Thursday, January 31, 2013

St. John Bosco: "Saint of the Youth"


St. John Bosco: "Saint of the Youth" 







“Do not ever forget these three things: devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, devotion to Mary Help of Christians, and devotion to the Holy Father!”
- St. John Bosco on his Deathbed


“I have been an instrument in the hands of Mary. She has done everything. Had I been a worthier 
instrument, I would have accomplished a great deal more.” -St. John Bosco


“First tell the devil to rest, and then I'll rest too,”-St. John Bosco
"Sanctity is easy!” -St. John Bosco


“Give me souls – the souls of youngsters.”  -St. John Bosco in prayer

“But, Mother, those boys (from his village) aren't really bad. They haven't got a good 
mother like I have, and they don't know their catechism, and their parents don't take them to church. When I'm with them, they behave better. Please, Mother, may I go with them?” 
-St. John Bosco as a boy of nine, speaking to his saintly mother 


“...(he was) a giant of sanctity.”
-Pope Pius XI speaking of St. Bosco

From EWTN:

"In his life the supernatural became the natural and the extraordinary the ordinary." So spoke Pope Pius XI of the beloved Don Bosco, renowned for his educational pioneering and his affectionate care for the fatherless. Born Giovanni Melchior Bosco in 1815, the future saint was the youngest son of a peasant farmer in the hamlet of Becchi, in the Piedmont district of north Italy. He lost his father at the age of two and was brought up by a devoted and industrious mother, Margaret Bosco, who had a hard struggle maintaining the home and the three children, all of them boys. A dream that little Giovanni had at the age of nine revealed to him his vocation. He seemed to be surrounded by a mob of fighting and swearing children whom he tried in vain to pacify, at first by arguments and then by hitting them. Suddenly there appeared a mysterious woman who said: "Softly, softly . . . if you wish to win them! Take your shepherd's staff and lead them to pasture." Even as she spoke, the children were transformed first into wild beasts and then into gentle lambs. From that time on, the boy thought, it was his clear duty to lead and help other boys.

He began with those of his own village, teaching them the Catechism and bringing them to church. As an inducement, he would amuse them first with acrobatic and conjuring tricks, at which he became very clever. One Sunday morning when an itinerant juggler and gymnast was holding the children spellbound by his performance, young John challenged him to a competition and beat him at his own tricks. Then he marched off to church, followed by his admiring audience. It was more or less by chance that this talented boy learned to read. He was staying with an aunt who was servant to the priest, and when the priest was told of John's ambition, he taught him gladly. But John didn't want to stop with reading and writing; he wished to study for the priesthood. Many difficulties had to be overcome before he could even begin his preliminary studies. When, at sixteen, he entered the seminary at Chieri, he was so poor that money for his maintenance and his clothes had to be supplied by charity. The village mayor contributed a hat, one friendly person gave him a cloak, and another a pair of shoes. People were eager to help a boy who was himself so eager and ambitious. After his ordination as deacon, he attended the theological school at nearby Turin, finding time to continue his volunteer work with homeless or neglected boys. Having won the approbation of his superiors for what he was doing, he began to gather around him regularly on Sunday afternoons a band of these waifs and young apprentices.


After taking Holy Orders, his first appointment was assistant chaplain of a home for girls, founded by the Marchesa Barolo, a wealthy and philanthropic woman. This post left Don Bosco free on Sundays to devote himself to his group of boys. He set up for them a sort of combined Sunday School and recreation center on grounds belonging to the Marchesa, which he called "the festive Oratory." But the Marchesa quickly withdrew her permission, because the boys were, naturally, noisy and unruly, and sometimes even made so bold as to pick the flowers in the garden. For more than a year the group was regarded as a nuisance and sent from pillar to post. No property owner was able to put up with them for long. When at last Don Bosco was able to hire an old shed as a meeting place, and the future seemed promising, the Marchesa delivered herself of an ultimatum. He must choose between giving up the boys—who now numbered several hundred—or resigning his post at the girl's orphanage. Don Bosco promptly resigned, to devote himself wholly to the boys.

In the midst of these anxieties, he was prostrated by a severe attack of pneumonia that came near ending his life. As soon as he had recovered, he went to live in some poor rooms adjoining a new Oratory, or gathering place, with his mother as housekeeper. For ten years this good woman served as his adjutant and loyal helper, extending her motherly care over all the waifs and strays her son brought to her. Don Bosco now applied himself to consolidating his work and planning for the years to come. A night school which had been opened the previous year took shape, and as the Oratory was soon overcrowded, he opened two more youth centers in other parts of Turin. About the same time he began housing a few destitute boys. His next step was to build for his flock a small church which he placed under the patronage of his favorite saint, Francis de Sales. With that completed, he started to build a home for his steadily growing family. No one knew just how he managed to raise the money for these various projects, but his natural persuasiveness had much to do with it.
Those enrolled as boarders in the school were of two sorts: young apprentices and craftsmen, and other youths of more than average intelligence in whom Don Bosco discerned future helpers, with, possibly, vocations to the priesthood. At first they attended classes outside, but, as more teachers were enlisted, academic and technical courses were given at the house. By 1856 a hundred and fifty boys were in residence; there were four workshops, including a printing shop, and four Latin classes, with ten young priests as instructors; all this in addition to the oratories with their five hundred children. He cultivated in all of them a taste for music, and he was a believer in the therapeutic value of play. Don Bosco's understanding of young people, their needs, and their dreams, gave him great influence. He could manage them without punishment. "I do not remember to have used formal punishment," he wrote, "and with God's grace I have always obtained-and from apparently hopeless children-not alone what duty exacted but what my wish simply expressed." With an approach that seems quite modern, he planned programs that combined play, song, study, prayer, and manual work. He knew that straight academic learning was not enough. "Knowledge gives more power in the exercise of good or evil," he said, "but alone it is an indifferent weapon, lacking guidance."

Don Bosco's outgoing personality made him popular as a preacher, and there were many demands on his time to speak to various congregations. As a third form of activity, in the few hours that remained to him, he wrote useful and popular books for boys. In that day there was almost no attractive reading matter written especially for young people, and Don Bosco set himself to fill this need. He wrote stories based on history, and sometimes popular treatises on the faith. Often he toiled far into the night, until, in later life, his failing eyesight compelled him to give up writing.

A plan for some sort of religious order, to carry on the work when he had passed away, had long been in Don Bosco's mind, and at last he felt he had the strong nucleus of helpers that was required. "On the night of January 26, 1854, we were assembled in Don Bosco's room," writes one of the men present. "Besides Don Bosco, there were Cagliero, Rocchetti, Artiglia, and Rua. It was suggested that with God's help we should enter upon a period of practical works of charity to help our neighbors. At the close of the period, we might bind ourselves by a promise which could subsequently be transformed into a vow. From that evening, the name of Salesian was given to all who embarked on that form of apostolate." The name of course honored the great bishop of Geneva, St. Francis de Sales. It was not a propitious time for launching a new order, for in all its history Piedmont had never been so anti-clerical. The Jesuits and the Sisters of the Sacred Heart had been expelled, many convents suppressed, and laws were being passed curtailing the rights of religious orders. The statesman Urbano Rattazzi, one of those most responsible for the anti-clerical legislation, was deeply interested in popular education. As a resident of Turin, Rattazzi was familiar with Father John's activities, and, on meeting him by chance one day, urged him to found a society to further his valuable work, promising the support of the government.

The project grew, and in 1858 John went to Rome, taking with him the rules of the institution. From Pope Pius IX he received preliminary approbation. Sixteen years later he obtained full sanction, together with permission to present candidates for Holy Orders. The new society grew rapidly. Within five years there were thirty-nine Salesians; at the time of the founder's death there were eight hundred, and by 1929 the number had increased to about eight thousand. One of Father John's dreams was realized when he sent his first missionaries to the bleak and faraway land of Patagonia; other areas of South America were soon the scene of missionary endeavor. He lived to see twenty-six houses started in the New World and thirty-eight in the Old.

His next great work was the foundation in 1862 of an order of women to do for poor girls what the Salesians were doing for boys. The original group consisted of twenty-seven young women to whom he gave the name of Daughters of St. Mary Auxiliatrix, the Helper. The organization now numbers many thousands, with elementary schools in Italy, Brazil, and Argentina. To supplement the work of these two congregations, Father John organized his outside lay helpers into a new kind of Third Order, which he called Salesian Cooperators. They were men and women of all classes who pledged themselves to assist in practical ways the educational labors of the Salesians.

Any account of the life of this saint would be incomplete without some mention of his achievements as a builder of churches. His first little church of St. Francis de Sales soon proved inadequate, and he undertook the construction of a much larger building. This he finished in 1868, dedicating it to St. Mary the Helper. Later he found means to put up another spacious and much-needed church in a poor quarter of Turin, and this he placed under the patronage of St. John the Evangelist. But the immense effort of money-raising had left Don Bosco weary and depleted. He was not allowed time to recover his strength before another task was put before him. During the last years of Pope Pius IX, a project had been formed of building at Rome a church in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and Pius himself had donated money to buy the site. His successor, Leo XIII, was eager for the work to be carried forward, but there was difficulty in raising funds. It was suggested to the Pope that this was something that Don Bosco did better than anyone else, and when he was asked to undertake it, he accepted the challenge.

After obtaining a considerable sum in Italy, Don Bosco went to France, where devotion to the cult of the Sacred Heart was particularly intense at this time. He was successful in his appeals, money came flowing in, and the early completion of the church was assured. As the day appointed for its consecration drew near, he was sometimes heard to murmur that if there were any delay, he would not live to witness it. Two years before the doctors had said that this generous-hearted man had worn himself out and that complete retirement offered the only chance of prolonging his life. Don Bosco had the joy of living a few months beyond the consecration of the church, which took place on May 14, 1887. He said one Mass before the new high altar.

Later in the year it became plain that his days were numbered; he gradually weakened, and on the morning of January 31, 1888, he died in his home city of Turin. Forty thousand persons came to the church to do honor to Don Bosco, and the entire city turned out as his remains were borne to their resting place. His memory was cherished and his work carried on by his followers. Not many years had elapsed before a movement was begun for his beatification. He was declared Venerable by Pope Pius X in 1907, beatified by Pius XI in 1929, and canonized by him in 1934. Don Bosco exemplified a new trend in the treatment of children, anticipating in some respects the practices of modern psychologists. Intuitively he knew that the loving care and attention of a wise, interested adult was essential to the healthy growth of every child, and he gave his very best to those children who had the least.


Read more: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/J/stjohnbosco.asp#ixzz2JZiU30qg




Don Bosco's Dream to survive the coming hardships: Stay Faithful to the Church (boat and Holy Father), Mary, (pillar on the reight), and the Eucharist (Pillar on the left), and the storms of life (clouds), and the ravaging ocean (world) and infidels (persecutors of the church) will never break the through The Church CHRIST Founded!  



Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Come to Confession!



Bishops' Pastoral Exhortation on the Sacrament of Penance & Reconciliation : 




http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/sacraments/penance/upload/Penance-Statement-ENG.pdf 

http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/sacraments/penance/

http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/sacraments/penance/sacrament-of-penance-diocesan-resources.cfm

http://fredbroom.podomatic.com/entry/2013-01-20T19_59_01-08_00



Tolkien Quote




"The only cure for sagging or fainting faith is Communion. Though always Itself, perfect and complete and inviolate, the Blessed Sacrament does not operate completely and once for all in any of us. Like the act of Faith it must be continuous and grow by exercise. Frequency is of the highest effect. Seven times a week is more nourishing than seven times at intervals."  
                          
                              - J.R.R. Tolkien,  Author of The Lord of the Rings


Monday, January 28, 2013

St. Thomas Aquinas: “The Dumb Ox!”


St. Thomas Aquinas: “The Dumb Ox!”(1225-1274)



Endowed with one of the keenest intellects ever, a philosopher, considered by many the “greatest” theologian”, teacher, writer, priest and religious. (Dominican), contemplative and mystic, saint and doctor of the church--- can you guess who this is? None other than the “Angelic Doctor” SAINT THOMAS AQUINAS!

BIRTH AND FAMILY. Born the 12th of a noble family in today’s Naples, he was educated as a youth in the monastery of the Benedictine monks. He had a quiet and contemplative disposition inclined towards the academic life. Thomas felt the call to become a priest-religious, but not according to the criteria of the noble Aquinas family. They had the plans for him to be a Benedictine abbot to bring prestige and honor for the family.



Saint Dominic Founder

POVERTY AND MENDICANT ORDER. Just recently, two mendicant orders had been established: the Franciscans by St. Francis of Assisi, and the Dominicans (Order of Preachers), founded by Saint Dominic Guzman. Young Thomas felt the attractive pull towards the Dominicans. His parents and family violently opposed this desire of Thomas.

PERSECUTION. Persecutions rained down upon the young Thomas, such that he had to flee his family. However, family members captured him and locked him up in a family castle.



THE TEST! His family put Thomas to the test! While in the castle they brought a loose woman (a prostitute) to tempt and seduce Thomas into sin. With a fire-brand aflame, Thomas rushed at the shameless woman threatening to brand her face if she did not abandon her pursuit; this she did! Then, according to Thomistic scholars, Thomas was given the gift of perfect chastity that would serve him to plumb the depths of contemplation and comprehend the greatest of mysteries with the purest of mind, heart, body and soul!

MORE TESTS AND PERSECUTIONS
. Thomas was received into the Dominicans. As a student he was blessed to have the greatest known teacher of the day, another Dominican now known as the famous “St. Albert the Great”--- the universal doctor. Albert was the master of biology, physics, chemistry, philosophy, logic, as well as theology. Brilliant as he was, Thomas preferred the “Queen of all Sciences” Theology. He had a more retired disposition, reticent by nature and stout in build. The other students started to taunt and mock Thomas, such that they tagged a nickname to him: “The Dumb Ox.” St. Albert, hearing of this derogatory title, asserted: “Ox he is and his bellow will be heard throughout the entire world.’ Incidentally, the great English writer G.K Chesterton wrote a masterpiece on Aquinas with the title, “The Dumb Ox”.


 

PROFESSOR. Ordained to the priesthood, one of his first assignments was to teach as professor in one of the most prestigious universities in the world, the University of Paris. A gifted teacher, his fame spread like wildfire and his teaching rooms were packed to the gills! He taught with depth but with great simplicity—which matched his writing style! He was concise, clear, and to the point!

PREACHER AND RETREAT MASTER. The Holy Father, aware of the powerful intellect of Thomas, called him back to Italy. The young theologian dedicated him time there to preaching sermons and retreats that impressed and edified multitudes of people!

WRITER. Of even greater magnitude and universal impact would be Aquinas’ ability as a writer. Thomas was a profound thinker, both philosopher and theologian, but he was also both a mystic and contemplative. It is said of him that he received his greatest insights not from books but in contemplative prayer, praying in front of the most Blessed Sacrament and Jesus crucified. When he lacked clarity he would gravitate to the Tabernacle where Jesus, “The Light of the world” would enlighten his intellect with the truth!








WRITING ACCOMPLISHMENTS. Thomas had such a fertile and active mind that it was said of him that he could be dictating to four Secretaries (four different topics) at the same time! His memory for the Word of God and spiritual topics was nothing less than photographic! He wrote “Summa contra gentiles”, fundamentally a treatise to defend the Catholic faith against the oncoming attacks of the Moslems.

CLAIM TO FAME OF ST THOMAS: “SUMMA THEOLOGICA”. By far of greatest importance, was Thomas’ spiritual masterpiece, greatest in the world, his SUMMA THEOLOGICA! This contains five huge Volumes of his thought on all Christian Mysteries. Covering Dogmatic Theology, Sacramental Theology, Moral Theology, Prayer, and still much more. The “Summa” is still one of the greatest spiritual gems and masterpieces in the world. Even the Council of Trent in the 16th century used three text books to help in the formulation of the Council of Trent’s decrees and the Catechism of the Council of Trent: The Bible, the writings of the Popes, and the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas.



O Salutaris Hostia

EUCHARIST: CORPUS CHRISTI AND THOMAS. The Holy Father, so as to augment faith and devotion to the Most Holy Eucharist, asked both Thomas and Bonaventure (a friend of Thomas and future saint) to write the Office for the Feast of Corpus Christi--- The Feast of the Body and Blood of Jesus. Interesting experience! Both of the saints met! Bonaventure got a hold of the writings of Aquinas for the Office of the Body and Blood of Jesus, and after reading Aquinas’ writings, Bonaventure ripped his Office to shreds. Why? The great humility of Bonaventure acutely aware of the divine inspiration of the text of Aquinas which would be sung to praise the Eucharistic Lord until the end of time! Among the mystical hymns of Aquinas are the following: “Tantum Ergo”, “O Salutaris Hostia”, Panis Angelicus…”




WELL DONE FAITHFUL SERVANT: A VISION!
At the end of his life, Jesus appeared to Thomas, complimenting the saint. Jesus said to Thomas, “Well done Thomas; you have written well of me!’ Then Jesus asked Thomas to ask of Him for a favor! The saint responded, “Lord give me the grace to love you more and more!” LOVE OF GOD!!!! That was all that Thomas really wanted--- to live out the greatest calling: to love Jesus wholly and totally!

ECSTASY AND VISION! Another vision of the great saint concluded his writings! Thomas had a vision of God, that we will know only when we get to heaven and ask Thomas and the Lord. So powerful was this vision that Thomas could no longer take up his pen and write. (Actually the Summa was not totally finished!) From this Aquinas stated that all that he had written was nothing more than straw!

EARLY DEATH. Asked by the Holy Father to attend the Council of Lyons, on the way to the Council, Thomas became gravely sick, was received into a Cistercian monastery and breathed forth his spirit into the hands of the Lord. He was only 49 years of age!






LESSONS OF THE “Angelic doctor” Many for us now and until the end of time!

1. PURITY. To communicate with the Lord we must attain purity of life in body, mind, heart and soul. Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure of heart, they will see God.” (Mt. 5:8)

2. DETERMINATION. Like Thomas we must have a determined determination to discern God’s will and follow it.

3. POVERTY. Thomas chose a poor-mendicant Order so as to follow Jesus in His poverty. “Blessed are the poor for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”(Mt.5:3)

4. PRAYER/CONTEMPLATION. Thomas learned much from his books and studies, but even more through his prayer in front of the Most Blessed Sacrament and Jesus Crucified.

5. STUDY. In this “Year of Faith” in imitation of St. Thomas may we apply ourselves seriously to the study of our Catholic faith.

6. SILENCE. To study and pray well we urgently need silence. “Speak O Lord for your servant is listening!” God speaks in the silence of our hearts!

7. OBEDIENCE. Thomas obeyed both Provincial and Pope. In obedience, we accomplish the will of God. Jesus was obedient even to death and death on the cross. (Phil. 2)

8. LOVE. When asked by Jesus for a gift, Thomas did not ask for honor or fame or riches but simply to love Jesus more and more each day. Thomas himself says that charity(supernatural love) is the “Queen of all virtues.”

9. DEATH. He died at 49 and accomplished so much. May we recognize that our life is like the flower of the field that rises in the morning and withers and dies as the sun goes down. Let us find rest in two places: the cemetery and heaven. (St. Alberto Hurtado).

10. MARY. Thomas preached at great length on the HAIL MARY-- a prayer that he loved. Following St Dominic the charism of the Dominicans is to preach and spread love for the Holy Rosary!

                                         Saint Dominic Receiving the Rosary From Mary!





Thursday, January 24, 2013

Pilgrimage Parishes in LA




Release from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles:  

http://www.la-archdiocese.org/events/yof/Pages/pilgrimage.aspx

Visit a Parish! 


Archbishop Gomez said:

"The Church’s ancient practice of granting indulgences is a beautiful sign of God’s love and mercy and the Church’s ministry of reconciliation.
Jesus Christ gave his Catholic Church the power to forgive sins in his name. But we realize that even though our Heavenly Father forgives our sins through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we still need to be healed from the wounds that our sins cause in us and purified of their effects in our lives.
Usually this process of purification and healing takes place either here on earth — when we bear our trials and sufferings patiently with faith — or after death, in the state of Purgatory.
By granting a “plenary indulgence,” the Church frees us from the burdens of our past failings so that through our love we can grow closer to Jesus.
So this opportunity to receive a plenary indulgence is a beautiful gift that our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has given us in this Year of Faith.
By making a pilgrimage to these selected churches — which are located in each of our five pastoral regions — we will be making a little act of faith and love and expressing our desire to grow in holiness. And in response, we will receive this great gift of God’s tender mercies and love."
Click picture above for list of sites



Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Archbishop Gomez's Writing on Roe V. Wade



Every year, near the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, we gather to remember the victims of abortion. This year, our Requiem will be held at 6 p.m. on Saturday evening, Jan. 19, at our Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. We will also be live-streaming the Mass through my Facebook page. 
I hope you will be able to join us to pray for all the little ones whose lives have been lost and ask God for the grace to keep proclaiming his Gospel of Life.
Promoting a culture of life is one of the five priorities for our Archdiocese that I set out in my pastoral letter, “Witness to the New World of Faith.” 

As Catholics we have been entrusted with the good news of Jesus Christ — that the human person is sacred and created in God’s image. But we live in a society that has accepted legalized abortion for 40 years and is now moving more and more to the acceptance of euthanasia. This is the challenge we face — as a Church and as individuals. Life is beautiful and life is from God! This is the most basic message we proclaim. We have just come out of Christmas Time. And Christmas is when we can see the Gospel of life so clearly, so beautifully. We see that God loved us so much that he became a little child for us — so that we could find him easier to love. We see that God wants to share and sanctify our lives. So he comes into the world as we do — as a child, with a mother and a father. So he grows up in a human family and learns to know friendship and love; joy, sorrow and suffering.He does all this to show us that in his eyes, every human life is precious and every life is for a reason. God calls each of us by name, as a Father calls his beloved children. All those children who die by abortion — they have a name that only our Father knows. They are precious in his eyes.

We have been in this struggle for life in our society for a long time. We need to keep at it. And we need to deepen our efforts at every level, beginning in our own personal commitment to the Church’s teaching on life.
We need to proclaim in everything we do that life is beautiful; that children are a gift of God. We need to celebrate marriage and the family as cradles of life and schools of love and hope. We need to continue our efforts to reach out to women in need. We also need to continue to resist the “anti-life” and “anti-family” movements and tendencies in our society. We need to remind our neighbors that the right to life is the foundation of every other right and liberty in our society — and the only foundation of true justice and peace.
If the child in the womb has no right to live, then no one does. If the child in the womb has no human dignity, then no one does. Imagine the witness our Catholic Church could make in our society if every one of us truly lived the Church’s social teachings in all their fullness. Imagine if every one of us were involved in the struggle to proclaim the sanctity of life and the dignity of every human being — from the child in the womb, to the immigrant and the prisoner, to the hungry and the homeless and the sick and terminally ill.
This is what it means to love as Jesus loved, which was the new commandment that he gave us. 

In Jesus Christ, the love of neighbor and the love of God become one. This is the foundation of the Church’s teachings on life. The Jesus who comes to us in the Eucharist is the Christ who comes to us always in his most distressing guise — in the poor, the stranger, the immigrant, the prisoner, the terminally ill and the unborn. The One who says, “This is my Body,” also tells us, “As you did it to one of the least of my brethren, you did it to me.” So we prove our love for God by our love for those God has created and put into our lives — especially those who are hard to love or a burden to love.So let’s keep one another in prayer this week.
And let’s ask our Blessed Mother Mary to help us to love as her Son loved and to proclaim his Gospel of Life with our lives.

-Archbishop Jose H. Gomez 

Archbishop of Los Angeles (2013) 

Cardinal Sean O'Malley's Letter




January 22, 2013 marks the 40th anniversary of the tragic U.S. Supreme Court rulings Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton. Without grounding in the Constitution, law or human rights, these decisions have made it legal for the past forty years in the United States to end the life of an unborn child. Since then fifty-five million children never had the chance to be born. The scope of this loss is staggering, yet the Court and many in our society relegate it to a matter of personal choice.

As part of the ongoing response to innocent children's lives being taken with the protection of the law, the U.S. Catholic bishops have launched a major pastoral initiative calling for prayer and penance to promote and build a culture of life, marriage and religious liberty.

The initiative includes "Nine Days of Prayer, Penance and Pilgrimage" from January 19 to 27, 2013. I invite Catholics in the United States to join me in this novena. It includes daily prayer intentions for the healing and conversion of our nation, for elected officials who support abortion, and for all people whose lives have forever been changed by an abortion. The novena is available through social media, text messaging and email, to be helpful for youth and other pilgrims traveling to pro-life events and marches and for those wishing to participate from their parishes and homes.

Our nation greatly needs our prayers and personal sacrifices. The evil of abortion inflicts unimaginable pain, but Jesus offers us healing and renewal. He came not to condemn us, but to free us from the burden of the wrongs we have done so that all might be saved. His Divine Mercy knows no limits; we need only to ask his forgiveness. If you know of anyone suffering from the effects of an abortion experience, please encourage them to seek help.

It is our hope and prayer that our defense of human life and religious freedom, our witness to the dignity of each and every human person, our compassionate service and our prayers calling on the infinite love and mercy of God will spark a renewal of love and commitment to the true good of others. Only a love that seeks to serve those most in need, whatever the personal cost to ourselves, is strong enough to overcome a culture of death and build a civilization worthy of human beings created in God's image.


-Cardinal Sean O'Malley
Archbishop of Boston (2013) 


Archbishop Aquilla's First Pastoral Letter


Archbishop Aquilla's First Pastoral Letter: 

40 Years of the Culture of Death: A Pastoral Letter on the Occasion of the Anniversary of Roe vs. Wade

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

40 YEARS....

    




"Only with prayer - prayer that storms the heavens for justice and mercy, prayer that cleanses our hearts and souls - will the culture of death that surrounds us today be replaced with a culture of life." -US Bishops

Prayer for Today: 
Intercessions
For the doctors, nurses and counselors who now know they were wrong in cooperating with abortion: may God grant them the courage to renounce their involvement in the abortion industry and open their hearts to doing his will from now on.


Our Father, 3 Hail Mary's, Glory Be

Reflection   
Today, on this 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we consider the past four decades in which our society has legally permitted abortion, wandering far from God. Instead of accepting children in joy and hope, our culture is lost in a barren place marked by rejection of others, sorrow and despair. Yet, like Abraham, whom we hear about in today's first reading, Christians must "hold fast to the hope that lies before us," trusting in faith that Christ makes all things new. With Mary's intercession, let us pray that our nation becomes a place where every child is welcomed with joy, as an irreplaceable gift from our Creator.

Acts of Reparation (choose one)
  • Go to an abortion clinic and pray, or set aside an hour today to pray for those who are struggling with a decision of life or death for their unborn child.
  • Pray the Rosary today for someone who has hurt or disappointed you, and ask for the grace to forgive that person.
  • Instead of donating "old clothes," offer to buy a piece of clothing or item a charity is seeking.


Did you know?
Planned Parenthood personnel have aborted over 5,300,000 children since 1970. That's equal to the entire population of Colorado. In 2009, 97.6 percent of Planned Parenthood's "services" for pregnant women involved killing their children, and only 2.4 percent involved prenatal care or adoption referral

Prolife Quotes: 

"I have noticed that everyone that is for abortion is already alive." -President Ronald Reagan 

"
Life is beautiful and life is from God! This is the most basic message we proclaim.......
....   to build a society that promotes the dignity of every human life no matter how weak...   If the child in the womb has no right to live, then no one does. If the child in the womb has no human dignity, then no one does. " -Archbishop Jose Gomez 


"The whole of society must defend the right to life of the child conceived and the true good of the woman who will never, in any circumstance, be able to find fulfillment in the decision of abortion."- Pope Benedict XVI

"A nation that kills its own children is a nation without hope". 
- Blessed Pope John Paul II

"How can there be too many children? That's like saying there are too many flowers."
-Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta

"He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it. Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." 
- Matrin Luther King, Jr

"In its heart, America knew that racial segregation was wrong. In its heart, America knows that human life begins before birth." -F. LaGard Smith 

"What irony that a society confronted with plastic bags filled with remains of aborted babies would be more concerned about the problem of recycling the bags."     
- Winifred Egan




Pro-Life Sites: 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Cardinal DiNardo on Roe V. Wade



Dear Sisters and Brothers,

This weekend, we remember as a nation Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a man of non-violence, a minister and preacher of overcoming racism and living in harmony because of the "content of our character." We pray and work that his dream may be realized.

On Monday, we will inaugurate President Obama for a second term and pray for him and the newly sworn in Congress that he and they will enact laws and carry out policies in our country that enhance the common good and protect the human person, and simultaneously work for a deepening of genuine peace founded on justice in the world at large.

On Tuesday, we will remember the somber 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision, Roe vs. Wade, that legalized abortion in our country, a decision that has unleashed the death of over 50 million unborn children, nameless to many but not to the Lord, and caused great brokenness to the mothers and fathers and extended families of those same children. The Gospels are exact in describing Jesus Christ's work beginning at his Baptism in the Jordan as bringing a new reconciliation that does not "break the bruised reed or extinguish the smoldering wick." The Catholic Church remembers January 22nd each year as a day of voluntary fast and abstinence; there is a special Mass in the Missal with its proper Scriptural Readings assigned for that day. I ask, most especially this year, that all of our priests, clergy, religious and faithful make a major effort to stop that day, to pray more fervently for a rebirth of a culture of life, to fast and abstain from food as a mark of solidarity for all those affected personally by the scourge of abortion, and to make space and time to participate in prayer at Mass.

May God's blessings descend mightily on our country that we will be promoters of peace, defenders of life for every person, and dedicated servants to the civil and religious liberty of all our citizens that has marked us as a nation from our beginnings.

May we continue to celebrate this Year of Faith by enhancing our knowledge of Faith and deepening our gaze at the face of Jesus Christ, God's mercy shown visibly to the world!

Sincerely in Christ,

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo
Archbishop of Galveston-Houston (2013) 


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Let's End Abortion


From Fr. Ed Broom, OMV's blog.... 





1 .     MERCY. (P.A.S.) If you meet somebody who has had an abortion, never condemn but be merciful and tell them of the mercy of God. Remind them of the Parables of mercy in Lk. 15: the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost and found son, the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Remember also that many women go back for a second or third abortion, mostly because they have not experienced the mercy of God. The Psalmist reminds us of the tenderness of the Heart of God: “God is slow to anger but rich in kindness and mercy…” ALWAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The devil tempts us to believe that after sin--- especially a serious sin (like that of abortion) that God is angry and unwilling to forgive. This could not be further from the truth. St. Paul teaches that where sin abounds the mercy of God abounds all the more. Furthermore, one of the key themes of the Diary of mercy in my soul of Saint Faustina is that the greatest sinners have the greatest right to God’s mercy and that the greatest sinners can become the greatest saints if they simply TRUST in His mercy. JESUS I TRUST IN YOU!




2. TEACH OUR YOUNG. It is incumbent upon parents to teach their children, and teens the virtue of CHASTITY—the proper use of their body and that their body is truly the temple of the Holy Spirit and should be respected and honored at all times; also that that they should respect the bodies of others. Still more parents should teach their children that there is a time for everything. There is a time to plant and a time to gather; a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to work and a time to sleep; there is a time to have a courtship and a time to avoid. There is a time for everything underneath the sun. Often abortions occur among the youth because they are involved in premature courtships, with raging hormones, uncontrollable passions and a society that abets and encourages sexual license and expression without limits! We must teach the young the meaning of the Beatitude: “”Blessed are the pure of heart, they will see God. “(Mt. 5:8).

3. PRO-LIFE REMINDERS. We should surround ourselves and the world that we live with Pro-life reminders and there are many and thanks especially to the Pro-life Movement and its tireless efforts! Buy Pro-life checks! Where exteriorly on your lapel or pocket the “Precious feet” of the unborn baby. Display on Face-book the beauty of the unborn as well as the baby already born. Of course we should never forget nor neglect catchy and attractive Pro-life Bumper stickers, for example: “It is a child and not a choice!” These reminders force people to think. Believe it or not there are still many people who are still sitting on the fence and as of yet do not have clear ideas on the topic of abortion and Pro-Life. Let us try to win them over to the “Pro-life” side!


planned UNparenthood
4. EUPHEMISMS/ MANIPULATION OF LANGUAGE. Be aware of how those who promote abortion utilize euphemisms—manipulating language for their own benefit—to trick and deceive. For example, “Pro-choice!” “Terminate-pregnancy”, “My-Body” “Woman’s health center”. These and many other euphemisms can be utilized to deceive the gullible and na├»ve into diluting the reality that abortion is truly infanticide—killing an innocent child!





5. LEARN KEY BIBLICAL PASSAGES TO DEFEND THE BABY. Throughout the entire Bible, which is the Word of God and the Word of life, the child us always seen as a great blessing. Try to learn some of the key passages in defense of the unborn human life. Obviously one of the best is the Visitation of Mary to St. Elizabeth, two pregnant women, who would be prime targets for abortion in the modern technologically advanced society. Why? One would be considered way too young to have a baby—a mere teenager and that would be the Blessed Virgin Mary; the other, would be considered way to old and that would be St. Elizabeth. We know the beautiful story’s ending: they both trusted totally in God’s loving Providence and said “Yes” to life and brought forth the two greatest: St. John the Baptist and Jesus, the Son of God who would call Himself, THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE! Check out this passage: (Lk. 1:39-45).




6. ADOPTION NOT ABORTION! A truly valid option or alternative to abortion is that of adoption. Even now there are thousands and thousands of couples that for various reasons could not have their own biological children and are longing for a child of their own and desire to adopt. These couples are screened, studied underneath a fine-tooth-comb to see if they would be good parents. Therefore, the child to be born would be placed in an excellent household and receive an excellent human formation and very often a good Christian formation.





7. ULTRASOUND! If you meet a confused women who is seriously considering an abortion why not provide her with the opportunity to see the little baby through an ULTRASOUND. For the mother to see the real and live baby within her womb smiling, yawning, stretching her/is little limbs, sleeping, sneezing or even scratching the little nose could be the determining moment to help that mother to say “Yes” to life and to have and cherish that precious little infant in her womb. Remember the famous case of Dr. Bernard Nathanson who saw an ultrasound of a baby aborted and stopped aborting—after having been ahead of the key abortion clinic in NYC that had carried out 80,000 abortions! It all started by seeing, visualizing the image of the live baby. We live in a world of images. Why not use live images through the Ultrasound to save the lives of the most innocent?


8. SPEAK OUT! Many women have recourse to abortion because they are confused, filled with groundless fears, and unfortunately they have been surrounded by “friends” (really enemies) that convince them that the best decision is to abort the child. We must learn to speak up. We must learn to express the truth with love. The child in the womb cannot speak and therefore we must be the voice of the unborn child in the womb. We must stop “Bullying”. The worst form of bullying in the world is the bullying and the actual killing of the most innocent and defenseless--- the unborn child. Who knows how many women have had recourse to abortion because timid Christians have failed to speak out. Remember the words of the Political philosopher Edmund Burke: “So that evil progress it is sufficient that good men do nothing!” In catholic moral theology we call this “Sin of omission”.





9. PRO-LIFE MOVEMENT! Get involved in the “Pro-life” movement. There is so much that can be done; get involved in one way or another. What to do?


a) WALK/MARCH AT WASHINGTON. Get together with a group of “Pro-lifer” and travel to Washington to do a silent March of Protest. We want to manifest publicly but peacefully our love and defense for the unborn.
b) ABORTION CLINICS: PRAYER RALLIES. Why not seek out the closest abortion clinic to your home and once a week to silently protest by praying many Rosaries and Chaplets of Divine Mercy.


c) SIDEWALK COUNSELING. Why not go through training to give “Sidewalk-counseling” to those confused women who are walking into the Abortion clinic to abort their baby. Of course prayer is the key; however a timely word of wisdom, an image, a word of encouragement, a smile of love--- all could help the confused woman to turn around and have the child!


d) EMERGENCY PHONE LINE. Volunteer to receive phone-calls of the confused woman who is pondering the abortion to give her the many other “Helps” that she has to support her in her pregnancy and say “Yes” to life! Below are a series of numbers to have at your fingertips: OPTION LIFE IF CARE/NET/HEARBEAT: 1-800-712-HELP (4357) NATIONAL LIFE CENTER: 1-800-848-LOVE (5683), OPTION LINE: 1- 800-712-HELP (4357). Post-abortion syndrome (P.A.S.) RACHEL’S VINEYARD 1-877-HOPE-4-ME (467- 3463). NATIONAL HELPLINE FOR ABORTION RECOVERY: 1-866-482 LIFE (5433) www. NationalHelpline.org. These numbers can be invaluable help in time of need and emergency!


e) PARISH LEVEL. Approach your Pastor and ask him if you could set up a Pro-life group in the Parish. Many things can be done on a Parish level. Here are a few: Holy Hours of Reparation, Pro-life Masses, DVD’s and movies like “October Baby? And “Bella” to enhance the awareness on a parochial level of the value of the baby in the womb. Having the “Baby”bottle” project wherein the parishioners give their coins or dollars to women who say “Yes” to life but are struggling economically.


f) EMERGENCY NUMBERS! Have emergency numbers to give to confused women to call to help them in their plight.




10. PRAYER AND PENANCE
. Jesus stated with utmost clarity that some devils can be expelled only through prayer and penance. He Himself taught us in Person when He prayed and fasted for 40 days and nights in the desert. Then Jesus defeated the devil who came at Him with three different temptations. Behind the abortion industry is the devil; Jesus calls the devil a liar and murderer from the beginning. Lies are uttered! (Remember the euphemisms, # 4). Worse yet, the devil is a murdered because abortion is truly murder and murder of the most innocent and defenseless. Motivating the abortion industry is the devil and also lust form money. It is a multi-billion dollar industry every year in which close to 1.2 million babies are aborted (through surgical abortion) every year in the United States. Therefore we must pray and add to prayer concrete acts of penance. With respect to prayer, of course all prayers said with purity of heart and good intention are pleasing to the Lord. However, three could be of great value to repair the abominable crime and sin of abortion as well as to prevent future abortions.


a) CHAPLET OF DIVINE MERCY. We invoke the Body, BLOOD, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus to repair for our sins as well as for the sins of the whole of world--- that of course includes abortion, the shedding of the Blood of the Innocent ones!




b) HOLY MASS: OFFERTORY, CONSECRATION, AND HOLY COMMUNION. Under the stars, moon, and heaven itself there is no greater prayer than the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Included in this is the Pro-life dimension. Why? Abortion is the innocent blood-shed of the babies. Holy Mass is the offering of the Blood of the Innocent Lamb who takes away the sins of the world. We offer Jesus begging mercy and pardon; we adore Jesus who descends from heaven in the Consecration of the Host; we receive Jesus in the moment of Holy Communion.   These three key moments in Mass can be offered in reparation and prevention for the deluge of innocent blood that has been shed since the legalization of abortion 40 years ago in the decision Roe vs. Wade. Calculations estimate in between 52-53 surgical abortions!!!! However, we should never forget that one drop of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus that He shed on Calvary and is renewed perpetually in every Holy Mass is sufficient to repair for and save the whole world!


c) HAIL MARY AND ROSARY. Finally, the prayer, so dear to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Hail Mary and the most Holy Rosary, is obviously a “Pro-life” prayer. Pay attention to these words in the Hail Mary which were pronounced by Saint Elizabeth to Mary in the mystery of the Visitation: “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus…” This powerful prayer that penetrates and consoles the most pure and Immaculate Heart of Mary lauds and praises the “Yes” of Mary that resulted in the Incarnation and the presence of the Unborn Baby Jesus in the womb of Mary. A beautiful practice for us to undertake would be to beg that through the praying of the Hail Mary in the context of the Rosary that 50 abortions would be repaired for as well as prevented every time we pray this powerful Pro-life prayer. What God can do with His power Mary can do with her prayer. God can never resist the prayers of Mary His Heavenly Mother.




In conclusion, we are people of life. God calls us to believe in the value of life, love life, speak up and defend life. May Jesus who is the WAY, TRUTH AND LIFE, and Mary who is the Mother of God and Mother of He who gave us life and life in abundance help us to lift of the Banner of life so as to one day enjoy forever and eve r eternal life!



VIVA CHRISTO REY!  

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Irish BIshop Addresses Government on Abortion



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"WILL YOU LET ME LIVE?"-Unborn Child

Irish Prelate Addresses Government Committee on Abortion Legislation in Ireland
Bishop Christopher Jones Says Right to Life is Natural and Inviolable
By Ann Schneible

DUBLIN, January 15, 2013 (Zenit.org) - Bishop Christopher Jones, Chair of the Catholic Bishop's Council for Marriage and the Family in Ireland, addressed a government committee hearing last week regarding the legal status of abortion in the country.
The bishop's presentation was part of a three day hearing of the Oireachtas Health Committee on the Implementation of the Government Decision Following the Expert Group Report into matters relating to ABC vs. Ireland – a case which deals with three Irish women who sought abortions in the UK due to Ireland's laws which prohibit abortions.
Abortion is illegal in Ireland except when it occurs as the result of a medical procedure performed to save the life of the mother. However, on December 18, 2012, the government announced it would introduce legislation to allow abortions in additional cases, such as when a woman is at risk of suicide due to a crisis pregnancy.

Bishop Jones of the diocese Elphin, who is also President of ACCORD, Catholic Marriage Care Service, addressed the committee, emphasizing: "As a Church we also want to see mothers and their unborn children receive all the medical care and life-saving treatment they need during pregnancy. There is nothing in current Irish law, in current medical guidelines or in Catholic ethics that prevents such treatment from being given."
Bishop Jones challenged the claim that the safety of pregnant mothers is jeopardized by Ireland's legal prohibition of abortion. "In Ireland we have one of the lowest rates of maternal mortality in the world during pregnancy. This is something we should be proud of as a nation. It is something we should do all in our power to cherish and protect," he said.
"Any suggestion that Ireland is an unsafe place for pregnant mothers because we do not have abortion is a complete distortion of the truth. It is also gravely unjust to the doctors, nurses and midwives in our hospitals who have achieved such internationally celebrated standards of maternity care," Bishop Jones said.

He reminded the committee that the Catholic Church "has never taught that the life of the child in the womb should be preferred to that of the mother, or the life of the mother to that of the child," and that "abortion, understood as the direct and intentional killing of an unborn child in the womb, is never morally permissible. This is because directly and intentionally taking the life of any innocent person is never morally acceptable."
The Church, moreover, does not prohibit "medical treatments to save the life of the mother where there is no other option and where the intervention does not directly and intentionally seek to end the life of the unborn baby... This position, which is ethically sound, represents best practice in Irish hospitals today."

Bishop Jones also criticized the notion that abortion was a valid way of treating a pregnant mother with suicidal tendencies stemming from an unwanted pregnancy, 
"whereas current research indicates that suicidal ideation rarely relates to a single cause and that abortion itself can lead to suicidal ideation and mental health difficulties.
The position it took is also morally unacceptable. You cannot morally equate the possible but preventable death of one person with the deliberate and intentional destruction of the life of a different, totally innocent person... Taking the life of another innocent person, with absolutely no guarantee that it will remove suicidal thoughts and the real possibility that it may make the situation worse, can never be regarded as a humane or morally appropriate response."

Concluding his remarks, Bishop Jones asserted that the Church would continue to provide care and support for women facing difficult decisions in preganancy, as well as to continue to "pray for a society "which cherishes and respects the precious gift of life from the first moment of conception to natural death."

"The right to life does not depend on our physical or mental state. It does not depend on our religious faith. It is a natural and inviolable right that no individual, no majority and no State 



Let us Pray that the Evils of 

Abortion May End Forever 

EVERYWHERE!!!!




"WILL YOU LET ME LIVE?"-Unborn Child




Friday, January 11, 2013

Talk on the Baptism of the Lord: Fr. Ed Broom, OMV

John Paul II's Canonization Thought to Be Imminent


Cardinal Expects Canonization of Bl. John Paul II  in 2013 or 2014
ROME, January 11, 2013 (Zenit.org) - The retired prefect of the Congregation for Bishops says Blessed John Paul II will likely be canonized this year or next.
Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re offered this prediction during a presentation this week of "Il Papa e il Poeta" (The Pope and the Poet), written by Vatican expert Mimmo Muol.
"If it's not this year it will be next," said the cardinal, explaining that as more than one miracle has been attributed to the Polish Pontiff's intercession, "surely there is at least a valid one for his canonization."
Experts of the Congregation for Saints' Causes are reviewing the alleged miracles.
"The time [for the process] can be very brief," said the cardinal, who said the congregation was studying three or four miracles "to evaluate the most solid one."
"The cures are evaluated by a committee of seven doctors, members of a rather exacting internal scientific body, who have the task of examining every detail," Cardinal Re explained. 
The former Vatican official classified the doctors as "rigid and meticulous," saying that they would not consider a healing miraculous if an illness was cured with therapies that in similar cases were effective.
"The seven doctors of the committee must be in agreement that it is an inexplicable case," he said, "from the human and scientific point of view."