Thursday, April 28, 2011

JPII: A Life Changer

from the article titled People give witness to ways Pope John Paul changed, saved their lives By Carol Glatz, Catholic news Service:
Men and women of all ages and nationalities have sent personal stories to -- a website run by the Diocese of Rome dedicated to the late pope's beatification and canonization.

As of April 28, the multi-lingual site published more than 400 testimonies from people sharing the ways they feel Pope John Paul interceded on their behalf or brought them back to the church.

Many are notes of thanks for prayers answered, such as a risky surgery gone well or troubles in the family resolved.

Others are personal accounts of meeting or seeing the pope during one of his many trips abroad and the feeling of being in the presence of a holy and charismatic man. Others were influenced by the way Pope John Paul reached out to people in every walk of life.
+     +     +

I was blessed with the great honor of cantoring the Sunday following Pope John Paul II's death, and I will never forget how deeply this affected me. I was in a pretty bad place at the time. Even though I had come back to the Church after a few years away, I was reaping the consequences of a few bad choices I had made, and even though I wasn't asking for anything specific or praying to him consciously, I remember staring at the Holy Father's pictures, and in the depth of my soul asking him for his intercession.

I believe it was his intercession that gave me the courage to completely reorder my life, to push through the setbacks and clear every hurdle that popped up in my way, that I might begin again. I can't speak for my husband, but I believe Pope John Paul II interceded on his behalf numerous times as well. One of his pictures is on our mantle with Our Lady and our family photos. He's also hanging on the fridge. Watching his Beatification will be one of the most profound moments of my life.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"Recapture your faith, fellow Catholics; rediscover who you are."

Amen, brother. I believe this is his best Vortex to date. There's a reference to two of the Holy Father's homilies, from the Chrism Mass and the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday. I've linked them here and here.

On another note, I'd like to take a moment to offer a special "thanks" to Michael Voris and everyone at True evangelization can only happen when we totally cast ourselves aside and become a voice crying out in the wilderness. Sometimes that means leaping into action and not worrying about worldly backlash, because in the end, all that matters is Jesus. So if we are focusing in on our popularity, our reputation, or on bending the truth so we don't put anyone off, aren't we just selling out?

Thanks,, for never selling out.

Life of Pope John Paul II

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Servant and Steward: Bishop Paprocki authorizes St. Michael Prayer afte...

I pray that this is done in my diocese as well. From Servant and Steward:

His Excellency the Most Reverend Thomas John Paprocki, Bishop of Springfield in Illinois, has authorized the public recitation of the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel - originally composed by the Holy Father Pope Leo XIII in 1886 - following the dismissal at the end of Mass and before the recession.

In a letter to parish leaders accompanying the cards, Bishop Paprocki explained the reason he has authorized this practice.  He wrote:

One of Satan’s greatest assets is his camouflage, the belief that he doesn’t exist. Disbelief in Satan and the forces of evil leave us unable to resist them. That is why it is good to remember the Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel. We need to remember that each time we pray we work to defeat our real enemies, not each other, but rather the devil and his evil spirits...

In recent years, a number of parishes have begun reciting the prayer once more, and many individual Catholics have kept up the practice. Both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have urged the faithful to pray it daily, and especially after Mass.

CLICK HERE to read the entire post.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sweet Redeemer

Bomb explodes outside Catholic church in Baghdad

From BBC News:
At least four people have been injured after a bomb exploded outside the entrance of a Catholic church in the centre of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

The blast outside the Sacred Heart church in the Karrada district broke its windows and sent shrapnel flying.

The attack took place after worshipers at the Easter Sunday service had left.

Iraqi Christians have been the victims of a spate of attacks, including one on a Syrian Catholic cathedral in Baghdad last year that left 53 people dead.

There were once about 1.5 million Christians in Iraq, but more than two-thirds are believed to have fled since the US-led invasion in 2003.

Hundreds of families have also moved to the northern Kurdish region.

The victims of Sunday's bombing were two policemen and two civilian bystanders, security officials said.

But one official and a TV cameraman for the Reuters news agency said four policemen and three bystanders were receiving treatment in hospital.

One of the injured policemen, Hassan Dalli, said: "We had just reached the scene to distribute food to the policemen there when the bomb blew up."

There had been no specific threats issued before the attack, but security was nevertheless stepped up on Easter Sunday outside churches in the capital and two northern provinces where many Christians live.

"Our life in Iraq is full of fear," Father Hanna Saad Sirop told worshippers at St Joseph's Chaldean church in Baghdad.

"But we have to live in faith and trust... We have to trust almighty God."

In other violence on Sunday, an army captain was killed by a "sticky bomb" attached to a vehicle in the northern city of Kirkuk, police said.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Stay With Me

Baby Joseph Off Ventilator and Going Home With His Parents

What can happen when we do whatever it takes right now and worry later?

We give a baby a chance to breathe on his own.

Baby Joseph, the year-old baby who was brought to the United States for a tracheotomy that his doctors at Victoria hospital in Canada refused, has been weaned off the ventilator and is going home.

Read the whole article at by clicking here.

The Gravest Threat to Freedom

With the position papers for the cause for beatification of Abp. Fulton J. Sheen slated for presentation to the Pope, his work most definitely deserves some circulation. To say he was a man ahead of his time would be an understatement. Abp. Sheen lived and taught from an eternal perspective; thus his work is timeless.

From a 1943 address titled Freedom in Danger:
[T]he gravest threat to freedom comes from within; I do not mean within America alone, I mean within the hearts and souls of men throughout the world. While the world is attempting to preserve freedom in the political order, it is surrendering it in those deeper realms upon which the political reposes.

Picture a group of men on a roof-top proclaiming in song and story the glories of architecture, while below saboteurs have already knocked out half the foundations of the house—and you have the picture of modern freedom. Politicians in the upper stories are glorifying freedom while false philosophy in education, and so-called Liberal Christianity, have knocked away its supports.

[F]reedom is denied in education today. This may sound bizarre to some educators who have been shouting catch-words about freedom for decades. But I submit they are talking about license—not freedom. They are concerned with freedom from something; not freedom for something; they are interested only in freedom without law rather than freedom within the law. And the proof? Do not many educators today assume that evil and sin are due to ignorance, and that if we educate, we will remove evil? Do not others assume that evil is due to bad environment, bad teeth, or bad glands, and that an increase of material wealth will obliterate evil? Can they not see that these assumptions destroy freedom; for if evil is the result of ignorance, and not the result of a perverse use of freedom, then Hitler is an ignoramus, but he is not a villain? Can they not see that education without a proper philosophy of life can be made the servant of evil, as well as of good? Have they not the vision to see that if evil and sin are to be attributed solely to external circumstances, then man is not free to do wrong? Then wrong is in our environment, but not in us. Is it not inconsistent to praise a free man for choosing what is right, and at the same time, when he does wrong, to deny that he is free?
Click here to read the entire transcript of the presentation "Freedom in Danger", published at

A Story of Sacrifice--A Story of Great Love

Late last summer 30-year-old youth mentor, wife and mother, Jessica Council, discovered that she had throat cancer. She also discovered that she was pregnant. An excerpt from the LifeSite News story re-posted at The America Needs Fatima Blog:

Clint describes his wife’s reaction to the news of the cancer in her throat as “a mixture of fear and surprise.” As for himself, he says he felt “just every emotion you can think of … except for joy. I was a basket case.”

But, of course, Jessica wasn’t the only one threatened by the cancer: she was pregnant, and any treatments she underwent would almost certainly harm, and possibly even kill her unborn child.

On November 25th, the hospital’s OB/GYN offered the couple an abortion. Clint says Jessica never hesitated. “That was never an option,” he said. “That is black and white.”

But what was less black and white was whether or not to accept treatments: while the oncologist said chemotherapy would likely kill the baby, the OB/GYN disagreed, saying the baby would probably survive, but suffer brain damage.

“Jessica looked at me, and it took her a few seconds,” says Clint, “and she shook her head ‘no.’” She also refused radiation therapy because of its similar risks.

“We really didn’t have a lot of treatment options after that,” said Clint, pointing out that surgery was never an option because of where the cancer was.
Click here to read the rest of this powerful story.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What Is Truth?

Pilate entered the praetorium again and called Jesus, and said to him, "Are you the King of the Jews?"

Jesus answered, "Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?"

Pilate answered, "Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me; what have you done?"

Jesus answered, "My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingship is not from the world."

Pilate said to him, "So you are a king?"

Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice."

Pilate said to him, "What is truth?" Jn 18:33-38

Think About These Numbers

62 Catholic Representatives voted against defunding Planned Parenthood.
17 Catholic Senators voted against defunding Planned Parenthood.

What does this say to you?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Catholic View on EWTN

If you haven't caught this show yet, here's your chance! Click here to check out their website-really great stuff. They offer a great show plus discussion questions, devotional suggestions and a "homework assignment" for each episode.

Here's Episode 2, "Finding Your Own Catholic Identity/Vocation".

German Parents Jailed for Refusing to Comply with Sex-Ed Program

Parents in Germany are being arrested and sentenced to prison terms for attempting to protect their children from immoral education programs. Parents who attempt to withhold their children from participating in the state-sponsored, four-day, MANDATORY sex education program that teaches permissive sexuality complete, with an interactive play, are being accused of negligence.

From the description of the following video:
Heinrich and Irene Wiens chose to keep their four children from attending a mandatory play and four school days of "sexual education" that taught students an extremely permissive view of sexuality. For this they were fined and then sentenced to more than six weeks in prison for refusing to pay. The father already served his prison term. Both parents contend that the programs oppose their Christian beliefs and that forcing their children's participation is unlawful.

Firm in the Faith With Mary

Right now the site only goes to their Facebook page, but here's the link anyway:

Monday, April 18, 2011

Cause for Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

From Living His Life Abundantly:
Ave Maria Radio has announced that Bishop Jenky, who became the Bishop of Competence sponsoring Sheen’s cause in 2002, will present the position papers, known as a “positio,” to the Pope on May 25, at which time it will be handed over to the Congregation for Saints’ Causes. The filing of the positio is the initial step in the Vatican’s process to determine whether an individual should be beatified and canonized as a saint.

Once this step has been completed, an investigation can begin into a miracle that may have occurred as a result of prayer to Archbishop Sheen. Msgr. Stanley Deptula, executive directcor of the Archbishop Sheen Foundation, said the foundation believes a miracle has already been granted through the intercession of Bishop Sheen, but would not release details, as is usually the case when a miracle is under investigation.

Bishop Sheen, who was born and raised in Peoria where he was later ordained a priest is best known for his television program, “Life is Worth Living,” which he broadcast from New York City after being appointed an auxiliary bishop in 1951. He later served as Bishop of Rochester. After his death in 1979, he was buried in the crypt of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.
From "Archbishop Fulton Sheen Cause Moves Ahead" By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS, Staff Journalist (Click Here to read entire article)

This is something American really needs.

Listen To Your Doctor!

Some excellent advice from St. Teresa of Avila:
The devil will try to upset you by accusing you of being unworthy of the blessings that you have received. Simply remain cheerful and do your best to ignore the devil's nagging. If need be even laugh at the absurdity of the situation. Satan, the epitome of sin itself, accuses you of unworthiness! When the devil reminds you of your past, remind him of his future!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Senomyx Update

Here's my post from a couple of weeks ago regarding Senomyx, a San Diego biotech company who uses the cells from aborted fetuses in flavor research.

While Ajinomoto Co. Inc., Kraft Foods Inc., Firmenich SA, Nestlé SA and PepsiCo has not abandoned their partnership with Senomyx, Solae quite a while ago has. Here is the article from

Send A Birthday Wish!

The Long Haul

Even in our times, despite those who deny God, earth is very close to Heaven.
– St. Josemaria Escriva, The Forge, #992

Over the last week I’ve read a number of articles, blog posts and comments expressing great disappointment over the deal made by the House and the Senate a week ago. Please read the update from Expose Planned Parenthood by clicking here.  (I’ve also reprinted it below.)  While you're at their site, click the "Contact Congress" tab and, well, contact Congress.

I don’t see this as a dirty compromise, or a failure on the part of the pro-lifers in Congress. I see this as a smart move, a charitable act and a very large step in the right direction. Let’s remember how things work on Capitol Hill without a 2/3 majority, and I don’t mean Democrat or Republican here, either. We need more Senators and Representatives who are pro-life IN FACT, to the tune of a 2/3 majority.

We proved over these last few months that we CAN make a difference, and we mustn’t stop now. We’re all in this for the long haul, so let’s all take the next step forward, yes?  Human life is worth fighting for.

From Expose Planned Parenthood:
Late last Friday night, a deal was struck between leaders in the House and Senate to avoid a government shutdown. For the pro-life movement, we saw a partial victory.

While the deal did not include de-funding Planned Parenthood, it did force the pro-abortion leaders in the U.S. Senate and President Obama to accept the pro-life Dornan Amendment, which prevents tax-paying funding of abortions in the District of Columbia. It also mandated that the U.S. Senate, for the first-time ever, will have to take a vote this week on the Pence Amendment to de-fund Planned Parenthood.

This is significant.

It has been estimated that the Dornan Amendment will save over 1,000 pre-born babies a year from tax-payer funded abortion in the nation’s capital.

Because of your hard work, 1,000 precious babies will be saved this year in Washington, D.C.

And while, our goal of de-funding of Planned Parenthood was not achieved, we advanced the ball forward, pushing through the misleading rhetoric on Capitol Hill, and obtained the opportunity for an historic vote which will take place in the U.S. Senate this week.

This is huge! Just 2 months ago, experts said that getting a vote in the Senate would be impossible, and we shouldn’t even hope for it.

We will continue to fight for women and their preborn babies until we see an end to abortion. As the members of the White Rose, the student-led Nazi opposition group, once stated, “We will not be silent. We are your bad conscience.”

We may affirm that nothing great in the world 
has been accomplished without passion.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Reading the Bible

Tagged By A Messenger: Why Do I Love Jesus?

Happy to oblige, Angela. Thanks for the tag!

* Share five things you love about Jesus/or why you love Jesus.
* Tag five other bloggers.
* Those tagged will provide a link in the comments section here so others can read them.

1.  He is consistent: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever." (Heb 13:8)
2.  He is always with us, in every tabernacle in the world.
3.  He forgives even me, the worst sinner in the world.
4.  He bore it all, for He is God, and knew that we couldn't possibly save ourselves.
5.  He didn't leave us high and dry here on earth, but gave us His Church to lead us through the ages.

I tag Jackie, Matt, Teresa, Megan and anyone at Southern Fried Catholicism.

What Is Going On?

The following is an exerpt from Abuse allegations: true, false and truthy by Richard Fitzgibbons and Peter Kleponis.  They ask, "21 Philadelphia priests were recently stood down, even though most of them are clearly not abusers. What is going on?" A good question.
The placement of 21 priests on leave shortly after the Philadelphia Grand Jury’s report on the outrageous child abuse by two priests has had a severely damaging effect upon the reputation, good name and future priestly ministry of these priests. This is because the majority of people in the Philadelphia area and around the country believe that all 21 priests were guilty of the same heinous acts as the two priests identified by the Grand Jury.

In fact, the majority of the 21 priests identified for further evaluations of accusations made against them previously went through such an intensive process in the past conducted by competent professionals without any new charges being filed against them. The result of the investigation was that the charges were not substantiated against many of those 21 priests. Then, these priests were notified and there was no disruption of their priestly ministry.

The failure of the Archdiocese to communicate these facts to the public is difficult to understand. The public falsely believes these priests are guilty.

Priests and Catholic laity who know these priests were cleared earlier and deemed victims of false accusations are justifiably incensed and believe this deserves further investigation.

It is important to understand that false accusations occur regularly against employers, co-workers, spouses in divorce cases, parents, educators, and members of the clergy. Such accusations have led often to reputations and careers being ruined, family relationships destroyed, and both professional and religious lives shattered.

False accusations are made for a number of reasons, including a desire for financial gain, excessive and misdirected anger, jealously, mental instability, prejudice, a sociopathic personality disorder and, in regard to priests, a hatred of the Church.

In the Church false accusations have related recently to confusion in regard to what is referred to as “boundary issues” which are buzz words arising from the post-crisis programs in the Church. Boundary violations are behaviours that are viewed as being suspicious, but are not directly sexual. Priests are being increasingly accused of so-called boundary issues and of grooming minors while engaging in completely appropriate priestly ministry and behaviour toward youth in Catholic schools, on playgrounds and in parish centres or rectories.

In our professional opinion the failure to address clearly the basic causes of the crisis, described in 2005 by a member of the first National Review Board, Dr Paul McHugh, former chair of psychiatry at John Hopkins, as the homosexual predation of adolescent males, in the post-crisis programs led instead to a focus on ambiguous boundary conflicts.

In our clinical experience many of the priests accused of so-called boundary violations were strong in faith and in loyalty while their accusers often harboured resentment toward them. While accusations of specific sexual behaviours need to be immediately addressed, caution needs to be exercised in regard to the evaluation of so-called boundary violations. Certainly such priests should not be removed from ministry while an accusation is assessed, nor do they necessarily need a mental health evaluation.
read the entire article here.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I received this video in my inbox this morning:

It's a contest entry for the Reconciliation Day campaign promoted by the Archdiocese of New York, the Diocese of Brooklyn and the Diocese of Rockville Center. From the i-confess website:

The All Day confessions campaign, which was originally conceived in 2009, was envisioned as a marketing tool to encourage Catholics to attend Confession, especially if it’s been awhile since their last Confession. “Reaching people in today’s media age can sometimes be very difficult, especially with all that is out there. The hope is that young people will see these videos and be encouraged to come back to the church and that faithful Catholics will feel empowered by the Church’s effort to follow Pope John Paul II edict to evangelize,” said Gary Arkin, Marketing Director of NET [a Catholic-based cable TV station in Brooklyn, New York].

I'd love to see our diocese launch something like this.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


"Don't try to reason with concupiscence:

scorn it." -St. Josemaria Escriva, The Way, #127

It's a word I can't say I hear much. I never heard it at any time during the nine years I attended Catholic schools. Very few priests in my neck of the woods have ever uttered it from the pulpit, either. Were it not for EWTN, the Internet and my voracious reading habit, I might have never run across this word ever. Yet it's of the utmost importance to a Christian working out his or her salvation.

Concupiscence, which literally means the state of having desire, is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church calls "an inclination to sin" (CCC 1264). It's our desire to gratify our senses, sometimes without first running them through the filters of good reason.  How can we master our desires if we do not understand our desires and how they properly fit into God's plan? (This is why I'm so puzzled that I've not heard the concept of concupiscence discussed more often. There is some really great stuff out there, though; for example, click here for Fr. Robert Barron's compelling sermon on the woman at the well.)

Human beings are quite complex, obviously. We have appetites and sensual desires of all kinds. Our want for food, drink, sex and things of all kinds are rooted in our drive to sustain ourselves as individuals and as a human family. Because our desires are a part of our makeup as human beings created by God, our desires are actually good things. The wherefores should be rather obvious.

It's when our desires go unchecked, when satisfying our passions supersede the good of humanity and our obedience to God that we are in trouble. This is the heart of Catholic teaching on concupiscence: our sensual desires, while in and of themselves are not evil, can be incentive to sin, especially when sensual desire becomes the object of our happiness rather than our desire for God. Mastering these sensual desires are an integral part of working out our salvation.

A line from the Act of Contrition comes to mind: "I firmly resolve with the help of Your grace to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin." I believe this is why St. Josemaria Escriva encourages us to scorn concupiscence--not because it is sinful, but because we are.

From New Advent:
A short but important statement of the Catholic doctrine on this point may be quoted from Peter the Deacon, a Greek, who was sent to Rome to bear witness to the Faith of the East: "Our belief is that Adam came from the hands of his Creator good and free from the assaults of the flesh" (Lib. de Incarn., c. vi). In our first parents, however, this complete dominion of reason over appetite was no natural perfection or acquirement, but a preternatural gift of God, that is, a gift not due to human nature; nor was it, on the other hand, the essence of their original justice, which consisted in sanctifying grace; it was but a complement added to the latter by the Divine bounty. By the sin of Adam freedom from concupiscence was forfeited not only for himself, but also for all his posterity with the exception of the Blessed Virgin by special privilege. Human nature was deprived of both its preternatural and supernatural gifts and graces, the lower appetite began to lust against the spirit, and evil habits, contracted by personal sins, wrought disorder in the body, obscured the mind, and weakened the power of the will, without, however, destroying its freedom. Hence that lamentable condition of which St. Paul complains when he writes:

I find then a law, that when I have a will to do good, evil is present with me. For I am delighted with the law of God, according to the inward man: but I see another law in my members, fighting against the law of my mind, and captivating me in the law of sin, that is in my members. Unhappy man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (Romans 7:21-25)
Click here to read more about concupiscence at New Advent's Catholic Encyclopedia.

Monday, April 11, 2011

"Listen, My Beloved"

Listen, My Beloved,

When you don't know which way to turn,
  turn to Me...
Let My light guide you.

When your spirits are low,
  turn to Me...
I will uplift you.

When you need healing,
  turn to Me...
I am the life that gives you life.

When your heart aches,
  turn to Me...
I am the balm that heals mind, body and spirit.

When you need comfort,
   turn to Me...
I am the love that soothes your troubled soul.

When mountains appear before you,
   turn to Me...
I will make them move.

Turn to Me, My beloved...
   I am yours and you are Mine.
   I will love you until the end of time.

(I wish I knew where this came from so I could properly credit it. It was a handout from my dear friend, Deacon Ron Bunofsky.)


Pretty awesome dish for Easter Sunday, eh?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Thumbs WAY Up for Matthew Kelly

If you ever have an opportunity to hear a presentation by Matthew Kelly, GO. I walked out of his talk re-energized in my faith, and very proud to be a Catholic.

Here is an excerpt of the same presentation he gave last night.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Does Planned Parenthood Need or Deserve Federal Funds?

Good question. CLICK HERE To the read the Chiaroscuro Foundation report.

Some notable highlights:
  • According to its most currently published annual report, PP has nearly one billion dollars of net assets ($1,197,300,000.00 assets, and $202,600,000.00 liabilities).
  • Planned Parenthood is an abortion organization. It provides more abortions than any other organization in the United States, about one of every four U.S. abortions.
  • More government funding of Planned Parenthood has corresponded with increased numbers of abortions there.
  • By conservative estimates, abortions constitute about 37% of all PP revenues.
  • Planned Parenthood intends to increase the number of abortion clinics in its franchise. It recently announced that all affiliates should prepare to operate at least one abortion clinic over the course of the next two years.
  • For every adoption referral Planned Parenthood makes, it performs 340 abortions.
  • And my personal favorite:
  • In recent reports, Planned Parenthood acknowledges that it provided primary care only to about 19,700 of its 3 million unduplicated clients. These services have been trending downward for years, from 21,247 in 2007 to 20,235 in 2008, to today’s 19,796.

WRITE YOUR SENATORS AND CONGRESSMEN THIS WEEKEND.  Drop a letter to the White House while you're at it.  

    Thursday, April 7, 2011

    "The Church is a Vast Army

    ...occupying not only the material world, but also the immaterial world."

    Dry, Drowsy Desert

    This week following Laetare Sunday is a little hard. The dry, drowsy state of my soul (as the Little Flower so succinctly described it) is the worst kind of struggle. I know in my head it's the Lord's way of pushing me to maturity. Without His prodding, without His rewards, can I--no, WILL I--still turn to Him in prayer, still give myself over? Is my love the kind of love rewarded with a treat or affection as a pet, or is it REAL love, the total love that would take me to the Cross in imitation of Christ?

    He wants everything from us--even the dryness and drowsiness.  "I wish to give all to Jesus, since He makes me understand that He alone is perfect happiness. All!--all shall be for Him! And even when I have nothing, as is the case tonight, I will give Him this nothing..." from Story of a Soul by St. Therese of Lisieux.

    Little Flower Song
    Fr. Stan Fortuna

    True Happiness

    This meditation was in my Inbox this morning. It's by St. Josemaria Escriva, who has fast become one of my favorite saints of the 20th century.
    Being children of God, how can we be sad? Sadness is the end product of selfishness. If we truly want to live for God, we will never lack cheerfulness, even when we discover our errors and wretchedness. Cheerfulness finds its way into our life of prayer, so much so that we cannot help singing for joy. For we are in love, and singing is a thing that lovers do.

    If we live our lives in this way, we shall be bringing peace to the world. We shall be making God’s service attractive to others, because ‘God loves a cheerful giver’. Christians are ordinary people, but their hearts overflow with the joy that comes when we set out to fulfill, with the constant help of grace, the will of the Father. Christians don’t see themselves as victims, underrated, or restricted in their behavior. They walk head on high, because they are men and children of God.

    Our faith brings out the full meaning of these human virtues, which no one should ever neglect. Christians should be second to none as human beings. Those who follow Christ are able (not by their own merit but by the grace of God) to communicate to those around them what they at times suspect but cannot quite grasp: that true happiness, a genuine spirit of serving our neighbor, can only come by passing through the Heart of our Redeemer, perfectus Deus, perfectus homo.
    from Friends of God by St. Josemaria Escriva, nos. 92-93.

    Wednesday, April 6, 2011


    Brother of slain Pakistani minister says he forgives murderers 
    By Sara Angle, Catholic News Service
    (CLICK HERE to read the story in it's entirety.)
    ROME (CNS) --Paul Bhatti, brother of the former Pakistani minister for minorities who was murdered by Islamic extremists, said he and his family forgive his brother's assassins.

    Shahbaz Bhatti, who spoke out against Pakistan's anti-blasphemy laws and encouraged religious freedom, was killed March 2.

    Speaking to reporters in Rome April 5, Paul Bhatti said his family has forgiven Shahbaz's assassins, "because our faith teaches us to do this. Our brother Shahbaz was a Christian and the Christian faith tells us to forgive."

    The assassinated minister's brother told the conference, "To obtain peace in the world we must all walk together ... (peace) is a universal responsibility."

    He said his brother never compromised his faith-motivated work for social justice and, he said, Shahbaz Bhatti once said explicitly that he "left his life in the hands of Jesus."

    Paul Bhatti asked for prayers and support to keep Shahbaz's life work going.

    While he said he and his family have forgiven the assassins, he said there was a need to clarify what happened and find the perpetrators to prevent a similar crime from happening in the future.

    "The person who killed him did not extinguish his light because we will continue his battle with strength and determination," he said.

    Paul Bhatti recently assumed the position of the Pakistani president's "special adviser" for religious minorities and he told reporters his first priority is to promote the real integration of minorities into Pakistani society, "talking with Muslims and reducing sentiments of hatred."
    Nothing destroys the power our enemies have over us than forgiveness. Paul Bhatti is a powerful example of how forgiveness frees us to continue the work that needs to be done in this world, no matter what the cost.

    Tuesday, April 5, 2011


    I'd have stood in it for a Papal Mass. I'd stand in it now for a Papal Mass.

    Monday, April 4, 2011

    On Our Knees

    From our Pastor's note in our Sunday bulletin:
    Preparation of the worship space is always excellent but I'd like to focus on [our] attention to the Eucharist until the Lord's Body has been 'reposed' in the tabernacle and the sacred vessels purified. In some congregations as soon as the tabernacle doors makes the sound of closing there is a sudden roar as the congregation rushes to be seated. This happens whether the sacred vessels have been purified or not. I am so impressed that our congregations attenttively wait until the holy vessels and the particles of the body and Blood of Christ are reverently cared for by the deacon or the priest. Only when the vessels are properly purified do I see the congregation sit for the short period of meditation. Although my phrasing is a bit too simple, our congregations demonstrate their love for Christ our Savior by watching carefully that our friend is securely given a proper place of rest before we ourselves recline.
    I am so thankful to attend Mass at a parish where this kind of reverence for The Lord is expressed. At other parishes in my Diocese I have seen some real inconsistency when it comes to kneeling. At my previous parish the entire congregation sits down when distribution of the Eucharist begins, and they sit after Communion when they feel like sitting. At other parishes they stand during the consecration because kneeling has been reduced to an optional posture. Still other parishes do not provide kneelers and say, "we don't have to kneel."

    Actually, you kind of do: "In the dioceses of the United States of America, they should kneel beginning after the singing or recitation of the Sanctus until after the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer, except when prevented on occasion by reasons of health, lack of space, the large number of people present, or some other good reason. Those who do not kneel ought to make a profound bow when the priest genuflects after the consecration. The faithful kneel after the Agnus Dei unless the Diocesan Bishop determines otherwise." (General Instruction of the Roman Missal: II. The Different Elements of the Mass, Movements and Posture. My emphasis. Click here to read more from the GIRM.)

    Note that the "should" is qualified by spelled-out exceptions.

    Granted, remaining on your knees until the vessels are purified is not necessarily spelled out in this online presentation of the GIRM; reverence, however, isn't an act of law, but an act of love. I look at it this way: if the Lord Jesus stood before me in all of his glory, would I be able to stand there, or would I fall not just to my knees, but to my face and beg for His mercy?

    I therefore must remain on my knees, because even though I can't see Him, I believe He is there.

    May the Heart of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament be praised, adored and loved, with grateful affection, at every moment, in all the Tabernacles of the world, even till the end of time.

    Friday, April 1, 2011

    A Prayer

    When this world closes in on me, let me remember Jesus' example--to slip away and find a quiet place to pray. It's the best response when I'm pushed beyond my limits.  I know that, when I can't pray, you listen to my heart.

    Continue to use me to do Your will.
    Continue to bless me that I may be a blessing to others.

    Keep me strong that I may help the weak.
    Keep me uplifted that I may have words of encouragement for others.

    I pray for those who are lost and can't find their way.
    I pray for those who are misjudged and misunderstood.
    I pray for those who don't know you intimately.
    I pray for those who don't believe.
    I thank you that I believe.
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