Friday, March 31, 2006
Terri Schiavo - the one-year anniversary

Today is the one-year anniversary of the death of Terri Schiavo, who starved to death because her husband didn't love her. This is the reality that comes with euthanasia - good people die and life and death are placed in man's hands instead of God's.

Priests for Life offers the following prayer:

Lord God, I thank you today for the gift of my life,
And for the lives of all my brothers and sisters.
I know that life is always a good,
and that it never loses its value
when it is beset by weakness or injury.
Lord, thank you for the life of Terri.
Even in her suffering and death
She revealed Your glory
and truth that life is always sacred.
As I remember Terri, I also 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!
Via Dymphna's Well
St. Stephen of Mar Saba

Today we remember St. Stephen of Mar Saba, the nephew of St. John Damascene. This young saint was introduced to monastic life at the age of 10 by St. John Damascene. Later on in life, St. Stephen asked his superior at the monastery if he would be permitted to live a hermit's life of prayer. The answer - he could except on weekends when he was needed as a counselor.

St. Stephen was a highly spiritual and prayerful saint although he also valued periods of quiet prayer and contemplation. During those times of prayer he would place a sign on his door: "Forgive me, Fathers, in the name of the Lord, but please do not disturb me except on Saturdays and Sundays."

St. Stephen of Mar Saba died in 794 AD. One biographer of him wrote, "Whatever help, spiritual or material, he was asked to give, he gave. He received and honored all with the same kindness. He possessed nothing and lacked nothing. In total poverty he possessed all things."
Stational Church for March 31, 2006

Today's Stational Church at the the Church of St. Eusebius

The Roman Martyr-Priest, Eusebius, whom the Arian Emperor Constantius II had imprisoned for seven months in the priest's own home so that he might slowly starve to death, is today our leader to the blessed Christ for whose Divinity Eusebius died and won eternal life.Two weeks from today, we shall celebrate the Lord's life-giving death—the source of our resurrection and life. Christ's death is the Sacrament of all sacraments.

All the Christian mysteries flow from this main-spring: "the mystery of new life" "out of water and the Holy Spirit;" restoring or healing life in the tribunal of God's mercy; the reception of the Bread of Life at the Lord's Table; as well as the great "come forth" on the last day (from our tombs as Lazarus was called from his tomb). These and all other mysteries of our Faith are rooted in the death of the Lamb of God.

Let us pray: O God, who renews the world by Thine ineffable sacraments, grant, we beseech Thee, that Thy Church may profit by Thy eternal institutions, and not be lacking in temporal help. Through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

Source: St. John Cantius Parish
Lenten Prayer 1

Hear, Lord, the prayers we offer from contrite hearts. Have pity on us as we acknowledge our sins. Lead us back to the way of holiness. Protect us now and always from the wounds of sin. May we ever keep safe in all its fullness the gift your love once gave us and your mercy now restores. Amen.

Thursday, March 30, 2006
Catholic Church in France and Germany

Earlier in the year I was very pleased to read that the world Catholic population has increased by 1.1%! This is substantial.

In more recent, though equally joyful news, the Catholic Church remains highly frequented in Germany and France. Over the past year I've heard numerous reports of secularism taking over these two countries on CNN, so I was glad to finally have statistics. And the results are good for the Church. We just have to pray that more people in Europe practice the Catholic faith.

These are some of the statistics for France:

In France the poll showed that the Catholic Church remains by far the most important institution. Figures coming from the French Bishops Conference, a recent poll from the CSA institute and the daily LeMonde newspaper, show that 62 % of the population considers itself Catholic, 12 % say they are somewhat practicing and 35% are non-practicing. Half of French children are currently baptized, and about 18,826 adults and children over 7 years old were baptized in 2001. (Source)

In addition to this, there are over 24,000 priests and 100 bishops in France. Germany, likewise is showing a strong Catholic population benefiting from the election of Benedict XVI to the papacy.

Yet, the largest question remains as to whether these self-described "Catholics" are truly Catholic in the sense of Tradition.
Stational Church for Thursday in the Fourth Week of Lent

Today's Stational Church Station —Church of Sts. Sylvester and Martin in Rome

Near this church the penitents used to pass through one of the most infamous of places, near the crossroads of Mercury and the Serbian walls, where there was the merulana necropolis (cemetery). That was where pagan Rome left the bodies of slaves and criminals to rot in the open, until the Christians built a chapel with the aim of venerating the Christian martyrs.Two weeks from today, the Church will celebrate the mystery of the living and life-giving Bread, the first source of life and health. "For he that eats this Bread shall have life everlasting." "And unless you eat this Bread you shall not have life in you."

Preceded by two stational saints, the first Confessors, who were given public veneration in the Church—St. Sylvester and St. Martin—we will go to God's altar, to the Mystery of Life, to Him who will say also to us:" I say to thee, arise!"

Let us pray: Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that we, who are chastised by fasting, may rejoice with holy devotion, and that our earthly affections being weakened, we may, more easily understand the things of heaven. Through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

Source: St. John Cantius Parish
Why do Catholics Light Prayer Candles?
Why Do Catholics Light Candles?

In the lighting of candles, we remember and truly live the words of Our Lord: "I am the Light of the World." In the lighting of candles we not only pray, but our prayers become smaller symbols of the One Light of Christ. In burning candles, our prayers rise up to Heaven day and night; prayers for the saint's intercession are also common because of their friendship with God in Heaven. Saints are powerful intercessors. The lighting of candles has been observed since the era of the early martyrs.

The Church's traditional Blessing of Candles which can be said by any Catholic priest highlights the importance and role of prayer candles: "O Lord Jesus Christ, the true Light who enlightenest every man that cometh into this world: pour forth Thy blessing † upon these candles, and sanctify † them with the light of Thy grace, and mercifully grant, that as these lights enkindled with visible fire dispel the darkness of night, so our hearts illumined by invisible fire, that is, by the splendor of the Holy Spirit, may be free from the blindness of all vice, that the eye of our mind being cleansed, we may be able to discern what is pleasing to Thee and profitable to our salvation; so that after the perilous darkness of this life we may deserve to attain to neverfailing light."

"St. Anthony Messenger" September 2003, Page 26 provided a great reflection on the purpose of Catholic votive candles:
The Sight of burning votive candles -real or electronic - is common in most Catholic churches. The candles are usually placed before statues of saints or at shrines. But how did this tradition get its start?

According to A Handbook of Catholic Sacramentals, by Ann Ball (Our Sunday Visitor Books), the practice of lighting candles in order to obtain some favor probably has its origins in the custom of burning lights at the tombs of the martyrs in the catacombs. The lights burned as a sign of solidarity with Christians still on earth. Because the lights continually burned as a silent vigil, they became known as vigil lights.

Vigil Lights (from the Latin vigilia, which means "waiting" or "watching") are traditionally accompanied by prayers of attention or waiting. Another common type of candle offering is the votive light. Such an offering is indicative of seeking some favor from the Lord or the saint before which the votive is placed.

Lighting a candle is a way of extending one's prayer and showing solidarity with the person on whose behalf the prayer is offered.

After the 9/11 tragedy, lit candles figured prominently in a televised concert affirming the power of goodness over the darkness of evil. The symbolism was similar to the Catholic custom of lighting candles as a form of prayer.
Cost of a Prayer Candle?

I own several votive candles and nearly all churches have votive candles. Some churches ask for only a $1 donation to light one so they can purchase another, while some require up to $10. This is just to help them purchase new candles. Please realize it is a "donation", not an obligation; if you don't have the money, you will still be able to light a candle. There are many churches and Cathedrals over the Internet that will even light candles there for you if you send in a donation to cover the cost of the candles.

Click here to browse some religious candles for sale!
St. Augustine

“Before Thine eyes, O Lord, we bring our sins, and compare them with the stripes we have received. If we examine the evil we have wrought, what we suffer is little, what we deserve is great. What we have committed is very grievous, what we have suffered is slight. We feel the punishment of sin, yet withdraw not from the obstinacy of sinning. Under Thy lash our inconstancy is visited, but our sinfulness is not changed. Our suffering soul is tormented, but our neck is not bent. Our life groans under sorrow, yet amends not in deed. If Thou spare us, we correct not our ways; if Thou punish, we cannot endure it. In time of correction we confess our wrongdoing; after Thy visitation we forget that we have wept. If Thou stretchest forth Thy hand, we promise amendment; if Thou witholdest the sword, we keep not our promise. If Thou strikest, we cry out for mercy; if Thou sparest, we again provoke Thee to strike.”
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Stational Church for Wednesday in the Fourth Week of Lent

Today's Stational Church is at the beautiful Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.
At one time, a pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Paul in this Lenten penitential procession took on an exceptional character in view of the riches of doctrinal teaching, which has come down to us from the Apostle to the Gentiles.

For this reason, it used to happen, that in this particular Lenten Station, the Pope carried out a "third scrutiny" for the baptismal candidates—that is, for those catechumens, who wanted to be baptized in water.In this church, at the tomb of this great convert-exemplar, the catechumens, turning westward—towards darkness—renounced Satan, his pomps and his works. Then, turning eastward—towards the light—they pledged their loyalty to Christ and His Church.

Here at the tomb of the Apostle, who was "the salt of the earth," the catechumens received a morsel of salt. Accipe sal sapientiae—Receive the salt of wisdom! Receive the taste for the doctrine of God. Hereafter, speak no longer the language of the flesh, but let your conversation be heavenly.
Let us pray: O God, who grantest to the just the reward of their merits, and to sinners pardon through their fasts, have mercy on Thy suppliant people, that the confession of our guilt may enable us to obtain the forgiveness of our sins. Through Christ, Our Lord.Amen.

(Source: St. John Cantius Parish)

Here is some good information on this Basilica, the third major basilica of Rome:
Tourists visiting the third major basilica of Rome, San Paolo Fuori Le Mure (St. Paul outside the Walls). The "walls" refers to the Aurelian Wall, built by Marcus Aurelius in the 3rd Century as a bulwark against barbarian invasion. The place where the basilica is situated is called, "Tre Fontane" (The Three Fountains). Legend has it that three springs emerged from the spot where St. Paul's head hit the ground after he was beheaded during the First Great Persecution under the emperor Nero. The statue depicts St. Paul holding the sword with which he was beheaded. (Fordham)
Remembering Terri

Friday is the one-year anniversary of Terri Schiavo's death, and it is saddening that many states have not passed laws to protect the disabled. Terri Schiavo was not in a vegetative state and she was not in a coma. Terri Schiavo was disabled and her cruel husband allowed her to die. Today Michael Schiavo, her husband, is remarried.

Michael Schiavo has just released a very immature book whose purpose was to "settle some scores" with Terri's family. Remember, her family was the one that wanted to take care of Terri. They wanted to take her under their care and pay for every expense. Michael Schiavo didn't want what was best for Terri, he wanted to get remarried!

I'm happy to say that there is an alternative book that has just came out, this one by Terri's own family, the family that loved her. It's called A Life that Matters: the legacy of Terri Schiavo - a lesson for us all.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
A Letter to Michael Schiavo

This Friday we remember the one-year anniversary of Terri Schiavo's death. Let us, during this Lenten season of penance, remember her life. She is another statistic caused by the culture of death.

The ABC News poll, conducted on March 5 asked Americans whether "the removal of Schiavo's feeding tube was the right thing or the wrong thing to do." Some 64 percent said yes, with 44 percent strongly agreeing and 20 percent somewhat agreeing. The poll found 27 percent said no with 19 percent strongly opposing the euthanasia and 8 percent somewhat opposing it. The results are largely unchanged from a March 2005 ABC News poll that found Americans supporting removing Terri's feeding tube on a 63-28 percent margin. (Source)

Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life released a letter to Michael Schiavo. It is very powerful. Here it is:

An Open Letter to Michael Schiavo

Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, and an eyewitness to Terri Schiavo’s final hours, released the following open letter to Michael Schiavo tonight. Fr. Pavone read it to a worldwide audience on an internationally broadcast religious service on Sunday morning, March 26.

Dear Michael,

A year ago this week, I stood by the bedside of the woman you married and promised to love in good times and bad, in sickness and health. She was enduring a very bad time, because she hadn't been given food or drink in nearly two weeks. And you were the one insisting that she continue to be deprived of food and water, right up to her death. I watched her face for hours on end, right up to moments before her last breath. Her death was not peaceful, nor was it beautiful. If you saw her too, and noticed what her eyes were doing, you know that to describe her last agony as peaceful is a lie.

This week, tens of millions of Americans will remember those agonizing days last year, and will scratch their heads trying to figure out why you didn't simply let Terri's mom, dad, and siblings take care of her, as they were willing to do. They offered you, again and again, the option to simply let them care for Terri, without asking anything of you. But you refused and continued to insist that Terri's feeding be stopped. She had no terminal illness. She was simply a disabled woman who needed extra care that you weren't willing to give.

I speak to you today on behalf of the tens of millions of Americans who still wonder why. I speak to you today to express their anger, their dismay, their outraged astonishment at your behavior in the midst of this tragedy. Most people will wonder about these questions in silence, but as one of only a few people who were eyewitnesses to Terri's dehydration, I have to speak.

I have spoken to you before. Before Terri's feeding tube was removed for the last time, I appealed to you with respect, asking you not to continue on the road you were pursuing, urging you to reconsider your decisions, in the light of the damage you were doing. I invited you to talk. But you did not respond.

Then, after Terri died, I called her death a killing, and I called you a murderer because you knew - as we all did - that ceasing to feed Terri would kill her. We watched, but you had the power to save her. Her life was in your hands, but you threw it away, with the willing cooperation of attorneys and judges who were as heartless as you were. Some have demanded that I apologize to you for calling you a murderer. Not only will I not apologize, I will repeat it again.

Your decision to have Terri dehydrated to death was a decision to kill her. It doesn't matter if Judge Greer said it was legal. No judge, no court, no power on earth can legitimize what you did. It makes no difference if what you did was legal in the eyes of men; it was murder in the eyes of God and of millions of your fellow Americans and countless more around the world. You are the one who owes all of us an apology.

Your actions offend us. Not only have you killed Terri and deeply wounded her family, but you have disgraced our nation, betrayed the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and undermined the principles that hold us together as a civilized society. You have offended those who struggle on a daily basis to care for loved ones who are dying, and who sometimes have to make the very legitimate decision to discontinue futile treatment. You have offended them by trying to confuse Terri's circumstances with theirs. Terri's case was not one of judging treatment to be worthless - which is sometimes the case; rather, it was about judging a life to be worthless, which is never the case.

You have made your mark on history, but sadly, it is an ugly stain. In the name of millions around the world, I call on you today to embrace a life of repentance, and to ask forgiveness from the Lord, who holds the lives of each of us in His hands.

Fr. Frank Pavone
Stational Church for Tuesday in the 4th Week of Lent

Today's Stational Church is at the Church of St. Lawrence in Damaso

We celebrate the holy mysteries in spirit in the church of St. Lawrence in Damaso, built by the "poet-Pope" and "lover of the catacombs," St. Damasus, whose remains rest in this venerable edifice.

Mother Church points today to two leaders: Moses and Christ—figure and fulfillment. Both of them were unappreciated by their flock. Both of them were unmoved in their consecration to God and their holy calling. Their people were superficial, proud and selfish, while they, the leaders, were filled with the spirit of prayer, humility and the love of God.

In the spirit of our prayerful, humble and God-loving leader, St. Lawrence, let us make a sincere oblation of ourselves. Then the Divine Victim, through the prayers of this holy deacon, will increase in our souls what is so strikingly expressed in today's Mass:1. Humility—"With expectation I have waited for the Lord and he was attentive to me."2. Prayerfulness—"And He heard my prayer."3. Love—"And He put a new canticle in my mouth, a song to our God."

Let us pray: Hear, O God, my prayer and despise not my supplication. Be attentive to me and hear me. Through Christ, Our Lord.Amen.

(Source: St. John Cantius Parish)
Monday, March 27, 2006
New Features

I've just started a new poll at my blog (available near the bottom of my right hand sidebar). Please vote and in two weeks I will take the end results into consideration for my daily posting. Above all, I want this place to be a "daily dose" of the Catholic faith. Our life must be built on Jesus Christ and I try to get this across each day here.

Thanks everyone!
Mother Teresa Wisdom for the Day

Mother Teresa -

A day alone with Jesus is apt to spur us on in the vigorous pursuit of holiness through personal love for Jesus. Jesus desires our perfection with unspeakable ardor. “For this is the will of God, your sanctification." We are but instruments that God deigns to use; these instruments bring forth fruit in the measure that they are united to God......

Prayer by St. Gregory of Nazasazus

Jesus began His ministry by being hungry,
Yet He is the Bread of Life.

Jesus ended His earthly ministry by being thirsty,
Yet He is the Living Water.

Jesus was weary,
Yet He is our rest.

Jesus paid tribute,
Yet He is the King.

Jesus was accused of having a demon,
Yet He cast out demons.

Jesus wept,
Yet He wipes away our tears.

Jesus was sold for thirty pieces of silver,
Yet He redeemed the world.

Jesus was brought as a lamb to the slaughter,
Yet He is the Good Shepherd.

Jesus died,
Yet by His death He destroyed the power of death.

------------ Written by St. Gregory of Nazasazus A.D. 38

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain, Image of Christ the King
Beware of "Conversations with God"

I received this warning in an email and wanted to share it to my readers. After reading this review, I urge my readers to neither buy nor read this book.

Beware of the book, Conversations with God...Two particular books, "Conversations with God" and "Conversations with God for Teens," written by Neale D. Walsch, sound harmless enough by their titles alone. These books have been on the New York Times best sellers list for a number of weeks, and! these publications make truth of the statement, "Don't judge a book by its cover/title." The author purports to answer various questions from kids using the "voice of God". However, the "answers" that he gives are not Bible-based and go against the very infallible word of God... [One girl] poses the question "I am living with my boyfriend. My parents say that I should marry him because I am living in sin. Should I marry him?" His reply is, "Who are you sinning against? Not me, because you have done nothing wrong." Another question asks about God's forgiveness of sin[s]. His reply "I do not forgive anyone because there is nothing to forgive. There is no such thing as right or wrong and that is what I have been trying to tell everyone, do not judge people. People have chosen to judge one another and this is wrong, because the rule is "'judge not lest ye be judged.'" And the list goes on. Not only are these books the false doctrine of devils, but in some instances even quote (in error) the Word of God. These books (and others like it) are being sold to school children (The Scholastic Book Club), and we need to be aware of what is being fed to our children. Our children are under attack. So I pray that you be sober and vigilant about teaching your children the Word of God, and guarding their exposure to worldly mediums, because our adversary, the Devil, roams about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). And how many of us know that lions usually hunt for the slowest, and weakest and YOUNGEST of its prey. Pass this on to every Believer you know. God bless! And, if in doubt, look at the books yourself.

I wanted to pass this warning along. The sad truth is that there are numerous "spiritual" books that go completely against the Word of God. Please be cautious and vigilant in all you read. Trust God and the Church for anything spoken against either of them is a lie.
Monday in the Fourth Week of Lent

Today's Stational Church is dedicated to the Four Crowned Martyrs:
The Station is on Mount Caelius, in a church erected in the seventh century in honor of four officers of the Roman army, who having refused to adore a statue of Aesculapius, received the crown of martyrdom. These were the "Four Crowned Ones," whose relics are venerated in this sanctuary together with the head of St. Sebastian, an officer of the army of Diocletian. Under the leadership of the Four Crowned Martyrs let us celebrate the divine Sacrifice.

May the Eucharistic Action "refresh us and defend us," as it refreshed these great athletes and filled them with heavenly fortitude to go forth to make the supreme sacrifice for a true ideal, for their faith, for Christ, the King of Martyrs.

Let us pray: Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that as we keep with devotion year by year this holy fast, we may please Thee both in body and soul. Through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

(Source: St. John Cantius Parish)
Sunday, March 26, 2006
Pray for the Repose of Tom's Father's Soul

I am a member of the Catholic Community Forum and have prayed for Tom's father before. Tom has posted about his father's ailing condition for a few months, and today I read the sad news that his father has left this world for the next.

Please pray for my dad who passed away earlier this evening. As many of you regular visitors know, he had been sick with pulmonary problems for some time, and had a problem back in December. We are thankful dad had a good day today, and are quite naturally devastated by his loss. Thank you all for all your prayers and thoughts for my dad and our family. Please keep us in your thoughts over the next few days and weeks.

Love in Christ, Tom

Please offer your prayers and indulgences for this soul. Mary, in your arms, carry him to your Son, our savior.
In paradisum deducant te Angeli:
in tuo adventu suscipiant te Martyres,
et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Jerusalem.
Chorus Angelorum te suscipiat,
et cum Lazaro quondam paupere aeternam habeas requiem.
Mary's Way of the Cross

I am a member of the Holy Souls Prayer Group online, where I pray each day for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. A few weeks ago a poster there emailed me this excellent link to Mary's Way of the Cross. It is basically the traditional Stations of the Cross but from Mary's point of view. I wanted to share it with everyone here though I do most commonly pray the Traditional Stations of the Cross.  The Traditional Stations of the Church are the ones that have the indulgences attached to them.

The Stations of the Cross is a beautiful devotion during lent especially on Fridays.
Saturday, March 25, 2006
A Catholic Priest was Murdered in India

Exactly two weeks ago I posted about Catholics murdered in 2005 for their faith - they are examples that the Age of Martyrs Continues. Today, however, I came upon another story of a Catholic priest that was murdered - this one in 2006.

Father Eusebio Ferrao was a parish priest in Macasana, India. When he did not show up for Mass on March 18th, several parishioners went to his home to check on him. He was found in his room on the ground with a pillow on his head and a towel in his mouth. He was smothered and strangled to death. There were also 27 stab wounds in his back and chest.

This 61 yr-old priest died of asphyxiation according to forensic reports, and how painful it must have been. Again, we have another example of a man forced to die for serving Christ. Fr. Ferrao's funeral was March 21st, last Tuesday; 8,000 people attended the Mass.

Please say a prayer for his soul.

Update: I just learned through Zenit that Fr. Ferrao's killers were found. There were two men, Amit Shukla and Manish Dubey, that killed the priest. Amit Shukla had visited the priest several times looking for a job, and Fr. Ferrao was trying to help him find employment.

This particular evening, Fr. Ferrao invited them over for dinner and let them sleep in an adjoining room because they had no way home. When Fr. Ferrao went to check on them, the two men jumped on the priest and murdered him. They quickly locked the room and boarded a train and were later caught.

How could a man murder the very priest who was helping him. How horrible and tragic. Again, please pray for the soul of his priest.
In paradisum deducant te Angeli:
in tuo adventu suscipiant te Martyres,
et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Jerusalem.
Chorus Angelorum te suscipiat,
et cum Lazaro quondam paupere aeternam habeas requiem.
Today's Stational Church: The Third Saturday of Lent

Today's stational church is at the Church of St. Susanna:

Today's liturgy places before us three women—one in the white garment of virginity, the other in the blue mantle of chastity and the third in the purple robe of penitence. The first shows the triumph of Christ's redemption, the second, the power of faith in the coming Messiah, the third, the compassion of the Good Shepherd, who came to seek what was lost.

The first is today's stational guide—St. Susanna, to whom the vow of virginity and consecration to Christ, the royal Bridegroom, meant more than the princely hand of the unprincely Galerius Maximianus. She refused his hand in marriage and was put to death.

The other Susanna is the chaste wife of Joachim living in Babylon in the days of Daniel, the prophet. Two adulterous men, ever to be remembered as a disgrace to manhood, two judges, who perverted justice and drowned their manly honor in the pool of perjury, were this pure women's adversaries. But Susanna prefers to be a victim of the hellish vengeance of her accusers than sin against her God.

And now the third one—the woman caught in adultery. She lost her virginity, her chastity, and has broken fidelity to her marriage vows. "she must be stoned," was the cry. She was an outcast in the eyes of her merciless accusers, who themselves were whitened sepulchers inwardly full of worms. Jesus, the new Daniel, came to her rescue. He condemned her sin, but raised her from an erring sheep to a penitential follower. "Has no one condemned you, woman? No one, Sir. Neither will I condemn you. Now sin no more."

Let us pray: Extend to Thy faithful the right hand of heavenly help, that they may seek Thee with their whole hearts and deserve to obtain what they ask for worthily. Through Christ, Our Lord.Amen.

(Source: St. John Cantius Parish)
The Annunciation of the Lord

Annunciation by Paolo Veronese

Solemnity (1969 Calendar): March 25
1st Class (1962 Calendar): March 25
Double of the I Class (1954 Calendar): March 25

Today is the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, where we recall that through Mary's obedience Jesus came was conceived in her womb. Today is March 25nd, 9 months before Christmas day.  The Annunciation, set nine months before Christmas on March 25, was formerly such a great feast day in Christendom that it was the beginning of the civil/legal year in England until their transition to the Gregorian calendar in 1752, and remained a holy day of obligation for American Catholics until 1884March 25th is the most important day in human history 3 times over!

This important feastday in the Church is of great importance, even if it is not currently a Holy Day of Obligation.  On years in which the 25th of March falls on a Sunday during Lent, the Annunciation is transferred to the following Monday, March 26th. However, if March 25th falls during Holy Week, the Feast is transferred to the Monday after Low Sunday, since that is the first day after March 25th that is not a 1st Class Feast. Some years the Feast of the Annunciation falls during Passion Week, the week before Holy Week, and in which case, the images of our Lady continue to remain veiled. Annunciation Day though is still a day of fasting and abstinence during Lent.

At the Annunciation our salvation began - Our God came down and became one of us, destined to die for us. Through Mary's fiat (her "yes"), God became man and for nine months rested in her womb. Sadly, many mothers today do not understand the gift of life in their wombs so they resort to abortion. But was Jesus alive and fully human in Mary's womb! Abortion kills a living human person. Let us meditate on Jesus' love and an end to abortion today as well as Mary's role as Co-Redemptrix.

Gospel: Luke 1:26-38

"The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, "Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you." But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there will be no end." But Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?" And the angel said to her in reply, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God." Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her."


O God, Who, by the message of an angel, willed Your Word to take flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, grant that we, Your suppliants, who believe her to be truly the Mother of God, may be helped by her intercession with You. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.

Prayer to Our Lady of the Annunciation:

Queen of heaven and earth, daughter of the Father, Mother of the divine Son, spouse of the Holy Spirit, I praise God for the unique grace given to you. Mary, you became the great Mother of our divine Savior, our Master, true Light of the world, uncreated Wisdom, source of all truth and first Apostle of truth. You gave the world the book to read, the eternal Word. For this I bless the holy Trinity and I ask you to obtain for me the grace of heavenly wisdom, to be a fervent disciple of Jesus and to be lovingly devoted to the Church, the pillar of truth. Make the light of the Gospel shine to the farthest bounds of the earth. Queen of the Apostles, pray for us!

Prayer Source: Fr. James Alberion
Friday, March 24, 2006
Pope Benedict XVI Installs New Cardinals

Today Pope Benedict XVI formally installed the 15 New Cardinals to the College of Cardinals bringing their number to 193. However, only 120 would be able to vote for the next pope as of now; only cardinals under 80 years old are eligible to vote.

During the beautiful Mass at St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome, each new Cardinal received the three-cornered biretta hat as well as a nomination scroll.

The new Cardinals are as follows:
  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
  13. Andrea Cordero Lanza Di Montezemolo
  14. Peter Poreku Dery
  15. Rev. Albert Vanhoye
Photo Source: CBS (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

More Images:

Image Sources: Boston Globe Staff Photo/ David Ryan
Pray for the Repose of the Soul of Mr. Tee

I received this Prayer Request in my inbox today:
Dear friends, Please pray for the soul of a wonderful man Mr. Simon Tee. He has gone to be with our Saviour yesterday after been admitted in the hospital for a couple of days due to very high fever and breathing difficulties. Please do also pray for his family to have the strength to go through this difficult time.

In paradisum deducant te Angeli:
in tuo adventu suscipiant te Martyres,
et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Jerusalem.
Chorus Angelorum te suscipiat,
et cum Lazaro quondam paupere aeternam habeas requiem.
The Joy of Eucharistic Miracles

Do not doubt. In the words of St. Cyril of Jerusalem: "Since Christ Himself has said, 'This is My Body' who shall dare to doubt that It is His Body?"

Today we have the greatest source of mercy and joy among us, but how many of us go to adore Him in the Eucharist? How many of us actually believe and live out that belief every day of our lives not just Sunday? The truth is that few people adore Jesus in respect to the number of Catholics in the world. Jesus Christ lives on just as He lived in Bethlehem. But again, only the humble Shepard-like people go out to meet Him.

The Eucharist is truly the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord. There is nothing less wonderful about it; Jesus Christ is really present in the Sacred Host. I will continue to repeat this because it is so miraculous. Jesus Christ at the Last Supper instituted the Eucharist when He said to His Apostles: "This is My Body...This is My Blood..." In Consecration the bread and wine cease to be bread and wine and truly become Our Savior. The only thing remaining of bread and wine is the appearance (called the accidents).

Only in the Catholic Church is Jesus truly present in the Most Holy Eucharist. This is the great proof that the Catholic Church is the one true Church of Jesus Christ.

Throughout history, there have been rare instances when even the appearance of bread and wine left. These Eucharistic Miracles not only confirm the Real Presence but also that Jesus Christ remains with us. The Miracle of Lanciano, Italy (8th Century); Cascia, Italy (1300s); and Sienna, Italy (1730) are just two miraculous events.

Learn more at the Real Presence Association

PRAYER: O sweetest Heart of Jesus, I implore that I may love Thee more and more. Jesus meek and humble of Heart, make my heart like unto Thine.
Stational Church for the Friday in the Third Week of Lent

Today's Stational Church is at the Church of St. Lawrence in Lucina

For the second time this week, the chaste Deacon Lawrence is our processional leader to the Savior of the world. Last Sunday, we knelt at his tomb and heard his encouraging words: "walk as children of the light …"

Today, we are making our pilgrimage to the church containing a large portion of the gridiron on which this holy Deacon made his last and most perfect oblation to God.It was during the forty years passed in the desert that Moses and Aaron asked God to bring from the rock-a figure of Christ-"a spring of living water," so that all the people could quench their thirst. During these forty days of Lent, the Church asks Christ to give us the living water about which he spoke to the woman of Samaria near Jacob's well-the water, which quenches our thirst forever. This water is our faith in Jesus. It is grace.

It is the blood, which flows from the wounds of the Savior, and which through baptism, penance and the other sacraments, purifies our souls, and gushes forth into eternal life, of which it assures us a share.

Let us pray: Show me, O Lord, a toke for good; that they, who hate me may see and be confounded because Thou, O Lord, hast helped me and hast comforted me. Through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

(Source: St. John Cantius Parish)
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Words from Mother Teresa for Lent

Remember these words this Lent:

Blessed Mother Teresa -

"Who Is Jesus to Me? Jesus is the Hungry to be fed. Jesus is the Thirsty to be satiated. Jesus is the Naked to be clothed. Jesus is the Homeless to be taken in. Jesus is the Sick to be healed. Jesus is the Lonely to be loved. Who Is Jesus to Me? Jesus is the Love to be loved. Jesus is the Joy to be shared. Jesus is the Sacrifice to be offered. Jesus is the Peace to be given. Who Is Jesus to Me? Jesus is the Word to be spoken. Jesus is the Truth to be told. Jesus is the Way to be walked. Jesus is the Light to be lit. Jesus is the Life to be lived."
Stational Church of March 23, 2006

Today we continue the Stational Churches of Lent. Today's Station is the Basilica of Sts. Cosmas and Damian.
"This church, made from two pagan temples, holds the bodies of the holy martyrs, Cosmas and Damian, who were put to death during the Diocletian persecution. The sick came in crowds to visit the tomb of these two brothers, doctors by profession, imploring them to restore their health. 
"The "unsalaried" physicians, Cosmas and Damian, devoted time and talents to the service of the poor and the sick, so that, by curing the infirmities of the body without remuneration, they might more easily win immortal souls for Christ. Today, the Divine Physician will again come and refresh you. He carries with him the divine antidote, the Eucharistic medicine for the healing of our infirmities. 
"Let us pray: May the blessed solemnity of Thy saints, Cosmas and Damian, magnify Thee, O Lord, by which Thou hast both granted eternal glory to them and assistance to us by Thy ineffable providence. Through Christ, Our Lord. Amen. " 
(Source: St. John Cantius Parish)
Why Is the Pope Called "Holy Father"?

Holy Father is not an official title of the Pope. As of this year, the Pope's official titles are "Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman province, Sovereign of the State of the Vatican City, Servant of the Servants of God." Traditionally, the Pope also has the title "Patriarch of the West."

The early Church even used the expression "Holy Father" to refer to other holy members of the Church at the time. St. Augustine wrote, "I beseech you to convey my respectful salutation to the holy father Alypius, worthy of all esteem" (cf. Letter LXXXI). And St. Athanasius wrote in the Life of St. Anthony: "the life and conversation of our holy Father, Antony: written and sent to the monks in foreign parts by our Father among the Saints, Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria." Both of these saints lived before 400 AD, so the origin of this expression is quite ancient.

Consequently, the custom was adopted to refer to the Pope as "Holy Father" as well. As the Catholic Education center writes: "On the part of the faithful, a filial, loving relationship, which recognizes in the one so addressed or spoken to, a mission of spiritual fatherhood, expressing that of God toward us, in the threefold charge confided to the Church of preaching the Good News of salvation, of sanctifying the believers, and of gathering together the dispersed children of God. This is a special and supreme responsibility of the Pope in the Church’s threefold mission of teaching, governing and sanctifying, as Prophet, Priest, and Shepherd."
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
The Stational Church for Wednesday in the 3rd Week of Lent

Today's Station is at the Chuch of St. Sixtus in Rome:

The St. Sixtus Stational Church is located on the Appian Way and is a parish church dating to the fifth century. It was in this church that the catechumens were presented to the Church by their sponsors. Their names were written on tablets of ivory covered in leather, which were read at the Commemoration of the Living. After the Collect of the Mass, the catechumens received the initial parts of the Baptismal ceremony, viz. the rites of exsufflation, of the sign of the cross, of the imposition of hands and that of the salt.

In an age, which makes light of God's commandments, it is of special importance that the faithful be uncompromising in the observance of the "ways of life." Let us be "the salt of the earth and the light of the world," as our holy leader Sixtus was in the third century. We invite this holy pontiff to precede us to the altar and to ask for us "that we, who seek the grace of God's protection, may serve Him with a quiet mind.

Let us pray: Grant us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that disciplined by wholesome fasting, and abstaining from all vices, we may more easily gain forgiveness. Through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

(Source: St. John Cantius Parish)
Pray for the Repose of Carolina's Soul

Please pray for the soul of Carolina. I got this email this morning:

I ask today that you remember my dear Aunt Carolina Miruzzi, who, at the age of 91 years, was received into the arms of Jesus this very morning. She was given the grace of a happy and peaceful death, with her entire remaining immediate family at her bedside. She was unique among women, long-suffering and without complaint. May her graces shine down on us all.

In paradisum deducant te Angeli:
in tuo adventu suscipiant te Martyres,
et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Jerusalem.
Chorus Angelorum te suscipiat,
et cum Lazaro quondam paupere aeternam habeas requiem.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
A Eucharistic Miracle Has Occurred

A reader of my blog just emailed me about news article on a possible Eucharistic miracle from our time. Actually, this miracle occurred in Dallas on March 19th, 2006, last Sunday, the feast day of St. Joseph!

The Eucharist is host turned visibly into the Body and Blood of Christ. This may be declared one of many such miracles. But, don't let this seem too miraculous for you, because the same host that became visible Blood is the same Jesus we receive at each Mass. This Eucharistic host is no different other than in appearance from the ones we have received. This is the beauty of Jesus' words: "This is my Body...for this is my Blood..." (Matthew 26:26-28)

In the words of St. Cyril of Jerusalem - "Since He Himself has declared and said of the bread: This is My Body, who shall dare to doubt any more?

Not sure what the Eucharist is? Then read my post: The Eucharist

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain
Update on the South Dakota Abortion Ban

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!!

Since Governor Rounds signed the landmark abortion ban into law March 6, 2006, a fund has already been created to defend it in court. As of Monday, March 20, 2006, $7,157 dollars had been collected. In addition, an unnamed donor has pledged to contribute $1 million dollars to defend it in court.

This is fabulous news. LifeNews also reports that there appears to be no severe blow to South Dakota's tourism industry because of the law either. Tourism is the second largest industry in South Dakota with 2005 bringing in $809 million. Pro-abortion activists have promised to boycott travel to South Dakota if Governor Rounds signed the bill. However, there appears to be no effect. On the contrary, many people are now going to South Dakota because they support this ban on the cruelty of abortion.

Image Source: LifeNews
Meditations for March 21, 2006

Blessed Mother Teresa - "Believe in Jesus trust in Him with blind and absolute confidence because He is Jesus. Believe that Jesus and Jesus alone is life and sanctity is nothing but that same Jesus intimately living in you; then His hand will be free with you.Give yourself unswervingly, conforming yourself in all things to His holy will. Love Jesus generously.Love Him trustfully, without looking back and without fear. Give yourself fully to Jesus. He will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in His love than in your weakness."

Padre Pio - "Yes, I love the Cross, the Cross alone; I love it because I see it always on Jesus' shoulders" (Letters I, p. 377).


We are nearly half-way through Lent. How has it gone for you? Has it been penitential and spiritually rejuvenating? Please continue to pray along the stational churches each day and meditate each day on the passion of our Lord. For the God of Glory didn't just love us enough to be born among us; instead, He opened us His arms and died to ransom us too.
Today's Stational Church: March 21, 2006

Today's Stational Church is the Church of St. Prudentiana.

The church of St. Prudentiana, on the Viminal Hill, was one of the most venerated places for Roman Christians. St. Prudentiana lived here with her sister, St. Praxedes. Here, St. Peter received hospitality and the first Christians often assembled. Today, this church stands rather forgotten because it was closed for a very long time.

We turn to St. Prudentiana on this day. May she obtain for us by her powerful prayers:1. The grace of mutual forgiveness, so that we may be able to say in truth: "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us"—Not seven times, but seventy times seven.2. The grace also of true love for our glorious Lord and for each other. Prudentiana shows us the way. Where charity and love reign, there is God. Christ will then be in our midst. And He shall be the Savior, Lord and King of our hearts and our home.

Let us pray: May the effect of our redemption be applied unto us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, by means of your grace, ever restraining us from human excesses and conducting us to the gift of salvation. Through Christ, Our Lord.Amen.

(Source: St. John Cantius Parish)
Illinois Primary Election Day

Today is the Primary Election in Illinois, and if you are here go out and vote! We, as Americans, have the great privilege to vote. Your vote makes a difference especially in local elections!

I also ask you to remember the unborn and pro-life issues as you vote. Please visit the Illinois Citizens for Life for the rankings of Illinois candidates according to pro-life issues. Please vote for the pro-life candidates and stand up for life. Many people don't know this, but it is considered a sin to vote for a pro-abortion candidate knowingly.

View the Illinois Citizens for Life's Candidate Information List (.pdf file)

Here are the candidates ranked Fully pro life:

Bill Brady (R)
Jim Oberweis (R)

Lt. Governor:
Steven J. Rauschenberger (R)
Sandy Wegman (R)
Joe Birkett (R)

Attorney General:
None but Lisa Madigan (D) is ranked totally opposed to pro-life issues. I'd vote for the other candidate

Secretaty of State:
Dan Rutherford (R)

Carole Pankau (R)

None are ranked well but Paul L Mangieri (D) is pro-life, I believe

Please say this prayer that the pro-life candidates will win.

O Most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy, at this most critical time, we entrust the United States of America to your loving care. Most Holy Mother, we beg you to reclaim this land for the glory of your Son. Overwhelmed with the burden of the sins of our nation, we cry to you from the depths of our hearts and seek refuge in your motherly protection. Look down with mercy upon us and touch the hearts of our people. Open our minds to the great worth of human life and to the responsibilities that accompany human freedom. Free us from the falsehoods that lead to the evil of abortion and threaten the sanctity of family life. Grant our country the wisdom to proclaim that God’s law is the foundation on which this nation was founded, and that He alone is the True Source of our cherished rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. O Merciful Mother, give us the courage to reject the culture of death and the strength to build a new Culture of Life.
Monday, March 20, 2006
Pro-life Action: Contact

Sadly, has bowed down to the pro-death society around us.

Seattle, WA ( -- has modified its book search results after receiving complaints from abortion advocates who thought they were tilted in favor of the pro-life view. A pro-abortion religious group objected to Amazon asking customers if they wanted books on adoption when putting in the term "abortion" as a search phrase.

Amazon made the change a few days ago. Before that, a question asking customers, "Did you mean adoption?" appeared at the top of search results for books on abortion.

That upset Reverend James Lewis, a retired Episcopalian minister in West Virginia and a member of the board of the pro-abortion Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.

Source: Life News

What could be more deceitful that a minister advocating abortion! It's sad that in our society Christ's Church has been split up and there are some so-called leaders like James Lewis. I ask you to please contact and express your regret with their decision.

Here is a letter that I wrote:

I wanted to express my utter discontent with your recent decision for searching with the word "abortion". Beforehand, you would respond with "Did you mean adoption," but now you have removed this. Why? It is extremely important that people realize that adoption is an option for pregnant women. I am offended that your organization would bow down to the pro-abortion industry and remove this automated response. I actually have been planning on joining and purchasing through Amazon, but now I know that I'll have to choose EBay over your company because of this. I ask you to please add "Did you mean adoption?" again to your searches.

Thank you
Words to Live By This Lent

"Jesus, whose divine love alone can redeem all humanity, wants us to share his Cross so that we can complete what is still lacking in his suffering (cf. Col 1:24). Whenever we show kindness to teh suffering, the persecuted, and defenseless, and share in their sufferings, we help to carry that same Cross of Jesus. In this way we obtain salvation and help contribute to the salvation of the world."

(Pope Benedict XVI in Let God's Light Shine Forth edited by Robert Moyhihan, Page 99)

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain
For the Feast of St. Joseph by St. Peter Julian Eymard

"We all have in him [St. Joseph] a model and a protector. As adorers of the Sacramental Jesus, we continue near the Blessed Sacrament his service, his adoration and his love. He will watch over us and give us his spirit and virtues. Leading us to Jesus, he will say to Him: 'I cannot be on earth any longer to watch over You and serve You, but bless these adorers who are replacing me; give them the graces You gave me, so that their service may recall and replace mine.' How happy St. Joseph is to see us crowding about Jesus in His Sacrament, feeble, abandoned, persecuted, more in need of defenders and servants than in His Infancy . .. . .. Saint Joseph, be my protector, my model, and my father in my service of Jesus Eucharistic."

(St. Peter Julian Eymard)
Sunday, March 19, 2006
Are these really "Catholic" Colleges?

I just read an alarming piece of information concerning supposed Catholic colleges. The Cardinal Newmann Society has conducted reviews of websites by Catholic colleges and found some to include links and referrals to places like Planned Parenthood, the National Organization for Women, and NARAL, which all support the murder of the unborn.

"Some of the violators include Boston College, DePaul University, Dominican University of California, Georgetown University, Loyola University of Chicago, Loyola University of New Orleans, Our Lady of the Lake University, Santa Clara University, Seton Hall University and the University of Detroit Mercy." Furthermore, "The College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minnesota, posts online information encouraging students to use abortifacient devices. "

Thankfully, the Cardinal Newmann Society has faxed these universities asking them to immediately remove these sinful and alarming links. How deceitful that Catholic universities would post links to places that murder unborn children. I think we desperately need to include Catholic educators and schools to our prayers immediately.

More information on this can be found at The Cardinal Newmann Website.
The Seven Sorrows of St. Joseph

Today is March 19th and traditionally the feastday of the foster father of Jesus, St. Joseph. However, we do not celebrate his feastday today because Sundays in Lent always taken precedence over the day's saints. So, tomorrow we will celebrate his feastday.

Today, I propose we prepare for this Solemnity tomorrow by meditating on the Seven Sorrows of St. Joseph.

Let us allow ourselves to be infected by the silence of St. Joseph," Pope Benedict XVI recently said. "We need it very much, in a world that is often too noisy."

Please join me in praying and meditating on the Seven Sorrows of St. Joseph.


O Glorious Saint Joseph, you were chosen by God to be the foster father of Jesus, the most pure spouse of Mary, ever Virgin, and the head of the Holy Family. You have been chosen by Christ's Vicar as the heavenly Patron and Protector of the Church founded by Christ.

Protect the Sovereign Pontiff and all bishops and priests united with him. Be the protector of all who labor for souls amid the trials and tribulations of this life; and grant that all peoples of the world may be docile to the Church without which there is no salvation.

Dear Saint Joseph, accept the offering I make to you. Be my father, protector, and guide in the way of salvation. Obtain for me purity of heart and a love for the spiritual life. After you example, let all my actions be directed to the greater glory of God, in union with the Divine Heart of Jesus, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and your own paternal heart. Finally, pray for me that I may share in the peace and joy of your holy death. Amen.

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain
Prayer to Jesus and Mary for the Holy Souls

A Prayer to Jesus and Mary for the Holy Souls in Purgatory

O Most loving Jesus, I humbly beseech Thee that Thou wouldst Thyself offer to Thine eternal Father, on behalf of the Holy Souls in Purgatory, Thy Most Precious Blood, which pouredforth from the Sacred Wounds of Thine adorable Body, together with Thine agony and death. And do thou likewise, O sorrowful Virgin Mary, present unto the Heavenly Father, together with the dolorous passion of thy dear Son, thine own sighs and tears, and all the sorrows thou didst suffer in His suffering, in order that, through the merits of the same, refreshment may be granted to the souls now suffering in the fiery torments of Purgatory, so that, being delivered from that p[painful prison, they may be clothed with glory in Heaven, there to sing the mercies of God for ever and ever. Amen.

Absolve, O Lord, the souls of all the faithful departed from every bond of sin, that by Thy gracious assistance they may deserve to escape the judgment of vengeance and enjoy the blessedness of everlasting light. Amen.

V. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.
R. And let perpetual light shine upon them
V. From the gates of Hell,
R. Deliver their souls, O Lord.
V. May they rest in peace.
R. Amen.
V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.
Let us pray

O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful, grant unto the souls of Thy servants and handmaids, the remission of all their sins, that through our devout supplications they may obtain the pardon they have always desired, Thou Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.
St. Joseph's Day: Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Solemnity (1969 Calendar): March 19
I Class (1962 Calendar): March 19
Double of I Class (1954 Calendar): March 19

If March 19 falls on a Sunday, then St. Joseph's Day is transferred to March 20. Also, if the Feast of St. Joseph falls in Holy Week it is transferred to the Wednesday after Low Sunday (per the pre 1955 rubrics).

St. Joseph is one of the greatest saints. His life is recorded partially in Scripture, and we see a man dedicated to the Lord. He was a man eager to do the will of God. 

What we know of St. Joseph comes from the Gospel accounts of Matthew and Luke. And what the scriptures tell us is that St. Joseph was a silent servant of God. St. Joseph owned little possessions but he was a descendant of David and full of the grace of God. There is not one recorded sentence spoken by St. Joseph, but the Gospels are clear that he acted kindly towards Mary and Jesus. He cared for them when Herod sought to kill Our Lord, and after the threat passed, he quietly passed away. For that reason, he is frequently recognized as the patron of a peaceful death. In the words of Pope Leo XIII: “Workman and all those laboring in conditions of poverty will have reasons to rejoice rather than grieve, since they have in common with the Holy Family daily preoccupations and cares.”

According to tradition, St. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus, watches over and guards the Church. Numerous saints also had devotions to St. Joseph including Saint Bernard, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saint Gertrude, Saint Bridget of Sweden, Saint Alphonsus and Saint Teresa of Avila.

St. Joseph is truly the universal protector of the Church. In The Man Nearest to Christ: The Nature and Historic Development of Devotion to Saint Joseph, Fr. Francis L Filas recounts the origin of devotion in the United States to St. Joseph. As you will see, this devotion predates the foundation of the country!

On the North American missions the name of Saint Joseph appeared frequently. In Canada, he was regarded as patron of the land ever since it was called New France. In 1633, Saint John de Brebeuf founded the first mission among the Hurons and dedicated it to Saint Joseph. The first Algonquin mission was likewise placed under his care. Both the Recollect Fathers and the Jesuits often named islands and rivers in his honor. In 1675, Fr. Allouez called Lake Michigan Lake Saint Joseph. At Montreal the Sulpician Fathers followed in the steps of their founder, Fr. Olier, by inspiring the faithful to turn to the spouse of Mary in their need. The Ursulines and Grey Nuns always paid him exceptional veneration…

For more prayers, devotional items, and customs for this Feast of St. Joseph, please visit Fish Eaters. Also, make an Act of Consecration to St. Joseph today.

This feastday is distinct from both the Patronage of St. Joseph (Eastertide Feast) and St. Joseph the Worker.

Passiontide & St. Joseph's Day

As stated by the National Secretariat for the Liturgy of the Portuguese Episcopal Conference:

"In the Roman Missal of St. Pius V, after the Mass on Saturday preceding the Sunday of the Passion was the heading: "Before the Vespers, cover up their crosses and images which are in the church. The crosses remain covered until the end of the worship of the Cross on Good Friday, and Images to the Hymn of the Angels (Glory to God in Heaven) on Holy Saturday. " See that it was the custom on the last two weeks of Lent, through which it wished to focus the attention of the faithful in the mystery of Christ's Passion. All that could cut into it, as were the images of Saints, was covered."

However, there is also a particular unique exception that might apply some years when Passiontide falls during March, the month of St. Joseph. By way of exception, the Sacred Congregation of Rites decreed on May 14, 1879, that the images and statues of Saint Joseph may remain UNCOVERED when any part of Passiontide falls in the month of March, which is, of course, dedicated to his honor - even on Good Friday - but ONLY IF the said image(s) STAND OUTSIDE THE SANCTUARY (e.g., the nave). 

St. Joseph’s Day As A Holy Day of Obligation

The first catalog of Holy Days comes from the Decretals of Gregory IX in 1234, which listed 45 Holy Days. In 1642, His Holiness Pope Urban VIII issued the papal bull "Universa Per Orbem" which altered the required Holy Days of Obligation for the Universal Church to consist of 35 such days as well as the principal patrons of one's one locality. St. Joseph's Day is on that list.

However, due to dispensations, differences ranged drastically as to which days were kept as holy days throughout the world. In some parts of the world, St. Joseph's Day on March 19th was a Holy Day of Obligation whereas in others it was not. For instance, St. Joseph's Day was a Holy Day of Obligation in Quebec in the late 1600s and also in the British Colonies in what is now the United States of America. It was also a holy day of Obligation in what is now Florida, among other places. But changes abounded as the number of holy days gradually weakened over the centuries. 

At America's birth, the Holy Days of Obligation, in addition to every Sunday, were as follows: the feasts of Christmas, Circumcision, Epiphany, Annunciation, Easter Monday, Ascension, Corpus Christi, Ss. Peter and Paul, Assumption, and All Saints. St. Joseph's Day had ceased being a Holy Day of Obligation in the United States. However, it remained a holy day in some other parts of the world.

In 1911, Pope St. Pius X issued Supremi disciplinæ which drastically reduced the number of Holy Days of Obligation in the Universal Church to only 8. St. Joseph's Day did not make the list. Shortly thereafter in 1917, however, Corpus Christi and St. Joseph were added back by his successor, bringing the total to 10. The 10 currently observed on the Universal Calendar are the same as from 1917.

As for the Holy Days observed in the United States, the Catholic Encyclopedia in referencing Supremi disciplinæ noted, "Where, however, any of the above feasts has been abolished or transferred, the new legislation is not effective. In the United States consequently the Epiphany and the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul are not days of precept." The same is true of St. Joseph's Day in the changes in 1917. While the 1917 change did not add St. Joseph's Day back to the list of Holy Days of Obligation in the United States, it did elsewhere.

Presently, Indonesia, Lebanon, Malta, Spain, and the Diocese of Lugano in Switzerland keep St. Joseph's Day as a Holy Day.

Why have a Devotion to St. Joseph?

St. Teresa of Avila answered:

To the other Saints it appears that the Lord may have granted power to succor us on particular occasions; but to this Saint, as experience proves, He has granted power to help us on all occasions. Our Lord would teach us that, as he was pleased to be subject to Joseph upon the earth, so He is now pleased to grant whatever this Saint asks for in heaven. Others whom I have recommended to have recourse to Joseph, have known this from experience. I never knew any one who was particularly devout to him, that did not continually advance more and more in virtue. For the love of God, let him who believes not this make his own trial. And I do not know how any one can think of the Queen of Angels, at the time when she labored so much in the infancy and childhood of Jesus, and not return thanks to Joseph for the assistance which he rendered both to the Mother and to the Son"

For this reason, we can say that St. Joseph is the first among the saints after our Blessed Mother. We call this protodulia.

Sermon 2 "On St Joseph" by St. Bernardine of Siena:

This is the general rule that applies to all individual graces given to a rational creature. Whenever divine grace selects someone to receive a particular grace, or some especially favoured position, all the gifts for his state are given to that person, and. enrich him abundantly.

This is especially true of that holy man Joseph, the supposed father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and true husband of the queen of the world and of the angels. He was chosen by the eternal Father to be the faithful foster-parent and guardian of the most precious treasures of God, his Son and his spouse. This was the task which he so faithfully carried out. For this, the Lord said to him, "Good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord."

A comparison can be made between Joseph and the whole Church of Christ. Joseph was the specially chosen man through whom and under whom Christ entered the world fittingly and in an appropriate way. So, if the whole Church is in the debt of the Virgin Mary, since, through her, it was able to receive the Christ, surely after her, it also owes to Joseph special thanks and veneration.

For he it is who marks the closing of the old testament. In him the dignity of the prophets and patriarchs achieves its promised fulfillment. Moreover; he alone possessed in the flesh what God in his goodness promised to them over and again.

It is beyond doubt that Christ did not deny to Joseph in heaven that intimacy, respect, and high honour which he showed to him as to a father during his own human life, but rather completed and perfected it. Justifiably the words of the Lord should be applied to him, "Enter into the joy of your Lord." Although it is the joy of eternal happiness that comes into the heart of man, the Lord prefers to say to him "enter into joy". The mystical implication is that this joy is not just inside man, but surrounds him everywhere and absorbs him, as if he were plunged in an infinite abyss.

Therefore be mindful of us, blessed Joseph, and intercede for us with Him Whom men thought to be your Son. Win for us the favour of the most Blessed Virgin your spouse, the mother of Him Who lives and reigns with the Holy Spirit through ages unending. Amen.

Quamquam Pluries:

"Although We have already many times ordered special prayers to be offered up in the whole world, that the interests of Catholicism might be insistently recommended to God, none will deem it matter for surprise that We consider the present moment an opportune one for again inculcating the same duty. During periods of stress and trial -- chiefly when every lawlessness of act seems permitted to the powers of darkness -- it has been the custom in the Church to plead with special fervor and perseverance to God, her author and protector, by recourse to the intercession of the saints -- and chiefly of the Blessed Virgin, Mother of God -- whose patronage has ever been the most efficacious. The fruit of these pious prayers and of the confidence reposed in the Divine goodness, has always, sooner or later, been made apparent. Now, Venerable Brethren, you know the times in which we live; they are scarcely less deplorable for the Christian religion than the worst days, which in time past were most full of misery to the Church. We see faith, the root of all the Christian virtues, lessening in many souls; we see charity growing cold; the young generation daily growing in depravity of morals and views; the Church of Jesus Christ attacked on every side by open force or by craft; a relentless war waged against the Sovereign Pontiff; and the very foundations of religion undermined with a boldness which waxes daily in intensity. These things are, indeed, so much a matter of notoriety that it is needless for Us to expatiate on the depths to which society has sunk in these days, or on the designs which now agitate the minds of men. In circumstances so unhappy and troublous, human remedies are insufficient, and it becomes necessary, as a sole resource, to beg for assistance from the Divine power" 

(Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII promulgated on August 15, 1889).


We beseech Thee, O Lord, that we may be helped by the merits of the Spouse of Thy most holy Mother: so that what we cannot obtain of ourselves, may be given to us through his intercession: Who livest and reignest.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
Saturday, March 18, 2006
I'm a B-Team Blogger!

I want to thank Rick of De Civitate Dei for creating Amateur Catholic. It's a blog for all Catholic bloggers that do not get paid for their blogging but just love being a part of the Catholic Blogsphere. We're the B-Team of Catholic Bloggers.

I will display the B-Team Logo with pride.
The Stational Church for the Saturday in the 2nd Week of Lent

If you haven't started to join me in praying each day this devotion, please do so. Every lent there are many pilgrims that journey throughout Rome to different Catholic churches. This devotion began over 1500 years ago, and today even though we can't physically be there, we can join the pilgrims spiritually. Please begin praying the Stational Churches.

Today's station is at the Church of Sts. Marcellinus & Peter

"This Station is in the basilica founded by St. Helen on the Via Lavicana, in which were buried the bodies of St. Marcellinus, priest, and St. Peter, exorcist, martyred at Tome during the Diocletian persecution. Their names are mentioned in the Roman Canon of the Mass.

"May today's stational saints, not brothers in the flesh, but in spirit, obtain for us the gift of gratitude both for our holy calling—God's free gift—as well as for the grace of conversion, our homecoming to the Father. For the remainder of our life may "the unspotted law of the Lord, which converts souls, and the testimonies of our faithful Lord fill us with such wisdom that we shall show forth the glory of God, and declare the works of His hands."

"Let us pray: Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, a saving virtue to our fast; that the chastisement of the flesh, which we have taken upon us may bestow new life to our souls. Through Christ, Our Lord. Amen. "
(Source: St. John Cantius Parish)
Fishers of Men


The DVD, Fishers of Men, is now available at The DVD was requested by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to show the lives of priests. It is being called the best vocational film ever produced by the Catholic Church.

You can view a trailer by visiting the USCCB website.
Special Intentions

I have been contacted by two separate people in emails begging me for prayers. They desperately need them but asked that I not go into detail on my blog. So, I will keep their names anonymous.

Please offer up your prayers for these two for the Lord surely knows who they are.
Friday, March 17, 2006
Eating Meat on St. Patrick's Day?

Since St. Patrick’s Day falls during Lent, it coincides with the traditional Lenten fast, which traditionally requires 40 days of fasting and abstinence from meat. Even in Ireland, where it is a Holy Day of Obligation, the fast and abstinence on Holy Days of Obligation are not abrogated in Lent without a specific dispensation. In fact, the Irish people kept the strictness of abstinence even from animal products during Lent longer than many other nations.

Yet the custom developed of such dispensations. With the growing number of Irish immigrants to America in the early 1800s, for instance, special attention was given to dispensing from the law of abstinence when St. Patrick's Day fell on a Friday. This was done for the members of the Charitable Irish Society of Boston in 1837 and would become customary in the United States. 

Several dioceses around the United States have granted Catholics dispensations so that they may eat meat today in honor of St. Patrick this year since St. Patrick's Day this year is on a Friday in Lent. However, some dioceses have not granted dispensations. 

The following dioceses have granted dispensations (not a complete list): Boston, MA Buffalo, NY Chicago, IL Cincinnati, OH Cleveland, OH Green Bay, WI Lincoln, NE Lansing, MI Erie, PA Arlington, TX Toledo, OH Phoenix, AZ The Washington Archdiocese Minneapolis & St Paul, MN Lexington, Kentucky Portland, OR Fall River MA Providence RI. 

The Dioceses of Denver, Miami, Harrisburg, Penn., and Sioux City said that abstaining from meat will still be required today.
Today's Stational Church: March 17, 2006

Today's Stational Church is the Church of St. Vitalis

Mother Church points today to the "Great Friday" on which our High Priest and Redeemer obtained for us eternal redemption. She takes us today to the church of St. Vitalis—father of the holy martyrs, Gervase and Protase. For his loyalty to Christ, St. Vitalis was first buried up to the waist in an old cistern and then stoned to death.

Here at the altar of this martyr—his name means "full of life"—Holy Mother Church directs our attention to the life-giving death of the Savior. In four weeks we will celebrate the life-begetting Passion of Christ. Pointing to this great mystery, the Church prays that we continue to prepare for it; that the holy fast may chasten us and make our hearts pure, so that when the vintage time of the Paschal solemnity arrives, the divine householder may not be obliged to say: "I looked that my vineyard should bring forth grapes, and it has brought forth thorns."

May St. Vitalis, who drank so abundantly of the sacred winepress of the Lord's Passions, accompany us today to the Eucharistic Banquet in which this most Holy Passion is rendered present and the fruits thereof applied to our souls. Here all of us will become "Vitales"—living members of Christ—the Fountain of all life and holiness.

Let us pray: Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that cleansed by this holy fast, we may be brought by Thee with pure hearts to the holy season, which is to come. Through Christ, Our Lord.Amen.

(Source: St. John Cantius)
The Feast of St. Patrick. Who Was St. Patrick?

All the children of Ireland cry out to thee: Come, O holy Patrick, and save us!

Optional Memorial (1969 Calendar): March 17
Double (1954 Calendar): March 17 (Double of the First Class in Ireland)
III Class (1962 Calendar): March 17 (1st Class in Ireland)

Today the Church celebrates the life of one of my favorite saints - St. Patrick of Ireland.

St. Patrick was born around 370 AD in Scotland, and at the age of 16, he was kidnapped and sent as a slave in Ireland. St. Patrick was not profoundly religious as a child, but in Ireland when he was sent to work as a shepherd, he began to pray. After six years of service and fervent prayer, St. Patrick received a dream where he was commanded to return to Britain. St. Patrick escaped Ireland and returned to Britain. In Britain, he entered the Catholic Church like his father and grandfather before him.

St. Patrick was ordained a priest by Saint Germanus in 432 and later a bishop. He later returned to Ireland to convert his people to Christianity. Pope Saint Celestine sent him to evangelize England, then Ireland. St. Patrick's chariot driver was Saint Odran, and Saint Jarlath was one of his students. He advocated against slavery, idolatry, sun worship, and paganism! Shortly after his death, slavery was abolished in Ireland!

Some reports claim he built between 300-600 churches and countless schools and hospitals. In his 33 years in Ireland, he converted nearly the entire country. He taught the Trinity by using a three-leaf clover. Because of his work, Ireland became known as the Land of Saints. St. Patrick died around 461 AD in Ireland, where he worked for years to evangelize.

Today is actually a holy day of obligation in Ireland, Bank Holiday Ireland, and Northern Ireland.

Let us read the traditional reading on his life in the traditional Breviary read at Matins:
Patrick, called the apostle of Ireland, was born in Great Britain. His father’s name was Calphumius. Conchessa, his mother, is said to have been a relation of St. Martin, bishop of Tours. He was several times taken captive by the barbarians, when he was a boy, and was put to tend their flocks. Even in that tender age, he gave signs of the great sanctity he was afterwards to attain. Full of the spirit of faith, and of the fear and love of God, he used to rise at the earliest dawn of day, and, in spite of snow, frost, or rain, go to offer up his prayers to God. It was his custom to pray a hundred times during the day, and a hundred during the night. After his third deliverance from slavery, he entered the ecclesiastical state and applied himself, for a considerable time, to the study of the sacred Scriptures. Having made several most fatiguing journeys through Gaul, Italy, and the islands of the Mediterranean, he was called by God to labour for the salvation of the people of Ireland. Pope Saint Celestine gave him power to preach the Gospel, and consecrated him bishop. Whereupon, he set out for Ireland. 
It would be difficult to relate how much this apostolic man had to suffer in the mission thus entrusted to him: he had to bear with extraordinary trials, fatigues, and adversaries. But, by the mercy of God, that land, which heretofore had worshipped idols, so well repaid the labour wherewith Patrick had preached the Gospel, that it was afterwards called the island of saints. He administered holy Baptism to many thousands: he ordained several bishops, and frequently conferred Holy Orders in their several degrees; he drew up rules for virgins and widows, who wished to lead a life of continency. By the authority of the Roman Pontiff, he appointed Armagh the metropolitan See of the whole island, and enriched that church with the saints’ relics, which he had brought from Rome. God honoured him with heavenly visions, with the gift of prophecy and miracles; all which caused the name of the saint to be held in veneration in almost every part of the world. 
Besides his daily solicitude for the churches, his vigorous spirit kept up an uninterrupted prayer. For it is said, that he was wont to recite every day the whole psalter, together with the canticles and the hymns, and two hundred prayers: that he every day knelt down three hundred times to adore God; and that at each canonical hour of the day, he signed himself a hundred times with the sign of the cross. He divided the night into three parts: the first was spent in the recitation of a hundred psalms, during which he genuflected two hundred times: the second was spent in reciting the remaining fifty psalms, which he did standing in cold water, and his heart, eyes, and hands lifted up to heaven; the third he gave to a little sleep, which he took laid upon a bare stone. Being a man of extraordinary humility, he imitated the apostles, and practised manual labour. At length, being worn out by his incessant fatigues in the cause of the Church, powerful in word and work, having reached an extreme old age he slept in the Lord, after being refreshed with the holy mysteries. He was buried at Down, in Ulster, in the fifth century of the Christian era.
There was a very beautiful prayer on St. Patrick's Breastplate:

Christ be with me,
Christ within me,
Christ behind me,
Christ before me,
Christ beside me,
Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort me and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet,
Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.


O God, Who didst vouchsafe to send blessed Patrick, Thy Confessor and Bishop, to preach Thy glory to the nations: grant, by his merits and intercession, that whatever Thou commandest us to do, we may by Thy mercy be able to fulfill. Through our Lord.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal

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