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Friday, December 14, 2018
Ember Days of Advent: Mark Your Calendars
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Although Ember Days are no longer considered required in mainstream Roman Catholicism following Vatican II, they can - and should - still be observed by the Faithful. In fact, many Traditional priests encourage the Faithful to observe the days. Ember Days are set aside to pray and/or offer thanksgiving for a good harvest and God's blessings.

If you are in good health, please at least fast during these three days and pray the additional prayers. Remember the words from the Gospel: "Unless you do penance, you shall likewise perish" (Luke 13:5).  Ember Days are days of fasting and partial abstinence.

Please click here for a special Ember Day Manual, including reflections for the Advent Ember Days.  It is free.

Ember Days this December: 19, 21, & 22

From New Advent:

Ember days (corruption from Lat. Quatuor Tempora, four times) are the days at the beginning of the seasons ordered by the Church as days of fast and abstinence. They were definitely arranged and prescribed for the entire Church by Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085) for the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after 13 December (S. Lucia), after Ash Wednesday, after Whitsunday, and after 14 September (Exaltation of the Cross). The purpose of their introduction, besides the general one intended by all prayer and fasting, was to thank God for the gifts of nature, to teach men to make use of them in  moderation, and to assist the needy. The immediate occasion was the practice of the heathens of Rome. The Romans were originally given to agriculture, and their native gods belonged to the same class.

At the beginning of the time for seeding and harvesting religious ceremonies were performed to implore the help of their deities: in June for a bountiful harvest, in September for a rich vintage, and in December for the seeding; hence their feriae sementivae, feriae messis, and feri vindimiales. The Church, when converting heathen nations, has always tried to sanctify any practices which could be utilized for a good purpose. At first the Church in Rome had fasts in June, September, and December; the exact days were not fixed but were announced by the priests. The "Liber Pontificalis" ascribes to Pope Callistus (217-222) a law ordering: the fast, but probably it is older. Leo the Great (440-461) considers it an Apostolic institution. When the fourth season was added cannot be ascertained, but Gelasius (492-496) speaks of all four. This pope also permitted the conferring of priesthood and deaconship on the Saturdays of ember week--these were formerly given only at Easter.

Before Gelasius the ember days were known only in Rome, but after his time their observance spread. They were brought into England by St. Augustine; into Gaul and Germany by the Carlovingians. Spain adopted them with the Roman Liturgy in the eleventh century. They were introduced by St. Charles Borromeo into Milan. The Eastern Church does not know them. The present Roman Missal, in the formulary for the Ember days, retains in part the old practice of lessons from Scripture in addition to the ordinary two: for the Wednesdays three, for the Saturdays six, and seven for the Saturday in December. Some of these lessons contain promises of a bountiful harvest for those that serve God.
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Monday, December 10, 2018
2019 Patron Saint of the Year Devotion
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I am very pleased to again be a facilitator for the Patron Saint of the Year Devotion.  I have been part of this annual tradition since 2006 and have helped coordinate devotions for hundreds of families.  It is my pleasure to now be part of the 2019 Patron Saint of the Year Devotion.

SPONSOR: This Devotion is being sponsored this year by CatechismClass.com.  Whether you are looking for godparent preparation courses, Sacramental preparation for your children, or just to better learn the Faith as an adult, CatechismClass.com has courses for all ages and walks of life.  Check out CatechismClass.com's affordable programs and make it a resolution in 2018 to learn and live the Faith better than ever before.

You can read about the past devotions at the following posts:
Again, I would like to take a few minutes to explain the devotion.

When will the saints be drawn?  This year I will start the drawing of saints on the Octave Day of Christmas after the morning's Solemn High Mass and after the recitation of both the Veni Creator Spiritus and the Litany of Saints.  Drawings will occur as the Litany of Saints are again recited.  That means results will likely be posted in the early afternoon (US Pacific Time) on January 1st.

How do I enter?  Just add the names of everyone (you and your family) that you want to be included in the drawing in the comment box below.  DO NOT also email them to me.  Please leave all entries here in the comment box.

This year, saints will be posted here after the drawing is complete.



What is the Saint for the Year Devotion? Here is my post on this from years past to clarify the matter. This is from the person that draws all of the saints. I don't draw the saints. I will merely pass on your name or screen name to her so that she will draw a saint for you. Also, I will pass on the name of any of your family or friends that would like to participate. This isn't superstition. St. Faustina did the same thing!

Last year hundreds of people received saints to be their special patron, and there were miraculous connections. It was truly amazing. We pray that this year the Holy Ghost will again work so that all participants receive a saint that they will be able to pray to for aid throughout the entire year:
Saint for the Year
I want to tell you about the practice of picking a saint at random to be your “holy protector” for the year. Actually, the saint is the one who chooses us though. The tradition of letting a saint “pick you,” is not a new one. St. Faustina wrote about it in her diary, Divine Mercy in My Soul. The excerpt is below.

“There is a custom among us of drawing by lot, on New Year's Day, special Patrons for ourselves for the whole year. In the morning during meditation, there arose within me a secret desire that the Eucharistic Jesus be my special Patron for this year also, as in the past. But, hiding this desire from my Beloved, I spoke to Him about everything else but that. When we came to refectory for breakfast, we blessed ourselves and began drawing our patrons. When I approached the holy cards on which the names of the patrons were written, without hesitation I took one, but I didn't read the name immediately as I wanted to mortify myself for a few minutes. Suddenly, I heard a voice in my soul: ‘I am your patron. Read.’ I looked at once at the inscription and read, ‘Patron for the Year 1935 - the Most Blessed Eucharist.’ My heart leapt with joy, and I slipped quietly away from the sisters and went for a short visit before the Blessed Sacrament, where I poured out my heart. But Jesus sweetly admonished me that I should be at that moment together with the sisters. I went immediately in obedience to the rule.”Excerpt from Divine Mercy in My Soul, the Diary of St. Faustina"

I have a container full of names ... I will be glad to pick out the name for you and send you the name if you prefer. I am so excited by my saint(s) ... I already picked mine. Well, I should say that they picked me ... I have Saints Marcus and Marcellianus ... they are twin brothers who were sent to prison before their death. St. Sebastian visited them continually in prison and helped keep their faith alive. They are buried near St. Felix and are specifically honored in Spain.

OK now ... here are a couple of immediate ironies in regard to these saints ... I have a SPECIAL place in my heart for twins! As a child, I LOVED reading the story about St. Sebastian. I had a children's book of saints and I think I wore out the pages on St. Sebastian! Felix is my grandfather's name! Silvia, our exchange student, is from Spain! I am so excited to have these two saints to walk through 2006 with me! I'm looking forward as to where and how they will intercede for me.
Please pass this message on through your blogs and/or email distribution lists, letting all of the Catholic Blogsphere have the chance to participate.

So, please leave it below in the comment box when you ask to participate. If you wish to remain anonymous, please leave your initials instead of your name.  Anonymous requests without names or initials will NOT be part of the drawing.  Do not add the same request more than once.  If your comment is posted below, it will count.

Note: DO NOT email me your entries.  Leave all submissions here in the comments box.

So, comment below and pass this message on throughout the entire Catholic Blogsphere!

Support

I handle the planning, marketing, and drawing for this devotion each year without any cost. Please take a minute and if you are a supporter of this devotion, please consider leaving us a free will donation. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps me continue working on this devotion and spreading it further and it helps keep A Catholic Life online.

paypal.me/MPlese
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Saturday, December 1, 2018
First Saturday of December
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On Saturdays, Catholics traditionally have taken part in the "First Saturdays Devotion" which entails going to Mass and receiving Communion for the first Saturday of the month for 5 consecutive months in reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This devotion is not to be confused with the First Friday's Devotion, which is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ.

On July 1, 1905, Pope Pius X approved and granted indulgences for the practice of the First Saturdays of twelve consecutive months in honor of the Immaculate Conception. The First Saturday Devotion did not originate as part of the apparitions of our Blessed Lady in Fatima, but the devotion did quickly spread further following our Lady's series of appearances to the three shepherd children in 1917.

Our Blessed Lady's words to Sr. Lucia at Fatima:
Look, my daughter, at my Heart encircled by these thorns with which men pierce it at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You, at least, strive to console me, and so I announce: I promise to assist at the hour of death with the grace necessary for salvation all those who, with the intention of making reparation to me, will, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, go to confession, receive Holy Communion, say five decades of the beads, and keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary. 
The First Saturday Devotion consists of offering the First Saturday of the month for five consecutive months in reparation for the many and grievous sins committed in our world. A further explanation of our Lady's request is below:
  • You must go to the Sacrament of Confession. Your reception of the Sacrament may be 8 days before the Saturday as long as you stay in a state of grace.
  • You must receive the Holy Eucharist and as always, it must be in the state of grace or risk the most grievous sin of sacrilege
  • You must pray 5 decades of the Holy Rosary of our Lady, including the Fatima Prayer.
  • Finally, the last requirement consist of "keeping Mary company" for 15 minutes while meditating on all of the Mysteries of the Rosary with the intention of making reparation to her. This can be done by reading Scripture or other writings relevant to the Mysteries, meditating on pictures of the Mysteries, or simple meditation. Materials for meditation and education on each of the Rosary mysteries is available online.


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Monday, November 26, 2018
12 Pro-Life Charities for Catholics
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Almsgiving is a hallmark pillar of Lent yet it is something that we can and should do all year in order to support worthy causes, advance the Kingdom of God on earth, and atone for our sins by our sacrifice.  I've written before of several worthwhile charities for Catholics (see my post: 10 Traditional Catholic Charities: Almsgiving for Traditional Catholics), but it is also important to consider our impact on the pro-life movement in addition to worthwhile missionary endeavors.

But as Traditional Catholics, which pro-life charities are worth pursuing?  While all pro-life charities should be committed to the fight against abortion, some do so from a purely materialistic and irreligious perspective that is not worthy of supporting (e.g. atheists for life).  On the other hand, some Catholic charities are staunchly Protestant and are not supportive of Catholic blessings, Masses, prayers, or priests.  These charities should also be avoided.

As a result of my research, I'm happy to present a start.  Here are 12 Pro-life Charities for Catholics:

1. Human Life International

Human Life International "defends both the God-given life and dignity of all human persons from conception until natural death and the natural family based on marriage—the fundamental human institution defined by a lifetime union between one man and one woman that is open to life. As followers of Jesus Christ and members of the Catholic Church, our goal is to build a Culture of Life and of Love around the world through education, outreach, and advocacy." 

Like the PRI (mentioned further down this list), Human Life International was founded by a priest - Fr. Paul Marx.

2. American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property

American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) is "an organization of lay Catholic Americans concerned about the moral crisis shaking the remnants of Christian civilization. Its earliest origins date back to January 1971, when the first TFP members started to group around the publication Crusade for a Christian Civilization. Today, with over 120,000 active members, volunteers and donors, the TFP is on the front lines of the Culture War, peacefully defending the values of tradition, family and private ownership. The first TFP was founded in Brazil in 1960 by Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira. The American TFP is one of many autonomous TFPs that now exist around the world dedicated to the same ideals and at the service of Christian Civilization"

3. Sisters of Life

The Sisters of Life is "a contemplative/active religious community of women founded in 1991 by John Cardinal O’Connor for the protection and enhancement of the sacredness of every human life."  As stated on their website: Our missions are carried out with the heart of the Church and with the hope of revealing to those we serve the inherent goodness and beauty of their own lives, so that each person may see and experience the truth that they are an unrepeatable creation of the Master. We welcome pregnant guests to live with us in the Holy Respite of one of our convent, assist pregnant women in need of practical assistance through our Visitation Mission, host retreats at Villa Maria Guadalupe Retreat Center, [and] invite those who have suffered abortion to hope and healing through day and weekend Entering Canaan Retreats."

4. Center for Family and Human Rights - C-Fam

The Center for Family and Human Rights - C-Fam is formerly known as the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute exists "to defend life and family at international institutions and to publicize the debate".  They are attacked by the liberal left for their "radical" pro-life, and anti-LGBT stance which of course is in line with the unchanging teachings of the Faith.

5. 40 Days for Life

After living most of his life as a Protestant, David Bereit, Founder and CEO of 40 Days of Life, entered the Catholic Church in 2018.  40 Days for Life is a prayer and fasting campaign outside of abortion facilities. In times past, it was considered an evangelical charity but with this change, I'm encouraging their support.

Patti Armstrong wrote in the National Catholic Register on April 25, 2018: "He estimates that 75%-80% of 40 Days participants are Catholic, as is his wife of 26 years. And as of this past Easter, Bereit is Catholic, too. He entered the Church from the Presbyterian tradition, during the Easter vigil Mass at St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception parish in Fredericksburg, Virginia. His wife, Margaret, was his sponsor, his high-school son Patrick was an altar server, and his 20-year-old daughter Claire and mother-in-law were there to welcome him into the Church. He recently spoke to the Register about his decision."

6. Population Research Institute

The Population Research Institute is "a non-profit research group whose goals are to expose the myth of overpopulation, to expose human rights abuses committed in population control programs, and to make the case that people are the world’s greatest resource. Our growing, global network of pro-life groups spans over 30 countries."

The Population Research Institute was founded in 1989 by Fr. Paul Marx (1920–2010), a family sociologist, a Catholic priest and Benedictine monk who had established Human Life International as well. PRI became an independent institute in 1996. Steven W. Mosher, the current president of PRI, is a practicing Catholic.

7. Priests for Life

Popularized by their national director, Fr. Frank Pavone, Priests for Life "refers to a very specific effort to galvanize the clergy to preach, teach, and mobilize their people more effectively in the effort to end abortion and euthanasia."  They continue, "On another level, Priests for Life represents a family of ministries that reach and enrich every aspect of the pro-life movement, for clergy and laity alike, in a wide variety of activities. This has come to pass precisely because priests are not ordained for themselves, but for the people. So in activating clergy, we are activating all the segments of the Church, the pro-life movement, and the wider society in the defense of life."

8. The Women's Center of Greater Chicagoland

The Women's Center of Greater Chicagoland "is a nonprofit organization that reaches out to women contemplating abortion with services and support that affirm the dignity of life of both mother and child."  They often raise money at Catholic charities in their Baby bottle campaigns and funds directly support pregnant women who are contemplating abortion.  These are true warriors helping save lives each and every day.  They also have a chapel on their premise and have close relationships with traditional Catholic priests at the Chicagoland Institute of Christ the King Shrine.

9. Thomas More Society

Named for the martyr for the sanctity of the Sacrament of marriage, the Thomas More Society is "a not-for-profit, national public interest law firm dedicated to restoring respect in law for life, family, and religious liberty." They are lawyers who help protect, defend, and advance pro-life laws. They often battle the lawyers of abortion giants liked Planned Parenthood. They need our support to advance the laws necessary to secure a pro-life society. 

10. Tepeyac

Be familiar with charities in your area too.  For example, Tepeyac is an excellent organization for those in and around the Virginia area to support.  Tepeyac is "a pro-life, OB/GYN, integrated healthcare practice with professional medical expertise that cares for the whole person. Tepeyac offers a full range of obstetrical and gynecological services, including well-woman care and cancer screenings, fertility consultation, minimally invasive procedures, global maternal care, a perinatal hospice, and level I and II ultrasounds while respecting the dignity and the intrinsic worth of each patient."

11. American Life League

The American Life League "is an American Catholic grassroots pro-life organization. The group opposes abortion under any circumstance and opposes all forms of contraception, embryonic stem cell research, and euthanasia."

12. Children of the Immaculate Heart

Another regional charity worth supporting is "Children of the Immaculate Heart," which is supported by Matt Fradd.  Children of the Immaculate Heart (CIH) is "a 501 (c)(3) non-profit corporation operating in San Diego, CA. Our Mission is to serve survivors of human trafficking and open the door to their restoration in Jesus Christ. We currently have a housing and rehabilitation program for adult women who are survivors of trafficking and have children. We are also in the process of opening a residential treatment facility for minors who are survivors of human trafficking."

They continue, "CIH sees the rise in human trafficking as evoked by the widespread cultural objectification of women, the breakdown of the family, sexual activity outside of marriage, pornography, abortion, and contraception. Because human trafficking arises from these issues, CIH seeks to evangelize both the individual human heart and society as a whole."

Conclusion

In addition to the above, support those traditional Catholic communities and parishes who regularly pray outside abortuaries and do what they can to raise money for pregnant women.  While this does not often occur in liberal or middle of the road "Catholic" parishes, it is a part of the Traditional Catholic community.

Next time you are considering donating to a pro-life charity such as on #GivingTuesday, please do so to a pro-Catholic one.  And even more important, try to support ones that are truly traditional Catholics.
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Thursday, November 22, 2018
Spanish Catholics and the First Thanksgiving in North America
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Not many know that the Spanish Catholics were the first to give thanksgiving on this continent. A lot of history is never taught.  Wishing you and your families a blessed Thanksgiving this day!
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Tuesday, November 20, 2018
Catholic Parish Directory in Excel
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Please check out my newest online resource - CatholicParishDirectory.com 

When my organization was in the process of trying to mail all of the Catholic churches in the United States, we could not find an online spreadsheet that conveniently housed all of the mailing addresses for parishes. After 2 years of work, we have put together a spreadsheet containing over 10,000 Roman Catholic parishes in all of the Dioceses in the United States. The spreadsheet contains the parish name, a parish contact, a valid USPS mailing address, and an email address of someone at the parish. The parish contact is the pastor unless a pastor could not be found in the public information on the parish's website. In that case, we have listed a parochial vicar, pastoral administrator, deacon, or director of religious education. And as a final note, our listing contains only Roman Catholic parishes and not Eastern Catholic (e.g. Byzantine) parishes or Mass locations that are not a parish (e.g. monasteries, abbeys, seminaries, chapels at airports or other public places, et cetera).

We spent on materials and labor well over $10,000 to put together this list to allow our organization to direct mail these parishes. We are selling our listing for a small fraction of that!  Currently, the price is only $199.95 and you may also receive our future updates to the sheet free of charge.

Click here to visit the site and learn more
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Wednesday, November 14, 2018
The Jesus Psalter Online
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One of the main blessings of being a part of the Catholic Faith is the existence of numerous devotions and aids to our spiritual life that have come out of 2,000 years of history. One of those often unknown devotions is the Jesus Psalter. It is a pre-Reformation English devotion, part of the great flowering of devotion to the Name of Jesus and the Five Wounds in the 15th and early 16th centuries in Britain.

Image Source: Mark W on Facebook

From The Jesus Psalter, Arranged For Public Recitation By A Monk of Ampleforth Abbey, Carmel of Plymouth, 1995:
 "RICHARD WHITFORD (or Whytford) belonged to a family of substance at Whitford in Flintshire. He was a Fellow of Queen's College, Cambridge (The Angel of Syon, p. 34). Afterwards he was received into the family of Richard Foxe, Bishop of Winchester, and by him was made his chaplain during the latter years of Henry VII. While with the bishop he contracted a close friendship with [St.] Thomas More, who sought spiritual counsel at his hands. Later on he determined to leave the world, and restored the Order of St. Bridget in the well-known Monastery of Syon. In his writings he styles himself the 'wretch of Syon.' He lived to see himself turned out of his cell, and the cell itself turned to profane use. On his expulsion he was received into the house of William Blount, Lord Mountjoy, who was extremely charitable to those who suffered for the Faith. The time of his death is not known, but he certainly lived until the accession of Queen Mary, and during the intervening years occupied himself in writing books, as if he were still in his peaceful cell. The Salter of Jesus (in Latin and English) is one of his later writings: it was widely spread among the Catholics of England in the days of persecution, and was a favourite daily devotion with many of them."
The website, Preces Latinae, has made available this devotion online.  Click here to see and pray along with this devotion.  
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Sunday, November 11, 2018
100th Anniversary of the End of WWI
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The Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month at the Eleventh Hour...

Before Omaha Beach, D-Day (June 1944)

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is forever England. There shall be

During World War I (1914 - 1918)

In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,

Funeral Mass (Date Unknown)

A body of England's, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers blest by the suns of home.

Mass on the Battlefield (Date Unknown)

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thought by England given;

Mass on the Battlefield (Date Unknown)

Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English Heaven

Source: "The Soldier" by Rupert Brooke (1887 - 1915)

Chaplain in the US Civil War

Let us remember to pray for the repose of all souls, especially those who are long dead and forgotten, that they may have eternal rest and be freed from any torments in Purgatory.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord; And let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen

O Lord, who art ever merciful and bounteous with Thy gifts, look down upon the suffering souls in purgatory. Remember not their offenses and negligences, but be mindful of Thy loving mercy, which is from all eternity. Cleanse them of their sins and fulfill their ardent desires that they may be made worthy to behold Thee face to face in Thy glory. May they soon be united with Thee and hear those blessed words which will call them to their heavenly home: "Come, blessed of My Father, take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."
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Thursday, November 8, 2018
15 Remedies for Those Struggling with Sins of Impurity
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1. Receive Holy Communion (even daily) if you are in the state of grace.

2. Make Spiritual Communion daily if you can't attend Mass that day (if you are in the state of grace).

3. Have devotion to Mary.  Consecrate ourselves to the Blessed Virgin Mary using either the St. Louis de Montfort or St. Maximilian Kolbe method.  And after you are consecrated, say a short prayer to renew it each day.

4. Pray the Rosary daily for the virtue of chastity.

5. Say 3 Hail Marys each morning daily while on the knees

6. Wear the Brown Scapular always, at all times

7. Call on Mary immediately at the first sign of temptation

8. Pray that the Blessed Virgin will give us a deep hatred for this vice

9. Steady confession - Find a regular confessor who knows your situation.  Go to Confession to him often

10. Meditate on one of the Four Last Things every day. There is no second chance - if we die in mortal sin, we will go to Hell for all eternity.  We could die at any moment. But for those who overcome these sins, Heaven awaits us.

11. Practice the Presence of God.  God is beside us and knows all of our actions and thoughts at all times.  Christ is always aware of what you do. He sees all things.

12. Exercise temperance of food and drinks.  Learn to discipline your will.  If you can't deny yourself food, which isn't a bad thing, how could you have the fortitude to reject something bad that you are horribly addicted to?

13. Dress modestly at all times.

14. Practice 15 - 30 minutes of mental prayer a day.  Be receptive to what the Lord is telling you during this time.

15. Put accountability software (e.g. covenant eyes) on all of your devices and have a trusted friend or family member keep the password to help keep you from looking at impure sites online.

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Thursday, November 1, 2018
Indulgences for the Faithful Departed
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Indulged Prayers:

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.

Merciful Lord, Jesus, grant them everlasting rest.

Indulged Actions:

The faithful who devoutly recite the 129th Psalm, De Profundis or who say the Our Father, Hail Mary and the Eternal Rest, in supplication for the faithful departed, may gain an indulgence every day in November and a plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if this pious practice is repeated daily for a month.

The faithful who devoutly recite the 50th Psalm, Miserere for the souls detained in Purgatory, may gain a plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of the same.

The faithful who devoutly offer prayers at any season of the year in intercession for the souls of the faithful departed, with the intention of so continuing for seven or nine successive days, may obtain a plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if they perform these devotions daily for the entire month. (Pius IX – Jan. 5, 1849)

The faithful who recite prayers or perform other devout exercises in supplication for the faithful departed during the month of November, may gain a plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if they perform these devotions daily for the entire month.

Those, who during the aforesaid month of November, take part in public services held in a church or public oratory in intercession for the faithful departed may gain a plenary indulgence, if they attend these exercises on at least fifteen days and, in addition, go to confession, receive Holy Communion and pray for the intentions of the Sovereign Pontiff (Jan. 17, 1888)

The faithful, as often as they visit a church or public oratory, or even a semi-public oratory (if they may lawfully use the same), in order to pray for the dead on the day on which the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (November 2nd) is celebrated or on the Sunday immediately following, may gain a plenary indulgence applicable only to the souls detained in Purgatory, on condition of confession and Communion, and the recitation six times during each visit of Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be for the intentions of the Sovereign Pontiff (June 25, 1914)

The faithful who during the period of eight days from the Commemoration of All Souls inclusive, visit a cemetery in a spirit of piety and devotion, and pray, even mentally, for the dead may gain a plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, on each day of the Octave, applicable only to the dead.

Those who make such a visit to a cemetery, and pray for the Holy Souls, on any day in the year, may gain an indulgence applicable only to the departed.

The faithful who make the Heroic Act of Charity (please see a thorough definition of this) in favor of the souls detained in Purgatory may gain a plenary indulgence, applicable only to the dead on any day that they receive Holy Communion, if they have made their confession and visited some church or public oratory and prayed for the intention s of the Sovereign Pontiff;’ and on any Monday of the year, or if some impediment arises, on the following Sunday, if they attend Mass in supplication for the faithful departed and moreover fulfill the usual conditions.

Priests who make the aforesaid heroic act may enjoy the indult of a personal privileged altar every day of the year (Sept. 30, 1852)

Other plenary indulgences can be gained on designated days. For example:

For those who assist at Adoration of the Cross and kiss it in the solemn liturgical action on Good Friday.

For those who on any Friday of Lent and Passiontide, after receiving Communion, [piously recite before an image of Christ crucified the prayer, “Look down upon me, good and gentle Jesus.” On all other days a partial indulgence is granted.

Source: Taken from the Raccolta

General Notes on Indulgences:

Requirements for obtaining a plenary indulgence:

  •  Do the work while in a state of grace,
  •  Receive Sacramental confession within 20 days of the work (several plenary indulgences may be earned per reception),
  •  Receive Eucharistic communion (one plenary indulgence may be earned per reception),
  •  Pray for the pope’s intentions (Our Father and Hail Mary, or other appropriate prayer, is sufficient),
  •  Have no attachment to sin (even venial) – i.e., it is sufficient that the Christian makes an act of the will to love God and despise sin.
Requirements for a partial indulgence: The work must be done while in a state of grace and with the general intention of earning an indulgence.

Notes:

  • Only baptized persons in a state of grace who generally intend to do so may earn indulgences.
  • Indulgences cannot be applied to the living, but only to the one doing the work or to the dead.
  • Only one plenary indulgence per day can be earned (except for prayer at the hour of one’s own death).
  • Several partial indulgences can be earned during the same day.
  • If only part of a work with plenary indulgence attached is completed, a partial indulgence still obtains.
  • If the penance assigned in confession has indulgences attached, the one work can satisfy both penance and indulgence.
  • Confessors may commute the work or the conditions if the penitent cannot perform them due to legitimate obstacles.
  • In groups, indulgenced prayer must be recited by at least one member while the others at least mentally follow the prayer.
  • If speech/hearing impairments make recitation impossible, mental expression or reading of the prayer is sufficient.
  • For an indulgence attached to a particular day requiring a church visit, the day begins at noon the day before and ends at midnight.
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Should A Catholic Use or Keep a Protestant Bible?
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(From the Catechism of Saint Pope Pius X)

32 Q: What should a Christian do who has been given a Bible by a Protestant or by an agent of the Protestants?

A: A Christian to whom a Bible has been offered by a Protestant or an agent of the Protestants should reject it with disgust, because it is forbidden by the Church. If it was accepted by inadvertence, it must be burnt as soon as possible or handed in to the Parish Priest.

33 Q: Why does the Church forbid Protestant Bibles?

A: The Church forbids Protestant Bibles because, either they have been altered and contain errors, or not having her approbation and footnotes explaining the obscure meanings, they may be harmful to the Faith. It is for that same reason that the Church even forbids translations of the Holy Scriptures already approved by her which have been reprinted without the footnotes approved by her.

** For Catholics who are looking for Bibles in English, stay with the Douay Rheims Bible as your translation **

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Tuesday, October 30, 2018
St. Alphonsus Rodriguez
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St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, whose feast is kept "In Some Places and Congregations" on October 30th, was a lay Jesuit brother. The following is taken from Catholic Online:

He was born in Segovia, Spain, on July 25, 1532, the son of a wealthy merchant, and was prepared for First Communion by Blessed Peter Favre, a friend of Alphonsus' father. While studying with the Jesuits at Alcala, Alphonsus had to return home when his father died. In Segovia he took over the family business, was married, and had a son. That son died, as did two other children and then his wife.

Alphonsus sold his business and applied to the Jesuits. His lack of education and his poor health, undermined by his austerities, made him less than desirable as a candidate for the religious life, but he was accepted as a lay brother by the Jesuits on January 31, 1571. He underwent novitiate training and was sent to Montesion College on the island of Majorca. There he labored as a hall porter for twenty-four years.

Overlooked by some of the Jesuits in the house, Alphonsus exerted a wondrous influence on many. Not only the young students, such as St. Peter Claver, but local civic and social leaders came to his porter's lodge for advice and direction. Obedience and penance were the hallmarks of his life, as well as his devotion to the Immaculate Conception. He experienced many spiritual consolations, and he wrote religious treatises, very simple in style but sound in doctrine. St. Alphonsus died after a long illness on October 31, 1617, and his funeral was attended by Church and government leaders. He was declared Venerable in 1626, and was named a patron of Majorca in 1633. Alphonsus was beatified in 1825 and canonized in September 1888 with St. Peter Claver.

Collect:

O God, strength of the weak and greatness of the humble, Who didst make Thy servant Alphonsus wonderful by the practice of constant penance and the merit of deep humility, grant that we may mortify our flesh as he did and faithfully carry the cross in the footsteps of Thy Son, and thus attain eternal glory: Who with Thee liveth and reigneth...
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Monday, October 29, 2018
The 6 Missions of Northern California: A Pictorial Guide for Catholics
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No trip to California would be complete without a visit to its founding missions (21 in all) that span the West Coast.  And while travelers to Southern California often think to visit the missions that span from around Los Angeles and down to San Diego, fewer travelers seem to think of the Northern California Missions.

This summer I set out to visit the missions of Northern California.   And rather than focus on the historical importance of these missions, their role in the lives of the natives, or their history, I set out to experience the Catholic sentiments from these missions.  My journey was not one done as a historian but one performed as a pilgrim.  I encourage you to visit the California missions and not simply contemplate the souls who passed through the doors but to stop and pray.  Thank God for the missions.  Thank God for giving us the Catholic Faith.  And spend some moments in praying for the conversion of sinners and reparation for sin.

As a final note, all photographs are mine and copyrighted by this blog.  Please see Flickr for more images.  Please feel free to share if you attribute the image appropriately.

Mission San Rafael

If you are coming from San Francisco, this Mission is just a short car ride north after going over the famous Golden Gate Bridge.  The mission is smaller than others and features both the mission church (which was rebuilt after the period of secularism by the Mexican Government and after an earthquake) along with a beautiful new Church.  Unlike some of the other missions, there was no entry fee or museum to tour.  Yet, I still stopped to pray for the souls up in Marin County.

Interestingly, for those unfamiliar with the history of this mission, it was a place for the sick to go since the weather up here is so much sunnier and brighter than down in San Francisco.  May we say a short prayer to Our Lady, Refuge of the Sick, and St. Raphael for the souls of the sick and suffering.

The Old Mission Church.  Inside was a Mass being said in Spanish.


The New Church Building. An English Mass was being said in here.

Inside the Old Mission.

Mission Dolores (San Francisco de Asis)

Where did the city of San Francisco (St. Francis) get its name?  It was from the Mission of San Francisco in what is now known as the "Mission District" of the city.  The mission features the original mission church as well as a new, larger basilica.  Inside the basilica are stained glass windows - one to honor each of the California missions.  The stained glass was enchanting and worth the visit alone.  Spend some time here and praying for the intercession of all of these heavenly patrons for the conversion of so many souls lost in sin in San Francisco and California.

The New Basilica


Lord, have mercy on the poor souls!


Inside the original mission


The stained glass was stunning


Mission San Jose

While a short distance from San Jose, the Mission of San Jose is actually located east of the Bay in the city of Fremont.  The mission entrance is actually in the gift shop and there is a nice museum on the right.  Through the left of the gift shop, visit the actual mission church and the cemetery.

The church is beautiful and inside are some truly amazing relics.  You need to come here and kneel down and thank God for His love and His charity for us.  This is not a mission to skip!

Inside this nail is said to contain filings from a nail of the True Cross of Jesus Christ




 Included in this altar are relics of the Roman martyrs and a nail said to contain within its hollow center filings from a nail of the True Cross of Jesus Christ.




Mission Santa Clara

Of the 21 California Missions, Mission Santa Clara is quite convincingly the most well kept of them all since it is on the campus of Santa Clara University, which is run by the Jesuits.  The mission honors St. Clara and was the first California mission constructed to honor a female saint.





Inside the mission of Santa Clara is the tomb and the story of a remarkably holy man: Father Magín Catalá. In particular, the beautiful Crucifix shown above is the miraculous Crucifix in front of which Father would pray and be seen levitating from the ground by witnesses who have sworn under oath to this miracle's authenticity. Father Catalá lived a heroic life of sanctity. As stated in a pamphlet from the Mission: "[He] fasted every day of the year, tasting nothing until noon and then allowing himself but a little milk and cornbread. He never ate flesh, meat, eggs, or fish."  Join me in the prayer for his canonization.

And for more images from these travels, see my Flickr Albums.

Mission San Francisco Solano

Mission San Francisco Solano is often forgotten as it was the 21st and the final mission in Alta, California.  It also has the distinction of being the most northern mission (it is located in Sonoma, CA which is north of San Francisco), and it is the only mission to be built after Mexico gained independence from Spain.  This change led to many of the missions being secularized and the atheistic government in Mexico to persecute the Church.





Mission San Carlos Borromeo (Carmel Mission)

Last, but certainly not least, is the true spiritual heart of the Missions: the Carmel Mission.  It is here that the body of St. Junipero Serra rests before the main altar where he is buried.  It is also here at this mission where you can find the Caravaca Cross, the personal reliquary cross of St. Junipero Serra, as well as the oldest European styled state of our Lady brought to Carmel by St. Serra - Our Lady of Bethlehem Statue.

I had the grace to be able to visit this Mission, watch a 15-minute video documentary of St. Serra, pray before his tomb, and tour the museum.  Outside the Mission in the city of Carmel was obscene amounts of wealth - Lamborghini, Bugatti, and other luxury cars were in town for a major international luxury car show.  In contrast, before me rested the body of a poor Franciscan who had no possessions and yet who possesses now in Heaven the beatific vision and eternal bliss.

St. Junipero Serra, pray for us!






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