Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

Diocese of Honolulu's display "Santa Would Go"


In a few hours Hawaii will celebrating the birth of the Savior of the World!

When I was a little girl, Christmas was a magical time.  A white Christmas was not unusual on the east coast.  We would be surrounded by family, warmth and good food.  People became friends as we all wished each other "Merry Christmas or Feliz Navidad!"

It was right after Thanksgiving that the Christmas decorations went up.  There would be lights on the front porch and living room windows, red and green paper chains decorated the doorways, silver and gold garland lined the banister.  Sometimes there was even a real tree to decorate, both inside and out!  But even the artificial trees we had were fun to decorate.  We also took special care to create a nice space for the Nativity set.  It was later as an adult who finally took more interest in her faith that I realized the Christmas decorations needed to wait until closer to Christmas.

It was then that the special Advent season would really be appreciated as a preparation for the Christ child. We made more attempts at sacrifices and mortifications.  We decorated with special care, the Advent wreath, with royal blues and purples.  We filled the Advent calendar drawers with slips of papers instructing us on which act of kindness to perform.  It was sad to think of how much we missed out growing up, in not celebrating the liturgical season of Advent.

When I was a child there were the Christmas carols we sang and listened to, both religious Christmas carols and secular Christmas songs.  Most of our favorite carols were taught in our public school:  Silent Night, O Christmas Tree, Joy to the World, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Angels We Have Heard on High, We Three Kings, are just a few of the Christmas carols we sang in school.  We learned the fun ones by listening to the radio as well as in school:  Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and a personal favorite, Up on the Housetop.

It was a simpler time a few decades ago.  Children weren't burdened with maybe offending someone.  The children at our public school were mostly Christians and Jews.  The Jewish kids sang the Christmas carols and the Christian kids sang Hanukkah songs.  It was a fun learning experience. Somehow our difference had a way of bringing us closer together.

It is therefore such a shame that today's public school children are being cheated from experiencing the magic of Christmas.  It is tragic that they are not taught whose birthday it is we are celebrating.  Someone so important that it became a national holiday.

In Honolulu, the city council decided it was not appropriate to celebrate Christmas as it may offend someone who didn't believe.  The Christmas parade was changed to Honolulu City Lights parade.  It was offensive to put up a nativity but organizations/churches could enter a special lottery.  If they was lucky enough to be selected and they wanted to put up a nativity, one could be erected.  However, there had to be a disclaimer that it was not paid for by city funds.  Imagine that...  Luckily, the Diocese of Honolulu won a lottery slot this year.  It is a beautiful display of Santa Claus kneeling before the Christ Child.

Which brings me to the reason for the post.  The other day, we watched a movie on Netflix.   Last Ounce of Courage is an inspiring movie about the true meaning of Christmas and more importantly, religious freedom.  So if you want to watch an inspiring movie this Christmas, be sure to watch it with your family and friends.  It is available streaming from Netflix.

From our family to yours,

We wish you a very blessed and Merry Christmas. May God bless you abundantly!

With much aloha,
Esther

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Our Lady of Guadalupe - Movie



Happy feast day!

Here is a movie I found online that you can watch in its entirety.  However, it is in Spanish.  I haven't seen it but it looks promising.


Thursday, December 05, 2013

THE ROSARY A WEAPON OF MASS CONSTRUCTION

Brother John M. Samaha, S.M.

          As Our Lady of the Rosary, the Blessed Virgin Mary manifests herself as our spiritual Mother and the spiritual Mother of all mankind.  The Rosary is an invaluable gift she has given us, a powerful weapon she has placed in our hands.  The Rosary is a “weapon of mass construction.”   Praying it keeps us united to her, and aids us to live out our baptismal vocation.

          Father Frederick William Faber, noted 19th century convert and hymn composer, explained that “the Rosary is Mary’s testament, just as the Eucharist is Jesus’ testament.”  We may conclude that just as we find Jesus whole and entire in the Holy Eucharist, so Mary is present in her fullness in the Rosary.  When we receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, He unites Himself to us Body and Soul.  When we pray the Rosary, Mary unites us wholly to herself.

          In the words of Rosary devotee, G. Ferrera, “The Eucharist and the Most Holy Virgin as so closely united that it seems as though Mary’s heart beats in unison with the Heart of her Son, Who resides in our tabernacles.”  Whether we receive Jesus in Holy Communion or pray the Rosary, we can assimilate those heartbeats of Jesus and Mary, and make them our own.

          Praying the Rosary frequently pleases the Immaculate Heart of Mary as it enriches our understanding of revealed truth simply couched in the twenty mysteries of the Rosary – twenty engaging events in the lives of Jesus and Mary.  In this crown of prayer is found the most complete Marian devotion.  At Lourdes and Fatima Mary appeared holding a Rosary, and exhorted the visionaries and us to pray the Rosary because it is a universal means of grace and salvation. 

          St. Pio of Pietrelcina, who prayed the Rosary throughout his waking hours, reminded us to “Love Our Lady and help others love her.  Pray the Rosary always.”

Ven. Fulton Sheen declared that the Rosary “engages our fingers, our lips, our hearts in a vast symphony of prayer.  This is why it is the greatest prayer ever composed by man.”  And Ferrera exhorted us to love the “little crown of the Rosary by which graces flow from the hands of Mary to us.” 

          Let us pray the Rosary fervently to draw close to Mary, to keep her company, and to ask for the necessary graces for all humankind, for our country, for our families, for our personal salvation.

          Indeed Our Lady’s Rosary is an effective “weapon of mass construction” for the building of the Mystical Body of Christ.  It is an effective instrument to fulfill our baptismal call.
         

          

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Reminder - Hour of Grace for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception


Picture source

Because the Feast of the Immaculate Conception falls on the Second Sunday of Advent, the solemnity has been moved to Monday, December 9th.
The Blessed Virgin promised that whatever a person asked Her for during this Hour of Grace (even in impossible cases) would be granted to them, if it was in accordance with the will of the Eternal Father.
REQUEST OF BLESSED MOTHER FOR THE HOUR OF GRACE

1. Day and time of Hour of Grace - December 8th Feast of the Immaculate Conception - to be started at 12 noon and will continue until 1 PM (one full hour of prayer)

2. During this hour the person making the 'Hour of Grace' either at home or in the Church must put away all distractions (do not answer the telephone or answer any doors or do anything but totally concentrate on your union with God during this Special Hour of Grace)

3. Begin the Hour of Grace by praying three times the 51st Psalm with outstretched arms. Psalm 51 can be found below.

4. The rest of the Hour of Grace may be spent in silent communication with God meditating upon the Passion of Jesus saying the Holy Rosary, praising God in your own way or by using favorite prayers, singing hymns, meditating upon other Psalms, etc.

Please distribute this message to as many people as you can. Remember to pray for your country during this hour. The Blessed Mother has requested that Her message be sent throughout the entire world. Please help the Blessed Virgin Mary to fulfill Her Mission well ... that all souls be drawn to God and that Jesus will be loved in every heart. This is the Perpetual song of her Heart. Let it also be ours.

Psalm 51
1
For the leader. A psalm of David,
2
when Nathan the prophet came to him after his affair with Bathsheba.
3
Have mercy on me, God, in your goodness; in your abundant compassion blot out my offense.
4
Wash away all my guilt; from my sin cleanse me.
5
For I know my offense; my sin is always before me.
6
Against you alone have I sinned; I have done such evil in your sight That you are just in your sentence, blameless when you condemn.
7
True, I was born guilty, a sinner, even as my mother conceived me.
8
Still, you insist on sincerity of heart; in my inmost being teach me wisdom.
9
Cleanse me with hyssop, that I may be pure; wash me, make me whiter than snow.
10
Let me hear sounds of joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
11
Turn away your face from my sins; blot out all my guilt.
12
A clean heart create for me, God; renew in me a steadfast spirit.
13
Do not drive me from your presence, nor take from me your holy spirit.
14
Restore my joy in your salvation; sustain in me a willing spirit.
15
I will teach the wicked your ways, that sinners may return to you.
16
Rescue me from death, God, my saving God, that my tongue may praise your healing power.
17
Lord, open my lips; my mouth will proclaim your praise.
18
4 For you do not desire sacrifice; a burnt offering you would not accept.
19
My sacrifice, God, is a broken spirit; God, do not spurn a broken, humbled heart.
20
5 Make Zion prosper in your good pleasure; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
21
Then you will be pleased with proper sacrifice, burnt offerings and holocausts; then bullocks will be offered on your altar.

 For more details click here

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Christ the King

Picture source

Via Holly.

The Kingship of Christ
 
Now to the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God,
be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
Prayer to Christ the King
 
O Jesus Christ, I acknowledge Thee as universal King.
All that has been made, has been created for Thee.
Exercise, all Thy rights over me.
I renew my baptismal vows, I renounce Satan,
his pomps and his works, and I promise
to live as a good Christian.
And in particular do I pledge myself to labor, to
the best of my ability, for the triumph of the rights of
God and Thy Church.
 
Divine Heart of Jesus to Thee do I proffer my
poor services, laboring that all hearts may
acknowledge Thy Sacred Kingship, and that thus
the reign of Thy peace may be established
throughout the whole universe.
 
+ Amen +

Friday, November 22, 2013

EWTN Rome Bureau Chief Joan Lewis To Receive Apostolic Exhortation From Pope Francis On Behalf of Journalists


Irondale, AL – EWTN viewers have yet another reason to tune in to the Closing Mass for the Year of Faith, which airs live at 4:30 a.m. ET (with an encore at 11:30 a.m. ET), Sunday, Nov. 24, the Feast of Christ the King. During the Mass, Pope Francis will consign his Apostolic Exhortation “Evangelii gaudium” (The Joy of the Gospel) to a group of people representing various walks of life and ministries. EWTN Rome Bureau Chief Joan Lewis, who has covered the Church for almost 35 years, will be one of only two media professionals to receive the Exhortation on behalf of journalists from the hands of Pope Francis himself!

“I feel honored and humbled to have been included,” Lewis said. “When Archbishop RIno Fisichella, head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, announced the news about the Exhortation on Monday he said it ‘will be delivered to all those in various stages of life who, as Christians, are called to be evangelizers. … The Year of Faith thus becomes a commitment that the Church assumes her duty once again to bring the Gospel to every creature.’”
 
One viewer, who heard the Vatican announcement, wrote to Lewis saying: “You have given your readers 'YEARS OF FAITH' and are truly deserving of this honor.”
 
The papal Exhortation is under embargo until Tuesday, Nov. 26, when it will be officially presented at the Holy See Press Office.

The Year of Faith was inaugurated on Oct. 11, 2012, the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and officially ends at the Closing Mass onSunday, Nov. 24.
 
EWTN Global Catholic Network, in its 32nd 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.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Monday, November 18, 2013

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Photos from the Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament and Holy Rosary for the Strengthening of Marriage

Lead by Bishop Larry Silva on Thursday at St. Theresa, the Co-Cathedral, Honolulu, Hawaii.

"My dear friends, from the sacrament of Marriage, the family has received newness of life and the grace of Christ.  The family is especially important to the Church and to civil society, for it is the primary life-giving community.

In our celebration today we call down the Lord's blessings upon all families, and for the strengthening of marriage, so that men and women may continually be instruments of God's grace to one another and witness to faith in all the circumstances of Life."

Opening Prayer

"O God, in whose eternal design family life has its firm foundation, look with compassion on the prayers of your servants and grant that, following the example of the Holy Family of Your Only Begotten Son in practicing the virtues of family life and in the bonds of charity, we may, in  the joy of your house, delight one day in eternal rewards..."










Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Bishop Silva's Letter to All Clergy & Parishioners of the Diocese of Honolulu Regarding Same Sex Marriage and Special Session

October 13, 2013

As you know, our State Legislature will convene in a Special Session beginning October 28, 2013, to consider a bill submitted by Governor Abercrombie on “marriage equity” or same-sex “marriage”.  We thank all who have prayed for the Lord’s guidance on this issue and have contacted your legislators.  I now urge you to continued prayer and to more intense action.  If you have already contacted your legislators, please consider doing so again; if you have not, please do so within the next couple of weeks.
Please keep in mind that the major concern should not be giving this or that same-sex couple the ability to be married, but rather the long-term and profound societal implications such a concession would have on all of us.  Our religious freedom, which goes far beyond simply freedom of worship, would be seriously threatened, no matter what safeguards may be built into the bill.  The rights of parents to see that their children are taught the sacredness of marriage between one man and one woman would be seriously undermined.  The boundaries our young people so desperately need in our over-sexed culture will be widely expanded if not taken away altogether, thus leading to more confusion in their hearts and minds.  The prohibition against homosexual activity that the Word of God makes so clear can only be ignored to the detriment of all.  The law of God is written into each human heart, and there are serious consequences if we ignore it.
Please keep in mind that our efforts to preserve the true definition of marriage as only between one man and one woman are an expression of our love, even though many consider them to be just the opposite.  Only the truth about the need to respect our human ecology and the true meaning of sexuality and the body can be loving, even when not accepted by all.  Pope Francis has recently made statements that have been taken out of context and misused by others to imply that he condones homosexual ACTS and even same-sex marriage.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  His emphasis on loving persons, no matter what they believe, is essential, but by no means does such love condone immoral behavior.  When talking about same-sex marriage we must also be careful to distinguish between equality of persons and equality of institutions.  No matter what our sexual attraction may be, we are all equal as persons.  But the institution of marriage between a man and a woman cannot be equal to the union between persons of the same gender.
While I cannot take the space to reprint all of the following materials here, I ask you to go to the website of the Diocese of Honolulu at www.catholichawaii.org and to review the following for yourself: (Links have been added for your convenience).
  1. My August 22 letter to parishioners
  2. List of contact emails and phone number for State Senators and Representatives
  3. Scriptures related to homosexuality
  4. Two letters of Cardinal Jorge Bergolio (now Pope Francis) regarding same-sex marriage when it was being considered in Argentina in 2010:
    1. Bergoglio on Same-Sex Marriage;
    2. Bergoglio to Carmelite Sisters
  5. Recent quotes of Pope Francis in context:
    1. Pope Francis Interview on Rio-Rome Flight, 28 July 2013;
    2. Pope Francis Interview with Civilita Catolica, 19 August 2013.
  6. Quotes from the Catechism of the Catholic Church regarding homosexuality
I invite you all to a rally at the State Capitol on Monday, October 28, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., to join with others to let our legislators know of our opposition to same-sex marriage.
This issue is critical for the vitality of our entire community, so I urge you to pray diligently, especially the rosary, AND to contact both your State Senator and Representative to let them know that you support only marriage between one man and one woman.
May God bless you all!
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Larry Silva
Bishop of Honolulu


Source: Diocese of Honolulu

Monday, October 14, 2013

Photos of 7th Annual Rosary in the Park PART 2

Click to enlarge photos for better viewing.






















Pope Francis Consecrates World to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and Photos from the 7th Annual Public Rosary in the Park

Pope Francis consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary at an October 13 Mass in St. Peter’s Square, in the climactic ceremony of a Marian Day celebration.
Read the rest HERE

Also yesterday was the 7th annual public rosary in the park in Honolulu.  It started off as a sunny day for the procession, prayers and devotion to honor our Lady of Fatima. But then it started to rain.  Someone suggested we pray three Hail Marys so that the rain would stop in time.  God must have smiled down on us. As soon as the procession began, a torrential downpour of rain came down.  Blessings from heaven!  It reminded many of us of that day in Fatima when the rain came down and then the sun came out drying everything instantly.  Well, the sun did come out and we were still wet, but everyone, young and old, were in good spirits!  The sun didn't dance either but we all knew it was a very special day.  The priest who led us in prayer mentioned that we gave quite a witness to people, seeing many walking behind the statue of our lady in the pouring rain.

Click on photos to enlarge for better viewing.

PHOTOS PART 1


























What Motivated Columbus


Picture source

        by  Brother John M. Samaha, S.M.


          Why did Columbus want to sail and explore? What motivated the Italian explorer, celebrated as the discoverer of America, to lead a crew of ninety men across the uncharted Atlantic Ocean more than five centuries ago? In our times his motivation is being questioned again.  Some have tried to demean his name and character, making Columbus a figure of controversy and raising doubts about his integrity.  Now we are faced with conflicting opinions about his legacy.  What do we know for certain about the religious motivations for his voyages?

          In the past Christopher Columbus was an example of the understanding that there is no contradiction in being a Catholic and an American.  For that reason Father Michael McGivney chose him as the namesake of the Knights of Columbus. 

          Intrigued by this question and Columbus’ motivation, Carol Delaney decided to delve into the background with scholarly aplomb.  A cultural anthropologist and longtime professor at Stanford University, Delaney devoted the entire summer of 2003 to researching Columbus at Brown University.  Two years later she resigned from Stanford to concentrate on this research.  The results of her thorough study have been published in book form: Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem (Free Press, 2011).

          Upon release of her book she discussed some of the highlights of her findings about the purpose of Columbus’ voyages.  Thanks to the exacting research of Carol Delaney, we have a truer and fuller appreciation of this genuine hero of history.

Motives

          Dr. Delaney explains that it is common knowledge that Columbus was hoping to find gold, but his reason was not understood.  Columbus  wanted to help finance a crusade to free Jerusalem from the Muslims before the end of the world.  In his time many thought the apocalypse was imminent because of various signs: the plague, famine, earthquakes, and similar occurrences.  It was a popular belief that 
before the end of time Jerusalem must be returned to the Christians so
that Christ could come in judgment.  Columbus had actually calculated the number of years left before the end of the world.  He considered his plan as a mission.

Evangelization

          Columbus was also very interested in evangelization.  He kept extensive notes and wrote many letters, and in these writings indicated that the peoples of the new lands could not be quickly baptized and automatically become Christian. They needed to be instructed clearly about the faith before being converted.  To this end he wrote to the pope requesting that priests be sent to the newly discovered peoples for their instruction.  He even left money in his will to be used for this.

          Recall that Columbus believed he was sailing to Asia, and he wanted to convince the Grand Khan of China, who had expressed interest in Christianity, to convert.  He thought the Grand Khan might join the crusade to re-take Jerusalem by marching from the east, while the Europeans closed in from the west.  This is quite an interesting concept.

Confusion

          Unfortunately many do not recognize and understand Columbus’ intentions.  The evidence had not been widely studied, nor was it readily accessible.  Scholars had written about Columbus’ religious motivations, but their findings were published in arcane journals.

          In the 19th and early in the 20th centuries historians described Columbus as one of the first to use science and reason as an explorer.  But that was not the basis of his motivation.  He was a medieval man in a religious context.  Columbus was closely associated with the Franciscans, who had assisted him and who were noted for their missionary activity.


Respect for Natives
         
          It is a grossly incorrect and unfair assessment on the part of some to say that Columbus was responsible for a variety of atrocities against the native peoples.  Erroneously, especially in the 20th century, the brunt of all that went wrong was attributed to Columbus.  But the falsehood of such accusations is evident from his own writings and the records of his contemporaries.  Those records show that his relations with the natives were benign and respectful. He described them as “natural Christians” because they had no other faith and were open to become Christians after proper instruction.  

          Columbus sternly warned his crew not to maraud, rape, or otherwise abuse the native people.  His writings offer many examples of instruction to this effect.  Most of the times when injustices occurred, he was not even there. And it is absurd to blame him for diseases communicated to the natives by the Europeans. 

          Columbus’ notes record that many crewmembers did not like the restrictions and rebelled, that they assumed they could have slaves, pick gold from the trees, and need not work. 
         
          Columbus never had slaves, nor did he intend to obtain slaves from the lands he visited.  Of course this would never have happened with the Grand Khan and his people in China.  Columbus wanted the natives  he met to become subjects of the Spanish sovereigns. 

          After the second voyage when they had encountered a different group of natives whom they thought were cannibals, Columbus’ brother sent some of them to Europe.  At that time in history it was considered morally acceptable to enslave people who acted against human nature because the captors hoped this would help them become good Christians.  While slavery was then common, some mistakenly think Columbus instituted slavery. 

         



Columbus’ Writings

          Carol Delaney read and studied all the extant writings of Christopher Columbus.  Although his original diary no longer exists, two reliable copies survive; these were in the possession of Bartolome Las Casas, an admirer of Columbus, and Columbus’ son, Ferdinand.  Consistently his writings express respect for the native people and concern for his crew.  Also evident is his devotion to his sons and his care for the women in his life.  While many are unaware that Columbus wrote anything, Dr. Delaney says she liked the tone of his letters and notes, and this advanced her admiration for him.  In addition to his faith, she was also impressed with his patience.

          Columbus planned and waited more than ten years before embarking on his first voyage. When his petitions failed with the Portuguese, he turned to the Spaniards.  The authorities rejected  his proposal three time, yet he persisted.  He firmly believed he could do it.  Then he exhibited tremendous courage in crossing the ocean in small wooden ships with nothing more than a compass to guide him.

Failure or Success?

          Dr. Delaney expressed the opinion that Columbus died thinking that he had not accomplished what he set out to do.  He was disappointed that King Ferdinand did not pursue the crusade, and he realized that some serious crimes had been committed.  From this point of view, he felt his quest was a failure.  But in reality, Delaney declares it was a major accomplishment.  Columbus crossed the ocean four times in small sailing craft and without the benefit of modern navigational instruments.  He discovered the New World, even though he thought he found only the periphery of Asia.

          No wonder, then, that in the late nineteenth century Venerable Michael McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus, chose the intrepid admiral and evangelizing explorer as model for the fraternal order of Catholic gentlemen.  His admiration is expressed on page one

of the May 25, 1878, edition of the Connecticut Catholic: “As American Catholics, we do not know of anyone who more deserves our grateful remembrance than this great and noble man – the pious, zealous, and faithful Catholic – the enterprising navigator, and the large-hearted sailor, Christopher Columbus – ‘the Christ-bearing dove’ as his name signifies.”

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Reminder: Pope Francis Will Consecrate the WORLD to the IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY



The consecration will take place this Sunday, October 13th, the anniversary of the last apparition of Our Lady in Fatima.  You can read more HERE and HERE.

A Prayer of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

O Mother of Mercy, Queen of Heaven and earth,
Refuge of sinners, we consecrate ourselves to your
Immaculate Hear this day.
We give to you our hearts and souls,
our families and all that we have,
knowing that you will always lead us closer to Jesus.
We renew today the promises of our Baptism
and rededicate ourselves to following your model of purity.
May we live as good Christians,
being faithful to God, the Church
and the Pope. 
We desire to pray the Rosary,
confess our sins, partake in the Holy Eucharist,
honor your Immaculate Heart on
the first Saturday of each month and work 
for the conversion of souls.
Furthermore,
we promise O most Blessed Virgin,
that we will zealously spread devotion to you,
so that through our consecration to your Immaculate Heart and through
your own powerful prayers,
Christ the King may reign in all hearts forever.
Amen.

Source: Catholicprayercards.org

Monday, October 07, 2013

Photos from the Solemn Assembly in Defense of Traditional Marriage

These photos were taken yesterday at the State capitol. Hundreds of people from many of the Christian churches around Oahu, came out to pray to protect traditional marriage in the Aloha State, and to pray that the governor and legislators will let the people decide.


(Click photo to enlarge)