Saturday, October 15, 2011

Words of Saint Teresa de Jesús

Picture source

 "...Why must we desire so many blessings and joys, and everlasting glory, all at the cost of the good Jesus?  If we are not helping Him to carry His Cross with the Cyrenean shall we not at least weep with the daughters of Jerusalem?...

Detail of the Ecstasy of St. Teresa by Gianlorenzo Bernini

Picture source

"We can converse and speak with Thee about anything, just as we wish, when we have lost our initial fear and terror at seeing Thy majesty and acquired a deeper fear of offending Thee--but not a fear of punishment, my Lord, for that is of no account by comparison with loss of Thee! ..."

Source: The Autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila: The Life of Teresa of Jesus, Image Books.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Annual Rosary Rally in the Park

Thanks to a lovely and dedicated woman, Josephine and of course, her many assistants, we were blessed to have another wonderful afternoon of Rosary in the Park.  This is a local annual event to commemorate Our Lady of Fatima's last apparition on October 13, 1917.  This year was extra special as our dear Bishop Larry joined the faithful in honoring our beautiful blessed mother!  It was also the first time a shower of blessing (rain) fell while the sun was still shining.  It reminded me of what the people must have experienced the day the sun danced.

The gathering started with our bishop leading us in prayer.  Then that was followed by the procession around the park.  Our Lady's statue was crowned with a beautiful Haku lei and roses.  We then chanted the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3:00 p.m. or a little past that time.  We prayed the Luminous Mysteries...mostly in the rain and then we renewed our total Consecration (St. Louis de Montfort).  The bishop gave his final blessing and we all left...very happy participants in a very joyful event. 

The following are some photos from the Rosary gathering.   

Bishop Larry's arrival
Deacon Vince and Bishop Larry
The Gathering and a Prayer
Crucifix leads the Procession Honoring Our Lady
Followed by Bishop Larry and Josephine
A large group of the faithful came
The World Apostolate of Fatima, Honolulu Division Banner in the Procession
The Crowning of Our Lady
Bishop brings flowers to the Fairest

The Fairest
The Divine Mercy image
The Divine Mercy Chaplet...chanted
The Five Luminous Mysteries led by Bishop Larry
Rosary in the Rain
Faithful Father and Son Praying the Rosary
Bishop's Final Blessing
Filmmaker and photographer yesterday...Venny V.
The World Apostolate of Fatima - Honolulu Diocese Division

Thursday, October 13, 2011

October 13th - the Day the Sun Danced

Photo on the day of the last apparition
Picture source

13 October 1917

The proclamation of a public miracle caused the most intense speculation throughout Portugal, and the journalist Avelino de Almeida, published a satirical article on the whole business in the anti-religious newspaper O Seculo. People from other parts of the country descended, in their tens of thousands, on the Cova, despite the terrible storm that lashed the mountain country around Fatima, on the eve of the 13th. Many pilgrims went barefooted, reciting the rosary as they went, all crowding into the area around the Cova, as by midmorning the weather again turned bad and heavy rain began to fall...

The Miracle of the Sun

At the same time the vast crowd saw a true miracle. The black clouds parted, and the sun became visible, looking like a dull grey disc that could be looked at directly quite easily. In O Seculo Avelino de Almeida would adopt a very different tone from his earlier satirical article on Fatima:

" could see the immense multitude turn towards the sun, which appeared free from clouds and at its zenith. It looked like a plaque of dull silver and it was possible to look at it without the least discomfort. It might have been an eclipse which was taking place. But at that moment a great shout went up and one could hear the spectators nearest at hand shouting: "A miracle! A miracle!" Before the astonished eyes of the crowd, whose aspect was Biblical as they stood bareheaded, eagerly searching the sky, the sun trembled, made sudden incredible movements outside all cosmic laws - the sun "danced" according to the typical expression of the people. ...

Read the rest from the source: Theotokos' Apparitions in Fatima

Examination of Conscience in Real Time

I had a booger of a sin to confess. After hem-hawing around about whether or not to go to my home parish or some other far away parish, I toyed with the idea that my sin might not be a sin at all, and maybe I was just being scrupulous. But I couldn't kick the guilty sensation it caused, and finally, this morning, enough was enough. I had to humble up, confess the dumb sin and get it over with...

Betty Duffy's Examination of Conscience in Real Time.

What a good post~~

Mahalo to the Anchoress!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Our Lady of the Pillar

Picture source



by Brother John M. Samaha, S.M.

What do you know about Our Lady of the Pillar? Have you heard of her? Except for Hispanic peoples, especially Spaniards, and lovers of Hispanidad, she is most likely not as widely known as the Blessed Virgin Mary of other famous shrines. Yet her story pre-dates the gospels and was told long before the gospels were written. This is an interesting story, seemingly unbelievable, about Mary’s first apparition in history.


The tradition tells us that seven years after the death of Jesus, on January 2, 40 A.D., The Apostle St. James the Elder, brother of St. John, sat tired and disappointed by the bank of the Ebro River in what is now Zaragoza, Spain. The people of the Roman province of Hispania (Spain/Iberian Peninsula) were not open and receptive to the Good News of Jesus and St. James was ready to give up his efforts to evangelize them. On that January day the Blessed Virgin Mary, still living in Palestine, appeared to James atop a column or pillar of stone. With encouraging words, she assured him that the people of Hispania would become Christians and that their faith would be as strong and durable as the pillar on which she stood. To remember the visit and promise of the Virgin Mary, the first Marian shrine was built around the pillar. And James began to convert the pagans of early Spain.


Many will automatically think this is just another pious myth among many Catholic legends and an interesting story for tourist guide books, or another excuse for celebrating a weeklong fiesta around the time of the feast of Our Lady of the Pillar, which is celebrated on October 12. Some will suspect this is simply one more occasion for selling glitzy, chintzy Marian souvenirs. Why would an enlightened person of this modern era believe such a story? Yet neither natural nor religious reasoning have been able to discredit and discard the story of Mary of the Pillar and relegate her to unbelief and something unworthy of genuine devotion.

On the positive side, it is interesting to note that the German Augustinian stigmatist and visionary of the early 19th century, Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, comments on Mary of the Pillar’s appearance to James. With rich detail she describes the Zaragoza event in chapter 14 of The Life of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Some, even with scientific reasoning, might dismiss any claims of sincere devotion of Marian devotees. The story of Our Lady of the Pillar does seem unbelievable, unless you grew up with it or have an unshakeable faith. Anyone who was raised in Zaragoza or somewhere in Spain, anyone who has grown up knowing Our Lady of the Pillar, is intimately linked to her as any Mexican person is to Our Lady of Guadalupe, or any Irish Catholic is to Our Lady of Knock. The same is true of Lourdes and the French, or Fatima and the Portuguese, or Czestochowa and the Polish.

The reality

For devotees of these and other Marian apparitions, Mary is not only the Mother of Jesus and of the Church; she is above all their mother – and our mother. Some might even be lapsed Catholics, but they will at least once a year on her feast day visit her church or pray to her.

Our Lady of the Pillar has a special place in the lives of many, not the least of which are those who bear her name. In Spain and in Latin America the name “Pilar” is commonly given to girls at baptism. At one time in Spain almost everyone wore a medal of Nuestra Senora del Pilar. Our Lady of the Pillar is also immensely important in the history and mission of several religious congregations and movements, especially the Marianist Family founded by Blessed William Joseph Chaminade. Her special relation with Hispanic America results from Columbus’ discovery of America on October 12.

Devotion to Mary is something that cannot be dismissed simply with psychological and sociological explanations. This devotion goes beyond collective pride, national identity, and the need to belong. It is something more mysterious, something that transcends time, cultures, and even reason itself.

We learn to live with the seeming contradiction between reason and faith, between believing Mary is our mother and thinking all this is unbelievable. After all, faith is about love, mystery, and life. And those are real, even if we cannot understand them. Just because we do not fully comprehend all this and cannot fully explain it, does not mean it does not exist.

Let the thought and the image of Our Lady of the Pillar be a forceful reminder that we walk in the footsteps of St. James and the early Christians of Hispania in following Christ. May she be for us a pillar of faith.

Perhaps the conclusion penned by Franz Werfel in his popular novel, Song of Bernadette, says it best: “For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible. For those who believe, no explanation is necessary.”

Our Lady of the Pillar, pray for us!


Author’s note to editor:

The following information can serve as a complementary sidebar to this brief article.


Feast day: October 12

Traditional date of apparition: January 2, 40 A.D.

Shrine church: This is the first church built in Mary’s honor. The present basilica church was built between 1681 and 1961. The previous church was destroyed by fire in 1434. The frescoes were done by Francisco Goya in the early 19th century.

Statue: The statue atop the pillar of stone is about one foot in height and depicts the Virgin Mary with the Infant Jesus, who is holding a dove in his hand.
The original statue was destroyed in the 1434 fire. The present statue dates from the mid-15th century. Mantos are skirt-shaped cloaks that drape the pillar on which the statue stands. The use of mantos began in the early 16th century, and currently number about 300.

Significant miracle: During the Civil War of the 1930s, several aerial bombs were dropped on the shrine church, but none exploded. Two of those bombs now hang on the shrine wall.

Patroness titles: Patroness of All Hispanic Peoples -- by declaration of Pope John Paul II in 1984

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Photos from the Bishop's Mass Commemorating 2nd Anniversary of St. Damien's Canonization

St. Damien's Relic
Bishop Larry Silva celebrated a beautiful Mass today!  The Bishop looked very happy throughout the Mass.  He gave a wonderful homily on Saint Damien.
Gospel, Lk 11:37-41

37 He had just finished speaking when a Pharisee invited him to dine at his house. He went in and sat down at table.

38 The Pharisee saw this and was surprised that he had not first washed before the meal.

39 But the Lord said to him, 'You Pharisees! You clean the outside of cup and plate, while inside yourselves you are filled with extortion and wickedness.

40 Fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside too?

41 Instead, give alms from what you have and, look, everything will be clean for you.

He spoke briefly on today's Gospel and he tied in with how Father Damien like Jesus, was not concerned so much with the washing on the outside but how the cleanliness on the inside was more important.  Unfortunately said Bishop Larry, that was one of the reasons Father Damien contracted leprosy.  He was not a dirty man; just not that fastidious.

His relic was exposed for us to venerate.  See above photo.  The object that looks like a rock in the middle is his right heel bone.

The bishop had two concelebrants...two priests from Poland who were on a pilgrimage with a group.

Easter was there too and I believe she took more photos. I will post the link if she does share them.

I've already told two friends that I would remember to pray for them in front of Saint Damien's relic on Saturday.  If you would like me to do that for you, just let me know.  

2nd Anniversary of the Canonization of Father Damien

Today marks the second anniversary of Saint Damien's canonization. Bishop Silva will be celebrating a special Mass at noon today at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace. There will possibly be an opportunity to venerate Saint Damien's relic after Mass.

The following is a Q & A I found on how to correctly venerate a saint's relic after Mass.

Venerating Relics at Mass - EWTN.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Start and the End of Our Day

Picture source

The first thought we have upon waking should be of God.  The last thought we have before falling asleep should be of God, our loving Father and Creator.

Even before our eyes are opened, our hearts and minds should be thanking God for another day and for watching over us while we slept.  There is so much to thank God for even that early in the morning!  Think about it...a warm bed, a safe home, family...things we should not take for granted considering others are not so fortunate.

Now when I awake, I immediately try to greet Jesus, Mary, and St. Joseph as well as my guardian angel.  It is really a good way to start the day.   It makes me feel joy in my heart!  Then as soon as I get out of bed, I kneel for the morning offering.

The Morning Offering is not only a great way to start our day but it is also, according to Father Paul O'Sullivan in the his little book An Easy Way to Become a Saint, our first and most important prayer.  The following is what he wrote regarding our morning and evening prayers:

...Morning and evening prayers are most important factors in human life.  Far from being a matter of minor importance, they are the most urgent of our daily obligations.  If well said, they obtain for us all needful graces and protect us from many evils that may be waiting us in the course of the day.

If badly said or omitted, we expose ourselves to grievous calamities.  Many fall victims to disease or are killed by accidents or meet with premature deaths because they have not prayed...

Some unbelievers may scoff and think this borders on superstition. However, what Father O'Sullivan says has to be true. I have heard and read many stories on those who failed to ask  for God's protection.  If we place ourselves under God's protection, raising our hearts and minds to Him during the day, asking Him to protect us...either directly or through His blessed Mother, angels and you really think He won't make sure we are safe and sound?  One priest told me how so many car accidents could be avoided if people would only pray before they drive off. 

Our morning offering will also keep the devil at bay.  He wouldn't dare attack someone whose heart, mind and soul is so united to God.  And even if he tries we will be fortified against any temptations he may try to lure us with.

The following is Father Sullivan's words on this demonic attacks:

...There is certainly one peril that we have to face very day of our lives, which comes, as St. Peter and St. Paul warn us, from the fearful malice of the devil, who is ever using his keen angelic intelligence to work our ruin.  We are as defenseless as children in his hands.  Woe to us if we have not God's help in this daily conflict with our implacable enemy!...

Many Catholics seem to have little fear of the devil.  They take no precautions against his attacks.  He is the greatest evil and the most terrible danger that menaces us during all our life and most especially at the hour of death... "
At night we MUST do an examination of conscience.  It will help in seeing where we failed to do God's will and how we offended Him.  Then we can try to correct these failings the next day.  These examinations of conscience will be very helpful not only when we go to Confession but also in growing in sanctity.

The night time prayers should ones to thank God again for all the blessings and graces we received that day.  I also like to pray for each and every member of my family by name, my friends, priests, special intentions, etc.  I also add Archbishop Fulton Sheen's spiritual adoption prayer and end all this with the Memorare.

If you would like to share how you pray in the morning and evening, please feel free.

The following are a few Morning Offering prayers that you can use.
This is the one I pray daily:

  O my God, in union with the Immaculate Heart of Mary
[here kiss your Scapular as sign of your consecration to Mary,
which carries a partial indulgence], I offer Thee the Precious
Blood of Jesus from all the altars throughout the world, joining
with It the offering of my every thought, word and action of this day.
O my Jesus, I desire to day to gain every indulgence and merit
I can and I offer them, together with myself, to Mary Immaculate,
that she may best apply them in the interests of They Most
Sacred Heart. Precious Blood of Jesus, save us!
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!
Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!

Prayer source

The Morning Offering II

O Jesus, through the
Immaculate Heart of Mary,
I offer Thee my prayers, works,
joys and sufferings of this day
for all the intentions of Thy
Sacred Heart, in union with
the holy sacrifice of the Mass
throughout the world, in
reparation for my sins, for
the intentions of all our
associates, and in particular
for the general intention
recommended this month.

Daily Renewal of Total Consecration (for Militia Immaculata Members)

Immaculata, Queen and Mother of the Church, I renew my consecration to you this day and for always, so that you may use me for the coming of the Kingdom of Jesus in the whole world. To this end I offer you all my prayers, actions, and sacrifices of this day.

Prayer Source


ETERNAL FATHER, I desire to rest in Thy Heart this night. I make the
intention of offering to Thee every beat of my heart, joining to them as many acts
of love and desire. I pray that even while I am asleep, I will bring back to Thee
souls that offend Thee. I ask forgiveness for the whole world, especially for
those who know Thee and yet sin. I offer to Thee my every breath and heartbeat
as a prayer of reparation. Amen.

Prayer Source

For a Nightly Examination of Conscience utilizing Saint Ignatius of Loyola's Spiritual Exercises click here.

An Easy Way to Become a Saint by Fr. Paul O'Sullivan, OP (EDM), Tan Books

Mother Angelica Live Classics - Wisdom - Mother Angelica

THE ADMIRAL AND HIS LADY Mary in the Life of Columbus

Happy Columbus Day!

Picture source

by Brother John M. Samaha, S.M. and used with permission.

While a maelstrom of controversy and uncertainty concerning Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) has been unleashed in recent decades, there is no doubt of the admiral’s loving relationship with the Blessed Virgin Mary and his loyalty to the Church. He was patently Mary’s devoted client and servant. This explorer may be a favorite target of self-appointed and erroneously informed critics, yet no one can deny that his insistence on bringing missionaries with him to the New World was pivotal to the implantation of Catholicism among the natives of North, Central, and South America and for improving their lives.

Historical setting
Born into an Italian family in Genoa, Cristoforo Colombo (his name in Italian) became an outstanding sailor even in his youth. As a young seaman he dreamed of making a voyage to find a shorter route to the Far East because Marco Polo’s land route to China was becoming more dangerous and expensive. He knew the world was not flat, and so did most educated people of his time. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain were persuaded to sponsor the expedition to secure Spain’s wealth, Ferdinand’s goal, and to spread the Catholic faith, Isabella’s concern.
Remember that 1492 was still the Middles Ages. The Protestant Revolt did not erupt until 15 years later. And later, unlike Hernán Cortés, Columbus didn’t see Native Americans as slaves or enemies, but as children of God, and as potential converts, and allies of Spain.

The admiral’s dedication to Mary
Columbus was a staunch champion of the doctrine of Mary’s Immaculate Conception. His veneration of the Mother of the Redeemer was clearly a symbol of his faith and a mainspring of his life’s work of discovery.
At the very outset of his grand adventure, he recorded his devotedness to Mary by giving her name to his flagship.

Spanish seamen of that era frequently referred to their vessels by two designations: one was formal and dignified; the other was informal and casual. The nickname was generally used more popularly than the official, often religious, name of the ship.

The Niña (“Girl”) derived her familiar name from her master, Juan Niño. Formally christened the Santa Clara, the caravel was almost always listed by her popular nickname. The Pinta (“Painted One”) most likely bore the name of a saint, but it was probably used so seldom that no extant document lists it.
Columbus’ third and largest ship had been built in Galicia and was called La Galléga. Crew members noticed her tendency to lurch when turning, and dubbed the vessel Marigalanta (“Frivolous Mary”). In May 1492, she was chartered from Juan de la Cosa of Santona. Columbus himself named her the Santa Maria.
Before setting sail from southern Spain Cristobal Colón (his name in Spanish) went to confession and received Holy Communion at Mass. His flagship was outfitted with a chapel, where Mass was offered daily. Today the altar of that chapel is in Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, at the Christopher Columbus Museum. Mathilde DeLagarde
Boal inherited the altar in 1908 from her aunt, Victoria Colón, a descendant of Columbus who had preserved it at the Colón Castle in Spain.
Each day at nightfall, the admiral gathered his crew to sing the Salve Regina to salute their Protectress. Christopher Columbus emphatically demonstrated that his devotion to the Christian faith and to Mary was vital and vigorous. This is attested by the names he bestowed on lands never before seen by European eyes.

New Lands
He called his first discovery in the New World San Salvador in honor of our Holy Savior. Next he expressed his devotion to the Immaculate Conception by naming an island Santa Maria de la Concepción.
On Subsequent voyages, Columbus called an archipelago east of Cuba “Our Lady’s Sea.” and an unusually circular island Santa Maria Rotunda. Neither of these names has been preserved in modern maps. And geographers have failed to identify the land he christened La Concepción in August 1498. Unfortunately, many names of religious and patriotic significance were later secularized.

On the return of the first voyage, difficulties multiplied. The hardships endured were much more severe than those of the westward sailing and tested the mettle of all crew members. Food was scarce and supplies rapidly diminished. More than one hurricane struck and battered the caravels mercilessly. The Santa Maria had already run aground.

Vows in times of distress
The end seemed imminent on Feb. 14, 1493. Columbus called together the crew and urged them to implore God’s help.

After praying for a time, each crew member made a solemn vow to make a pilgrimage if the lot should fall to him. Columbus directed that the first act of thanksgiving be a pilgrimage to the famous Marian shrine of Santa Maria de Guadalupe in southern Spain, and that the chosen representative carry a five-pound candle.

Chickpeas were used to draw lots. One was marked with a cross. Columbus himself drew the marked pea.
The admiral selected a second renowned shrine of Our Lady for pilgrimage – Santa Maria de Loreto in Ancona, Italy. This time the cross-marked pea was drawn by seaman Pedro de Villa. Columbus promised to defray the expenses for this long pilgrimage.

Yet another lot was drawn, and this bound the admiral to spend a night in prayer at the church of Santa Clara de Moguer, home port of the Niña. To conclude this intense time of prayerful intercession, Columbus bound himself and the entire crew to go in their shirts in thankful visit to the first church of the Virgin Mary they encountered when they reached land.

Almost miraculously they rode out the storm, survived the damage and continued homeward.
But more danger awaited them. Two weeks later, on March 3, howling winds split their sails and threatened to rip them from the masts. Again the crew stormed heaven and drew lots for the pilgrimage to the Marian shrine of Santa Maria de la Cinta in Huelva, the port from which they had departed on the historic and world-changing voyage. Again the lot fell upon Columbus. It appeared that Our Lady was intervening to bring the admiral to her shrines.

This was an age in which people were quick to take vows during times of distress, only to forget them when trouble subsided and calm was restored. Not so Columbus.

Landing at the Azores on Feb. 17 or 18, 1493, he reminded his men of their obligation. Walking barefoot in their shirts led by Columbus, they went in procession to a small chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Mass was celebrated for them by a local priest. For most of the day Columbus remained at the chapel in prayer.

The admiral’s faithfulness
When they reached Spain, Columbus was honored by the monarch and hailed by the common people. But in this hour of triumph he was faithful to his vows. Traveling south from Barcelona to Seville, he went by way of the monastery and shrine of Santa Maria de Guadalupe on the slope of the Sierra de Estremadura. Not only did Columbus make the promised pilgrimage, but on the second voyage he named an island Guadipea because its mountains resembled those behind Santa Maria de Guadalupe.

Until life’s end, Columbus actively promoted the honor of Mary and her veneration. In 1498, he executed a formal document for the disposition of his property and future income. One of the major bequests was made for the establishment of a church on Española to be named Santa Maria de la Concepción. Seven years later, he stipulated in his last will and testament the specific site for the proposed church. Sadly, the memorial to Mary was never erected. Spanish rulers failed to honor their contract with Columbus and his estate did not have enough funds to materialize his wishes.

In his waning years, Columbus’ dedication to Mary was evidenced even more openly. Frequently, be wore the white cord of a Franciscan, and at least on one occasion appeared in the full habit of the sons of St. Francis of Assisi.

His ties with the Franciscans were close and genuine. He sought them out for their guidance and moral support, and the friars influenced his devotion to Mary and her Immaculate Conception.

In the 15th century, the theological opponents of the mystery of the Immaculate Conception were varied and vocal. But the Franciscans were early and ardent supporters of the doctrine. As early as 1263, the Franciscans celebrated the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Since 1484, Columbus enjoyed close relations with noted Franciscans. They had befriended him in his darkest hour, successfully interceded for him at court, and persuaded Isabella to sponsor his first voyage. It was the friary of Santa Maria de la Rábida in Huelva that offered him the strongest support.

In time of distress, the admiral turned to Mary for aid, and she responded. Is it too much to conjecture that a major motive in his unparalleled career of discovery was his desire to lay new treasures at the feet of his Lady?

No wonder, then, that more than a century and a quarter ago the Servant of God, Father Michael McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus, chose the intrepid navigator and admiral as model for the fraternal order of Catholic gentlemen. This is reflected in the page one report of the May 25, 1878, edition of the Connecticut Catholic: “As American Catholics, we do not know of anyone who more deserves our grateful remembrance than the great and noble man – the pious, zealous, and the faithful Catholic – the enterprising navigator, and the large-hearted sailor, Christopher Columbus – ‘the Christ-bearing dove’ as his name signifies.”