Sunday, December 31, 2006

A Holy Family Homily

Holy Family
Fr. Martin Fox posted an insightful homily on today's Feast Day.

Please click above to read the homily.

A Synopsis of an Advent Mission

My parish invited a very orthodox and dynamic priest to give a mission prior to Christmas. Fr. Bernard Luedtke is a missionary priest. He attended a seminary in Rome and he knew the late Holy Father John Paul II as well as Mother Teresa, Fr. John Hardon and our present Holy Father Benedict XVI.

We have had many missions at our church but this is by far the most compelling...the one that left me so happy to be Catholic!

The following are notes I took at the mission. I know I will not do Father's talk any justice but I hope I get across the gist of his talks.

DAY 1:

Father "Ben" likes to give definitions for words.

LOVE - Christ crucified

WISDOM - Knowledge permeated with love.

Father Ben's talk started at the Garden of Eden and ended in a stable in Bethlehem.

-The devil in the form of a serpent tempted Eve to replace the Holy Trinity of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, with Me, Myself and I. In other words, Adam and Eve told God they didn't need Him.

-Interesting sideline that Fr. mentioned: At the time Rome fell, one of the poets wrote that the "sewers flowed with the blood of their children". Could that have been abortion he was alluding to?

-Father Ben told us that God is always present. That is why He identified Himself as "I Am". Therefore, sanctifying grace is present at every Mass where we enter into God's time and we are present at Jesus' sacrifice. We are transported to Calvary. We enter into God's "I Am" at the Mass.

God sees each one of us individually. When Jesus died to redeem, He did it for me, as He did it for you, the individual.

Father Ben taught us to offer our sufferings and they will help alleviate Jesus' sufferings in the present time as we unite our sufferings with Jesus as He suffers.

Jesus will continue to be crucified until time ceases to be and we are with Him in Heaven.

-Meditation: Father told us to pick a moment in Jesus' life and actually bring your thoughts and mind to that moment in time. With his help, we were able to meditate on the crucifixion. We closed our eyes and Father Ben led us up the path to calvary. In my mind's eye, I was able to see the people taunting Jesus as He is crucified. I saw the pain our Blessed Mother suffered along with her Son.
-Father Ben also gave us an example of his meditation of the Nativity. As you know Bethlehem means "House of Bread" and manger is a derivative of the word "mangiare" eat.

-When you read in the Gospel that Jesus is saying "Amen, Amen" it means, He is telling us to listen carefully and get it straight.

-The beauty of the Eucharist - it fills the void in us and satisfies us.

-Real freedom comes from not being attached to material things. He gave us an example how people start looking like things they love. Father had recently seen a contest where the person looked like their dog.

That is the reason we should love something above God.

Saving a Soul

St. TheresePicture courtesy of EWTN

The blogs and e-groups are buzzing with discussion of Saddam Hussein being put to death for crimes against humanity. Catholics are divided on the issue of the death penalty.

Yet, one blogger reminds us that we should always remember to pray for a soul, like St. Therese, the Little Flower did.
Fr. Dwight shares this incredible story of the condemned prisoner Pranzini and the saint.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

New Year Indulgences

Mary, Mother of God
H/T to A Catholic Life

December 31 Indulgence: A PLENARY INDULGENCE is granted when the Te Deum is recited publicly on the last day of the year (Pope Benedict XVI will sing it tonight but remember there is a probably a large time difference between you and Rome). Otherwise a partial indulgence is granted to those who recite the Te Deum in thanksgiving.

January 1 Indulgence: A PLENARY INDULGENCE is granted when the Veni, Creator Spiritus is recited on the first of January or Pentecost.

Prayer to Prevent Mortal Sin

H/T to A Catholic Life

O Mary, Immaculate Mother of Jesus, we beseech thee, offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, to prevent at least one mortal sin from being committed somewhere in the world today. Amen.

The Blessing of a Catholic Home

Catholic Home
H/T to Sue

May God's blessing descend abundantly upon this house and upon all who dwell in it. May the grace of the Holy Spirit sanctify everyone.

May The Name in which all is safe, the sweet and Most Holy Name of Jesus, grant happiness and blessing in full measure to this house, and everything within it.

May the Most Blessed Virgin Mother of God, Mary, with motherly concern, look after all, and preserve all from any bodily or spiritual evil.

May the powerful prayers of the worthy St. Joseph obtain a prosperous issue to our undertakings and abundant merit from all our sufferings.

May the holy guardian angels protect all in this house from persecutions of the devil, and one day lead us to our heavenly fatherland.

May the blessing of Almighty God, The + Father, The + SON and the Holy Spirit + descend upon us and remain with us always.


St. Michael the Archangel

St. Michael
He has chosen to be my patron saint for the year 2007.

H/T to Sunny

The Longer Version of the Saint Michael the Archangel Prayer, composed by Pope Leo XIII, 1888

O glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Prince of the heavenly host, be our defense in the terrible warfare which we carry on against principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, spirits of evil.

Come to the aid of man, whom God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil.

Fight this day the battle of our Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in heaven. That cruel, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels.

Behold this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the Name of God and of His Christ, to seize upon, slay, and cast into eternal perdition, souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. That wicked dragon pours out. as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity.

These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the Immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on Her most sacred possessions.

In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck the sheep may be scattered.

Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate thee as their protector and patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious powers of hell; to thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly conciliate the mercies of the Lord; and beating down the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen.

Verse: Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered ye hostile powers.
Response: The Lion of the Tribe of Juda has conquered the root of David.
Verse: Let Thy mercies be upon us, O Lord.
Response: As we have hoped in Thee.
Verse: O Lord hear my prayer.
Response: And let my cry come unto Thee.
Verse: Let us pray. O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy Name, and as suppliants, we implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin, immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all other unclean spirits, who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of our souls.
Response: Amen.

Catholic Happenings in Hawaii 2006

Blessed Damien

There was so much news this year for Catholics living in Hawaii. Our diocese's paper The Hawaii Catholic Herald recently covered the year's events in the most recent issue.

Some highlights were:


Father George Clements of Chicago, the first Catholic priest in the United States to adopt a child, is the visiting homilist at the annual Red Mass on Jan. 19 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace. Father Clements urges Hawaii families to open their homes to “modern day orphans.”
My family and I were blessed to have met Fr. Clements, (someone we have admired for a long time), during the March for Life. He also was invited to celebrate Mass at our parish and it was a real thrill to hear his homily.

Bishop Silva is a featured speaker at the Jan. 20 March for Life at the state capitol, an annual event that protests the U.S. Supreme Court Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion.
Prior to the March for Life Rally, John Long of Hawaii Right to Life introduced me to Bishop Silva. Funny that it took a non-Catholic friend to introduce me to our new Catholic bishop :-)

Catholic home schooling families on Oahu receive a blessing from Bishop Silva at a special Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace on Jan. 29.
My family and I were unable to attend because at the time, we were not homeschooling.


Bishop Silva dedicates the Diocese of Honolulu to the Divine Mercy devotion of St. Faustina Kowalska at a Mass on Mercy Sunday, April 23, at Star of the Sea Church. He is the first bishop in the nation to do so.
This was a huge blessing to the islands!

In his first public service announcement produced for television, Bishop Silva appears in a 60-second Easter spot distributed to all the major television stations in Honolulu.
You can view Bishop Silva's Easter message found at the right sidebar of this blog.


Bishop Silva appoints vicar general Father Marc Alexander to be moderator of the curia, the person who oversees the administration of the diocese’s central offices, on May 1.
Although, this was good news to the Diocese, Fr. Marc's appointment left a big void at our parish where he had been our pastor.

Maryknoll School in Honolulu bids a fond aloha to its last two Maryknoll sisters on staff, Sister Maria Rosario Daley and Sister Marie Patrice Kehoe, at a farewell luncheon on May 27. The two sisters leave the school, founded by the Maryknoll Sisters in 1927, on June 2.

Another bittersweet milestone for our parish. At least Sr. Rosario chose to remain in Hawaii.


Bishop Silva celebrates the one year anniversary of his ordination as bishop of the Diocese of Honolulu on July 21.


The second annual Divine Mercy Conference in Hawaii is held at the Hawaii Convention Center, Sept. 8-10.

Hawaiian clothing company Reyn Spooner releases a new aloha wear line on Sept. 25 designed by Big Island artist Dietrich Varez featuring images of Blessed Damien and Blessed Marianne.
These are just beautiful!

Bishop Silva leads the first public eucharistic procession in possibly decades through downtown Honolulu on Oct. 22 in a prayer for vocations to the religious life.


The Hawaii Daughters of St. Paul and Pauline Books & Media sponsor an early screening of new film “The Nativity Story,” Nov. 21.

Bishop Silva ordains seminarians Peter Miti, Paul Dong-Ming Li and Cletus Mooya as deacons on Nov. 30 at the Co-Cathedral of St. Theresa.
Please pray for them!


It is announced that Bishop Silva will lead the Hawaii delegation to Sydney, Australia, for World Youth Day in July 2008.

For entire list of the year in review and for more Catholic news around the islands, click above.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Remember Our Military in Your Prayers

Thank You
Prayer Request
Thanks Martha!

Just a reminder to keep our mililtary in your prayers.


Recognize the Child Jesus in All Children, Urges Pope

During Visit by Youths of Italian Catholic Action

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 21, 2006 ( This Christmas, Benedict XVI urged that the Child Jesus be recognized in all children, whom he called the "joy of the Church" and "hope of the world."

The Pope suggested this today when receiving a traditional visit from youngsters of Italian Catholic Action, who came to the Vatican to express their best wishes for Christmas.

"The wonder we feel before the enchantment of Christmas is reflected in a certain sense in the wonder that every birth arouses and invites us to recognize the Child Jesus in all children, who are the joy of the Church and the hope of the world," the Holy Father told his young guests.

Benedict XVI continued: "Christmas is the great mystery of the Truth and Beauty of God who came among us for everyone's salvation.

"The birth of Jesus is not a fable. It is a story that really happened, in Bethlehem, 2,000 years ago. Faith brings us to recognize in that little Child, born of the Virgin Mary, the true Son of God who, out of love, chose to become man."

The Pope added: "In the face of the little Jesus, we contemplate the face of God, which is not revealed through force or power, but in weakness and the fragile constitution of a child.

"This 'Divine Child,' wrapped in swaddling clothes and placed in a manger with maternal care by his Mother, Mary, reveals all the goodness and infinite beauty of God. He demonstrates the faithfulness and tenderness of the boundless love with which God surrounds each of us.

"For this reason we rejoice at Christmas, reliving the same experience as the shepherds of Bethlehem. Along with so many fathers and mothers who every day must make continuous sacrifices, along with the little ones, the sick, the poor we celebrate because with Jesus' birth the Father has responded to the desire for truth, forgiveness, and peace of our hearts."

Great love

"And he has responded with such enormous love that he astonishes us," the Holy Father said. "No one could have imagined it, if Jesus had not revealed it!

"The wonder we feel before the enchantment of Christmas is reflected in a certain sense in the wonder aroused by every birth and invites us to recognize the Child Jesus in all children, who are the joy of the Church and the hope of the world.

"The newborn who comes into the world in Bethlehem is the same Jesus who walked on the roads of Galilee, and who gave his life for us on the cross; it is the same Jesus who resurrected and, after his ascension to heaven, continues to guide his Church with the strength of his Spirit. This is the beautiful and great truth of our Christian faith!"

Addressing the youngsters of Catholic Action, the Pope assured them he "loves them," that he has confidence in them, and that he entrusts to them "today the task of being friends and witnesses of Jesus, who came to Bethlehem to be among us."

"Isn't it wonderful to make him increasingly known to your friends, in cities, in parishes, in your families?" he asked. "The Church needs you to be close to all children and youngsters."

Before taking leave of his guests, Benedict XVI added: "Give witness that Jesus does not take any of your joy away; rather, he makes you more human, truer, more beautiful."

The Christmas Mystery

Thanks Di!

Cathechism of the Catholic Church
» Paragraph 3. The Mysteries of Christ's Life

The Christmas mystery

525 Jesus was born in a humble stable, into a poor family. 202 Simple shepherds were the first witnesses to this event. In this poverty heaven's glory was made manifest. 203 The Church never tires of singing the glory of this night:
The Virgin today brings into the world the Eternal
And the earth offers a cave to the Inaccessible.
The angels and shepherds praise him
And the magi advance with the star,
For you are born for us, Little Child, God eternal! 204

526 To become a child in relation to God is the condition for entering the kingdom. 205 For this, we must humble ourselves and become little. Even more: to become "children of God" we must be "born from above" or "born of God". 206 Only when Christ is formed in us will the mystery of Christmas be fulfilled in us. 207 Christmas is the mystery of this "marvellous exchange":
O marvellous exchange! Man's Creator has become man, born of the Virgin. We have been made sharers in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share our humanity. 208


202 Cf. Lk 2:61.

203 Cf. Lk 2:8-20.

204 Kontakion of Romanos the Melodist.

205 Cf. Mt 18:3-4.

206 Jn 3:7; 1:13; 1:12; cf. Mt 23:12.

207 Cf. Gal 4:19.

208 LH, Antiphon I of Evening Prayer for January 1st.

Saintly Quote

st Andrew Dung-Lac
Thanks Sue!

Each martyr has offered the same simple—and profound—lessons:
Be not afraid. You are not alone.
Your faith is your greatest treasure.
Embrace it, celebrate it, live it openly.
Trust in God.

St. Andrew Dung-Lac (1785-1839)

O Jesus Living in Mary

Holy Family
Thanks Sue!

O Jesus, living in Mary,
Come and live in Thy servants,
In the spirit of Thy holiness,
In the fullness of Thy might,
In the truth of Thy virtues,
In the perfection of Thy ways,
In the communion of Thy mysteries.
Subdue every hostile power
In Thy spirit, for the glory of the Father. Amen.

St. Louis de Montfort

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Saintly Quote

Mother Teresa
Thanks Sue!

We are all but God’s instruments who do our little bit and pass by.

I believe that the way in which an act of kindness is done is as important as the action itself.

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997)

Civil Unions, Family Discord

Church Fears a Legal Trend Is Undermining Marriage

By Father John Flynn

ROME, DEC. 18, 2006 ( A fierce debate is under way in Italy over whether to give legal recognition and rights to cohabiting couples. Shortly after last April's general election some members of the new center-left government briefly broached the issue. The matter sprung back to life recently when the government announced that early in 2007 there would be a new law for de facto couples.

The exact form of the law is still unclear, but according to speculation in the media it would give legal status to both heterosexual and homosexual de facto couples. Debate over what rights should be given the couples is dividing the multi-party coalitions of both government and opposition.

Church criticism of the proposals came swiftly, albeit indirectly, in the form of articles in the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano. The opening shot came after the municipal council of Padua passed a motion approving recognition of rights for cohabiting couples.

The Dec. 7 edition of L'Osservatore Romano condemned the move, arguing that it set a dangerous precedent of recognizing family forms not based on marriage between a man and a woman. The national government's project for de facto couples came to light immediately afterward. The Dec. 8-9 edition of the Vatican newspaper described as a "lie" the argument that giving rights to cohabiting couples does not damage the institution of the family.

Varying forms of laws giving rights for de facto couples have come into force in Europe in the recent past. A review of the situation was set out in a book published in Italy, "I PACS Della Discordia: Spunti per un dibattito" (The PACS of Discord: Ideas for a Debate), by journalist Umberto Folena. PACS is the French acronym for "civil solidarity pacts."

Denmark was the first off the rank, in 1989, when it gave formal recognition to homosexual unions. Norway followed suit, in 1993; Sweden, the following year. In 1996, Iceland also gave same-sex couples the possibility of forming a partnership.

In 1999, France approved a law allowing two people, regardless of their sex, to enter into a legal union that gives them a series of rights related to fiscal and welfare entitlements. In Germany a 2000 law gave homosexuals many of the same legal rights as married couples. A further law, passed in 2004, opened up the possibility for adoption by non-married couples.

Other European countries that give recognition to non-married couples include Portugal, Finland, the United Kingdom and Luxembourg. The step of giving full marriage rights to homosexuals, including the right to adoption, was taken by the Netherlands in 2001. Spain followed, in June 2005. Outside of Europe, Canada opened up marriage for homosexual couples, in July 2005.

Meanwhile, in the United States, Thursday's vote by the New Jersey Legislature means that it will become the third state, after Vermont and Connecticut, to recognize civil unions for same-sex couples. The law, expected to be signed shortly by Governor Jon Corzine, was imposed on the Legislature by a recent decision of the New Jersey Supreme Court.


Arguments over the issue of rights for cohabiting couples are raging in the Italian media. Some opinion articles in newspapers have even maintained it would be "un-Christian" to deny legal protection to de facto couples.

A useful guide to the debate is the book "PACS, matrimonio e coppie omosessuali" (PACS, Marriage and Homosexual Couples), by Michele Aramini. The author, who teaches theology at Milan's Catholic University, concentrated on the issue of rights for same-sex couples. He started by explaining the need to separate the issue of the family from that of protecting homosexuals from unfair discrimination.

Homosexuals should be protected from unfair treatment, Aramini declared, but this does not mean that their relationships should be put on the same level as the traditional form of marriage and the family.

When it comes to defining the family, he continued, an essential element is that of procreation. As this is only possible when the couple is formed by members of the opposite sex, it is impossible to talk of homosexual "families."

At an even more fundamental level, what is at stake is the concept of the human person and whether there exists a single, objective way to live in the area of sexuality and the family. Those who argue in favor of rights for homosexual couples, or other variations of cohabitation, maintain that this is just simply recognizing a legitimate difference in lifestyles.

The reply to this argument, Aramini explains, is to recognize that the family based on marriage is not something that depends on a set of cultural or historical circumstances that are capable of change. It is, rather, based on needs inherent in our very human nature. Demanding rights for cohabiting couples is, therefore, nothing more than an expression of the current tendency toward extreme individualism. This individualism demands that the law accommodate itself to whatever may be requested by the individual, regardless of the consequences for others or for society.

The traditional family, based on marriage between a man and a woman, brings with it many benefits for society and the common good, Aramini points out. The family is, in fact, a basic foundation stone for society. As such, it is perfectly legitimate that it be given a privileged legal status.

The Pontifical Council for the Family made a similar argument in its statement: "Family, Marriage and ‘De Facto' Unions," published in 2000. "The family based on marriage," it said, "is a fundamental and precious good for the whole society whose most solid fabric is built on the values that are developed in family relations and guaranteed by stable marriage" (No. 2).

Substantial difference

The document goes on to explain why marriage and the different forms of cohabitation cannot be put on the same level. The family is based on the marriage covenant between the spouses and is the nucleus for the procreation and education of the next generation. As an institution it is prior, in fact, to the state.

It is not reasonable to expect, the Pontifical Council for the Family argues, that the vital functions carried out by the family, based on a stable marriage, can be carried out in a large-scale, stable and permanent way by cohabitation.

Pressure for legal recognition of de facto unions is often made on the grounds of the need to avoid discrimination. Ceding to this petition would, however, result in "a real discrimination against the family based on marriage because it would be considered on a level similar to any other form of cohabitation, regardless of whether there is a commitment to reciprocal fidelity and the begetting and upbringing of children or not" (No. 10).

In this sense the document asks that a distinction be made between public interest and private interest. The state should protect what is in the public interest, in this case the family based on marriage. When it comes to the private interest, all the state is called upon to do is to guarantee freedom.

"Marriage and the family are of public interest," the Vatican document states; "they are the fundamental nucleus of society and the state and should be recognized and protected as such" (No. 11). A decision by two persons to live together, by contrast, is a private choice. "De facto unions are the result of private behavior and should remain on the private level," the Vatican body argued.

Such thinking is not an imposition of Christian belief on a pluralistic society, the document explains. Of course, Christians have a vision of marriage and the family that is illuminated by their faith and Church teaching, but marriage is also a natural reality. "It is not a question primarily of Christian faith but of rationality" (No. 13). A rationality that is, nevertheless, becoming increasingly obscured in many countries.

Padre Pio - Salvation Outside the Church

Just to be clear on what the church teaches, I direct your attention to the CCC 846-848. The following is from the Compendium of the CCC:171.

What is the meaning of the affirmation “Outside the Church there is no salvation”?


This means that all salvation comes from Christ, the Head, through the Church which is his body. Hence they cannot be saved who, knowing the Church as founded by Christ and necessary for salvation, would refuse to enter her or remain in her. At the same time, thanks to Christ and to his Church, those who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ and his Church but sincerely seek God and, moved by grace, try to do his will as it is known through the dictates of conscience can attain eternal salvation.

Note: I have removed what I orginally wrote so as to not inadvertently mislead others regarding salvation. The above quote from the CCC speaks for itself.

Recently, someone in one of my Catholic groups, posted an article he wrote regarding points of view that are circulated and attributed to St. Padre Pio, one being salvation outside the Church. And, I'd like to share it with you:

Padre Pio on Salvation Outside the Church

by Frank M. Rega, S.F.O.

As published in
Christian Order, December 2006 issue.

This article may be reproduced in print or electronic form, as long as its original publication in Christian Order is cited.


It is quite unfortunate that alleged quotations or viewpoints attributed to Padre Pio have frequently been used to justify the stances, rumors, or agendas of various individuals or groups. Often it is difficult to find reliable documentation to verify his involvement in such scenarios as the "three days of darkness,"1 his alleged opposition to Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, 2 or his purported support of Garabandal.3 Another area of speculation focuses on what he would think of the current state of the Church – where would this Tridentine rite Catholic, known for his lifelong obedience and loyalty to the hierarchy, place his support along the Novus Ordo – Traditionalist – reactionary spectrum?

It is not surprising, then, to find some who contend that St. Padre Pio held their own strict interpretation of extra ecclesiam nulla salus – outside of the Roman Catholic Church no one can be saved. The most notable proponents of this presumed stance of Padre Pio are to be found among the Sedevacantists (the See of Peter is vacant, since it has been occupied by invalidly elected and/or heretical popes since Vatican II). In particular, "Brother" Michael Dimond, a Sedevacantist from the non-canonical Most Holy Family Monastery in Fillmore, New York, has recently written and published an 86-page illustrated booklet on the life of Padre Pio. Regrettably, he promotes this booklet as containing evidence that Padre Pio would support the central tenet of the Most Holy Family Monastery, that absolutely no one can be saved outside of the Catholic Church. Along with adherence to the true Faith, and being in a state of grace at the moment of death, Dimond and his followers insist that a strict requirement for entering the kingdom of heaven is water baptism, and water baptism alone. "Baptism of Desire" and "Baptism of Blood" are rejected as not being true Catholic dogmas. Neither can those invincibly ignorant of the Faith be saved.4

Please click title above to read the complete article.

Fr. Groeschel Photo

Fr. Groeschel My friend Leticia over at Cause of Our Joy posted about marching with Fr. Benedict Groeschel. That reminded me that I had a photo taken of Fr. G and yours truly a few of years ago. Thought I would share it. Try to ignore my mom's finger.

This is taken a few months prior to his serious accident when Father was struck by a car.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

For unto us a child is born

Luke 2

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus 2 that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town.

And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

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

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock.

The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear.

The angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.

For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger."

And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."

When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us."

So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds.

And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.

Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.

Saintly Quote

God bless
Thanks Sue!

Celebrate the feast of Christmas every day, even every moment in the interior temple of your spirit, remaining like a baby in the bosom of the heavenly Father, where you will be reborn each moment in the Divine Word, Jesus Christ.

St. Paul of the Cross

Saintly Quote

Merry Christmas
Mahalo Sue

Bethlehem became the link between heaven and earth;
God and man met there and looked each other in the face.

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Wait is Almost Over - Christmas Eve 2006

Prince of PeaceHis name will be called “Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” ...

Isaiah 9:6-7

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Saintly Quote

Saint Padre Pio
H/T to Sue

The life of a Christian is nothing but a perpetual struggle against self; there is no flowering of the soul to the beauty of its perfection except at the price of pain.

St. Padre Pio (1887-1968)

The Rosary

Our Lady of the Rosary
Thank you Sue!

In order to pray well, it is not enough to give expression to our petitions by means of that most excellent of all prayers, the Rosary, but we must also pray with great attention, for God listens more to the voice of the heart than that of the mouth.

To be guilty of willful distractions during prayer would show a great lack of respect and reverence; it would make our Rosaries unfruitful and make us guilty of sin.

How can we expect God to listen to us if we ourselves
do not pay attention to what we are saying? How can we expect him to be pleased if, while in the presence of his tremendous majesty, we give in to distractions, like a child running after a butterfly?

People who do that forfeit God's blessing, which is changed into a curse for having treated the things of God disrespectfully: "Cursed be the one who does God's work negligently." Jer. 48:10.

Of course, you cannot say your Rosary without having a few involuntary distractions; it is even difficult to say a Hail Mary without your imagination troubling you a little, for it is never still; but you can say it without voluntary distractions, and you must take all sorts of precautions to lessen involuntary distractions and to control your imagination. To do this, put yourself in the
presence of God and imagine that God and his Blessed Mother are watching you, and that your guardian angel is at your right hand, taking your Hail Mary's, if they are well said, and using them like roses to make crowns for Jesus and Mary.
But remember that at your left hand is the devil, ready to pounce on every Hail Mary that comes his way and to write it down in his book of death, if they are not said with attention, devotion, and reverence.

Above all, do not fail to offer up each decade in honour of one of the mysteries, and try to form a picture in your mind of Jesus and Mary in connection with that mystery.
~ St. Louis De Montfort

Silent Night Movie

Silent Night Picture courtesy of Natural Moment

To watch the Silent Night Movie, please click

Vatican Museums Evangelize With Art, Says Pope

Masterpieces Synthesize Gospel and Culture

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 19, 2006 ( The Vatican Museums provide an "extraordinary opportunity for evangelization," Benedict XVI said on the occasion of the institution's 500th anniversary.

The Pope said this Saturday during an audience with the participants of an international congress which closed a year of events commemorating the long history of the Vatican Museums.

The Holy Father described them as "the greatest museum institutions in the entire world."

Benedict XVI congratulated those participating in the symposium to reflect on the identity and role of the museums today, and their prospects for the future.

The congress identified "elements that make it possible to better delineate the function, which we could describe as 'educational,' of museums in the context of the present globalized society," said the Pontiff.

The Pope said that "the Church has always supported and promoted the world of art, considering its language as a privileged vehicle of human and spiritual progress."

The Vatican Museums have the following inscription placed on the main door: "Ad augendum Urbis splendorem et asserendam religionis veritatem" (To promote the splendor of the city of Rome and affirm the truth of the Christian religion).

Benedict XVI continued: "The development in time of the Vatican Museums shows that these ends have always been clearly present in the Popes' intentions."


The Vatican Museums "can represent an extraordinary opportunity of evangelization because, through the different works exhibited, they offer visitors an eloquent testimony of the continuous intertwining that exists between the divine and human in life and in the history of nations," added the Pope.

The Holy Father said: "The enormous number of people that visit them every day shows the growing interest in these masterpieces of art and these historical testimonies, which are a marvelous synthesis of the Gospel and culture."

The Pontiff said that the museums are no longer "reserved for artists, specialists and men of culture alone, in our days it is increasingly everyone's home, thus responding to a widespread formative need of society."

Benedict XVI added that the institutions belong as well to the youth, "which can recognize in the museums the roots of their history and culture."

The Pope said that "every opportunity to foster integration and encounter between individuals and nations is, undoubtedly, something that should be stimulated."

"In such perspective, also museums -- though keeping in mind the changed social conditions -- can become places of artistic mediation, links of relationship between the past, the present and the future, crossroads of men and women of several continents, in addition to sources of research and forges of cultural and spiritual enrichment," the Holy Father said.

The Pontiff said: "The museums will be able to spread the culture of peace if, while retaining their nature of temples of the historical memory, they are also places of dialogue and friendship among all."

If you are interested in visiting the Vatican Museum virtually, please

Eucharistic Quote

Bread of Angels
Mahalo Sue

"I reminded the entire Church of the central and irreplaceable nature of the Eucharist in Christian life, in order be faithful to the vocation to sanctity.

Make the Blessed Sacrament the pinnacle of spiritual life and an inspiration for every missionary and apostolic project. In effect, in the Blessed Sacrament we encounter Christ, and therefore, it is a privileged point of encounter for souls in love with Him."

"Live the just-begun Year of the Eucharist as an intense time of encounters with Christ," "discover in this incomparable treasure that Jesus left us the joy and goodness of the loving presence of the Savior"

Pope John Paul II, November 9, 2004

Saintly Quote

Mahalo Sue

Fight all error, but do it with good humor, patience, kindness, and love.
Harshness will damage your own soul and spoil the best cause.

St. John of Kanty (1390-1474)

Friday, December 22, 2006

A Legion of Mary Tip


Be nice. Do not be mean. Be respectful. Be sweeter than honey, but do not water down the truth. Sound doctrine, with sweet honey.

Top 10 Notorious American Catholic Politicians

Custos Fidei has the list so make sure to check it out their blog.

Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

Shaka Santa and Mrs. Claus
Santa in Hawaii picture courtesy of Color Matters

An old Christmas favorite has been posted on
Domestic Vocations' Blog

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

By Francis P. Church, first published in The New York Sun in 1897. [See The People’s Almanac, pp. 1358–9.]

We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:

Dear Editor—

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no
Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the
truth, is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O’Hanlon

CLICK HERE for the Editor's response.

The Legend of the Candy Cane

Candy Cane
H/T to Di

Even thought the following story may not be true, it is still a beautiful way of viewing the candy cane. And, in the spirit of Christmas I would like to share it:

Many years ago, a candy maker in Indiana had an idea to show through the candy he made, that Jesus Christ was born among us, lived and died to save us all.

So he created the candy cane. He began with a stick of pure white, hard candy. White to symbolize the Virgin Birth and the sinless nature of Jesus; hard to symbolize the Solid Rock, the foundation of the Church, and the firmness of the promises of God. The candy maker made the candy in the form of a "J" to represent the precious name of Jesus, who came to earth as our Savior. It could also represent the shepherd's staff, reminding us that Jesus is the Good Shepherd.

Thinking that the candy was somewhat plain, the candy maker stained it with red stripes of the scourging Jesus received by which we are healed. The large red stripe was for the blood shed by Christ on the cross so that we could have the promise of eternal life.

Catholic - T'was the Night Before the First Christmas

Holy FamilyPicture Courtesy of Christian Iconography
H/T to Di

It is said that Clement Moore wrote the "Night Before Christmas" for the enjoyment of his children. The same motive was the inspiration behind this poem by Sister Mary Thomas many years ago. Thus the true story of the "Night before the First Christmas. "

T'was the night before Christmas and all through the town
St. Joseph was searching, walking up roads and down.
Our Lady was waiting, so meek and so mild.
While Joseph was seeking a place for the Child.

The children were nestled, each snug in his bed,
And the grownups wouldn't bother. There's no room, they said.
When even the innkeeper sent them away
and Joseph was wondering where they would stay.

He thought of the cave in the side of the hill
Let's go there," said Mary. It's silent and still."
The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow
Made a pathway of light for their tired feet to go.

And there in the cave in a cradle of hay
The Saviour was born on that first Christmas Day.
The Father was watching in heaven above
And sent for His angels, His courtiers of love.

More rapid than eagles God's bright angels came,
Rejoicing and eager as each heard his name.
"Come Powers, come Cherubs, come Virtues and Raphael,
Come Thrones and Dominions, come Michael and Gabriel.

"Now fly to the earth where my poor people live,
Announce the glad tidings My Son Comes to give."
The Shepherds were watching their flocks on the night
And saw in the heavens an unearthly light.

The angels assured them they'd nothing to fear.
"It's Christmas," they said. "The Saviour is here!"
They hastened to find Him, and stood at the door,
Till Mary invited them in to adore.

He was swaddled in bands from His head to His feet,
And never did shepherds see a Baby so sweet!
He spoke not a word but the shepherds all knew.
He was telling them secrets and blessing them too.

Then softly they left Him, the Babe in the hay,
And rejoiced with great joy on that first Christmas Day.
Mary heard them exclaim as they walked up the hill,
"Glory to God in the highest; Peace to men of good will."

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Out of the Mouths of Babes - The Eucharist and the Crucifix

H/T to Sue

When asked by her faith-education teacher what was the difference between the crucifix and the Eucharist, a little girl had this delightful reply:

"In the crucifix we see Jesus but he is not there.
In the Eucharist we don't see Jesus, but he is there."


Eucharistic Quote

B16 Eucharist
H/T to Sue

Whenever I go to the chapel,I put myself in the presence of our good Lord, and I say,"Lord, I am here. Tell me what you would have me do."

St. Catherine Laboure (1806-1876)

The Delicate Juggling Act of Praying as a Family

Family Prayer Picture courtesy of Catholic Culture

In this time of Advent, it feels appropriate to review the various ways in which we can prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus Christ. What is it exactly that we can do and how can we do it? This is quite a special time of the year and there's got to be more to it than frantic shopping and endless food-feasts with family and friends and co-workers, right? We all need to go on a diet anyhow and
this constant marching music of "Buy this! Buy that! Buy NOW!" is rather deafening. It is exactly in this month of December that the difference between the spirit of the season in the secular and consumer world and the Spirit of this Advent liturgical season in the Church are definitively taking different paths... and I think that the two of them are growing more and more apart as the
years go by. Lucky for us, we have the Mass and the readings of Scripture and the homilies (and our conscience!) to constantly call us to another level, to redirect us to the proper level of relationships vs. the level of things, because it is all about love, the love of God and the love of neighbor, and there is more to love than a wrapped box with pretty paper and lovely ribbons. Of course, a material gift can be the way we express our love but it's definitively not the first way and it looks to me like nowadays, in 2006, in our wonderful and wealthy and free democracies of the West, the voice of the Church is the only one to constantly challenge us to go beyond ourselves and beyond
what we see and hear and feel. Thank God for that challenge!

Please click title above for the entire article which includes suggestions for praying as a family.

The Sign of the Cross

H/T to Sue

When we bless ourselves with the sign of the cross, we should take advantage of
this opportunity to meditate the passion of Christ.

As I bless myself with the sign of the cross, I clothe my soul with the holy wounds of Jesus Christ who died for my sins.The image of my soul which has been destroyed by sin receives restoration and protection from my Lord and Saviour.

"Lord Jesus Christ imprint upon my soul your most holy wounds, so that I may be
purified from all my sinfulness, deliver me Lord from all evil."

In the name of the Father,

I bless my soul with the holy wounds of the sacred head of Jesus and the sufferings of His holy mind, so that I may always keep my soul in the Presence of God.

In the name of the Son,

I bless my soul with the wounds of His sacred feet, so that I may always walk in the path of Salvation and proclaim the Word of God to others.

In the name of the Holy Spirit, I bless my soul with the wounds of His sacred hands, that I may always do the work of God.

+ + +

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Joseph of Jesus and Mary
The Work of God Apostolate

While you are at it, please visit this website
Work of God where the above was from.

Pope Remembers Those Who Suffer at Christmas

Word of the Lord for "Life's Wounded," He Says

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 17, 2006 ( Benedict XVI remembered people who will spend Christmas in the cross fire of war, especially in the Middle East and Africa, or in conditions of loneliness and poverty.

Christmas, when Christ enters the world to save humanity, "is a prophetic proclamation destined for the whole of humanity, in particular, the poorest, in this case, those who are poor in joy!" the Pope said.

The Holy Father made his comments today to the thousands of people gathered in St. Peter's Square to recite the Angelus.

He referred to the readings of this Sunday's liturgy, which call for joy, as "The Lord is at hand."

"This promise was fully realized in the mystery of Christmas, which we will celebrate within a week, and which it is necessary to renew in the 'today' of our lives and in history," Benedict XVI said, speaking from the window of his study.

He continued, "The joy awakened by the liturgy in the hearts of Christians is not reserved to them alone: It is a prophetic proclamation destined for the whole of humanity, in particular, the poorest, in this case, those who are poor in joy!"

The Pope mentioned in particular "our brothers and sisters who, especially in the Middle East, in some areas of Africa and in other parts of the world, live the tragedy of war."

"What joy can they experience? What will their Christmas be like?" he asked. "Let us think of all the sick and lonely people who, in addition to having physical suffering, suffer in the spirit, as often they feel abandoned. How can one share joy with them without lacking respect for their suffering?"

Artificial paradise

The Holy Father also invited his listeners to think of those, "especially young people, who have lost the sense of authentic joy, and who seek it in vain where it is impossible to find: in the exasperated race for self-affirmation and success, in false amusements, in consumerism, in moments of drunkenness, in the artificial paradise of drugs and of other forms of alienation."

"The Word of the Lord is addressed precisely to those who are being tested, to life's wounded and orphans of joy," assured the Pontiff. "The invitation to joy is not an alienating message, or a sterile palliative, but rather a prophecy of salvation, an appeal for rescue that starts with inner renewal."

The Holy Father concluded by inviting Christians to do all they can "with humility and courage so that the world will welcome Christ, who is the source of authentic joy."

The Liturgy - Changes Coming Our Way

According to Fr. Martin Fox

Some new things are coming for the Catholic liturgy--and what that might be is beginning to become clear.
Please click here to learn more.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Saintly Quote

Thanks Sue

One who is anchored in God does not suffer any loss,even if attacked by a thousand waves and a thousand storms. On the contrary, he emerges stronger.

St. John Chrysostom

Monday, December 18, 2006

Marian Quote

Mary H/T Sue

The Mother of God contained the infinite God under her Heart,the God Whom no space can contain.
Through her, the Trinity is adored,demons are vanquished, Satan is cast out of heaven,and our fallen nature is assumed into heaven.

Saint Cyril of Alexandria

Rosary Army

H/T to Heather

Make Them, Pray Them, Give Them Away

to learn more about this project, please click the title above.

Saintly Quote

crucified Christ
Mahalo Sue!

As love is paid for in love, I must imitate Him, sharing in spirit all His sufferings. I must consider how much I owe Him and what He has done for me.
Putting these sufferings between God and my soul, I must say, "What does it matter my God, that I should endure for your love these small hardships?"

St. Alphonsus Rodriguez

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Vatican to Catholic Homeschoolers - Good Job!

H/T to Easter and Me Monk, Meander

As a Catholic homeschooling mom, I could take the opportunity to tell homeschooling naysayers, "I told you so" But I won't :-) The following article speaks for itself.

Vatican to Catholic Homeschoolers: "I truly admire parents, who take on this great commitment"

VATICAN CITY, December 13, 2006 ( - Three veterans of the United States Catholic home school movement spent Thanksgiving week in Vatican City meeting with officials of various congregations and councils of the Holy See to discuss the positive results of Catholic home schooling. Dr. Mary Kay Clark, Director of Seton Home Study School, as well as Dr. Catherine Moran,
President of the Catholic Home School Network of America, and Mrs. Virginia Seuffert, home schooling mother of 12 and a frequent speaker at Catholic Home Schooling conferences, were encouraged by the positive response of the Vatican prelates.

Many of the prelates were already familiar with Seton Home
Study School, a Catholic home study program in the diocese of Arlington, Virginia, which has been operating for the past twenty-five years, with a current enrollment of approximately 11,000 students. Officials were presented with textbooks from Seton Press, the publishing arm of the school, and the largest publisher of Catholic schoolbooks in North America with over 100 titles
and hundreds of thousands of books sold. Students are enrolled primarily in the United States, but also from many countries from around the world, such as Canada, Australia, England, Ireland, Mexico, the Philippines, Japan, the Czech Republic, Germany, Colombia, and India.

The home school envoys emphasized to the Vatican cardinals and bishops the primary importance of the Faith in Catholic home schooling. They explained that when parents teach the Faith to their children on a daily basis, teaching not only with textbooks but through the daily practice of prayer, good example, and frequent reception of the Sacraments, children will develop a love for the Faith and vocations will increase. They quoted one Midwest bishop who says that over a five-year period, 23 percent of young men graduating from one home school cooperative in his diocese entered the seminary. They pointed out that Justin Ferguson, the seminarian who gave the first reading at Pope Benedict's papal installation mass, is an alumnus of Seton Home Study School.
Click title above for the entire article.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Papal Quote

H/T to Sue C.

Blessed is the man who gives;
blessed is the man who does not spend his life for himself, but gives it;
blessed is the man who is merciful, good and just;
blessed is the man who lives in the love of God and of his neighbor.
In this way, we live well and do not have to be afraid of death,
as we live in the happiness that comes from God and that has no end.

Pope Benedict XVI (Angelus, November 2, 2006)

Marriage, the Family and Homeschooling

H/T to Melissa C.

Marriage & Family

"Marriage is a liturgy of love. It requires constant effort to retain the first fervor of your wedding day. Early in marriage, joy, travel, gifts, and celebrations are necessary to weave the cloth of love. Later on, bereavement, failures and bitterness become the cementing forces of union. Love continues to develop through the lifetime of a couple in a punctuated way, interspersed with crises -- slow, vulnerable, wonderful. By doing little things for each other, by tender ingenuity, love is kept alive."

-- Jean Guitton

Homeschooling: A Pro-Life Beacon

by Anna Marie Barvick

Today in America a battle rages between the forces of life and death. Pro-life advocates are fiercely defending life against the evils of abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, divorce and homosexual "marriage."

The blatant disregard for the sanctity of life has unforeseen consequences, including increases in random school shootings, promiscuity and child abuse. The coarsening of our sensibilities results in more brazen movies, television, music and dress.

How can parents protect their children from this dulling, deadening culture? A youngster, from infancy through the teen years, needs to grow up in a positive, nurturing atmosphere. They must be allowed to become the persons they were created to be. For many, homeschooling is a life-affirming solution. For others, it is a necessary measure to avoid having their children stolen from them morally, spiritually, and religiously.

Homeschooling parents usually keep a close eye on books, TV, movies, music and dress. Wholesome is in; profane is out. They realize that negative, destructive forces need to be controlled or eliminated.

This does not mean that a homeschooled child can't have fun! The average homeschooler is enrolled in 5 or more activities (sports, volunteering, art, music, politics, dance, debate, theater, etc.) with 98% engaged in at least two or more, according to Dr. Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institue.

Read complete article at weblink below:
Movement for a Better America

Eucharistic Quote by Saint Padre Pio

Holy Mass
Mahalo Sue C.

Jesus in the Holy Eucharist asks my for nothing but love . . . . He is so much in love with my heart that He makes me burn with His divine fire, with the fire of His love . . . . I often ask myself if any people exist who do not feel their breast burning with divine fire, especially when they are close to Him in the Blessed Sacrament"
St. Padre Pio

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe



Icon of the Church in the Americas

Brother John M. Samaha, S.M.

With her head tilted to the right, her hazel eyes are cast downward in an expression of gentleness and concern. The mantle covering her head and shoulders is turquoise, studded with gold stars and bordered in gold. Her hair is jet black and her complexion is olive. She stands alone, her hands clasped in prayer, an angel at her feet.

We have all seen her image. She is Our Lady of Guadalupe, a life-sized portrayal of the Virgin Mary as she appeared in 1531 on the cactus-cloth tilma, or cape, of St. Juan Diego, an Aztec peasant and devout convert. This happened merely a dozen years after Hernan Cortes had conquered the land that is now Mexico for the monarchy of Spain. Almost five centuries later the colors of that portrait have remained as vibrant as if painted this year. The coarse, woven, cactus cloth shows no signs of fading or deterioration, although that type of material seldom lasts 20 years.

Today the image is preserved behind an impenetrable glass screen in the basilica at Mexico City. Pilgrims can view it from a distance of 25 feet. Each year more than 10 million persons venerate the mysterious image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, making this shrine the most popular in the Catholic world after St. Peter’s Basilica at Vatican City. The Mexican faithful refer to her lovingly as La Morenita.

In 1979 when Pope John Paul II visited the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, he acknowledged the enduring appeal of this unique portrait, addressing the Virgin directly: “When the first missionaries who reached America . . . taught the rudiments of the Christian faith, they also taught love for you, the Mother of Jesus and of all people. And ever since the time that the Indian Juan Diego spoke of the sweet Lady of Tepeyac, you, Mother of Guadalupe, have entered decisively into the Christian life of the people of Mexico.”

Accounts abound of the miraculous events attributed to the Virgin of Guadalupe. In the early 17th century when floods almost destroyed Mexico City, her image escaped unharmed. In 1921 during the Mexican Revolution, a bomb was planted in flowers placed before the altar behind which the image hung. When the bomb exploded, no one was hurt, but the altar was badly damaged. Yet not even the glass covering the picture was broken.

This venerable icon has come to be regarded widely as the national symbol of Mexico. Her image is found everywhere, even in unlikely places.

Forty years after La Morenita appeared to St. Juan Diego, she may have been responsible for a significant turning point in the history of Western civilization. Throughout Europe copies of the holy image had been circulated. One of the first copies was given to Admiral Giovanni Andrea Doria, grandnephew of the renowned Admiral Andrea Doria. The young admiral took the picture aboard his flagship when he assumed command of a flotilla of ships sailing from Genoa to the Gulf of Lepanto.

Some 300 Turkish Muslim ships stood in battle array blocking entrance to the Gulf. A Christian massed navy of almost the same number of ships attempted to meet the Turks head on, but were outmaneuvered by the Turkish force.

Doria’s squadron was cut off from the rest of the Christian fleet. At this crucial hour Doria went to his cabin and knelt in prayer before the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. He implored her to save his men and his ships. Miraculously by nightfall the tide of battle turned. One Turkish squadron was captured, and others were thrown into panic and disarray. Much of the Turkish fleet was destroyed. That day 15,000 Christians enslaved in the Turks’ galleys were freed. The Christian victory in the Battle of Lepanto was the last great naval battle fought under oars.

To this day Our Lady of Guadalupe continues to work wonders large and small, noticed and unnoticed.

Why hasn’t the holy image deteriorated after almost five centuries? Why do the colors remain bright? Why hasn’t the crude fabric shown signs of disintegration? The search for answers to these questions, regularly pursued by experts, persist from generation to generation. What they have learned is fascinating. However, the scientific investigations defy natural explanations.

Although the picture has been touched up from time to time, there is proof that the original image is made in a manner no artist has been able to imitate or to explain. Of particular interest is the fact that the eyes of the Virgin are done in a way never seen before in any painting.

Yet the greater, ongoing miracle is how the lives of millions are touched by Our Mother of Guadalupe.

Used with Permission.