Saturday, April 09, 2011

Happy Birthday Father Gordon MacRae

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As I mentioned the other day today April 9th is Father Gordon's birthday. He is marking his 58th birthday as he has for the last 14 years, in a prison in New Hampshire. 

We offer the following prayers for Father's intentions.

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Prayer to St. John Vianney for Priests

Saintly Pastor of Ars
and splendid model of all servants of souls,
you were considered not very bright
but you possessed the wisdom of the Saints.

You were a true pontifex, a bridge-builder,
between God and his people
as countless penitents streamed to your confessional.
Inspire all priests to be dedicated mediators
between God and his people in our day.

Since Father writes his blog to bring the truth out about this unjust imprisonment, let us pray to St. Francis de Sales for his intercession.

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Prayer to St. Francis de Sales for Writers

Most loving and lovable Saint,
you preached to thousands with the pen,
introducing them to "the devout life."
You wrote sublimely about God's love
and made countless converts by your Christlike kindness.

Make writers realize the power of the Press
and inspire them with your zeal fro spreading truth.
Help them to write honestly no matter what the subject,
so that they will really contribute
to bringing about God's Kingdom.

We pray also for those imprisoned with Father Gordon, his fellow prisoners...some of whom we are getting to know well from stories Father shares with his readers:

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Prayer to St. Dismas for Prisoners:

Dear St. Dismas
you cooperated with the grace that was yours
in suffering the same fate as the Divine Master.
You repented for your sins and believed,
and you heard the Savior say:
"Today you will be with me in paradise."

Obtain for prisoner the same grace
to repent of their wicked ways,
and obtain the same reward--
eternal life with Christ.

Finally a prayer for Father's lawyers...and all lawyers and judges involved:

Young Thomas More by Hans Holbein
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Prayer to St. Thomas More

Dear Scholar and Martyr,
it was not the King of England but you
who were the true Defender of the Faith.
Like Christ unjustly condemned,
neither promises nor threats could make you accept
a civil ruler as head of the Christian Church.

Perfect in your honesty and love of truth,
grant that lawyers and judges may imitate you
and achieve true justice for all people.

Source: New St. Joseph People's Prayer Book

Our Blessed Mother - A Thought from St. Thomas of Villanova

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"This faithful handmaid, Mary, never contradicted the Lord in deed or thought; she was obedient to the Divine will always and in all things."

from Mary Hope of the World by Rev. Jame Alberione, S.T.D.

11th Anniversary of the Beatification of Blessed Francis X. Seelos, C.S.s.R.

Happy 11th Anniversary of the Beatification of Blessed Francis X. Seelos, C.Ss.R.
April 9, 2011

Thanks to Mary Jane for the reminder via email:

This picture was taken on St. Joseph's Day, March 19.  Looks like Fr. Seelos received flowers as a gift.

What intentions are deep within your heart.
Ask for YOUR gift TODAY!

O My God, I truly believe You are present with me. I adore Your limitless perfections. I thank You for the graces and gifts You gave to Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos. If it is Your holy will, please let him be declared a saint of the Church so that others may know and imitate his holy life. Through his prayers please give me this favor ...


pictures of the St. Joseph Altar taken at St. Mary's Assumption/Seelos National Shrine in New Orleans:

Birthday Novena for the Pope, Day 2

Let's pray today for the spiritual protection of the Pope. As you may know, those who are in positions of leadership of the Church are often under the most spiritual attack. The Pope is, I am sure, the biggest target of the devil. So, let's pray together for his protection by the Blood of Christ.

Novena Prayers

Heavenly father, Your Providence guides the Church and the successor to St. Peter, Pope Benedict XVI. May he be protected at all times from spiritual attacks so that he may lead Your Church to greater holiness and unity through your Holy Spirit.

Lord, source of eternal life and truth, give to your shepherd, Benedict XVI, a spirit of courage and right judgment, a spirit of knowledge and love. By governing with fidelity those entrusted to his care, may he, as successor to the Apostle Peter and the Vicar of Christ, build your Church into a sacrament of unity, love and peace for all the world.
[Insert your personal petitions for the Pope here]
Let us pray for Benedict, the pope.
May the Lord preserve him,
give him a long life,
make him blessed upon the earth,
and not hand him over
to the power of his enemies.
May your hand be upon your holy servant.
And upon your son, whom you have anointed.
Our Father …
Hail Mary …
Glory Be …

 It's not too late for people to join in the novena! Forward to a friend or share it on facebook Like Day 2 - Pope Benedict's Birthday Novena on Facebook

Pray for the Pope today! I hope you have a blessed day!

God Bless You,

  John-Paul -

P.S. Forward this to your friends who might want to join in praying with us!
Forward to a friend or share it on facebook Like Day 2 - Pope Benedict's Birthday Novena on Facebook

Friday, April 08, 2011

"God Calls a Prodigal Daughter to the Refiners Fire"

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Refiner's Fire

A new blogger who has entered the blogosphere. She is a revert to the faith and what a story she has! Be sure to check out Lisa's blog post. I believe Lisa had a hand in getting Mrs. J to blog her incredible story.


I am sharing the email I received today:

Dear EWTN Media Missionaries,
I hope you are as excited as we are about the upcoming events planned for the Feast of Divine Mercy this year. It was only 6 short years ago that our beloved Pope John Paul II passed away on the vigil of  Divine Mercy Sunday , a feast he officially instituted in the year 2000. How fitting that we will now be celebrating his beatification on the same feast day! EWTN brings you a grace- filled day of programming incorporating the Beatification and Divine Mercy Sunday. It will be a historical day that you won't want to miss!

Live from the Circus Maximus, a vigil organized by the diocese of Rome which had the Venerable Servant of God as its bishop. The vigil will be led by Cardinal Agostino Vallini, His Holiness' vicar general for the diocese of Rome, while the Holy Father Benedict XVI will be spiritually present through a video linkup.

Pope Benedict XVI presides at the Rite of Beatification for Pope John Paul II from St. Peter's Square. EWTN news anchor Raymond Arroyo hosts special live coverage of this historic event.

A preparation for the celebration of Divine Mercy, hosted by the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, from the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy.

The celebration of the Solemn Mass of Divine Mercy Sunday, live from the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, MA.

A Holy Hour in honor of The Divine Mercy, live from the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, AL.

A Mass of thanksgiving from St. Peter's Square, presided by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B.

*For the latest information on specific air dates and times please check

Please be sure to insert the second bulletin announcement in the Media Missionary newsletter (also listed below) in your parish bulletin.
Thank you for your kind cooperation and, if I can ever be of assistance to you or your parish with regards to EWTN, please feel free to contact me. I hope that you continue to have a blessed Lenten season.

Please insert the following announcement in your parish bulletin for the weekend of April 23-24.
Watch Live Coverage of the Beatification of Pope John Paul II: Join EWTN on Mercy Sunday, May 1st, as Pope Benedict XVI presides over the much anticipated beatification of his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, live from St. Peter's Square. Beatification is the last major step before possible sainthood! See it all on EWTN (local channel information). Visit for more information or to watch coverage live online!

God Bless,
Gus Federle Signature
Gus Federle
Manager of Volunteer Support
EWTN Media Missionaries
(205) 795-5771 

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Portraits of Our Beloved Holy Fathers and Their Words of Spiritual Guidance

Venerable John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI as Cardinal

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Baby Karol
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"Nothing can give us a profound sense of the meaning of our earthly life and stimulate us to live it as a brief experimental state--as can an inner attitude of seeing ourselves as pilgrims." - Venerable John Paul II

Baby Karol and his beloved parents
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"The bond that unites a family is not only a matter of natural kinship or of shared life and experience.  It is essentially a holy and religious bond.  Marriage and the family are sacred realities." - Venerable John Paul II

Karol as a young school boy
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"Again and again I find in young people the joy and enthusiasm of life, a searching for truth and for the deeper meaning of the existence that unfolds before them in all its attraction and potential." - Venerable John Paul II

Josef as a little boy

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"In the course of our lives, all of us are on a journey, we are traveling towards the future.  Naturally, we want to find the right road:  to find true life, and not a dead end or a desert.  We don't want to end up saying:  I took the wrong road, my life is a failure, it went wrong.  We want to find joy in life; we want, in the words of Jesus, 'to have life in abundance.'" - Pope Benedict XVI

Karol's First Holy Communion

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"The Eucharist educates us in a deeper way; it show us, in fact, what value each person, our brother or sister, has in God's eyes, if Christ offers Himself equally to each one, under the species of bread and wine." - Venerable John Paul II

Josef's First Holy Communion

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"Through the Eucharist, the Sacrament of Communion, a community is formed which spills over all borders and embraces all languages." - Pope Bendict XVI

Ratzinger Children

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"If we follow God in all that we think and do, then we draw closer together, we gain freedom and thus true fraternity is born." - Pope Benedict XVI

Karol the Young Man
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"There is always a special attraction in you young people, because of that instinctive goodness of yours not contaminated by evil, and because of your particular readiness to accept truth, and put it into practice.  And since God is truth, you, loving and accepting truth, are nearest to heaven." - Venerable John Paul II

According to the picture source, Josef right before ordination

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"Let us love being with the Lord!  There we can speak with him about everything.  We can offer him our petitions, our concerns, our troubles.  Our joys.  Our gratitude, our disappointments, our needs and our aspirations." - Pope Benedict XVI

"known as the young priest Father Karol Wojtyla, while in seminary"

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"Changed by the working of grace into a new creature, the Christian...humbly sets himself to follow Christ and learns more and more within the Church to think like Him, to judge like Him, to act in conformity with His commandments, and to hope as He invites us to." - Venerable John Paul II

Young Priest Karol

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"The vocation to love, understood as a true openness to our fellow human beings and solidarity with them, is the most basic of all vocations.  It is the origin of all vocations in life." - Venerable John Paul II

Young Priest Josef

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"Let us discover the intimate riches of the Church's liturgy and its true greatness:  it is not we who are celebrating for ourselves, but it is the living God himself who is preparing a banquet for us." - Pope Benedict XVI

Young Father Josef blessing the crowd

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"The more we allow ourselves, through the liturgy, to be transformed in Christ, the more we will be capable of transforming the world, radiating Christ's goodness, his mercy and his love for others." - Pope Benedict XVI

Bishop Karol Wojtyla

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"Prayer calls us to examine our consciences on all the issues that affect humanity.  It calls us to ponder our personal and collective responsibility before the judgment of God and in the light of human solidarity. Hence prayer is able to transform the world.  Everything is new with prayer, both for individual and for communities.  New goals and new ideals emerge.  Christian dignity and action are reaffirmed.  The commitments of our Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders take on new urgency.  The horizons of of conjugal love and of the mission of the family are vastly extended in prayers." - Venerable John Paul II
Archbishop Josef Ratzinger's first Corpus Christi Procession in 1977

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"We know this from experience:  whenever priests, because of their many duties, allot less and less time to being with the Lord, they eventually lose, for all their often heroic activity, the inner strength that sustains them. Their activity ends up as an empty activism.

To be with Christ --  how does t his come about?  Well, the first and most important thing for the priest is his daily Mass, always celebrated with deep interior participation.  If we celebrate Mass truly as men of prayer, if we unite our words and our activities to the Word that precedes us and let them be shaped by the Eucharistic celebration, if in Communion we let ourselves truly be embraced by him and receive him -- then we are being with him." - Pope Benedict XVI
Cardinal Karol Wojtyla

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"Only through acceptance of the Gospel can every hope...find full realization." - Venerable John Paul II

Pope John Paul II Praying the Holy Rosary

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O Virgin Mother, guide and sustain us so that we might always live as true sons and daughters of the Church of your Son.  Enable us to do our part in helping to establish on earth the civilization of truth and love, as God wills it, for His glory. Amen. - Venerable John Paul II

Pope Benedict XVI Praying the Holy Rosary

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"Mary is and remains the handmaid of the Lord who does not put herself at the center, but wants to lead us towards God, to teach us a way of life in which God is acknowledged as the center of all there is and the center of our personal lives." - Pope Benedict XVI

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"The Apostle Paul said:  'God...Has entrusted to us the ministry of reconciliation' (2 Cor 5:18).  The people of God are called to a continual conversion, to an ever renewed reconciliation with God in Christ.  This reconciliation is effected in the sacrament of penance, and it is there that you exercise, par excellence,  your ministry of reconciliation." - Venerable John Paul II's address to priests of Zaire

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"Let us bear witness to our faith in such a way that it shines forth as the power of love, 'so that the world may believe' (Jn 17:21)." - Pope Benedict XVI

Sources for quotations:
Coming Together in Joy 99 Sayings by Benedict XVI, New City Press, Inc.
The Wisdom of John Paul II, Compiled by Bakalar and Balkin, Harper
A Moment's Peace: Words of Encouragement - Pope John Paul II

Thursday, April 07, 2011


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A Vocation Beyond Doctrine and Politics

Brother John M. Samaha, S.M.

Karol Wojtyla (1920-2005) served as Pope John Paul II (1978-2007) in a lengthy, whirlwind, and remarkable papacy. April 2, 2011 marked the sixth anniversary of his death. What do you recall about this remarkable pontiff?

John Paul II was born to lead and to inspire, to bridge the human and the divine. More than one observer characterized him as “man of the century” during his lifetime. And even before his passing to eternity some commentators were assigning to him the encomium “John Paul the Great.”

But John Paul II also drew a considerable share of criticism
and a wide variance of opinion. Then what can we say with certainty, in the absolute, about the 264th successor of St. Peter. Looking beyond doctrine and politics we see a truly extraordinary person.

Above all, he mattered in his period of history. He changed the face of Europe, stopped several wars and protested others, traveled the equivalent of three-and-a-half times to the moon. He has been seen in person by more people than anyone else in history. John Paul II most certainly must be numbered among the titans of his times. This pope was a magnet for humanity.

As a “sign of contradiction” and one who mattered in human and church arenas, he also divided. The wide range of varying opinions might be the most convincing sign of his impact. John Paul II made over 100 trips outside Italy, canonized about 500 saints, beatified about 1400, authored more than a dozen landmark encyclicals and numerous other instructions. The list of his activities seems endless. He exhibited boundless energy for work and for engaging people. All of this made him famous, but it also made him controversial. His was a bruising, polarizing pontificate.

In the final analysis, we can confidently say that John Paul, deeper than his politics and his Polish Catholic cultural formation, was an extraordinary person of sterling character, a genuine mensch. He was a strong, intelligent, caring human being. His integrity and dedication to duty present a standard by which other leaders can be measured.

Above all, John Paul was a selfless human being in a me-first world. Cardinal Roberto Tucci, who planned the pope’s trips and briefed him hundreds of times on trips long and short, observed that never did the pope ask what conveniences or creature comforts to expect. That indifference to himself was noticeable every time he entered the public stage. The very motto of this dedicated apostle of Mary indicated this: “Totus tuus” (I am all yours).

This is the key to his personal magnetism that drew enormous crowds everywhere, even in places where his political or doctrinal stands were unpopular. Deeper than either secular or religious concerns was his personal integrity -- goodness and holiness, the qualities we prize most highly in others. A person may be regarded as liberal or conservative, avant-garde or traditional, but let that person be decent, and that suffices.

John Paul II’s authentic humanity was the source of his appeal. The most important lesson he offered is the coherence of his own life. When he urged Christians, in the words of Jesus, “duc in altum” (set off into the deep), that resonated even with those who sought different shores.

John Paul’s admirers and critics alike can say of him what Shakespeare’s Hamlet said of his father: “He was a man. Take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again.”

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Pro-Lifers - Converts to Catholicism

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With the recent announcement of Stand True Ministries'founder Bryan Kemper's conversion to Catholicism, I thought I'd look back to see what other well-known North American pro-life activists, have come home.  BTW, I have longed admired Bryan because of Rock for Life.  Welcome home!
H/T to Deacon's Bench.

Bryan Kemper: My Journey Home to the Catholic Church

Read also: Bryan Kemper: How My Conversion to Catholicism Will Effect the work of Stand True...

Recent Converts also include:

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- Abby Johnson who not only converted from pro-abortion, planned parenthood head to pro-life activist and now preparing for conversion into the Catholic Church.CNA: Abby Johnson Reveals Details of Prolife Turnaround and Catholic Conversion

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- Lila Rose, the head of Life Action
OneBillion Stories: Lila Rose Become a Catholic

Before Bryan, Lila and soon-to-be Catholic convert Abby Johnson, there was

- Hadley Arkes

Read: National Catholic Register's From the Ark to the Barque and also
The Anchor's: Prolife Leader Hadley Arkes Becomes Catholic

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- Norma McCorvey, Plaintiff "Roe" in the infamous Roe v. Wade lawsuit. She too not only converted to pro-life activist, she converted to Catholicism.

Priests for Life: Norma McCorvey of Supreme Court decision legalizing
abortion says she felt a 'real sense of inner peace'

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- Dr. Bernard Nathanson, who recently went home.
One cold January morning in 1989, Bernard Nathanson, famous Jewish abortionist-turned-atheistic-pro-lifer, began to entertain seriously the notion of God. Seven years later, thanks to a persistent Opus Dei priest, the sixty-nine-year-old doctor, author of Aborting America and The Abortion Papers, is becoming a Roman Catholic.

EWTN: Bernard Nathanson's Conversion

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- Controversial pro-life activist Randall Terry also joined the Catholic Church in 2006

National Catholic Register's Pro-life activist Randall Terry converts to Catholicism, still slaying dragons

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Photos from the New York Botanical Garden

One of the loveliest places in the Tri-state area is the New York Botanical Garden. Another one is The Cloisters.

Here are some photos my brother took on his recent trip to see the Orchid Show.  You can click on photos to enlarge and get a better view.

 Nice to see a touch of aloha there.

He took lots more but these were my favorites.  He fairly recently took up photography.  I think we will hire him as the family photographer.  I told him to start taking photos of animals,  one of his many loves.