Saturday, April 27, 2013

How Old is your Church?



If you are a LUTHERAN, your religion was founded by Martin Luther, an ex-monk of the Catholic Church, IN THE YEAR 1517.

If you belong to the CHURCH OF ENGLAND, your religion was founded by King Henry VIII IN THE YEAR 1534, because the Pope would not grant him a divorce with the right to re-marry.

If you are a PRESBYTERIAN, your religion was founded by John Knox in Scotland

If you are a member of the CONGREGATIONALIST, your religion was originated by Robert Brown in Holland IN THE YEAR 1582.

If you are a BAPTIST, you owe the tenets of your religion to your founder, John Smyth, who launched this denomination in the city of Amsterdam IN THE YEAR 1605.

If you are of the DUTCH REFORMED CHURCH, you recognize Michaelis Jones as your founder, because he originated your religion in New York IN THE YEAR 1628.

If you are a PROTESTANT EPISCOPALIAN, your religion was an offshoot of the Church Of England, and your offshoot was founded by Samuel Seabury in the American Colonies in the 17th Century.

If you are a METHODIST, your religion was launched by John and Charles Wesley in England IN THE YEAR 1744.

If you are a UNITARIAN, then Theophilus Lindley is the founder of your church, in London IN THE YEAR 1774.

If you are a MORMON (LATTER DAY SAINTS) your modern Non-Christian religion was started by Joseph Smith in Palmyra, New York, IN THE YEAR 1829.

If you worship with THE SALVATION ARMY, your sect began with William Booth in the city of London IN THE YEAR 1865.

If you are a CHRISTIAN SCIENTIST, you recognize that your religion was begun by Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy IN THE YEAR 1879.

If it not one of these then, your religion is one of the thousands of new sects founded by men WITHIN THE PAST 150 YEARS!

If you are a ROMAN CATHOLIC,
Then you know that your Church was founded IN THE YEAR 33

Friday, April 26, 2013

Pope Francis Speaks to the Youth

"Dear young people, do not bury your talents, the gifts that God has given you! Do not be afraid to dream of great things!"

-Pope Francis

Monday, April 22, 2013

Good Shepherd Sunday- Vocations

(Vatican Radio) On the 50th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Pope Francis ordained ten men to the priesthood for the diocese of Rome at Sunday Mass in St Peter’s basilica, mandating them to ‘build the house of God, which is the Church, in word and example’. Emer McCarthy reports listen: 

The ten men ranging in age from 26 to 44, were drawn from the Diocesann major seminary, the Neocatechumenal Way seminary for the diocese, Redemptoris Mater and the Oblates of Divino Amore seminary.
Ahead of the beginning of the liturgy, the Holy Father surprised the then still candidates to the priesthood by joining them in the basilica sacristy. Continuing on a tradition he had begun as Archbishop of Buenos Aires he spent a moment in prayer with each of them before commending them and their ministry to the Blessed Virgin.
The homily delivered by the Holy Father ahead of the rite of consecration was based on the one that appears in the Pontificale Romanum for the ordination of priests, with one or two personal additions. In fact, reflecting on the sacraments that these men would soon administer upon the people of God as ministers of the Supreme Priest, Christ, he asked the ten men to “always be merciful pastors” to their people and not just ‘functionaries’.
The theme of vocations also dominated Pope Francis’ address before praying the midday Regina Caeli prayer with the estimated 70 thousand people who crowded St Peter’s Square and surrounding streets again this Sunday.

Looking out over the multitude, many from abroad carrying national flags, the Pope noticed the many young people present and addresses an appeal directly to them to ‘listen for the voice of Jesus and bravely ask Him what he wants of you’.
Pope Francis noted that "sometimes Jesus calls us, invites us to follow him, but it may happen that we do not realize” that it is Him speaking to us. He went on to ask the young people to listen carefully for Christ’s voice the midst of their restlessness, observing that youth should be spent in the pursuit of high ideals and inviting the young people to have the courage to listen to the Lord.

He also noted that “behind and before every vocation to the priesthood or consecrated life, is always the strong and intense prayer of someone: a grandmother, a grandfather, a mother, a father, a community”, asking believers everywhere to redouble their prayers today for more “laborers for the Lord’s harvest”.

After the Marian prayer Pope Francis launched a series of appeals for the populations of Venezula and China. The first hit by post-electoral turmoil the second by a devastating earthquake.
The Holy Father invited prayers for China "for the victims and for those who are suffering because of the violent earthquake" in Sichuan province. He also called on “the beloved Venezuelan people, especially institutional authorities and politicians to firmly reject any type of violence, and to establish a dialogue based on truth, in mutual recognition, in the search for the common good and love for the nation".And finally entrusting all of his intentions to Mary Queen of the Heavens Pope Francis took his leave of the thousands below wishing all a blessed Sunday and a good lunch.

Below we publish the homily as per the Pontificale Romanum for the ordination of priests:

Beloved brothers and sisters: because these our sons, who are your relatives and friends, are now to be advanced to the Order of priests, consider carefully the nature of the rank in the Church to which they are about to be raised.

It is true that God has made his entire holy people a royal priesthood in Christ. Nevertheless, our great Priest himself, Jesus Christ, chose certain disciples to carry out publicly in his name, and on behalf of mankind, a priestly office in the Church. For Christ was sent by the Father and he in turn sent the Apostles into the world, so that through them and their successors, the Bishops, he might continue to exercise his office of Teacher, Priest, and Shepherd. Indeed, priests are established co-workers of the Order of Bishops, with whom they are joined in the priestly office and with whom they are called to the service of the people of God.
After mature deliberation and prayer, these, our brothers, are now to be ordained to the priesthood in the Order of the presbyterate so as to serve Christ the Teacher, Priest, and Shepherd, by whose ministry his body, that is, the Church, is built and grows into the people of God, a holy temple.

In being configured to Christ the eternal High Priest and joined to the priesthood of the Bishops, they will be consecrated as true priests of the New Testament, to preach the Gospel, to shepherd God’s people, and to celebrate the sacred Liturgy, especially the Lord’s sacrifice.

Now, my dear brothers and sons, you are to be raised to the Order of the Priesthood. For your part you will exercise the sacred duty of teaching in the name of Christ the Teacher. Impart to everyone the word of God which you have received with joy. Remember your mothers, your grandmothers, your catechists, who gave you the word of God, the faith ... the gift of faith! They transmitted to you this gift of faith. Meditating on the law of the Lord, see that you believe what you read, that you teach what you believe, and that you practise what you teach. Remember too that the word of God is not your property: it is the word of God. And the Church is the custodian of the word of God.

In this way, let what you teach be nourishment for the people of God. Let the holiness of your lives be a delightful fragrance to Christ’s faithful, so that by word and example you may build up the house which is God’s Church.

Likewise you will exercise in Christ the office of sanctifying. For by your ministry the spiritual sacrifice of the faithful will be made perfect, being united to the sacrifice of Christ, which will be offered through your hands in an unbloody way on the altar, in union with the faithful, in the celebration of the sacraments. Understand, therefore, what you do and imitate what you celebrate. As celebrants of the mystery of the Lord’s death and resurrection, strive to put to death whatever in your members is sinful and to walk in newness of life.

You will gather others into the people of God through Baptism, and you will forgive sins in the name of Christ and the Church in the sacrament of Penance. Today I ask you in the name of Christ and the Church, never tire of being merciful. You will comfort the sick and the elderly with holy oil: do not hesitate to show tenderness towards the elderly. When you celebrate the sacred rites, when you offer prayers of praise and thanks to God throughout the hours of the day, not only for the people of God but for the world—remember then that you are taken from among men and appointed on their behalf for those things that pertain to God. Therefore, carry out the ministry of Christ the Priest with constant joy and genuine love, attending not to your own concerns but to those of Jesus Christ. You are pastors, not functionaries. Be mediators, not intermediaries.

Finally, dear sons, exercising for your part the office of Christ, Head and Shepherd, while united with the Bishop and subject to him, strive to bring the faithful together into one family, so that you may lead them to God the Father through Christ in the Holy Spirit. Keep always before your eyes the example of the Good Shepherd who came not to be served but to serve, and who came to seek out and save what was lost.
Mary, Mother of Priests, Pray For Us!  

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Boston Bombing and the Oblates of the Virgin Mary

Ven. Lanteri (Founder of the OMV)
Image taken by Fr. John Wykes, OMV on the morning of Thursday, April 18.

From The Oblates of the Virgin Mary USA Province Website 

Bostonians are breathing easier now that a week of terror has concluded. It began with deadly terrorist bombs at the Boston Marathon, continued with a car chase punctuated by gunfire and explosives, intensified with an unprecedented lockdown of the entire city of Boston and its environs, and concluded with another shootout, more explosions (controlled), and the live capture of the remaining suspect. The Oblates of the Virgin Mary went through it all with the people of Boston and did their best to offer prayers, spiritual support, emotional support, and charity for those residents and visitors traumatized by the week’s startling events. What might be called the most unforgettable week in modern Boston history is the focus for this week’s “Around the Province.”

The explosions were heard at St. Clement Shrine on Boylston, and at least one OMV priest attempted to rush to the scene in hopes of anointing the wounded. Though he was turned away by police, he continued, along with other Oblates, to minister to those wandering outside, dazed and often confused by the perplexing situation.

Special Holy Hours were quickly organized at both Saint Francis Chapel in Boston’s Prudential Center and St. Clement Shrine. Runners from the Boston Marathon came to the Chapel, often in tears. When “Let There Be Peace On Earth” was chosen as the Exposition Hymn, there was not a dry eye to be found.

The Holy Hours were attended by a very moderate number of people — part of the reason being that St. Clement Shrine is located just three or four blocks from the crime scene, and Saint Francis Chapel is so close to the crime scene (just one block away) that the immediate area was barricaded by the military. Those wishing to walk the short distance from St. Clement’s to Saint Francis Chapel had to stop at military checkpoints and produce two pieces of identification to proceed. Needless to say, a number of the military personnel got used to seeing many Oblate faces cross their path.

A number of news organizations wished to speak with the Oblates who were so very close to the scene. The Catholic News Agency published the following article which features extensive interviews with the Oblates of the Virgin Mary:

The National Catholic Register also did an extensive article on the bombings and the Oblates attempt to minister to runners, visitors, and first responders:

Radio interviews were also done, including one for Ave Maria Radio.

During the dramatic Boston lockdown, Oblates of the Virgin Mary did their very best to reach out to people in need. An early morning Mass was celebrated at Saint Francis Chapel by Fr. Tom Carzon, OMV. He had arrived at the Chapel before the lockdown was announced. After the lockdown was announced he was told by authorities not to leave the Chapel. So Fr. Tom stayed on, much to the relief of convention-goers at the nearby Hynes Convention Center who needed both spiritual and emotional support.

The Oblates of the Virgin Mary offer their prayers and condolences for all those killed and injured in the Boston Marathon Bombing. While we are grateful that no OMV priests, brothers, or seminarians were affected, and while we are relieved that the bombers are no longer walking the streets, our hearts are heavy as we tearfully lift our voices in prayer to our Father in heaven. Please join us as we pray for the victims, the relief workers, the hard-working law enforcement officials, and for the conversion of those responsible for this deed. And let us pray that we may have peace on this earth — and that this peace begin within our own hearts. “Let there be peace on earth…and let it begin with me.”

From Catholic News Agency and EWTN News:  

Boston, Mass., Apr 16, 2013 / 06:08 pm (CNA/EWTN News).-

A priest who offered consolation to passers-by after the explosion at the Boston Marathon said that the event left him with the impression that evil can only be properly understood in the light of Christ’s passion and resurrection.

“So many people are looking at what happened, trying to make sense of it,” Father Tom Carzon of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary told CNA on April 16. “We can figure out where it was made and how it was made and who did it, but even with all that information it never makes sense.”

However, after spending the afternoon consoling those affected by the attack, he remarked: “the Cross and Resurrection, this is the story that does make sense.”

On the afternoon of April 15, two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 170 others. The FBI is currently investigating the explosions to find the motives and perpetrators.

Shortly after he heard the two explosions and saw police and emergency vehicles pass by, Fr. Carzon walked the few blocks from St. Clement Eucharistic Shrine, where his order has offered perpetual adoration since 1935, to the finish line of the Boston Marathon to see if he could be of any help.

Police had already established a perimeter and were sending people away “stunned and confused,” the priest said.

He returned to the shrine where he and a handful of other priests set up a table on the sidewalk and offered water, food and an opportunity to talk for anyone who walked by.

Many of those who came by were “disoriented, confused or lost,” Fr. Carzon said, “so we just greeted people that came by, helping them or giving out some directions.”

“Some people really needed to unload their story and this was a time and a place where they could do that,” he continued. “That’s really mostly what we offered, the opportunity for people to tell their story.”

As Fr. Carzon recalled the day, he said he was reminded of the story of Christ meeting some disciples walking on the road to Emmaus after the Crucifixion.

“They were walking away and they were traumatized and saddened and discouraged and then the stranger was walking with them asking them, ‘What are you talking about?’”

The priest said that in this account, Jesus is prompting the men to share their story and “pour out their sadness,” even though he already knows the details.

“That image really is what stays with me,” Fr. Carzon said, “the experience yesterday of Jesus walking with us in our pain, in our sadness, kind of drawing out stories from us.”

As Boston begins to recover from the bombing, Fr. Carzon observed, “there is a whole city full of people who have something they need to tell; maybe they don’t even know they need to tell it.”

He added that once the victims had shared their pain, he would ask them if they would like to pray or if they even prayed at all.

“There were a couple people who just prayed there on the street,” he said. “How often do you stand and hold someone’s hand and pray on the sidewalk?”

Even though he shared just a few moments with each person, he said it was necessary “to step out” and “be present outside the doors of the church” and “on the street” to help others.

From there, Fr. Carzon said he hoped he and the other priests could perhaps “invite some people even closer to Jesus” in the Eucharist, recognizing him as “the source of real healing.”

From the National Catholic Register 

BOSTON — On a sunny spring day, when friends and family should have been celebrating Patriots Day by watching friends and loved ones complete the annual Boston Marathon, instead, they were all thrown into a war zone.

At approximately 2:50pm local time, two bombs exploded less than 20 seconds apart near the finish line on Boylston Street. Spectators and participants of the 117th marathon alike were caught in the confusion.

At last report, the explosions killed three people, including an 8-year-old boy, and sent scores of people to city hospitals with shrapnel wounds that necessitated the amputation of limbs.

“It was a large and disturbing scene,” said Boston District Attorney Dan Conley at a news conference Monday night.

Soon after the explosions were announced, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, archbishop of Boston, was returning from a trip to the Holy Land. He urged people to turn to prayer.

“In the midst of the darkness of this tragedy, we turn to the light of Jesus Christ, the light that was evident in the lives of people who immediately turned to help those in need today. We stand in solidarity with our ecumenical and interfaith colleagues in the commitment to witness the greater power of good in our society and to work together for healing,” said Cardinal O’Malley in a statement.

Indeed, local Catholics turned to prayer and looked to offer solace to those shell-shocked by the incident.

Praying the Rosary

Tim McGuirk, 19, of Brighton, Mass., was part of a street team attempting to give away posters for a local radio station during the marathon. He estimated that he was 200 yards away from the blasts. Initially, McGuirk thought it was a musket shot by a costumed Revolutionary War re-enactor he had seen earlier at a Boston Red Sox game.

But when he heard the second blast and saw fire and smoke, he realized something was amiss. At first, the word making its way down the street suggested it was a natural-gas explosion, then an explosion at an underground subway station and then a bomb set off at the station.

McGuirk said he felt movement on the ground where he was standing. He said he had a moment of anxiety thinking about all the people near the finish line, including guests of the Newtown, Conn., tragedy. In fact, the 26th and final mile marker of the marathon course was dedicated to the 26 people who died last December at the hands of Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook School.

“There was just a lot going through my mind, and I was really overwhelmed,” said McGuirk, who said that, although he didn’t see any of the physical injuries, “I saw a lot of the not-so-visible injuries; I saw a lot of emotional trauma.”

Right after the blast, the Boston University student called his mother to tell her that he was all right; but, later, he was unable to return text messages from friends, as cellphone service was suspended to prevent possible explosive devices from being detonated.

McGuirk and his colleagues walked away from the scene outside an arena at BU, where they were picked up by their employer. On the way there, McGuirk pulled out his rosary to pray for the victims and was joined by a co-worker who thought she might not know the prayers, but wanted to join anyway.

He said he was able to “pray for those people in a very particular way, that God might offer them some kind of comfort, whether they recognize it is his comfort or not — just to be there for those people. I did recognize the hurt in them,” he told the Register.

He later attended a Mass at the Boston University Catholic Center with about 30 others.

Doctor and Priest Respond

Dr. Tommy Heyne, 29, is a resident at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in internal medicine and pediatrics. During the marathon, he was working at a clinic in Revere, a working-class town north of Boston, when he heard about the bombs. Through a series of hospital messaging, he reported to MGH to see if he could help.

He said there was much security outside the hospital, including “guys with bullet-proof vests and machine guns.”

He described a subdued tone at the hospital with the tragedy, but said that things were running very well and efficiently.

It turns out that the hospital didn’t need his help this time.

But the unfolding of events gave Heyne some time to reflect on why “young, healthy, innocent victims are left limbless, are left incapacitated.”

“I kind of put my hand in Mary’s when she looked up at Jesus, when he says: ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" he said. “We’re in the hands of a loving God.”

Father John Wykes of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, who operate St. Francis Chapel in the Prudential Center on Boylston Street, heard sirens going to the scene, though he did not hear the blast. St. Clement’s Eucharistic Shrine is a church operated by the Oblates and is fairly close to the marathon route toward the finish line.

When he heard the sirens, Father Wykes grabbed his sacramental oils and was prepared to offer the anointing of the sick and possibly the last rites.

“My intention was to get as close as possible to the scene,” said the Detroit native.

However, police turned him and others away. Instead, Father Wykes and other priests offered logistical help to spectators disorientated by the incident. Later, they also invited a visiting firefighter to dinner; he was one part of the large crew of first responders and needed a place to talk. He had seen a lot of blood and severed, shattered limbs from victims.

“We sat down with him at table and broke bread with him and talked about the day,” said Father Wykes, who added that he and his fellow Oblates were glad to give this service. Father Wykes plans to offer a special Mass today geared for times of “war and civil disturbances.”

“So I think our comfort in these days is the cross of Christ, which is a cross that Our Lord embraces with love,” said Father Wykes, adding that his love is for “each and every one of us."

Power of the Resurrection 

Mother Olga Yaqob of the Sacred Heart is originally from Iraq and has experienced living through four wars. She is the foundress of the Daughters of Mary of Nazareth, which were established in the Archdiocese of Boston in 2011. As a teenager, she attended to dismembered bodies from the Iraq and Iran War and tried to secure their identification.

Though she was not near the bomb scene on Monday, her community was holding vigil for the victims and their families that evening.

“We really need a lot of grace to be able to overcome the darkness of hatred,” said Mother Olga. “We just celebrated the power of the Resurrection. We know that there is no sin too big for the cross — we’ve been redeemed by his blood; we’ve been covered by his mercy, and we have to remember that we have to turn to the power of Resurrection."

She added, “[The only way] we can overcome such evil, such darkness, is by turning to the light of the Resurrection.”

Read more:

The Resurrection happens every day!

Friday, April 19, 2013

A Time for Immigration Reform

Written by Archbishop José H. Gomez 

"You are Strangers no longer"

April 23 marks the 20th anniversary of the passing of César Chávez, the great Mexican-American civil rights leader.   Chávez inspires me. He lived his Catholic faith with deep devotion and courage. And his love for God led him to struggle for justice and dignity for the poor.

It is fitting that we remember this anniversary as Congress begins debating comprehensive immigration reform. The legislation that is being introduced this week in the U.S. Senate is long overdue. Immigration reform is the civil rights test of our generation.

Many people still don’t understand the Church’s commitment to this cause. For me it’s a question of human rights and human dignity. It is a question of who we are as people and as a nation.

It’s true that many immigrants crossed our borders without first getting a visa from our government. Others came in through proper channels but decided to stay after their visas or other temporary permits ran out.

This is not good. We are a nation of laws. But for almost 20 years, our nation chose not to enforce our laws. We looked the other way because we needed these immigrants for our construction companies, service industries and farms. That’s a difficult truth. These men and women came here to work — and all of us have been depending on and benefiting from their work. 

Undocumented immigrants should be held accountable. The question is, How?

Is it fair for our country not to enforce its laws for many years, and then suddenly to start punishing people who broke these laws? I don’t think so. But that’s our policy right now.

And it’s a cruel policy. The problem is the people we are punishing have become our neighbors. Most of those we call “illegal” have been living here for five years or more — two-thirds have been here for at least a decade. Almost half are living in homes with a spouse and children.

In the last four years alone we have deported more than 1 million people. About a quarter of them were living in a home with their children and families.

Of course, we are not just talking about “statistics.” We are talking about families.

We’re talking about parents who, with no warning, won’t be coming home for dinner tonight — and who may not see their families again for a decade at least.

Because of the broken logic of our current laws, it can take more than 10 years to get into this country legally. The waiting lists are even longer for applicants from most Latin American countries.

So we need to understand what it really means when politicians and people in the media say things like, “Illegal immigrants should leave the country and get back in line to enter the country legally.”

When we say that, we’re asking them to choose not to see their spouse, their children, their relatives for a decade or more. Is that a fair question to ask them? What would we do if we were faced with that kind of choice? Would we follow a law that means maybe never seeing our families again?

These are some of the hard questions that we have to ask ourselves as our leaders begin debating immigration reform. How we respond is a challenge to our conscience — and a measure of our humanity.

The U.S. Bishops believe that real reform means providing a generous path to citizenship and a system that supports families and children.

We want reforms so that immigrant families can remain together. We want reforms so that migrant farmworkers and others are not exploited. And we want reforms so our brothers and sisters can live with the dignity that God intends for them.

So let us pray this week for our leaders and for our country and for the millions of our neighbors who are waiting for true immigration reform. And let us try to live our faith during these important debates.

César Chávez once said: “I think there are three elements to my faith. It’s God, myself and my neighbor. … I’m Catholic traditional. I go to Church regularly and faithfully. … But besides that … I go out and do things. … I think Christ really taught us …. Clothe the naked, feed the hungry and give water to the thirsty. It’s very simple stuff and that’s what we’ve got to do. … We’ve got to give our faith an essence through deeds.”

Let us ask Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Mother of the Americas, to help us to live our faith through deeds.”

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Boston Bombings

Pope Francis

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State, relayed the Holy Fathers condolences to Cardinal Sean OMalley, Archbishop of Boston. Cardinal Bertone stated that the Holy Father was deeply grieved by news of the loss of life and grave injuries caused by the bombings.

Pope Francis, he said, wishes me to assure you of his sympathy and closeness in prayer. In the aftermath of this senseless tragedy, His Holiness invokes Gods peace upon the dead, his consolation upon the suffering and his strength upon all those engaged in the continuing work of relief and response, the telegram stated.

The Holy Father, concluded Cardinal Bertone, prayed that all Bostonians will be united in a resolve not to be overcome by evil, but to combat evil with good (cf. Rom. 12:21), working together to build an eve more just, free and secure society for generations yet to come.

This afternoon, Pope Francis sent a condolence telegram to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing that occurred yesterday.

Congregation of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary 

The Oblates of the Virgin Mary offer their prayers and condolences for all those killed and injured in the Boston Marathon Bombing. While we are grateful that no OMV priests, brothers, or seminarians were affected (the blast occurred very close to Saint Francis Chapel and St. Clement Shrine), our hearts are heavy as we tearfully lift our voices in prayer to our Father in heaven. Please join us as we pray for the victims, the relief workers, and for the conversion of those responsible for this deed. And let us pray that we may have peace on this earth — and that this peace begin within our own hearts.    Let there be peace on earth…and let it begin with me.


The Archdiocese of Boston joins all people of good will in expressing deep sorrow following the senseless acts of violence perpetrated at the Boston Marathon today. Our prayers and concern are with so many who experienced the trauma of these acts, most especially the loved ones of those who lives were lost and those who were injured, and the injured themselves.

The citizens of the City of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are blessed by the bravery and heroism of many, particularly the men and women of the police and fire departments and emergency services who responded within moments of these tragic events. Governor Patrick, Mayor Menino and Police Commissioner Davis are providing the leadership that will see us through this most difficult time and ensure that proper procedures are followed to protect the public safety.

In the midst of the darkness of this tragedy we turn to the light of Jesus Christ, the light that was evident in the lives of people who immediately turned to help those in need today. We stand in solidarity with our ecumenical and interfaith colleagues in the commitment to witness the greater power of good in our society and to work together for healing.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan (Archbishop of New York)

Prayers for Boston
I have just heard the terrible news of the explosions that took place near the end of today’s Boston Marathon and at the JFK Library. While we wait for additional details, my thoughts and prayers are certainly with those who died, with the families who lost loved ones, and with those who are injured. Our Lady of Mercy, pray for us!


The tragic end to the Boston Marathon April 15 reminds us all that evil exists and that life is fragile. 

The deaths and injuries of people gathered for the celebration on Patriots Day in Boston calls on all of us to pray for the souls of those killed the healing of those injured and the restoration of peace for all of us unsettled by the bombings at a world renowned sporting event.

Our special prayers are with the Archdiocese of Boston and the people there who are working in the aftermath of this crisis to address those wounded in so many ways by these events.

The growing culture of violence in our world and even in our country calls for both wise security measures by government officials and an examination by all of us to see what we can personally do to enhance peace and respect for one another in our world.

Cardinal Roger Mahony 
(Archbishop Emeritus of Los Angeles) 

Sadly, today we added yet another tragic date to our history: 4/15

April 15, 2013 is now added to 9/11 as a "day of infamy," in that memorable phrase used by President Roosevelt when Pearly Harbor was bombed in 1941.

While facts are still sketchy, the two bombings at the Boston Marathon are surely acts of terrorism. Someone or group chose Income Tax Day and the Boston Marathon as the occasion to kill, maime, and create havoc across a large city.

As disciples of Jesus, we lift up our prayers and support for fellow Americans and visitors who have been killed, injured, and displaced. During this Easter Season we have our eyes fixed on our Risen Lord, and into his hands we commend all our affected brothers and sisters.

This latest act of terrorism rises up from evil. The explosions were calculated to go off exactly as large numbers of marathon runners were nearing the finish line, and many observers and friends were gathered.

May our prayers surround our brothers and sisters with comfort and strength.

Bishop Kevin Vann (Bishop of Orange) 

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We have all been shocked and saddened by the unfolding news of the tragedy in Boston on Monday. We have all been reading about this from various reports around the country, and hearing the reaction of the faith community around the world, especially a telegram sent on behalf of Pope Francis which says, in part, “At this time of mourning the Holy Father prays that all Bostonians will be united in a resolve not to be overcome by evil, but to overcome evil with good…” (Romans 2:21).

The heroic efforts of so many people in Boston to assist the victims are a testimony of these words of St. Paul, and a visible reminder that evil is never the last word. The victims of this heartbreaking act of violence have been in the prayers of all of us here in Orange. I encourage all within our family of faith here in Orange County to join me in praying for those taken, injured and impacted by this tragedy. We stand with them in prayer and solidarity.

In Christ,
Bishop Kevin Vann

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Msgr. Marini: Interview

Monsignor Guido Marini on Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff 
(Now, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI)


Benedict XVI’s liturgical celebrations

An interview with the Pope’s Master of Ceremonies
Monsignor Guido Marini

- In what terms is your collaboration with the Holy Father defined? Does he make all

Monsignor Guido Marini 
- It is my duty to point out first of all that the celebrations presided over by the Pope are to be taken as a reference point for the whole Church. The Pope is the Supreme Pontiff, the great officiator of the Church, the person who, even through his celebrations, gives a highly authoritative liturgical teaching which everybody must refer to. Bearing this in mind, it is easier to understand what style the Master of Ceremonies must adopt in his collaboration with the Holy Father. His task is to make the liturgy an authentic expression of the Pope’s liturgical guidelines. From this point of view the real Master of Ceremonies is the one who becomes a humble and faithful servant of the Church’s liturgy. It is in these terms that I defined my work at the Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff.

- Believers notice the liturgical changes introduced by Benedict XVI. How would you sum up these changes?

- These changes could be summed up as follows: they are, first of all, introduced as a development of the past. There is therefore no contrast with or departure from the work of previous popes; second, the changes introduced are aimed at the promotion of the liturgy’s authentic spirit, as suggested by Vatican Council II, which maintains that: “The subject of the liturgy’s intrinsic beauty is Christ himself, risen from the dead and glorified in the Holy Spirit, who includes the Church in His action.”

- The officiator’s being turned to the crucifix and turning his back on the congregation, the faithful’ s taking the communion on their tongue and on their knees, the moments of silence are all liturgical changes introduced by Benedict XVI which many people see as a return to the past, without understanding their historical or theological meaning. Could you please illustrate the meaning of these changes in a few words?

- Actually, our office receives declarations from many people who receive the above changes

with favour and see them in line with an authentic renewal of the liturgy. As for the meaning of some of these changes, the following remarks could be made. The priest’s being turned to the cross is meant to emphasize the correct direction of liturgical prayer, which is addressed to the Lord; when praying, the faithful are supposed not tolook at each other, but all together, towards the Saviour. The faithful’ s taking the communion on their knees is meant to rediscover the aspect of Eucharistic adoration, both as an essential part of the celebration and as an attitude towards the mystery of the Lord’s real presence in the Eucharist. The moments of silence are intended to remind the faithful that during the liturgical celebration prayer can be expressed in many ways: through words, song, gestures, music ... Among the ways of expressing prayer, however, there is also silence, which has the power to foster authentic religious participation in the celebration, hence to animate all other forms of prayer from within.

- The Holy Father attaches great importance to vestments. Is it mere decoration?

- In this connection a passage from the apostolic exhortation Sacramentum caritatis throws light on the meaning of beauty as an essential part of the liturgical celebration in the Pope’s vision: “This relationship between creed and worship is evidenced in a particular way by the rich theological and liturgical category of beauty. Like the rest of Christian Revelation, the liturgy is inherently linked to beauty: it is veritatis splendor ... This is not mere aestheticism, but the way in which the truth of God’s love in Christ encounters us, attracts and delights us enabling us to emerge from ourselves and drawing us towards our true vocation, which is love ... the true beauty of the love of God, who definitely revealed himself to us in the paschal mystery. The beauty of the liturgy is part of this mystery, it is a sublime expression of God’s glory and, in a way, a glimpse of heaven on earth ... Beauty then is not mere decoration, but rather an essential element of liturgical action, being an attribute of God himself and His revelation.

- Benedict XVI has changed his pastoral staff: it is now in the shape of a cross. What’s the

reason for this change?

- It is worth remembering that popes did not use the pastoral staff until the pontificate of Paul VI. During more solemn celebrations they used the ferula. Under Paul VI, on the contrary, the use of the pastoral cross with the crucifix became normal. Benedict XVI, who continued to use it until Whit Sunday 2008, decided to restore the use of the ferula, i.e. the cross without the crucifix, as this more suited to the tradition of the papal liturgy.

- Why is it so important for the Church to preserve the use of Latin?

- Even Vatican Council II, though introducing the use of the national language of each 
country, advised the preservation of Latin in the liturgy. In my opinion, there are two reasons for preserving the use of Latin. The first is that there is an invaluable cultural heritage in Latin; just think of Gregorian chant and polyphony, as well as venerable prayer books on which generations of Christians have prayed. The second is that, even nowadays, Latin is able to show the universality of the Catholic Church. Can you help experiencing this universality inside Saint Peter’s basilica or in any other place of worship where people from all over the world, who speak different languages meet, pray and sing in the same language? Who does not feel the warm welcome of a common home when, entering a church in a foreign country, he can joy, at least in part, his brethren in Christ thanks to the use of the same language?

- Is it true that the officiator’s faith is first of all expressed in the liturgy?

- Definitely. Since the liturgy is the celebration of the mystery of Christ in present of history,

the priest is called on to express his faith in two ways. First, by going beyond the visible to touch the invisible i.e. the Lord’s presence and action. This is the origin of ars celebrandi, through which the faithful realize that the liturgy is not mere performance, but a living relation to and total assimilation in the mystery of God. Second, be being renewed at the end of the Eucharistic celeb ration and be ready to imitate the rite he has celebrated, i.e. to turn his life into a celebration of the mystery of Christ.

- An the Pope’s care for liturgical celebration set an example for other bishops and priests?

- It is absolutely desirable.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Bishop Vann in Rome

As I write these words, Fr. Binh and I are in Rome this week at the Pontifical North American College for the annual “Rector’s Dinner” at the College. This is a time also for us to meet with our seminarians and priests here. The Catholic Association of Latino Leaders (C.A.L.L.) are present to meet with the various individuals who work at the Holy See and to acquaint them with C.A.L.L. On Tuesday morning (April 9) we had the blessing to meet with Pope Francis after Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica, and we met with him again during the Wednesday audience (April 10).

There are a number of postings on these pages in these days that reflect not only important current themes of the moment (for example, the reflection that I printed on the month of April for Child Abuse Prevention Month) but other matters such as religious liberty, conscience and immigration. However, there are also events in the Diocese that illustrate the strength and vitality of our Catholic Life in liturgy, catechetics, and evangelization, for example. I want to thank Fr. Al Baca of St. Cecelia’s in Tustin and Fr. Tim Peters of Mission San Juan Capistrano who have written reflections for these pages. Fr. Tim will be sharing some reflections on “Divine Mercy” Sunday also.

On Easter Sunday, after the early morning Mass at Holy Family Cathedral, I had the blessing to celebrate the 11:00 AM Mass in English and the 1:00 Mass in Spanish at St. Joseph’s parish in Santa Ana. Thanks to all of our local media people for their efforts in televising this, along with the Eternal Word Television Network. Special thanks to Fr. Ed Becker, Fr. Philip Smith and the parish staff of St. Joseph’s for their dedication and patience with all of these arrangements. The parish Church of St. Joseph’s is beautiful in its architecture and spirit, and the parish school and community are certainly clear examples of outreach to the poor and marginalized, and of evangelization.

Last Friday I had the blessing to participate (along with other priests including Msgr. Art Holquin and Fr. Steve Sallot) at a Mass in the Serra Chapel at San Juan Capistrano to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Portola ride. After the Mass, there was a ceremony honoring those individuals who had participated in the past and who have passed over into Eternity. The great crowds of people and the prayer at the Mass made it a very moving morning.

The next day, Saturday, saw the blessing
and commissioning of Mission Teams for
the “great mission” of taking the good news of the Gospel to the streets and homes of our city. This endeavor, which certainly is reflective of the New Evangelization, was sponsored worldwide the Neocatechumenal Way. There were around 2000 people present at the Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa for the blessing of the Mission Teams. This was held at the same time in Rome, and Pope Francis, I understand, hopes to meet these teams at some time. “Street preaching” does have a tradition within our tradition, coming from such movements as Catholic Action and the Catholic Evidence Guild in years past. The faith and example of the Mission Team is certainly reflective of the necessity of preaching the Faith and bringing the Gospel to as many as possible, and inviting people to meet the Lord, and for some, an important way to return to the practice of the Faith.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Archbishop Gomez Concelebrates Mass with Pope Francis

Video 1:,AAAAdgye3dk~,p0Zv3iru3vKSRZxvskCEAaYKHysQsf2Y&bctid=2293795770001

Video 2:

On April 8, 2013, on the feast of the Annunciation, Archbishop José H. Gomez concelebrated a private Mass with Pope Francis at Domus Sanctae Marthae. In his homily, our Holy Father said that humility is the foundation of our Christian vocation and that we need humility to fulfill Christ’s commandment of love — love of God and love of one another. He encouraged us to ask for the grace of humility to grow in holiness.

Message from Archbishop Gomez, dated April 8, 2013:

Friends, this morning I had the great blessing to concelebrate a private Mass with Pope Francis at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, which is where the Pope is currently living. It was a very special Eucharist for me because we were celebrating the Annunciation and I was ordained a Bishop in Denver on the Solemnity of the Annunciation in 2001.

In his homily, Pope Francis talked about humility as a path of holiness. The humility of God who comes to us in the person of Jesus Christ and walks with us. The humility of Mary, our Blessed Mother, who is the “handmaiden of the Lord” and says yes to God’s call. Our Holy Father reminded us that humility is the foundation of our Christian vocation and that we need humility to fulfill Christ’s commandment of love — love of God and love of one another. He encouraged us to ask for the grace of humility to grow in holiness.
During the Mass I was praying for Pope Francis and the Church but especially for our great Archdiocese of Los Angeles. After Mass I told Pope Francis that all the faithful of Los Angeles love him and that we are praying for him and his ministry and that he has our loyalty. He said that he is grateful for our prayers and he asked for more prayers!
This has been a beautiful pilgrimage for me. As I said, I am leading a pilgrimage of the Catholic Association of Latino Leaders for the Year of Faith.

It is also special for me because on Saturday, April 6, I marked the anniversary of my appointment as Archbishop of Los Angeles. It is a blessing to be in Rome and give thanks to God for all the graces that I have received in these three years and to thank God for the prayers, love and support of all the faithful of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. You are all in my prayers in a very special way!

Pope Francis Says to Resist Gossip

Pope: If We Can Resist Gossip, We Make Big Step Forward

Francis Preaches Today on Building New Life of Baptism

VATICAN CITY, April 09, 2013 ( - At morning Mass today in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, Francis said one way to make a step forward in developing the new life of baptism is by rejecting the temptation to gossip.

The Holy Father's customary morning Mass today was attended by staff from the Vatican medical services and office staff of the Vatican City Government.

"The first Christian community is a timeless model for the Christian community of today, because they were of one heart and one soul, through the Holy Spirit who had brought them into a 'new life,'" the Pontiff said, as reported by Vatican Radio.

In his homily Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel passage that recounts the dialogue between Jesus and Nicodemus, who did not immediately grasp how a man can be "born again." Through the Holy Spirit, the Pope said, we are born into the new life we have received in Baptism. However, he added, this is a life that has to be developed; it does not come automatically.

"We have to do all we can to ensure that our life develops into new life," the Pope said, acknowledging that this can be "a laborious journey," but reminding that it depends chiefly on the Holy Spirit, as well as our ability to be "open to his breath."

And this, the Pope pointed out, is exactly what happened to the early Christians. They had "new life," which was expressed in their living with one heart and one soul. They had, he said, "that unity, that unanimity, that harmony of feeling of love, mutual love."

Francis said that this needs to be rediscovered today, observing, for example, that the aspect of "meekness in the community," is a somewhat forgotten virtue. Meekness is stigmatized, it has "many enemies," the first of which is gossip.

"When we prefer to gossip, gossip about others, criticize others -- these are everyday things that happen to everyone, including me -- these are the temptations of the evil one who does not want the Spirit to come to us and bring about peace and meekness in the Christian community."

"These struggles always exist," the Pope warned, "in the parish, in the family, in the neighborhood, among friends." But it is the Spirit who brings us into new life, making us meek and charitable.

The Holy Father then outlined the correct behavior for a Christian.

First, "do not judge anyone" because "the only Judge is the Lord." Then "keep quiet" and if you have something to say, say it to the people involved, to those "who can remedy the situation," but "not to the entire neighborhood."

"If, by the grace of the Holy Spirit," concluded Pope Francis, "we succeed in never gossiping, it will be a great step forward" and "will do us all good."

Monday, April 8, 2013

Papal Mass: Solemnity of the Annunciation


(Vatican Radio) For the Christian, "making progress" means "lowering oneself" on the road of humility in order allow God’s love to emerge and be clearly seen. This was the central focus of Pope Francis’ homily on Monday morning at Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae chapel. The liturgy was attended by some of the Sisters of Charity, who renewed their vows, the staff of the Vatican Television Center, the Brazilian Program of Vatican Radio, and the long-time Papal photographer, Arturo Mari.
The way of Christian humility rises up to God, as those who bear witness to it “stoop low” to make room for charity. The liturgical feast of the Annunciation occasioned this reflection from Pope Francis, as he celebrated the Annunciation Mass on Monday morning. The Pope said that the road taken by Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem for the imperial census was a road of humility. There was the humility of Mary, who “did not understand well,” but “[entrusted] her soul to the will of God.” Joseph was humble, as he “lowered himself” to take on the “great responsibility” of the bride who was with child.
“So it is always with God’s love,” said Francis, “that, in order to reach us, takes the way of humility.” This was the same way that Jesus walked, a way that humbled itself even unto the Cross. Pope Francis went on to say that, for a Christian, “[T]his is the golden rule,” according to which progress and advancement always come through lowering oneself. “One can take no other road,” he said, adding, “if I do not lower myself, if you do not lower yourself, you are not a Christian.”
Pope Francis went on to say, “Being humble does not mean going on the road,” with “downcast eyes.” Such was not the humility of Jesus, or his mother or his foster father, Joseph. The Holy Father underlined that the way of humility is the one that leads to the triumph of the Resurrection. “Let us ask God for the grace of humility,” he prayed, “that humility, which is the way by which charity surely passes,” for, “if there is no humility, love remains blocked, it cannot go [forward].”

From this morning:  Archbishop Jose Gomez Left, Pope Francis Center, ? 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Prepare for Divine Mercy Sunday


"I want to grant a complete pardon to the souls that will go to confession and

receive Holy Communion on the Feast of My mercy" 

(Diary, 1109)

Seven Ways to Fittingly Observe the Feast of Mercy

To fittingly observe the feast of Mercy, we should:

- Celebrate the feast on the Sunday after Easter

- Sincerely repent of all our sins

- Place our complete trust in Jesus

- Go to Confession sometime between the beginning of Lent and Divine 
Mercy Sunday

- Receive Holy Communion on the day of the feast

- Venerate the image of the Divine Mercy

- Be merciful to others, through our actions, words, and prayers on 
their behalf.

“...I demand from you deeds of mercy, which are to arise out of love for me.

You are to show mercy to your neighbors always and everywhere. You must not

shrink from this or try to excuse or absolve yourself from it.” (Diary, 742)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Blessed Pope John Paul II

Today, April 2, 2013, is the 8th anniversary of the death of Blessed Pope John Paul II, that year, it was the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday, the devotion His Holiness brought in new vigor to the life of the Church.  Just 6 short after his death, Pope Benedict XVI
(now Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI) beatified him on Mat 1st, 2011.  Pope John Paul II showed the world many things- 

 HOPE for world in need, TRUST in God's wondrous mercy, LOVE for God and neighbor, JUSTICE for all, PEACE in the world, FAITH in the Catholic Church, HONOR for Mary and saints, JOY in God's goodness, PENANCE for sinners and the world, PRAYER for growing in union with God, PURITY for the youth, RECOURSE to the Blessed Sacrament, Confession, and the other Sacraments, PROMOTION of religious vocations, COURAGE under trials, SUFFERING lovingly for God and soul at the hour of our death. 

POLISH:       Papież Jan Paweł II módl się za nami
ITALIAN:     Papa Giovanni Paolo II, prega per noi
FRENCH:      Pape Jean-Paul II, priez pour nous


Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter and the Easter Octave



Homily of His Holiness, Pope Francis
Easter Vigil, St. Peter's Basilica, March 30, 2013  

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
1. In the Gospel of this radiant night of the Easter Vigil, we first meet the women who go the tomb of Jesus with spices to anoint his body (cf. Lk 24:1-3). They go to perform an act of compassion, a traditional act of affection and love for a dear departed person, just as we would. They had followed Jesus, they had listened to his words, they had felt understood by him in their dignity and they had accompanied him to the very end, to Calvary and to the moment when he was taken down from the cross. We can imagine their feelings as they make their way to the tomb: a certain sadness, sorrow that Jesus had left them, he had died, his life had come to an end. Life would now go on as before. Yet the women continued to feel love, the love for Jesus which now led them to his tomb. But at this point, something completely new and unexpected happens, something which upsets their hearts and their plans, something which will upset their whole life: they see the stone removed from before the tomb, they draw near and they do not find the Lord’s body. It is an event which leaves them perplexed, hesitant, full of questions: "What happened?", "What is the meaning of all this?" (cf. Lk 24:4). Doesn’t the same thing also happen to us when something completely new occurs in our everyday life? We stop short, we don’t understand, we don’t know what to do. Newness often makes us fearful, including the newness which God brings us, the newness which God asks of us. We are like the Apostles in the Gospel: often we would prefer to hold on to our own security, to stand in front of a tomb, to think about someone who has died, someone who ultimately lives on only as a memory, like the great historical figures from the past. We are afraid of God’s surprises. Dear brothers and sisters, we are afraid of God’s surprises! He always surprises us! The Lord is like that.

Dear brothers and sisters, let us not be closed to the newness that God wants to bring into our lives! Are we often weary, disheartened and sad? Do we feel weighed down by our sins? Do we think that we won’t be able to cope? Let us not close our hearts, let us not lose confidence, let us never give up: there are no situations which God cannot change, there is no sin which he cannot forgive if only we open ourselves to him.

2. But let us return to the Gospel, to the women, and take one step further. They find the tomb empty, the body of Jesus is not there, something new has happened, but all this still doesn’t tell them anything certain: it raises questions; it leaves them confused, without offering an answer. And suddenly there are two men in dazzling clothes who say: "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; but has risen" (Lk 24:5-6). What was a simple act, done surely out of love – going to the tomb – has now turned into an event, a truly life-changing event. Nothing remains as it was before, not only in the lives of those women, but also in our own lives and in the history of mankind. Jesus is not dead, he has risen, he is alive! He does not simply return to life; rather, he is life itself, because he is the Son of God, the living God (cf. Num 14:21-28; Deut 5:26; Josh 3:10). Jesus no longer belongs to the past, but lives in the present and is projected towards the future; Jesus is the everlasting "today" of God. This is how the newness of God appears to the women, the disciples and all of us: as victory over sin, evil and death, over everything that crushes life and makes it seem less human. And this is a message meant for me and for you dear sister, for you dear brother. How often does Love have to tell us: Why do you look for the living among the dead? Our daily problems and worries can wrap us up in ourselves, in sadness and bitterness... and that is where death is. That is not the place to look for the One who is alive!

Let the risen Jesus enter your life, welcome him as a friend, with trust: he is life! If up till now you have kept him at a distance, step forward. He will receive you with open arms. If you have been indifferent, take a risk: you won’t be disappointed. If following him seems difficult, don’t be afraid, trust him, be confident that he is close to you, he is with you and he will give you the peace you are looking for and the strength to live as he would have you do.

3. There is one last little element that I would like to emphasize in the Gospel for this Easter Vigil. The women encounter the newness of God. Jesus has risen, he is alive! But faced with empty tomb and the two men in brilliant clothes, their first reaction is one of fear: "they were terrified and bowed their faced to the ground", Saint Luke tells us – they didn’t even have courage to look. But when they hear the message of the Resurrection, they accept it in faith. And the two men in dazzling clothes tell them something of crucial importance: remember. "Remember what he told you when he was still in Galilee… And they remembered his words" (Lk 24:6,8). This is the invitation to remember their encounter with Jesus, to remember his words, his actions, his life; and it is precisely this loving remembrance of their experience with the Master that enables the women to master their fear and to bring the message of the Resurrection to the Apostles and all the others (cf. Lk 24:9). To remember what God has done and continues to do for me, for us, to remember the road we have travelled; this is what opens our hearts to hope for the future. May we learn to remember everything that God has done in our lives.

On this radiant night, let us invoke the intercession of the Virgin Mary, who treasured all these events in her heart (cf. Lk 2:19,51) and ask the Lord to give us a share in his Resurrection. May he open us to the newness that transforms, to the beautiful surprises of God. May he make us men and women capable of remembering all that he has done in our own lives and in the history of our world. May he help us to feel his presence as the one who is alive and at work in our midst. And may he teach us each day, dear brothers and sisters, not to look among the dead for the Living One. Amen.

The Encounter of Easter
An Article by His Excellency Archbishop Jose Gomez, THE TIDINGS, March 29, 2013 

Our Filipino brothers and sisters have a beautiful Easter devotion they call Salubong (“The Encounter”). 
Gathering before dawn, they relive the meeting of the risen Jesus with his Blessed Mother on the first Easter morning. The women come from one direction carrying a statue of Mary who is covered in a black veil. From the opposite direction, men come carrying a statue of a risen Jesus. Their two processions meet in front of the church. There, a child who is dressed like an angel removes Mary’s veil of mourning and the people enter the church with joy to celebrate Easter Mass.

In the Gospels, there is no mention of this meeting between Jesus and Mary after his Resurrection. But popular faith sometimes starts where the Scriptures leave off. And many saints and mystics have reflected on this encounter down through the centuries.

The Franciscans who brought Christianity to the Philippines taught that Jesus appeared to Mary before anyone else. John of Caulibus, in his Meditations on the Life of Christ in the 14th century, imagined Jesus and his mother falling to their knees when they met:

“Then they arose with tears of joy, she embraced him, pressed her face to his, and held on tightly, falling into his arms as he eagerly supported her. Later, when they were sitting down together, lovingly and carefully she looked him all over: at his face, and at the wounds in his hands, and throughout his entire body.… His mother rejoiced, ‘Blessed be your Father, who returned you to me!’ … So they conversed at some length, rejoicing and observing the Paschal Feast in a delightful and loving way.”

It is beautiful for us to reflect on the joy that Mary must have felt to have her Son back!

I also wonder what Jesus felt at that moment.

As he embraced his Blessed Mother, did he remember the widow he had once met in the town of Nain (Luke 7:11-17)? Did he think that Mary’s situation was a lot like hers — that Mary too was a widow grieving the death of her only son?

At Nain, Jesus touched the dead boy’s casket and he sat up and began to talk. The Gospel account concludes: “And he gave him back to his mother.”

On that first Easter morning, Jesus was giving himself back to his mother.

This is the joy of Easter! It is the joy of knowing that Jesus will “give back” to us all that we might suffer and lose in this life. Christ is risen and we will rise with him!

Easter joy is knowing that God’s love is stronger than death. It is the joy of knowing that Jesus is on our side!! That he will lead us through all the dark valleys to the light of his love and peace.

And Easter reminds us that Christian salvation is both universal and personal.

Jesus came to save the whole world. But notice how he did it. He came into this world at night and unnoticed, as a little baby. In the same way, his Resurrection happened in the middle of night — and again, nobody was there to see it.

The Gospels don’t describe salvation in earth-shaking events or overwhelming shows of power. God’s power is the power of humility.

Jesus came to save the world one person at a time.

When we reflect on his ministry, we recall so many personal and family dramas — the widow of Nain; fathers and mothers whose little children are sick and dying; men and women suffering from poverty and diseases of body and mind; Mary and Martha, two sisters whose brother Lazarus has died.

Our lives are no different. Jesus also comes to bring us salvation in the reality of our daily lives — in our worries and sufferings; in our struggles and setbacks; in the trials we face in our lives.

The promise of Easter is that if we believe in him, if we trust in his Word and stay close to him, Jesus will wipe away every tear. In his compassion, he will heal our sadness and fear and take away our uncertainty about the future. So let’s have confidence in him. In his rising, all our lives are raised.

So let us rejoice this Easter with our families and our friends. Let us pray for one another and let us share with one another the joy of the Resurrection.

I ask a special blessing for all of you families, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary our Mother. May Mary help all of us to live with the joy she felt when she looked upon her Son and our Savior, risen to die no more.