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Monday, March 11, 2013
Book Recommendation: To Mary, Our Morning Star: 10 Lessons in Mariology
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State College, PA, March 9, 2013:  CatechismClass.com is pleased to announce the publication of its newest release “To Mary, Our Morning Star: 10 Lessons in Mariology” by Judith Costello.
Do you know how to explain the Church's teachings about Mary? When someone challenges you about "worshiping" her, do you know what to say? Do you know how to recognize an authentic apparition of our Blessed Mother from something that has been fabricated? These and more questions are answered in "To Mary, Our Morning Star". Learn about Marian prayers, seven important apparitions, the history of Marian devotions, shrines dedicated to Our Lady, the Litany of Loretto, apologetics, the saints who were devoted to Mary and much more.

These 10 lessons include video links, Scripture, Church documents, quizzes, unique activities and beautiful artwork. The lessons are written by Judith Costello, MA, OCDS. Judith is a Third Order Carmelite, a catechist, writer and artist. As a Discalced Carmelite she is especially devoted to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. But living in the Southwest, she is also eager to promote awareness of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
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For more information and for ordering options, please visit http://tinyurl.com/auq7ful
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Sunday, March 10, 2013
Traditional Mass Propers: 4th Sunday of Lent (Laetare Sunday)
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Commentary by Dom Guéranger, O.S.B.

This Sunday, called, from the first word of the Introit, Lætare Sunday, is one of the most solemn of the year. The Church interrupts her Lenten mournfulness; the changes of the Mass speak of nothing but joy and consolation; the organ, which has been silent during the preceding three Sundays, now gives forth its melodious voice; the deacon resumes his dalmatic, and the subdeacon his tunic; and instead of purple, rose-coloured vestments are allowed to be used. These same rites were practiced in Advent, on the third Sunday, called Gaudete. The Church’s motive for introducing this expression of joy into today’s liturgy is to encourage her children to persevere fervently to the end of this holy season. The real mid-Lent was last Thursday, as we have already observed; but the Church, fearing lest the joy might lead to some infringement on the spirit of penance, has deferred her own notice of it to this Sunday, when she not only permits, but even bids, her children to rejoice!

The Station at Rome is in the basilica of Holy Cross in Jerusalem, one of the seven principal churches of the holy city. It was built in the fourth century, by the emperor Constantine, in one of his villas called Sessorius, on which account it goes also under the name of the Sessorian basilica. The emperor’s mother, St. Helen, enriched it with most precious relics, and wished to make it the Jerusalem of Rome. With this intention she ordered a great quantity of earth taken from Mount Calvary to be put on the site. Among the other relics of the instruments of the Passion which she gave to this church was the inscription which was fastened to the cross; it is still there, and is called the Title of the Cross. The name of Jerusalem, which has been given to this basilica, and which recalls to our minds the heavenly Jerusalem towards which we are tending, suggested the choice of it as today’s Station. Up to the fourteenth century, when Avignon became for a time the city of the Popes, the ceremony of the golden rose took place in this church; at present, it is blessed in the palace where the sovereign Pontiff happens to be residing at this season.

...

These men, whom Jesus has been feeding by a miracle of love and power, are resolved to make Him their King. They have no hesitation in proclaiming Him worthy to reign over them; for where can they find one worthier? What, then, shall we Christians do, who know the goodness and the power of Jesus incomparably better than these poor Jews? We must beseech Him to reign over us, from this day forward. We have just been reading in the Epistle, that it is He who has made us free, by delivering us from our enemies. O glorious liberty! But the only way to maintain it, is to live under His law. Jesus is not a tyrant, as are the world and the flesh; His rule is sweet and peaceful, and we are His children rather than His servants. In the court of such a King “to serve is to reign.’ What, then, have we to do with our old slavery? If some of its chains be still upon us, let us lose no time, let us break them, for the Pasch is near at hand; the great feast day begins to dawn. Onwards, then, courageously to the end of our journey! Jesus will refresh us; He will make us sit down as He did the men of the Gospel; and the Bread He has in store for us will make us forget all our past fatigues.

OFFERTORY
Psalm 134: 3,6
Praise ye the Lord, for He is good: sing ye to His Name, for He is sweet: whatsoever He pleased, He hath done in heaven and in earth.

SECRET - Look favorably upon these present Sacrifices, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that they may profit us both unto devotion and salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth . . .

PREFACE (Preface for Lent) - It it truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God; Who by this bodily fast, dost curb our vices, dost lift up our minds and bestow on us strength and rewards; through Christ our Lord. Through whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with these we entreat Thee that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted while we say with lowly praise:

COMMUNION
Psalm 83: 4, 5
The sparrow hath found herself a house, and the turtle a nest, where she may lay her young ones: Thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King, and my God: blessed are they that dwell in Thy house, they shall praise Thee for ever and ever

POST COMMUNION - Look favorably upon these present Sacrifices, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that they may profit us both unto devotion and salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth . . .
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Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Bp. Williamson - Confirmation, Post Falls, Idaho - February 25, 2013
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His Excellency Bishop Wiliamson recently conferred full and conditional Confirmations in Post Falls, Idaho on February 25th of this year. The above video is the sermon from those Confirmations. You will recall that Bishop Williamson is no longer a bishop of the Society of St. Pius X but has instead attached himself to the so called "Society of St Pius X of the Strict Observance".

Regardless, Bishop Williamson is undoubtedly a validly consecrated bishop of the Catholic Church. Not even the Vatican can deny this - and they never have.
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Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Upcoming Subdiaconate Ordinations (SSPX)
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On March 16th, Sitientes Saturday, the following seminarians will be ordained to the first of the major holy orders - subdeacon - at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary, Winona, MN:

Mr. Charles Deister
Mr. Isaac Delmanowski
Mr. Thomas Duncan
Mr. Andrew Ferrelli
Mr. Peter Fortin

Mr. Joseph Haynos Before their ordination to the subdiaconate, these seminarians will be making a retreat at the Regina Coeli House from March 8-15.  Please keep all of them in your prayers.  It is by his ordination to the subdiaconate that a man takes upon himself the obligation of leading a life of perpetual chastity and of saying daily the divine office. 
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Prayer Against Blasphemy by Venerable Pope Pius XII
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In 1954, Pope Pius XII asked Catholics to offer up the days of September 8-11 to make reparation against the many blasphemies being committed. On the final day, the Holy Father recited the following prayer on the radio.

Prayer against Blasphemy

O most August Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, Who, though infinitely happy for all eternity in Yourself and by Yourself, deign to accept graciously the homage that rises from universal creation unto Your sublime throne, turn away, we beg You, Your eyes and ears of the unfortunate, or those blinded by passion, or pressured by evil influences, who horribly blaspheme Your name, of the most pure Virgin Mary and of the saints.

Retract, O Lord, the arm of Your justice which could destroy those who dare to be guilty of so much impiety.

Accept the glorious hymn that continually rises from all of nature: from the springs of water that flow clear and quiet to the stars that shine above from heaven and whose orbits are driven by immense love. Accept reparation from the many choruses of praise, as incense before altars, of so many holy souls who walk without deviating from the paths of Your law and try to soothe Your offended justice, through the assiduous efforts of charity and penance; listen to the song of so many noble souls who devote their lives to celebrate Your glory, with the endless praise that the Church addresses to You at all times and under the heavens. And we pray that one day that blasphemous hearts will be converted and all tongues and lips will together sing on earth the hymn echoed endlessly by the choirs of angels: "Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God of hosts, heaven and earth are full of Your glory." Amen. (Extracted from the Italian text of A.A.S., XXXXVI, 1954, p. 501)
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Monday, March 4, 2013
Commemoration of Saint Lucius I
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Today is the Feastday of St. Casimir of Poland (but it is reduced to only a Commemoration during Lent).  In addition, this date each year is the Commemoration of St. Lucius I.

His Holiness Pope St. Lucius I assumed the Throne on June 25, 253 AD.  He was chosen as the 22nd Pontiff.  During his brief reign, he was noted for his ascetic lifestyle, even while on the throne.  He forbade men and women not related by blood to live together, even decreeing that clergy should not live with deaconesses even if given lodging for reasons of charity.  He was exiled briefly during the persecution of Emperor Gallus. 

He condemned the Novatian heresy, which was held by Antipope Novatian, who taught that those baptized Christians who had denied their faith or performed the formalities of a ritual sacrifice to the pagan gods, under the pressures of the persecution sanctioned by Emperor Decius, in AD 250, were never to again be admitted to the Faith.

Pope Lucius I was a true shepherd of his flock during a time of violent persecution. He laid down his life for Christ on March 5, 254, under a year into his reign.  He was buried at Saint Callistus catacomb but his relics were later transferred to the church of Saint Cecilia in Rome.

Prayer:

O Eternal Shepherd, who appointed blessed Lucius shepherd of the whole Church, let the prayers of this martyr and supreme pontiff move You to look with favor upon Your flock and to keep it under Your continual protection. Through our Lord . . .

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
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Sunday, March 3, 2013
Six Components of Liberal Catholicism that Seek to Destroy the Church: Part 2
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In a continuation of Six Components of Liberal Catholicism that Seek to Destroy the Church: Part 1, where I discussed the grave errors present in religious indifferentism, I wish to explore the false concepts of human freedom.

To recap, Eminent American theologian Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton wrote an enlightening article in the American Ecclesiastical Review (1958) titled “The Components of Liberal Catholicism”. Despite its appearance before the Second Vatican Council, Msgr. Fenton appropriately presented, as in prophetic fashion, the coming attack on the Church from within. Msgr. Fenton summarizes liberal Catholicism into six main categories which together pose the greatest threat to the Church in our modern times:

  1. Religious Indifferentism
  2. False concepts of human freedom
  3. Advocacy of the separation of Church and state
  4. Minimism
  5. Subjectivism
  6. The evolution of at least some dogmatic teachings of the Church.

To start our discussion, I wish to excerpt from Professor Alasdair MacIntyre's After Virtue.  In this text, which I reviewed in a separate blog post, MacIntyre specifically addresses the false concepts of human freedom.  At the very core of MacIntyre's book is the notion that the Enlightenment project of justifying the existence of morality outside of a teleological context (whether that be for the end of justice, for the end of observing God's revealed Law, etc) has failed.

MacIntryre places emphasis in his text on the false notions of human freedom which are similarly condemned by Msgr. Fenton.  MacIntyre write:
[T]hose rights which are alleged to belong to human beings as such and which are cited as a reason for holding that people ought not to be interfered with in their pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. . . . the rights which are spoken of in the eighteenth century as natural rights or as the rights of man. . . . there are no such rights, and belief in them is one with belief in witches and unicorns.
The best reason for asserting so bluntly that there are no such rights is indeed of precisely the same type as the best reason which we possess for asserting that there are no witches and the best reason which we possess for asserting that there are no unicorns: every attempt to give good reasons for believing that there are such rights has failed (69).
In short, he does not believe any such rights exist for the mere fact that we are "humans" and he attacks that any such rights can truly be "self evident".

But, even if this were true, how is this an issue of grave importance to Catholics?  Does it not seem to be only a philosophical or a political debate?

On the contrary, these issues are of paramount importance to Catholics. 
"These principles emanate from the spirit of French revolution and its complete revolt against God, Church and the Catholic social order through which man replaced God as the sole arbiter of what is good and true. Vennari does a good job explaining the underlying ideology of the French revolution, namely naturalism, with its denial of revelation, supernatural life and its victorious attempt to drive Our Lord Jesus Christ from the life of the society" (Catholic Family News)
In fact, many of the six components of liberal Catholicism have their roots in the Enlightenment.  Let's revisit religious indifferentism to see their connection with Enlightenment principles.

The heretic Martin Luther remarked, “No one must be constrained. Liberty is the very essence of faith.”  Such a statement, which has rooted itself in Western Democracies in our Post-Enlightenment society, is nothing other than a grave evil.   His Holiness Pope Gregory XVI's words in Mirari Vos serve as a guide for our times and a warning to turn away from liberty of conscience:

Now We consider another abundant source of the evils with which the Church is afflicted at present: indifferentism. This perverse opinion is spread on all sides by the fraud of the wicked who claim that it is possible to obtain the eternal salvation of the soul by the profession of any kind of religion… ‘without a doubt, they will perish forever, unless they hold the Catholic faith whole and inviolate’…

This shameful font of indifferentism gives rise to that absurd and erroneous proposition which claims that liberty of conscience must be maintained for everyone. It spreads ruin in sacred and civil affairs, though some repeat over and over again with the greatest impudence that some advantage accrues to religion from it. "But the death of the soul is worse than freedom of error," as Augustine was wont to say. When all restraints are removed by which men are kept on the narrow path of truth, their nature, which is already inclined to evil, propels them to ruin. Then truly "the bottomless pit" is open from which John saw smoke ascending which obscured the sun, and out of which locusts flew forth to devastate the earth. Thence comes transformation of minds, corruption of youths, contempt of sacred things and holy laws -- in other words, a pestilence more deadly to the state than any other. Experience shows, even from earliest times, that cities renowned for wealth, dominion, and glory perished as a result of this single evil, namely immoderate freedom of opinion, license of free speech, and desire for novelty. 
Some would say that the cause of discord in the Church originated at the 2nd Vatican Council. While I do feel that the Council was one of the most debilitating assaults to the traditional faith, our world has been suffering from a pernicious cancer induced during the Enlightenment. The philosophers of the enlightened led to the French Revolution and the essential collapse of Catholicism in what was once regarded the most Catholic nation in the world. Since that time we have seen mankind exalted and the faith and piety of many vanish.  And as the Faith was toppled in France and outlawed, they replaced Catholicism with a humanism that praised human freedom and these so called "rights".  There was no longer speak or original sin, salvation, redemption, reparation, Faith, etc.  Now there is only "rights" and "privileges". 

Our Blessed Lady’s appearance in Fatima (1917) illustrates the revolution in the hearts of mankind long before the Council. And, recall Our Lady’s similar appearance in La Salette (1846). Our world has been rebelling against authority, against traditional manners of dress and practices of sexuality, etc, etc for generations. And it was this modernism that was so forcefully condemned by His Holiness Pope St. Pius X. Unfortunately, modernism – the true cause of our problems – has been misunderstood. We are certainly – and should not be – opposed to advances in technologies and ways of life that improve our living. However, modernism the heresy is the movement in Roman Catholic thought that sought to interpret the teachings of the Church in the light of philosophic and scientific conceptions prevalent in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Unfortunately, modernism entered the ranks of some prominent members of the clergy in the 1950s and 1960s leading to the collapse of interior piety and reverence as well as the exterior visibility of our internal faith (e.g. genuflections, public processions, etc). It was precisely this school of thought of modernism that individuals present at the Council sought to fight – people like Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. Unfortunately, the members of the clergy who consented to the enlightenment philosophies have worked exceedingly hard to tarnish the name and reputation of His Grace Marcel Lefebvre and any Catholics who wish to attend the Mass of the Saints. Have you noticed that of all priests canonized as of this point, none of them said the Novus Ordo Mass...

And so we arrive back at human freedoms.  If we accept these, we put ourselves in opposition to the Holy Church and its teachings of sin, redemption, and salvation.  No Catholic can believe in inherent rights to "life, liberty, and property" that are divorced from God.  For liberty is no right at all.  As St. Thomas Aquinas affirms in Q. 47, Article 2 of the Summa, inequalities (yes - inequalities) are things from God.
When Origen wished to refute those who said that the distinction of things arose from the contrary principles of good and evil, he said that in the beginning all things were created equal by God. For he asserted that God first created only the rational creatures and all equal; and that inequality arose in them from free-will, some being turned to God more and some less, and others turned more and others less away from God. And so those rational creatures which were turned to God by free-will, were promoted to the order of angels according to the diversity of merits. And those who were turned away from God were bound down to bodies according to the diversity of their sin; and he said this was the cause of the creation and diversity of bodies. But according to this opinion, it would follow that the universality of bodily creatures would not be the effect of the goodness of God as communicated to creatures, but it would be for the sake of the punishment of sin, which is contrary to what is said: "God saw all the things that He had made, and they were very good" (Genesis 1:31). And, as Augustine says (De Civ. Dei ii, 3): "What can be more foolish than to say that the divine Architect provided this one sun for the one world, not to be an ornament to its beauty, nor for the benefit of corporeal things, but that it happened through the sin of one soul; so that, if a hundred souls had sinned, there would be a hundred suns in the world?"

Therefore it must be said that as the wisdom of God is the cause of the distinction of things, so the same wisdom is the cause of their inequality. This may be explained as follows. A twofold distinction is found in things; one is a formal distinction as regards things differing specifically; the other is a material distinction as regards things differing numerically only. And as the matter is on account of the form, material distinction exists for the sake of the formal distinction. Hence we see that in incorruptible things there is only one individual of each species, forasmuch as the species is sufficiently preserved in the one; whereas in things generated and corruptible there are many individuals of one species for the preservation of the species. Whence it appears that formal distinction is of greater consequence than material. Now, formal distinction always requires inequality, because as the Philosopher says (Metaph. viii, 10), the forms of things are like numbers in which species vary by addition or subtraction of unity. Hence in natural things species seem to be arranged in degrees; as the mixed things are more perfect than the elements, and plants than minerals, and animals than plants, and men than other animals; and in each of these one species is more perfect than others. Therefore, as the divine wisdom is the cause of the distinction of things for the sake of the perfection of the universe, so it is the cause of inequality. For the universe would not be perfect if only one grade of goodness were found in things.
All things, aside from sin, come from God - equalities and inequalities, rain and shine (cf. Matthew 5:45 ), light and darkness.  Should we ascribe to the modern notion that all peoples possess the same rights, duties, privileges, and entitlements, then we place ourselves in opposition to Almighty God and His Holy Church.
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Saturday, March 2, 2013
First Saturday Devotions
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First Saturdays Devotion


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.
Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary

While the laity is not bound to pray the Divine Office, they are still encouraged to pray the Divine Office (also known as the Liturgy of the Hours).  To pray the Divine Office, I would highly encourage you to pray the 1962 Breviary or even the 1955 version as opposed to the modern version which I find lacking in the spiritual depth present in the earlier editions.

Since you are not bound under ecclesial law to pray the Office, you can and should start by praying the English version of the Breviary.  You can find various breviaries available for sale that will fulfill this purpose.  For centuries Catholics prayed most commonly not with personal prayers and devotion as such individual prayers originated from protestant individualism.  Instead, Catholics prayed the Liturgical texts of the Church (e.g. the Prayers of the Holy Mass, the Rosary, etc) daily and many were saved.  In our world we see the majority of mankind entrenched in sin and debauchery.  Let us pray for a return to our praying the Liturgical prayers of the Holy Church.  Pray the Daily Rosary as Mary has asked of us!

However, please also consider, in addition or instead of the standard Divine Office, the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary for your daily prayers! 
The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a shorter form of the Divine Office in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It has long been the Church’s daily liturgical prayer to Our Lady, and these hours of praise have been used by Priests, religious and the laity throughout the centuries. Lay people used to flock to the great Cathedrals to publicly recite The Little Office during the Middle Ages, and during the great persecution, when the practice of the Catholic Faith was illegal in Great Britain, Bishop Challoner commended The Little Office to his flock.

Through its psalms, antiphons, readings, responsorials, and prayers the Little Office stresses the role Our Lady played in salvation history, and how through her fiat the divine Word took flesh in her womb and achieved salvation for us all; and how Our Lord granted her the first fruits of the general resurrection in her holy and glorious assumption.

All Catholics are called to a consistent prayer life. For those who do not feel called to recite the Divine Office, but still wish to participate in the liturgical prayer of the Church, or for those who have a particular devotion to the holy Mother of God, there is no finer form of prayer than the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

    Green Scapular


    While certainly not only permitted for use on Saturdays, Saturday is an appropriate time to focus on the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin and on her great promises with the Green Scapular.  Many of you should be familiar with the Brown Scapular as you should have been invested in the Brown Scapular following your First Holy Communion.  I have written before on the merits of the Brown Scapular.  While they are not to be underestimated, I will not focus additional time on the Brown Scapular.  Instead, we focus in this post on the Green Scapular of our Lady.

    The website of Fish Eaters succinctly and accurately describes the Green Scapular of our Lady:

    In 1840, Mary appeared to Sister Justine Bisqueyburu (a Seminary Sister of the Daughters of Charity) in Paris, France and commended the Green Scapular to her. It's known as "the Scapular of Conversion," and its promises are the strengthening of faith, protection against Satan, a happy death for Catholics, and, most of all, for conversion for those outside the Church. It's to be worn or carried by the faithful, or given to an unbeliever for their conversion.
    The following prayer is to be said daily by the wearer:
    Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death
    Latin version:

    Cor immaculatum Mariae, ora pro nobis nunc et in hora mortis nostrae

    If the scapular is given to an unbeliever for their conversion, the person giving the scapular prays the prayer for them if the unbeliever does not want to pray the prayer himself. If the unbeliever does not want the scapular, it may be hidden in their vicinity and the prayers said for him. Enrollment in a Confraternity is not necessary for this scapular, but the scapular should be blessed by a priest before use.
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    Thursday, February 28, 2013
    The End of a Pontificate
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    Thank you, Holy Father for your leadership, example, and witness to our Lord. Thank you for your restoration of Sacred Traditions and your freeing the Tridentine Mass for many of us. Your memory will never be forgotten.

    The Holy See is now vacante.  We are without a Pope.

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    Wednesday, February 27, 2013
    Movie: El Milagro de Marcelino
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    El Milagro de Marcelino is a classic remake of a popular Latino film from the 50s, and is a staple in Hispanic pop culture. In addition, the film has won a variety of cinematography and director awards from various Catholic film festivals. It’s in Spanish with English subtitles.

    Marcelino is a heartwarming tale of an orphan boy caught in the midst Mexico’s revolution. The story begins as the monks of a poor war ravaged monastery find an infant abandoned on their doorstep. Having nowhere to turn in the wake of the war, they decide to raise him in the monastery. The child grows into a rambunctious boy fond of playing jokes on the friars with his best friend Enrique. Marcelino finds himself yearning for a mother as he observes the deep bond Enrique shares with his mother. An attack by revolutionaries leaves the tiny village in chaos and Enrique dying in the arms of his grieving mother, as Marcelino looks on. Overcome with fear he hides in the one place he was warned to never go — the attic of the monastery. While hiding there he is drawn to a statue with a face so full of love that he is compelled to visit it often. Marcelino is too young to realize that it is a statue of Jesus. Thinking the statue looks hungry, he sneaks bread and wine into the attic and offers it to the statue. As he gives his offering, the statue miraculously comes to life and accepts the gift. Moved by the boy’s gift of faith, Jesus grants Marcelino’s deepest wish, to be reunited with his mother.

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    Final Audience of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI
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    “When, on 19 April almost eight years ago I accepted to take on the Petrine ministry, I had the firm certainty that has always accompanied me: this certainty for the life of the Church from the Word of God. At that moment, as I have already expressed many times, the words that resounded in my heart were: Lord, what do You ask of me? It is a great weight that You are placing on my shoulders but, if You ask it of me, I will cast my nets at your command, confident that You will guide me, even with all my weaknesses. And eight years later I can say that the Lord has guided me. He has been close to me. I have felt His presence every day. It has been a stretch of the Church's path that has had moments of joy and light, but also difficult moments. I felt like St. Peter and the Apostles in the boat on the See of Galilee. The Lord has given us many days of sunshine and light breezes, days when the fishing was plentiful, but also times when the water was rough and the winds against us, just as throughout the whole history of the Church, when the Lord seemed to be sleeping. But I always knew that the Lord is in that boat and I always knew that the boat of the Church is not mine, not ours, but is His. And the Lord will not let it sink. He is the one who steers her, of course also through those He has chosen because that is how He wanted it. This was and is a certainty that nothing can tarnish. And that is why my heart today is filled with gratitude to God, because He never left—the whole Church or me—without His consolation, His light, or His love.”
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    Tuesday, February 26, 2013
    "The Bible" TV Series: Special Giveaway and Exclusive Sneak Peek
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    "The Bible" premieres on the History Channel March 3, 2013.  The series has received recognition from key Catholic figures - let us pray that this series brings people closer to the Holy Church and the Sacraments.


    “Mark Burnett”s new Bible series is really special because it takes you through the Old Testament and the New Testament and gives you a really wonderful introduction to the Bible in a way that even non-Christians will be intrigued by it’s storytelling… Following this story the way Mark produced it allows you to kind of feel like you’re there.  They hit all the, major points without being preachy and, even the sophisticated Bible people will get a lot out of it.”    
    - Steve McEveety, Producer of The Passion of the Christ, Founder and CEO of Mpower Pictures.

      “We were extremely impressed by the production quality of Mark and Roma’s mini-series The Bible, and thankful for their personal testimonies and commitment to spreading the good news of Jesus to the world.”
    - Tom Peterson, Catholics Come Home® / Virtue Media™

    We all hunger for something greater than ourselves, but in our generation many see Christianity as “old school,” outdated, irrelevant.  “The greatest story ever told” is that for a reason, though – and Mark Burnett and Roma Downey have done a masterful job of bringing that story to life for a new generation.  Their new show The Bible has all the hallmarks of a successful miniseries.  Superb acting, brilliant cinematography, and compelling drama all work together to touch the heart and help the viewer enter into the story of God’s loving plan. 
    -Sarah Christmyer, Director, The Great Adventure Catholic Bible Study Program, Ascension Press.

    You may watch a special video of The Bible Series Extended Trailer - With Special Intro from Mark Burnett and Roma Downey on GodTube.  Here are some excerpts from the producers of this series, Mark and Roma.


    What new insights into your faith did you gain from this experience?

    MARK: That the Bible is a love story. The story of God’s love for his people. We’re called to be instruments of that love on earth in the short time we’re here.

    ROMA: We wrote some books as companions to the series – including a devotional that captures our thoughts and reflections about how making this series gave us a deeper appreciation for the Bible and for each other as husband and wife.
    What makes this project unique?

    MARK: There’s a tremendous legacy of depictions of the Bible, both on the big and small screen, from King of Kings and The Ten Commandments all the way through The Passion of The Christ.   Our desire was to tell these unforgettable stories through the use of live action combined with state-of-the-art CGI techniques.

    ROMA: We filmed in Morocco because we wanted the feel of the real locations in the Bible, and the landscape there provided it. We augmented that with CGI work in order to render as faithfully as humans can the miraculous power of God. Those who’ve seen parts of the series have been very gracious and complimentary about how the two approaches have meshed together.

    What are your hopes for the series?

    ROMA: This will be a success for us if what comes through onscreen is what comes through on page after page of the Bible itself: God’s sacrificial love for the world.

    MARK: We’ve been fortunate to be involved in some pretty successful TV shows: “Touched by an Angel,” “Survivor,” “The Voice,” “The Apprentice,” Shark Tank.” But we know this Bible series will be seen by more people, all over the world and for years to come, than all the shows we’ve ever been involved with combined. 

    ROMA: Our prayer is that the dramatization of these stories will drive viewers to go to the Bible itself and drink in the actual text, because it is a book that changes lives.


    SPECIAL GIVEAWAY:

    A Catholic Life has (3) three available copies of "The Bible: Music Inspired by the Epic Mini Series" CD, courtesy of Word Entertainment available to US/Canada residents only who submit a valid mailing address (no P.O. Boxes).

    These copies will be distributed on a first-come first-serve basis. To enter, successfully complete the following quiz by searching through previous posts on my blog. Answers must be submitted to acatholiclife [at] gmail [dot] com. In the subject line enter "CD Giveaway". Include your mailing address in the email.

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    Quiz:

    1) On what day did I post The Traditional Funeral Rites for the Supreme Pontiffs, which has been one of my most popular posts?

    2) Of the 20 Options I presented for living a more pious Lent, what is option #11 on that list?
    3)  What ancient person did I write should be given the official title "Father of Catholic Mathematics"?
    4) Catholicism is the Foundation of _________ Economics, is the title of a post of mine in March 2012.

    5) What is your favorite post on A Catholic Life? How long have you been a reader of the blog?


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