Saturday, June 13, 2009

Feast of St. Anthony of Padua

St. Anthony

"Attribute to God every good that you have received. If you take credit for something that does not belong to you, you will be guilty of theft."
-St Anthony

"The life of the body is the soul; the life of the soul is God."
- St Anthony

"The Glorious Virgin did not have a stain in her birth because she was santified in her mother's womb and safeguarded there by angels."
- St Anthony Quote

St. Anthony wrote the above statement more than six-hundred years before the Church proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

"Solicitude for material things distracts the soul and divides it. The devil seizes the divided soul and drags it to hell."
- Anthony

The following words of Saint Anthony are found in the Epilogue to his Opus:

"I ask that if you find anything edifying, anything consoling, anything well presented, that you give all praise, all glory and all honor to the Blessed Son of God Jesus Christ. If on the other hand, you find anything that is ill composed, uninteresting or not to well explained, you impute and attribute it to my weakness, blindness, and lack of skill."
Source of the above quotes from St. Anthony of Padua

St.Anthony Bread

The above picture was taken this morning at St. Stephen's Church following the blessing by the priest.

On the way to Mass this morning my mom asked me to stop at the store after our Holy Hour so we could buy fresh bread for breakfast. My mom wanted to serve her favorite breakfast of half an avocado each with fresh bread and hot coffee.

As you can see from the picture above, St. Anthony and the good people of St. Stephen's took care of our bread this morning.

In the Churches in northern New Jersey, specifically in the City of Paterson, there is an old custom of blessing bread on St. Anthony's feast day, June 13th and distributing them to the faithful who attend Mass on that day.

And, today, my grandmother Juanita is celebrating her birthday with her favorite saint, San Antonito de Padua.

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Friday, June 12, 2009

St. Padre Pio - On The Unseen World of the Holy Mass and on the Spiritual Direction

St. Padre Pio Celebrating Holy Mass
Secret Harbor's Unseen World of Holy Mass
...During the Consecration the Wounds of the stigmata would bleed and remarkably Padre Pio would, during the elevation, hold our Eucharistic Lord for as long as ten minutes – and at times longer than that. Speaking about the Mass, Padre Alberto D'Apolito, who knew Padre Pio, said: “It produced such an impression that time and space between the altar and Calvary disappeared. The Mass of Padre Pio visibly reproduced the Passion of Christ, not only in a mystical form, but also physically, in his body. Waves of emotion made Padre Pio tremble at the altar as if the struggle with invisible persons filled him, time after time, with fear, joy, sadness, anguish, and pain. From the expression on his face, one could follow the mysterious dialogue. Whoever doubted the Real Presence had only to assist at Saint Pio’s Mass...”

And Padre Pio the spiritual director advises us in this way:

The field of battle between God and Satan is the human soul. This is where it takes place every moment of our lives. The soul must give free access to our Lord and be completely fortified by Him with every kind of weapon. His light must illuminate it to fight the darkness of error. We must put on Jesus Christ, His truth and justice, the shield of faith, the word of God to overcome such powerful enemies. To put on Jesus Christ we must die to ourselves. Let us humble ourselves and confess that if God were not our armor and shield, we would be pierced by all kinds of sins. That is why we must live in God by persevering in our practices, and learn to serve Him at our own expense.”...Saint Pio of Pietrelcina,
I would like to share something personal with you with regard to Confession. There is a new statue of St. Padre Pio at Blessed Sacrament Church in Paterson. It has become a custom for me to pray to Padre Pio for spiritual direction every morning, right after praying before the Blessed Sacrament. As you may know, while he was alive Padre Pio accepted many as his spiritual children.
Once a person was accepted as Padre Pio's spiritual child, he would never abandon them, no matter what danger they were in. Even if he did not visit them personally, they would receive his help through his Guardian Angel.
EWTN: Padre Pio, the Mystic: Guardian Angels

So, I thought that I would ask him to accept me as his spiritual daughter too even though he is now a saint of the Catholic church and no longer alive on earth.

Today I was going to go to confession and I was having trouble examining my conscience. But I must say, as soon as I went to Father for confession, my heart and mind became very clear and I remembered all my grievous sins. I firmly believe that with St. Padre Pio's spiritual help, I was able to make a very good confession and thanks to him and the priest hearing confessions today, I was able to get very sound spiritual direction.

What a blessing!

Thanks to Sue for story of the Holy Mass.

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Adoration in the Home

Eucaristic Adoration

Through my mother, I have discovered the writings of a Sacred Hearts Father, Father Mateo Crawley-Boevey. SS.CC., a priest from Peru.

He wrote extensively about Eucharistic Adoration. I have been posting some of the excerpts of his writings from his Holy Hour Book number 4.

Fr. Mark posted the following on his blog:

Vultus Christi - Adoration at Home
"Not every one is able to make the hour of Eucharistic Adoration in the church, particularly at night. Must they be deprived, then, of the honor and privilege of consoling the Divine Prisoner, alone and forsaken in so many tabernacles? By no means! In the sanctuary of their homes, let them prostrate themselves in spirit before the tabernacle, and, in union with the Priests who at that moment, in some part of the world, are offering the Sacrifice of Calvary to the Trinity, let them adore, praise, petition and atone in the name of their own and other families who offend and sadden the Sacred Heart by their daily denial of His rights as King."...Fr. Mateo

It is helpful to make one's adoration at home in front of a blessed image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus or of the Holy Face. There are many people suffering from chronic illnesses, who are unable to go to a church where the Blessed Sacrament is present. They are not deprived of the graces flowing from Eucharistic adoration, and their prayer, even if it is made from a sickbed or a chair, is all the more precious in the sight of Our Lord, insofar as they unite it with patience to His own sufferings.
My mother using her book "Hora Santa" (Holy Hour) to do a monthly nocturnal adoration hour in the privacy of her bedroom.

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

YEAR FOR PRIESTS - A Special Year to Get Priests Back in Shape

Year for Priests
Benedict XVI has proclaimed it in order to strengthen the spiritual identity of the clergy, and to purify it from "filth." The Legionaries of Christ in the eye of the hurricane. On the seminaries, the unstinting diagnosis of the secretary of the congregation for Catholic education...

by Sandro Magister

CHIESA's A Special Year to Get Priests Back in Shape

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YEAR FOR PRIESTS - Official Logo

In last week's issue of the Diocese of Paterson's Beacon, the logo used was a priest's white color with Year for Priests emblazoned on it. However, I found another logo on this website from Roman Catholic Vocations. I am using the logo from that site on the side bar.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Television Viewing: An Occasion of Sin

Can the seemingly harmless past time of watching television from the safety of one's home, cause us to sin?

I asked myself this very question when seeing a flurry of discussion on the recent marital strife involving parents of a very popular reality series, the apparent fall from grace of a once much admired Catholic movie star and a popular celebrity priest who has by his actions caused a scandal.

Stories like those above are readily shared and discussed ad nausem online, whether it be on blogs or other popular social networks.

All the above "news" stories are really just an excuse for indulging in gossip.

Sadly, on one of the major Spanish news programs, it was reported that recent studies concluded that indulging in gossip will lead to a reduction of an individual's stress level.

What exactly is gossip?
  /ˈgɒsəp/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [gos-uhp] Show IPA noun, verb, -siped or -sipped, -sip⋅ing or -sip⋅ping.
1. idle talk or rumor, esp. about the personal or private affairs of others: the endless gossip about Hollywood stars.
2. light, familiar talk or writing.
3. Also, gos⋅sip⋅er, gos⋅sip⋅per. a person given to tattling or idle talk.
Definition source

The following is from The Catholic Register
Under the heading of the Eighth Commandment (“You shall not bear false witness”), the 1995 Catechism of the Catholic Church never mentions the word gossip, but it does have a lot to say about speaking the truth and keeping your mouth shut:

“2477: Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause (someone) unjust injury. He becomes guilty:

– of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor;

– of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another’s faults and failings to persons who did not know them;

– of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them.”

The Catechism also makes it clear that just because a statement is factually correct, that doesn’t mean we have a right to blab:

“2488: The right to the communication of the truth is not unconditional. Everyone must conform his life to the gospel precept of fraternal love. This requires us in concrete situations to judge whether or not it is appropriate to reveal the truth to someone who asks for it.”

The authors of the catechism are particularly concerned that personal lives of individuals should have their dignity protected:

“2492: Everyone should observe an appropriate reserve concerning persons’ private lives. Those in charge of communications should maintain a fair balance between the requirements of the common good and respect for individual rights. Interference by the media in the private lives of persons engaged in political or public activity is to be condemned to the extent that it infringes upon their privacy and freedom.”
It is a serious sin to engage in gossip, whether or not it will help one to lower one's blood pressure.

The television industry that produces reality television wants us to discuss their show around the "water cooler", so to speak. They want us to not only religiously watch their shows but they want our viewing to generate discussion the next day.

Gone are the days of wholesome television viewing.

I am not certain when the decline toward decadence began but it probably occurred during the 1970's. When the FCC loosened their control and more or less gave a free reign to the television industry, hell literally and figuratively broke loose.

There have been more instances then I care to remember on how embarrassed I was by something we were watching on television. This has happened on many occasions when I was watching with my parents growing up at home and more recently with my husband and son.

The television programming is not the only culprit. The commercials are just as bad or even the worse offenders of indecency. Once upon a time, sponsors would not dare mention a woman's monthly cycle or digestion problems by name. But now, we are visually and audibly assaulted by commercials for not only those personal products, but also with propaganda for birth control and of course the ubiquitous commercials for pills to help men with their ...errr, trouble in the bedroom.

Could there be a correlation between advertisements for men's aids and unwanted pregnancies? I would think so.

But the focus of today is on the danger of reality television.

Reality television is not a new concept.

The first reality show I remember watching and with great interest was the 1973 PBS show An American Family: The Loud Family. Viewers like me were riveted to this series because we got to look inside the life of this dysfunctional American family. Some of the dirty laundry that was aired included the eldest son announcing he was gay and living a gay lifestyle as well as the marital difficulties of the parents. Sadly but with no big surprise the parents ultimately divorced.

Even as a teen, I knew that the Louds did not represent a typical American family, not my family anyway. For one thing, ALL families have problems but these problems are kept private and not shared on air for the amusement or entertainment of complete strangers.

I admit I watch reality television programs.

For example, I followed the first few seasons of Survivor, The Apprentice, and Celebrity Apprentice. I watch Judge Judy regularly. Oh, it was very entertaining seeing the worst of human nature unravel before my eyes. I realized the shows were only worth watching when there were controversies and trouble brewing.

Recently, I've been watching shows like Dog, the Bounty Hunter, Nanny 911, Trading Spouses and before the scandal involving the Gosslins broke, I watched Jon & Kate Plus 8 on a few occasions.

It was because I have been watching certain reality TV shows that made me realize just how evil television has become and how callous we are in danger of becoming from watching reality television.

The other evening my family and I made the mistake of watching a show on A & E called Intervention.

That episode featured 20-something twins who had a very bizarre connection with each other. Their parents and older sister were so worried about their strange relationship complicated by the anorexia, that they tricked them into thinking they were being filmed for a documentary, before being forced into intervention.

My heart went out to the parents and older sister. What surprised me was my feelings of anger toward the family for being weak when it came to dealing with their adult and seemingly selfish daughters.

After the show was over, I felt like a voyeur and I was ashamed. I know that channel should have been changed immediately.

But the worst of reality TV was the program that came after Intervention that evening. It was a new show entitled Obsession. It was a show featuring people suffering from OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder).

I started watching it because it dealt with a woman obsessed with cleaning herself and to tell the truth, I wanted to learn more about that disorder.

In my mind, I pictured her washing her hands over and over again or something like that. What I saw within the next 5 minutes shocked me so much, I had to shut off the TV. I could not get the image out of my mind. I felt dirty.

I do not know what possessed that poor woman to permit her most intimate moments of her disorder be filmed and I will not judge her. Perhaps she really was desperate for help and this was her way of crying out. I believe she was exploited by the television industry who saw an opportunity to make money out of someone's suffering.

It seems to me that the television industry is like everything else in this instant gratification society in which we live. They want to make a fast buck with as little effort as possible. There does not seem to be any need to hire writers or actors for that matter. Laziness and lack of compassion seems to be the recipe for success in the television industry.

The television is not entirely worthless though. We can use it to become saints. We after all, we have The Eternal Word Television Network. Mother Angelica and EWTN have really been the beacon of light of truth in the dark world of of sin we call television.

It is because I watch EWTN that I can clearly see the difference when watching secular television. When I watch any show on EWTN, I obtain a sense of peace, love, and a greater love for God and my fellow human beings. Just the opposite is true when watching anything else on television, including seemingly harmless sitcoms.

There can be no doubt that we are in real danger of offending God by the TV programs we expose ourselves and more importantly our children to.

We should ask ourselves before we start watching a show on TV: "Could I watch this show if Jesus was sitting next to me?"

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Monday, June 08, 2009

Patron Saint of Confession


I was recently introduced to St. Leopold Mandic by a priest friend.

He was a physically frail Capuchin Friar with a malformed body but with a very strong spiritual faith.

He helped so many people through his apostolate as a confessor, spending many long hours hearing confessions. He was very compassionate to people in despair because of their enslavement to sin.
Early in his Capuchin life, Leopold Mandic was asked to surrender his missionary aspirations and personal preference so as to be given the work of Confessor and Spiritual Advisor. He once expressed his feelings about this when he said: "I am like a bird in a cage, but my heart is beyond the seas."

A Prayer

O God, source of life and love, you gave Saint Leopold a tremendous compassion for sinners and a desire for church unity. Through his prayers, grant that we may acknowledge our need of forgiveness, show love to others, and strive to bring about a living unity among Christians. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

We have in heaven the heart of a mother, The Virgin, our Mother, who at the foot of the Cross suffered as much as possible for a human creature, understands our troubles and consoles us.

St. Leopold Mandic Capuchin

Source of background of St. Leopold Mandic and prayer here
Pope Paul VI's homily at the beatification of Fr.Leopold
( Excerpts )

Look! Look! Saint Francis! Do you see him? Look how poor he is, how human. It is indeed Saint Francis himself, so humble, so serene, so absorbed as to appear carried away in his own inner vision of the invisible presence of God. And yet to us and for us he remains so present, so accessible, so available that he appears to know us, to await us, to know all about us and to be able to read our hearts. Look well: he is a poor little Capuchin, he looks ill and frail and yet so strangely strong that we seem to be drawn to him spellbound. Look at him through Franciscan eyes. Do you see him? Are you astonished? Who is he? Yes, let us admit it, he is frail, popular yet true image of Jesus, of that very Jesus who speaks at once to the ineffable God, to the Father who is Lord of heaven and earth, and also to us, bound up as we are in the littleness of our suffering humanity. [...]

But who is it, then? It is Father Leopold. Yes, the Servant of God, Fr. Leopold of Castelnovo, who was called Adeodato Mandic before he became a friar. [...] Here, in this case, Canon Law has been indulgent, departing from the rule which does not permit the discussion of the virtues of a Servant of God until fifty years after his death. Yet, how could his case be delayed when the voice of the people in favour of his holiness, instead of fading with the passing of time, grew ever more insistent, more well-documented and more certainly authenticated? The judgement of the Church (cfr. can. 2101), in anticipation a favourable conclusion, had to give way to the spontaneous chorus of all who had known this humble Capuchin or had experienced his marvelous intercession. So it is not only those who have benefited from his prayers who proclaim Fr. Leopold's exceptional moral and spiritual worth. There are a few still living who can testify to this, saying: "I knew him. Yes, he was a holy religious, a man of God, one of those exceptional souls who at once impress their sanctity upon us." And in the memory of those who know something of the history of the Capuchin Order there appears again the remembrance of those great friars of the past, faithful to the most strict Franciscan traditions personifying his holiness. Let us just recall one typical literary figure, well-known to all: Manzoni's Fr. Cristoforo.

[...] The late Cardinal Larraona, then Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, in the 1962 decree regarding the Beatification of Fr. Leopold wrote as follows: "This was his daily routine; after saying Mass early in the morning, he used to sit in the confession room and stay there the whole day long hearing confessions. He kept this up for about forty years without any complaint." This is, we believe, the primary reason that has won for this humble Capuchin the Beatification which we are now celebrating.

He became holy principally in the exercise of the Sacrament of Penance. Thank God, many splendid accounts of this aspect of the sanctity of the new Blessed have already appeared. We have only to admire and thank the Lord for offering to the Church in these days such a singular figure of a minister of the sacramental grace of Penance. [...] May Blessed Leopold strengthen souls eager for spiritual advancement to assiduous frequenting of Confession which some critics, certainly not inspired by mature Christian wisdom, would like to see relegated among the outmoded forms of living, and personal spirituality.

[...] To you Franciscan Brothers of the Capuchin Order: our thanks for having given to the Church and to the world a typical example of your strict, friendly and wholesome school of Christianity as faithful to itself as it is able to rouse up again the joy of prayer and goodness in the hearts of the people.

To you sons of Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the whole of Yugoslavia: honour to you for having brought forth in our time such a lofty and yet human example of your Catholic tradition.

And to you Paduans: we wish you to honour, beside your own Saint Anthony, this not dissimilar Franciscan brother so that from them both you may hand on to the next generations the Christian and human virtues already so splendidly enshrined in your history.

Source for homily excerpt

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Sunday, June 07, 2009

Trinity Sunday

Holy Trinity

Daily Prayer to the Most Holy Trinity.

Author: Unknown

O most holy Trinity, Almighty God, we adore You, who give life and vigor to every creature and who shed light eternal where there is darkness. We offer you our hearts, our souls, and our whole being, today and on the days to come, that we may offer perfect praise and love to your glorious Name. Amen.

O Father almighty, we thank you wholeheartedly for all the blessings and graces You have so generously given us then and now.

O merciful Christ Jesus, wash away our sins with your most precious blood. Feel the beating of our hearts and make them like your own. Oh, dear Jesus, wipe away our tears and pardon us for our sinfulness. Be with us, O Lord, until our dying day that we may be worthy of your mercy and forgiveness.

O Holy Spirit, our guide and inspiration, lead us to the right path. And if, on our way, we encounter difficulties and trials, do not allow us to fall or lose hope. Grant us the graces we need daily that we may also share our blessings with our fellowmen. And when the time comes, O Holy Spirit, lead us to the place that is secure, full of joy and eternal peace. Amen.
Prayer Source

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