Saturday, February 24, 2007



VATICAN CITY, FEB 19, 2007 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, the Pope received Cardinal James F. Stafford, major penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary, prelates and officials of that tribunal, and father confessors of Roman basilicas.

In his address to them, the Pope pointed out how a confessor, "following the Church's Magisterium with gentle insistence, becomes a minister of the consoling mercy of God, he emphasizes the reality of sin, and at the same time reveals the limitless renovating power of divine love, the love that restores life."

"Experiencing the Lord's tenderness and forgiveness, penitents are more easily persuaded to recognize the gravity of sin, and more determined to avoid it in order to remain and grow in a renewed friendship with Him."

The confessor is "an active instrument of divine mercy," said the Holy Father. "Therefore, he must unite a highly-developed spiritual and pastoral sensitivity with serious theological, moral and educational training making him capable of understanding people's life experiences. Furthermore, it is good for him to know the social, cultural and professional background of those who come to the confessional, in order to be able to give appropriate advice and spiritual and practical guidance."

Priests must not forget that in the Sacrament of Penance they are "fathers, spiritual judges, teachers and educators," said the Pope, adding that "this calls for constant 'aggiornamento'." In this context, he also mentioned the advantages of "the courses of the so-called 'internal forum' promoted by the Apostolic Penitentiary."

"We cannot preach forgiveness and reconciliation to others if we do not experience these things personally. Although it is true that in our ministry there are various ways and instruments with which to communicate the merciful love of God to our brothers and sisters, it is nonetheless in the celebration of this Sacrament that we can do so in the most complete and exalted manner. Christ has chosen us, dear priests, to be the only ones with the power to pardon sins in His name. This then, is a specific ecclesial service to which we must give priority."

Many people in difficulty "seek the comfort and consolation of Christ," Pope Benedict concluded. "How many penitents find in confession the peace and joy they were seeking for so long! How can we not recognize, also in our own time marked by so many religious and social challenges, that this Sacrament must be rediscovered and presented anew?"

Pope Benedict's Message for Lent 2007

Mahalo to Easter for sharing it.

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

“They shall look on Him whom they have pierced” (Jn 19:37). This is the biblical theme that this year guides our Lenten reflection. Lent is a favourable time to learn to stay with Mary and John, the beloved disciple, close to Him who on the Cross, consummated for all mankind the sacrifice of His life (cf. Jn 19:25). With a more fervent participation let us direct our gaze, therefore, in this time of penance and prayer, at Christ crucified who, dying on Calvary, revealed fully for us the love of God. In the Encyclical Deus caritas est, I dwelt upon this theme of love, highlighting its two fundamental forms: agape and eros.

God’s love: agape and eros

The term agape, which appears many times in the New Testament, indicates the self-giving love of one who looks exclusively for the good of the other. The word eros, on the other hand, denotes the love of one who desires to possess what he or she lacks and yearns for union with the beloved. The love with which God surrounds us is undoubtedly agape. Indeed, can man give to God some good that He does not already possess? All that the human creature is and has is divine gift. It is the creature then, who is in need of God in everything. But God’s love is also eros. In the Old Testament, the Creator of the universe manifests toward the people whom He has chosen as His own a predilection that transcends every human motivation. The prophet Hosea expresses this divine passion with daring images such as the love of a man for an adulterous woman (cf. 3:1-3). For his part, Ezekiel, speaking of God’s relationship with the people of Israel, is not afraid to use strong and passionate language (cf. 16:1-22). These biblical texts indicate that eros is part of God’s very heart: the Almighty awaits the “yes” of His creatures as a young bridegroom that of his bride. Unfortunately, from its very origins, mankind, seduced by the lies of the Evil One, rejected God’s love in the illusion of a self-sufficiency that is impossible (cf. Gn 3:1-7). Turning in on himself, Adam withdrew from that source of life who is God Himself, and became the first of “those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage” (Heb 2:15). God, however, did not give up. On the contrary, man’s “no” was the decisive impulse that moved Him to manifest His love in all of its redeeming strength.

The Cross reveals the fullness of God’s love

It is in the mystery of the Cross that the overwhelming power of the heavenly Father’s mercy is revealed in all of its fullness. In order to win back the love of His creature, He accepted to pay a very high price: the blood of His only begotten Son. Death, which for the first Adam was an extreme sign of loneliness and powerlessness, was thus transformed in the supreme act of love and freedom of the new Adam. One could very well assert, therefore, together with Saint Maximus the Confessor, that Christ “died, if one could say so, divinely, because He died freely” (Ambigua, 91, 1956). On the Cross, God’s eros for us is made manifest. Eros is indeed – as Pseudo-Dionysius expresses it – that force “that does not allow the lover to remain in himself but moves him to become one with the beloved” (De divinis nominibus, IV, 13: PG 3, 712). Is there more “mad eros” (N. Cabasilas, Vita in Cristo, 648) than that which led the Son of God to make Himself one with us even to the point of suffering as His own the consequences of our offences?

“Him whom they have pierced”

Dear brothers and sisters, let us look at Christ pierced in the Cross! He is the unsurpassing revelation of God’s love, a love in which eros and agape, far from being opposed, enlighten each other. On the Cross, it is God Himself who begs the love of His creature: He is thirsty for the love of every one of us. The Apostle Thomas recognized Jesus as “Lord and God” when he put his hand into the wound of His side. Not surprisingly, many of the saints found in the Heart of Jesus the deepest expression of this mystery of love. One could rightly say that the revelation of God’s eros toward man is, in reality, the supreme expression of His agape. In all truth, only the love that unites the free gift of oneself with the impassioned desire for reciprocity instills a joy, which eases the heaviest of burdens. Jesus said: “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself” (Jn 12:32). The response the Lord ardently desires of us is above all that we welcome His love and allow ourselves to be drawn to Him. Accepting His love, however, is not enough. We need to respond to such love and devote ourselves to communicating it to others. Christ “draws me to Himself” in order to unite Himself to me, so that I learn to love the brothers with His own love.

Blood and water

“They shall look on Him whom they have pierced.” Let us look with trust at the pierced side of Jesus from which flow “blood and water” (Jn 19:34)! The Fathers of the Church considered these elements as symbols of the sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist. Through the water of Baptism, thanks to the action of the Holy Spirit, we are given access to the intimacy of Trinitarian love. In the Lenten journey, memorial of our Baptism, we are exhorted to come out of ourselves in order to open ourselves, in trustful abandonment, to the merciful embrace of the Father (cf. Saint John Chrysostom, Catecheses, 3,14ff). Blood, symbol of the love of the Good Shepherd, flows into us especially in the Eucharistic mystery: “The Eucharist draws us into Jesus’ act of self-oblation … we enter into the very dynamic of His self-giving” (Encyclical Deus caritas est, 13). Let us live Lent then, as a “Eucharistic” time in which, welcoming the love of Jesus, we learn to spread it around us with every word and deed. Contemplating “Him whom they have pierced” moves us in this way to open our hearts to others, recognizing the wounds inflicted upon the dignity of the human person; it moves us, in particular, to fight every form of contempt for life and human exploitation and to alleviate the tragedies of loneliness and abandonment of so many people. May Lent be for every Christian a renewed experience of God’s love given to us in Christ, a love that each day we, in turn, must “regive” to our neighbour, especially to the one who suffers most and is in need. Only in this way will we be able to participate fully in the joy of Easter. May Mary, Mother of Beautiful Love, guide us in this Lenten journey, a journey of authentic conversion to the love of Christ. I wish you, dear brothers and sisters, a fruitful Lenten journey, imparting with affection to all of you, a special Apostolic Blessing.

From the Vatican, 21 November 2006.

Lenten Food for Thought

Mahalo to my friend Froggy.

You cannot keep the mouth and mind open at the same time

Lenten Improvements - Patience - Aids and Safeguards

Day 4
The following is taken from Improve: Now is the Acceptable Time! distributed by the Archconfraternity of Christian Mothers.
"Want to be patient. Make up your mind that you can be patient. It is the attitude of a defeatist to say 'I have a bad temper-my dad was that way-and I just cannot do anything about it. People will have to put up with me the way I am' You will be about as patient as you want to be.

Pray for patience. As soon as something happens contrary to your will-the baby begins to cry, the water won't get hot, the whipping cream fails to whip and the jello doesn't jell, the grease sputters up in your face while you're frying the meat, a sick person refuses the food you prepare, your TV picture starts to flop over or flutter, the car will not start, you hit your thumb with a hammer, you make a mistake in typing, the boss asks you to take a letter ten minutes before quitting time, you strike out in baseball, miss a one-pin spare in bowling or fail on a foul shot in basketball-when anything along these lines happens, try immediately to say under your breath, 'Mary, please help me, Mary, please help me.' She will. Those six seconds of prayer mean so much.

Strive for humility. Saint Bernard says: 'True patience can only be acquired and preserved through deep humility.' Through humility we see ourselves as we really are, and when we realize how much patience others must have in dealing with us, we learn to be patient with them.

Be Silent. Saint Francis de Sales, a man who fought almost a lifetime against impatience, said, 'I have made a pact with my tongue, that as long as my mind was disturbed my tongue would preserve silence.'

Plan to be Patient. He who is patient today resolved to be patient yesterday. In your morning prayers, why not make a Spiritual Communion and talk over your day with our Lord? Then, surely, you will bear more calmly the irritations of daily living."

Prayer for Prisoners

The PrisonerArtwork by Jason Treas

Father of mercy,
The secrets of all hearts are known to you alone.
You know who is just and You forgive the unjust.
Hear our prayers for those in prison.
Give them patience and hope in their sufferings,
and bring them home again soon.

From New Saint Joseph People's Prayer Book, Catholic Book Publishing Co., NY

Friday, February 23, 2007

Call to Vocation Begins in the Home - Part III

Vocation CallHoly card picture courtesy of Fatima Family Apostolate and be purchased at their little store for $.15 (yes, fifteen cents).

The third article in the series of vocations in The Word Among Us - Lent Issue is entitled Is There a Priest (or Sister) in the House? In this article by Bob Horning the families of sisters, priests were interviewed to see what kinds of homes were "fertile grounds" for religious vocations. Surprisingly, the families were all different. The ran the range from families that were very devout to those who only attended Sunday Mass but religion wasn't necessarily discussed in the home.

So what was so special about these homes? Well, first of all they really weren't extraordinary at all.

These families had their own theories on what made their child choose a religious vocation. Some thought setting a good example for their children was the key. A few thought that it was important for the parents and the Catholic educators to work together. Others thought that removing the excessive noise from the outside world such as radio and televison, helped their children be better listeners to what God was calling them to. Yet, others thought that freedom and support was important. As the author finally concluded: "...there is no perfect or prototype family from which religious vocations most often arise. "

The author did find two common denominators among all the families interviewed. It seemed that all of them attended Sunday Mass together as a family and they all believed that it was very important to eat dinner together as a family.

Food for thought wouldn't you say?

Lenten Improvements - Patience

Day 3
From Improve: Now is the Acceptable Time! Distributed by Archconfraternity of Christian Mothers.


"Don't you have great respect for a patient person? Doesn't another's calmness in a difficult situation stir something deep down in your heart? Saint Augustine calls patience 'that virtue which teaches us to endure with a quiet mind.' everything that happens contrary to our will.


There are many things that happened contrary to our will and cause the loss of
patience--tripping on a step, missing a bus or an airplane, congested traffic, rain
on washday, a pesky fly, a barking dog, a ringing telephone, a crying baby, a
talkative companion--all these little things, along with an entire catalog of
other annoyances, cause the loss of patience in some people. If by losing our patience we could change such disturbances there might be some justification for impatience, but the bus we missed keeps moving away from us no matter what we may and a ringing phone jangles on in spite of our feelings.

Results of Impatience

A lawyer who loses his temper usually loses his case; an impatience doctor may lose a patient; a baseball pitcher who loses his control loses the game; an angry boxer swings wild and loses his bout, and a mother who loses her temper, like a piece of steel that has lost its temper, is useless for the moment. Parents, executives and superiors who continually lose their patience undermine their own authority, and those under their case lose all respect for them. Impatience begets anger and anger leads to abusive speech, quarrelling, violence, revenge and even murder. Uncontrolled tempers, like the uncontrolled elements of fire, wind and water, spell destruction".
Tomorrow, we will touch on aids and safeguards against impatience.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Call to Vocations Begins in the Home - Part II

The following is taken from the article A Home Where Vocations Grow: 12 Things Parents Can Do from the Lent Issue of :the Word Among Us

"Want to help your children discern whether they're called to religious life, or to married or single life in the world?"

1. Talk with your kids about their gifts and abilities and the importance of their contribution to the church and the world.

2. Pray for vocations as a family-for singles, married couples, priests and religious.

3. Avoid disparaging remarks about marriage and the single life or those in religious life.

4. Build your marriage.

5. Spend quiet time with the Lord.

6. Keep learning about your faith.

7. Introduce your children to the lives of saints.

8. Look for good vocation stories.

9. Volunteer as a family for a service project.

10. Give your children freedom.

11. Eat dinner together.

12. Trust God.

Call to Vocations Begins in the Home - 1st Part

Bells of St. Mary
You couldn't ask for better role models of a religious vocation than Fr. O'Malley or Sister Mary Benedict, could you?

My DH and I both come from devout Catholic homes yet neither family had a member to answer the call to religious life. Well, actually, one of my sisters did and she was a Franciscan sister for about 13 years but a deep reflection and soul-searching showed her that this was not the vocation the God wanted for her.

How do these men and women know that they have a vocation to the priesthood or to religious life? What kind of homes turn out priests and nuns? This month issue of The Word Among Us covers that topic from a Lenten perspective. You will have to get the hard copy of the magazine because it is not currently available online.

First there is the article entitled "Follow Me: A Lenten Call to Parents and Kids Alike" by Louise Perrotta. This one plants the seed early in the life of a family.

Ms. Perrotta writes that we have more of a duty than simply "praying for vocations". We as individuals are called to do something for God on His behalf. For instance married people "have the mission of revealing Christ's love to the world in their relationship with their spouse". Single people "are called to a special closeness with the Lord that enables them to live chastely and generously for his kingdom. Children and young people still living at home are to imitate Jesus by honoring their parents and increasing 'in wisdom and in years' (Luke 2:52)"
Families also have a calling sometimes to do missionary work or work in their own communities by helping an elderly neighbor or family member, as one example.

She challenges us that this Lent we give our full attention to what God is calling each of as to do as individuals and as a family. We can start by asking God the following questions:

"Jesus, how are You calling me? Where do You want me to follow You right now? In the future? Am I doing what You want? Is it time to make a change."

Ms. Perrotta finishes up by telling the reader that "One thing is sure: In every family, in every heart, God is calling."

The following quote is by John Henry Newman:
All through our life, Christ is calling us. He calls us first in baptism, but afterwards also. Whether we obey His voice or not, He graciously calls us still--from grace to
grace, and from holiness to holiness..Christ is walking among us, and by his
hand, or eye, or voice, bidding us to follow Him.

Lenten Quotes

Day 2
From Improve: Now is the Acceptable Time! Distributed by Archconfraternity of Christian Mothers.

"The essential act of penance, on the part of the penitent, is contrition, a clear and decisive rejection of the sin committed, together with a resolution not to commit it again, out of love which one has for God and which is reborn with repentance"....Pope John Paul II

"Jesus finally straightened up and said to her, (taken in adultery) 'Woman, where did they all disappear to? Has no one condemned you?' 'No one, sir,' she answered. Jesus said, 'Nor do I condemn you. You may go. But from now on, avoid this sin.'"...John 8, 10F.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Lenten Reflection

ash Wed.

Conversation with Christ: Jesus, give me the grace to begin this Lent with great enthusiasm and love. Help me live it with joy, knowing that I am living it in your presence to please you and you alone.

Resolution: I will make a Lenten program of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving

Lenten Message - Holy Father Benedict XVI

On the 40 Days of Lent
"God Is Love and His Love Is the Secret of Our Happiness"

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 21, 2007 ( Here is a translation of Benedict XVI's address at today's general audience. The Pope dedicated his address to Ash Wednesday.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

Ash Wednesday, which we celebrate today, is for us Christians a particular day, characterized by an intense spirit of recollection and reflection. We begin, in fact, the Lenten journey, time of listening to the word of God, of prayer and of penance. They are 40 days in which the liturgy will help us to relive the important phases of the mystery of salvation.

As we know, man was created to be a friend of God, but the sin of our first parents broke this relationship of trust and love and, as a consequence, humanity is incapable of fulfilling its original vocation.

Thanks, however, to the redeeming sacrifice of Christ, we have been rescued from the power of evil: Christ, in fact, writes the apostle John, has been the victim of expiation of our sins (cf. 1 John 2:2); and St. Peter adds: "Christ also died for sins once for all" (cf. 1 Peter 3:18).

On dying with Christ to sin, the baptized person is also reborn to a new life and is freely re-established in his dignity as son of God. For this reason, in the early Christian community, baptism was considered as the "first resurrection" (cf. Revelation 20:5; Romans 6:1-11; John 5:25-28).

From the beginning, therefore, Lent was lived as the time of immediate preparation for baptism, which is administered solemnly during the paschal vigil. The whole of Lent was a journey toward this great encounter with Christ, toward immersion in Christ and the renewal of life.

We are already baptized, but often baptism is not very effective in our daily life. Therefore, Lent is also for us a renewed "catechumenate" in which we again go out to encounter our baptism and rediscover and relive it in depth, to again be really Christians.

Therefore, Lent is an opportunity to "be" Christians "again," through a constant process of interior change and of progress in knowledge and love of Christ. Conversion never takes place once and for all, but is a process, an interior journey of our whole life. Certainly this journey of evangelical conversion cannot be limited to a particular period of the year: It is a journey of every day which must embrace our whole existence, every day of our lives.

From this point of view, for every Christian and for all ecclesial communities, Lent is the appropriate spiritual season to train with greater tenacity in the search for God, opening the heart to Christ.

St. Augustine said on one occasion that our life is the sole exercise of the desire to come close to God, of being able to let God enter into our being. "The whole life of the fervent Christian," he says, "is a holy desire." If this is so, in Lent we are invited even more to uproot "from our desires the roots of vanity" to educate the heart in the desire, that is, in the love of God. "God," says St. Augustine, "is all that we desire" (cf. "Tract. in Iohn," 4). And we hope that we really begin to desire God, and in this way desire true life, love itself and truth.

Particularly appropriate is Jesus' exhortation, recorded by the Evangelist Mark: "Repent and believe in the Gospel" (Mark 1:15). The sincere desire for God leads us to reject evil and to do good. This conversion of the heart is above all a free gift of God, who created us for himself and has redeemed us in Jesus Christ: Our happiness consists in remaining in him (cf. John 15:3). For this reason, he himself anticipates our desire with his grace and supports our efforts of conversion.

But what does conversion really mean? Conversion means to seek God, to walk with God, to follow docilely the teachings of his Son, Jesus Christ; to be converted is not an effort to fulfill oneself, because the human being is not the architect of his own destiny. We have not made ourselves. Therefore, self-fulfillment is a contradiction and is too little for us. We have a higher destiny.

We could say that conversion consists precisely in not considering ourselves "creators" of ourselves, thus discovering the truth, because we are not authors of ourselves. Conversion consists in accepting freely and with love that we depend totally on God, our true Creator, that we depend on love. This is not dependence but liberty.

To be converted means, therefore, not to pursue personal success, which is something that passes but that, abandoning all human security, we follow the Lord with simplicity and trust, so that Jesus will become for each one, as Teresa of Calcutta liked to say, "my all in all." Whoever lets himself be conquered by him is not afraid of losing his own life, because on the cross he loved us and gave himself for us. And, in fact, by losing our life out of love, we find it again.

I wished to underline the immense love God has for us in the message on the occasion of Lent, published a few days ago, so that Christians of the whole community can pause spiritually during the time of Lent, together with Mary and John, the beloved disciple, before him who on the cross consummated for humanity the sacrifice of his life (cf. John 19:25).

Yes, dear brothers and sisters, the cross is also for us, men and women of our time -- who all too often are distracted by earthly and momentary concerns and interests -- the definitive revelation of divine love and mercy. God is love and his love is the secret of our happiness. However, to enter into this mystery of love there is no other way than that of losing ourselves, of giving ourselves to the way of the cross.

"If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me" (Mark 8:34). For this reason, the Lenten liturgy, on inviting us to reflect and pray, stimulates us to value penance and sacrifice more, to reject sin and evil and to conquer egoism and indifference. Prayer, fasting and penance, works of charity toward brothers, become in this way spiritual paths that we must undertake to return to God in response to the repeated calls to conversion that the liturgy makes today (cf. Galatians 2:12-13; Matthew 6:16-18).

Dear brothers and sisters, may the Lenten period that we undertake today, with the austere and significant rite of the imposition of ashes, be for all a renewed experience of the merciful love of Christ, who on the cross shed his blood for us.

Let us listen to him with docility to learn "to regive" his love to our neighbor, especially those who are suffering and experiencing difficulties. This is the mission of every disciple of Christ, but to carry it out it is necessary to listen to his word and to nourish oneself assiduously on his body and blood. May the Lenten journey, which in the early Church was the journey to Christian initiation, to baptism and the Eucharist, be for us, the baptized, a "Eucharistic" time in which we take part with greater fervor in the sacrifice of the Eucharist.

May the Virgin Mary -- who, after having shared the sorrowful passion of her divine Son, experienced the joy of resurrection -- accompany us during this Lent to the mystery of Easter, supreme revelation of the love of God.

A good Lent to all!

24 Ways of Improving Yourself During Lent

Day 1
From Improve: Now is the Acceptable Time! Distributed by Archconfraternity of Christian Mothers.

1. Let's be happy.
2. Let's make other people happy.
3. Let's be courteous drivers.
4. Let's study our religion.
5. Let's pray more.
6. Let's live today as if it will be our last day.
7. Let's not make the faults of others our standards.
8. Let's look at ourselves through the eyes of Jesus and Mary.
9. Let's go to Confession.
10. Let's forgive before the sun goes down.
11. Let's go to Holy Mass every weekend, Holy Holy Day and weekday when we can.
12. Let's draw closer to Mary so she can keep us close to her Boy, Christ.
13. Let's pray the Rosary every day.
14. Let's be peace makers.
15. Let's work as if we owned the place where we are employed.
16. Let's give children more of our self, our time, our affection.
17. Let's work for the Church.
18. Let's give alms to the poor.
19. Let's be modest in dress.
20. Let's appreciate the wonderful world we live in.
21. Let's count our blessings.
22. Let's agree with the will of God.
23. Let's compliment more than we criticize.
24. Let's be sorry for our sins.

First Day of Lent - Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday I would like to share a daily meditation beginning today. These meditations are from an article by Mark E. Thibodeaux, S.J. from Catholic Update, St. Anthony Messenger Press. Click title above to take you to the original ariticle.

ASH WEDNESDAY - Joel 2:12-18
Start or continue a spirutal journal today. Set down spiritual goals that you hope will accompany your concrete penances to return to the Lord.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

2006 Movie Picks - Mercatornet

Lady in the Water

As I mentioned in a previous post, Francis Philips reviews books for Theotokos and by the way the last review was under her pen name Jack Carrigan. She also reviews for Mercatornet.

Today, I visted their site with a little more care and I found the list of movie picks very interesting considering it listed M. Night Shyamalan's film The Lady in the Water as one of the movies they liked.

My family and I are big fans of M. Night Shyamalan, specifically, The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable. My DH and DS loved Signs. However, we were disappointed with The Village, even though we enjoyed it up to the end.

From all we had heard and read, the critics hated the Lady in the Water. We therefore were in no rush to watch it. Finally, on St. Valentine's Day we did. And, we loved it! It was just one of those movies that grab your attention and keeps it there until the end. We were not disappointed at the ending either.

The following is from Mercatornet

Directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Starring Bryce Dallas Howard, Paul Giamatti, Jeffrey Wright, Bill Irwin, Bob Balaban.

This modern fairy tale was panned by some critics as self-indulgent mythmaking by director M. Night Shyamalan, but others loved it. A depressed doctor now working as a janitor in an apartment complex discovers that the person taking illegal night-time swims in the pool is a narf. A narf, he learns from a Korean woman, is a water nymph who belongs in the sea. But she is afraid to leave because of malevolent spirits who are prowling outside. The mysterious fairy-like creature draws together the eccentrics living in the complex as they battle to return her to the ocean. Spooky, atmospheric and quirky. One of the characters is a sour, twisted book and film critic -- no doubt a dig by the director at hostile reviewers.

Click HERE for the complete list.

Movie Recommendation - Akeelah and the Bee

AkeelahMy family and I watched this movie last night. It was one I had been wanting to watch in a long time.

This movie was about a young girl who doesn't do well in school for a few reasons, one being that she attends an urban school and it isn't cool to be smart. However, her teacher recommends her for the school's first spelling bee based on the fact that she never got a word wrong on her spelling test. With the usual trials and obstacles that one would expect, she eventually gets as far as the National Spelling Bee Competition.

We were not disappointed at all by this story. In fact, we loved it! The acting by all especially the main characters was exceptional. The movie was very heartwarming and touching, yet amusing and entertaining at the same time. The family was not completely stereotyped in the usual Hollywood fashion of an American Black Family. In this movie, the mother is a hard-working widow with many children. Well, there is the troublesome teen son who is involved with a gang and the unwed daughter but I guess it makes sense to the story. The love and unity in the family, as well as the encouragement by the people in Akeelah's life and neighborhood is portrayed very well as one of support.

Rated PG. But caution for mild language. I would recommend it for students especially, those who might be interested in competing in Bee's, whether Spelling, Geography, etc. It will really ignite an interest in educational competition for a student.

Last Chance for Poll


If you haven't taken the poll yet, please do so soon. I plan on taking down the poll by tomorrow. Thank you!

In case you were interested, I wanted to see if most of my readers were from Hawaii or not. Apparently, most of my readers are from the Mainland.

That is good to know.

I appreciate all of you who took the trouble of letting me know.

Calling All Converts!

Catholic writer and author Ann Ball sent the following email:

Our Sunday Visitor is seeking conversion stories to be published in theEaster issue of OSV. If you are a convert who would like to share your journey into the Church, we would like to hear from you.
Submissions must be 250 words or less and include your name, city, state and
date of entry into the Church.

They can be submitted via mail to Our Sunday Visitor Conversion Stories, 200 Noll Plaza, Huntington, IN 46750, via fax at (260) 359-9117 or via e-mail to (please type ³Conversion Stories² into the subject line).
If possible, please include a photograph of yourself (for mailed entries, include a self-addressed stamped envelope for photo return). Deadline is
March 12.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Happy President's Day

Mt. Rushmore

"Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair; the rest is in
the hands of God."
George Washington

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our
freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."

Abraham Lincoln

Website Spotlight - The Revelations of Saint Birgitta of Sweden

Recently I was sent the link to a site regarding Revelations of Saint Bridget of Sweden. The site offers Book 1, The Holy Bible in MP3 format and the revelations of Saint Birgitta (Bridget). I am familiar with her only through the prayers in the Pieta prayer book.

I hope you take a moment to visit the SITE and sharing your comments.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

World Apostolate of Fatima Sees Status Upgraded

Mahalo Connie for sharing this with me. And on a personal note, please pray that we are able to bring a chapter of WAF to Hawaii. It is something Connie is currently guiding me through.

For those of you making the pledge:

--Now a Public Association of the Faithful--

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 14, 2006 ( The World Apostolate of Fatima has been established as a public association of the faithful for the universal Church.

This is according to the decree presented by Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, to professor Americo Pablo Lopez Ortiz, international president of the World Apostolate of Fatima.

A public ceremony, which included a moment of prayer, was held at the Vatican dicastery on Feb. 3.

"It is with great joy that we celebrate this moment of the consignment of the decree of establishment and approval of the Statutes of the World Apostolate of Fatima," said Archbishop Rylko during the ceremony.

"It indicates the occasion when the Holy See formally and joyfully accepts a new subject which has as its goal the sanctification of its own members and the building up of the whole Church," he explained. "At the same time, the lay faithful are confirmed by the Holy See in their right to associate in order to promote a more perfect Christian life and to develop evangelizing activities throughout the whole world."

Dated on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, last Oct. 7, the decree of establishment states: "The members of the World Apostolate of Fatima, spread throughout numerous countries of the world, commit themselves to become faithful witnesses of the Catholic faith in their own families, at work, in the parishes and communities, participating in this way in the New Evangelization. …

Considering that the WAF is a suitable instrument for the formation of the lay people through the message of Fatima in view of the new evangelization proposed by the Holy Father John Paul II and Benedict XVI […], the Pontifical Council for the Laity decrees the approval of the WAF and its statutes."

"A blessing"

In his address to the Pontifical Council for the Laity, Lopez Ortiz described the decree as "a great blessing and at the same time a great responsibility to carry out with hope and excellence."

"Under the umbrella of the WAF, all associations and apostolic movements propagating the authentic message of Fatima may encounter an example of faithfulness and loyalty to the Holy Father and the diocesan bishops in communion with the Successor of Peter," he said.

The president of the World Apostolate of Fatima highlighted the Blessed Virgin's promise of an era of peace, a century of hope, a new Marian Pentecost, and a new spring for the world -- if there is faithfulness to her message.

"The message of Fatima is more urgent now than ever before, more actual and more essential to the present state of moral and spiritual crisis of our civilization," contended Lopez Ortiz.

The Virgin of Fatima pleaded for prayer and penance in reparation for sins and the conversion of sinners. She also requested more authentic devotion to the Eucharist, to the rosary and consecration to her Immaculate Heart.

The essential themes of the Virgin's message, in her apparitions in 1917 in Fatima, Portugal, to the three little shepherds Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, may be summarized in the need and importance of persevering and continuous prayer; the call to conversion, and urgent commitment to prayer and sacrifices for the conversion of sinners; confidence, commitment and consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as the preferential way of Christian life.

Representatives from 14 countries attended the ceremony in the dicastery.

Attendees included Bishop Seraphim of Leiria-Fatima; Monsignor Luciano Guerra, rector of the Shrine of Fatima; and the former president of Italy, Oscar Luigi Scalfaro. Archbishops and national leaders from five continents were also on hand.

The World Apostolate of Fatima has millions of members in some 50 countries. It was founded in the United States in 1947. Initially called the "Blue Army," its rapid expansion transformed it into a World Apostolate.

For more information please contact

Michael LaCorte

Executive Director

Connie Schneider

National Chairwoman for Children’s Programs

Cardinal Sean Visits Peru

Tomb of St. Rosa de Lima Cardinal Sean praying at the tomb of Santa Rosa de Lima.

St. Martin de Porres Tomb Monastery and tomb of St. Martin de Porres.

Cardinal Sean has a wonderful post and photos of his recent trip to Peru. Please be sure to visit his BLOG. Just seeing those photos made me homesick for a country I don't even remember since I left when I was two years old.

Lenten Preparation - Holy Water

Holy Water FontThis is the one we have in our home. Picture courtesy of Catholic Shopper

Should Holy Water be removed from Churches during Lent?

Click Here to find what A Catholic Life has to say about this.