Saturday, June 27, 2009

St. Philip Neri's Maxims - Part III On Prayer and Purity of Young Men

St. Philip Neri

The following are from the Month of March, the focus being on prayer:

- When a spiritual person feels a great calmness of mind in asking anything of God, it is a good sign that God either has granted it, or will do so shortly.

- To leave our prayer when we are called to do some act of charity for our neighbour, is not really a quitting of prayer, but leaving Christ for Christ, that is, depriving ourselves of spiritual sweetnesses in order to gain souls.

- It is good for a man to go from prayer rather with an appetite and desire to return to it, than satiated and weary.

- The wisdom of the Scriptures is learned rather by prayer than by study.

- Let women remain indoors, and look after their families, and not be desirous of going into public.

- We must pray incessantly for the gift of perseverance.

- If in times of dryness in prayer we make acts of humility, self-knowledge, protestations of our own inability to help ourselves, and petitions for God’s assistance, all this is real and substantial prayer.

- The best remedy for dryness of spirit, is to picture ourselves as beggars in the presence of God and the Saints, and like a beggar, to go first to one saint, then to another, to ask a spiritual alms of them with the same earnestness as a poor fellow in the streets would ask an alms of us.

- We may ask a spiritual alms even corporally, by going first to the church of one Saint, and then to the church of another, to make our petition.

- If young men wish to protect themselves from all danger of impurity, let them never retire to their own rooms immediately after dinner, either to read or write, or do anything else; but let them remain in conversation, because at that time the devil is wont to assault us with more than usual vehemence, and this is that demon which is called in Scripture the noonday demon, and from which holy David prayed to be delivered.

- If young men would preserve their purity, let them avoid bad company.

- Young men should be very careful to avoid idleness.

- In order to preserve their purity, young men should frequent the Sacraments, and especially confession.

- We must never trust ourselves, for it is the devil’s way first to get us to feel secure, and then to make us fall.

- We ought to fear and fly temptations of the flesh, even in sickness, and in old age itself, aye, and so long as we can open and shut our eyelids, for the spirit of incontinence gives no truce either to place, time, or person.

- One of the most efficacious means of keeping ourselves chaste, is to have compassion for those who fall through their frailty, and never to boast in the least of being free, but with all humility to acknowledge that whatever we have is from the mercy of God.

- To be without pity for other men’s falls, is an evident sign that we shall fall ourselves shortly.

- The devil generally makes use of the weaker sex when he wishes to cause us to fall.

- In order to begin well, and to finish better, it is quite necessary to hear mass every day, unless there be some lawful hindrance in the way

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My Short Talk on Spiritual Moms Apostolate

Spiritual Moms Diocese of Honolulu
Today I gave a short talk about the Spiritual Moms Apostolate. I was asked by Fr. Dariusz of St. Stephen's Church in Paterson to share this information with his parishioners. Father wanted his parishioners to learn more about spiritually adopting a priest during this Year for Priests. He would like to start such an apostolate at St. Stephen's, Paterson, NJ.

I thought I would share the main points of my talk as well the history how Easter and I started this apostolate. I am getting more an more inquiries on how to go about starting a Spiritual Moms Apostolate in other diocese. I thought it would also be helpful to those of you who feel called to either spiritually adopt a priest or seminarian and/or to start a spiritual moms apostolate in your parish or at the diocese level.

The seed for spiritually adopting priests was planted in my mind after reading the Zenit Article dated December 11, 2007, Vatican Seeking Spiritual Moms for Priests

That particular article offered the link for the Congregation of the Clergy's resources for Spiritual Motherhood

It was on or about that time that I contacted Easter of a Tribute to Our Priests to see if she felt call to join me in this apostolate. I do not remember exactly but I do not think Easter hesitated for a second to wholeheartedly agree.

On January 22nd, 2008 at the March for Life, Easter and I approached Bishop Larry Silva right there and then, and briefly explained what we envisioned and asked him for his permission. We had to provide more details on this prospective apostolate to our bishop. Not too long after we had permission from Bishop Silva, and the Spiritual Moms Apostolate was formed.

The next stop was to get the word out on this newly formed apostolate. It was with the help of our mutual friend Steve Odo, as well as Fr. Peter Dumag, Fr. Pascual Abaya, Fr. Marc Alexander, and other devout Catholics, that word was spread via the Adoration Chapels, the Diocese of Honolulu e-letter and maybe the diocesan paper the Hawaii Catholic Herald. On that one I am not 100% sure.

Then we started to collect names of both priests and seminarians who belonged to the Diocese of Honolulu as well as prospective spiritual moms.

Easter was the "recruiter" and she did a fantastic job of spreading the word to Catholic women to consider becoming a spiritual mom.

Once we had the two separate lists completed and re-checked for accuracy, the matching of the spiritual moms and their spiritual sons began. I was in charge of actual matching up the Spiritual Moms and the Spiritual Sons.

Although the matching done randomly we know we had heavenly guidance. Easter and I prepared for this important step by prayer and a Holy Hour of Adoration beforehand.

Then again before choosing names from the two separate piles, I prayed to the Holy Spirit and our Blessed Mother for guidance.

When we saw some of the matches that were made, we had no doubt that the Holy Spirit and the Blessed Mother had indeed assisted us.

I shared the foregoing in in my post dated October 11, 2008

On April 22, 2008, the Holy Father Benedict XVI gave his support for the search for spiritual moms for priests. Zenit article

From my post dated April 24, 2008, it appears by that day all priests and seminarians in the Diocese of Honolulu had been spiritually adopted.

After my short talk this morning there was a questions and answers time:

- I was asked what was expected from these spiritual moms.

I explained that we were to focus on prayers and sacrifices.

Some of the recommended prayers would be the Holy Rosary, Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Holy hours of Adoration were highly recommended as was daily Mass and reception of Holy Communion for their intention.

- Father Dariusz asked me to give examples of sacrifices we should make.

I could only speak for myself so I mentioned mortifications whenever possible. For example, eating whatever is served in front of you without complaining, whether you like it or not. Not adding salt even if the food really needs it. If it is hot, suffer the little discomfort. If it is too cold, do not put on anything to be warm, If someone corrects you, keep quiet, If an "inferior" directs you to do something, obey without question, etc., These are little things yet at the moment, there is a strong temptation to add the salt, to put on the fan, etc. Remember you are making a sacrifice for your spiritual son. Just maybe it was that little sacrifice that will keep him close to God not not fall when Satan tempts him.

- I was also asked if the spiritual moms and sons should know about each other.

Here I used Easter's quote once more when I explained that "ours was a quiet apostolate". It was up to the spiritual mom to contact the spiritual son and let him know. But I did mention that from experience, many priests I have talked to are pleasantly surprised and grateful that they have a spiritual mom and dedicating their prayers and sacrifices for them.

At that point I added that if the spiritual mom chose to let her spiritual son know, then it would also be a very good idea to remember him with a gift or a card on special occasions such as birthday, anniversary of his ordination or simply just to invite him to her home for a family meal.

- One lady asked me if this was open to deacons since they were ordained ministers of the church too.

I explained that this apostolate was specifically for priests and for the seminarians who would one day be ordained priests.

- Fr. Dariusz asked if we could provide financial assistance to our spiritually adopted seminarian.

I honestly told him that Easter and I had not considered that previously but that I would bring it up in the future. Of course, if the spiritual mom would like to do that, it would be a nice gesture but not a requirement.

Well, that is about it.

When I get back to Hawaii, Easter and I will be meeting regarding the SMA. Again, if there are any of you who live in the Diocese of Honolulu, are a devout Catholic woman and feels called to this apostolate, please contact one of us and we will gladly give you the name of your spiritual son.

This spiritual adoption is a commitment. It is not be taken lightly. Your spiritual son is depending on your prayers and sacrifices.

In the event, you are a spiritual mom but feel you can no longer spiritually adopt, please contact one of us immediately and another spiritual mom will be assigned to that priest or seminarian.

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Friday, June 26, 2009

YEAR FOR PRIESTS - What Can We Do for Year of the Priests?

Year for Priests

Fr. Mark Kirby of Vultus Christi has excellent suggestions.
1. You can ask your Parish Priest to offer the Votive Mass of Jesus Christ, Eternal High Priest on the First Thursday of the Month. Suggest that he use the parish bulletin and the Sunday homily to invite the faithful to participate in this monthly Mass for the sanctification of all priests.

2. Study the Holy Father's Letter for the Year of Priests in a small group. Make copies. Mark them up. Take the message to heart. So much of what the Holy Father writes never reaches ordinary Catholics! Get the word out!

3. Yes, you can offer all your sufferings -- physical, emotional, and spiritual -- for the sanctification of all priests.

4. Considering the damage done to the priesthood by sins of calumny, detraction, and tale-bearing, you can resolve to refrain from all critical, unkind, and judgmental speech (and blogging) concerning priests, and also resolve never to repeat disedifying comments, anecdotes, or gossip concerning priests, their sins, and their failings.

5. Don't forget the souls of priests in purgatory. You may want to join with others in having Masses offered for the happy repose of the souls of departed priests.

6. Resolve to show all priests a supernaturally motivated respect and reverence. Reclaim the beautiful Catholic custom of asking for a priest's blessing whenever you encounter him. And brother priests, don't hesitate to offer your priestly blessing on every occasion!

7. "And He said to them, "This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting" (Mk 9:32). In reparation for the sins of priests and to obtain for them graces of conversion, deliverance from patterns of habitual sin, and fortitude in spiritual combat, you can fast, abstain, or offer some other mortification for priests every Wednesday. (Spy Wednesday was the day of Judas' plotting against Our Lord.)

8. On Thursday (the day of the institution of the Most Holy Eucharist and of the Priesthood) you can spend one hour before the Blessed Sacrament in thanksgiving for the gift and mystery of the priesthood, and in confident supplication for the sanctification of all priests. I recommend that during this hour you meditate Our Lord's own prayer for priests in the 17th Chapter of Saint John's Gospel.

9. On Friday (the day of Our Lord's Blessed Passion) make the Way of the Cross for priests or pray the Litany of the Precious Blood or the Litany of the Sacred Heart for them.

10. Every Saturday (Our Blessed Lady's day) offer for priests five decades of the Rosary or the Ave, Maris Stella, a most suitable liturgical hymn for interceding for priests.

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Feast Day of San Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer

Padres de San Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer
Josemaría, Santiago y Carmen Escrivá

Picture source
San Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer
Celebrating the Latin Mass

Photo Source

Prayer for Saint Josemaría's intercession.
O God, through the mediation of Mary our Mother, you granted your priest St. Josemaría countless graces, choosing him as a most faithful instrument to found Opus Dei, a way of sanctification in daily work and in the fulfillment of the Christian's ordinary duties. Grant that I too may learn to turn all the circumstances and events of my life into occasions of loving You and serving the Church, the Pope and all souls with joy and simplicity, lighting up the pathways of this earth with faith and love. Deign to grant me, through the intercession of St. Josemaría, the favor of ... (make your request). Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father

Prayer Source Opus Dei

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Updated List of Saints of the Holy Eucharist

Holy Eucharist
The original list can be found here
The following list is from Saintly Guides for the Eucharistic Year compled by Holy Family Cenacle Little Falls, New Jersey. Can you think of any other saints that fit this category? Just leave a comment and I will add them to the list.

Also, try checking out the links for each saint. I have tried to find the best short bio for them.

1. St. Canute

2. St. John Bosco

3. St. Juliana Falconieri

4. St. Miguel Febres

5. St. Melchtilde

6. St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows

7. St. Stanislaus

8. St. Gemma Galgani

9. St. Benedict Joseph Labre

10. St. Mary Magdalene Dei Pazzi

12. St. Frances Caracciolo

13. St. John Francis Regis

14. Gorcum Martyrs

17. St. Frederick

18. St. Alphonsus De Liguori

19. St. John Mary Vianney

20. St. John Eudes

21. St. Clare of Assisi

22. St. Rose of Lima

23. St. Nicholas of Tolentino

24. St. Catherine of Genoa

25. St. Eleasar de Sabran

26. St. Wenceslaus

27. St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

28. St. Ignatius of Antioch

29. Bl. Timothy Giaccardo

30. St. Gertrude the Great

31. St. Leonard of Port Maurice

32. St. Catherine Laboure

33. St. John of Sahagun

34. St. Germaine Cousin

35. St. Gerard Majella

36. St.Peter Julian Eymard (Thanks to the ever-vigilant reader!)

37. Saint Paschal Baylon (Added 6/25/09 thanks to Anonymous)

38. Saint Pius X (Added 6/25/09 thanks to Anonymous)

39. Blessed Imelda (Added 6/27/09 thanks to Theresa)

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Pope: There's an Answer to Empty Confessionals


Benedict XVI is urging priests to not become resigned to empty confessionals, but to help people rediscover the beauty of the sacrament by deepening their understanding of the Eucharist.

Explains St. John Vianney's "Virtuous Circle" Secret

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Solemnity - Nativity of St. John the Baptist

Birth of St. John the Baptist

O glorious Saint John the Baptist, greatest prophet among those born of woman (Luke 7, 28), although thou wast sanctified in thy mother's womb and didst lead a most innocent life, nevertheless it was thy will to retire into the wilderness, there to devote thyself to the practice of austerity and penance; obtain for us of thy Lord the grace to be wholly detached, at least in our hearts, from earthly goods, and to practice Christian mortification with interior recollection and with the spirit of holy prayer.

Prayer source Sue

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Maxims of St. Philip Neri - Part II

Saint Philip Neri

Here are the maxims I have chosen from the month of February.
- He who wishes to be wise without the true Wisdom, or saved without the Saviour, is not well, but sick - is not wise, but a fool.

- Devotion to the Blessed Virgin is actually necessary, because there is no better means of obtaining God’s graces than through His most holy mother.

- A man should force himself to be obedient, even in little things which appear of no moment; because he will thus render the practice of obedience in great matters easy to himself.

- He who always acts under obedience, may rest assured that he will not have to give an account of his actions to God.

- Tears are no sign that a man is in the grace of God, neither must we infer that one who weeps when he speaks of holy and devout things necessarily leads a holy life.

- Cheerfulness strengthens the heart and makes us persevere in a good life; wherefore the servant of God ought always to be in good spirits.

- When a man is freed from a temptation or any other distress, let him take great care to show fitting gratitude to God for the benefit he has received.

- We must accept the adversities which God sends us without reasoning too much upon them, and we must take for granted that it is the best thing which could happen to us.

- Every one ought to give in readily to the opinion of another, and to argue in favour of another and against himself, and take things in good part.

- There is nothing more to the purpose for exciting a spirit of prayer, than the reading of spiritual books.

- Let a man always think that he has God before his eyes.

- When a man is in an occasion of sin, let him look what he is doing, get himself out of the occasion, and avoid the sin.

- There is nothing good in this world: Vanitas vanitatum, et omnia vanitas.

- Beginners in religion ought to exercise themselves principally in meditation on the Four Last Things.

- Beginners in religion ought to exercise themselves principally in meditation on the Four Last Things.

- There is nothing the devil fears so much, or so much tries to hinder, as prayer.

- An excellent method of preserving ourselves from relapsing into serious faults, is to say every evening, “To-morrow I may be dead.”

- The religious state is indeed the highest, but it is not suitable for all.

- A most excellent means of learning how to pray, is to acknowledge ourselves unworthy of such a benefit, and to put ourselves entirely into the hands of the Lord.

- The true preparation for prayer consists in the exercise of mortification; for he who wishes to give himself up to prayer without mortification, is like a bird wishing to fly before it is fledged.

- We can never arrive at the contemplative life, if we do not first exercise ourselves laboriously in the active life.

- We must exercise the spirit which God gives us in prayer, and follow that; so that, when, for example, it inclines us to meditate on the Passion, we must not wish to meditate on some other mystery.

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YEAR FOR PRIESTS - Annus Sacerdotalis

Year for Priests Logo
This site is from the Congregation for Clergy. Annus Sacerdotalis

You can find lots of useful information, banners, logo, prayers here.

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Monday, June 22, 2009

A Bishop's Letter to His Newly Reassigned Priest


The pastor of my mom's parish was recently reassigned. It is a sad time as the parishioners of Blessed Sacrament see their shepherd leaving after six years.

Obedient as he is called to be, Father will be going to his new assignment with the following instructions from his bishop:
...As you commence your priestly ministry... be sure to firmly establish the Eucharist as source and summit of the life of the parish. Do everything you can for the proper celebration of Eucharist on Sundays and every day of the week in accord with the norms of the Church, especially the most recent document, Redemptionis Sacramentum. I ask you not to substitute Communion Services for daily Mass.

Furthermore, to help our people appreciate the great mystery of the Eucharist, I would ask you to do all in your power to encourage reverence toward the Blessed Sacrament, both by the position of the tabernacle in the body of the Church and by the reverence that you personally show, and also by fostering Eucharistic Adoration as part of the spirituality of the parish.

As a sacred minister of the Sacraments, I also ask that you foster a greater participation in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Help your people to understand the "Reconciliation is principally a gift of the heavenly Father." (John Paul II in Reconiliatio et Paenitentia.5 and that confession of sin is the response of the heart that rests in the assurance of God's love.

Be sure to provide ample opportunities for people to come to receive the Sacrament of Penance individually.

Remember that as an ordained priest you have been made a "fisher of men" and given the grace of calling others to service in the Church. I, therefore, ask you by the silent example of your priestly life and by your preaching, as well as invitation, to encourage many young men o consider the priesthood and as many young men and women to consider consecrated life. Do all that you can to implement the Stirring into Flame pastoral initiative for increasing vocations in the diocese, for it is incumbent upon us to look for those who will take our place in the future.

In my recent pastoral, Evangelization: Grace and Vocation, I have set evangelizaiton as a priority for the Church of Paterson. The Church exists to evangelize. I encourage you to follow the direction set in this pastoral and to make your community grow through prayer and constant evangelization...

Sincerely your in Christ,
Most Rev. Arthur J. Serratelli, STD, SSL, DD
Bishop of Paterson
I want to thank Fr. Patrick for giving me permission to print this excerpt of Bishop's Serratelli's letter, and to share it with you.

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