Friday, September 29, 2006

Feast Day of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael

HT to Jim for sharing an article on angels by Peter Kreeft Click here for the complete article.

The Twelve Most Important Things to Know About Angels

1. They really exist. Not just in our minds, or our myths, or our symbols, or our culture. They are as real as your dog, or your sister, or electricity.

2. They’re present, right here, right now, right next to you, reading these words with you.

3. They’re not cute, cuddly, comfortable, chummy, or “cool”. They are fearsome and formidable. They are huge. They are warriors.

4. They are the real “extra-terrestrials”, the real “Super-men”, the ultimate aliens. Their powers are far beyond those of all fictional creatures.

5. They are more brilliant minds than Einstein.

6. They can literally move the heavens and the earth if God permits them.

7. There are also evil angels, fallen angels, demons, or devils. These too are not myths. Demon possessions, and exorcisms, are real.

8. Angels are aware of you, even though you can’t usually see or hear them. But you can communicate with them. You can talk to them without even speaking.

9. You really do have your very own “guardian angel”. Everybody does.

10. Angels often come disguised. “Do not neglect hospitality, for some have entertained angels unawares”—that’s a warning from life’s oldest and best instruction manual.

11. We are on a protected part of a great battlefield between angels and devils, extending to eternity.

12. Angels are sentinels standing at the crossroads where life meets death. They work especially at moments of crisis, at the brink of disaster—for bodies, for souls, and for nations.

Angels (and Demons) — What Do We Really Know About Them? by Ignatius Press.
You are also welcome to listen to the fascinating audio lecture
Aquinas and the Angels.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Catholics and Halloween - "Taking Back Our 'Holy' Halloween"

Recently, a new friend asked about whether we as Catholics could partake in Halloween fun. Personally, I loved celebrating Halloween growing up. But I don't think I really understood how it related to our Catholic feast of All Saints Day back then.

In looking for help for my friend, I found an article at Catholic Exchange written by Catholic mom and writer Katherine Andes and I'd like to share it with you:

Taking Back Our "Holy" Halloween


"Kathy, why don’t you and the kids come to our church’s Harvest Festival?" asked my Evangelical friend. "There will be a bon fire, hay rides, and candy for the kids."

Are We Retreating?

It sounded great, and, since my husband had recently died, I didn’t relish trick-or-treating by myself with my little ones.

"Do the kids wear costumes?" I inquired.

"No, we definitely discourage that," she said.

I knew that wasn’t for my family. My children adore dressing up and roaming the streets extorting candy from the good neighbors. Besides, I knew that a number of people in my friend’s fellowship saw Catholics and Halloween and Satanism as being all of the same cloth. To the extent that Halloween has become a celebration of death and ghoulishness, I can see their point.

If some Protestants think that Halloween is satanic, then I understand their retreat to church parties. However, many Catholics are also beginning to retreat from Halloween. Like Protestants, some have church parties. Others simply close their blinds and watch videos in a back room come All Hallow’s Eve. Because of what’s going on in the streets, I don’t entirely blame them. Yet if Christmas Eve had somehow become a celebration of death, would Christians retreat to a back room and watch videos? I hope not.

So why should we, good Catholics, flee from this day? We should not. We should take back our "holy" Halloween.

What Kind of Costumes?

One of the first things I did was to encourage clean and, when possible, holy costumes. One year my then five-year-old son was determined to be a pirate. I suggested numerous alternatives to being a pirate but he wouldn’t hear of any. In exasperation he said, "But Mom, firemen don’t carry swords."

Now it was clear. What he really wanted to do was brandish a sword! I suggested he could be St. Michael the Archangel and still carry a sword, and he happily complied. (To those who ask what’s wrong with being a pirate, how would you feel if your child said he wanted to be a hijacker or terrorist?)

Although our family has high standards for costumes, I insist the children not make derogatory remarks about the choices of their friends. Last year, a child came over to trick-or-treat with us dressed as Count Dracula. It was strange taking a picture of a vampire and a nun, in full habit, together. At one point, the boy took off his vampire mask because it was hot.

My daughter suddenly squealed in admiration, "You look like Bach!"

My son chimed in, "You do. You look like a composer." Indeed the boy, sans mask and now dressed in a simple tuxedo, did look like a composer. That evening, by God’s grace, our group included a nun, an astronaut, a Lion King and... Johann Sebastian Bach.

Prayers and Treats

I was further inspired by the medieval All Soul’s Day custom of beggars knocking on doors for "soul cakes" in exchange for prayers for the household’s deceased. We created our own version. On my computer, I made up little strips that said: "Thank you for the treat. My family and I will be praying for you and the souls of your dearly departed loved ones during the month of November. Happy All Saints Day and happy All Souls Day!" The children had fun the day of Halloween cutting up their messages, rolling them into tiny scrolls, and tying them with pretty satin ribbons.

Although I wanted my children to say "Prayer for a treat," I didn’t push it, and they happily chanted "Trick or treat" like ordinary kids. People were surprised and delighted with the scrolls. One man said to my "nun" daughter, "Why, thank you, Sister."

She replied with a big grin, "Well, not yet."

On the giving-out-treats part of the evening, I hand out candy along with stickers, purchased from a Christian supply store, with messages such as "Jesus loves you." One year, as we were returning from trick-or-treating, we were behind a little boy whose mother was berating him with foul language. The boy ran ahead to our house where a friend was giving out treats. When the child returned, he was elated — literally jumping for joy as he showed his sticker to his now-docile mother. "Look, Jesus loves me!" he said. My children, who had been stunned by the earlier bad language, quietly observed everything, and I know it made an impression upon them.

This year we plan to design holy cards explaining the Christian custom of Halloween, which is the eve of two feast days: All Saints and All Souls. These can be passed out by youngsters and treat-givers alike. Packets of similar holy cards could be made available in parishes for parishioners to use with room on the back of the cards for the pastor’s name and number.

Our Halloweens have truly become joyful and holy events with the month of November dedicated to special prayer, not just for our own loved ones, but also for the souls of all our neighbors and their dearly departed. The Church has always evangelized, in part, through the celebration of feasts. By taking back Halloween we can introduce our children to evangelization and begin to respond to our Holy Father’s call to re-evangelize the West.

Katherine Andes is the co-author with Matt Pinto of Friendly Defenders Catholic Flash Cards. She is also a freelance commercial, proposal, and grant writer. You can write her at or visit her web site at

This article has appeared in This Rock and Immaculata magazines and is used by permission of the author. Mahalo Katherine!!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Ten Commandments of Blogging

Actually, there are a slew of different 10 Commandments but I happen to like this one.

HT to
ThinkHammer If you click here, each one of the commandments will be explained.

1) Thou Shalt Speak in Thine Own Voice.

2) Thou Shalt Edit For Spelling, Grammar, and Clarity.

3) Thou Shalt Respect Your Reader.

4) Thou Shalt Not Steal.

5) Thou Shalt Be Faithful.

6) Thou Shalt Make The Choices Clear.

7) Thou Shalt Be Truthful.

8) Thou Shalt Be Consistent.

9) Thou Shalt Not Jargon

10) Thou Shalt Have Fun

How Planned Parenthood Hurts Families...

and we taxpayers fund the damage.

Remember how birth control was supposed to help the family?

But what has resulted from Planned Parethood's PUSH for more and more contraception?

Increased DIVORCE not happier marriages.

Increaded VENEREAL DISEASE even in young children.

Increased family DISTRESS at all levels of society.

Planned Parenthood hurts families!!

Planned Parenthood hurts families by:

- Assisting minor children to: deceive their parents, be sexually active,
abort (not nurture) their babies.

- Encouraging promiscuity, sex outside marriage, and total sexual license.

- Scorning parental authority and traditional values.

- Promoting the killing of unborn family members.

- Misleading the public into funding more tax and United Way moneys for programs that have NOT reduced but rather have increased sex-related social problems.

by Pat Driscoll, Hearts Aflame Magazine, Issue 3

Feast Day of St. Vincent de Paul - A Recipe for Happiness

My friend Denise posted the most wonderful...well...recipe for happiness by St. Vincent de Paul.

Take twelve whole months.

Clean them thoroughly of all bitterness, hate, and jealousy.

Make them just as fresh and clean as possible.

Now cut each month into twenty-eight, thirty or thirty-one different parts, but don't make the whole batch at once.

Prepare it one day at a time out of these ingredients.

Mix well into each day one part of faith, one part of patience, one part of courage, and one part of work.

Add to each day one part of hope, faithfulness, generosity, meditation, and one good deed.

Season the whole with a dash of good spirits, a sprinkle of fun, a pinch of play, and a cupful of good humor.

Pour all of this into a vessel of love.

Cook thoroughly over radiant joy, garnish with a smile, and serve with quietness, unselfishness, and cheerfulness.

"We ought to deal kindly with all, and to manifest those qualities which spring naturally from a heart tender and full of Christian charity; such as affability, love and humility. These virtues serve wonderfully to gain the hearts of men, and to encourage them to embrace things that are more repugnant to nature."

Saint Vincent de Paul

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

More on Father Donald Calloway

Recently my family and I posted about Fr. Calloway and the talk he gave at the Divine Mercy Conference.

Today, my friend Josephine shared a link which gives some background on Father Calloway's conversion and road to the priesthood. It is the most fascinating story I have ever heard of a person who totally turns around and gives his life to God and His Divine Mercy.

Rock bottom indeed! Now a 31-year-old priest who serves as assistant rector at the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, Father Calloway had been a runaway youngster who was immersed in everything from drug
abuse to theft.

"I had gone through all a boy could do up to the age of twenty," he says. "My mother had been married three times and we had no religion. The family was very hedonistic. There was a downward spiral in my life."

It started in Virginia Beach -- where his stepfather was based in the military -- and continued when the family moved to California. Drugs, sex, smoking, and drinking -- all by the age 11. "It escalated to the point of getting out of control," he now recounts. "We moved near Los Angeles. Then to Japan. That rocked my world."

Uprooted so continuously from friends and his environment, young Donald Calloway had decided to teach his parents a lesson. As soon as they got to Japan, he became a "living hell" for them. He tied in with the wrong crowd and started doing "unbelievable" quantities of drugs -- opium, heroin, alcohol every day, even inhaling the fumes of gasoline.

That escalated to where he ran away from the military base and fled around the foreign country, committing felonies -- stealing "massive amounts" of
money, cars, mopeds. He even got involved running errands for the Japanese

"I had no concern about anything or anybody," says Father Calloway, whose mother had a breakdown, ended up consulting a priest, and became a Catholic -- something young Donald knew nothing about. She was also forced to return to the U.S. without him. Police even tapped phones to the military base to try to get the youngster, and finally did apprehend him. When they did, Calloway spat in the face of one of the military cops. By now he was 15 with long hair and a profane mouth -- so wild that he was shackled and deported.

Thrown out of Japan, Calloway returned to the United States, where he told his mother he hated her but agreed to enter a rehabilitation center. In short order he ran away from there too and went back to drugs on an even grander scale. Heroin, crack, LSD, uppers, downers. And there were the girls. "There came a point where I started following the 'Grateful Dead' and living in places like a tree trunk," recounts the priest. "In Louisiana, I ended up in jail. It was an absolute mess."

He was a drop out, his hair down to his belt. He was tattooed. It was "a life cycle of death." There was another attempt at rehabilitation, but of course, that fell short again. In fact, the drug use got even heavier.

"Then one night in 1992 I knew that my life would radically change, that something was going to happen in my life to cause a radical change," he says. "I knew something was going to happen. Something was coming."

It was this peculiar, sudden, and powerful intuition that changed his life -- a feeling so powerful that he turned down the calls from friends to come out to party as he did on a nightly basis. He still has trouble explaining exactly what happened. The prayers of a mother? (click title above for the rest of the story)

My son did ask Father Calloway if he was permitted back into Japan. He told my son he will know in about two years when he tries to visit Japan again but this time as a priest. My son also looked at his hand to see if Father still had his pinky as the Yakuza members have a missing pinky.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Words of the Wise

"Virtue is bold, and goodness never fearful"...William Shakespeare

"A soft answer extinguishes the fire of wrath"...St. Alphonus Liguori

"However great a sinner may have been, if he shows himself devout to Mary, he will never perish"...St. Hilary

"The face is the mirror of the mind, and the eyes, without speaking, confess the secrets of the heart...St. Jerome

"To live with the saints in Heaven: Oh, what glory! But to live with the saints on earth: That's another story...Unknown

"What else is there but to love God and to help save souls so that He may be more loved"...St. Therese of Lisieux

"Charity brings to life again those who are spiritually dead"...St. Thomas Aquinas

"The measure of our love is to love without measure"...St. Francis de Sales

"Those who speak of the incompatibility of science and religion either make science say that which it never said or make religion say that which it never taught"...St. Pius XI

"Right is right if nobody is right and wrong is wrong if everybody is wrong"...Archbishop Fulton Sheen

"The words of the wise men are heard in quiet"...Eccl. 9:17

"When we imitate Jesus, the Divine Plan is carried out in our lives"...Father Chaminade

"Remember the kettle. It may be up to its neck in hot water, but it continues to sing"...Fr. John F. Brand

"He who forms the souls of the young is greater than any painter or sculpter"...St. John Chryostom

"To want to love is to love"...St. Augustine

"Learn to know Christ well, and everything will be in order, even if you knew nothing else"...St. Peter Canisius

"God without man is still God. Man without God is nothing"...Unknown

"It is easy to find thousands who will spend two or three hours a day in exercising, but if you ask them to bend their knees to God in five minutes of prayer, they protest that it is too long"...unknown

excerpts from Hearts Aflame Magazine Issue 3 2002


HT to Sue

I ran into a stranger as he passed by, "Oh excuse me please" was my reply.

He said, "Please excuse me too; I wasn't watching for you."

We were very polite, this stranger and I. We went on our way and we said goodbye.

But at home a different story is told, How we treat our loved ones, young and old.

Later that day, cooking the evening meal, my son stood beside me very still.

When I turned, I nearly knocked him down. "Move out of the way," I said with a frown.

He walked away, his little heart broken. I didn't realize how harshly I'd spoken.

While I lay awake in bed, God's still small voice came to me and said,

"While dealing with a stranger, common courtesy you use, but the family you love, you seem to abuse.

Go and look on the kitchen floor, you'll find some flowers there by the door.

Those are the flowers he brought for you. He picked them himself: pink, yellow and blue.

He stood very quietly not to spoil the surprise, you never saw the tears that filled his little eyes."

By this time, I felt very small, and now my tears began to fall.

I quietly went and knelt by his bed; "Wake up, little one, wake up," I said.

"Are these the flowers you picked for me?" He smiled, "I found 'em, out by the tree.

I picked 'em because they're pretty like you. I knew you'd like 'em, especially the blue."

I said, "Son, I'm very sorry for the way I acted today; I shouldn't have yelled at you that way."
He said, "Oh, Mom, that's okay. I love you anyway."

I said, "Son, I love you too, and I do like the flowers, especially the blue."

Are you aware that if we died tomorrow, the company that we are working for could easily replace us in a matter of days? But the family we left behind will feel the loss for the rest of their lives.

And come to think of it, we pour ourselves more into work than into our own family, an unwise investment indeed, don't you think?
So what is behind the story?

Do you know what the word FAMILY means?

---Author Unknown...(to me)

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Fr. Solanus Casey

Picture courtesy of Catholic Herald

Very holy Capuchin Friar living in our modern times. For more info please visit the
The Father Solanus Casey Guild

Some of my favorite quotes from Fr. Solanus can be found at the following:
Words and Wisdom of Father Solanus

APPRECIATION: To know is to appreciate. God Himself can be appreciated and loved, only inasmuch as He is know

ATHEISM: Atheism is the very climax of intellectual stupidity, or moral insanity, or diabolically devilish perversity. The height of insanity is not to believe in God, for only a fool says in his heart that there is no God when the heavens and the earth proclaim His glory. Atheism robs man of supernatural hope - the very soul of happiness.

BITTERNESS: We are never justified in being "bitter" toward anyone except ourselves. In very deed, if we were only one tenth as appreciative as we have every reason to be, our gratitude for what God has done for us, directly and through His creatures, most especially through our immediate superiors, would be such that we would be perfectly content with what we are and what we have.

...and Speaking of Padre Pio

Have you visited the Padre Pio Shrine located in New Jersey?