published by
The National Catholic Rural Life Conference
4625 Beaver Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50310-2199

Copyright, 1956
National Catholic Rural Life Conference

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain
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The Cardinal Arinze Podcast
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I'm not a fan of many podcasts, but this is one that I do highly recommend. It is a podcast dedicated to explaining the teachings of the Church as well as the writings of the Church including John Paul ll and morality.

If you have I-Tunes, visit their website [update: defunct link] and add this podcast to your library. I've just subscribed to the free podcasts. Has anyone else used them before?
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A Trip to Israel
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Here was a joke that couldn't apply better to this world today...

A Jewish businessman in Chicago sent his son to Israel for a year to absorb the culture. When the son returned, he said, "Papa, I had a great time in Israel. By the way, I converted to Christianity.""Oy vey," said the father. "What have I done?"He took his problem to his best friend. "Ike," he said, "I sent my son to Israel, and he came home a Christian. What can I do?""Funny you should ask," said Ike. "I too, sent my son to Israel, and heal so came home a Christian.." Perhaps we should go see the rabbi. So they did, and they explained their problem to the rabbi."Funny you should ask," said the rabbi.. "I, too, sent my son to Israel,and he also came home a Christian. What is happening to our young people?" And so they all prayed, telling the Lord about their sons. As they finished their prayer, a voice came from the heavens: "Funny you should ask," said the voice. "I, too, sent my son to Israel...."
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Prayer Request from Fatima, NJ
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Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen.

I received this prayer request in my Inbox, and I ask you to please say a prayer for this man's soul.

Please say a special prayer formy dad. He passed away 7 months ago today. I always thought it would get easier with time, but not a day goes by that I don't cry for him. Maybe it's because of the horrible pain I saw him go through... I truly believe my father lived his purgatory on earth. For the last six months of his life, he was semi-comatose due to an overdose of anesthesia given him for a simple out patient procedure. He was left paralyzed and couldn't communicate to us, but could see and hear us and feel pain. I tried to put myself in his position and couldn't fathom it...like being locked up in your own body! He would look me right in the eye when I would speak to him and start crying and I never felt more helpless. He ended up with these horrific bed sores on his back which eventually led to his death. He died a week before his 65th birthday. I hope and pray that he's at peace with God. Please help me ask God to let him know how much he is loved and missed.

Thank you all and God Bless,

Fatima - NJ

Image Source: Photo of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, Believed to be in the Public Domain
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Monday, February 27, 2006
Peter's Pence Collection
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The annual collection given to the Holy Father was presented to him recently. In the closed meeting, he reminded the members of the Circle of St. Peter of his emphasis in Deus Caritas Est on Christian charity. The 2004 Peter's Pence raised $51 million, 7.4% below 2003 (Source: CWNews).

A remember that this collection given to the Holy Father to carry out his work for those in need is now online. Please visit the Vatican's Peter's Pence Page to donate to Our Holy Father online.

Photo Source: Associated Press
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St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows
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Double (1955 Calendar): February 27 or February 28 if leap year

Today we remember St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows (1838-1862). At the young age of four, he lost his mother and lived in worldly pleasures. Our Lady brought him to deeper reverence, and after being cured of two serious diseases, he knew that he was called to religious life. His request to join the Jesuits was turned down because he was only 17, but after his sister died of cholera, he was accepted to the Passionists. He then took the name Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows.

He was a joyous person and a shining example that living the Catholic life, one that is centered on God, is not burdening but liberating. The regulations of the Church help us to serve Christ and this brings out greater joy. St. Gabriel possessed a strong spirit of prayer, love for the poor, and a consideration of the feelings of others.

While only four years after entering religious life, St. Gabriel developed pneumonia and on February 27, 1862, at age 24, he died. In 1920 he was canonized. Pope Benedict XVI has called him a pattern for young people.

His Words:

"Love Mary! She is lovable, faithful, constant. She will never let herself be outdone in love, but will ever remain supreme. If you are in danger, she will hasten to free you. If you are troubled, she will console you. If you are sick, she will bring you relief. If you are in need, she will help you. She does not look to see what kind of person you have been. She simply comes to a heart that wants to love her. She comes quickly and opens her merciful heart to you, embraces you and consoles and serves you. She will even be at hand to accompany you on the trip to eternity."

For more see: Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows: Life and Prayers.

Prayer:

O God, Who didst teach blessed Gabriel to think continually of the sorrows of Thy most sweet Mother, and didst exalt him through her by the renown of holiness and miracles; grant us through his intercession and example so to join Thy Mother in her grief that we may be saved by her maternal protection: Who livest and reignest.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
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"Jesus, at the sight of the crowds, was moved with pity."
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Those words from Matthew 9:36 have been chosen by Pope Benedict XVI to be our theme as we journey through this year's Lent. This will be my first year blogging through Lent, and I want to make this a spiritually-rich time. My posts will reflect the cornerstone our our Lenten journey - Christ.

I will not make these posts "politically correct" or at times even polite; they will be the truth. And this is the truth - that Christ is the Lord and we must follow Him. His commandments do not just apply to those who follow Him now but to ever last individual sharing in his divine image. We as human beings are called to salvation - and this is done only through Our Lord. Prayer will be focal point of my posts, and I hope that my readers will not only read them but pray them. Prayer is the key to the Heart of God! Prayer is essential.

Lent is about prayer, fasting, and penance. I will try to touch on all of these issues.

Pope Benedict XVI's Lenten Message:

Lent is a privileged time of interior pilgrimage towards Him Who is the fount of mercy. It is a pilgrimage in which He Himself accompanies us through the desert of our poverty, sustaining us on our way towards the intense joy of Easter. Even in the “valley of darkness” of which the Psalmist speaks (Ps 23:4), while the tempter prompts us to despair or to place a vain hope in the work of our own hands, God is there to guard us and sustain us. Yes, even today the Lord hears the cry of the multitudes longing for joy, peace, and love. As in every age, they feel abandoned. Yet, even in the desolation of misery, loneliness, violence and hunger that indiscriminately afflict children, adults, and the elderly, God does not allow darkness to prevail. In fact, in the words of my beloved Predecessor, Pope John Paul II, there is a “divine limit imposed upon evil”, namely, mercy (Memory and Identity, pp. 19ff.). It is with these thoughts in mind that I have chosen as my theme for this Message the Gospel text: “Jesus, at the sight of the crowds, was moved with pity” (Mt 9:36)...

Keep Reading

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain
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Sunday, February 26, 2006
My Word Cloud
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I found a really interesting website through Ma Beck's blog. The site is made to design a t-shirt, but I still went through the process just to create my word cloud. The above image is my word cloud - a list of some of the most common words in my blog. I'm quite pleased with the results. (click on it for a larger image)
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Pray for the Repose of the Soul of Fr. Andrea Santore
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Please offer up your prayers for Andrea Santore. He was shot and murdered in Trabzon, Turkey while praying in St. Mary Church. Fr. Santore was part of the Vatican's "Fidei Donum" program, which sends priests to help in missionary areas. He had worked in Turkey for 10 years and worked diligently to help young women escape from traffickers who would force them into prostitution. May Our Lord forgive Him his sins and grant Him eternal life. For this is the true example of faith - willingly putting your life in danger for Christ. This is how you know if you have faith, that you would lay down your life for Christ.

"These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you shall have distress: but have confidence, I have overcome the world" (John 16:33)

Pope Benedict XVI noted the "generosity and apostolic zeal" of Fr. Santore and assured Fr. Santore's community of his spiritual closeness to them "at this moment of sorrow". The Holy Father also said that he was "deeply affected" by the "serious loss of such an esteemed and enthusiastic priest."

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

Read the last letter Fr. Andrea Santore ever wrote

Update: The European Parliament has condemned his killing

Update (July 3, 2006): It's been awhile since I posted about Fr. Andrea, but I found some information today. His killer, a 16-year old Muslim, is currently on trial (source).
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A Prayer Before Praying
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I received this beautiful prayer in my inbox today and wanted to share it:

"Almighty Father, I place the Precious Blood of Jesus before my lips before I pray, that my prayers may be purified before they ascend to Your Divine Altar." AMEN

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain
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Saturday, February 25, 2006
The Da Vinci Joke
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Zenit has published an interview with Mark Shea on his recent book "The Da Vinci Deception". I have been a strong proponent against this blasphemous book for months, and I'm thankful to see a good resource by a good author coming out.

"Those who say, "It's just a story," simply do not understand that this deception is part of the book's power. People often receive through fiction what they would be on guard against in reasoned debate.

And this is particularly true as Dan Brown, the author of "The Da Vinci Code," has actually stated he would not change any of his basic assertions if he were writing nonfiction. Brown means for us to understand that his claims about the origins are Christianity are true."



Shea listed just a few of the numerous errors of Dan Brown in this interview:

"He claims Leonardo Da Vinci doesn't give Jesus a chalice in his painting "The Last Supper" in order to hint that Mary Magdalene is the true chalice who held the "blood of Jesus" -- i.e., his child -- despite the fact there are 13 cups in the painting. He chatters about the meaning of an Aramaic word in the Gnostic gospel of Philip, oblivious to the fact it's written in Coptic. He calls Mary Magdalene the victim of a Catholic smear campaign without pausing to wonder why she's a Catholic saint. He blames "the Vatican" for various plots and conspiracies that are alleged to have taken place centuries before there was any Vatican to plot them. And, of course, in the biggest lie of them all, he declares that nobody before the year A.D. 325 thought of Jesus as anything other than a "mortal prophet" until Constantine muscled the Council of Nicaea into declaring him God "by a relatively close vote." Of course, he does not stop to ask why, if Jesus was just a "mortal prophet," he bothered founding a Church at all -- nor what the Church was about for the first 300 years if nobody was worshipping Jesus as God."

I hope that Catholics and Christians alike will join me in boycotting the movie and/or the book. Fr. Benedict Groeschel's Sunday program, "Sunday Night Live" at 7 PM EST tomorrow will center on the topic of the Da Vinci Code. If you have had questions with the book I recommend tuning into EWTN for the program.
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Getting Better
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I wrote last week about being sick with the flu, and I'm thankful for all of your prayers as I am getting well. Please keep me in your prayers as I near the end of this and get ready for Lent.

Thanks everyone

PS: I forgot how much I hate the flu...
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Fasting and Abstinence
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Ash Wednesday [Fasting and Abstinence]: This is a day of mandatory abstinence and fasting.

All Catholics aged 14 or older must abstain from meat on this day, as per the current 1983 Code of Canon Law. In the 1917 Code of Canon Law, the law of abstinence began at age 7. Since it is worthwhile to teach children the importance of this law, we should have our children begin to observe this even before the law explicitly commands it.

What is forbidden by the law of abstinence? All meat. Meat is considered to be the flesh and organs of mammals and fowl. Also forbidden are soups or gravies made from them. Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles and shellfish are permitted. [See: Why Do Catholics Eat Fish on Fridays?]. Eggs are allowed.

Additionally, besides abstinaing from meat, as per the 1983 Code of Canon Law, anyone between 18 and up until 60 years of age is also bound to fast on Ash Wednesday. In the earlier 1917 Code, the fast began at age 21 and continued until a person turned 60. On this day one, normal-sized meal and two smaller snacks (called collations) that do not equal the normal meal are allowed. No indulging at a buffet at night to make up for the meals you could not eat during the day.

Eating between meals is prohibited although fruit juices and milk are allowed. Milk was added only in the recent centuries and the Church had asked that those who do consume milk on fasting days offer some additional prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father for doing so.

These rules are much more lenient than centuries past. If you can, truly make your fasting a sacrifice. In times past, Ash Wednesday was a Black Fast meaning no food of any kind was to be eaten on Ash Wednesday. You are free to still keep Ash Wednesday as a Black Fast as penance.

Good Friday [Fasting and Abstinence]: This is a day of mandatory abstinence and fasting.

This day is the most somber day of the year when we recall Our Savior's death. The rules for Ash Wednesday apply to today. Today is a required day of abstaining from all meat and a required day of fasting.

Like Ash Wednesday in times past, Good Friday was a Black Fast meaning no food of any kind was to be eaten on Good Friday. You are free to still keep Good Friday as a Black Fast as penance.

The fast is traditionally kept into the morning of Holy Saturday and ends on Holy Saturday at noon, or whenever you attend the Vigil, whatever is later.

The Fridays of Lent: All the Fridays of Lent including Good Friday are mandatory days of abstinence from meat. The abstinence rules outlined under Ash Wednesday apply to today.

Since Lent was traditionally always understood as a period of 40 days of fasting, you should keep Fridays of Lent (and all days of Lent aside from Sundays) as fasting days. Failing to fast on Fridays in Lent is not a sin, except for Good Friday. However, failing to abstain from meat on Fridays of Lent is a mortal sin.

All Days of Lent except for Fridays (since that is covered above) and except for Sundays:

Traditional Catholics will still fast all days of Lent. By the time that the 1917 Code of Canon Law was compiled, Lent had changed to allow meat at the meal of the day but never in the collations. The exception, of course, is Fridays and Ash Wednesday. This practice is called "partial abstinence". By partial abstinence, a person is allowed to eat meat only at the major meal. However, partial abstinence, which is part of the 1917 Code of Canon Law, is a modern change in itself. Some Catholics will maintain the older practice of not only fasting but abstaining entirely from all meat on all 40 days of Lent. Having meat on weekdays of Lent (except Fridays) was only allowed a few hundred years ago. Even Sundays, while not days of fasting, were kept as days of abstinence aside from Laetare Sunday, the mid-point of Lent, when the faithful had a reprieve.

While most Catholics no longer abstain from meat on non-Fridays or fast throughout the 40 days, these are still practices that should be observed by those who are physically able to do so.

Keeping the strict Lenten fast and strict abstinence as done in the Early Church through the 17th century will help us conquer addictions, make reparation for sin, and avert God's justice.

Man of Sorrows by William Dyce

Lenten Abstinence: The Lenten abstinence described above, unless otherwise stated, pertains only to meat and products like soups or gravies or broths made from them. In times past though, for centuries no animal products of any kind (e.g. dairy, cheese, butter, or eggs) were consumed during Lent. As Lent became weakened, these sacrifices became optional and fell nearly entirely out of us. However, some Orthodox Christians and Eastern Rite (e.g. Byzantine) Catholics still abstain from all meat and all animal products for all of Lent. Roman Catholics are welcome and even encouraged to do so in solidarity with them and in solidarity with our forefathers who did so. Such a penance would be highly appropriate for Lent.

All Fridays of the Year outside of Lent: All Catholics must abstain from meat all Fridays of the year, not just during Lent. However, a modern novelty has arisen whereby many Bishops have said that Catholics may do another form of penance on the Fridays of the year instead of abstaining from meat. This is the case in some countries but not all. Fridays in Lent, though, are mandatory abstinence and another act of penance does not void the necessity to abstain from meat and meat products.

Traditional Catholics will always abstain on each Friday of the year, though, instead of substituting an alternative penance. It is important that we are united in the same common penance in the same universal Faith on such days.

Other Traditional Days of Fasting: For information on fasting days and how they have changed over the topic since America's founding, please click here for a landmark article on the topic.

Catholic Fasting Calendar: If you would like to follow the traditional days of fasting, consider purchasing a wall calendar that will indicate the traditional fasting days. The Guild of St. Peter ad Vincula has a good calendar for this purpose.
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Friday, February 24, 2006
Evening Prayer (Vespers)
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Image Source: Saint Johns Cathedral in Valletta Malta

"Never lie down to sleep without first having examined your conscience on the way you have spent the day and without first turning your thoughts to God. Then offer and consecrate your whole person and that of every Christian, especially my wretched self, to God just as I do for you" (St. Padre Pio: Letters II p 292).

Vespers is one of the two main times of prayer in the Christian life along with Lauds (Morning). If you are looking to incorporate Vespers into your life, you can start by praying either Vespers (from the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary) or the Roman Office's Vespers (available freely online from Divinum Officium).

How do you end your day in prayer? What can we learn from each other and add to our own daily prayers?

Evening Prayer:
My God, at the end of this day I thank you most heartily for all the graces I have received from you. I am sorry that I have not made a better use of them. I am sorry for all the sins I have committed against you. Forgive me, O my God, and graciously protect me this night. Blessed Virgin Mary, my dear heavenly mother, take me under your protection. St. Joseph, my dear guardian angel, and all you saints of God, pray for me. Sweet Jesus, have pity on all poor sinners, and save them from hell. Have mercy on the suffering souls in purgatory.
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Pope Benedict Names 15 Cardinals
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This past Wednesday, February 22nd, Pope Benedict elevated 15 bishops to the level of Cardinal. They will formally be elevated in a Vatican ceremony on March 24th.

12 bishops able to vote for the next pope:
  1. William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
  2. Franc Rode, prefect of the Congregation for the Institutes for Consecrated Life.
  3. Agostino Vallini, prefect of the Tribunal for the Apostolic Signatura.
  4. Carlo Caffarra, archbishop of Bologna, Italy
  5. Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow, Poland
  6. Nicolas Cheong-Jin-Suk, archbishop of Seoul, Korea
  7. Joseph Zen, bishop of Hong Kong
  8. Gaudencio B. Rosales, archbishop of Manila
  9. Antonio Canizares Llovera, archbishop of Toledo, Spain
  10. Sean Patrick O'Malley, archbishop of Boston
  11. Jean-Pierre Ricard, archbishop of Bordeaux, France
  12. Jorge Liberato Urosa Savino, archbishop of Caracas
Pope Benedict also elevated 3 other cardinals although they are too old (over 80 years) to be able to ever vote for a pope.
  1. Andrea Cordero Lanza Di Montezemolo
  2. Peter Poreku Dery
  3. Rev. Albert Vanhoye
Here is also a list of the Cardinals. I also propose the Te Deum prayer to be said during this time in thanksgiving for our new cardinals and for our Holy Father. Pray for a restoration of the Church through them.
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South Dakota and Abortion
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November 7, 2006: South Dakota Residents did not approve the law by a roughly 45-55%. It is a sad day. But the pro-life movement will move on!!

Original Post: I have just read that the South Dakota Senate has passed a ban on virtually all abortions on a 23 to 12 vote. Governor Mike Rounds has also voiced his support for the measure. This is extremely significant in the fight for the sanctity of human life.

Let us pray that this law will prevail against the lawsuit that Planned Parenthood is preparing to file the day Gov. Rounds signs it into law. Pray for an end to abortion! We are closer now then we have ever been. Let us share the Gospel of Life with everyone for Jesus Christ came to save us from death and give us true life. Even the unborn are deserving of life.

Prayer for the 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.
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Holy Matrimony
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I'm feeling a little better today, but I'm still not ready to start up major blogging again. I have recently had the flu. I did find this link though that I wanted to share. It's on Holy Matrimony:  Holy Matrimony

It is my belief that if our culture values marriage as nothing less than a sacrament instituted by God, we will become a holy people. A people of one mind and body rooted in the Gospel and the Church. And if this is true then future generations can also share in this joy.

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Thursday, February 23, 2006
My Apologies
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I apologize for not being able to blog recently. I have been very ill with the flu and was forced to stay in bed. I hopefully will start blogging again tomorrow.

I would appreciate your prayers that I will be well again very soon.

Thanks
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Tuesday, February 21, 2006
My personal reflections from today
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I wanted to post my personal reflections for today.

Today I overheard a conversation that deeply saddened me. One woman was talking with a friend and said that she was an ex-Catholic and proud of it. She claimed that growing up Catholic was a horrible time for her, so she was re-baptised last October in a non-denominational Church! How absurd. No one can be re-baptized if the baptism was valid, and it was obviously valid if done in a Catholic Church.

What deeply saddens and troubles me are stories like these. For this reason I started blogging and hoped to bring others in a deeper relationship with Christ - a relationship only found through the Catholic Church.

I was wondering what is the makeup of my readers? Were you a cradle Catholic, a Catholic that returned to the flock after falling away, or a convert? Are you stilling going through discernment or RCIA or are you not Catholic?

I must very must enunciate my the sadness that I feel when I know of someone leaving the Church. The Church is the Body of Christ! As St. Joan of Arc said, "About Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church, I simply know they are one and the same and we should not complicate the matter." Let us pray for deeper faith and more conversions to our faith.

On a positive note, the Catholic Population worldwide has grown 1.1% between 2003 and 2004, the latest statistics.

Let us also pray in reparation for the sins of the world. As Mary revealed to us at Fatima, "Do not offend the Lord our God any more, because He is already so much offended."
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How the Church Leads us to God
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The Meaning of “Church”

Before considering who is part of the Church or the marks of the true Church established by Christ, the Catechism of the Council of Trent begins by explaining the various meanings of the word “church”. The Church is referred to as the flock of Christ, the House of God, and the Spouse of Christ. In Scripture, the word “church” is often used to describe the assemblies of the faithful. Far more than describing a mere building or even the communities in which we gather on Sundays to assist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Church collectively refers to the totality of all those who are baptized Catholics in communion with the Lord’s established religion.

“In a word, The Church, says St. Augustine, consists of the faithful dispersed throughout the world.”  Such a statement is echoed by the Baltimore Catechism: “The means instituted by Our Lord to enable men at all times to share in the fruits of His Redemption are the Church and the Sacraments. The Church is the congregation of all those who profess the faith of Christ, partake of the same Sacraments, and are governed by their lawful pastors under one visible head.” 

The Role of the Church in the Plan of Salvation

“And Jesus answering, said to him: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but My Father Who is in heaven. And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven” (Matt. 16:17-19).

This solemn declaration by Our Lord is the first instance in which He promised to build His Church. In fact, this is the first time the Lord used the word “church” and He did so by telling St. Peter, who would become the first Pope, that He would establish the Church on Peter. And Our Lord gave Simon a new name, Petros (Peter), meaning “rock.” The Roman Catechism expresses this divine origin of the Church by stating:
“This Church was founded not by man, but by the immortal God Himself, who built her upon a most solid rock. … Since this power, therefore, cannot be of human origin, divine faith can alone enable us to understand that the keys of the kingdom of heaven are deposited with the Church, that to her has been confided the power of remitting sins, of denouncing excommunication, and of consecrating the real body of Christ…” 
While Jesus Christ is the invisible head of the Church, He chose to build His Church on St. Peter. The Pope is the visible head of the Church who occupies the Chair of Peter and acts as Christ’s representative, His Vicar, on earth. Yet, Jesus Christ remains the ultimate head of the Church. The Church preserves the Faith as taught by the Lord and handed down over the centuries in her teachings. And she also passes down the ability to confer the Sacraments through Apostolic Succession. Catholic priests today are ordained in the same line that can be traced back, bishop by bishop, ultimately to Christ Himself, Who ordained the Apostles on Holy Thursday at the Last Supper.

The Four Marks of the Church

In order to determine which institution on earth is the true Church, there are four marks that distinguish it from all false religions and institutions. They are unity, holiness, catholicity, and apostolicity. 

One: It was the first and is the one Church founded by Christ (cf. Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor. 10:17, 12:13). St. Paul in his Epistle to the Ephesians asserted that there is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph. 4:5). The Church is one because she was founded by Jesus, the one and only Son of God, Who taught one unified body of doctrine. Granted, there is great diversity in the Church regarding cultures, gifts, ways of life, and offices, yet there is unity in government (under the visible head, the Pope), faith, and sacraments. The Roman Catechism explains, “The first mark of the true Church is described in the Nicene Creed, and consists in unity….”  Likewise, the Baltimore Catechism teaches, “The Church is one because all its members agree in one faith, are all in one communion, and are all under one Head.” 

Holy: The Church is holy because she teaches holy doctrine and her Founder is the Source of all holiness (cf. Eph. 5:25-27; Apoc. 19:7-8). Christ joined the Church to Himself as His Mystical Body and gave her the gift of the Holy Ghost. Through Him and in Him, she becomes to the means of sanctification for others. On this second mark, the Roman Catechism states: “The Church is called holy because she is consecrated and dedicated to God…. The Church is also to be called holy because she is united to her holy Head, as His Body; that is, to Christ the Lord, the fountain of all holiness…. Moreover, the Church alone has the legitimate worship of sacrifice, and the salutary use of the Sacraments, which are the efficacious instruments of divine grace, used by God to produce true holiness. Hence, to possess true holiness, we must belong to this Church.” 

There is a genuine paradox between the holiness of the divine dimension and human dimension of the Church. The divine dimension of the Church is holy, but the human dimension contains sinful members. Concerning this paradox, the wisdom of the Roman Catechism again helps clarify the matter: “It should not be deemed a matter of surprise that the Church, although numbering among her children many sinners, is called holy. For as those who profess any art, even though they depart from its rules, are still called artists, so in like manner the faithful, although offending in many things and violating the engagements to which they had pledged themselves, are still called holy, because they have been made the people of God and have consecrated themselves to Christ by faith and Baptism.” 

Catholic: The term literally means “universal.” We are the universal faith established by Christ and meant for all people of all corners of the world for all times (cf. Matt. 28:18-20; Apoc. 5:9-10). The etymology of the word “catholic” is the Greek adjective katholikos, which is related to the adverb katholou, meaning “in general” or “according to the whole.” This definition helps communicate the fact that the Catholic Faith is for people of every place, culture, and class. There is no one who is not called to a member of the true Faith. As St. John relates in the Book of the Apocalypse: “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; because Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God, in Thy blood, out of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Apoc. 5:9).

Apostolic: The title of “apostle” comes from the Greek word apostolus, which means “to be sent.” Through the unbroken line of bishops going back to the Twelve Apostles themselves, the “foundation” upon which the Church was built, we can trace our Faith back to Christ Himself, Who is “the chief cornerstone” (Eph. 2:20). As the Baltimore Catechism succinctly states: “The Church is apostolic because it was founded by Christ on His Apostles, and is governed by their lawful successors, and because it has never ceased, and never will cease, to teach their doctrine.” 

The Church is founded on the Apostles in three ways. First, the Apostles were the actual witnesses of what Christ taught and then were sent to evangelize by Christ. This is the origin of the Church.

Second, the Church has the “Deposit of Faith” (Scripture and Tradition) through the Apostles. The Deposit of Faith is the body of saving truth entrusted by Christ to the Apostles and handed on by them to be preserved and proclaimed. Jesus ordered them to teach the nations “all things whatsoever I have commanded you” and assured them, “I am with you always, even until the consummation of the world” (Matthew 28:18-20). Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition are the two unique sources of public Revelation, which together form the one Deposit of Faith.

The third way that the Church is apostolic is through Apostolic Succession. The whole Church continues to be guided by the Apostles through their successors, the bishops, as well as priests. The whole Church is apostolic because she is sent into the whole world and all members of the Church share in her mission. to pray and work for the conversion of all non-Catholics, as well as the return of all Catholics who have fallen away from the Faith.

The Church is Necessary for Salvation

Above all, in the manner in which our Lord has made the world, it is necessary to be a member of God's True Church, which is the Catholic Faith, in order to be saved. See: Can Non-Catholics Be Saved?
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CatholicBlogs.com
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I received an email about a new website - CatholicBlogs.com. The site allows visitors to search over 13,000 articles from 700 Catholic blogs. One can even subsribe to an RSS feed for any search and soon a new Catholic blogs Directory will be created.

It looks great!
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St. Peter Damian
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Optional Memorial (1969 Calendar): February 21
Double (1955 Calendar): February 23

Today is the feastday of St. Peter Damian (1007-1072). St. Peter Damian grew up as an orphanage and experienced poverty, so he would minister and care especially for the poor. He invited them individually to have dinner with him. His brother forced him to work as a swine-herded and treated him very poorly.

St. Peter Damian was saved from poverty by his other brother, an archpriest of Ravenna, and St. Peter Damian became a professor. His life was one of penance - he wore a hair shirt, slept little, fasted vigorously, and studied the Bible when not in prayer.

St. Peter became an abbot and founded monasteries. He was elevated to the rank of Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia. His life's work included the writing of numerous sermons, seven biographies, and beautifully worded poems.

St. Peter Damain died February 22, 1072, and he was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1828.

Prayer:

Grant unto us, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, so to follow the counsels and example of blessed Peter, Thy Confessor and Bishop, that we may, by despising earthly things, obtain everlasting joys. Through our Lord.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
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Monday, February 20, 2006
Lenten Reading
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Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which is March 1 for this year!

For a special penance this lent, I plan on reading "The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ" by Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, an Augustinian nun who lived from 1774 - 1824 in Germany. It is available on online here. Darren at MyCatholicReflections will join me in reading this book for additional Lenten penance. Would anyone else like to join in reading this collection of visions to Blessed Anne?

And for information on Lenten Regulations click here.

Image Source: Photo believed to be in the Public Domain
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Pray for the Repose of the Soul of Robert "Greggory" Bayless
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I received this prayer request in my inbox. Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen.

Hi Everyone,

Could you please add to your to-pray-for list the soul of Robert "Greggory" Bayless? He was a two year old grandson of a longtime friend of my husband's. The poor dear died in a freak horse accident. He is being buried by the Baptist church, so I have to assume that at the age of 2, he was not baptized and so any prayers you could send towards limbo would be much appreciated to get him heavenward. Thank you very much.

God Bless
Dawn
Image Source: Photo of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, Believed to be in the Public Domain
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Blessed Mother Teresa on the Unloved and Unwanted
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Blessed Mother Teresa: "People who are unloved and unwanted are, just like us, children of God. Even more, they are Christ in our midst and they belong to us. They are our brothers and sisters."

Image Source: Image believed to be in the Public Domain
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Blessed Jacinta and Francisco Marto
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Today we remember Blessed Jacinta and Francisco Marto. Just yesterday I watched the transfer of the remains of the other Fatima visionary, Sister Lucia who died in 2005, on EWTN.

Blessed Jacinta and Francisco Marto died shortly after the Fatima apparitions from 1917. Blessed Jacinta (1910-1920) and Blessed Francisco (1908-1919) both died of influenza, and their bodies rest in Fatima today. Shortly before Francisco died, Jacinta said, "Give my greetings to Our Lord and to Our Lady and tell them that I am enduring everything they want for the conversion of sinners" All of the children offered all of their sufferings in reparation of the sins of the world.

The story of Fatima is too long to repost, so please see that post for the amazing story.

Here are some of Mary's requests from Fatima:

* "Men must stop offending Almighty God Who is already so deeply offended."
* "I have come to warn the faithful to amend their lives."
* "To obtain Peace in the World you must pray--pray the Rosary every day!"
* "Pray and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to Hell, because they have no one to pray and make sacrifices for them."
* "Certain fashions and styles will be introduced, that will offend Our Lord very much."
* "More souls go to Hell, because of sins against purity and chastity, than for any other reason."
* "War is a punishment for sins."
* "The Holy Father will consecrate Russia and the World to My Immaculate Heart."
* "Mary showed a vision of Hell to the children."
* "Our Lady foretold that all three children will go to Heaven."

Please say this prayer for their canonization:

Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, I adore Thee profoundly with all the powers of my soul, and I thank Thee for the Apparitions of the most Holy Virgin in Fatima which have made manifest to the world the treasures of her Immaculate Heart. By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and through the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary I implore Thee -- if it should be for Thy greater glory and the good of our souls -- to glorify in the sight of Thy Holy Church Francisco and Jacinta the shepherds of Fatima, granting us through their intercession the grace which we implore. Amen.
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Adoration is a Moment of Joy
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"When you approach the tabernacle remember that He has been waiting for you for twenty centuries."- St. Josemaría Escriva

"Of all devotions, that of adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the greatest after the sacraments, the one dearest to God and the one most helpful to us." - St. Alphonsus Liguori

(More information on Eucharistic Adoration)

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain
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Sunday, February 19, 2006
Governor Blagojevich Funds Embryonic Stem Cell Research
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Governor Blagojevich of Illinois just announced in his 2006 budget proposal to take $100 million in funds from tobacco lawsuit settlement funds to fund embryonic stem cell research. This money deserves to be spent to on finding cures for diseases like lung cancer and not wasted on immoral research.

He calls for spending $15 million next year and increasing it by $2.5 million annually for each of the next five years. Last year he diverted $10 million to embryonic stem cell research and $4-6 million of those have already been spent. And what has embryonic stem cell research amounted to? Nothing other than the destruction of human embryos. This research is a waste of taxpayer's dollars and completely immoral.

For more information on this, visit Life News. I strongly recommend you contact the Governor and voice your disapproval.

At the same time please voice your disapproval on his contraception mandate.

In April 2005, Governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinois instituted a mandate requiring all pharmacists to distribute the morning after pill and other emergency contraceptives. Before this, pharmacists with conscience objections could refer the client to another near-by pharmacy. 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!

One pharmacist was John Menges, an Illinois pharmacist, fired for refusing to sell the morning after pill. He stood up for the firm belief of our faith - artificial contraception and abortion are morally wrong. John Menges said, "Life begins at conception, and anything done to interfere with that is wrong." And for that he was fired from his $100,000 job and forced onto unemployment. How sad...
"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
Those bills in question that would overturn his mandate did not get scheduled for a vote and therefore are gone. It is morally wrong for him to refuse conscience rights to pharmacists, the same rights given to doctors who refuse to perform abortions.

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.

Image Source: Photo believed to be in the Public Domain
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The Miracles of Fatima
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Where is Fatima?

In Fatima, Portugal, beginning on May 13, 1917, the Blessed Mother appeared to three shepherd children: Lucia Santos (age 10), Francisco Marto (age 9) and Jacinta Marto (age 7). She showed them a vision of hell while reassuring them that they would go to heaven. She called for the conversion of Russia by consecrating that nation to her Immaculate Heart. She told the children secrets that predicted the end of World War I and the beginning of World War II. One of those secrets was that “a Bishop in white”, would be shot and killed along with other believers who were climbing a mountain. She emphasized the importance for all Catholics to pray the Rosary every day.

The Apparitions:

On the 13th of each month at roughly the same hour from May till October, Mary appeared to the three children.

On May 13, 1917, the children saw "a lady, clothed in white, brighter than the sun, radiating a light clearer and more intense than a crystal cup filled with sparkling water, lit by burning sunlight." Mary's request was clear, "I have come to ask you to come here for six months on the 13th day of the month, at this same hour. Later I shall say who I am and what I desire. And I shall return here yet a seventh time."

Her final request that day was thus: "Say the Rosary every day, to bring peace to the world and the end of the war." The children went about in penance receiving little support from the community - they suffered much for the truth like Mary told them.

On June 13, 1917, Mary appeared and Lucia asked her to take her to heaven. Mary said, "I will take Jacinta and Francisco shortly, but you will stay here for some time to come. Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."

She also revealed to them the Fatima Prayer and implored them to continue praying the Rosary. The children then saw a vision of a heart in the palm of Mary's right hand, with thorns piercing it. The three children understood it to be the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so offended by the sins of mankind, desiring reparation.

Roughly fifty people say this apparition and they spread the news to many others.

On July 13, 1917, Mary appeared again as promised and asked for the Rosary to continue to be said each day. Lucia asked for her name and a miracle and Mary answered, "Continue to come here every month. In October, I will tell you who I am and what I want, and I will perform a miracle for all to see and believe."

Mary presented three secrets to the children called the Three Secrets of Fatima. The first was of a vision of hell, where she said sinners would go. She asked for continued prayer and sacrifice to save souls.

The first vision:
"She opened Her hands once more, as She had done the two previous months. The rays [of light] appeared to penetrate the earth, and we saw, as it were, a vast sea of fire. Plunged in this fire, we saw the demons and the souls [of the damned]. The latter were like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, having human forms. They were floating about in that conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames which issued from within themselves, together with great clouds of smoke. Now they fell back on every side like sparks in huge fires, without weight or equilibrium, amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fright (it must have been this sight which caused me to cry out, as people say they heard me). The demons were distinguished [from the souls of the damned] by their terrifying and repellent likeness to frightful and unknown animals, black and transparent like burning coals. That vision only lasted for a moment, thanks to our good Heavenly Mother, Who at the first apparition had promised to take us to Heaven. Without that, I think that we would have died of terror and fear." (From Sister Lucia's Memoirs)
Mary said, "...The war is going to end; but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father."

The second vision was a prophecy of World War II and came with her request to consecration Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary:
"After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendour that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!'. And we saw in an immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it' a Bishop dressed in White ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father'. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God." (Source: The Vatican)
Then Mary asked for another prayer added to the Rosary, which we pray, "O my Jesus..." The details of the third secret have never been fully revealed by the Vatican, even though they were supposed to be released in the year 1960 as requested by our Lady.

In August 1917, the three children were kidnapped and threatened with death if they did not reveal the secrets of Mary. The children refused. Mary appeared and told them to come to the spot again on the 13th.

She also said, "Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell, because there are none to sacrifice themselves and pray for them." The children frequently rejected food and drink and remained faithful to Our Lord through Mary's requests.

On September 13, 1917, Mary appeared again and said, "Continue to pray the Rosary in order to obtain the end of the war. In October Our Lord will come, as well as Our Lady of Dolours and Our Lady of Carmel. Saint Joseph will appear with the Child Jesus to bless the world. God is pleased with your sacrifices. He does not want you to sleep with the rope on [a rope they wore for mortification and penance], but only to wear it during the daytime."

Lucia presented requests for cures for people that were ill and Mary said something that all of us can keep to heart: "Yes, I will cure some, but not others. In October I will perform a miracle so that all may believe."

The Last Apparition and the Miracle:



On October 13, 1917, Mary appeared again to the three children and said, "I want to tell you that a chapel is to be built here in my honor. I am the Lady of the Rosary. Continue always to pray the Rosary every day. The war is going to end, and the soldiers will soon return to their homes." By then there were thousands of witnesses despite the fact that immediately before the apparition a storm had drenched the ground and the crowds.

Mary also said, "Do not offend the Lord our God any more, because He is already so much offended."

At that, the Miracle of the Sun was witnessed by 70,000 people as it danced in the sky, changed colors, and was hurled towards earth as if to destroy it.

The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared later on in 1929 to Sister Lucia where we requested the First Saturday Devotion to her Immaculate Heart.

Our Response

We have a responsibility to live the message of Fatima. Pray the Rosary every single day. Make the First Saturdays Devotion. Make reparation for sins - our sins, those of our family, and those of anyone else. The message of Fatima is one of prayer and penance. These must encapsulate our lives.
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The 16 Graces for Assisting at Holy Mass
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What graces are derived from assisting (assisting means attending) at Mass?
  1. The Mass is Calvary continued.
  2. Every Mass is worth as much as the sacrifice of Our Lord's life, sufferings and death.
  3. Holy Mass is the most powerful atonement for your sins.
  4. At the hour of death the Masses you have heard will be your greatest consolement.
  5. Every Mass will go with you to judgement and plead for pardon.
  6. At Mass you can diminish more or less temporal punishment due to your sins, according to your fervor.
  7. Assisting devoutly at Holy Mass you render to the humanity of Our Lord the greates homage.
  8. He supplies for many of your negligences and omissions.
  9. He forgives the venial sins which you have not confessed. The power of Satan over you is diminished.
  10. You afford the souls in Purgatory the greates possible relief.
  11. One Mass heard during life will be of more benefit to you than many heard for you after your death.
  12. You are preserved from dangers and misfortunes which otherwise might have befallen you. You shorten your Purgatory.
  13. Every Mass wins you a higher degree of glory in Heaven.
  14. You receive the Priest's blessing which Our Lord ratifies in Heaven.
  15. You kneel amidst a multitude of Holy Angels, who are present at the adorable Sacrifice with reverential awe.
  16. You are blessed in your temporal goods and affairs.
St. Padre Pio - "While assisting at Holy Mass renew your faith. Have your mind elevated to the mystery that is happening before your eyes."
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Saturday, February 18, 2006
Boycott the DaVinci Code Movie
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This book is filled with numerous lies and slanders on the truth of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. He was not married to Mary Magdalene! He did not have children! These lies are blasphemy, and I have boycotted the book and will also boycott the movie.

Father John Trigilio, of EWTN, has released a statement calling for Catholics to boycott the movie. Will you join in the boycott?
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A Win/Loss in Australia
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I posted last week on an Australian bill in the House of Representatives that would pave the way for the abortion drug, RU-486 to become legalized. Unfortunately, it passed.

The story:

After being stripped of his authority to prohibit the use of the dangerous abortion drug RU 486, pro-life Australia Health Minister Tony Abbott has announced a plan to spend $60 million over five years to provide women counseling and assistance in finding abortion alternatives. He is expected to take the proposal soon to the government cabinet and is calling for funds for a national pregnant support hotline and additional counseling for women with unplanned pregnancies. The 24 hour a day hotline would be funded with $12 million over four years. A second part would consist of a Medicare rebate to provide women three counseling sessions with psychologists or other medical professionals. (Source: Life News)
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Do you have Questions on Mary?
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Audrey from My Journey has been posting parts of a Q&A on Mary. If you are not a Catholic and ask yourself "Why do Catholics belief that about Mary," then take a look at her posts.

  1. Installment 1
  2. Installment 2
Image Source: Image believed to be in the Public Domain, Title Unknown
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Prayer request for Father Vittorio Mazzucchelli
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I was asked by a reader of my blog to ask for prayers for Father Vittorio Mazzucchelli from the Institute of Christ the King. He suffered a tragic car accident on January 16th, 2006, and he despertately needs our prayers.

His story is recorded on the website of the Institute of Christ the King.

Please pray for this priest! We need our priests.
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Friday, February 17, 2006
Requesting Apologetists to Help
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I was just visiting Salt of the Earth, a blog by Adam, and I read this:

"I'm not going to go into why the pope is the Antichrist right now"
How horrible! Our Holy Father is not the Antichrist! The pope is the successor of St. Peter, who was the first pope founded on the Catholic Church in Matthew 16:18. Please go over there and present the truth of the Catholic faith and counter this saddening lie.

Other Related Posts:

Image Source: Image believed to be in the Public Domain, Image of Pope Pius XII
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Mark your calendars for Sunday!
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This Sunday is another episode of "Sunday Night Live" with Fr. Benedict Groeschel, one of my favorite TV programs. And this week at 7 PM EST, Fr. Benedict's Program is entitled "How the Church Leads us to God".

If you have ever asked yourself that question see his program; I have a feeling it will be an excellent program.
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The Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows of Mary
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"Mary lived in the divine Eucharist, the center of her love. All her thoughts, words and actions sprang from It like the rays from the sun."
(St. Peter Julian Eymard)

Today - February 17 - we remember the Seven Founders of the Order of Servites, who had an intense devotion to Mary as Our Lady of Sorrows. Please pray the Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows of Mary today.

The Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows of Mary:

"This devotion was originated in the thirteenth century It recalls the Sorrows the Virgin Mother of God endured in compassion for the suffering and death of her Divine Son. The Seven Sorrows rosary consists of seven Hail Marys For each of the seven Sorrows. One Our Father is said before each group of seven Hail Marys: which ore separated by a medal. On the three beads of the rosary at the end three Hail Marys are said in honor of the Tears of Our Sorrowful Mother. While reciting the prayers meditate upon.


1. Prophecy of Simeon - reflect on and sympathize in the sorrow of our Blessed Lady, when she presented her Divine Child in the Temple, and heard from the aged Simeon that a sword of grief should pierce her soul on His account.
Our Father, Seven Hail Mary's


2. Flight into Egypt - reflect on her sorrow when, to escape the cruelty of King Herod, she was forced to fly into Egypt with St. Joseph and her beloved Child.
Our Father, Seven Hail Mary's


3. Three-day Separation from Jesus in Jerusalem - reflect on her grief, when, in returning from Jerusalem she perceived that she had lost her dear Jesus, whom she sought sorrowing during three days.
Our Father, Seven Hail Mary's


4. Meeting Christ on the Road to Calvary - reflect on her meeting her Divine Son, all bruised and mangled, carrying His cross to Calvary, and seeing Him fall under His heavy weight.
Our Father, Seven Hail Mary's


5. Crucifixion and Death of Jesus Christ - reflect on her standing by when her Divine Son was lifted up on the cross, and the blood flowed in streams from His sacred wounds.
Our Father, Seven Hail Mary's


6. Our Lord is Taken Down from the Cross (Pieta) - reflect on her sorrow, when her Divine Son was taken down from the cross, and she received Him into her arms.
Our Father, Seven Hail Mary's


7. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is Buried in the Tomb - contemplate her following His sacred body, as it was borne by Joseph of Arimathea, and Nicodemus, to the sepulcher, enclosed there, and hidden from her sight.
Our Father, Seven Hail Mary's


3 Hail Mary's in honor of the Sorrowful tears of Our Lady


V. Pray for us, O most Sorrowful Virgin
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ

Let us pray:
Lord Jesus, we now implore, both for the present and for the hour of our death, the intercession of the most Blessed Virgin Mary, Thy Mother, whose holy soul was pierced at the time of Thy Passion by a sword of grief. Grant us this favor, O Savior of the world, Who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost for ever and ever. Amen."

(Source: Catholic Culture)

Image Source: Image believed to be in the Public Domain

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Seven Founders of the Order of Servites
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Greater Double (1955 Calendar): February 12
Optional Memorial (1969 Calendar): February 17

Today the Church remembers the Seven Founders of the Order of Servites from the 13th Century. As Dom Gueranger relates, "February 11, the day first chosen as their common feast, is not the anniversary of the death of any one of them, but the day on which, in the year 1304, after passing through many vicissitudes, their Order obtained the definitive approbation of the Church."

In the mid-13th Century, morals were low and religion seemed nearly meaningless in the political city of Florence. In 1223, seven men from that city decided to form into a small group and go off to a silent place to serve God direct. The Order was founded that day on the Feast of the Assumption as Mary appeared to the seven men. Two of them were widowers and two were still married and brought their families to live together in faith.

They meant to live in solitude, but the group was continually disturbed by visitors. They all left Florence and went to Monte Senario. In 1244, under the direction of St. Peter of Verona, O.P., this group adopted a religious habit similar to the Dominicans and chose to live in accord with the Rule of St. Augustine. They adopted the name of the Servants of Mary.

The men were beatified on December 1, 1717, and canonized in 1887. The original founders were the following:
  1. Saint Alexis Falconieri
  2. Saint Bartholomew degli Amidei
  3. Saint Benedict dell'Antella
  4. Saint Buonfiglio Monaldi
  5. Saint Gherardino Sostegni
  6. Saint Hugh dei Lippi-Uguccioni
  7. Saint John Buonagiunta Monetti
Learn how to pray the special Servite Rosary today.

The Traditional Divine Office lessons at Matins for this day recount their lives:
When in the thirteenth century the most cultured peoples of Italy were divided by factions, and the schism fostered by Frederic 11, the merciful providence of God raised up many persons remarkable for their holiness, among whom were seven noble Florentines whose union of spirit gave to the world a striking example of fraternal love. They were Bonfilius Monaldi, Bonagiunta Manetti, Manettus dell' Antella, Amadeus de Amadei, Hugo Lippi, Gerard Sostegni, and Alexis Falconieri. The Mother of God appeared to each of them on the feast of her Assumption, 1233, when they were praying fervently in the Chapel of the pious Confraternity of the Laudesi, and exhorted them to embrace a more perfect life. They took counsel with the Bishop of Florence, and at once bade farewell to their wealth and rank, clothing themselves in hair cloth and old and ragged garments. On September 8 they established themselves in a humble retreat outside the city, desiring to begin their new life on the day when the Mother of God began her own most holy life upon earth. 
God showed by a miracle that their resolution was pleasing to him. One day shortly afterwards, when all seven were begging from door to door in Florence, they were hailed by the voices of children, among whom was St. Philip Benizi, then only five months old, as the “Servants of Mary,” which was for the future to be their title. This prodigy and their love of solitude led them to choose Monte Senario as a place of retreat, that thus they might avoid great concourse of people. Their life was truly heavenly. They lived in caves, took no food but herbs and water, and subdued their bodies by vigils and penances. The Passion of Christ and the Dolours of his afflicted Mother were the subject of their continual meditations. One Good Friday, when they were absorbed in fervent prayer, the blessed Virgin appeared to them all in person a second time, showed them the sombre habit they were to adopt, and told them that she wished them to found a new Order of Religious, whose mission was to cultivate and spread devotion to the sorrows which she endured at the foot of the Cross. They were aided in this work by Peter, an illustrious Friar Preacher, who died the death of a martyr. He was their intimate friend, and had been instructed about the new Order in a vision by the blessed Virgin herself. The Order received the name of Servites, or Servants of the blessed Virgin Mary, and was approved by Innocent IV. 
The holy Founders were soon joined by many disciples, and began to preach Christ Crucified in the towns and cities of Italy, especially in Tuscany. They brought civil feuds to an end, and recalled numbers of sinners to the paths of virtue. Not only Italy, but France, Germany, and Poland benefited by their apostolic labours, and their miracles made them famous. Finally, after having carried the good odour of Christ into distant lands, they went to God. In life they were one in their love of religion and of the brotherhood, in death they wore united in one tomb and in the veneration of the people. Popes Clement XI. and Benedict XIII. confirmed the cultus which had been paid to them unitedly for many centuries. Leo XIII., having approved this devotion, and recognized the miracles wrought by God in answer to this collective invocation, proceeded to their formal canonization in the fiftieth year of his priesthood, and ordered that their Office and Mass should be said every year throughout the Church.

Prayer:

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who, to honor the memory of the sorrows of Thy most holy Mother, didst through seven blessed Fathers enrich Thy Church with a new family of her Servants: mercifully grant that we may be so linked in fellowship to them in their sorrows, as to share also in their joys: Who livest and reignest.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
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Thursday, February 16, 2006
Special Rosary Novena
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"This comes a little late but you can still begin a nine-day Rosary novena for the intentions of the Holy Father. The novena ends on the feast of the Chair of Peter, next Tuesday, February 22."

Thanks to St. Peter's Helper for this.

Image Source: Pope Paul III
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Pro-life Story on The Inspired Traditionalist
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Ginny at the Inspired Traditionalist has posted a truly moving story of how ordinary people fighting against abortion can save lives.

It's worth you time. Please read it.
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Please pray for my father
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I posted last week that my father was admitted to the hospital. Well, he's home now, but he is still not feeling well. Doctors found out that one of his veins in his head is rather narrow, so he can easily get a blood clot. Plus, he's been feeling dizzy and sick with headaches this past week.

Please pray for his recovery.

Thank you
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The Cost of Abortion
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The South Dakota House just approved a bill February 14, 2006, that would outlaw abortions in the state. The Governor is expected to sign the bill into law, though it will certainly be fought in court. With changes in the makeup of the Supreme Court, we can only pray that the court upholds this and overturns Roe v. Wade.

In light of this, we must discuss the cost of abortion since it's legilization on Jan. 23, 1973:

  1. Over 46 million surgical abortion have been performed. An entire generation has been murdered and the government allows this. 46 million human lives were murdered! This is more than the casualties of the Revolutionary War, Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, and Iraq War combined. Abortion is the greatest holocaust in our history.
  2. Abortion is the leading cause of death for African Americans. 13 million black lives in the last 30 year years has been murdered. 33% of all abortions are performed on African Americans.
  3. 24% of pregnancies end in abortions. 1 in 4 of us human beings are murdered by abortion
  4. So how many abortions are because of rape...1%! Incent...0.5%! Don't let the lies of the world confuse you. Abortion on demand accounts for nearly 98% of all abortions. These children were murdered because they were unwanted. That could have been any of us.
  5. 80% of unborn diagnosed with Down Syndrome are aborted. But, I'm sure you realize how wrong doctors are on these diagnosis half of the time. People are being murdered so that their families won't be burdened by a less than "ideal" person.
(All stats are from the Human Life Alliance)

Abortion should be illegal! I'll say it until it's illegal. It's 21 days after conception that a baby's heart begins to beat. An unborn child is one of us - a creation of God simply in another part of development. An adult is no more human than a 7 yr old even though the child is not completely developed. The same things applies to an unborn child - just because it can't function outside of the womb doesn't mean it's not a live human being.

Prayer to End Abortion
Lord God, I thank you today for the gift of my life, And for the lives of all my brothers and sisters.
I know there is nothing that destroys more life than abortion, Yet I rejoice that you have conquered death by the Resurrection of Your Son.
I am ready to do my part in ending abortion. Today I commit myself Never to be silent, Never to be passive, Never to be forgetful of the unborn.
I commit myself to be active in the pro-life movement, And never to stop defending life Until all my brothers and sisters are protected, And our nation once again becomes A nation with liberty and justice Not just for some, but for all.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen!
(Source: Priests for Life)
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