Wednesday, July 23, 2014

ACN Taking sides over Gaza



An interview with Father David Neuhaus, Jesuit and head of the Hebrew speaking Catholic community in Israel, on Christian ways out of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians  

Father David, is Israel in Gaza fighting for a just cause or is it committing genocide? Both positions have their supporters, also amongst Christians. 

Those are two extreme positions, neither of which captures the question very well. What is going on is an intensification of a conflict that remains unresolved for more than sixty years.

The Israeli leadership, and in a special way the present leadership, seems to believe that the way to solve the conflict is by military means. They seem to believe that military intervention will bring victory or at least the realization of important goals. This is not genocide but certainly the attempt to crush resistance and make everyone believe that all resistance is terrorism.

In Hamas and more radical elements in the Islamic movement, the Israeli leadership has a foe that plays into its hands. Hamas is born out of the despair that has festered for more than sixty years as Palestinians have progressively lost hope that negotiations will bring any fruit. Hamas and its like propagate the parallel lie: violence will bring Israel to its knees.

Is this conflict also dividing the Christian community in the Holy Land? Hebrew speaking Christians on one side, Arab speaking on the other?

This is the huge challenge! Can we as Christians be united not only in spite of the conflict but also as a part of our mission: to show that brotherhood, peace and reconciliation are possible?

Christian Palestinians are fully Palestinian, Christian Hebrew speakers (immigrants and migrants) identify fully with Israel. This is natural but both need to remember that there are brothers and sisters in faith on the other side.

Christians in Beer Sheba should not forget the Christians in Gaza and vice versa! Each is called to solidarity with the society in which each lives but this solidarity must be critical solidarity and promote the evangelical values of justice and peace, pardon and reconciliation.

We need a “prophetic ecumenism” in the Holy Land that will bring Christians together over the political divide so that Christians on each side of the divide can get to know one another and challenge the societies in which they live with what they learn.

Should Christians in the West take sides? Or what would be their role?

Yes, Christians must take sides! They must first and foremost take sides with all those suffering from the leadership’s refusal to enter into dialogue. They must take sides with the children, doomed to this dismal situation because their parents have refused to recognize the other and come to know him or her. They must take sides with those who are promoting understanding and dialogue.  

Most importantly they must take sides with a language that seeks to re-describe reality: not a hostile territory where enemies war it out but rather a land where God has firmly planted Jews, Christians and Muslims, Palestinians and Israelis, Arabs and Jews not to fight but to recognize that they are brothers and sisters.

What is the way out of the current crisis from a Christian perspective?

The only way out is for Israeli and Palestinians to realize that violence will only breed more violence. Bombarding Gaza will only create more people who seek revenge for their shattered lives.

The international community certainly needs to take a stronger role in bringing the two sides together. The biggest enemy right now is the conviction that military might will bring victory. A first step out of the current crisis will be the admission that military might simply provokes more violence.

Can local Christians/the Churches play a role in solving that conflict or are they to few to matter?

They can play a very important role. Their small number is also a blessing because they cannot even pretend to be among the powerful. Planted in the margins, Christians are free to develop a discourse that promotes the values taught in the Gospel.

A recent document of the local Justice and Peace Commission put it very well: “Our role, as religious leaders, is to speak a prophetic language that reveals the alternatives beyond the cycle of hatred and violence. This language refuses to attribute the status of enemy to any of God’s children; it is a language that opens up the possibility of seeing each one as brother or sister.”

“Pope Francis at the invocation for peace on Pentecost 2014, cried out: ‘We have heard a summons, and we must respond. It is the summons to break the spiral of hatred and violence, and to break it by one word alone: the word ‘brother.’ But to be able to utter this word we have to lift our eyes to heaven and acknowledge one another as children of one Father.’”


With picture of graffiti on the wall in Bethlehem (© ACN)


Editor’s Notes:



Directly under the Holy Father, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need.  ACN is a Catholic charity - helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.

Founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope John Paul II named “An Outstanding Apostle of Charity,” the organization is now at work in over 145 countries throughout the world.

The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, 43 million Aid to the Church in Need Child’s Bibles have been distributed worldwide.

For more information contact Michael Varenne at michael@churchinneed.org or call 718-609-0939 or fax718-609-0938. Aid to the Church in Need, 725 Leonard Street, PO Box 220384, Brooklyn, NY 11222-0384.  www.churchinneed.org

Urgent Appeal for Persecuted Christians in the Middle East



Every day the news grows more ominous.  What can we do to help our fellow Christians who are being forced to flee their homes, threatened with death if they don't convert to Islam?

The following are ways we can show our solidarity and to help.

From the Anchoress on Patheos: 5 Things You Can Do Right Now as Isis Threatens Iraqi Christians and Shiites

From someone on Twitter: Petition to the White House to Help Christians and Iraq who are part of a modern day Holocaust.

From New Liturgical Movement: Urgent Appeal -- August 1st Day of Prayer, Adoration, and Solidarity for Persecuted Christians Source: Father Daren.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

List of Ways We Can Avoid Purgatory


Picture source

The Catholic doctrine on Purgatory has always held a source of fascination for me. On the one hand, it is very scary to think about when our earthly life is over, we need to purify ourselves in a very painful way (both body and soul) and on the other hand, we are guaranteed salvation and once our time is up, we will go to Heaven to be with God forever and ever!

In the past few months I have been reading and listening to all I can on how to not only help the poor souls in Purgatory, who of course, cannot help themselves, but also what we can do to avoid going to this place of purgation or alternatively, if we cannot avoid it, at least to minimize our time there.

The saints who have had visions of Purgatory emphasize that the time there is different than the time we experience on earth.   One minute in Purgatory may just feel like ten years on earth.

Of course, we will want to go through the purifying fires of Purgatory.  We will feel the need to cleanse ourselves before appearing before the pureness of God.  It will be a very painful experience it seems yet we will also be very happy.  As with all things of God, it is a mystery and a paradox.

I have made list of ways we can avoid going to Purgatory in our daily lives.  The most important thing is to make this resolution.  We need to realize that our time on earth is very limited.   We may be young, but that does not necessarily guarantee that we will not die soon.  We must be prepared.

It is our crosses and sufferings that God has permitted to burden us that will ultimately help in our salvation if we embrace them in a redemptive way.  If we complain, even a little bit, about our crosses, we have lost the redemptive value that we could have earned.

The following is the list:

1.  "...by accepting everything from God's hands.  By Offering everything up to Him with love and Thanksgiving so as to enable us to pass from our deathbed to Paradise."*

2.  Padre Pio emphasized repeatedly the importance of the sacrifice of the Mass for the release of the soul from Purgatory.  It is important to remember, that Masses offered while we are alive are more efficacious than those of the Masses offered after we are dead.  Request Masses for yourself, your family members, your friends, etc. on occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries.  This type of gift is much more valuable than spending money on frivolous presents that will not last or may not be even appreciated by the recipient.
3.  It is important that we resign ourselves to God's will on the death of a loved one because this is extremely efficacious for the release of their soul.*  The tears we shed at the death of a loved one, especially at their funeral will not help their souls in the least.  It will be our prayers, masses offered our sacrifices for them that will release them from Purgatory.

4.  It is our duty to pray for those who are in Purgatory owing to error on our own part.  I don't know about you but this one troubles me very much.  How many souls are in Purgatory are there due to what I have erroneously said or taught them?  May God have Mercy!

5.  We must have an assiduous and constant flight from sin, especially venial sins.*

6.  We have to answer to God for everything, even for useless words..."For every idle word they shall given an account." (Mt. 12:36)*

7.  Do penance on earth and resign our daily tribulations and sufferings to God's will.

8.  Have a devotion to our blessed Mother. "she constantly assists at the extreme moment of death those who have been especially devoted to her.*

9.  Have a special devotion to the Holy Eucharist.*

10.  Be charitable towards the Holy Souls.  Remember to pray for them daily, request Masses for their intentions, make sacrifices for them.  There are countless ways we can help the Holy Souls.

11.  Help our neighbor.  Love them as Christ loves them.  See Christ in them.

12.  "In every prayer you say, every Mass you hear, every Communion you receive, every good work you perform have the express intention of imploring God to grant you a holy and happy death and no Purgatory..."**

13.  Always wish to do God's will.  It is in every sense the best for you.  When you do or seek anything that is not God's will you are sure to suffer.  Say fervently every time you pray the Our Father "Your will be done."**

14.  "Accept all the sufferings, sorrows, pains and disappointments of life, be they great or small, ill health, loss of goods, the death of your dear ones, heart or cold, rain or sunshine as coming from God. Bear them calmly and patiently for love of Him and in penance for your sins.  Of course one may use all his efforts to ward off trouble and pain, but when one cannot avoid it let him bear it manfully."**

Remember:  "Impatience and revolt make sufferings vastly greater and more difficult to bear."**

15.  "...Let us do our work, accept is disappointments and hardships and bear our pains in union with the Passion of Christ.  We gain more merit by a little pain than by years of pleasure."**

16. "Forgive all injuries and offenses for in proportion as we forgive others God forgives us."**

17. " Avoid mortal sins, deliberate venial sins and break off bad habits.  Then it will be relatively easy to satisfy God's justice for sins of frailty.  Above all avoid sins against charity and chastity in thought, word and deed for these sins are the reason why many souls are detained in Purgatory for long years."**

18.  "If afraid of doing much do many little things, acts of kindness and charity, give the alms you can, cultivate regularity, method, punctuality i the performance of duty; don't grumble or complain when things are not as you please; don't censure and complain of others; never refuse to do a favor to others when it is possible"**

19.  "Do all in your power for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.  Pray for them constantly, get others to do so.."**

20.  "There is no more powerful way of obtaining from God a most holy and happy death than by weekly Confession, daily mass and daily communion."**

21. "A daily visit to the Blessed sacrament--it need only be three of four minutes--is an easy way of obtaining the same grace.  Kneeling in the presence of Jesus with eyes fixed on the Tabernacle, sure that He is looking at us, let us for a few minutes repeat some little prayer like these:
My Jesus mercy.
My Jesus have pity on me a sinner.
My Jesus I love you.
My Jesus give me a happy death."**

22.  Be invested and wear the Brown Scapular.  Our Lady will personally go down to Purgatory on the First Saturday after our death and she will accompany us to Heaven.

There are many more ways to we can avoid Purgatory. The foregoing is just a partial list.  You can read more about these ways with the books listed below and also How to Avoid Purgatory by Father Paul O'Sullivan, O.P."

I also recommend the interview Sister Emmanuel did of Maria Simma.  You can read the transcript HERE
Although, if you can obtain the tape or CD of the interview it will be much nicer. Sister has such an enchanting voice!

*The Holy Souls "Viva Padre Pio" - by Father Alessio Parente O.F.M. Cap.

**Read Me or Rue it...How to Avoid Purgatory by Father Paul O'Sullivan O.P. Online book.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Honolulu Bishop Announces Cathedral's Designation as Minor Basilica



According to the Hawaii Catholic Herald, Bishop Larry Silva announced this weekend that the Cathedral of Our Lady Queen of Peace, has been designated as a minor basilica.

July 18, 2014

To the Clergy, Religious, and Faithful of the Diocese of Honolulu Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It is with great joy that I announce to you that the mother church and seat of the Diocese of  Honolulu, the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace, has been designated a Minor Basilica! 

You can read the rest of Bishop Silva's letter HERE.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

ACN News - Young Christians in Iraq – To stay or to go?



The following was written two days ago.  A lot has happened since then.

--------------

As violence, insecurity and discrimination continue, two brothers in Iraq struggle with the decision to stay or to leave.

Kirkuk: it's a microcosm of Iraq. The multi-ethnic city in the north of this battered country is the home of Kurds, Arabs, Turkmens and Christians. Different religions, languages and ethnic groups call this home. Their co-existence is accordingly riven with conflict, especially since the province of Kirkuk has significant oil deposits.

For years the town has been convulsed by attacks. Christians have also fallen victim to such attacks. After the advance of ISIS in June the Kurds occupied the town and incorporated it into their area of control.

The jihadists of ISIS are hardly 12 miles away and they also have the town in their sights. Many fear that a fighting will develop some time. But how does a Christian live in such a situation?

"My tank is always full. If the situation escalates, I'll grab my wife and my child and flee. At the present time there is a gas shortage here because a large refinery is being fought over. To save gas, I am already going to work by bike. I don't want to take any risks."

Karam is 23 years old. This young father is a Chaldean Catholic like about 5000 other Kirkuk inhabitants. His wife is soon expecting their second child. "I never thought I would ever think of leaving. But now I'm not only responsible for myself."

Mohand nods. The 26-year-old is Karam's older brother. The seminarian is studying theology and will be ordained as a priest in a few years.

"Another three years, all being well," he estimates. "I understand my brother. He's got a wife and children. We talk a lot about it in the seminary. The emigration of our faithful is really our greatest challenge."

There are no easy solutions, he thinks. "People fear for their children. If I tell a young family: 'Stay, don't go,' they say: 'What if someone comes and wants to kill us? Who will guarantee our safety?'"

This dilemma of having to trade their home for security is plaguing many Iraqi Christians nowadays. "It's mainly the well-educated, prosperous families who are considering emigrating. They will easily be able to establish themselves in the west as engineers or doctors. Those who stay behind are the ones who can't afford to go," Mohand says.

The young man has wanted to become a priest since he was 14. "I see the priest as a burning candle of faith and hope. If it goes out then faith will extinguish as well."

In Mohand's view, the Christians must be educated to understand their faith better. "It's often only a faith of habit. But it must be a faith of conscious conviction," he says.

"We Christians are supposed to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth. Without salt, food does not taste at all. That is the Christian calling here in Iraq as well."

Karam agrees with his brother. "I love my homeland and my faith. But even before ISIS advanced it was not easy to be a Christian here."

The young man studied agriculture. "I was second in my year but I still can't find a job." He is now working as a driver for the Bishop of Kirkuk.

"The Church helps us as well as it can. But apart from that all the good jobs go to Muslims. It's difficult for Christians to find employment anywhere.”

“For instance, I applied to Northoil, a large oil company here in Kirkuk. But the Shiites are in charge here and they employ their own people. We Christians don't stand a chance.”

“The only jobs for Christians are in the army and the police. But that's only because it's dangerous and nobody wants to do it."

At the same time, Karam describes the relations with Muslims as not bad on the whole. "I never had any problems with them. Many Muslims respect us Christians because we're not aggressive and violent."

But the boundaries between the religions are still clear, he believes. "Mostly it's restricted to a few friendly words with neighbors or in shops. My only real friends are Christians. We live in a closed community."

The Church is now endeavoring to extend the hand of friendship to Muslim fellow citizens. About 500 mostly Muslim families are at present being supported with food by the Diocese of Kirkuk. Only twenty families are Christian.

Young people in the parish work with nuns to put together packages for the refugees who have sought safety from ISIS in Kirkuk. Beans, sugar, flour and rice are wrapped in yellow bags.

"Our faith teaches us not to discriminate. The love of God is for all people, whether Muslims or Christians," Mohand says. "That's how I see our role here. I don't want to leave. Jesus himself also planted the seed of our faith here in the Middle East. And so I belong here."

In the past five years, Aid to the Church in Need has given over $3.2 million in aid in Iraq.


With picture of the brothers Karam and Mohand in front of the Chaldean Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Kirkuk, Iraq (© ACN)


Editor’s Notes:



Directly under the Holy Father, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need.  ACN is a Catholic charity - helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.

Founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope John Paul II named “An Outstanding Apostle of Charity,” the organization is now at work in over 145 countries throughout the world.

The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, 43 million Aid to the Church in Need Child’s Bibles have been distributed worldwide.

For more information contact Michael Varenne at michael@churchinneed.org or call 718-609-0939 or fax718-609-0938. Aid to the Church in Need, 725 Leonard Street, PO Box 220384, Brooklyn, NY 11222-0384.  www.churchinneed.org

ACN News - Ethiopia – "I'm going to become a priest!"



Father Hagos Hayish, the general secretary of the Ethiopian Catholic Bishops' Conference, describes how he came to his vocation and how he followed it in difficult times.

Excitedly, five-year-old Hagos runs up to his mother: "Mummy, mummy, Our Lady is down by the river! The priests sang for her! They have such beautiful, colorful robes on! I want to be like them!" His mother laughs. "But Hagos, that's not the Mother of God! The Orthodox are celebrating the feast of Timkat today. They are celebrating the baptism of Jesus down by the river!" Nevertheless, from that day onwards Hagos Hayish is quite clear: "I'm going to become a priest!"

In his family, faith has always played an important role. "All my family and my relatives have been Catholics for years. My parents and grandparents always used to tell me exciting stories about the missionaries. In the evening, when darkness fell, my father would call us eleven children together. We would gather around him and listen.”

“First of all he would play something on the flute, then he would tell us stories – about people, animals, about God and also about priests. And then finally he would teach us the Catechism, with questions and answers. In this way he prepared us for our First Holy Communion. If I had quarreled with a friend and told my father about it, he would insist that I go and settle the quarrel and clear up the matter completely."

On Sundays, Hagos goes with his family to church. The journey is too far for them to be able to go to Holy Mass in the week as well. It is over seven and a half miles each way – in all a journey of over 15 miles. But Hagos is happy to go to church. "I did not understand everything, but I loved the pictures especially. The picture of St. George always impressed me particularly," he recalls today.

At the age of six, he goes to school. He is able to skip a full year because he is so quick to learn. But when he comes to the end of primary school, his father tells him: "Now you have learnt enough. You can now read and write like I can. That's enough! I need someone to herd the goats."

Hagos cries and cries. After all he wants to become a priest! He appeals to his uncle to mediate between him and his father. And the parish priest is also called in. He is able to send two boys from the village to the minor seminary, where the younger boys prepare to enter the seminary proper, the "major seminary."

Three boys from the village have already applied. "What am I going to do if I can't find a place?" asks young Hagos tearfully, who is by now 13. The priest draws lots, and Hagos is one of the two lucky ones who will have the chance to go to the minor seminary. At the beginning he is homesick, but nonetheless he is happy to be able to follow his vocation.

The times are difficult ones. There is a civil war going on in Ethiopia. The communist regime under the dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam is calling up schoolboys and students for military service. It is a fate with which the seminarians are also threatened. In the holidays it is hard for them to get home, because a special permit is needed in order to travel from one place to another.

In 1985, after his A-levels, Hagos Hayish enters the major seminary. This is the time of the devastating famine, the horrifying pictures of which go all around the world. Again, the seminarians are threatened with being called up for military service, this time for the war against Eritrea. The young men have to hide.

When Mother Teresa visits Ethiopia in order to form a picture of the famine, she also visits the young seminarians. Hagos is the youngest and also, physically, the smallest of them. Because of this, he is standing in the front row to welcome the famous "angel of the poor."

"Do you want to be a priest?" Mother Teresa asks him. "Yes!" he replies. "Do you want to be a GOOD priest? If so, carry on. If not, leave the seminary today!" But Hagos has no doubt: "I want to be a good priest!"

The times become ever harder. "I have seen many people die," he recalls. At that time the government had decided to forcibly resettle hundreds of thousands of people. Many of them died as a result. Hagos' own father is also due for deportation, but at the last moment he is rescued.

During his second year in the seminary, Hagos is called to undergo a medical examination. Now he is really in danger of being called up for military service. After the examination he has to collect his health certificate. The man who is handing out the documents cannot find his name on the list, however.

Instead of Hagos, someone has written "Hagosa." This is the female form of his name. "Women do not serve in the army. You're in luck. You do not exist here! Go quickly," the man tells him. "God had guided the hand of a man so that he wrote down my name wrongly," Hagos Hayish explains, still full of wonder today. When he gets back to the seminary, the rector embraces him.

He enters the Vincentian order and on November 11, 1990, he is ordained to the priesthood. But then in 1998 war breaks out between Ethiopia and neighboring Eritrea, which in 1993 gains independence from Ethiopia.

Actually Abba (Father) Hagos is due to write his doctoral thesis, but for him the decision is clear: in 1999 he volunteers to go to the North of the country, where the people are suffering the most from the war. His own family is also expelled. His father has been abducted by the Eritrean forces, and there is no trace of him.

Given this situation, Abba Hagos chooses not to return to university. Instead he takes over the Parish of Nkala. For one week he is in the parish, for the next in the mountains, where the many refugees and expelled people have sought refuge.

"Every day there was shooting; death was constantly present. The whole time I did nothing but hear confessions, because the people did not know if they would even survive that day. All of them were preparing themselves for death."

One day the Archbishop of Addis Ababa himself comes to comfort the refugees. He promises the people: "You will return to your parishes!" Abba Hagos recalls the incident precisely. "The people were happy, but some of them asked, 'Where is the Blessed Virgin? We can no longer hear the bells from Our Lady's church. What has happened?' And the children sang: 'Where is the Blessed Virgin? Where is the Blessed Virgin?' Archbishop Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel answered them: ‘the Mother of God is here among you!'"

One month after the Archbishop's visit, the refugees are able to return to their ruined villages. "Everything was smashed, the houses destroyed, the trees felled; everywhere was full of landmines. Some 70,000 people had lost their lives," Abba Hagos tells us. Yet his own family had once more been protected, for his brother returned safely from the war, and his father was released from prison after two years.

Today Father Hagos can look back on almost a quarter of a century of priestly ministry. "A vocation is a gift of God, but I received it through my family," he says, deeply moved.

The Catholic Church in Ethiopia has around 700,000 faithful. That means that Catholics make up barely 1% of the population. Yet despite these small numbers, the Catholic Church is extremely active. She maintains 203 kindergartens and 222 schools, which are open to children and young people of all faiths and religions. They are attended by almost 180,000 children. Through this school is the Church hopes to be able to build bridges between the different ethnic groups and cultures. The Catholic Church also runs four universities, with over 7000 students.

During the past year the international Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) helped the Catholic Church in Ethiopia with a total of over $1.5 million.


With picture of Holy Mass in Catholic Ethiopian rite at St. Gabriel Parish, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia  (© ACN)


Editor’s Notes:



Directly under the Holy Father, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need.  ACN is a Catholic charity - helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.

Founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope John Paul II named “An Outstanding Apostle of Charity,” the organization is now at work in over 145 countries throughout the world.

The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, 43 million Aid to the Church in Need Child’s Bibles have been distributed worldwide.


For more information contact Michael Varenne at michael@churchinneed.org or call 718-609-0939 or fax718-609-0938. Aid to the Church in Need, 725 Leonard Street, PO Box 220384, Brooklyn, NY 11222-0384.  www.churchinneed.org

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Help for the Holy Souls

Banner from Blessed Sacrament Church, Paterson, NJ


The brown woolen scapular that Catholics wear is the habit of Our Lady that we are clothed with to show that we have consecrated ourselves to her.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel made a promise that she would personally go down to Purgatory to bring us up to heaven, the first Saturday after our death, if we have faithfully worn her brown scapular as a symbol of our devotion to her.
... the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. It is adapted from the scapular of the Carmelite Order and represents a special Consecration to Our Lady under the title of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Those who wear it practice it a special devotion to Mary. In the past this was the Little Office of Our Lady, but today this can be commuted by any priest to the rosary. In addition, the person has a special entrustment of themselves to Mary for their salvation. This, in fact, has been promised to those who faithfully wear the scapular:  "Those who die wearing this scapular shall not suffer eternal fire." This must not be understood superstitiously or magically, but in light of  Catholic teaching that perseverance in faith, hope and love are required for salvation. The scapular is a powerful reminder of this Christian obligation and of Mary's promise to help those consecrated to her obtain the grace of final perseverance.
Source: EWTN

Our blessed mother also goes into purgatory to free many souls on special days we honor her, such as all Saturdays and all the Marian feast days.  Just imagine how many souls will be freed from the pains of purgatory today!

For those of you who still do not wear the brown scapular, perhaps today is the day you begin.  It is important that you have a priest enroll you or confer you in our Lady's brown scapular.  Any priest is able to do this.  The EWTN link above has more details regarding investiture in the brown scapular.

The Sisters of Carmel in Colorado Springs make beautiful woolen brown scapular by hand.  You can get them for 5.00 each by contacting the sisters at Sisters of Carmel.

Catholic Free Shipping also sells good quality brown scapulars. These brown scapulars have the St. Benedict medal and a crucifix attached. You can get them for 6.95 each.

Please remember those who are very sick or may be in danger of death, by giving them a brown scapular to wear.

Happy Feast Day!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

ACN News - Targeted intimidation: First attack on Catholic nuns in Bangladesh

For the first time, Catholic nuns have been the target of a concerted, brutal attack in Bangladesh involving a late-night attack by dozens of men that lasted over an hour.

"50 to 60 armed men attacked the Boldipukur mission on July 7 at 2 a.m., and specifically the presbytery, the convent and the hospital," Bishop Sebastian Tudu of Dinajpur told international Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

The Bishop continued, "The attack was massive and lasted about an hour and a half. The attackers brutally beat the nuns. But we don't yet have the details.”

“At the moment the nuns are in Dhaka for medical treatment. The door to the presbytery was broken down, and the pastor was threatened and robbed.”

“The convent was seriously devastated. Only when the police arrived did the attackers leave the mission."

According to Bishop Tudu, there had to date not been a similar attack in the Diocese of Dinajpur or in Bangladesh as a whole.

"It's unprecedented because nuns are highly respected in Bangladesh. The attack is obviously a targeted and planned attempt at intimidation.”

“Nuns and priests are being attacked because they stand up for the disadvantaged and minorities.”

“The police are now investigating the case. They have promised to clear it up," Bishop Tudu said.

He went on to say that the Diocese of Dinajpur had already been the scene of a number of attacks against Christians last year. The attacks had been on villages where Catholics live; a number of men had been attacked.

"A seminary and the seminarians were also attacked. It was always said that the reasons for the attacks had to do with disputes over land and property. The seminary has now been relocated in another diocese.”

“The most recent attack is clearly a targeted response to Catholics' commitment to the country's poorest people," the Bishop of Dinajpur explained.

According to the bishop, 45 priests and more than 100 nuns are working in the diocese, and they now live in fear.


With picture of a Bible on the floor of a devastated room at Boldipukur Mission in Bangladesh (© ACN)


Editor’s Notes:



Directly under the Holy Father, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need.  ACN is a Catholic charity - helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.

Founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope John Paul II named “An Outstanding Apostle of Charity,” the organization is now at work in over 145 countries throughout the world.

The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, 43 million Aid to the Church in Need Child’s Bibles have been distributed worldwide.


For more information contact Michael Varenne at michael@churchinneed.org or call 718-609-0939 or fax718-609-0938. Aid to the Church in Need, 725 Leonard Street, PO Box 220384, Brooklyn, NY 11222-0384.  www.churchinneed.org

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

July - Month of the Precious Blood

Precious Blood of Jesus falling into a Chalice - World Apostolate of Fatima
Like the Sacred Wounds of Jesus, His Precious Blood deserves special honor because of its close relation to the Sacred Passion.  That honor was given to it from the beginning by the Apostles who praised its redeeming power.  (Roman 5:9:  "we are justified by His blood"; Hebrew 13:12 "and so Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people by His blood, suffered outside the gate"; 1 John 1:7 "and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin.")


Offering in Reparation to the Most Precious Blood of Jesus

Prayer of Saint Catherine of Siena to the Precious Blood of Jesus

Precious Blood, Ocean of Divine Mercy: Flow upon us!

Precious Blood, Most pure Offering: Procure us every Grace!

Precious Blood, Hope and Refuge of sinners: Atone for us!

Precious Blood, Delight of holy souls: Draw us! Amen.

Saint Catherine of Siena

Monday, June 30, 2014

EWTN Granted Injunctive Relief In HHS Mandate Case

EWTN Granted Injunctive Relief
In HHS Mandate Case

Court of Appeals Acts Following
Supreme Court Hobby Lobby Decision


Irondale, AL – The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta has granted the EWTN Global Catholic Network an injunction preventing the government from enforcing the HHS contraceptive services mandate against the Network. The appeals court released its twenty-nine page order just hours after the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case. The injunction allows EWTN to continue its court challenge of the mandate without incurring the fines of $35,000 per day that would have begun on July 1.
 
“This has been a very good day for religious liberty in America,” said EWTN Chairman & Chief Executive Officer Michael P. Warsaw. “The Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case was a great affirmation of the constitutional right to freedom of religious expression. While the Hobby Lobby decision did not directly resolve EWTN’s case, this afternoon’s injunction from the appellate court allows us to press forward without facing the government’s crushing fines.
 
“As we have said repeatedly, contraception, abortion-inducing drugs and voluntary sterilization are not health care and the government should not force EWTN to provide them as part of our employer-sponsored health plan.
 
“The Hobby Lobby decision recognizes that business owners don’t give up their religious freedom when they start a business,” continued Warsaw. “The fact that the Supreme Court believes that the government has an obligation to use the least restrictive means of accomplishing its goals is very helpful to the EWTN case. EWTN has raised similar arguments with regard to the government’s ‘accommodation’ scheme for faith-based organizations. We are both relieved and encouraged by the action taken by the courts today and look forward to making our case before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in the coming months.”
 
EWTN Global Catholic Network, in its 33rd year, is available in over 230 million television households in more than 140 countries and territories. With its direct broadcast satellite television and radio services, AM & FM radio networks, worldwide short-wave radio station, Internet website www.ewtn.com, electronic and print news services, and publishing arm, EWTN is the largest religious media network in the world.