Saturday, August 31, 2013
St. Raymond Nonnatus

Double (1954 Calendar): August 31
III Class (1962 Calendar): August 31

Today is the Feast of St. Raymond Nonnatus, not to be confused with St. Raymond of Peñafort

St. Raymond Nonnatus was born to a noble Spanish family in the year 1204.  As such, the young saint was well educated, and his father planned a career for Raymond in the royal court in Aragon.  When Raymond felt drawn to religious life, his father ordered him to manage one of the family farms. However, Raymond spent his time with the shepherds and workers, studying and praying until his father gave up the idea of making his son a success in the eyes of the world.

St. Raymond was ordained a Mercedarian priest, receiving the habit from Saint Peter Nolasco, the order’s founder.  St. Raymond would become the Master-general of the Mercedarian Order. As a member of the order, he spent his entire fortune ransoming Christians from Muslim captors, and then he surrendered himself as a hostage to free another.

Sentenced to death by impalement, he was spared because of his large ransom value. Imprisoned and tortured, he still managed to convert some of his guards. To keep him from preaching the faith, his captors bored a hole through his lips with a hot iron and attached a padlock. St. Raymond was eventually ransomed, returning to Barcelona, Spain in 1239. He was created a cardinal by Pope Gregory IX, although even as a Cardinal St. Raymond continued to live as a mendicant monk. He died en route to Rome to answer a papal summons on August 31, 1240.

Traditional Matins Reading:

Raymund, surnamed Nonnatus, on account of his having been brought into the world in an unusual manner after the death of his mother, was of a pious and noble family of Portelli in Catalonia. From his very infancy, he showed signs of his future holiness; for, despising childish amusements and the attractions of the world, he applied himself to the practice of piety so that all wondered at his virtue, which far surpassed his age. As he grew older he began his studies, but after a short time, he returned to his father’s command to live in the country. He frequently visited the chapel of St. Nicholas, near Portelli, in order to venerate in it a holy image of the Mother of God, which is still much honored by the faithful. There he would pour out his prayers, begging God’s holy Mother to adopt him for her son and to deign to teach him the way of salvation and the science of the saints.

The most benign Virgin heard his prayer, and gave him to understand that it would greatly please her if he entered the religious Order lately founded by her inspiration, under the name of the Order of 'Ransom, or of Mercy for the redemption of captives.’ Upon this Raymund at once set out for Barcelona, there to embrace that institute so full of brotherly charity. Thus enrolled in the army of holy religion, he persevered in perpetual virginity, which he had already consecrated to the Blessed Virgin. He excelled also in every other virtue, most especially in charity towards those Christians who were living in misery, as slaves of the pagans. He was sent to Africa to redeem them and freed many from slavery. But when he had exhausted his money, rather than abandon others who were in danger of losing their faith, he gave himself up to the barbarians as a pledge for their ransom. Burning with a most ardent desire for the salvation of souls, he converted several Mahometans to Christ by his preaching. On this account, he was thrown into a close prison, and after many tortures, his lips were pierced through and fastened together with an iron padlock, which cruel martyrdom he endured for a long time.

This and his other noble deeds spread the fame of his sanctity far and near so that Gregory IX determined to enroll him in the august college of the cardinals of the holy Roman Church. When raised to that dignity the man of God shrank from all pomp and clung always to religious humility. On his way to Rome, as soon as he reached Cardona, he was attacked by his last illness and earnestly begged to be strengthened by the Sacraments of the Church. As his illness grew worse and the priest delayed to come, angels appeared, clothed in the religious habit of his Order, and refreshed him with the saving Viaticum. Having received It he gave thanks to God and passed to our Lord on the last Sunday of August in the year 1240. Contentions arose concerning the place where he should be buried; his coffin was therefore placed upon a blind mule and by the will of God it was taken to the chapel of St. Nicholas, that it might be buried in that place where he had first begun a more perfect life. A convent of his Order was built on the spot, and there famous for many signs and miracles, he is honored by the concourse of all the faithful of Catalonia, who come there to fulfill their vows.


O God, You granted remarkable success to the efforts of the holy confessor Raymond in releasing Christians from the slavery of unbelievers. May his prayers free us from the slavery of sin, so that we may fulfill Your wishes with complete freedom. Through our Lord.

Prayer to Saint Raymond Nonnatus 

O Blessed Saint Raymond Nonnatus, so loving to all your devotees, I being last of them all, I am happy to know that through the infinite goodness of God, He has deigned to make you a Saint, adorned thee with special graces and help, for which I am most thankful. On the Most Holy Trinity, and you my adorable patron saint, through your merits and those of the blood poured by our Savior Jesus Christ, and through the Immaculate Conception of Mary, I most humbly beg thee, deign to intercede from the most sublime God, protection for the holy Mother Church, that through your prayers, God's wrath be taken away, see the progress of true faith, defeat the wrong doctrines, the peace and understanding of all Christians, peace of the whole country and the redemption of the Christian captives.

I am humbly begging you my devoted saint, that you be may be my intercessor. Since for many hours you did not die of the womb of your dead mother an you were successfully delivered from her side, to be the joy of the world, and that my soul may live in grace in this earthly world, may I imitate your live and exemplary holiness, so that when the hour of my death comes, I may detest all evil thoughts and temporary wealth of this world, so that with the burning love for God, my soul may reach heaven and together with you and the angels and all the saints, praise God Almighty forever.

Deign to grant me most amiable father the favor I am asking in this novena (mention the request). I firmly believe most amiable father that you will be my protection since you are merciful to any one imploring thy help. But if the favor I am asking will not be for the glory of God and the good of my soul, then beg from God that I will be resigned to his Divine Will, so that I may have the peace of soul while I live, till the hour of my death and that I enjoy true happiness in heaven.
Friday, August 30, 2013
Virtual Tour: St. Ignatius College Prep

Saint Ignatius College Prep is a private, coeducational Jesuit high school located in Chicago, Illinois. The school was founded in Chicago in 1869 by Fr. Arnold Damen, S.J., a Belgian missionary to the United States. The school is coeducational, Catholic, college preparatory and sponsored by the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits)

Thursday, August 29, 2013 Reviews

You are really providing a valuable service. The scriptural emphasis is wonderful. I sure hope this gets to be more widely known -- and used!
Dr. Scott Hahn
It is a monumental work for which I have nothing but praise. Clearly, this "Mary" part is spectacular. The organization of each section or chapter is clear and understandable. It is followed through in each section. The different parts fit together and flow into each other: Introduction, Prayer and an explanation, Background from Sacred Scripture, Church teachings as found in Catechisms and Church Documents, Discussion or integration, Activity, Quiz and Closing Prayer. I find that the work has a clear dialectical method that leads the reader to learn experientially and intuitively. It immerses the student into the life of the Church on the topic. There is a feeling of becoming a part of what one is learning. Congratulations to a wonderful work. Again, I must say that this is a monumental work that is very good. I strongly recommend it to everyone. It compiles in a simple yet organized way not only what we believe about the Blessed Virgin Mary but also the cult of the Catholic Church that has grown around this wonderful belief.
Rev. Carl L. Pieber, C.M., Executive Director
Central Association of the Miraculous Medal
During the past four decades, many parents have learned from experience that they must actively take responsibility as their children's primary teachers if they want them to learn anything substantial about their faith. But such parents may have searched in growing bewilderment for reliable, comprehensive, attractive, current catechetical materials. Here is the answer: the Magisterial dogmas and doctrines of our Catholic faith, brought into your home on the Internet. Developed and administered by believers at the resurgent heart of the Church-- experienced religious and lay teachers and parents-- this program has swept through North American dioceses and attracted subscribers on every continent. Its materials are tailored for every age, from docile first graders to senior citizens seeking remedial instruction. And each pupil can work at his own pace as he falls in love with the ageless truth. Praise the Lord, is the real thing!
Mrs. Donna Steichen
Various websites are drawn on to supplement and illustrate their material...Those who register and use the program will find an excellent amount of Catholic resources available. Fidelity rating: Excellent. 
Catholic Culture Website Reviews
Proudly featured on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) with Father Pacwa in 2006
Featured in Volume 10.1 of Envoy Magazine, a quarterly journal of Catholic thought published by the Envoy Institute of Belmont Abbey College, under the guidance of their Editor and Director, Patrick Madrid, renown Catholic apologist
Envoy Magazine
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Tour of the Baltimore Basilica of the Assumption of Mary

Photos (c) A Catholic Life Blog, 2013.
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Top 10 Sunday Activities for Catholics

In the Catholic life, Sunday is much more than just the day of obligatory Mass attendance.  Sunday is the high point of the week.  It is the holiest day of the week and a day characterized not by servile work, errands, or temporal concerns.  Sunday is a day dedicated to the Lord and to Him alone.  As such, Sunday has always occupied in the minds and actions of Catholics a special place. 

Here are the top 10 activities for Catholics on Sunday:

1. Attend Holy Mass

Nothing is as holy as the august sacrifice of the Holy Mass.  While Mass attendance is obligatory under pain of mortal sin to all Catholics, this obligation should be accepted with joy and enthusiasm.  Sunday Eucharist should be the high point of our week.  The days leading up to Sunday should be days of spiritual preparation to receive on our tongues and in our bodies the true Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of our Redeemer and Divine Lord.  The days immediately following Sunday should be occasions of thanksgiving and praise in recognition of this supreme gift.  How many of us fail in adequate Thanksgiving after Mass?  How many of us fail in proper Thanksgivings for the days following our Holy Communions?

Make it an effort to attend Mass with joy and reverence.  Even go to more than one Mass on a given Sunday from time to time.  Perhaps you, like me, sometimes go to an 8 AM Sunday Low Mass and then go down the road to separate parish at 10 AM for a High (or Solemn High) Mass.

2. Pray the Divine Office

If you are like most Catholics, you have little time to pray the Divine Office during the work week.  If this is you, make an effort to pray Lauds, Vespers, and Compline each Sunday as a family.  Pray Lauds before going to Mass.  Pray Vespers before Sunday dinner.  And pray Compline after the Family Rosary in the evening before bed.

The Divine Office is the official prayer of the Church.  Unite your family with the Liturgical Year and pray the Divine Office on Sundays (and other holy days of obligation).

Not sure where to being?  There are various online resources and numerous printed copies of the Divine Office.  For newcomers, I recommend praying the 1962 or 1955 brevaries in English.

3. Family Rosary

Perhaps no Sunday activity is as cherished as the family Rosary.  As the axiom goes, “The Family that prays together stays together.”  Families have a responsibility – as the domestic Church – to foster a sense of holiness and religion amongst their members. The family Rosary should be a time of regular devotion – at least weekly if daily Rosary as a family is not possible.

For those families who have members that have fallen from the Faith, this is a sure means to help them return to the Church.  Beseech our Lady to send them the graces necessary to save their souls. Invite family members to the Rosary. Indeed, the family that prays together does stay together.

4. Charitable Works

Sunday is a day most appropriate for charity.  Our Lord was accosted by the Pharisees for performing miracles (e.g. works of charity) on the Sabbath.  Nowadays, to those who claim that Sunday is not a day most appropriate for charity, we remind them of the Lord’s words: “Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?" (Luke 14:5).  Shall we let those who have fallen in sin or despair remain there without aiding them?

The means by which we are able to serve others is bountiful.  From soup kitchens to visiting the elderly in nursing homes to visiting those in prison to distributing food to the homeless in inner-city streets, the amount of charitable venues for Catholics is numerous.  Yet in all of these venues, charity is done neither for our gain nor for a tax donation nor for the “feel good” mentality of doing what is right.  Rather, charity is done because we are children of God intent on serving others as our Master and Lord has commanded us to do (cf. John 13: 34-35).

Therefore, all of our charity should, if at all possible, be done with an authentically Catholic organization.  In instances when we do not – or cannot – perform charity with a Catholic organization, we must ensure that we are not aligning ourselves with so called “charities” who oppose and work to undermine the Holy Church.  Just a few of these examples are UNICEF, the March of Dimes, Susan G Komen, The Girl Scouts (who support abortion),  the Boy Scouts (who support homosexual marriage), the Salvation Army (which is a protestant denomination), and many others.

All charity must has its roots in our desire to imitate our Lord and unite our actions with His Sacred Heart.  A list of Catholic charitable organization is available readily online.

5. Teach/Learn Catechism

No other day should be as treasured for the passing on or the learning of the Faith than Sunday.  By the virtue of the Fourth Commandment we are forbidden from performing servile work (i.e. the work typical of a servant) on Sundays.  We are also forbidden from commanding those us under our charge to perform such works. Parents may not force their children to mow the lawn (and they should actually forbid such an activity on Sunday!).  Homeowners may not paint their rooms or work on household labors or even command their contractors or hired help to work on Sunday to accomplish a goal.  Rather, we should ask those under our charge to refrain from all such labors on the Holy Day.

What are we to do with our time besides prayer and charity?  We are to study and transit the Faith.  Studying is a discipline of the mind and all forms of intellectual study whether they be studying the catechism, learning Kepler’s laws of the universe, understanding history, practicing Latin, learning a musical instrument, et cetera are permissible on Sunday.  They are even encouraged.

But chief among these activities is the learning and transmission of the Deposit of Faith.  To those who teach the Faith, the Church imparts indulgences.

6. Apostolates and Ecclesial Organizations

Sunday is the chief day of the week for those of us in ecclesial or apostolic organizations to meet, plan, and engage in our ministries.  Those of us in the Holy Name Society, the St. Stephen’s Guild for Altar Servers, the Third (3rd) Orders, prayer groups, Bible studies, Confraternity meetings, and the like should strive to meet on Sundays.  These activities are extensions of charity (e.g. prayer groups) or learning (e.g. Bible studies) and are encouraged on Sundays.  

7. Leisure

Leisure is often viewed as a “do-nothing” state.  Far be it.  Leisure is not idleness or laziness.  Leisure is the reason for which we were created and as the philosopher Josef Pieper affirmed, the very reason why we labor.

In his book, Leisure, the Basis of Culture, Pieper makes the claim that the reconstruction of Western Culture demands a rebirth of the notion of leisure. Leisure is distinctive from the state of inactivity or acedia, because it is based in festival and an affirmation of the world for what the world truly is (i.e., a creation). This takes place most distinctively in the festival, which is founded on the concept of worship, which is the recognition that man is dependent on God. What then does it mean to be at leisure, and what is the “act” that is most appropriate to leisure? Contemplation.

The following is taken from Catholic Book Summaries:

The modern world has lost much of what is contained in the notion of leisure. It is strictly opposed to what the ancients called acedia. The worker type, who finds his very meaning in the usefulness he serves to society, can only identify leisure with a sense of idleness and inactivity. Acedia is precisely this lack of doing, but the notion goes deeper still. Acedia is fundamentally a despair of ever accomplishing that which one is meant to be. It is a giving up in the effort to be who one is. This can lurk behind even in the most physically satisfying of exertions.

In order to understand leisure then, Pieper asks what is diametrically opposed to acedia. The modern man would have us believe that it is the industriousness of the worker contributing to the good of the society. But if acedia is fundamentally a denial of man’s existence as man, then its opposite must be a fundamental affirmation of who man is. Pieper turns to Thomas for the startling statement that acedia, so often understood as the man who fails to do any work, is not a resting per se, but is a very sin against the command of rest. Acedia then is a restlessness that is opposed to the very spirit of leisure.

After this contrast, Pieper attempts to provide a concept of leisure to the reader. Leisure then, in the first place is a stillness of spirit, an opening of the mind to receive. It is secondly, opposed to the idea of work as effort, for it takes place in a sense of celebration, of approval of the world. The highest expression of this celebration is the festival. Thirdly, leisure must be understood as opposed to the concept of break-from-work. A break is meant to afford man the ability to continue working. The break is fundamentally for the sake of work. Leisure, though truly refreshing, derives this freshness from the very fact that it is for its own sake. It is only accidental that man is better able to work after being at-leisure. Leisure is not about making the worker a better functionary, but about making him more human. In participating in leisure, something of the human is left behind and a spark of the divine is achieved.

Leisure is found first and foremost in worship (i.e., in the Holy Mass), but there are various other means of Leisure in which we can rightfully participate on Sunday.  Examples include the other points on this list.

8. Authentic Family Time

The image of the “couch potato” father who watches sports on the television but who never leaves the couch to play with his children should never actualize itself in a Catholic home.  Sundays are a family day.  Go on a picnic.  Play football in the back yard.  Visit a park and go on a nature hike in the afternoon after Mass.  With the busyness of modern life, authentic family time without the presence of cell phones, tablets, and computers is quickly disappearing.  Family time should be free of distractions (e.g., emails, phone calls, and temporal concerns).  Visit your elderly parents.  Play with your young children.  Invite your neighbors for dinner.  Sunday is the paramount day to engage in authentic and heartfelt family fun.  Do not neglect this day and enslave Sunday to consumerism.  Sundays should not be spent at the Mall or the store since our purchases cause others to have to work on Sundays.  Engage in activities that do not force others to labor.  

9. Hobbies

There is nothing wrong with using part of our Sundays to engage in our personal pastimes.  Do you like to read?  Do you enjoy cooking or playing tennis?  Do you enjoy biking?  Sunday is a day to engage in these joys. Recall that the monks will typically take an afternoon stroll each week only on Sundays.  Sundays are suitable for the pursuit of our hobbies (so long as they do not constitute servile work or force others to work). 

10. Sunday Dinner

And finally, last but not least, we come to the last item on our list: Sunday Dinner.  As eloquently put by Regina Magazine:
Sunday dinner is arguably the bedrock of Roman life. After Mass, Romans take a passegiata (stroll), to prepare for a civilized afternoon of great food and lively talk. No trips to the Mall. No working out at the gym. Sunday dinner is sacrosanct – as it should be for all Catholics. This is because our relationships mean more to us than our ‘me time.’ It also teaches our children how to enjoy the best things in life – carefully prepared food, beautifully served with the give-and-take of conversation and laughter, begun with a Catholic thanks to God for His gifts.
Invite your friends, family, and neighbors.  Let’s take back the sacredness of Sunday dinner as a meal in honor of our Lord’s resurrection.


What of these activities do you do?  What are you going to do differently?  Do you have any other suggestions?
Monday, August 26, 2013
Sins Committed While in Church are Most Serious

 “We read in the little book, called the Ladder of Heaven, that a pious priest who was making his thanksgiving after Mass, near the altar, once saw a devil in the shape of a man writing rapidly on a piece of parchment, and when he came to the bottom of the page, he took it in his teeth, and pulled it out so as to make it wider. The priest, after various exorcisms, commanded him in the name of Jesus Christ to read aloud for the people what he had written. The devil obeyed and in a loud voice cried out: ‘On this parchment I have written all the greetings, conversations, curious and impure looks, indecent behavior, unchaste desires, and, in a word, all the irreverences and sins that the people of this place have been guilty of this morning in church, in order to present them before the judgment-seat of God; for there are no sins that cause us so much satisfaction, as those which are committed in church, because thereby God is treated with the greatest insult and contempt.’ Ah, Christians, if one of those hellish spies were to stand here in our midst, and read out the list of sins that have been committed in our churches during a single year; what a fearful number there would be, even of those of which we take not the least notice! But if he were to call out the names of the guilty ones, and to say: such and such a one has thought, looked, spoken, or acted in such and such a manner in the church; he has hitherto behaved disrespectfully in different ways; how many there are who would have to hide their heads for shame! But the time will come, when everything shall be shown plainly to the whole world; although the punishment may not be deferred till then.” 

— Fr. Francis Hunolt, S.J.
Sunday, August 25, 2013
Archbishop Lefebvre: A Documentary: Less Than Two Months to Launch

Dear Friend of Archbishop Lefebvre: A Documentary,  

Exciting News

This important work is finally completed and ready for the inaugural screening on October 13 at this year’s Angelus Press Conference for Catholic Tradition. If you haven’t checked out the conference yet, you should do so by visiting here:

After this inaugural launch, we will start our screenings in select theaters nationwide. Be sure to check regularly for updated information.

What Can You Do?

We need your help. With a few months remaining, we’re asking you to do everything you can to spread the word about this important film. Go to, like us on Facebook, share with your friends, heck, even just email them a link to our site. If you know anyone who you think would like this film, or who you think should watch it, then take just a few minutes and pass it on. The links at the bottom of this email make it easy to share.

What’s Coming Next

Beginning next week, we will start regularly adding clips from the documentary to the official website, giving you an inside glimpse of this upcoming movie.

It’s Not too Late

If you are willing to help organize a screening, it’s not too late. Just email us, and we will help you with any preparations. Even if it’s just a suggestion for screenings, send us an email.

Don’t forget to visit, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


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