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Just reminding erryone of my current location #rio #papafrancis #skyline #beautiful

Posted by on 7-22-13

El Jueves salgo para Puerto Rico y estare participando del JMJ en PR. Un Evento unido al JMJ de Brasil. Seran dias de mucha gracia, poder y misericordia. Contamos con sus oraciones! Para mas info porfavor visiten www.jmj2013pr.com #jmj #jmj2013pr #brasil #puertorico #unasolaiglesia #jovenes #catholic #catolico #papafrancis

Posted by on 7-22-13

“Não tenho ouro nem prata.. Vim aqui transmitir o maior presente que recebi nessa vida: Jesus Cristo” – Papa Francisco, no Palácio Guanabara, na sua chegada no Rio de Janeiro

Posted by on 7-22-13

Nada mejor que coger cosas de los hoteles y encontrartelas un tiempo mas tarde #recuerdoson #abril2013 #antequera #campeonatoespañaporescuelas #catalunya #buenequipo #genialrelevo #granada #bocadecaballo #dientesdeleon #mojopicon #bananas #pasajeros #titofrancis #papafrancis #yayofrancis #quierovolver

Posted by on 7-22-13

El papa Francisco acaba de recitar: “Necesitamos santos sin velo, sin sotana. Necesitamos santos de jeans y zapatillas. Necesitamos santos que vayan al cine, escuchen musica y paseen con sus amigos. Necesitamos santos que coloquen a Dios en primer lugar y que sobresalgan en la Universidad. Necesitamos santos que busquen tiempo cada dia para rezar y que sepan enamorar en la pureza y castidad, o que consagren su castidad. Necesitamos santos modernos, santos del siglo XXI con una espiritualidad insertada en nuestro tiempo. Necesitamos santos comprometidos con los pobres y los necesarios cambios sociales. Necesitamos santos que vivan en el mundo, se santifiquen en el mundo y que no tengan miedo de vivir en el mundo. Necesitamos santos que tomen Coca Cola y coman hot-dogs, que sean internautas, que escuchen iPod. Necesitamos santos que amen la Eucaristia y que no tengan vergüenza de tomar una cerveza o comer pizza el fin de semana con los amigos. Necesitamos santos a los que les guste el cine, el teatro, la musica, la danza, el deporte. Necesitamos santos sociables, abiertos, normales, amigos, alegres, compañeros. Necesitamos santos que esten en el mundo y que sepan saborear las cosas puras y buenas del mundo, pero sin ser mundanos”. Amen!!!!!!! (Esta parte la dije yo) :) #santidadenjeans #santidad #PapaFrancis #Iglesia #yes #holiness

Posted by on 7-21-13

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You Are What You Eat...

Posted on Apr 20, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Our guest blogger today is Mark Hart, Executive Vice-President of LIFE TEEN International and author of The Bible Geek: Answers to Questions from Catholic Teens (Servant).

Is Jesus truly present in the Eucharist?

Jesus is coming to your Church this Sunday, in the flesh (just like every Sunday). He’s not only asking you to believe, but inviting you to experience heaven on earth. Yes, it defies all logic—God coming to us in simple bread and wine. But then, Jesus defied all logic:

Jesus came to us not as a royal baby on a throne, but as a simple child in a manger. He lived not as a powerful political ruler but as a common carpenter. He spread a message not of war and conquest but of peace and forgiveness. He preached the gospel not just through words but also through actions. He desired not to be served but to serve, washing the feet of the apostles.

Jesus, the King, wore a crown not of gold but of thorns. He was elevated not in social stature but naked and bloodied upon a cross. He was not buried with a royal procession but laid in a simple, unmarked tomb. He comes to us at every Mass, not with bright lights and a big show but in simple bread and wine. Why? I like to think that it’s because simple is Jesus’s style.

Take and Eat
Bread and wine: If it’s good enough for Jesus, it ought to be good enough for me. He said it, and I have no reason to doubt him. He’s gotten me this far. Remember what the great author C. S. Lewis once wrote: “The command, after all, was, ‘Take and eat,’ not ‘take and understand.’” Lord, I don’t fully understand it, but I sure do appreciate it.

Whether you struggle with believing in the true presence of Christ or not, it never hurts to spend some time really thinking about it.

Pray for the faith this Sunday to see Jesus in the Eucharist in a new way. Continue to feed your faith and, in time, your doubts will starve to death.

If the people of Nazareth taught us anything, it’s that Christ could be right in front of you and you might not recognize him.

This blog was excerpted from Mark Hart’s book The Bible Geek: Answers to Questions from Catholic Teens.

*****

Photo courtesy of Mariusz Szczygiel/Shutterstock

 

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Music from Fr Jean-Marie’s Ordination...

Posted on Apr 19, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

In the previous two posts you have seen photos from Fr Jean-Marie’s Ordination and First Mass.  Some of the music has now been uploaded for your enjoyment.
The choir of the Latin Mass Chaplaincy here in Christchurch sang Missa O Quam Gloriosum by Tomás Luis de Victoria, which was composed in 1572.  They also sung Palestrins’s Sicut Cervus during Holy Communion.
Kyrie


Gloria


Sanctus


Benedictus


Agnus Dei


Sicut Cervus

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Cinderella: More Than Just a Night At The Movies!...

Posted on Apr 17, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Our guest blogger today is Jennessa Terraccino, national speaker and author of The Princess Guide: Faith Lessons from Snow White, Cinderella & Sleeping Beauty (Servant).

It’s time for a girl’s night out! Don’t forget your glass slippers. Your “Once upon a night” begins with tickets to the new “Cinderella” movie. Grab some popcorn. Settle into your seat, and allow yourself to be swept away into this colorful, vibrant, and enchanting tale.

After all, you’ve probably been playing the part of Cinderella all week with housework, that is, homework, or perhaps dealing with the “mean girls” at school, or just dreaming of prom with a prince. The lessons in “Cinderella” aren’t so fantastical compared to your every day life.

Everyone can relate to Cinderella, whether it’s the desire to be a princess, to have a dream fulfilled, a lonely heart consoled, or just the need to get out for a night, at least every once in awhile.

As you watch the film, look for the deeper meaning. Who do you relate to in the story? Fairytales deal with matters of the heart. Ultimately, they’re reflections of the greatest story ever told when Christ rescued his Bride, the Church. We’re in Cinderella’s shoes when we allow soot and sin to take a place in our life. Jesus gives us hope for a new life. In him, we are transformed from pauper to princess (Romans 8:16-17).

When your evening ends, what comes after this “Happily Ever After?” Keep Cinderella alive by reading my book, “The Princess Guide.” You’ll understand the flick in a whole new and exciting way. This book has something for everyone: advice about friendship, fashion tips, romantic revelations, wedding insights, shoes, gowns and crowns.

This blog was excerpted from Terraccino’s book The Princess Guide: Faith Lessons from Snow White, Cinderella & Sleeping Beauty.

***

Photo by Anton Malina/Shutterstock.com

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Stop the Bullying...

Posted on Apr 16, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Recently, I have heard story after story—in the news, from friends and families, and even at my own dinner table—about kids being bullied. It’s rampant. It’s everywhere. As we’ve unfortunately witnessed time and time again, it can be deadly.

And it needs to stop.

I know, I know. Bullying has gone on for years. I’m sure most of us can recount a story of it from our youth. There are even debates as to whether the media are jumping on the recent rash of suicides brought on by bullying and overblowing the concept of kids being “bullied to death.”

But things are different now. And, on the off-chance that things aren’t being overblown, I’m going to say something. The explosion of instant communication—cell phones, the Internet and the whole world of social media—has opened up a whole new arena in which bullies can play.

Some of the earliest lessons we parents try to teach our kids are to play nice, be kind to others and use manners. So where do things get off course?

Most parenting experts will say that you can tell kids things till you’re blue in the face. What will most likely stick with them, though, is not what you say, but what you show them through your own actions.

We love our kids. That is why we, as parents, need to step up and take action. That action begins with each one of us.

What can we do? Rachel Simmons, cofounder of the Girls Leadership Institute and author of Odd Girl Out and The Curse of the Good Girl, says she wishes “more adults would come clean and level with kids about their own past. Doing this opens a channel of honest communication between youth and adults, instead of making kids feel like they are doing something no one has ever done before. If we don’t model self-reflection, how can we expect kids to do the same?”

Surely, our kids know that we love them just the way they are no matter what happens, right? On the offchance that they may be feeling uncertain about things, let them know you’re there. Tell them and then tell them again.

Finally, set the example you want kids to follow.

All parents I know would do anything for their kids. So as a mom I’m asking you, begging you—parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles—please do your part to help stop the bullying. And remember, our kids are watching.

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Photo from Shutterstock.com

 

 

 

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God so Loved the World...

Posted on Apr 15, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

“Wednesday of the second week of Easter.” That’s the rather bland description the Roman Catholic Church uses to designate weekdays during the run-up to Pentecost.

Yet, these 50 post-Easter days are intended to be spiritual enrichment that produces a deeper sense of God’s mercy. During this Easter season, the liturgy presents daily Scripture readings that can lead us to a deeper appreciation of Jesus’ Resurrection and its meaning for us believers.

The Gospels give multiple accounts of Jesus’ apparitions to the disciples, and most of the narratives are read at Mass during Easter week. Then, the Sunday after Easter retells how the doubts of Thomas were answered and how Jesus proclaimed: “Blessed are those who have not seen, yet believe.”

Today’s Gospel reading from John 3:16-21 is a beautiful overview of the divine plan for our salvation. “God so love the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish, but might have eternal life.”

The Gospel speaks of divine mercy, not condemnation, of living in the light and not in the darkness. That phrase summarizes John’s light v. darkness theme that flows throughout the Gospel according to John, which is unique in that it consists of extensive discourses rather than the short narratives and memorable parables, which dominate the Gospels according to Matthew, Mark and Luke.

For years now, signs reading “John 3:16” are raised to proclaim the good news to the crowds and TV audiences at sporting events. I often wonder about who developed this strategy for popular evangelization. It originated while I was serving as a missionary in the Philippines, I believe.

I would love to hear from anyone who knows the origin of this inspirational project.

Raising John 3:16 signs helps us do what the liturgical season of Easter aims to do—keep us reflecting on the mystery of God’s mercy.

Photo Credit: Nazarenespace.com

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The Wanderer’s Open Letter to Pope Francis...

Posted on Apr 14, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Click HERE

Over at my old stomping grounds, The Wanderer, there is an open letter to Pope Francis.

Remember… we should all being asking our duly appointed pastors and Pope Francis himself to name St. Pope John Paul II Doctor of the Church! Moreover, he should be called Doctor Misericordiae, or perhaps Doctor Misericors.

Back to The Wanderer.

Your Holiness,

From the very first moment that you stepped forth onto the balcony of Saint Peter’s Basilica to greet us following your election as the Successor to Saint Peter, you have made clear to us that you as our loving father want us to share with you our hopes, our dreams, our aspirations, and also our concerns as we journey together in hope of eternal life as disciples of the Lord. It is in this spirit that we come to you now, eager to unfold our hearts before you.

It is with joy, the “joy of the Gospel,” that we have welcomed the distinctive motif that you have set for your pontificate, the theme of compassion, of mercy, which at the outset of your service in the office of Peter you described as “the Lord’s most powerful message.”1 Time and again you have challenged us to offer a welcome of charity to all, whether they be saints or sinners, stressing that the Church excludes no one from the love and mercy of God.

In your apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, you observe, “God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy.”2 This divine desire to offer forgiveness was made manifest in the very words with which our Lord began His preaching in His public ministry: “Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mk 1:15). From this we realize that in living the Gospel and in presenting it to others there will always be the need to reject whatever is contrary to the Gospel. And so it is that in your encyclical letter Lumen Fidei you tell us:

Genuine love, after the fashion of God’s love, ultimately requires truth… Since faith is one, it must be professed in all its purity and integrity. Precisely because all the articles of faith are interconnected, to deny one of them, even of those that seem least important, is tantamount to distorting the whole… to subtract something from the faith is to subtract something from the veracity of communion… harming the faith means harming communion with the Lord.3

Lest we be left in any doubt as to how we are to discern what truly constitutes our faith “professed in all its purity and integrity”, you further instruct us to look to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which you describe as “a fundamental aid for that unitary act with which the Church communicates the entire content of her faith: ‘all that she herself is, and all that she believes.’”

[…]

Read the rest there.

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The Need for Ritual...

Posted on Apr 14, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Today’s guest blogger is Nick Luken, a second-year student at The Ohio State University, majoring in English and minoring in professional writing. Nick graduated from Roger Bacon, a Franciscan high school in Cincinnati, in 2012.

As a Catholic, rituals have always played an important role in my life. I’ve always enjoyed searching for and finding significance in every aspect of the Mass, the sacraments, and the prayers that we say. Several times, though, I’ve been struck by the way that rituals pop up in settings outside of Catholicism and even outside of religion as a whole.

This past weekend, I participated in Ohio State’s Relay for Life. This was the first time I had ever worked at a Relay for Life since about fifth grade, so I didn’t quite remember the specifics of the fundraiser. When I saw some rituals that reminded me of Catholic rituals, I was really surprised. You see, one of the most important parts of Relay for Life is an event called a Luminaria ceremony. The track is lined with paper bags, called luminaria, that are marked with the names of cancer survivors, as well as those who have lost their battle with cancer. During the ceremony, each participant is given a glowstick or candle. Then, some survivors and people who have known cancer victims tell their personal stories, before all participants put their source of light into one of the bags to serve as a symbol of hope for the discovery of a cure for cancer. All the participants then take a silent lap around the track.

This ceremony intentionally took a non-denominational approach so that participants of all faiths and backgrounds could participate wholeheartedly, but I couldn’t help but think of the Service of Light that we hold at the Easter Vigil, when the priest or deacon leads the Easter candle into the dark church to symbolize Christ’s victory over death. I remembered this verse from John 1:5: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

This ritual may not have been explicitly religious, but it still filled a religious need: the need for hope in the face of tragedy. The people performing this ritual may not have realized it, but I think they were connecting with the Lord, even if it wasn’t a ritual for one particular faith. I firmly believe that the real source of hope in this ritual–and the real reason behind almost every ritual, religious or not–was God Himself, and He did some powerful work through it.

*****
Photo: Pavels Arsenjans/PhotoXpress

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Fr Jean-Marie’s First Solemn Mass...

Posted on Apr 13, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Fr Jean Marie, F.SS.R. celebrated his Fist Solemn Mass on Quasimodo Sunday, also called Low Sunday and Divine Mercy Sunday.  He celebrated Holy Mass at Our Mother of Perpetual Succour Oratory which is attached to our Monastery here is Christchurch, New Zealand, so it was the main Sunday Mass for the faithful of the Latin Mass chaplaincy here in Christchurch.
It was with great joy that we welcomed Dom Andrews, O.S.B. who came from Clear Creek Monastery in America to be with us for Fr Jean’s ordination.  He was Subdeacon for Father’s First Solemn Mass.
 Very Rev Fr Anthony Mary, F.SS.R. was Assistant Priest.
 The Vidi Aquam, which replaces the Asperges during Paschal Time.
After the Vidi Aquam, the Deacon and Sub-deacon assist Fr Jean-Marie to put on the chasuble.
 Holy Mass begins with the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar.
 Confiteor Deo Omnipotenti
I confess to Almighty God.

 Father Jean Marie places incense into the thurible…
 …and incenses the Altar.
 Father is incensed by the Deacon.
 While the Gloria is chanted the ministers are seated.
 The Deacon receives the blessing to chant the Gospel.
 Father Jean Marie turns to face the Gospel whilst it is being chanted by the Deacon.
 Offering the chalice.
The Lavabo: Father washes his fingers in preparation for the consecration when he will hold God between them.
 HOC EST ENIM CORPUS MEUM
FOR THIS IS MY BODY
Father Jean-Marie consecrates the Sacred Host.
 My Lord and my God!
 Elevating the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
 Father gives the absolution after the Confiteor.
 Ecce Agnus Dei!
Behold the Lamb of God!

 Ecce qui tollit peccata mundi!
Behold HimWho taketh away the sins of the world!
 Father gives Holy Communion to his Mother.
 The Deacon chants the Ite Missa Est.
 The final blessing.
Father with his confreres and family.
With some of the young people who make up the Latin Mass chaplaincy.
Deo Gratias et Mariæ!
Thanks be to God and Mary!
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Fr Jean-Marie’s First Solemn Mass...

Posted on Apr 13, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Fr Jean Marie, F.SS.R. celebrated his Fist Solemn Mass on Quasimodo Sunday, also called Low Sunday and Divine Mercy Sunday.  He celebrated Holy Mass at Our Mother of Perpetual Succour Oratory which is attached to our Monastery here is Christchurch, New Zealand, so it was the main Sunday Mass for the faithful of the Latin Mass chaplaincy here in Christchurch.
It was with great joy that we welcomed Dom Andrews, O.S.B. who came from Clear Creek Monastery in America to be with us for Fr Jeans ordination.  He was Subdeacon for Father’s First Solemn Mass.
 Very Rev Fr Anthony Mary, F.SS.R. was Assistant Priest.
 The Vidi Aquam, which replaces the Asperges during Paschal Time.
After the Vidi Aquam, the Deacon and Sub-deacon assist Fr Jean-Marie to put on the chasuble.
 Holy Mass begins with the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar.
 Confiteor Deo Omnipotenti
I confess to Almighty God.

 Father Jean Marie places incense into the thurible…
 …and incenses the Altar.
 Father is incensed by the Deacon.
 While the Gloria is chanted the ministers are seated.
 The Deacon receives the blessing to chant the Gospel.
 Father Jean Marie turns to face the Gospel whilst it is being chanted by the Deacon.
 Offering the chalice.
The Lavabo: Father washes his fingers in preparation for the consecration when he will hold God between them.
 HOC EST ENIM CORPUS MEUM
FOR THIS IS MY BODY
Father Jean-Marie consecrates the Sacred Host.
 My Lord and my God!
 Elevating the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
 Father gives the absolution after the Confiteor.
 Ecce Agnus Dei!
Behold the Lamb of God!

 Ecce qui tollit peccata mundi!
Behold HimWho taketh away the sins of the world!
 Father gives Holy Communion to his Mother.
 The Deacon chants the Ite Missa Est.
 The final blessing.
Father with his confreres and family.
With some of the young people who make up the Latin Mass chaplaincy.
Deo Gratias et Mariæ!
Thanks be to God and Mary!
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Interesting SSPX development in Buenos Aires...

Posted on Apr 13, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

I received some interesting email from one of you alert readers about something going on with the SSPX in, of all places, Buenos Aires.

This looks legit. From the website of the Argentinian Boletino, you can see the resolution. Using the search tool, select “resolutions” and then type 25 and 2015.  And for analysis HERE.

In a nutshell, seems that the Archbishop of Buenos Aires granted to an entity of the SSPX, the “Brotherhood of the Apostles of Jesus and Mary (Society of St. Pius X)” the status of a juridic person as an Association of Diocesan Right.

I am not sure what this means, in the short or long run, but it is not nothing.   I don’t grasp all the civil legal niceties involved in this, but the fact that this happened in Buenos Aires is also not nothing.

Also interesting is that the SSPX group did not simply, for civil law reasons, declare itself its own independent structure.  Rather, they sought the intermediary of the local bishop.

For this to have happened, it had to have been known in advance in the proper offices in both Rome and in Ecône.

I have opined in the past that, perhaps, Pope Francis might be the one to pull off a reconciliation of the SSPX.  At first glance, he is an unlikely candidate for such a move, but… hey!  What better way to manifest “mercy”, right?

St. Pope John II would, I think, be pleased.

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Ordination of Rev Fr Jean Marie, F.SS.R....

Posted on Apr 13, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

This Saturday past, we were overjoyed to witness our Br Jean-Marie, F.SS.R. raised to the dignity of the Sacred Priesthood!  His Lordship bishop Basil Meeking, D.D. conferred the sacrament of Holy Orders in St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, Christchurch New Zealand.
The ceremony and preparation involved the invaluable help of so many people and we would like to thank each one of them for all their efforts to make it a success.
The first Extraordinary Form priestly ordination in the South Island of New Zealand for decades begins.
 
His Lordship bishop Basil Meeking processing to the Altar to commence the Mass of Ordination.
Very Rev Fr Michael Mary, F.SS.R. was priest-assistant and Fr Magdala Maria, F.SS.R. was Deacon.
After the Deacon removes the bishop’s mitre, he passes it to the Mitre-Bearer.
Fr Clement, C.S.J. was Sub-deacon and here is chanting the Epistle.
Very Rev Fr Michael Mary, F.SS.R. calls Br Jean-Marie, F.SS.R. to present himself before the bishop.
Brother prostrates himself before the altar while the Litany of the Saints is chanted.
The Matter of the Sacrament of Holy Orders:  The ordaining bishop lays his hands upon the head of the candidate for ordination.
All the other priests present at the ordination are then invited to lay hands also.
Extending his hands over Br Jean-Marie, the bishop pronounces the words which constitute the Form of the Sacrament, thus conferring the Priesthood upon FR JEAN-MARIE, F.SS.R.
The stole is changed from the position across the shoulder (denoting a deacon) to around the neck (denoting a priest).
The priestly chasuble is placed over his head.
Bishop Meeking anoints the hands which will now grasp the Lord of Heaven and Earth in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Father’s annointed hands are bound together with linen.
In a beautiful tradition, this linen band will be kept until the death of the new priest’s mother, when it will be used to bind her hands when she is buried.
The tradition of the instruments: the chalice, paten and host are placed between Father’s fingers.
The Deacon chants the Gospel.
The Ordination of a priest is the only time that a priest concelebrates in the Extraordinary Form.  Here Fr Jean-Marie concelebrates the Holy Sacrifice with Bishop Meeking, while assisted by Very Rev Fr Anthony Mary, F.SS.R.
Fr Jean-Marie’s ordination provided a great opportunity for many of the Latin Mass Chaplaincy’s young men to serve on the altar.
It is on occasions such as this that priestly vocations are born!
The bishop consumes the Sacred Body of Jesus Christ.
Fr Jean-Marie receives Holy Communion from the hands of Bishop Meeking.
Leaving the ceremony a changed man.
Now, whenever he wishes, Fr Jean-Marie may call God, and God will obey him, coming down from heaven into his consecrated hands.
Fr Jean-Marie give his First Blessing to Bishop Meeking.
Fr Jean-Marie’s mother kneels at the feet of her son to receive his First Blessing.
Father’s Auntie receiving his blessing.
A son, and his proud Mother.
Fr Jean-Marie and his Auntie.
Te Deum Laudamus!
We thanks God for this great grace of a new priest for our Congregation and for His Church!
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PETITION TO POPE FRANCIS: Declare St. John Paul II...

Posted on Apr 11, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

JP2-Doctor-of-Church-Call-To-ActionI, Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, do hereby petition our Holy Father, Pope Francis, to declare St. John Paul II

Doctor of the Church.

I ask that St. John Paul II, who instituted the Feast of Divine Mercy, be declared Doctor of the Church on the Feast of Divine Mercy 2016, one liturgical year from today, and that he be endowed with the title

Doctor Misericordiae.

St. John Paul II should be a Doctor of the Church, because of the outstanding quality and the comprehensiveness of his opus, which includes philosophy, theology, poetry, and even drama.

St. John Paul II’s Magisterium serves, among other things, as an authoritative and comprehensive commentary on the Second Vatican Council.

His numerous encyclicals touch nearly all aspects of human life.  Consider his defense of life, his defense of the Truth of Catholic teaching, his efforts toward the liberation of millions from Communist tyranny, his merciful correction of errant theologians for the protection of the faithful, his social teaching, and his defense of marriage and of the family (e.g, in Familiaris consortio).

He issued the Catechism of the Catholic Church and revised the Code of Canon Law for both the Latin and Eastern Churches.  Most of all, consider his defense of the Truth of the Faith through his entire body of teaching while applying it appropriately to our times, not just to the 26 years of his pontificate, but to the 21st century.

Tens of millions, indeed hundreds of millions, look to St. John Paul II as a fixed point of Catholic Truth.

Moreover, Pope Francis, who canonized St. John Paul II, can by this gesture manifest a special relationship with the enduring Magisterium of the Saint during his own pontificate.

As Pope Francis himself wrote in the Bull of Indiction for the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, Misericordiae vultus 11:

Saint John Paul II highlighted the fact that we had forgotten the theme of mercy in today’s cultural milieu….

I urge all the faithful who read this to pray that this come to pass and that they, in their own ways, promote this petition with Pope Francis himself, as well as their local bishops and pastors.

St. John Paul II, pray for us!

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Fitting Fashion...

Posted on Apr 10, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Our guest blogger today is Jennessa Terraccino, national speaker and author of The Princess Guide: Faith Lessons from Snow White, Cinderella & Sleeping Beauty (Servant).

As a kid, I hated clothes. On birthdays, if I thought I was getting an article of clothing, I’d push the box aside and open it last. However, as I grew up, shopping became a hobby. Beginning in the teen years, most ladies love to shop. There are many places to go, but malls are the top option. Malls are like amusement parks for girls—miles of name brands, glowing shop windows with spotlighted goodies, colorful advertisements, mannequins dressed in the latest and the greatest, blaring upbeat music, smiles, deals, heels, and meals found in the food court. Malls are magnetic, and everything and everyone seems to whisper “Spend, spend, spend!” And the clothes practically reach out to you, longing for you to take them home.

The mall experience can certainly be entrancing and enticing. With that said, it is no wonder that what is presented in shop windows shapes, or perhaps blurs, our view of fashion. It should be noted how little most of the clothes displayed for purchase actually cover up. And while the plastic people that wear these garments have no shame, real people should. Overall, malls don’t empower modesty or Christians. Instead, such a place discourages it and us.

Finding a non-revealing fashionable frock in the stores can feel harder than finding a needle in a haystack. If you have tried, you know it is an exhausting experience, and if you haven’t, you have work to do! That’s not to say the hunt is hopeless. With perseverance, tasteful treasures can be found. But, on the whole, malls are just another lure to immodesty, and the commodity of clothes, hung from hangers, might as well be little red dangling apples. We are allured, and we are eating, that is, wearing, what we shouldn’t. It is time to cut down the apple tree and flee from what you thought was a shopping paradise.

Overall, the fashion industry tells us that if we don’t wear what they are selling, we will be unfashionable. Lie! Most girls don’t want to stray too far from what’s deemed popular or name brand because they fear they will not fit in. Or perhaps you have given in because you realize it takes more work to search through the racks of clothes to find something that covers what it should. Don’t let fleeting fashions strip you of your hems or get your dignity down. Have confidence in being a Christian. A change of culture begins with you. In retaining mystery, you won’t sacrifice looking good. Modesty isn’t for hiding, and it is not reserved for old people who are past their prime. It is for each one of God’s precious daughters. It is for you.

This blog was excerpted from Terraccino’s book The Princess Guide: Faith Lessons from Snow White, Cinderella & Sleeping Beauty.

*****
Photo: zhu difeng/Shutterstock

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Save the Earth on a Budget...

Posted on Apr 9, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Our guest author is Kyle Kramer, executive director of the Passionist Earth and Spirit Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

Now that the arctic winter is well behind us, my wife and I can look back and laugh (sort of) about the disagreements we had over the thermostat setting. Our current home is much harder to heat than the highly efficient, passive-solar home we sold last year. In response, I vied for warmer clothes and a low setting on the thermostat. Cyndi fought for moderation. Both of us took secret missions to change the thermostat back toward our own preference. One time when she caught me at it, she complained: “You’re not really trying to save the Earth—you’re just a cheapskate!”

Ouch. In light of that comment, I’ve done some soul-searching about my relationship with money and the environment, and it has led me to think about three basic approaches in dealing with both personal and planetary goods.

One way is like the prodigal son of Jesus’ parable: we squander what we have, ignoring what would be best for ourselves and future generations. This is the way to financial and environmental ruin.

The other extreme is my own bugaboo: being miserly. Misers see the world through a zero-sum lens, fearful that there will never be enough, so we hold tight to resources—natural or monetary. This may feel responsible and reduce our environmental impact, but it can also suck the joy out of living.

A third way runs between those of the prodigal son and the cheapskate: being frugal. Frugality recognizes that the Earth’s resources, and our own personal resources can be limited if we waste them. But they can be abundant if we tend them carefully and share them generously and justly. Frugality means living on a reasonable budget, but also not being afraid to enjoy life and the occasional splurge.

Preaching about frugality, whether from priests, presidents, climate scientists, or financial advisors, rarely works. A serious personal or global crisis can be effective; so can exploring what in our shadow side leads us to be wasteful or miserly, with money and with the Earth’s goods. But we also have to find a way to make frugality attractive and inviting, like sobriety compared to addiction.

As a miser-in-recovery, I don’t honestly know how to do this yet, but I do imagine that the path of frugality, like any virtue, leads to freedom and gratitude and joy, which are the hallmarks of grace. I also suspect we can’t walk this path only on our own strength. Fortunately, we don’t have to.

This blog is taken from the article “Save the Earth on a Budget” by Kyle Kramer in St. Anthony Messenger. To subscribe to this award-winning publication, click here.

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Image: Romolo Tavani/Shutterstock

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Spring Means New Life...

Posted on Apr 8, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Our guest blogger today is Friar Jeremy Harrington, OFM, coauthor of A Friar’s E-spirations. To subscribe to this FREE e-newsletter, click here.

It was a long, cold winter for many of us. It’s true that the plentiful snow blanketing our yards and fields for those months had a beauty and splendor all its own. And the bare tree limbs outlined against the sky showed their full grace. But what a joy it is to see a daffodil poking through the earth, buds coming from dry branches, and greenery adorning those bare limbs!

Where does this new life come from? Botanists explain hidden seeds and bulbs and sap deep in trees. But my soul yearns for more. Let me hear from St. Francis his praise to the “Most High, all-powerful, good Lord.” Give me his eyes to appreciate the new life springing from our sister, Mother Earth, by the light and warm rays of Brother Sun. Like Francis, let me praise God in nature and also embrace him on the cross. Don’t let me hurry through spring without noticing—without stopping in awe.

Budding blossoms from dry, bare branches is our background for celebrating the Paschal mystery. The bruised and beaten body of Jesus hung on the cross and lay dead in the tomb for three days. But Jesus joyously rose, peace-giving, forgiving, bestowing new life on our tired world.

Easter is not only a past event. The risen Jesus shared his new life with his disciples and is now sharing his risen life with us. St. Paul says; “Just as Christ was raised from the dead . . . we too [through faith and Baptism] live in newness of life.” We are united with him in the resurrection. We are transformed. “To be in Christ,” Paul told the Corinthians, “means being a completely new creature.”

We could say “an eternal spring” exists where God’s life and love prevail. Easter-spring makes me stop in awe. 

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Image: ingimage

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"And now let us begin this journey, the Bishop and people, this journey of the Church of Rome, which presides in charity over all the Churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood.

I will now give my blessing to you and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will."

-Papa Francis quote

He does not know you, yet he prays for you.
He will most likely never meet you, yet he loves you.

This is your chance to show your love, for as the Bible teaches, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."