Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

Diocese of Honolulu's display "Santa Would Go"

In a few hours Hawaii will celebrating the birth of the Savior of the World!

When I was a little girl, Christmas was a magical time.  A white Christmas was not unusual on the east coast.  We would be surrounded by family, warmth and good food.  People became friends as we all wished each other "Merry Christmas or Feliz Navidad!"

It was right after Thanksgiving that the Christmas decorations went up.  There would be lights on the front porch and living room windows, red and green paper chains decorated the doorways, silver and gold garland lined the banister.  Sometimes there was even a real tree to decorate, both inside and out!  But even the artificial trees we had were fun to decorate.  We also took special care to create a nice space for the Nativity set.  It was later as an adult who finally took more interest in her faith that I realized the Christmas decorations needed to wait until closer to Christmas.

It was then that the special Advent season would really be appreciated as a preparation for the Christ child. We made more attempts at sacrifices and mortifications.  We decorated with special care, the Advent wreath, with royal blues and purples.  We filled the Advent calendar drawers with slips of papers instructing us on which act of kindness to perform.  It was sad to think of how much we missed out growing up, in not celebrating the liturgical season of Advent.

When I was a child there were the Christmas carols we sang and listened to, both religious Christmas carols and secular Christmas songs.  Most of our favorite carols were taught in our public school:  Silent Night, O Christmas Tree, Joy to the World, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Angels We Have Heard on High, We Three Kings, are just a few of the Christmas carols we sang in school.  We learned the fun ones by listening to the radio as well as in school:  Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and a personal favorite, Up on the Housetop.

It was a simpler time a few decades ago.  Children weren't burdened with maybe offending someone.  The children at our public school were mostly Christians and Jews.  The Jewish kids sang the Christmas carols and the Christian kids sang Hanukkah songs.  It was a fun learning experience. Somehow our difference had a way of bringing us closer together.

It is therefore such a shame that today's public school children are being cheated from experiencing the magic of Christmas.  It is tragic that they are not taught whose birthday it is we are celebrating.  Someone so important that it became a national holiday.

In Honolulu, the city council decided it was not appropriate to celebrate Christmas as it may offend someone who didn't believe.  The Christmas parade was changed to Honolulu City Lights parade.  It was offensive to put up a nativity but organizations/churches could enter a special lottery.  If they was lucky enough to be selected and they wanted to put up a nativity, one could be erected.  However, there had to be a disclaimer that it was not paid for by city funds.  Imagine that...  Luckily, the Diocese of Honolulu won a lottery slot this year.  It is a beautiful display of Santa Claus kneeling before the Christ Child.

Which brings me to the reason for the post.  The other day, we watched a movie on Netflix.   Last Ounce of Courage is an inspiring movie about the true meaning of Christmas and more importantly, religious freedom.  So if you want to watch an inspiring movie this Christmas, be sure to watch it with your family and friends.  It is available streaming from Netflix.

From our family to yours,

We wish you a very blessed and Merry Christmas. May God bless you abundantly!

With much aloha,

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Our Lady of Guadalupe - Movie

Happy feast day!

Here is a movie I found online that you can watch in its entirety.  However, it is in Spanish.  I haven't seen it but it looks promising.

Thursday, December 05, 2013


Brother John M. Samaha, S.M.

          As Our Lady of the Rosary, the Blessed Virgin Mary manifests herself as our spiritual Mother and the spiritual Mother of all mankind.  The Rosary is an invaluable gift she has given us, a powerful weapon she has placed in our hands.  The Rosary is a “weapon of mass construction.”   Praying it keeps us united to her, and aids us to live out our baptismal vocation.

          Father Frederick William Faber, noted 19th century convert and hymn composer, explained that “the Rosary is Mary’s testament, just as the Eucharist is Jesus’ testament.”  We may conclude that just as we find Jesus whole and entire in the Holy Eucharist, so Mary is present in her fullness in the Rosary.  When we receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, He unites Himself to us Body and Soul.  When we pray the Rosary, Mary unites us wholly to herself.

          In the words of Rosary devotee, G. Ferrera, “The Eucharist and the Most Holy Virgin as so closely united that it seems as though Mary’s heart beats in unison with the Heart of her Son, Who resides in our tabernacles.”  Whether we receive Jesus in Holy Communion or pray the Rosary, we can assimilate those heartbeats of Jesus and Mary, and make them our own.

          Praying the Rosary frequently pleases the Immaculate Heart of Mary as it enriches our understanding of revealed truth simply couched in the twenty mysteries of the Rosary – twenty engaging events in the lives of Jesus and Mary.  In this crown of prayer is found the most complete Marian devotion.  At Lourdes and Fatima Mary appeared holding a Rosary, and exhorted the visionaries and us to pray the Rosary because it is a universal means of grace and salvation. 

          St. Pio of Pietrelcina, who prayed the Rosary throughout his waking hours, reminded us to “Love Our Lady and help others love her.  Pray the Rosary always.”

Ven. Fulton Sheen declared that the Rosary “engages our fingers, our lips, our hearts in a vast symphony of prayer.  This is why it is the greatest prayer ever composed by man.”  And Ferrera exhorted us to love the “little crown of the Rosary by which graces flow from the hands of Mary to us.” 

          Let us pray the Rosary fervently to draw close to Mary, to keep her company, and to ask for the necessary graces for all humankind, for our country, for our families, for our personal salvation.

          Indeed Our Lady’s Rosary is an effective “weapon of mass construction” for the building of the Mystical Body of Christ.  It is an effective instrument to fulfill our baptismal call.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Christ the King

Picture source

Via Holly.

The Kingship of Christ
Now to the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God,
be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
Prayer to Christ the King
O Jesus Christ, I acknowledge Thee as universal King.
All that has been made, has been created for Thee.
Exercise, all Thy rights over me.
I renew my baptismal vows, I renounce Satan,
his pomps and his works, and I promise
to live as a good Christian.
And in particular do I pledge myself to labor, to
the best of my ability, for the triumph of the rights of
God and Thy Church.
Divine Heart of Jesus to Thee do I proffer my
poor services, laboring that all hearts may
acknowledge Thy Sacred Kingship, and that thus
the reign of Thy peace may be established
throughout the whole universe.
+ Amen +

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

God's Will

(Click image to enlarge)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Do Not Fear the devil

(Click to enlarge for easier reading)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Photos from the Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament and Holy Rosary for the Strengthening of Marriage

Lead by Bishop Larry Silva on Thursday at St. Theresa, the Co-Cathedral, Honolulu, Hawaii.

"My dear friends, from the sacrament of Marriage, the family has received newness of life and the grace of Christ.  The family is especially important to the Church and to civil society, for it is the primary life-giving community.

In our celebration today we call down the Lord's blessings upon all families, and for the strengthening of marriage, so that men and women may continually be instruments of God's grace to one another and witness to faith in all the circumstances of Life."

Opening Prayer

"O God, in whose eternal design family life has its firm foundation, look with compassion on the prayers of your servants and grant that, following the example of the Holy Family of Your Only Begotten Son in practicing the virtues of family life and in the bonds of charity, we may, in  the joy of your house, delight one day in eternal rewards..."

Monday, October 14, 2013

Pope Francis Consecrates World to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and Photos from the 7th Annual Public Rosary in the Park

Pope Francis consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary at an October 13 Mass in St. Peter’s Square, in the climactic ceremony of a Marian Day celebration.
Read the rest HERE

Also yesterday was the 7th annual public rosary in the park in Honolulu.  It started off as a sunny day for the procession, prayers and devotion to honor our Lady of Fatima. But then it started to rain.  Someone suggested we pray three Hail Marys so that the rain would stop in time.  God must have smiled down on us. As soon as the procession began, a torrential downpour of rain came down.  Blessings from heaven!  It reminded many of us of that day in Fatima when the rain came down and then the sun came out drying everything instantly.  Well, the sun did come out and we were still wet, but everyone, young and old, were in good spirits!  The sun didn't dance either but we all knew it was a very special day.  The priest who led us in prayer mentioned that we gave quite a witness to people, seeing many walking behind the statue of our lady in the pouring rain.

Click on photos to enlarge for better viewing.


What Motivated Columbus

Picture source

        by  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.”

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Reminder: Pope Francis Will Consecrate the WORLD to the IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY

The consecration will take place this Sunday, October 13th, the anniversary of the last apparition of Our Lady in Fatima.  You can read more HERE and HERE.

A Prayer of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

O Mother of Mercy, Queen of Heaven and earth,
Refuge of sinners, we consecrate ourselves to your
Immaculate Hear this day.
We give to you our hearts and souls,
our families and all that we have,
knowing that you will always lead us closer to Jesus.
We renew today the promises of our Baptism
and rededicate ourselves to following your model of purity.
May we live as good Christians,
being faithful to God, the Church
and the Pope. 
We desire to pray the Rosary,
confess our sins, partake in the Holy Eucharist,
honor your Immaculate Heart on
the first Saturday of each month and work 
for the conversion of souls.
we promise O most Blessed Virgin,
that we will zealously spread devotion to you,
so that through our consecration to your Immaculate Heart and through
your own powerful prayers,
Christ the King may reign in all hearts forever.

Source: Catholicprayercards.org

Monday, October 07, 2013

Photos from the Solemn Assembly in Defense of Traditional Marriage

These photos were taken yesterday at the State capitol. Hundreds of people from many of the Christian churches around Oahu, came out to pray to protect traditional marriage in the Aloha State, and to pray that the governor and legislators will let the people decide.

(Click photo to enlarge)

Our Lady of the Holy Rosary

Pope Leo XIII personally started the practice of devoting October to the Rosary devotion.  In a letter of September 1, 1883, mindful of the Rosary's power to strengthen faith and foster a life of virtue, he outlined the triumphs of the Rosary in past times and admonished the faithful to dedicate the month of October to the Blessed Virgin through the daily recitation of her Rosary in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, in order to obtain through her intercession the grace that God would console and defend His Church in her sufferings.

For the Crusade of the Family Rosary

O Queen of the most holy Rosary:
with hearts full of confidence
we earnestly beseech you to bless the Crusade of the family Rosary.
From you came the grace to begin it.  
From you must come the grace to win souls to it.  
We beg yo to bless this Crusade
so that from every home the incense of this prayer will daily rise before you,
O admirable Mother. 

Father Patrick Peyton sought to revive the practice of families reciting the Rosary daily within their homes.  Let us pray the prayer in order to restore and revive the family rosary in our life.

Source:  The Prayer Book, Catholic Press, Inc.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Happy Feast of the Guardian Angels!

Let us never take our Guardian Angel for granted.

Happy Feast of St. Therese!

St. Therese Co-Cathedral, Honolulu

The following quote was shared by Becca.

"It is such a folly to pass one's time fretting, instead of resting quietly on the heart of Jesus." ~ St. Therese of Lisieux

Father Peyton on the Family Rosary Saving Marriages in Trouble

Picture source

Yesterday, I shared Father Patrick Peyton's vision for world peace was the family recitation of the Holy Rosary.  Today, I share with you what he wrote in his autobiography about failing marriages.  He shared the story of Father Woods who was the secretary of the diocesan marriage court in Albany.
"He was constantly having to discuss the problems of couples whose marriages were in jeopardy, and he soon discovered that when he could get a husband and wife to say the Rosary together each evening with their children, a new atmosphere was quickly developed and the prospects for saving the marriage rose immediately." 
If you are interested in reading Father Peyton's autobiography, (and I highly recommend it!), you can order it from the Holy Cross Family Ministries Also, please visit their wonderful site and learn more about Father Peyton. He was a visionary for our times.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Praying the Holy Rosary with Our Families During the Month of October

Our Lady's statue, Blessed Sacrament Church, Paterson, NJ
The month dedicated to the Holy Rosary starts tomorrow October 1st.  Please consider joining me in praying the Holy Rosary with our families for the whole month of October.  If this request is too difficult to accomplish every night, at least commit to praying one decade of the Rosary nightly and 5 decades each week during this month.

There is so much love and help we receive from God's dear mother and ours, there is so much heartache, pain and suffering in this world that we need her constant intercession.   If we pick up our rosaries, praying the Holy Rosary and meditating on the life of Christ, imagine the peace we can obtain not only in our own families and communities, but throughout the entire world.

In his autobiography All for Her, Father Patrick Peyton, whose cause for canonization is underway, has this to say:
"Suddenly the thought struck me... that if all of us prayed fervently enough, we could put an end to the war.  ...What was needed was not simply an end to the fighting but an atmosphere of true peace, peace in the heart, peace in the home peace in the family.  Yes, I told myself, here was the key:  family prayer, and in particular the prayer that had consistently brought God's favor through the centuries, that had saved Christendom at Lepanto, that had been preached and practiced and promoted incessantly by saints and popes, the Rosary.  My mind ran forward with this idea.  I would enlist in a great Crusade for the family Rosary not only these seventy men with whom I lived, but all the millions of servicemen, like the soldiers and sailors before the battle of Lepanto:  and not only the servicemen, but their mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters, every family in the United States, every family in the world, all giving jut ten minutes a day to recite the same prayer as the men of Lepanto, a prayer drawn from the Scriptures, breathing the inspired word of God. 
...That was the decision I made, to devote my entire life, my every effort, to the promotion of family prayer, and particularly of family prayer expressed in the form of the Rosary said every day or every night by the family gathered together in its own home...This was what I was going to do, and I knew that I was going to succeed because Our Blessed Mother would see to it.  It was not my reputation that was at stake, but hers.
We start our little Rosary Crusade tomorrow. Won't you please join in?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Educating the Hawaii Catholic Christians About the Reality of Same-Sex Marriage

In recent years this blog has not been a forum for political issues. However, there is a Hawaii bill that is scheduled to be heard in a special session that will detrimentally change marriage forever. I recently posted about it here.

The Hawaii Republican Assembly has been closely watching other states dealing with the push for same-sex marriage. It is important to know just how dangerous same-sex marriage is to society. Please read "What same-sex “marriage” has done to Massachusett"s put out by MassResistance.org and then be sure to let others read it too. You can read this informative booklet HERE.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, Spiritual Father of the Blue Army

Statue of St. Padre Pio, Blessed Sacrament Church, Paterson, NJ

"I will accept all who sign the Blue Army Pledge as my 'Spiritual Children,' provided they live up to the pledge."


Dear Queen and Mother, who promised at Fatima to convert Russia and bring pace to all mankind, in reparation for my sins and the sins of the while world, I solemnly promise to your Immaculate Heart:

1.  To offer up every day the sacrifices demanded by my daily duty;

2.  To pray part of the Rosary+ daily while meditating on the mysteries;

3.  To wear the Scapular of Mount Carmel as profession of this promise and as an act of consecration to you.

I shall renew this promise often, especially in moments of temptation.
+Usually understood to mean at least five decades daily.

Note:  This pledge is not a vow and does not bind under sin.  Nevertheless it is a promises:  your wod to your heavenly Mother.

(Your signed pledges will be taken to Fatima)

The pledge can be submitted online via the World Apostolate of Fatima website.

NOTE:  If you live in Hawaii and would like to become a member via the World Apostolate of Fatima, Hawaii Division, please contact me either by leaving a comment or by email.

The Blue Army (World Apostolate of Fatima)
PO Box 976
Washington, NJ 07882

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Father Peter Rookey's Miracle Prayer

Thanks to Ann for sharing.

Lord Jesus, I come before you, just as I am, I am sorry for my sins,
I repent of my sins, please forgive me.
In your Name, I forgive all others for what they have done against me.
I renounce Satan, the evil spirits and all their works.
I give you my entire self, Lord Jesus, now and forever, I invite you into my life Jesus,
I accept you as my Lord, my God and my Savior.
Please heal me, change me, strengthen me in body, soul, and spirit.
Come Lord Jesus, cover me with your Precious Blood, and fill me with your Holy Spirit,
I love you Lord Jesus, I praise you Lord Jesus, I thank you Jesus, I shall follow you every day of my life. Amen.
Mary, My Mother, Queen of Peace, all the Angels and Saints, please come to me.

Protecting Traditional marriage and to Combating Same Sex Marriage in Hawaii

Divine Mercy Image - Sacred Heart Church, Punahou
There is a real danger of Hawaii legalizing same-sex marriage with the upcoming Special Session on October 28th, 2013.  There is a heavy push from our own governor, his advisors, gay activists and gay lobbyists to destroy marriage in the name of equality.  Christians of all denominations must stand together to fight this evil that they want to force of the people of Hawaii. These activists and politicians do not care about anything but making sure this bill gets approved.  They will not let anything or anyone stand in their way.

However, they do not realize that they are awaking a sleeping giant.  The people of Hawaii, whether Catholic, Christians of other denominations, Jews, Muslims, etc., must unite to say to these activists.  "Enough is enough!"  We have to speak out and defend the sanctity of marriage.  We must stand up and support our bishop, priests, pastors of other churches, organizations who are taking a firm stand to protect traditional marriage.  We can no longer be silent with a false sense of being polite.  We cannot afford to be complacent.  We must as individual,s take responsibility and do our part.  My friends, if we sit back and hope that others will do the speaking up for us, we will lose.

The line has been drawn.  It is now a fight against good vs. evil.  Do not be fooled when you are called intolerant or uncaring.  Do not be concerned when you are personally attacked for standing up for the truth. Remember, the Pharisees and Sadducees did the same to God's Son!  Can we really asked to be spared from persecution, if God did not spare His only begotten Son?  No, we should ask God to strengthen us so that we do not apostatize out of fear for ourselves or our families.

There are many ways to do something.

1.  Do not tire in contacting the governor's office and your state representatives. (Hawaii Family Forum, Hawaii Family Advocates, Hawaii Christian Coalition have easy ways of contacting them). Get on their emailing list!

2.  Speak out when your family or friends speak in support of marriage equality.

3.  Visit organizations such as Mass Resistance and The Hawaii Republican Assembly to see the most current news and how they are fighting to protect marriage as aforementioned.

4. Ask your priest if he can place an announcement in the church bulletin addressing the danger of same-sex marriage in Hawaii and maybe even speak out in his homily.

5.  Sign up to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet as follows. Ask your priest to announce this prayer petition too and also print out the prayer petition for the parishioners to sign.

The following are from two Eucharistic adorers who have asked to get the word out:

Attached is a notice about the upcoming same sex issue that will be coming up for vote fairly soon. Pat & I and a very insistent adorer discussed this problem and have decided to do something CONCRETE about it... Please feel free to share this w/friends, prayer groups, etc.. I will be posting it up in the Chapel tomorrow morning for signatures, etc. Please check it out when you visit Our Lord there... (hopefully you will sign it and be a part of those trying to 'fight the good fight' against this evil that is hovering over our State!). Thank you!
6.  Pray the Holy Rosary asking Our Blessed Mother to intercede for the State of Hawaii, make an hour of adoration for this same intention, make a novena to Sts. Joachim and Anne for the protection of marriage.  Do not cease praying!

7.  Lastly, be ready to go to the capitol on October 28h, 2013 from 4-7pm when the special session will be meeting, and stand up in defense of marriage as God created it.

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Family Prayer

Shared by a friend.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of our
family. Enlighten our hearts and minds that
we may live more fully this vocation to love.
In our daily life and work,
may we reflect the self-giving love which you,
O Father, eternally show with your Son
and the Holy Spirit.
Let your love be evident in the peace that reigns
in our home and in the faith we profess and live.
May our family always be a place of generosity,
understanding, forgiveness, and joy.
Kindly give us the wisdom and courage
to be witnesses to your eternal design for
the family; and grant that the Holy Family
of Nazareth may always guide our path
to holiness as a family.
We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ,
your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the
unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.
~ Amen.~
Prayer composed by Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, Supreme Chaplain.
The cover image of the Holy Family is a drawing of Giovanni Balestra, based on a painting by Sassoferrato. The original print is housed at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute of Studies on Marriage and Family in Rome. 
- From a holy card

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Most Holy Name of Mary

Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most Holy.

- from the Divine Praises

Thoughts and Insights from a Seminarians Recent Attendance at the Priest Formation Institute Summer Program

Picture source

I have shared seminarian John Nahrgang's newsletters in the past.  Recently John attended a ten-week summer program for diocesan seminarians at the Institute of Priestly Formation (IPF). IPF, based at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, was created nearly 20 years ago as a program to assist bishops in the area of formation for candidates for the priesthood. He shared the following:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I am sending this "spiritual" update to all those individuals who actively support me in my vocation to the Catholic priesthood, especially by prayer.  I just wanted to give you an update two recent and very formative experiences in my spiritual life.
I arrived in Arizona in late February and immediately begin an internship at Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish in Glendale, on the west side of Phoenix.  OLPH is a medium-sized, mostly Hispanic parish in a lower-middle class area of the city.  During my three months there, I learned very much from the pastor, Fr. Mike, a dedicated and experienced priest.  Not to mention one of the better administrators I've had the opportunity to work with in any setting (corporate, non-profit and ecclesiastical).  I also enjoyed spending time with Fr. Mario, a Mexican priest who also lived and worked at the parish.  And then there was the wonderful staff at OLPH, which has a school with around 400 students.  Getting to know the students and working with the youth group was a very rewarding experience!

Parish life is fantastic.  I got a better sense for the many challenges but it seems very rewarding.  The people make it so.  I found frequent interaction with priests, deacons, staff, students, servers and laypeople to be very enjoyable.  I can envision myself serving in the Glendale area someday, though Spanish-speaking Catholics are also very well-represented in Phoenix and Mesa.  I had the opportunity to make some visits to the diocesan headquarters downtown and a local Spanish Catholic radio station.  I'm happy to say that the Diocese of Phoenix is starting to feel more and more like home.

I was originally set to spend the entire summer at that parish, but Bishop Olmsted asked me to apply for a ten-week summer program for diocesan seminarians at the Institute of Priestly Formation (IPF).  IPF, based at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, was created nearly 20 years ago as a program to assist bishops in the area of formation for candidates for the priesthood.  

I arrived at IPF in late May along with three other seminarians from Phoenix and was joined by 167 seminarians from 67 dioceses around the country (attached is a picture of us all).  It was great getting to know some of my new DBs (diocesan brothers), as well as so many great guys from other dioceses.  A variety of ages as well, which was a relief to this 33-year old "elder" seminarian with a bit of ways to go before ordination (God willing). 

I came into IPF with two principal desires - to improve my prayer life (which I regarded as rather lacking in discipline) and to receive more confirmation from God regarding my recent decision to switch to diocesan priestly formation.  I had already received a lot in the prior months but I guess I was a little greedy for more.  I received more than I bargained for on both counts!

The program takes its motto from a beautiful quote from Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ, a former superior general of the Jesuits:

Nothing is more practical than finding God, than falling in Love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, whom you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in Love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.

That quote has stayed with me, as well as this gem from one of the founders of IPF and an expert on Ignatian spirituality, Fr. George Aschenbrenner, SJ:

Diocesan priestly spirituality builds on a renunciation of this world, with all its goodness and all its allurements… Through an ongoing, graced, expansive experience of God’s love, a whole shift of an individual’s center of gravity occurs.  Gradually more and more identified in God’s love alone, the priest experiences a certain disengagement from the world as an identity center – precisely because he is so fully engaged with the fire of God’s love.

These two insights highlight what I have come to believe God was asking of me at this time in my spiritual formation - a paradigm shift, both in the way I have viewed myself in relation to Him and in the way I interact with Him in my spiritual life, above all in prayer.  And the impulse of this shift has its starting point in Divine Love.  

At IPF, we were blessed with a great mix of meditation, spiritual direction, fellowship, worship, classes, lectures, apostolic service and small-group discussion.  The quality of instruction was tremendous.  Our instructors had deep background in parish ministry, spiritual direction, psychology and deliverance ministry.  Here's just one example of the very sound teaching we got at IPF.  The priest interviewed here was with us for all ten weeks and frequently gave us talks - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-3_Jdz8H3Y 

A major part of my education at IPF came through a more thorough understanding of the multiple identities of the priest.  There are five: beloved son, chaste spouse, spiritual father, spiritual physician and head and shepherd.  Here are some insights I learned from each of them.  I hope you find them insightful and edifying as you pray for the priests of our Church. 


A priest must understand that before anything else he is a beloved son of God the Father by virtue of his baptism into Christ (this of course goes for all Christians as well). When God the Father looks upon me, He desires that Christ's sonship be lived out in me.  I had so much lived experience outside of the light of faith that it was extremely difficult for me to accept that truth. For a long time I sort of relegated myself to praying for an occasional "mountaintop" spiritual experience. 

As a beloved son of God the Father, I must imitate Jesus in receiving everything from the Father "in the classroom of dependence."  Put another way, "in my spiritual poverty."  Put yet another way, "in the midst of my unfulfilled desires."  For me this was a crucial insight for understanding better the concept of holiness.  

Holiness is a vocation for everyone since everyone is capable of humbling himself/herself in imitation of Jesus in the Father's classroom of dependence: I can do nothing on my own authority; as I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me" (Jn 5:30)

Beloved sonship is a fundamental identity for a future priest.  It enables a child of God to receive God's love, which must happen before he can communicate it to others.  First and foremost, I must know that I'm loved by my Father in Heaven.


A second identity is Chaste Spouse.  We know that priests are married to the Church.  What does that really mean though?  And how is it lived out?

I must be vigilant, because I'm also a creature of attachment whose affections bond me to others (or things).  If I don’t contemplate Christ and have my life deepened and absorbed by Him, I will become self-absorbed and absorbed into the values of the world.  And priestly ordination doesn't automatically protect me from absorption pointed in the wrong direction.  Jesus, of course, is the example par excellence.  The Church is more a bride of Christ than any espoused couple on earth.  That also means that a priest is more truly married than a man married sacramentally to a woman.  Priestly celibacy is not sterile, but fruitful.  Fruitfulness for a celibate priest is measured by spiritual children, meaning a harvest of souls brought closer to God and ultimately to heaven through his service.  Priests guide souls to the Cross and receive the love of God there, which opens up the path to spiritual resurrection in their lives.  There is no Resurrection without the Cross; thanks to the Resurrection the Cross becomes the Tree of Life, for Jesus and for the rest of us.  

The love that is first received as Beloved Son, is shared as Chaste Spouse.  Being a spouse is also about being attracted.  I must be not only be attracted to the love of God and receive that love so that I may share it, but I must also be attracted to souls who want union with God.  Out of my love for God and love for souls come a desire to draw others into the communion of the Trinity that I myself experience.  Those who want to share in it are fertile (spiritually speaking).  This is the heavenly meaning of being a Chaste Spouse.

Since the Chaste Spouse is oriented towards the spiritual growth of many souls, he must guard against the desire to be desired by any particular person (insert "attractive woman" here).  Although romantic love is an objective good, the celibate priest has already offered his celibacy as a gift to God, and so romantic involvement with a woman would constitute infidelity. 

Asceticism is about wanting more, not less.  I say no to the less, so that I can say yes to the more.  It’s not about hating the less, but about being aware of a desire, bringing it to the Lord and letting Him know that I want Him more.  The heart of a Christian ascetic says, “Lord, I acknowledge to You that I want (fill in the blank) right now, but I want You more.”


Notice that there's a progression to the first three identities.  Good fathers are good because they are good sons and good spouses.

A priest is a father after the image of the Heavenly Father. The heart of spiritual fatherhood is a pastoral charity that says, "I want what is best for you all the time." This is also the true meaning of genuine love.  A spiritual father guides others to the Father in the classroom of dependence and encourages them.


The Spiritual Physician convinces people who are at the Cross that they're being loved there.  He knows how to help a person receive love exactly where they are most wounded spiritually.  And the more wounded one is, the more she is attacked in sin, and the more ready she is disposed to believe the lie in sin/suffering that she's not loved, when sickness comes, and the less willing she is to believe in the good news.  But Christ can do all things, as Msgr. Tom Richter from the Diocese of Bismarck showed us through his beautiful exegesis of Jesus and the woman at the well.  Msgr. Richter taught us how wonderful of a spiritual physician Christ was with the woman at the well.  She came to the well at the hottest point of the day to avoid the shame of being seen by others. She was carrying a big burden.  Jesus entered and evoked holy desires in her heart. She became aware of these desires and related them back to Jesus. Then, in a surprising turn of conversation, he said, "Bring your husband.”  This part of the Gospel confuses a lot of people but Jesus went right to her place of woundedness, the ball of cancer.  Jesus said, "Let’s talk about that."  Brilliant!  He answered her question: "Ok, here’s how we get at it.  I’m a physician.  Here’s your cancer.  Let’s deal with it."  And the very thing that had filled her life with shame no longer did.  She ran off liberated.  She was no longer self-focused in her misery.  Instead, she joyfully ran off to tell others in the village about this Spiritual Physician.

A spiritual father is comfortable with the human mess.  He’s not shocked in the confessional.  He’s a calming presence in the midst of the human mess.  He assures people that God is in control here.  A spiritual father has a disdainful respect for spiritual disease (sin).  The kind of respect that an epidemiologist has for a vial of bubonic plague in the lab.  Evil is real.  Sin is real.  But Jesus is not intimidated by sin, and neither should the priest be as a spiritual physician.


This is an identity specific to ministerial priesthood.  It's about governance and obedience, particularly obedience predicated upon the desire to serve God through the Church.  And guided as well by pastoral charity.

A shepherd guides his flock towards a destination.  The priest heals, teaches, feeds, forgives, encourages, corrects and consoles with the overriding purpose of leading souls to receive love at the Cross.  It's about leading souls to the Resurrection via the Crucifixion.  So that all the people can be united with the true Christ, who then offers all to the Father so that the Father can be glorified.  That’s the ultimate end of all of this.   

The two vices opposed to true pastoral charity as exhibited by the shepherd are hardness of heart and false compassion.  Jesus was never mean, and the priest should imitate him.  There were times he was indignant or angry on account of injustice, but he was never mean.  His anger was above all directed at hypocrisy.

Pelagianism and Incurvatus en se

The most personally liberating insight I received from my time at IPF was how my tendency towards perfectionism and self-condemnation affected both my disposition at prayer and my manner of praying.  I remember raising a question in class to Msgr. Richter about experiencing doubts about God's love for us due to our sinfulness.  He was very direct with me.  "God the Father doesn't love Jesus because He is sinless.  He loves him because because Jesus is His Son!"  With that single statement Msgr. Richter exposed my personal brand of Pelagianism.  Pelagianism was an ancient heresy which basically posited that one's relationship with God flows from his or her own doing.  I didn't know how much of a Pelagian I was in my prayer and spirituality until I came to IPF.  My goodness doesn't make God love me.  That's a trap.  I had unwittingly allowed my perfectionism to creep into my faith.  It's not "I act and God responds to me."  It's "God acts and I respond."  More specific to my case, "God loves and I receive His love."  During my time at IPF, I came to see more and more the value on meditating upon the various ways in which God acts and the various ways (good and bad) that I am capable of responding to Him (in a spirit of faith, for example).  

Connected with this was a major tendency of mine that was exposed in my first few weeks of spiritual direction at IPF.  It's something that St. Augustine called 
incurvatus en se.  Translated directly from the Latin it means "curved in on oneself."  Self-focus, in other words.  Practiced in prayer, it means, as Mgsr. Richter aptly put it, "Trapped in your head thinking about yourself to yourself, talking to yourself about yourself."  Another time he used the phrase "navel-gazing."  IT hit me that I'm often a major-league navel-gazer during my holy hours.  The enemy is all about incurvatus en se.  He wants to do everything in his power to take us out of the classroom of dependence, to take our focus off the Trinity and put it on our own navels.  

I also learned that we are most prone to self-focus in the place of our greatest wounds.  All the more reason to bring it to God for healing if it's a place from which it's easy for us to act out in sinful ways.  This was tremendously helpful insight that will also serve me well in future pastoral situations.

Anxiety and worry

I also learned things at IPF that awakened me to a greater self-knowledge, particularly in the area of personal tendencies towards regrets and anxieties about the future.  God calls us to live in the present in His Love.  That's not to say we shouldn't have awareness of certain things or take into account the future in making plans, but again, the enemy wants to get us absorbed in anxieties, doubts and fears in order to deny us the peace of Christ.  We can live our lives in this troubled world, accept our challenges and still allow God's peace to envelop us.  During IPF and since, I have enjoyed dwelling on the following wisdom:

Don't spend your energies on things that generate worry, anxiety and anguish. Only one thing is necessary: Lift up your spirit and love God. - St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Phil. 4:6-7

The greatest obstacles to holiness are discouragement and an exaggerated anxiety. - Jesus to St. Faustina

I especially love that second one by St. Paul.  He encourages us to honestly relate everything to God in prayer, which is the key to opening ourselves to receive Christ's peace.  Gotta love St. Paul, the simultaneous optimist and realist.

This part about relating is critical.  The enemy is always trying to encourage us towards incurvatus en se, which inhibits us in relating our deep desires to God.  We can foolishly carry burdens in our hearts for days, weeks, months when relating them to Jesus honestly in prayer provides such a relief.  Original sin gave us dullness of heart which can breed a lack of faith that prevents us from going to the Lord and honestly relating our thoughts, feelings and desires to Him, but that is precisely what Jesus and Mary did and it is what we are called to do.  In prayer is where we receive our consolation and encouragement from above.

In spiritual direction, Fr. Scott Traynor taught me that the two most important things in prayer are honesty and consistency.  Honesty meaning coming to Him as I am.  Consistency meaning relating everything that comes up in my heart.

A spiritual way of life heavily emphasized at IPF that has assisted me with handling anxiety is St. Ignatius of Loyola's Discernment of Spirits.  They make up a section of his famous Spiritual Exercises, which have influenced countless people for 500 years.  The Discernment of Spirits is a list of 14 guidelines for keeping our spiritual pulse and its connection with positive and negative spiritual movements.  Fr. Tim Gallagher OMV, an expert on Ignatian spirituality who was also with us for the summer, defines it far better than I could - Awareness of the contrasting spiritual movements of the heart, coupled with an effort to understand and respond wisely to them.

Putting these guidelines into practice really helped me in this area, and my daily lived-out experience with God is slowly changing as a result.  I am attaching a list of the Rules for the Discernment of Spirits, and here is a wonderful book on the subject by Fr. Gallagher if you're interested in diving into it with the help of an expert - http://www.amazon.com/The-Discernment-Spirits-Ignatian-Everyday/dp/0824522915/

IPF was a foundational experience heading into my major seminary studies.  More about my new seminary in my next update...

Pope Francis

As is typical for my update letters, this is getting long so I will just mention a final word about Pope Francis.  Wow, isn't he fantastic?  I thought the same of Pope Benedict as I became more familiar with him, and I wrote in a prior email about how much Pope Benedict cares about our spiritual and human formation in seminary.  But Pope Francis possesses in the spoken word the kind of profundity of thought that Pope Benedict possesses in his writing - rich, penetrating and infused with charity, yet using very simple language as well.  May he serve God and the Church here on earth for many more years!

At a time when many Catholics are leaving the Church and more and more people are treating the Church with cynicism and ridicule, I have felt Jesus speaking through Pope Francis the words I am with you always.

God bless you all and thank you for your support and prayers!!