Monday, January 21, 2019

ACN-USA News - Catholic mother fights child marriages, empowers girls in Kenya

Because of poverty and illiteracy, child marriages are still very common in Kenya. Inspired by her own experience, the founder and director of the Single Mothers Association of Kenya, Angelina Nandwa, rescues young girls from their marriages and offers them spiritual, academic, and economic support. She told her story to international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need:


“My name is Angelina Okweya Nandwa. I am 64 and the mother of nine children; three are biologically mine, and six were adopted from my deceased relatives. I am a Catholic by birth.

“My relatives and I are members of the local church and a community prayer group, and I am a member of the Catholic Women’s Association, which consoles members in times of need and visits the sick, the elderly, and orphans.

“I studied at Our Lady of Mercy Girls’ Primary School, and while there, I received the sacraments under the guidance of strict Catholic nuns from Northern Ireland. We observed all Catholic teachings, and confession was required every Saturday.

“When I was 17, I came home on holiday and learned that my cousin had found a 60-year-old divorcee—and father of six—to marry me. My resistance fell on deaf ears, and I gave in for fear of curses from my parents, who had already accepted the offer.

“I led a sad, frustrating, and lonely life. My new family mistreated me. I was basically hired help: no one was allowed to help me with housework, and whenever they were around, I sat in the kitchen alone. I think that the man needed someone to care for his children, but not a life partner.

“During my first pregnancy, I suffered from depression and nearly fatal high blood pressure. Thanks to God’s love, we both survived, though the baby weighed only one kilogram [about 2.2 pounds] and was put in an incubator for three months.  

“When I left the hospital, nothing changed. I did not have a helper, and my husband would not allow anyone to visit for fear that they would convince me to leave him.

“While I was pregnant with my second child, I woke up one day, looked at myself in the mirror, and realized that I’d had enough. I returned to my parents, who welcomed me back. I forgave them for [forcing me into the] marriage. I drew strength from Sunday readings of the liturgy, my prayers, and the rosary.

“My father was a highly disciplined member of the military, and my mother was a social worker, as well as a community midwife and trainer. Our parents instilled in us the spirit of volunteerism at a very young age, which led me to my current work.

“Once I was emotionally healed, I felt that there was a great need for a forum where single mothers could meet to share their experiences and find solutions to their problems—especially for the sake of their children.

“I founded the Single Mothers Association of Kenya (SMAK) in 1991. We held monthly meetings in my house until we secured a meeting place. My focus remains young single mothers, and we currently offer a residential program to 10 adolescent mothers with babies younger than one year.

“We rescue the girls from forced marriages to older men and equip them with
different life skills for one year, after which they are registered for the government grade test (NITA) in preparation for their exit. They are also given time to attend adult classes, since they have not received a secondary education.

“We mainly receive funding from well-wishers and rent out some of our facilities during school holidays. We also offer outside catering and baking services.

“The areas that currently pose economic challenges are raising money for the government exam (NITA), which costs 5,000 shilling [about $50] per girl; raising money for food, lesson materials, and adequate bedding, shoes, toys, nappies, and clothing for the girls and their babies

“My dream is to see SMAK become a multi-purpose community-based university run by alumni, and I hope that it will change many young mothers’ academic statuses and lifestyles.”

—Susan Mwnesi


In 2017, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) helped the Church in Kenya with projects in the amount of $720,000. Projects included support for seminarians, subsistence aid for women religious, and the construction of churches and chapels. Across Africa, ACN supports numerous initiatives designed to strengthen marriage and family life.


With picture of Angelina Okweya Nandwa (© ACN)


Editor’s Notes:

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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 fax 718-609-0938. Aid to the Church in Need, 725 Leonard Street, PO Box 220384, Brooklyn, NY 11222-0384.  www.churchinneed.org

Monday, January 14, 2019

ACN News -For a Catholic single mother in Pakistan, life is very difficult


Rubina Bibi (38) is a Catholic widow and mother of five. She lives in Sargodha, Pakistan. In 1998, she married Boota Masih, who has since died. Today, she lives in a dilapidated house, which has only one room, and which lacks basic necessities.  She has no regular income, though she works as a maid, earning just enough to provide meals for her children. She worries about their health and security but cannot afford a better home. Rubina’s story provides a snap shot of the life of an impoverished Christian in Pakistan.


“My name is Rubina Bibi. My husband’s name was Boota Masih. I belong to the Catholic Church and was baptized by a priest in the Sargodha parish. My husband was a laborer and received daily wages; after we married, we lived in a rental home.

“We survived very poor conditions. My first daughter, Rimsha, was born after two years of marriage; after her, we had four more daughters. My husband died suddenly of a heart attack prior to the birth of our fifth child. At the time, my eldest was only 12.

“After my husband’s death, life became harder, more laborious. It was very difficult to raise our children without his support, so I decided to get out of the house and found work as a maid. Being a woman, I face many hurdles and challenges while on the job; it is hard to provide necessities for the family. 

“My children were studying in a nearby school, but they were expelled because I could not afford the tuition payments. I looked for other schools in different areas of the city and found one run by Pakistan’s Presbyterian Church. They offered a free education and access to hostel facilities.

“With the help of a local pastor, my children were admitted to the school, and my request for access to the hostel facilities was approved. But my desire for a son remained a source of distress; that longing was fulfilled when my brother gave me his newborn boy to raise.

“To provide meals for the family, I work from 9AM to 5PM, but I do not have enough for our rent. We no longer receive help from our local pastor, and my home is in bad condition; the owner of our house will not pay for its reconstruction.

“I ask for your prayers and God’s encouragement, and that my children, with their education, will one day be able stand on their own two feet.”


Through original reporting, Aid to the Church in Need aims to give donors a glimpse at the lives of ordinary Christians living out their faith in often very challenging circumstances. These stories give a human face to the persecuted Church around the world, so many of whose faithful suffer anonymously.

—Mark Sanawar


With picture of Rubina and her daughters and adopted son (© ACN)


Editor’s Notes:

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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 fax 718-609-0938. Aid to the Church in Need, 725 Leonard Street, PO Box 220384, Brooklyn, NY 11222-0384.  www.churchinneed.org

Friday, January 04, 2019

Book Review -Around the Year with the von Trapp Family by Maria Augusta von Trapp

My sister will now be the book reviewer on this blog.  The following is her latest review.  Please note:  the publisher Sophia Institute Press is offering a 25% discount to readers of this blog. 

Use Discount Code radio25 when ordering book to get the discount when using this link:  http://sophiainstitute.com/aroundtheyear  

God bless,
Esther, A Catholic Mom in Hawaii




Book Review by Rosa Sautner,
(Catholic homeschooling mom of 2)

When I began homeschooling, I was determined to teach my daughters to love the Catholic Church, to love living the Liturgical Year, to enjoy participating in the life of the Church.  I used an actual Catholic calendar, looked up the feasts, holy days, seasons and prepared my lessons accordingly.  

How I wish I had had this book by Maria Augusta von Trapp!  Maria, you may well know is the Maria of the Sound of Music fame.  As a former postulant in an Abbey, she must have had a deep love and knowledge of the Catholic Church and a devotion to all the beautiful traditions of the Austrian people.

As she writes in her introduction, when her family was "transplanted" to America, those long held traditions served to firmly root her family in America by helping them to live the life of the Church as they had when they were in Austria.  

This lovely book will also help you live the Liturgical Year with your own family in much the same way she did.  She provides lovely stories of each season of the year, the preparations they made, the foods they cooked, and especially the music they sang.  Each season is explained and carefully broken down so that your preparation can follow very simply by putting into practice her customs and traditions.  Beginning with Advent and ending with All Souls Day, Maria takes us through the Liturgical year and ends the book with an entire chapter on celebrating feasts, such as birthdays and baptismal days.

This beautiful book is a reprint of the 1955 edition.  It is simply a treasure.  I highly recommend it as a most useful and inspiring addition to any Catholic home library.

 

Thursday, January 03, 2019

ACN News -For a Catholic family in Pakistan, poverty is a bitter reality




After five years of marriage, Gulzar Masih and his wife, a Catholic couple, adopted a baby girl from a local hospital with the help of a family friend. The girl was named Meerab. Living in Sargodha, Pakistan, Meerab, who is 19 today, talks of the difficult realities of her life and her goals for the future.


“My father was Gulzar Masih. My mother is Naasra Bibi. I have one brother, Shahryar Gulzar, who is eight. I belong to a Catholic family. My father worked for daily wages, building and painting; he earned 200 Pakistani rupees per day, which equals about $2. But some days he was unable to get work, so we missed the occasional meal. When it came to providing the necessities, my father always faced difficulties, but we were thankful to God for his blessings.

“One day, my father became very ill, and my mother took him to the hospital. The doctor diagnosed him with diabetes. We did not have the financial resources to arrange for proper treatment—as a result my father died.

“After my father’s passing, my mother, though experiencing great sorrow and pain, found work as a maid to meet our domestic and educational needs. Family income was low and expenditures were high, which eventually led to the discontinuation of my studies. But my mother encouraged me not to lose my faith in God, saying He would show us the way.

“All night, I would think about my father and our family’s needs. So I decided to help my mother, whose health was not strong. She is often sick and has high blood pressure.

“I told her that I would help her after school, that I would either join her at work or work on her behalf. One day, I went alone to work, and the owner of the home, about 40, asked me to make a cup of tea for him. When I went to serve him, he held my arm tightly and kissed me. I was so afraid to tell my mother; I thought that she would beat me. But when it happened again, I told my mother. I was no longer allowed to join her at work. I wondered if she faced the same harassment.

“I always prayed to God, hoping that He would help us and show us the way. Some people visited our home and offered their support. I continued my studies at St. Ann’s Primary School, which is run by the Catholic Church. My brother was also in school at the time, but due to our financial circumstances, he left school to work as a building painter.

“When I was in the eighth class, the St. Vincent DePaul Society, run by the diocese, began to help with costs. The initial monthly stipend was 500 rupees, and after two years, it increased to 1000 [approx. $7.50]. Later on, I was admitted to the local High School, which is operated by a Catholic organization and is one of the best schools in our city. I am thankful to our principal, who waived all fees so I could continue my education without disturbance.

“Because of the good people God sent to us, I am able to participate in a pre-medical program at a college. I face religious discrimination there, as the school is Muslim, but I know that God is with me.

“I live in a seriously impoverished area; so in the evenings, I provide 200 children with free tutoring. It is my deep desire to become a doctor and help the poor, so no one dies like my father did.”


In 2017, Aid to the Church in Need provided more than $900,000 in aid to the Church in Pakistan, which included support for seminarians and living expenses for women religious, as well as for a range of pastoral programs.


—Mark Sanawar


With picture of Meerab Gulzar (© ACN)


Editor’s Notes:

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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 fax 718-609-0938. Aid to the Church in Need, 725 Leonard Street, PO Box 220384, Brooklyn, NY 11222-0384.  www.churchinneed.org

The Most Holy Name of Jesus



O Lord, give me Your peace; let it establish Your kingdom in me and make me a praise of glory of Your Holy Name.


Divine Intimacy by Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.

Reminder: Epiphany Blessing 2019 this Sunday



This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany.  Traditionally, the Church celebrated it on January 6th.

The following is the blessing for the home.

Epiphany Blessing of the Home & Household - 2019

The traditional date of Epiphany is January 3, but in the United States it is celebrated on the Sunday
after Christmas, between January 2 and January 8. The whole of the Christmas season, especially on
the feast of the Epiphany, is a traditional time to bless homes, including passageways and doorways.

Often related to these blessings is a ritual of “chalking” the doors of the home with the numbers of the year separated by the initials, CMB. The letters traditionally refer to the legendary names of the three kings: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar (Scripture neither names them nor says there were three of them). Another tradition refers to it as the abbreviation of the Latin phrase, Christus mansionem
benedicat, translated as “May Christ bless this house.”

Here is one form of an Epiphany House Blessing:
V. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
A. Amen
V. Peace be to this house and: to all who dwell here, in the name of the Lord.
A. Blessed be God forever.

V. A reading from the holy gospel according to St. John
A. Glory to You, O Lord.
In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the
beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be….. And
the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only
Son, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-3.14)
A. Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ

After the prayers of the blessing are recited, each room of the home is sprinkled with holy water. The
year and initials of the Magi are inscribed above the doors with the blessed chalk (Casper, Melchior
and Balthasar with the first two numerals of the year preceding the C and the last two numerals of the
year placed after the B).

20 + C + M + B + 19

As you inscribe the initials say: “Christus Mansionem Benedicat” which means “May Christ bless this house”.)

V. Lord God of heaven and earth, you revealed your only begotten Son to every nation by the guidance of a star. Bless this house and all who inhabit it. May we be blessed with health, goodness of heart, gentleness and the keeping of your law. Fill us with the light of Christ, that our love for each other may go out to all. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

A. Amen.

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

The Power of the Holy Name of Jesus ~ Fr Isaac Mary Reylea

Standing with our Bishop and Pope



The following is a quote by Pope Pius XI and found in the self-retreat book I Believe in Love by Father Jean C. J. d'Elbee. Published by Sophia Institute Press.

Your bishop and the Pope are the golden chain which connects you to the Divine Redeemer.  You must be with the Pope, because whoever is with him is with the very foundation of the Church; for it is against him, and the Church founded on him, that the gates of Hell shall not prevail."

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Plenary Indulgence - New Years Day


If you recite the Veni Creator Spiritus.  Thanks to Janette at Truth Himself for sharing.


Veni, Creator Spiritus 
Come, Holy Spirit, Creator
This hymn was probably written by Rabanus Maurus (856), Archbishop of Mainz.  In addition to its place in the Pentecost liturgy, the Veni Creator has also been assigned as the official opening prayer for Church councils and synods. It is recited and sung by the faithful all over the world at the start of important undertakings, such as the beginning of a school year, at conventions, missions, retreats, and on many similar occasions. A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who recite it. A plenary indulgence is granted if it is recited or sung on January 1st or on the feast of Pentecost.

Come, Holy Spirit, Creator blest,
and in our souls take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heavenly aid
to fill the hearts which Thou hast made.

O comforter, to Thee we cry,
O heavenly gift of God Most High,
O fount of life and fire of love,
and sweet anointing from above.

Thou in Thy sevenfold gifts are known;
Thou, finger of God's hand we own;
Thou, promise of the Father, Thou
Who dost the tongue with power imbue.

Kindle our sense from above,
and make our hearts o'erflow with love;
with patience firm and virtue high
the weakness of our flesh supply.

Far from us drive the foe we dread,
and grant us Thy peace instead;
so shall we not, with Thee for guide,
turn from the path of life aside.

Oh, may Thy grace on us bestow
the Father and the Son to know;
and Thee, through endless times confessed,
of both the eternal Spirit blest.

Now to the Father and the Son,
Who rose from death, be glory given,
with Thou, O Holy Comforter,
henceforth by all in earth and heaven.   Amen.

Prayer Source: Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs
by Francis X. Weiser, S.J., Harcourt, Brace and Co, New York, 1958

Merry Christmas and a Very Blessed New Year

Wishing you and your family a very Blessed New Year on this Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God.



The Best Christmas Gift