Saturday, October 13, 2012

Saintly Quote on Faith by St. Vincent de Paul

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"We should not examine articles of faith with a curious and subtle
spirit.  It is sufficient for us to know that the Church proposes them.  We 
can never be deceived in believing them." 

Our Lady of Fatima The Sixth Apparition of Our Lady

Our Lady of Fatima, Adoration Chapel, Blue Army Shrine, Washington, NJ
October 13, 1917

"We left home quite early, expecting that we would be delayed along the way.  Masses of people thronged the roads.  The rain fell in torrents.  My mother, her heart torn with uncertainty as to what was going to happen, and fearing ti would be the last day of my life, wanted to accompany me.

On the way, the scenes of the previous month, still more numerous and moving, were repeated.  Not even the muddy roads could prevent these people from kneeling in the most humble and suppliant of attitudes.  We reached the holmoak in the Cova da Iria.  Once there, moved by an interior impulse, I asked the people to shut their umbrellas and say the Rosary. A little later, we saw the flash of light, and then Our Lady appeared on the holmoak.

'What do you want of me?'

"I want to tell you that a chapel is to be built here in my honor.  I am the Lady of the Rosary. Continue always to pray the Rosary every day.  The war is going to end, and the soldiers will soon return to their homes."

'I have many things to ask you: the cure of some sick persons, the conversion of sinners, and other things..."

'Some yes, but not others.  They must amend their lives and ask forgiveness for their sins.'

Looking very sad, Our Lady said:

'Do not offend the Lord our God any more, because He is already so much offended.'

Then opening her hands, she made them reflect on the sun, and as she ascended, the reflection of her own light continued to be projected on the sun itself...

After Our Lady had disappeared into the immense distance of the firmament, we beheld St. Joseph with the Child Jesus and Our Lady robed in white with a blue mantle, beside the sun.  St. Joseph and the Child Jesus appeared to bless the world, for they traced the Sign of the Cross with their hands,.  When, a little later, this apparition disappeared, I saw Our Lord and Our Lady; it seemed to me that it was Our Lady of Dolors.  Our Lord appeared to bless the world in the same manner as St. Joseph had done.  This apparition also vanished, and I saw Our Lady once more, this time resembling Our Lady of Carmel.

World Apostolate of Fatima:  Spiritual Guide for the Salvation of Souls and World Peace, WAF USA

Friday, October 12, 2012

Saintly Quote - Faith by St. Teresa de Avila

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"The truth of faith alone, deeply graven in the soul, is sufficient to 
encourage us to very perfect works;
for it strengthens man and increases his charity."

Is it from God or is it from Satan?

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Today's Magnficat's Meditation helps us discern.

"Since the devil may disguise himself as a good spirit and even cause what appears to be authentic mystical phenomena, it is helpful to mention briefly the various signs of the diabolical spirit.

1.  Spirit of falsity.  The devil is the father of lies, but he cleverly conceals his deceit by half-truths and pseudo-mystical phenomena.

2.  Morbid curiosity.  This is characteristic of those who eagerly seek out the esoteric aspects of mystical phenomena or have a fascination for the occult or preternatural.

3.  Confusion, anxiety, and deep depression.

4.  Obstinacy.  One of the surest signs of a diabolical spirit.

5.  Constant indiscretion and a restless spirit.  Those who constantly go to extremes, as in penitential exercises or apostolic activity, or neglect their primary obligations to do some personally chosen work.

6.  Spirit of pride and vanity.  Very anxious to publicize their gifts of grace and mystical experiences.

7.  False humility.  This is the disguise for their pride and self-love.

8.  despair, lack of confidence, and discouragement   A chronic characteristic that alternates with presumption, vain security, and unfounded optimism.

9.  Disobedience and hardness of heart.

10. Impatience in suffering and stubborn resentment.

11. Uncontrolled passions and strong inclination to sensuality, usually under the guise of mystical union.

12.  Hypocrisy, simulation, and duplicity.

13.  Excessive attachment to sensible consolations, particularly in their practice of prayer.

14.  Lack of deep devotion to Jesus and Mary.

15.  Scrupulous adherence to the letter of the law and fanatical zeal in promoting a cause.  This characteristic readily opens the door to diabolical influence in reformers and demagogues."

-  Father Jordan Aumann, OP

Second Vatican II - Sacred Liturgy

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#19.  "With zeal and patience pastors of souls must promote the liturgical instruction of the faithful and also their active participation, both internal and external, taking into account their age, condition, way of life and standard of religious culture.  By so doing pastors will be fulfilling one of the chief duties of a faithful dispenser of the mysteries of God, and in this matter they must lead their flock not only by word but also by example..."

A.  General Norms

...(3) "Therefore no other person, not even a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority..."

Vatican Council II, 1981 Edition

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Saintly Quotes - Faith by St. Alphonsus Liguori

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"When faith grows weak, all virtues are weakened.  When faith is lost, all virtues are lost." 

Year of Faith - Called to Faith

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"...The sacred liturgy does not exhaust the entire activity of the Church.  Before men can come to the liturgy they must be called to faith and to conversion.  'How then are they to call upon him in whom they have not believed?  And how are they to believe in him of whom they have not heard?  And how are they to h ear without a preacher?  And how are men to preach unless they be sent?'" (Rom. 10:14-15)  

Vatican Council II, 1981 Edition, Sacred Liturgy

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Getting Ready for the Year of Faith - Recommended Reading

Well, tomorrow begins the Year of Faith!  Actually, this is very exciting.  As you may know, tomorrow is the feast of Blessed Pope John XXIII.  The Catholic Church is also commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council.  Lastly, it is the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Recommended reading:  

1.  Journal of a Soul by Pope John XXIII. via Roman Catholic Spiritual Direction Book Club.  Blessed Pope John XXIII's personal notebooks, papers, writings compiled into one large volume.  He started his journal writing as a young boy.

"I was a good boy, innocent, somewhat timid.  I wanted to love God at all costs and my one idea was to become a priest, in the service of simple souls who needed patient and attentive care.  Meanwhile I had to fight an enemy within me, self-love, and in the end I was able to get better of it.  But I was mortified to feel it constantly returning.  I was troubled about my distractions during prayer and I imposed  severe sacrifices on myself to get rid of them.  I took everything very seriously and my examinations of conscience were detailed and severe...Now, at a distance of more than sixty years, I can look upon these first spiritual writings of mine as if they had been written by someone else, and I bless the Lord for them..."

I wonder if there is anyone who read the above without being touched by this holy Father's humility and sincerity of heart.

2.  Vatican Council II:  The conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents

3.  The Holy Bible.  Consider reading it from the very beginning (Genesis).

4.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church.  Also consider reading the Catechism from the very start.  But an easier way is to sign up to get daily readings.  See sidebar for signup information.

Here at this blog I will try to post a saintly quote about faith to help us rediscover our the theological virtue of faith and to grow to appreciate it as this jubilee year progresses.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Masses - For God and Country

Important announcement from Father Andrew Apostoli, CFR the World Apostolate of Fatima

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On November 3, 2012 the first Saturday of the month, the World Apostolate of Fatima is asking for Masses to be offered.

Details can be found in the most recent issue of Soul magazine (PDF version here)

Year of Faith - Ringing of the Bells and Plenary Indulgence

From (in Honolulu) Sts. Peter and Paul Church's bulletin:


At 12 noon on October 11th, hundreds of Catholic churches and thousands of people across the United States will be joining together to ring in the first day of the Year of Faith.  Every church is invited to take part.

Anyone who will be attending the Noon Mass that day, please bring a bell and join us in ringing them for 3 minutes to celebrate the beginning of the Year of Faith.

Decree Granting Plenary Indulgence for Year of Faith

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 5, 2012 (Zenit).- Here is the translation of the Decree released by the Apostolic Penitentiary granting Plenary Indulgence during the Year of Faith.

Urbis et Orbis
Enriched by the Gift of Sacred Indulgences
Special Exercises of Piety to Be Undertaken during the Year of Faith
On the day of the 50th anniversary of the solemn opening of the Ecumenical Council Vatican II, to which Blessed John XXIII "assigned as main task to guard and present better the precious deposit of the Christian Doctrine, to make it more accessible to Christ's faithful and to all men of good will" (John Paul II, Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum, October 11, 1992: AAS 86 [1994] 113), the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI has established the beginning of a Year dedicated particularly to the profession of the true faith and to its correct interpretation, with the reading, or better, with the pious meditation of the Acts of the Council and of the Articles of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, published by Blessed John Paul II, thirty years after the beginning of the Council, with the precise intention to "induce the faithful to adhere better to it and to promote knowledge of it and its implementation" (Ibid., 114).
Already in the year of the Lord 1967, to recall the 19th centenary of the martyrdom of the Apostles Peter and Paul, a similar Year of Faith" was proclaimed by the Servant of God Paul VI, "to attest in a solemn profession of Faith, in as much as the essential contents that for centuries have constituted the patrimony of all believers, are in need of being confirmed, comprehended and deepened in an ever new way, in order to give coherent witness in historical conditions that are different from the past" (Benedict XVI, Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei, no. 4).
In this time of profound changes, to which humanity is subjected, the Holy Father Benedict XVI, with the proclamation of this second Year of Faith, intends to invite the People of God, of whom he is the universal Pastor, as well as brother Bishops of the whole world "to join the Successor of Peter, in the time of spiritual grace that the Lord offers us, in recalling the precious gift of the faith" (Ibid., no. 8).
To all faithful will be given "the opportunity to confess their faith in the Risen Lord [.] in the cathedrals and churches of the whole world; in [their] homes and with [their] families, so that everyone will feel strongly the need to know better and to transmit to future generations the everlasting faith. Religious as well as parish communities, and all the ancient and new ecclesial realities, will find the way in this Year to make public profession of the Creed" (Ibid.).
Moreover, all the faithful, individually and in community, will be called to give open witness of their faith before others in the particular circumstances of daily life: "Man's social nature itself exacts that he express externally the acts of religion, that he communicate with others in religious matters, profess his religion in a communal way" (Declaration, Dignitatishumanae, December 7, 1965: AAS 58 [1966], 932).
Because it is above all a question of developing to the highest degree -- in so far as it is possible on this earth -- holiness of life and hence of obtaining, in the highest degree, purity of soul, very useful will be the great gift of Indulgences, which the Church, in virtue of the power conferred on her by Christ, offers to all those who with the proper dispositions fulfill the special prescriptions to obtain them. "With the Indulgence -- Paul VI taught -- the Church, making use of her power of minister of the Redemption wrought by Christ the Lord, communicates to the faithful the participation of this fullness of Christ in the communion of Saints, furnishing them in very large measure the means to attain salvation" (Apostolic Letter Apostolorum Limina, May 23, 19745: AAS 66 [1974] 2898). Manifested thus is the "treasure of the Church," "of which also the merits of the Holy Mother of God and of all the elect, from the first to the last righteous" constitute "a further increase" (Clement VI, Bull Unigenitus Dei Filius, January 27, 1343).
The Apostolic Penitentiary, which has the task of regulating what concerns the concession and use of Indulgences, and of stimulating the spirit of the faithful to conceive correctly and to nourish the pious desire to obtain them -- solicited by the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, in attentive consideration of the Note with pastoral indications for the Year of Faith of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in order to obtain the gift of the Indulgences during the Year of Faith --, has established the following dispositions, issued in conformity with the mind of the August Pontiff, so that the faithful will be greatly stimulated to know and love the Doctrine of the Catholic Church and obtain more abundant spiritual fruits.
During the whole span of the Year of Faith, proclaimed from October 11, 2012 to the whole of November 24, 2013, all individual faithful truly repentant, duly confessed, communing sacramentally, and who pray according to the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff, will be able to acquire a Plenary Indulgence from the temporal punishment for their sins imparted by God's mercy, applicable in suffrage to the souls of the deceased faithful.
a.- Every time they take part in at least three instances of preaching during the Sacred Missions, or at least three lessons on the Acts of Vatican Council II and on the Articles of the Catechism of the Catholic Church in any church or ideal place;
b.- Every time they visit by way of pilgrimage a Papal Basilica, a Christian catacomb, a Cathedral; Church, a sacred place designated by the Ordinary of the place for the Year of Faith (for example between the Minor Basilicas and the Shrines dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, to the Holy Apostles and to Patron Saints) and take part there in some sacred function or at least pause for an apt time of recollection with pious meditations, concluding with the recitation of the Our Father, the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form, invocations to the Blessed Virgin Mary and, according to the case, to Holy Apostles or Patrons;
c.- Every time, in days determined by the Ordinary of the place for the Year of Faith (for example on the solemnities of the Lord, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, on the feast s of the Holy Apostles and Patrons, on the Chair of Saint Peter), in any sacred place they participate in a solemn Eucharistic celebration or the Liturgy of the Hours, adding the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form;
d.- A day freely chosen, during the Year of Faith, for the pious visit of the baptistery or other place, in which they received the sacrament of Baptism, renewing the baptismal promises in any legitimate formula.
Diocesan or Eparchial bishops, and those who in law are equivalent to them, in the most appropriate day of this time, on the occasion of the main celebration (for example November 24, 2013, on the solemnity of Jesus Christ King of the Universe, with which the Year of Faith will close) will be able to impart the Papal Blessing with the Plenary Indulgence, to be gained by all the faithful who receive this Blessing devoutly.
The truly repentant faithful, who cannot take part in solemn celebrations for serious reasons (as, first of all, nuns that live in convents of perpetual cloister, anchorites and hermits, prisoners, the elderly, the sick, as well as those that, in hospitals or other nursing places, give continuous service to the sick .), will obtain the Plenary Indulgence in the same conditions  if, united in spirit and thought to the faithful present, particularly in moments in which the Words of the Supreme Pontiff or of the Diocesan Bishops are broadcast on television or radio, recite in their own home  or where the impediment keeps them (for example in the chapel of the convent, of the hospital, of the nursing home, of the prison .) the Our Father, the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form, and other prayers in keeping with the objective of the Year of Faith, offering the sufferings or discomforts of their life.
In order that access to the sacrament of Penance and the obtaining of divine forgiveness through the power of the Keys is pastorally facilitated, the Ordinaries of the places are invited to grant to canons and priests -- who in the Cathedrals and in the designated Churches for the Year of Faith are able to hear the confessions of the faithful --, the faculties limited to the internal forum, of which, for the faithful of the Eastern Churches is canon 728, paragraph 2 of the CCEO, and in the case of an eventual reserve, those for canon 727, excluding, as is evident, cases considered in canon 728, paragraph 1; for the faithful of the Latin Church, the faculties of which are in canon 508, paragraph 1 of the CIC.
The confessors, after having admonished the faithful on the gravity of sins to which is annexed a reserve or a censure, will determine appropriate sacramental penances, such as to lead them to the most possible stable repentance and, according to the nature of the cases, to impose on them the reparation of eventual scandals and damages.
Finally, the Penitentiary warmly invites the Most Excellent Bishops, in as much as holders of the threefold munus of teaching, guiding and sanctifying, to take care in explaining clearly the principles and dispositions proposed here for the sanctification of the faithful, taking into account in a particular way the circumstance of place, culture and traditions. A catechesis adapted to the nature of each people, will be able to propose more clearly and with greater vivacity to the intelligence and root more firmly and profoundly in hearts the desire for this unique gift, obtained in virtue of the mediation of the Church.
The present Decree is valid only for the Year of Faith, any contrary disposition notwithstanding.
Given in Rome at the Headquarters of the Apostolic Penitentiary, September 14, 2012, on the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
Manuel Cardinal Monteiro de Castro
Major Penitentiary
Monsignor Krzysztof Nykiel

5 Myths about Columbus

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The following is from The Catholic Spirit of Christopher Columbus

Five Myths About
Christopher Columbus
  1. MYTH: Columbus was sailing to prove the world was round.
    FACT: Every educated person at the end of the fifteenth century knew the earth was a sphere, a fact known since antiquity. What was in dispute was the earth’s circumference, which Columbus underestimated by one-fourth.
  2. MYTH: Queen Isabella sold her crown jewels to finance the first journey.
    FACT: The royal treasury of Spain was depleted after the completion of the conquest of Granada early in 1492. However, Luis de Santangel, the royal treasurer, was able to secure funding by reaching out to the Crusading societies throughout the Mediterranean, as well as other financial backers from Spain and elsewhere. The crown put up very little to finance the journey.
  3. MYTH: There was a priest on board the Santa Maria in 1492.
    FACT: Because of the dangers involved, there were no priests or friars on the first voyage, despite the deep piety of Columbus. Many of the paintings of the first landfall in the new world on San Salvador show a priest with Columbus—contrary to the facts. There were five priests on the second voyage: Benedictine Father Buil; the Jeronymite Father Ramon Pane; and three Franciscans.
  4. MYTH: Columbus introduced slavery to the New World.
    FACT: Slavery was already widespread among the native Indians when Columbus arrived. Columbus was insistent on the fair treatment of the Indians, a policy which gained him many enemies as governor of Hispaniola. Bartolome de las Casas, a Spanish friar who worked for the protection of the Indians, is quick to excoriate his fellow Spaniards in their grave abuses, but is filled with nothing but respect and admiration for Columbus. The mass subjugation and importation of Africans to the Americas did not begin until a generation after Columbus’ death.
  5. MYTH: Columbus died a pauper, in chains, in a Spanish prison.
    FACT: Despite the fact that the Spanish crown retracted some of the privileges promised to Columbus, he was relatively wealthy at the time of his death. Although he returned to Spain in chains in 1500 after his third voyage, the King and Queen apologized for the misunderstanding and had them removed.
    On May 20, 1506, the Vigil of the Ascension, Christopher Columbus lay on his deathbed in his apartment at Valladolid, surrounded by his fellow Franciscans and his sons. As the friars chanted Compline, his last words echoed those of Christ on the cross: In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum. (Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.)  

Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus before Catholic King and Queen of Spain

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                                      Brother John M. Samaha, S.M.

          Why did Columbus want to sail and explore? What motivated the Italian explorer, celebrated as the discoverer of America, to lead a crew of ninety men across the uncharted Atlantic Ocean more than five centuries ago? In our times his motivation is being questioned again.  Some have tried to demean his name and character, making Columbus a figure of controversy and raising doubts about his integrity.  Now we are faced with conflicting opinions about his legacy.  What do we know for certain about the religious motivations for his voyages?

          In the past Christopher Columbus was an example of the understanding that there is no contradiction in being a Catholic and an American.  For that reason Father Michael McGivney chose him as the namesake of the Knights of Columbus. 

          Intrigued by this question and Columbus’ motivation, Carol Delaney decided to delve into the background with scholarly aplomb.  A cultural anthropologist and longtime professor at Stanford University, Delaney devoted the entire summer of 2003 to researching Columbus at Brown University.  Two years later she resigned from Stanford to concentrate on this research.  The results of her thorough study have been published in book form: Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem (Free Press, 2011).

          Upon release of her book she discussed some of the highlights of her findings about the purpose of Columbus’ voyages.  Thanks to the exacting research of Carol Delaney, we have a truer and fuller appreciation of this genuine hero of history.


          Dr. Delaney explains that it is common knowledge that Columbus was hoping to find gold, but his reason was not understood.  Columbus  wanted to help finance a crusade to free Jerusalem from the Muslims before the end of the world.  In his time many thought the apocalypse was imminent because of various signs: the plague, famine, earthquakes, and similar occurrences.  It was a popular belief that 
before the end of time Jerusalem must be returned to the Christians so
that Christ could come in judgment.  Columbus had actually calculated the number of years left before the end of the world.  He considered his plan as a mission.


          Columbus was also very interested in evangelization.  He kept extensive notes and wrote many letters, and in these writings indicated that the peoples of the new lands could not be quickly baptized and automatically become Christian. They needed to be instructed clearly about the faith before being converted.  To this end he wrote to the pope requesting that priests be sent to the newly discovered peoples for their instruction.  He even left money in his will to be used for this.

          Recall that Columbus believed he was sailing to Asia, and he wanted to convince the Grand Khan of China, who had expressed interest in Christianity, to convert.  He thought the Grand Khan might join the crusade to re-take Jerusalem by marching from the east, while the Europeans closed in from the west.  This is quite an interesting concept.


          Unfortunately many do not recognize and understand Columbus’ intentions.  The evidence had not been widely studied, nor was it readily accessible.  Scholars had written about Columbus’ religious motivations, but their findings were published in arcane journals.

          In the 19th and early in the 20th centuries historians described Columbus as one of the first to use science and reason as an explorer.  But that was not the basis of his motivation.  He was a medieval man in a religious context.  Columbus was closely associated with the Franciscans, who had assisted him and who were noted for their missionary activity.

Respect for Natives
          It is a grossly incorrect and unfair assessment on the part of some to say that Columbus was responsible for a variety of atrocities against the native peoples.  Erroneously, especially in the 20th century, the brunt of all that went wrong was attributed to Columbus.  But the falsehood of such accusations is evident from his own writings and the records of his contemporaries.  Those records show that his relations with the natives were benign and respectful. He described them as “natural Christians” because they had no other faith and were open to become Christians after proper instruction.  

          Columbus sternly warned his crew not to maraud, rape, or otherwise abuse the native people.  His writings offer many examples of instruction to this effect.  Most of the times when injustices occurred, he was not even there. And it is absurd to blame him for diseases communicated to the natives by the Europeans. 

          Columbus’ notes record that many crewmembers did not like the restrictions and rebelled, that they assumed they could have slaves, pick gold from the trees, and need not work. 
          Columbus never had slaves, nor did he intend to obtain slaves from the lands he visited.  Of course this would never have happened with the Grand Khan and his people in China.  Columbus wanted the natives  he met to become subjects of the Spanish sovereigns. 

          After the second voyage when they had encountered a different group of natives whom they thought were cannibals, Columbus’ brother sent some of them to Europe.  At that time in history it was considered morally acceptable to enslave people who acted against human nature because the captors hoped this would help them become good Christians.  While slavery was then common, some mistakenly think Columbus instituted slavery. 


Columbus’ Writings

          Carol Delaney read and studied all the extant writings of Christopher Columbus.  Although his original diary no longer exists, two reliable copies survive; these were in the possession of Bartolome Las Casas, an admirer of Columbus, and Columbus’ son, Ferdinand.  Consistently his writings express respect for the native people and concern for his crew.  Also evident is his devotion to his sons and his care for the women in his life.  While many are unaware that Columbus wrote anything, Dr. Delaney says she liked the tone of his letters and notes, and this advanced her admiration for him.  In addition to his faith, she was also impressed with his patience.

          Columbus planned and waited more than ten years before embarking on his first voyage. When his petitions failed with the Portuguese, he turned to the Spaniards.  The authorities rejected  his proposal three time, yet he persisted.  He firmly believed he could do it.  Then he exhibited tremendous courage in crossing the ocean in small wooden ships with nothing more than a compass to guide him.

Failure or Success?

          Dr. Delaney expressed the opinion that Columbus died thinking that he had not accomplished what he set out to do.  He was disappointed that King Ferdinand did not pursue the crusade, and he realized that some serious crimes had been committed.  From this point of view, he felt his quest was a failure.  But in reality, Delaney declares it was a major accomplishment.  Columbus crossed the ocean four times in small sailing craft and without the benefit of modern navigational instruments.  He discovered the New World, even though he thought he found only the periphery of Asia.

          No wonder, then, that in the late nineteenth century Venerable Michael McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus, chose the intrepid admiral and evangelizing explorer as model for the fraternal order of Catholic gentlemen.  His admiration is expressed on page one
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 this great and noble man – the pious, zealous, and faithful Catholic – the enterprising navigator, and the large-hearted sailor, Christopher Columbus – ‘the Christ-bearing dove’ as his name signifies.”