Saturday, December 12, 2009

OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE


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In 1531 a "Lady from Heaven" appeared to Saint Juan Diego, a poor Indian from Tepeyac, a hill northwest of Mexico City. She identified herself as the Mother of the True God and instructed him to have the bishop build a church on the site and left an image of herself imprinted miraculously on his tilma, a poor quality cactus-cloth. The tilma should have deteriorated within 20 years but shows no sign of decay after over 470 years. It to this day defies all scientific explanations of its origin.

Apparently the tilma in the eyes of Our Lady of Guadalupe, even reflects what was in front of her in 1531! Her message of love and compassion, and her universal promise of help and protection to all mankind, as well as the story of the apparitions, are described in the "Nican Mopohua," a 16th century document written in the native Nahuatl language.
There is reason to believe that at Tepeyac Mary came in her glorified body, and her actual physical hands rearranged the roses in Juan Diego’s tilma, which makes this apparition very special.

An incredible list of miracles, cures and interventions are attributed to Our Lady of Guadalupe. Each year an estimated 10 million people visit her Basilica, making her Mexico City home the most popular Marian shrine in the world, and the most visited Catholic church in the world after Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.

Altogether 24 popes have officially honored Our Lady of Guadalupe. His Holiness John Paul II visited her Sanctuary four times: on his first apostolic trip outside Rome as Pope in 1979, and again in 1990, 1999 and 2002.

The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is celebrated on December 12th. In 1999, Pope John Paul II, in his homily given during the Solemn Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, his third visit to the sanctuary, declared the date of December the 12th as a Liturgical Holy Day for the whole continent. During the same visit Pope John Paul II entrusted the cause of life to her loving protection, and placed under her motherly care the innocent lives of children, especially those who are in danger of not being born.

Patronage: Americas, Central America, diocese of Colorado Springs Colorado, diocese of Corpus Christi Texas, diocese of Dodge City, Kansas, Estremadura Spain, diocese of Gallup New Mexico, Mexico, diocese of Nashville Tennessee, New Mexico, New World, diocese of Orange California, diocese of Phoenix Arizona, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, diocese of Sacramento, California, diocese of Sioux City Iowa, Spain.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

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"The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin."
(Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus, 1854)

In 1854, Pope Pius IX's solemn declaration, "Ineffabilis Deus," clarified with finality the long-held belief of the Church that Mary was conceived free from original sin.

Mary was granted this extraordinary privilege because of Her unique role in history as the Mother of God. That is, She received the gift of salvation in Christ from the very moment of her conception.

Even though Mary is unique in all humanity for being born without sin, She is held up by the Church as a model for all humanity in Her holiness and Her purity, in Her willingness to accept the Plan of God for Her.

Every person is called to recognize and respond to God’s call, to their own vocation, in order to carry out God’s plan for their life and fulfill the mission prepared for them since before the beginning of time.

Mary’s “Let it be done to me according to Thy Word,” in response of the Angel Gabriel’s greeting is the response required of all Christians to God’s Plan.

The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception is a time to celebrate the great joy of God’s gift to humanity in Mary, and to recognize with greater clarity, the truth that each and every human being has been created by God to fulfill a particular mission that he and only he can fulfill.

“The word of the Lord came to me thus: "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you."
(Jeremiah 1:5-8)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Saint Andrew, Apostle

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Saint Andrew was a fisherman from Bethsaida and the brother of Simon Peter. Andrew, Peter, and John the Evangelist were the first of the disciples of Christ. While a disciple of John the Baptist, Andrew, who was still a young man at the time, showed his ardent desire to give himself to a radical search for and service of the truth.

He demonstrated his willingness to leave all and follow God the day after the Baptism of Jesus: “John was there again with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God.’ The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.” (Jn. 1:35-37)

Andrew also showed his love for his brother as well as his apostolic zeal when, convinced that Jesus is the Messiah, he sought out his brother: “Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus. He first found his own brother Simon and told him, "We have found the Messiah." Then he brought him to Jesus.” (Jn. 1:40-42)

Saint Andrew is said to have spread the Gospel in Russia and Asia Minor after Pentecost. He was crucified by the Romans in Greece on an X-shaped cross which is now his distinctive symbol as well as the symbol of Scotland, of which he is the patron.

Some of his remains were brought to Scotland in the fourth century though parts of his skeleton lie in the crypt of the cathedral in Amalfi, Italy, where they are removed twice a year and produce a clear, water-like substance called “manna” which is said to have miraculous attributes.

Below is a traditional prayer that is prayed 15 times daily from today, the Feast of Saint Andrew, until Christmas. In this prayer we ask for help in our needs by the merits of that most awesome moment in human history: when the Eternal Word became flesh and dwelt among us. It is a prayer that helps us to remember the true meaning of Christmas.

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment In which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires, [here mention your request] through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ, and of His blessed Mother. Amen.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

All Saints Day

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Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, pray for us.
Holy Mother of God, pray for us.
Holy Virgin of virgins,pray for us.
St. Michael, pray for us.
St. Gabriel, pray for us.
St. Raphael, pray for us.
All you Holy Angels and Archangels, pray for us.
St. John the Baptist, pray for us.
St. Joseph, pray for us.
All you Holy Patriarchs and Prophets, pray for us.
St. Peter, pray for us.
St. Paul, pray for us.
St. Andrew, pray for us.
St. James, pray for us.
St. John, pray for us.
St. Thomas, pray for us.
St. James, pray for us.
St. Philip, pray for us.
St. Bartholomew, pray for us.
St. Matthew, pray for us.
St. Simon, pray for us.
St. Jude, pray for us.
St. Matthias, pray for us.
St. Barnabas, pray for us.
St. Luke, pray for us.
St. Mark, pray for us.
All you holy Apostles and Evangelists, pray for us.
All you holy Disciples of the Lord, pray for us.
All you holy Innocents, pray for us.
St. Stephen, pray for us.
St. Lawrence, pray for us.
St. Vincent, pray for us.
Sts. Fabian and Sebastian, pray for us.
Sts. John and Paul, pray for us.
Sts. Cosmos and Damian, pray for us.
All you holy Martyrs, pray for us.
St. Sylvester, pray for us.
St. Gregory, pray for us.
St. Ambrose, pray for us.
St. Augustine, pray for us.
St. Jerome, pray for us.
St. Martin, pray for us.
St. Nicholas, pray for us.
All you holy Bishops and Confessors, pray for us.
All you holy Doctors, pray for us.
St. Anthony, pray for us.
St. Benedict, pray for us.
St. Bernard, pray for us.
St. Dominic, pray for us.
St. Francis, pray for us.
All you holy Priests and Levites, pray for us.
All you holy Monks and Hermits, pray for us.
St. Mary Magdalene, pray for us.
St. Agatha, pray for us.
St. Lucy, pray for us.
St. Agnes, pray for us.
St. Cecilia, pray for us.
St. Anastasia, pray for us.
St. Catherine, pray for us.
St. Clare, pray for us.
All you holy Virgins and Widows, pray for us.
All you holy Saints of God, pray for us.
Lord, be merciful, Lord, save your people.
From all evil, Lord, save your people.
From all sin, Lord, save your people.
From your wrath, Lord, save your people.
From a sudden and unprovided death, Lord, save your people.
From the snares of the devil, Lord, save your people.
From anger, hatred, and all ill-will, Lord, save your people.
From the spirit of uncleanness, Lord, save your people.
From lightning and tempest, Lord, save your people.
From the scourge of earthquake, Lord, save your people.
From plague, famine, and war, Lord, save your people.
From everlasting death, Lord, save your people.
By the mystery of your holy Incarnation, Lord, save your people.
By your Coming, Lord, save your people.
By your Birth, Lord, save your people.
By your Baptism and holy fasting, Lord, save your people.
By your Cross and Passion, Lord, save your people.
By your Death and Burial, Lord, save your people.
By your holy Resurrection, Lord, save your people.
By your wonderful Ascension, Lord, save your people.
By the coming of the Holy Spirit, Lord, save your people.
On the day of judgment, Lord, save your people.
Be merciful to us sinners,Lord, hear our prayer.
That you will spare us, Lord, hear our prayer.
That you will pardon us, Lord, hear our prayer.
That it may please you to bring us to true
penance, Lord, hear our prayer.
Guide and protect your holy Church, Lord, hear our prayer.
Preserve in holy religion the Pope, and all
those in holy Orders, Lord, hear our prayer.
Humble the enemies of holy Church, Lord, hear our prayer.
Give peace and unity to the whole Christian
people, Lord, hear our prayer.
Bring back to the unity of the Church all
those who are straying, and bring all
unbelievers to the light of the Gospel, Lord, hear our prayer.
Strengthen and preserve us in your holy
service, Lord, hear our prayer.
Raise our minds to desire the things of
heaven, Lord, hear our prayer.
Reward all our benefactors with eternal
blessings, Lord, hear our prayer.
Deliver our souls from eternal damnation,
and the souls of our brethren, relatives,
and benefactors, Lord, hear our prayer.
Give and preserve the fruits of the earth, Lord, hear our prayer.
Grant eternal rest to all the faithful departed, Lord, hear our prayer.
That it may please You to hear and heed
us, Jesus, Son of the Living God,
Lord, hear our prayer.


Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of
the world,Spare us, O Lord!
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of
the world,Graciously hear us, O Lord!
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of
the world, Have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us,
Lord Jesus, hear our prayer.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, graciously hear us
Lord Jesus, hear our prayer.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Our Lady of Fatima


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In 1916, an Angel appeared to three Portuguese shepherd children (Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta), gave them Holy Communion, and taught them the following prayers in order to prepare them for a future visit from the Blessed Mother.

Pardon Prayer
My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You! I ask pardon of You for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love You!

Eucharistic Prayer

Most Holy Trinity, I adore you! My God, My God,I love You in the Most Blessed Sacrament.
Prayer Taught To the Children By The Angel
Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, I offer You the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the sacrileges, outrages and indifference by which He Himself is offended. And through the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of you the conversion of poor sinners.

Decade Prayer
(To be said after the Glory Be at the end of each decade of the Rosary)
O MY JESUS, forgive us our sins, save us from the fire of Hell,
lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are most in need of Thy mercy.

Later, starting on May 13, 1917, Our Lady started appearing monthly to the three children, asking them to pray the rosary daily and to offer sacrifices for the conversion of souls, the consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart, and for the poor souls who have no one to pray for them. She also warned about fashions that would be introduced in society that would greatly offend Our Lord.

As no one believed them, Our Lady promised a miracle to happen October 13, which ended up involving the sun.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

St. Thérèse of Lisieux

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St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, or St. Thérèse of Lisieux was born January 2, 1873 in Alençon, France to pious parents, both who have been declared venerable by Pope John Paul II. Her mother died when she was four, leaving her father and elder sisters to raise her.



On Christmas Day 1886 St. Thérèse had a profound experience of intimate union with God, which she described as a “complete conversion.” Almost a year later, in a papal audience during a pilgrimage to Rome, in 1887, she asked for and obtained permission from Pope Leo XIII to enter the Carmelite Monastery at the young age of 15.



On entering, she devoted herself to living a life of holiness, doing all things with love and childlike trust in God. She struggled with life in the convent, but decided to make an effort to be charitable to all, especially those she didn’t like. She performed little acts of charity always, and little sacrifices not caring how unimportant they seemed. These acts helped her come to a deeper understanding of her vocation.



She wrote in her autobiography that she had always dreamed of being a missionary, an Apostle, a martyr – yet she was a nun in a quiet cloister in France. How could she fulfill these longings?



“Charity gave me the key to my vocation. I understood that the Church had a Heart and that this Heart was burning with love. I knew that one love drove the members of the Church to action, that if this love were extinguished, the apostles would have proclaimed the Gospel no longer, the martyrs would have shed their blood no more. I understood that Love comprised all vocations, that Love was everything, that it embraced all times and places...in a word, that it was eternal! Then in the excess of my delirious joy, I cried out: O Jesus, my Love...my vocation, at last I have found it...My vocation is Love!”



Thérèse offered herself as a sacrificial victim to the merciful Love of God on June 9, 1895, the feast of the Most Holy Trinity and the following year, on the night between Holy Thursday and Good Friday, she noticed the first symptoms of Tuberculosis, the illness which would lead to her death.



Thérèse recognized in her illness the mysterious visitation of the divine Spouse and welcomed the suffering as an answer to her offering the previous year. She also began to undergo a terrible trial of faith which lasted until her death a year and a half later. “Her last words, ‘My God, I love you,’ are the seal of her life,” said Pope John Paul II.



Since her death, millions have been inspired by her ‘little way’ of loving God and neighbor. Many miracles have been attributed to her intercession. She had predicted during her earthly life that “My Heaven will be spent doing good on Earth.”



Saint Thérèse was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope John Paul II in 1997 - 100 years after her death at the age of 24. She is only the third woman to be so proclaimed, after Saint Catherine of Siena and Saint Teresa of Avila.



St. Thérèse wrote once, 'You know well enough that Our Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our actions, nor even at their difficulty, but at the love with which we do them."

Friday, September 25, 2009

Awesome Vocations Video

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I found this video that I wanted to share. No, there's no liturgical reason to post it today. I just liked it, that's all.

Monday, September 14, 2009

THE EXALTATION OF THE HOLY CROSS


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The feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross celebrates two historical events: the discovery of the True Cross by Saint Helena, the mother of the Emperor Constantine, in 320, under the temple of Venus in Jerusalem and the dedication, in 335, of the basilica and shrine built on Calvary by Constantine which mark the site of the Crucifixion.

The basilica, named the Martyrium, and the shrine, named the Calvarium, were destroyed by the Persians in 614. The Church of the Holy sepulcher which now stands on the site was built by the crusaders in 1149.

However the feast, more than anything else, is a celebration and commemoration of God's greatest work, his salivific death on the Cross and Resurrection, through which death was defeated and the doors to Heaven opened.
The entrance antiphon for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross is - "We should glory in the crossof our Lord Jesus Christ, for he is our salvation, our life and ourresurrection: through him we are saved and made free".

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Nativity of Our Blessed Mother

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"The hope of the entire world and the dawn of salvation." - ( Lumen Gentium, 55 )

Besides Christmas, only two birthdays are celebrated in the Church’s liturgical calendar. That of John the Baptist on June 24, and the birth of our Lady, on September 8.

The reason for this is that these two saints, especially, of course, Mary, are figures of singular importance in the history of salvation. Their coming into the world heralds the arrival of the Word’s dwelling among men and the redemption of the fallen human race.

“Mary's birth lies at the confluence of the two Testaments--bringing to an end the stage of expectation and the promises and inaugurating the new times of grace and salvation in Jesus Christ (LG, 55).”

“Mary, the Daughter of Zion and ideal personification of Israel, is the last and most worthy representative of the People of the Old Covenant but at the same time she is "the hope and the dawn of the whole world." With her, the elevated Daughter of Zion, after a long expectation of the promises, the times are fulfilled and a new economy is established. (LG, 55)

The feast of the Nativity of Mary originated in the Middle East in the sixth or seventh century and was included in the Roman calendar in the eighth. It is celebrated exactly 9 months after the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta


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Known to all as a universal symbol of God's merciful and preferential love for the poor and forgotten, Mother Teresa was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu on August 26, 1910, in Skopje, Macedonia, the youngest of three children. She attended a youth group called Sodality, run by a Jesuit priest at her parish, and her involvement opened her to the call of service as a missionary nun.



She joined the Sisters of Loretto at age 17 and was sent to Calcutta where she taught at a high school. She contracted Tuberculosis and was sent to rest in Darjeeling. It was on the train to Darjeeling that she received her calling - what she called "an order" from God to leave the convent and work and live among the poor. At this point she did not know that she was to found an order of nuns, or even exactly where she was to serve. "I knew where I belonged, but I did not know how to get there," she said once, recalling the moment on the train.



Confirmation of the calling came when the Vatican granted her permission to leave the Sisters of Loretto and fulfill her calling under the Archbshop of Calcutta. She started working in the slums, teaching poor children, and treating the sick in their homes. She was joined a year later by some of her former students and together they took in men, women, and children who were dying in the gutters along the streets and cared for them.



In 1950 the Missionaries of Charity were born as a congregation of the Diocese of Calcutta and in 1952 the government granted them a house from which to continue their service among Calcutta's forgotten.



The congregation very quickly grew from a single house for the dying and unwanted to nearly 500 around the world. Mother Teresa set up homes for AIDS sufferers, for prostitutes, for battered women, and orphanages for poor children.



She often said that the poorest of the poor were those who had no one to care for them and no one who knew them. And she often remarked with sadness and desolation of milliions of souls in the developed world whose spiritual poverty and loneliness was such an immense cause of suffering.



She was a fierce defender of the unborn saying: "If you hear of some woman who does not want to keep her child and wants to have an abortion, try to persuade her to bring him to me. I will love that child, seeing in him the sign of God's love."



Mother Teresa died on September 5, 1997 and was beatified only six years later, on October 19, 2003.



Mother Teresa once said, "A sacrifice to be real must cost, must hurt, must empty ourselves. The fruit of silence is prayer, the fruit of prayer is faith, the fruit of faith is love, the fruit of love is service, the fruit of service is peace." She also said, "give yourself fully to God. He will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in His love than in your own weakness."

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Saint Gregory the Great

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Gregory was born in Rome around 540, into the family of a wealthy Roman Senator who converted and became one of the seven deacons of Rome.

Gregory, who was known for his intelligence and capacity for work, was appointed Prefect of Rome by the emperor at the very young age of 34. However, a year later, on the death of his father, Gregory became a Benedictine monk, and founded seven monasteries, one in his own home in Rome.

His monastic life was interrupted, much to his regret, in 590 when he was elected Pope by all the clergy and faithful of Rome and carried to his consecration at St. Peter's on September 3.

His achievements in his 14 years as Pope are almost astounding. His biographer, Paul the Deacon, explaining his phenomenal work output, said that he never rested. All the more remarkable when one considers that he was always in ill health, physical suffering being a constant companion throughout his entire reign as pope.

He introduced liturgical reforms and brought chant into the Church, now known as Gregorian chant, after him. He sent Saint Augustine of Canterbury and a company of monks to evangelize England, and wrote many works on faith and moral subjects.

Saint Gregory's influence on the future shape of Catholicism should never be underestimated. His reforms and organization of the Church's relationships with the temporal order set the tone for succeeding centuries.

Most significantly, he became the model of the medieval pope. With regard to things spiritual, he impressed upon men's minds, to a degree unprecedented, the fact that the See of Peter was the one, supreme, decisive authority in the Catholic Church.

He is one of the four great Latin doctors of the Church, one of only two popes to be called 'great' (the other being Pope Saint Leo the Great) and the patron saint of music.

Pope Saint Gregory the Great once said, "The proof of love is in the works. Where love exists, it works great things. But when it ceases to act, it ceases to exist."
Saint Gregory died on March 12th, 604.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Seven Joys of Mary

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1. The Annunciation

In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, The Annunciation and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:26–38)



2. The Visitation
During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. The Visitation When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” . . . Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home. (Luke 1:39–45, 56)



3. The Nativity
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. The Nativity So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:1–7)



4. The Adoration by the Magi
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, The Adoration by the Magi “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.”

. . . And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother.

They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. (Matthew 2:1–2, 9b–11)



5. The Finding of Our Lord in the Temple
Each year his parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom. Finding Our Lord in the Temple After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances, but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him.

After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers.

When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he said to them. He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. (Luke 2:41–51)



6. The Resurrection
But at daybreak on the first day of the week they took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb; but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.The Resurrection

While they were puzzling over this, behold, two men in dazzling garments appeared to them.

They were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground. They said to them, “Why do you seek the living one among the dead? He is not here, but he has been raised. Remember what he said to you while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners and be crucified, and rise on the third day.” And they remembered his words. (Luke 24:1–8)



7. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin into Heaven and Her Coronation as Queen of Heaven
Hence the revered Mother of God, from all eternity joined in a hidden way with Jesus Christ in one and the same decree of predestination, immaculate in her conception, a most perfect virgin in her divine motherhood, the noble associate of the divine Redeemer who has won a complete triumph over sin and its consequences, finally obtained, as the supreme culmination of her privileges, that she should be preserved free from the corruption of the tomb and that, like her own Son, having overcome death, she might be taken up body and soul to the glory of heaven where, as Queen, she sits in splendor at the right hand of her Son, the immortal King of the Ages.

And so we may hope that those who meditate upon the glorious example Mary offers us may be more and more convinced of the value of a human life entirely devoted to carrying out the heavenly Father’s will and to bringing good to others. Thus, while the illusory teachings of materialism and the corruption of morals that follows from these teachings threaten to extinguish the light of virtue and to ruin the lives of men by exciting discord among them, in this magnificent way all may see clearly to what a lofty goal our bodies and souls are destined.

Or another version of the list is shown in the following video:

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Queenship of Mary

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In this feast, particularly cherished by the Popes of modern times, we celebrate Mary as the Queen of Heaven and Earth.

Pope Pius XII in the Papal Encyclical Ad Coeli Reginam proposed the traditional doctrine on the Queenship of Mary and established this feast for the Universal Church.

Pope Pius IX said of Mary's queenship: "Turning her maternal Heart toward us and dealing with the affair of our salvation, she is concerned with the whole human race. Constituted by the Lord Queen of Heaven and earth, and exalted above all choirs of Angels and the ranks of Saints in Heaven, standing at the right hand of Her only-begotten Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, she petitions most powerfully with Her maternal prayers, and she obtains what she seeks."

And Pope Pius XII added the following: "We commend that on the festival there be renewed the consecration of the human race to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Upon this there is founded a great hope that there will rejoice in the triumph of religion and in Christian peace...

...Therefore, let all approach with greater confidence now than before, to the throne of mercy and grace of our Queen and Mother to beg help in difficultly, light in darkness and solace in trouble and sorrow...

. . Whoever, therefore, honours the lady ruler of the Angels and of men - and let no one think themselves exempt from the payment of that tribute of a grateful and loving soul - let them call upon her as most truly Queen and as the Queen who brings the blessings of peace, that She may show us all, after this exile, Jesus, who will be our enduring
peace and joy."

I have posted two videos below-one is the "Sister Act 'Hail Holy Queen'" and the other is the "Salve Regina" chant.



Saturday, August 15, 2009

Feast of the Assumption

+JMJ+
The Assumption is the oldest feast day of Our Lady, but we don't know how it first came to be celebrated.

Its origin is lost in those days when Jerusalem was restored as a sacred city, at the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine (c. 285-337). By then it had been a pagan city for two centuries, ever since Emperor Hadrian (76-138) had leveled it around the year 135 and rebuilt it as in honor of Jupiter.

For 200 years, every memory of Jesus was obliterated from the city, and the sites made holy by His life, death and Resurrection became pagan temples.

After the building of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in 336, the sacred sites began to be restored and memories of the life of Our Lord began to be celebrated by the people of Jerusalem. One of the memories about his mother centered around the "Tomb of Mary," close to Mount Zion, where the early Christian community had lived.

On the hill itself was the "Place of Dormition," the spot of Mary's "falling asleep," where she had died. The "Tomb of Mary" was where she was buried.

At this time, the "Memory of Mary" was being celebrated. Later it was to become our feast of the Assumption.

For a time, the "Memory of Mary" was marked only in Palestine, but then it was extended by the emperor to all the churches of the East. In the seventh century, it began to be celebrated in Rome under the title of the "Falling Asleep" ("Dormitio") of the Mother of God.

Soon the name was changed to the "Assumption of Mary," since there was more to the feast than her dying. It also proclaimed that she had been taken up, body and soul, into heaven.

That belief was ancient, dating back to the apostles themselves. What was clear from the beginning was that there were no relics of Mary to be venerated, and that an empty tomb stood on the edge of Jerusalem near the site of her death. That location also soon became a place of pilgrimage. (Today, the Benedictine Abbey of the Dormition of Mary stands on the spot.)

At the Council of Chalcedon in 451, when bishops from throughout the Mediterranean world gathered in Constantinople, Emperor Marcian asked the Patriarch of Jerusalem to bring the relics of Mary to Constantinople to be enshrined in the capitol. The patriarch explained to the emperor that there were no relics of Mary in Jerusalem, that "Mary had died in the presence of the apostles; but her tomb, when opened later . . . was found empty and so the apostles concluded that the body was taken up into heaven."

In the eighth century, St. John Damascene was known for giving sermons at the holy places in Jerusalem. At the Tomb of Mary, he expressed the belief of the Church on the meaning of the feast: "Although the body was duly buried, it did not remain in the state of death, neither was it dissolved by decay. . . . You were transferred to your heavenly home, O Lady, Queen and Mother of God in truth."

All the feast days of Mary mark the great mysteries of her life and her part in the work of redemption. The central mystery of her life and person is her divine motherhood, celebrated both at Christmas and a week later (Jan. 1) on the feast of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. The Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8) marks the preparation for that motherhood, so that she had the fullness of grace from the first moment of her existence, completely untouched by sin. Her whole being throbbed with divine life from the very beginning, readying her for the exalted role of mother of the Savior.

The Assumption completes God's work in her since it was not fitting that the flesh that had given life to God himself should ever undergo corruption. The Assumption is God's crowning of His work as Mary ends her earthly life and enters eternity. The feast turns our eyes in that direction, where we will follow when our earthly life is over.

The feast days of the Church are not just the commemoration of historical events; they do not look only to the past. They look to the present and to the future and give us an insight into our own relationship with God. The Assumption looks to eternity and gives us hope that we, too, will follow Our Lady when our life is ended.

The prayer for the feast reads: "All-powerful and ever-living God: You raised the sinless Virgin Mary, mother of your Son, body and soul, to the glory of heaven. May we see heaven as our final goal and come to share her glory."

In 1950, in the Apostolic Constitution , Pope Pius XII proclaimed the Assumption of Mary a dogma of the Catholic Church in these words: "The Immaculate Mother of God, the ever-virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heaven."

With that, an ancient belief became Catholic doctrine and the Assumption was declared a truth revealed by God.

Friday, August 14, 2009

St. Maximillian Kolbe

+JMJ+
Fr. Kolbe lived his priestly ministry spreading the Gospel message through the use of media-newspapers, magazines and radio, but he died laying down his life for another man in a Nazi concentration camp.

He was born Raymond Kolbe in 1894 to poor and pious Catholic parents. At age 12, he had a vision of the Mother Mary in which she asked him to choose whether he would accept a white crown, which meant that he should persevere in purity, or whether he would accept a red crown, which meant that he should become a martyr. He told Mary that he would accept both.

He entered the Franciscan seminary the following year and was tempted to leave to join the military, but he persevered and made first vows with the Conventual Franciscans in 1911. He took the name Maximilian and was ordained a priest in 1918 at the age of 24.

In 1922, he began a magazine in Poland, called Knight of the Immaculate, which at its height had a circulation of 750,000 copies per month. Eight years later, he became a missionary to Japan and began a similar publication there.

In 1932, he moved to India, but returned to Poland in 1936 due to poor health.

At this time, Nazism was becoming more widespread. Fr. Maximilian was first arrested with several other friars in 1939, but they were released. The friars continued their media ministry and housed 3,000 Polish refugees, most of whom were Jewish. But many of the friars were arrested again Feb. 17, 1941, including Fr. Maximilian.

He was transferred to Auschwitz in May and was assigned to harsh labor and beaten often. He was once beaten and left for dead, but the prisoners managed to transport him to the camp hospital where he spent his recovery hearing confessions. When he recovered, Fr. Maximilian ministered to other prisoners by offering mass and delivering Communion using smuggled bread and wine.

In July 1941, there was an escape from the camp. Camp rules required that 10 men be executed in retribution for each escaped prisoner. Fr. Maximilian volunteered to take the place of a married man with young children, who had been chosen by the Nazis to be killed.

Fr. Maximilian was killed with lethal carbonic acid injection. His body was then burned and his ashes were scattered.

Pope John Paul II canonized him in 1982, declaring him a martyr of charity. He is the patron saint of drug addicts, journalists and prisoners.

Prayer of consecration to Jesus through Mary written by St. Maximilian Kolbe:


O Immaculata, Queen of Heaven and earth, refuge of sinners and our most loving Mother, God has willed to entrust the entire order of mercy to thee. I, N___, a repentant sinner, cast myself at thy feet humbly imploring thee to take me with all that I am and have, wholly to thyself as thy possession and property. Please make of me, of all my powers of soul and body, of my whole life, death and eternity, whatever most pleases thee. If it pleases thee, use all that I am and have without reserve, wholly to accomplish what was said of thee: "She will crush your head," and, "Thou alone have destroyed all heresies in the whole world."

Let me be a fit instrument in thine Immaculate and merciful hands for introducing and increasing the maximum in all the many strayed and indifferent souls, and thus help extend as far as possible the blessed Kingdom of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus. For wherever thou enters, one obtains the grace of conversion and growth in holiness, since it is through thy hands that all graces come to us from the most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

V. Allow me to praise thee O Sacred Virgin.
R. Give me strength against thy enemies.

Amen.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Assumption Novena from EWTN



+JMJ+ Mary, Queen Assumed into Heaven, I rejoice that after years of heroic martyrdom on earth, you have at last been taken to the throne prepared for you in heaven by the Holy Trinity.

Lift my heart with you in the glory of your Assumption above the dreadful touch of sin and impurity. Teach me how small earth becomes when viewed from heaven. Make me realize that death is the triumphant gate through which I shall pass to your Son, and that someday my body shall rejoin my soul in the unending bliss of heaven.

From this earth, over which I tread as a pilgrim, I look to you for help. I ask for this favor: (Mention your request).

When my hour of death has come, lead me safely to the presence of Jesus to enjoy the vision of my God for all eternity together with you.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Feast of Our Lady of Mt Carmel

+JMJ+

Mount Carmel is the mountain in the middle of the plain of Galilee on which the prophet Elijah called down a miracle of fire from the Lord to show the people of Israel who had strayed that "TheLord is God!" and that the prophets of Baal were worshipping a false god.

There is a tradition that traces the Carmelite Order's informal beginnings to the prophet Elijah himself, even though there is no evidence of this.

The formal beginnings are attributed to a group of monks who in the 13th century began living and praying on the mountain. They venerated the Virgin Mary as Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and from thus was derived the name Carmelite.

In 1226 the rule of the order was apporved by Pope Honorius III and 21 years later St. Simon Stock, an Englishman, was elected superior of the order. On July 16, 1251, the Blessed Virgin appeared to Simon Stock and gave him the brown scapular and promised her protection to all those who wear the brown habit.

Pope Pius X decreed in the early 20th century that the blessing of the Blessed Virgin would extend to all who wear the medal of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

The feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was instituted by the Carmelites between 1376 and 1386.

Monday, July 6, 2009

St. Maria Goretti


+JMJ+

Born into a poor peasant family of six children at the end of the 19th century in Italy, Maria Goretti's life was difficult from the beginning. Her family worked as farm hands and the children had to help feed the family as well.

Halfway through her short, saintly life, Maria's father died of malaria. For some time the family had been working in the fields with another family named Serenelli. Now Maria's mother had to work in the fields in place of her deceased husband and left Maria to take care of the smaller children.

She prayed a rosary every night for the repose of her father's soul and was noted for her piety and virtue by many of those around her.

In 1902, after many advances on Maria, all of which she rejected, Alessandro Serenelli, a 19 year old farm hand, locked her into a room and tried to force himself upon her. She refused, fighting and warning him that he was committing a sin and that he would go to hell. Enraged, he then strangled her and stabbed her fourteen times.

She was rushed to hospital when they found her bleeding to death from her wounds and she survived for two agonizing days before dying.

In hospital she was asked if she forgave Alessandro, and she replied "Yes, for the love of Jesus I forgive him...and I want him to be with me in Paradise."

Alessandro was sentenced to prison for 30 years. One day, eight years into his prison term, he had a vison of a young girl dressed in white gathering lilies in a garden. She smiled, came near Alessandro and encouraged him to accept the lilies. Each lily he took transformed into a still white flame. Then Maria disappeared.

This vision led to the conversion of Alessandro who repented deeply of what he had done. He served 19 more years in prison and was then released. The first thing he did on his release was to go and ask the forgiveness of Maria's mother, which she duly granted. Alessandro worked as a gardener in a Franciscan monastery for the rest of his life.

Alessandro was one of the witnesses who testified to Maria's holiness during her cause of beatification, citing the crime and the vision in prison.

Maria's mother, Assunta, was present at her canonization ceremony in 1950 - the only time in history that a parent has been present at their child's canonization - and 250,000 people were in attendance.

Maria Goretti is a patron saint of girls, rape victims, children and youth in general.

For more information regarding modesty, please visit Catholic Modesty

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Immaculate Heart of Mary

+JMJ+
Real piety aims to give glory to God and lead man to virtue. To achieve both ends, devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a true gift of Divine Providence to this unfortunate century.

Our Lady is the Mediatrix of all grace. To try to pray without her intercession is the same as trying to fly without wings, says Dante. If we want our acts of love, praise, thanksgiving and reparation to reach the throne of God, we must place them into the hands of Mary Most Holy. It would be ridiculous to imagine that devotion to Our Lady would be a deviation and that we could reach God more directly by not addressing ourselves to her. The opposite is true. We can only reach God through her.

To try to reach Jesus Christ, without Our Lady, on the false pretext that Our Lady is an obstacle between us and her Divine Son is as stupid as trying to analyze the stars thinking that the telescope’s lenses are an obstacle between us and the stars. Let us look for grace from the fountain from which it really springs forth and, with its help, become fortified for all the austerity that the Holy Ghost demands of us. Undoubtedly, devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary holds a most relevant place among these sources of grace.

In the Apocalypse, chapter 3, verse 8, we find: “I know thy works. Behold, I have given before thee a door opened, which no man can shut: because thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.” This door, open to the weakness of contemporary man, is the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Taken from http://www.tfp.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=133&Itemid=38

Friday, June 19, 2009

Year for Priest Initiatives Flood Internet Cardinal Reports Global Positive Response

+JMJ+

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 19, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The Congregation for Clergy is launching a new Web site for the Year for Priests, which begins today. The enthusiasm surrounding this occasion is echoing in initiatives across the globe.

A letter from Cardinal Cláudio Hummes, prefect of the congregation, expressed the hope that "this may be a time of grace that will produce great apostolic fruit, especially of fidelity and intense renewal in the work of the ministry."

He explained that their new site offers spiritual resources and documents for priests and lay people to celebrate the year, in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.

The cardinal affirmed that the Year for Priests "has been warmly received throughout the world" and the "positive effects will make themselves felt very quickly."

He invited ordained ministers to "participate in it with every effort and creativity" and to "be unconditional disciples and audacious missionaries" for Christ.

Another initiative was organized by WorldPriest, a group of Catholic communications professionals based on both the United States and Ireland.

In addition to online resources, the group coordinated four Masses which will be celebrated on different points of the globe today, uniting English-speaking Catholic communities to pray for priests.

Each Mass will take place at 3 p.m. local time, beginning with one in Sydney, Australia, celebrated by the archbishop of that city, Cardinal George Pell.

Next, Carmelite Father Sebastian Koodappattu will preside over a Mass in Kerala, India, followed by Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam in Ireland's Knock Shrine. Monsignor Michael Curran will complete the circle with a Eucharistic Celebration in New York.

In addition, a special Mass will be televised by WorldPriest on Sunday in honor of the World Day of Prayer for Priests, which the group promotes every year.

Father Brendan Kilcoyne, president of St. Jarlath's College in Tuam will preside over this Mass that will be broadcast by the RTE national television station.

Vocational renewal

National initiatives in England and Wales are available through the new online portal created by the bishops' conference there.

This Web site contains resources for priests, and allows users to browse through the online offerings of each of the 22 dioceses in the conference.

Thus, for example, one can access the new Web site from the Archdiocese of Birmingham that features a multimedia "virtual seminary," posters, prayer cards, priestly testimonials and a seminary blog.

Father Eddie Clare, committee chairman of the National Office for Vocation, affirmed that one important outcome of this year will be a "renewed emphasis on vocations."

He added, "The more we value our priests and their irreplaceable presence at the heart of the Church, more men may consider that this may be their calling in life."

One institution that is offering visual demonstrations of the irreplaceable role of priestly ministry is the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

In a new Web site launched for the Year for Priests, it is featuring slide show presentations about its ordained alumni and the ways they have served the Church.

The year will run until June 19, 2010, and will center on the theme: "Faithfulness of Christ, Faithfulness of Priests."

--- --- ---

On the Net:

Congregation for Clergy site: http://www.annussacerdotalis.org/

WorldPriest: www.worldpriest.com

Televised Mass by WorldPriest: www.worldpriestday.com

England and Wales Year for Priests portal: www.ukpriest.org

Catholic University of America site: http://yearforpriests.cua.edu

Feast of the Sacred Heart

+JMJ+

Monday, June 15, 2009

Monday, June 1, 2009

On the Holy Spirit and the Church

+JMJ+



"The Church Is Unceasingly Formed and Guided by the Spirit of the Lord"

VATICAN CITY, MAY 31, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today before praying the midday Regina Caeli in St. Peter's Square.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

The Church throughout the world relives to today the Solemnity of Pentecost, the mystery of her own birth, of her own "baptism" in the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 1:5), which took place in Jerusalem, 50 days after Easter, precisely on the Jewish feast of Pentecost. The risen Jesus told his disciples: "Remain in the city until you are given power from on high" (Luke 24:49). This happened in a perceptible way in the Cenacle, while they were gathered together with Mary, the Virgin Mother, in prayer. As we read in the Acts of the Apostles, suddenly that place was invaded by a strong driving wind, and tongues like fire came to rest on the heads of all those present. The Apostles went out then and began to proclaim in different languages that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, dead and risen (cf. Acts 2:1-4). The Holy Spirit, who with the Father and the Son created the universe, guided the history of the people of Israel and spoke through the prophets, who in the fullness of time cooperated in our redemption, who at Pentecost descended upon the nascent Church and made it missionary, sending it to proclaim to all peoples the victory of divine love over sin and death.

The Holy Spirit is the soul of the Church. Without him to what would it be reduced? It would certainly be a great historical movement, a complex and solid social institution, perhaps a kind of humanitarian agency. And in truth this is how it is considered by those who look upon it from outside the perspective of faith. In reality, however, in its true nature and also in its most authentic historical presence, the Church is unceasingly formed and guided by the Spirit of the Lord. It is a living body, whose vitality is precisely the invisible divine Spirit.

Dear friends, this year Pentecost falls on the last day of the month of May on which the beautiful Marian Feast of the Visitation is usually celebrated. This fact invites us to let ourselves be inspired and taught by the Virgin Mary, who was a protagonist in both events. In Nazareth she received the annunciation of her singular maternity and, immediately after she conceived Jesus by the working of the Holy Spirit, was moved by the same Spirit of love to go to help her elderly relative Elizabeth, who was in the sixth month of a similarly miraculous pregnancy. The young Mary, who carried Jesus in her womb and, forgetting herself, goes to help her neighbor, is a stupendous icon of the Church in the perennial youth of the Spirit, of the missionary Church of the Incarnate Word, called to bring [this Word] to the world and to testify to him especially in the service of charity. We invoke the intercession of Mary Most Holy, that the Church in our time may be powerfully strengthened by the Holy Spirit. The comforting presence of the Holy Spirit is felt in a special way by the ecclesial communities that suffer persecution for Christ's name, because, participating in his sufferings, they receive the Holy Spirit in the abundance of glory (cf. 1 Peter 4:13-14).

[After praying the Regina Caeli, the Holy Father said:]

In these days the youth of Abruzzo are gathering many people around the World Youth Day Cross. It was carried to their region by a group of volunteers sent by the San Lorenzo International Youth Center in Rome. In communion with that region, hard hit by the earthquake, we ask Christ dead and risen to pour put his Spirit of consolation and hope upon them. I extend my greeting to the young Italians who today, in the various dioceses, have come together to conclude, with their bishops, the third and final year of the "Agora dei Giovani." I recall with joy the unforgettable events that marked this three year project: the meeting at Loreto, in September 2007 and the World Youth Day in Sydney last July. Dear young people of Italy, with the power of the Holy Spirit, be witnesses of the risen Lord!

[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]

[The Pope greeted the pilgrims in various languages. In English, he said:]

I am pleased to welcome all the English-speaking pilgrims to today's Regina Caeli. On this Pentecost Sunday, we rejoice in the Lord's gift of the Holy Spirit. Saint Paul reminds us that if we live in the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit by putting aside all conceit, anger, envy and everything that divides us (cfr Gal5,26). My dear friends, having received God's precious gift, may you abound in his fruits of love, peace, patience, kindness and all that bears witness to the Kingdom of God in our midst! Praised be Jesus Christ!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Eleventh and Twelvth Stations

+JMJ+

Eleventh Station - The Risen Lord Sends the Disciples into the World
All:



We adore You, O Christ
and we praise You!
Because by the Wood of the Cross and
the Light of the Resurrection,
You have redeemed the world!


Reading:
"'Go therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age'" (Matthew 28: 19-20).

Reflection:
From the mountaintop, the Risen Lord gives the "Great Commission" to the disciples to reach out to the ends of the earth. We realize that we are the recipients of this faith-filled mission: our ancestors embraced the faith of the apostles, who were the original witnesses of the resurrection. The greatest response we can give to such a legacy is our dedication to a new evangelization of our contemporary culture. We must allow the Risen Lord to reinvigorate our whole way of living, helping us to re-evaluate every aspect of our lives with the values of the Kingdom of God.

Silence

Prayer:
God of all creation, whose mighty power raised Jesus from the dead, be present to this community of disciples whom You have called to the hope of a glorious inheritance among the saints. Strengthen us in the power of the Spirit to go and make disciples of all nations, to obey everything that Jesus Christ has commanded us, and to know that He is with us always until the end of the age, interceding on our behalf, living and reigning with You in the power of the Holy Spirit, now and forevermore. Amen.

All:


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
And we with Holy Church unite,
As evermore is just and right,
in glory to the King of light. Alleluia

Twelfth Station - The Risen Lord Ascends into Heaven
All:



We adore You, O Christ
and we praise You!
Because by the Wood of the Cross and
the Light of the Resurrection,
You have redeemed the world!



Reading:
"So then the Lord Jesus, after He spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took His seat at the right hand of God. But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs" (Mark 16: 19-20).

Reflection:
The Scriptures do not portray the Ascension as a day of sadness. While still looking up at the skies, the disciples were consoled by the continuing presence of the Lord. They return to the familiar surroundings of the Upper Room, with Mary, the mother of the Lord, to pray in anticipation of their mission. In this "original novena," we continue to implore the Risen Lord to be the center of our lives and to keep us focused as a jubilant pilgrim people.

Silence

Prayer:
Eternal God, clothe us now with Your power. With the eyes of our hearts enlightened, may we come to understand the immeasurable greatness of Your power at work in us who believe. In that strength, may we boldly pronounce the Good News of our salvation to everyone. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

All:


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Our humble thanks to God let's show
And fitting praise on Him bestow
For Paschal blessings here below. Alleluia.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Ninth and Tenth Stations

Ninth Station - The Risen Lord Eats with the Disciples on the Shore of Tiberias
All:

We adore You, O Christ
and we praise You!
Because by the Wood of the Cross and
the Light of the Resurrection,
You have redeemed the world!


Reading:
"Jesus said to them, 'Bring some of the fish you just caught.' So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore full of one hundred fifty-three large fish. Even though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, 'Come, have breakfast.' And none of His disciples dared to ask Him, 'Who are You?' because they realized it was the Lord" (John 21: 10-12).

Reflection:
After the crucifixion, the apostles returned to their former way of life. Out on the familiar Sea of Galilee, these expert fishers find themselves ineffective and baffled because not even a single fish was caught. From the shore, the Risen Lord guides them and directs their nets until they are filled to overflowing. As He prepares breakfast for them, He nourishes their hearts and promises them that they can also be fed by making disciples in His name. He calls them to an entirely new way of fishing—fishing for people.

Silence

Prayer:
Father in heaven, author of all truth, a people once in darkness has listened to Your Word and followed Your Son as He rose from the tomb. Hear the prayer of this newborn people and strengthen Your Church to answer Your call. May we rise and come forth into the light of day to stand in Your presence until eternity dawns. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

All:
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
On Sunday morn at break of day
The sad disciples went their way
To see the tomb where Jesus lay. Alleluia.

Tenth Station - The Risen Lord Forgives Peter and Entrusts Him to Feed His Sheep
All:



We adore You, O Christ
and we praise You!
Because by the Wood of the Cross and
the Light of the Resurrection,
You have redeemed the world!



Reading:
"When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?'... Peter was distressed that Jesus had said to him a third time, 'Do you love Me?' and he said to Him, 'Lord, You know everything, You know that I love You.' Jesus said to him, 'Feed my sheep.... Follow Me' " (John 21: 15, 17b, 19b).

Reflection:
The Risen Lord directs His attention to Peter whose embarrassing three-fold denial was still ringing in his heart. The questions posed by Jesus help Peter to find reconciliation and to embrace his new mission to tend and feed the sheep. Their encounter reminds us that forgiveness is always available, even for the most serious of mistakes we can make. This warm embrace of forgiveness strengthens our resolve to be reconcilers and healers in the Spirit of Jesus. Only love can overcome guilt and deception. Only love and forgiveness can make us whole.

Silence

Prayer:
Father, fill our hearts with the fire of Your love and the desire to ensure justice for our brothers and sisters. By sharing the good things You give us, may we secure justice and equality for every human being, an end to all division, and a human society built on love and peace. Grant this through Christ our Lord.

All:


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
An angel clad in white they see,
Who sat and spoke unto the three,
Your Lord has gone to Galilee, Alleluia!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Seventh and Eighth Stations of Light

+JMJ+

Seventh Station - The Risen Lord Breathes Peace and Gives the Power to Forgive
All:



We adore You, O Christ
and we praise You!
Because by the Wood of the Cross and
the Light of the Resurrection,
You have redeemed the world!



Reading:
Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, 'Peace be with you'... The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, 'Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, so I send you.' And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained'" (John 20: 19b, 20b-23).

Reflection:
Even though the doors of the Upper Room were bolted shut, the Risen Lord pierced through all fear and united the hearts of the disciples with the gift of peace. Deep inner peace is the root and source of the peace and joy that the world cannot give. The Risen Lord calls us to seek peace always through a non-violent commitment to conflict resolution and thus transform the world, relationship by relationship.

Silence

Prayer:
God of perfect peace, violence and cruelty can have no part of You. May those who are at peace with one another hold fast to the good will that unites them; may those who are enemies forget their hatred and be healed. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

All:


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
No longer Thomas then denied,
He saw the feet, the hands, the side;
You are my Lord and God, he cried, Alleluia!

Eighth Station - The Risen Lord Strengthens the Faith of Thomas
All:



We adore You, O Christ
and we praise You!
Because by the Wood of the Cross and
the Light of the Resurrection,
You have redeemed the world!



Reading:
"Thomas…was not with them when Jesus came.... Thomas said, 'Unless I see the mark of the nails in His hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into His side, I will not believe'...Jesus came...and stood in their midst and said, 'Peace be with you.' Then He said to Thomas, 'Put your finger here and see My hands, and bring your hand and put it into My side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe'…Blessed are those who do not see and yet believe." (John 20: 24-29).

Reflection:
The story of Thomas is important because it is through Thomas' example that we realize that doubt can be a part of faith. Too easily we call him "Doubting Thomas," and forgetting that after examining the nail marks, he fully embraced the Risen One as his Lord and Savior. Thomas' doubt was transformed into a lively faith. We too, are called to believe, knowing full well that our faith may be tested by doubt and fear. As disciples who desire an ever-deeper faith, we are patient and understanding with those who are struggling, searching and seeking like Thomas.

Silence

Prayer:
Heavenly Father and God of mercy, we no longer look for Jesus among the dead, for He is alive and has become the Lord of life. From the waters of death You raise us up with Him and renew Your gift of life within us. Increase in our minds and hearts the risen life we share with Christ and help us to grow as Your people toward the fullness of eternal life with You. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

All:


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
How blest are they who have not seen,
And yet whose faith has constant been
For they eternal life shall win. Alleluia!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Fifth and Sixth Stations of Light

+JMJ+

Fifth Station
The Risen Lord is Recognized in the Breaking of the Bread
All:
We adore You, O Christ and we praise You!
Because by the Wood of the Cross and the
Light of the Resurrection,
You have redeemed the world!
Reading:
" ...They urged Him, 'Stay with us, for it is nearly
evening and the day is almost over.' So He went in to
stay with them. And it happened that while He was
with them at table, He took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, and gave it to them. With that, their eyes
were opened and they recognized Him, but He
vanished from their sight. Then they said to each
other, 'Were not our hearts burning within us while He
spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to
us’" (Luke 24: 29-32).
Reflection:
The encounter on the road leads to the table, the breaking of the bread and
the total gift of self. Recognition of the Risen Lord is always linked with
the Eucharist. At the heart of our Christian life is this meal of Word and
Eucharist which we celebrate every Sunday. The Risen Lord presides over
all our journeys, wishing to set our hearts on fire in generous service to all
people in need, near and far. The gift we have received is the gift we share.
Humbly, we set out on the various roads of our lives to respond to all the
hungers of the human family.
Silence
Prayer:
You are truly blessed, O God of holiness: You accompany us with love as
we journey through life. Blessed too, is Your Son, Jesus Christ, who is
present among us, and whose love gathers us together. As once He did for
His disciples, Christ now opens the Scriptures for us and breaks the bread.
May the Eucharist we celebrate guide us to the fullness of Christ's life. We
pray in the power of Christ's Spirit, forever and ever. Amen.
All:
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
When Thomas, first the tidings heard,
How they had seen the Risen Lord,
He doubted the disciples' word. Alleluia.

Sixth Station
The Risen Lord Appears to the Community of Disciples
All:
We adore You, O Christ and we praise You!
Because by the Wood of the Cross and the
Light of the Resurrection,
You have redeemed the world!
Reading:
"'Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise
in your hearts? Look at My hands and My feet, that it
is I Myself. Touch Me and see, because a ghost does
not have flesh and bones as you can see I have,' And as
He said this, He showed them His hands and His feet"
(Luke 24: 38-40).
Reflection:
The disciples on the road to Emmaus quickly returned to the other disciples
in Jerusalem with "burning hearts." Their despair had been reversed and
they were eager to convince the others that Jesus was alive. Jesus the Christ
is always eager to gather the community of disciples at the table of faith and
to show them that He has risen with His wounds glorified. All our wounds
will one day be glorified. We seek to understand how the Risen Lord
invites us to be "wounded healers," recognizing now that the Lord desires
us to be ambassadors of reconciliation, while we ourselves are being
forgiven and healed.
Silence
Prayer:
God of unchanging power and light, look with favor and mercy on the
entire community of Your Church. Bring lasting salvation to the human
family, so that the world may see the fallen lifted up, the old made new, and
all things brought to perfection, through Him who is our origin, our Lord
Jesus Christ who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.
All:
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
My wounded side, O Thomas see;
Behold My hands, My feet, said He
Not faithless, but believing be. Alleluia.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

2nd, 3rd, and 4th Stations of Light

Second Station
The Disciples Discover the Empty Tomb
All:
We adore You, O Christ and we praise You!
Because by the Wood of the Cross and the
Light of the Resurrection,
You have redeemed the world!
Reading: "Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had
arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed"
(John 20: 8).
Reflection:
The empty tomb was not a proof of the resurrection, but rather a silent
witness of the greatest event of our faith. Seeing the empty tomb, the
disciples were motivated to seek the Risen Lord at work in their midst. They
saw and believed in the continuing presence of the Lord of love. All the
empty and lonely places of human life are precisely where the Lord wishes
to work and be revealed.
Silence
Prayer:
God our Father, creator of all, today is the day of overwhelming joy. The
Lord appeared to those who had begun to lose hope and opened their eyes to
what the Scriptures foretold: that first He must die and then rise. May the
Risen Lord breathe on our minds and open our eyes that we may know Him
in the breaking of bread, and follow Him in His risen life. Grant this
through Christ our Lord. Amen.
All:
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
The dear belov'd apostle John
Could faster than St. Peter run,
Arriving first before the tomb. Alleluia.
Please visit the official Archdiocese of Detroit site: http://www.archdioceseofdetroit.org
Third Station
The Risen Lord Appears to Mary Magdalen, Apostle to the Apostles
All:
We adore You, O Christ and we praise You!
Because by the Wood of the Cross and the
Light of the Resurrection,
You have redeemed the world!
Reading:
"She turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not
know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, 'Woman, why
are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?' She
thought He was the gardener and said to Him, 'Sir, if
you carried Him away, tell me where you laid Him,
and I will take Him.' Jesus said to her, 'Mary!" She
turned and said to Him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni,’ which
means Teacher. Jesus said to her, 'Stop holding on to
Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go
to My brothers and tell them, 'I am going to My
Father and your Father, to My God and your God.'
Mary of Magdalen went and announced to the
disciples, 'I have seen the Lord,' and what He told
her" (John 20: 14b-18).
Reflection:
In the fourth gospel, Mary Magdalen is given the mission to carry the good
news of the resurrection to the apostles and the disciples. Mary had been in
the company of Jesus and His followers, and is given the privilege to
announce the hope of new life. She is known over the centuries as "the
apostle to the Apostles." Jesus called her by name, gave her the eyes of
faith, and called her to give a unique personal witness to her friends in the
faith community.
Silence
Prayer:
God our Father, You will that all people to be saved and come to the
knowledge of Your truth. Send workers into Your great harvest that the
Gospel may be preached to every creature. May Your people, gathered
together by the word of life and strengthened by the power of the
sacraments, advance in the way of salvation. We ask this through Christ our
Lord. Amen.
All:
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Not Magdalen, not Salome,
Nor James' own mother then delay
Embalming Jesus' corpse that day. Alleluia.
Please visit the official Archdiocese of Detroit site: http://www.archdioceseofdetroit.org
Fourth Station
The Risen Lord Appears on the Road to Emmaus
All:
We adore You, O Christ and we praise You!
Because by the Wood of the Cross and the
Light of the Resurrection,
You have redeemed the world!
Reading:
"...It happened that while they were conversing and
debating, Jesus Himself drew near and walked with
them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing
Him.... And He said to them, 'Oh, how foolish you are!
How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets
spoke! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should
suffer these things and enter into His glory?' Then
beginning with Moses and all the prophets, He
interpreted to them what referred to Him in all the
scriptures" (Luke 24: 15, 25-27).
Reflection:
The Emmaus road is the story of the Christian life. These disciples were
walking away from Jerusalem and the apostolic faith community in defeat
and dejection. They had lost hope. We too, have moments of despair and
desolation. The Risen Lord Jesus accompanies us along the road, even
when we are moving in the wrong direction. Only the Lord can "break
open" the Word in order to help us understand the stories of our lives,
especially suffering, and read them in harmony with the pattern of the
Scriptures. Only the Lord can rekindle our energy and our resolve to devote
ourselves to what is most important in life.
Silence
Prayer:
Lord God, as disciples on our pilgrimage, we implore Jesus Christ: stay with
us, Lord. Open our hearts to true conversion and, as we have known the
Lord in the breaking of the bread, so make us witnesses of a new humanity,
renewed, reconciled and at peace in Your love. Send us as heralds of the
repentance and forgiveness You offer to all in the name of Jesus, who lives
and reigns with You, forever and ever. Amen.
All:
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
That night the apostles met in fear;
Amidst them came the Lord most dear,
And said My peace be on all here. Alleluia.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Divine Mecy Novena - Day 9

+JMJ+
Ninth Day
"Today bring to Me the Souls who have become Lukewarm,

and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. These souls wound My Heart most painfully. My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls. They were the reason I cried out: 'Father, take this cup away from Me, if it be Your will.' For them, the last hope of salvation is to run to My mercy."

Most compassionate Jesus, You are Compassion Itself. I bring lukewarm souls into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart. In this fire of Your pure love, let these tepid souls who, like corpses, filled You with such deep loathing, be once again set aflame. O Most Compassionate Jesus, exercise the omnipotence of Your mercy and draw them into the very ardor of Your love, and bestow upon them the gift of holy love, for nothing is beyond Your power.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon lukewarm souls who are nonetheless enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Father of Mercy, I beg You by the bitter Passion of Your Son and by His three-hour agony on the Cross: Let them, too, glorify the abyss of Your mercy. Amen.

Divine Mecy Novena - Day 8

+JMJ+
Eighth Day
"Today bring to Me the Souls who are in the prison of Purgatory,

and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. Let the torrents of My Blood cool down their scorching flames. All these souls are greatly loved by Me. They are making retribution to My justice. It is in your power to bring them relief. Draw all the indulgences from the treasury of My Church and offer them on their behalf. Oh, if you only knew the torments they suffer, you would continually offer for them the alms of the spirit and pay off their debt to My justice."

Most Merciful Jesus, You Yourself have said that You desire mercy; so I bring into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls in Purgatory, souls who are very dear to You, and yet, who must make retribution to Your justice. May the streams of Blood and Water which gushed forth from Your Heart put out the flames of Purgatory, that there, too, the power of Your mercy may be celebrated.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls suffering in Purgatory, who are enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. I beg You, by the sorrowful Passion of Jesus Your Son, and by all the bitterness with which His most sacred Soul was flooded: Manifest Your mercy to the souls who are under Your just scrutiny. Look upon them in no other way but only through the Wounds of Jesus, Your dearly beloved Son; for we firmly believe that there is no limit to Your goodness and compassion. Amen.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Divine Mercy Novena - Day 7

+JMJ+
Seventh Day
Today bring to Me the Souls who especially venerate and glorify My Mercy*,

and immerse them in My mercy. These souls sorrowed most over my Passion and entered most deeply into My spirit. They are living images of My Compassionate Heart. These souls will shine with a special brightness in the next life. Not one of them will go into the fire of hell. I shall particularly defend each one of them at the hour of death.

Most Merciful Jesus, whose Heart is Love Itself, receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who particularly extol and venerate the greatness of Your mercy. These souls are mighty with the very power of God Himself. In the midst of all afflictions and adversities they go forward, confident of Your mercy; and united to You, O Jesus, they carry all mankind on their shoulders. These souls will not be judged severely, but Your mercy will embrace them as they depart from this life.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls who glorify and venerate Your greatest attribute, that of Your fathomless mercy, and who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls are a living Gospel; their hands are full of deeds of mercy, and their hearts, overflowing with joy, sing a canticle of mercy to You, O Most High! I beg You O God:

Show them Your mercy according to the hope and trust they have placed in You. Let there be accomplished in them the promise of Jesus, who said to them that during their life, but especially at the hour of death, the souls who will venerate this fathomless mercy of His, He, Himself, will defend as His glory. Amen.

*The text leads one to conclude that in the first prayer directed to Jesus, Who is the Redeemer, it is "victim" souls and contemplatives that are being prayed for; those persons, that is, that voluntarily offered themselves to God for the salvation of their neighbor (see Col 1:24; 2 Cor 4:12). This explains their close union with the Savior and the extraordinary efficacy that their invisible activity has for others. In the second prayer, directed to the Father from whom comes "every worthwhile gift and every genuine benefit,"we recommend the "active" souls, who promote devotion to The Divine Mercy and exercise with it all the other works that lend themselves to the spiritual and material uplifting of their brethren.