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Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Pro-life Success: Pro-lifers May Not Be Sued Under RICO
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I just heard about this on Yahoo News, and I found this article on Catholic Fire:
Washington, DC - Feb 28, 2006 The United States Supreme Court issued an unanimous ruling today finally clearing pro-life protesters of a 20-year old suit brought by NOW under the Federal Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) laws. Joseph Scheidler, a long- time pro-life activist from Chicago, took the lead in defending the case on behalf of over 20 defendants, including Operation Rescue.

In an historic third trip to the nation’s highest court, Justice Stephen Breyer issued the unanimous opinion clearly stating that the case is over and that pro- lifers may not be sued under RICO. This decision also puts an end to a nationwide injunction against the protesters.“We are very excited to finally see this case put behind us once and for all,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “This is a victory not only for pro-lifers, who can now exercise their First Amendment rights to speak out about abortion without fear of a RICO suit, but it is also a victory for the women and babies who are entering our nation’s abortion mills, who now will have greater access to more information and practical assistance that can help them spare the lives of their pre-born children.”

Read Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life's Reaction
“The proper response to this ruling is to increase our peaceful, legal presence at killing centers everywhere, without fear of ridicule, false arrest, or persecution."

"Killing centers" - he couldn't be more true...
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Mardi Gras
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"And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights..." (Matthew 4:2)

I'll make my position clear - I don't like the concept of Fat Tuesday or Marti Gras. It's a celebration that, in this day and age, downplays the penance of the coming season of Lent. Lent is my favorite season in the year leading up to my favorite week - Holy Week.

Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday were creations in the time of the vigorous penance in the pre-Vatican II era. People during that epoch would fast for the entire 40 days not just Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Nowadays we don't need a special feasting beforehand, fasting is already too light! Saying that we should eat extra for the day we do fast is not in accord with living devoutly.

Any celebrations today must not amount to the gluttonous festival in New Orleans.

Fat Tuesday Prayer:

Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for it is from your goodness that we have this day to celebrate on the threshold of the Season of Lent.

Tomorrow we will fast and abstain from meat. Today we feast. We thank you for the abundance of gifts you shower upon us. We thank you especially for one another. As we give you thanks, we are mindful of those who have so much less than we do. As we share these wonderful gifts together, we commit ourselves to greater generosity toward those who need our support.
Prepare us for tomorrow. Tasting the fullness of what we have today, let us experience some hunger tomorrow. May our fasting make us more alert and may it heighten our consciousness so that we might be ready to hear your Word and respond to your call.

As our feasting fills us with gratitude so may our fasting and abstinence hollow out in us a place for deeper desires and an attentiveness to hear the cry of the poor. May our self-denial turn our hearts to you and give us a new freedom for generous service to others. We ask you these graces with our hearts full of delight and stirring with readiness for the journey ahead. We ask them with confidence in the name of Jesus the Lord.

(Source)

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain
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My Lenten Schedule
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This is my daily prayer schedule for the Holy Season of Lent. I'm hoping that some of you readers will be able to join me in praying and reading this Lent.

Morning:

Wake up and say the Guardian angel prayer
Listen to the daily Mass readings (if I can't go to Mass)
Pray Morning Prayer (Lauds)

Throughout the Day:

Go to Mass (if possible)
Meditate and reflect on the passion and death of Our Savior
Read The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ (2 links each day)
Read the segments of the Early Church Fathers

Evening:

Pray Evening Prayer (Vespers)
Pray special prayers for the poor, sick and the souls in purgatory

Above all I'm trying to become holier and reflect more deeply on the passion and death of Our Savior for me. This realization of the ultimate love compels us to serve one another, so I will be emailing and talking this entire season about the importance of the Catholic faith. Throughout the entire season I will be giving up all sweets and "good food" while performing other voluntary acts of penance. I hope to contribute to many other good Catholic and pro-life organizations. I'll also be praying the Stations of the Cross every Friday.

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain
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Prayer, Prayer, and Prayer: Lent Begins
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"Pray for the wicked, pray for the lukewarm, pray even for fervent souls, but pray especially for the Supreme Pontiff, for all the Spiritual and temporal needs of Holy Church, our most tender Mother. A special prayer for all those who are working for the salvation of souls and for God’s glory" (St. Padre Pio).

Lent starts tomorrow! Let us attempt to pray each day in reparation for our sins and for sinners around the world. Lent must include daily prayer for the Holy Father, the poor, the souls in purgatory, and others that are in need. Lent is about shifting the spotlight from ourselves to others in the name and love of Christ.

Prayer:

Dear Lord, we are now in the holy season of Lent. We begin to realize anew that these are the days of salvation, these are the acceptable days. We know that we are all sinners. We know that in many things we have all offended Your infinite majesty. We know that sin destroys Your life in us as a drought withers the leaves and chokes the life from the land, leaving an arid, dusty desert. Help us now, Lord, in our feeble attempts to make up for past sin. Bless our efforts with the rich blessing of Your grace. Make us realize ever more our need of penance and of mortification.

Help us to see, in our ordinary difficulties and duties, in the trials and temptations of every day, the best opportunity of making up for past infidelities. Every day we are so often reminded in field and wood, in sky and stream, of Your own boundless generosity to us. Help us to realize that You are never outdone in generosity, and that the least thing we do for You will be rewarded, full measure, pressed down, shaken together, and flowing over. Then we shall see, in our own souls, how the desert can blossom, and the dry and wasted land can bring forth the rich, useful fruit that was expected of it from the beginning. Amen.

Prayer Source:

THE RURAL LIFE PRAYERBOOK

Imprimi Potest
Leo J. Burns, S.J.
Provincial
Wisconsin Province
Milwaukee, Wis., 17 October 1955

Imprimatur
Fr. Eduardus Caelestinus, O.P.
Episcopus Desmoinen
Des Moines, Iowa, 13 February, 1956

Written and Compiled by
Alban J. Dachauer, S.J.
In cooperation with
The National Catholic Rural Life Conference
Drawings by Tom Chouteau

Published by
The National Catholic Rural Life Conference
4625 Beaver Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50310-2199

Copyright, 1956
National Catholic Rural Life Conference

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain
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The Cardinal Arinze Podcast
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I'm not a fan of many podcasts, but this is one that I do highly recommend. It is a podcast dedicated to explaining the teachings of the Church as well as the writings of the Church including John Paul ll and morality.

If you have I-Tunes, visit their website [update: defunct link] and add this podcast to your library. I've just subscribed to the free podcasts. Has anyone else used them before?
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A Trip to Israel
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Here was a joke that couldn't apply better to this world today...

A Jewish businessman in Chicago sent his son to Israel for a year to absorb the culture. When the son returned, he said, "Papa, I had a great time in Israel. By the way, I converted to Christianity.""Oy vey," said the father. "What have I done?"He took his problem to his best friend. "Ike," he said, "I sent my son to Israel, and he came home a Christian. What can I do?""Funny you should ask," said Ike. "I too, sent my son to Israel, and heal so came home a Christian.." Perhaps we should go see the rabbi. So they did, and they explained their problem to the rabbi."Funny you should ask," said the rabbi.. "I, too, sent my son to Israel,and he also came home a Christian. What is happening to our young people?" And so they all prayed, telling the Lord about their sons. As they finished their prayer, a voice came from the heavens: "Funny you should ask," said the voice. "I, too, sent my son to Israel...."
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Prayer Request from Fatima, NJ
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Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen.

I received this prayer request in my Inbox, and I ask you to please say a prayer for this man's soul.

Please say a special prayer formy dad. He passed away 7 months ago today. I always thought it would get easier with time, but not a day goes by that I don't cry for him. Maybe it's because of the horrible pain I saw him go through... I truly believe my father lived his purgatory on earth. For the last six months of his life, he was semi-comatose due to an overdose of anesthesia given him for a simple out patient procedure. He was left paralyzed and couldn't communicate to us, but could see and hear us and feel pain. I tried to put myself in his position and couldn't fathom it...like being locked up in your own body! He would look me right in the eye when I would speak to him and start crying and I never felt more helpless. He ended up with these horrific bed sores on his back which eventually led to his death. He died a week before his 65th birthday. I hope and pray that he's at peace with God. Please help me ask God to let him know how much he is loved and missed.

Thank you all and God Bless,

Fatima - NJ

Image Source: Photo of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, Believed to be in the Public Domain
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Monday, February 27, 2006
Peter's Pence Collection
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The annual collection given to the Holy Father was presented to him recently. In the closed meeting, he reminded the members of the Circle of St. Peter of his emphasis in Deus Caritas Est on Christian charity. The 2004 Peter's Pence raised $51 million, 7.4% below 2003 (Source: CWNews).

A remember that this collection given to the Holy Father to carry out his work for those in need is now online. Please visit the Vatican's Peter's Pence Page to donate to Our Holy Father online.

Photo Source: Associated Press
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St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows
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Double (1955 Calendar): February 27

Today we remember St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows (1838-1862). At the young age of four he lost his mother, and lived in worldly pleasures. Our Lady brought him to deeper reverence, and after being cured of two serious diseases, he knew that he was called to religious life. His request to join the Jesuits was turned down because he was only 17, but after his sister died of cholera, he was accepted to the Passionists. He then took the name Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows.

He was a joyous person and a shining example that living the Catholic life, one that is centered on God, is not burdening but liberating. The regulations of the Church help us to serve Christ and this brings out greater joy. St. Gabriel possessed a strong spirit of prayer, love for the poor, and a consideration of the feelings of others.

While only four years after entering religious life, St. Gabriel developed pneumonia and on February 27, 1862, at age 24, he died. In 1920 he was canonized. The prayers of Saint Gemma Galgani to St. Gabriel lead to her being cured of her disease. Pope Benedict XVI has called him a patten for young people.

His Words:

"Love Mary! She is lovable, faithful, constant. She will never let herself be outdone in love, but will ever remain supreme. If you are in danger, she will hasten to free you. If you are troubled, she will console you. If you are sick, she will bring you relief. If you are in need, she will help you. She does not look to see what kind of person you have been. She simply comes to a heart that wants to love her. She comes quickly and opens her merciful heart to you, embraces you and consoles and serves you. She will even be at hand to accompany you on the trip to eternity."

Prayer:

O God, Who didst teach blessed Gabriel to think continually of the sorrows of Thy most sweet Mother, and didst exalt him through her by the renown of holiness and miracles; grant us through his intercession and example so to join Thy Mother in her grief that we may be saved by her maternal protection: Who livest and reignest.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
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Looking to Improve Your Lent?
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With Lent only two days away, here's some help.

7 Ways to Make Lent Joyful:

* Start all prayers with praise
* Take time with God in a beautiful place
* Don't carry the world's pain on your own back
* Fast for the sake of richer food - the daily Eucharist
* Take flowers and a smile to a sick person
* Reconcile with an estranged friend
* Compliment someone for making the world better

From Catholic Update, 2/95 St. Anthony Messenger

For a list of 20 Pious Practices for Lent, please click here!
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"Jesus, at the sight of the crowds, was moved with pity."
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Those words from Matthew 9:36 have been chosen by Pope Benedict XVI to be our theme as we journey through this year's Lent. This will be my first year blogging through Lent, and I want to make this a spiritually-rich time. My posts will reflect the cornerstone our our Lenten journey - Christ.

I will not make these posts "politically correct" or at times even polite; they will be the truth. And this is the truth - that Christ is the Lord and we must follow Him. His commandments do not just apply to those who follow Him now but to ever last individual sharing in his divine image. We as human beings are called to salvation - and this is done only through Our Lord. Prayer will be focal point of my posts, and I hope that my readers will not only read them but pray them. Prayer is the key to the Heart of God! Prayer is essential.

Lent is about prayer, fasting, and penance. I will try to touch on all of these issues.

Pope Benedict XVI's Lenten Message:

Lent is a privileged time of interior pilgrimage towards Him Who is the fount of mercy. It is a pilgrimage in which He Himself accompanies us through the desert of our poverty, sustaining us on our way towards the intense joy of Easter. Even in the “valley of darkness” of which the Psalmist speaks (Ps 23:4), while the tempter prompts us to despair or to place a vain hope in the work of our own hands, God is there to guard us and sustain us. Yes, even today the Lord hears the cry of the multitudes longing for joy, peace, and love. As in every age, they feel abandoned. Yet, even in the desolation of misery, loneliness, violence and hunger that indiscriminately afflict children, adults, and the elderly, God does not allow darkness to prevail. In fact, in the words of my beloved Predecessor, Pope John Paul II, there is a “divine limit imposed upon evil”, namely, mercy (Memory and Identity, pp. 19ff.). It is with these thoughts in mind that I have chosen as my theme for this Message the Gospel text: “Jesus, at the sight of the crowds, was moved with pity” (Mt 9:36)...

Keep Reading

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain
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Sunday, February 26, 2006
My Word Cloud
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I found a really interesting website through Ma Beck's blog. The site is made to design a t-shirt, but I still went through the process just to create my word cloud. The above image is my word cloud - a list of some of the most common words in my blog. I'm quite pleased with the results. (click on it for a larger image)
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Pray for the Repose of the Soul of Fr. Andrea Santore
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Please offer up your prayers for Andrea Santore. He was shot and murdered in Trabzon, Turkey while praying in St. Mary Church. Fr. Santore was part of the Vatican's "Fidei Donum" program, which sends priests to help in missionary areas. He had worked in Turkey for 10 years and worked diligently to help young women escape from traffickers who would force them into prostitution. May Our Lord forgive Him his sins and grant Him eternal life. For this is the true example of faith - willingly putting your life in danger for Christ. This is how you know if you have faith, that you would lay down your life for Christ.

"These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you shall have distress: but have confidence, I have overcome the world" (John 16:33)

Pope Benedict XVI noted the "generosity and apostolic zeal" of Fr. Santore and assured Fr. Santore's community of his spiritual closeness to them "at this moment of sorrow". The Holy Father also said that he was "deeply affected" by the "serious loss of such an esteemed and enthusiastic priest."

Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen.

Read the last letter Fr. Andrea Santore ever wrote

Update: The European Parliament has condemned his killing

Update (July 3, 2006): It's been awhile since I posted about Fr. Andrea, but I found some information today. His killer, a 16-year old Muslim, is currently on trial (source).
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A Prayer Before Praying
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I received this beautiful prayer in my inbox today and wanted to share it:

"Almighty Father, I place the Precious Blood of Jesus before my lips before I pray, that my prayers may be purified before they ascend to Your Divine Altar." AMEN

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain
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Saturday, February 25, 2006
The Da Vinci Joke
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Zenit has published an interview with Mark Shea on his recent book "The Da Vinci Deception". I have been a strong proponent against this blasphemous book for months, and I'm thankful to see a good resource by a good author coming out.

"Those who say, "It's just a story," simply do not understand that this deception is part of the book's power. People often receive through fiction what they would be on guard against in reasoned debate.

And this is particularly true as Dan Brown, the author of "The Da Vinci Code," has actually stated he would not change any of his basic assertions if he were writing nonfiction. Brown means for us to understand that his claims about the origins are Christianity are true."



Shea listed just a few of the numerous errors of Dan Brown in this interview:

"He claims Leonardo Da Vinci doesn't give Jesus a chalice in his painting "The Last Supper" in order to hint that Mary Magdalene is the true chalice who held the "blood of Jesus" -- i.e., his child -- despite the fact there are 13 cups in the painting. He chatters about the meaning of an Aramaic word in the Gnostic gospel of Philip, oblivious to the fact it's written in Coptic. He calls Mary Magdalene the victim of a Catholic smear campaign without pausing to wonder why she's a Catholic saint. He blames "the Vatican" for various plots and conspiracies that are alleged to have taken place centuries before there was any Vatican to plot them. And, of course, in the biggest lie of them all, he declares that nobody before the year A.D. 325 thought of Jesus as anything other than a "mortal prophet" until Constantine muscled the Council of Nicaea into declaring him God "by a relatively close vote." Of course, he does not stop to ask why, if Jesus was just a "mortal prophet," he bothered founding a Church at all -- nor what the Church was about for the first 300 years if nobody was worshipping Jesus as God."

I hope that Catholics and Christians alike will join me in boycotting the movie and/or the book. Fr. Benedict Groeschel's Sunday program, "Sunday Night Live" at 7 PM EST tomorrow will center on the topic of the Da Vinci Code. If you have had questions with the book I recommend tuning into EWTN for the program.
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Getting Better
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I wrote last week about being sick with the flu, and I'm thankful for all of your prayers as I am getting well. Please keep me in your prayers as I near the end of this and get ready for Lent.

Thanks everyone

PS: I forgot how much I hate the flu...
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Fasting and Abstinence
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Lent begins this Wednesday, so I wanted to begin my long line of posts dedicated to this time of Christian penance.

Ash Wednesday: This is a day of mandatory abstinence and fasting (Can. 1251). All Catholics aged 14 or older must abstain from meat on this day (Can. 1252). Meat is considered to be the flesh and organs of mammals and fowl. Also forbidden are soups or gravies made from them. Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles and shellfish are permitted.

However, those between 18 and 59 years of age (Can. 1252), are also bound to fast on Ash Wednesday. On this day one, normal-sized meal and two smaller meals that do not equal the normal meal are allowed. Eating between meals, however, is prohibited although fruit juices and milk are allowed. These rules are much more lenient than centuries past. If you can, truly make your fasting a sacrifice.

Good Friday: This day is the most somber day in the year when we recall Our Savior's death. The rules for Ash Wednesday apply to today (Can. 1251).

The Fridays of Lent: All the Fridays of Lent excluding Good Friday are mandatory days of abstinence from meat (Can. 1250). The abstinence rules outlined under Ash Wednesday apply to today. However, a person may still choose to voluntary fast today. Fasting is to be encouraged, though not mandatory, each Friday of Lent. Traditional Catholics will abtain and fast on both the Fridays and Saturdays of Lent.

All days of Lent but Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and 1st Class Feasts: Traditional Catholics will still fast and partially abtain from meat on these days. By partial abstinence, a person is allowed to eat meat only at the major meal.

All Fridays of the Year: All Catholics must abstain from meat all Fridays of the year, not just during Lent (Can. 1250 & Can. 1251). However, Catholics can do another form of penance on the Fridays of the year instead of abstaining. Fridays in Lent, though, are mandatory abstinence and another act of penance does not void the necessity to abstain from meat and meat products. Traditional Catholics will always abstain on each Friday of the year, though. Above all, some form of penance is required. Failure to perform penance is sinful.

Pre-Vatican II Fasting: For information on fasting before Vatican II, see Fish Eaters. It is always a good, pious practice to voluntarily fast and abstain on days that used to be required for fasting and abstaining like Holy Saturday, Christmas Eve, and the Vigil of Pentecost. Also, fasting and abstinence were required on Rogation Days and Ember Days.
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Friday, February 24, 2006
Evening Prayer (Vespers)
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Never lie down to sleep without first having examined your conscience on the way you have spent the day and without first turning your thoughts to God. Then offer and consecrate your whole person and that of every Christian, especially my wretched self, to God just as I do for you (St. Padre Pio: Letters II p 292).

Vespers is one of the two main times of prayer in the Christian life along with Lauds (Morning), and I have recently tried to find the best spiritual prayers to end my day with.

Currently, I begin evening prayer in praise to Our God for His many favors by praying the Litany of Praise or the Te Deum. I then make an examination of Conscience followed by an Act of Contrition. I typically end with a special prayer of thanksgiving unique to each day from a great prayer booklet of mine along with petitions for those in need. But, I wanted to know what are some of your favorite evening prayers.

How do you end your day in prayer? What can we learn from each other and add to our own daily prayers?

I also pray the Liturgy of the Hours in the morning (Lauds) and in the evening (Vespers).

Image Source: Saint Johns Cathedral in Valletta Malta

Evening Prayer:

My God, at the end of this day I thank you most heartily for all the graces I have received from you. I am sorry that I have not made a better use of them. I am sorry for all the sins I have committed against you. Forgive me, O my God, and graciously protect me this night. Blessed Virgin Mary, my dear heavenly mother, take me under your protection. St. Joseph, my dear guardian angel, and all you saints of God, pray for me. Sweet Jesus, have pity on all poor sinners, and save them from hell. Have mercy on the suffering souls in purgatory.
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Pope Benedict Names 15 Cardinals
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This past Wednesday, February 22nd, Pope Benedict elevated 15 bishops to the level of Cardinal. They will formally be elevated in a Vatican ceremony on March 24th.

12 bishops able to vote for the next pope:

  1. William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
  2. Franc Rode, prefect of the Congregation for the Institutes for Consecrated Life.
  3. Agostino Vallini, prefect of the Tribunal for the Apostolic Signatura.
  4. Carlo Caffarra, archbishop of Bologna, Italy
  5. Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow, Poland
  6. Nicolas Cheong-Jin-Suk, archbishop of Seoul, Korea
  7. Joseph Zen, bishop of Hong Kong
  8. Gaudencio B. Rosales, archbishop of Manila
  9. Antonio Canizares Llovera, archbishop of Toledo, Spain
  10. Sean Patrick O'Malley, archbishop of Boston
  11. Jean-Pierre Ricard, archbishop of Bordeaux, France
  12. Jorge Liberato Urosa Savino, archbishop of Caracas
Pope Benedict also elevated 3 other cardinals although they are too old (over 80 years) to be able to ever vote for a pope.
  1. Andrea Cordero Lanza Di Montezemolo
  2. Peter Poreku Dery
  3. Rev. Albert Vanhoye

Here is also a list of the Cardinals. I also propose the Te Deum prayer to be said during this time in thanksgiving for our new cardinals and for our Holy Father. Pray for a restoration of the Church through them.

Photo Source: Associated Press
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South Dakota and Abortion
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November 7, 2006: South Dakota Residents did not approve the law by a roughly 45-55%. It is a sad day. But the pro-life movement will move on!!

Original Post: I have just read that the South Dakota Senate has passed a ban on virtually all abortions on a 23 to 12 vote. Governor Mike Rounds has also voiced his support for the measure. This is extremely significant in the fight for the sanctity of human life.

Let us pray that this law will prevail against the lawsuit that Planned Parenthood is preparing to file the day Gov. Rounds signs it into law. Pray for an end to abortion! We are closer now then we have ever been. Let us share the Gospel of Life with everyone for Jesus Christ came to save us from death and give us true life. Even the unborn are deserving of life.

Prayer for the unborn:

Heavenly Father, in Your love for us, protect against the wickedness of the devil, those helpless little ones to whom You have given the gift of life.Touch with pity the hearts of those women pregnant in our world today who are not thinking of motherhood.Help them to see that the child they carry is made in Your image - as well as theirs - made for eternal life.Dispel their fear and selfishness and give them true womanly hearts to love their babies and give them birth and all the needed care that a mother can give.We ask this through Jesus Christ, Your Son, Our Lord, Who lives and reigns with You and Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever. Amen.
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Holy Matrimony
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I'm feeling a little better today, but I'm still not ready to start up major blogging again. I have recently had the flu. I did find this link though that I wanted to share. It's on Holy Matrimony:  Holy Matrimony

It is my belief that if our culture values marriage as nothing less than a sacrament instituted by God, we will become a holy people. A people of one mind and body rooted in the Gospel and the Church. And if this is true then future generations can also share in this joy.

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Thursday, February 23, 2006
My Apologies
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I apologize for not being able to blog recently. I have been very ill with the flu and was forced to stay in bed. I hopefully will start blogging again tomorrow.

I would appreciate your prayers that I will be well again very soon.

Thanks
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Tuesday, February 21, 2006
My personal reflections from today
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I wanted to post my personal reflections for today.

Today I overheard a conversation that deeply saddened me. One woman was talking with a friend and said that she was an ex-Catholic and proud of it. She claimed that growing up Catholic was a horrible time for her, so she was re-baptised last October in a non-denominational Church! How absurd. No one can be re-baptized if the baptism was valid, and it was obviously valid if done in a Catholic Church.

What deeply saddens and troubles me are stories like these. For this reason I started blogging and hoped to bring others in a deeper relationship with Christ - a relationship only found through the Catholic Church.

I was wondering what is the makeup of my readers? Were you a cradle Catholic, a Catholic that returned to the flock after falling away, or a convert? Are you stilling going through discernment or RCIA or are you not Catholic?

I must very must enunciate my the sadness that I feel when I know of someone leaving the Church. The Church is the Body of Christ! As St. Joan of Arc said, "About Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church, I simply know they are one and the same and we should not complicate the matter." Let us pray for deeper faith and more conversions to our faith.

On a positive note, the Catholic Population worldwide has grown 1.1% between 2003 and 2004, the latest statistics.

Let us also pray in reparation for the sins of the world. As Mary revealed to us at Fatima, "Do not offend the Lord our God any more, because He is already so much offended."
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How the Church Leads us to God
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That was the title of Fr. Benedict Groeschel's "Sunday Night Live" program last Sunday. I watched it like I do most of his programs and generally enjoyed it although I felt he talked too much on reform and not enough on the benefits of the Church.

Fr. Benedict began by discussing three scriptures passages referring to the power of the Catholic Church:

Matthew 16:17-19

And Jesus answering, said to him: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven. And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.

This verse is one of the most instrumental in our faith. It was this declaration by Our Lord that He would establish the Church. And Our Lord gave Simon a new name - "petra" meaning "rock". St. Peter would be the rock of Christ's Church, and St. Peter was given the keys to the kingdom. Jesus Christ is the invisible head of the Church (CCC 792), but He chose to build His Church on St. Peter (CCC 552). This gave way for all the sacraments to be given to the Church including the Sacrament of Penance. In this respect and built on John 20:21-23, Our Lord gives the apostles the ability to forgive sins (See: Confession). This verse is instrumental in the foundation of the Church. We are lead closer to God by the apostles (the first bishops) and St. Peter, the first Pope.

And, Fr. Benedict also stressed about the history of the Church. The truth is that there have been less than ideal popes, but that goes back to the truth- we are all sinners. Not one of us is free from sin. St. Peter denied Our Lord three times and left Him to die in agony. He was a sinner and no church will be without sinners. Christ came to heal the sinners, so it makes since that the Church is made up of those needing the Physician of Life. However, Jesus is truly present in the Catholic Church.

What are the Four Marks of the Church?

One - It was the first and is the One Church founded by the Lord (Romans 12:5, 1 Cor. 10:17, 12:13, CCC 813–822)

Holy - The Church is Holy because it teaches holy doctrine and it's founder is the Source of all Holiness (Eph. 5:25–27, Rev. 19:7–8, CCC 823–829)

Catholic - It literally means "universally". We are the universal faith established by Christ (Matt. 28:19–20, Rev. 5:9–10, CCC 830–856)

Apostolic - Through the bishops and the Popes we can trace our faith back to the time of the Lord (Eph. 2:19–20, CCC 857–865)

Jesus came to destroy sin, satan, and death. He gathered 12 disciples to replace the 12 tribes of Israel - a new covenant with His people. These 12 disciples were the only ones allowed to celebrate the last Supper. These 12 were the only ones given the power to forgive sins and celebrate the Eucharist that is passed down only through the ordained priesthood (CCC 1411). The apostles - meaning those sent by Christ - were given the full power of authority by Christ in that verse: "Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

And at the Last Supper, Our Savior's words, "Take and eat, this is my body: take and drink this is my blood" truly transformed the bread and wine into His Body and Blood. In yet another act of humility, Christ gave Himself to us through this Sacrament - the Holy Eucharist. The apostles alone were given this power passed down through apostolic succession. This is only preserved in the Catholic Church. Peter was a symbol of the Church - the Vicar of Christ, the pope, who is the representative of Jesus until He comes again. The Head of Our Church is Jesus Christ though he is represented by St. Peter, a representative for the human race to see God's presence. This is the pope's job and his successors and done this as well. Without the Catholic Church, you can not have the true, complete teachings of Jesus Christ.

The foundation of the Church occurred on Pentecost with the apostles and Mary receiving the Holy Spirit (CCC 1076). Their reception of the Holy Spirit took place publicly just as Jesus' Crucifixion. Since then, the Church can be seen as a divine-human reality - the Spirit working with us to co-operate with the gift of the Lord's very presence.

More Information which I have only partially read:

Image Source: Photo believed to be in the Public Domain
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CatholicBlogs.com
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I received an email about a new website - CatholicBlogs.com. The site allows visitors to search over 13,000 articles from 700 Catholic blogs. One can even subsribe to an RSS feed for any search and soon a new Catholic blogs Directory will be created.

It looks great!
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St. Peter Damian
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Optional Memorial (1969 Calendar): February 21
Double (1955 Calendar): February 23

Today is the Feastday of St. Peter Damian (1007-1072). St. Peter Damian grew up as an orphage and experienced poverty, so he would minister and care especially for the poor. He invited them individually to have dinner with him. His brother forced him to work as a swine-herded and treated him very poorly.

St. Peter Damian was saved from poverty by his other brother, an archpriest of Ravenna, and St. Peter Damian became a professor. His life was one of penance - he wore a hair shirt, slept little, fasted vigorously, and studed the Bible when not in prayer.

St. Peter became an abbot and founded monasteries. He was elevated to the rank of Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia. His life's work included the writing of numerous sermons, seven biographys, and beautifully worded poems.

St. Peter Damain died February 22, 1072, and he was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1828.

Prayer:

Grant unto us, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, so to follow the counsels and example of blessed Peter, Thy Confessor and Bishop, that we may, by despising earthly things, obtain everlasting joys. Through our Lord.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
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Monday, February 20, 2006
Lenten Reading
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Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which is March 1 for this year!

For a special penance this lent, I plan on reading "The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ" by Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, an Augustinian nun who lived from 1774 - 1824 in Germany. It is available on online here. Darren at MyCatholicReflections will join me in reading this book for additional Lenten penance. Would anyone else like to join in reading this collection of visions to Blessed Anne?

And for information on Lenten Regulations click here.

Image Source: Photo believed to be in the Public Domain
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Pray for the Repose of the Soul of Robert "Greggory" Bayless
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I received this prayer request in my inbox. Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen.

Hi Everyone,

Could you please add to your to-pray-for list the soul of Robert "Greggory" Bayless? He was a two year old grandson of a longtime friend of my husband's. The poor dear died in a freak horse accident. He is being buried by the Baptist church, so I have to assume that at the age of 2, he was not baptized and so any prayers you could send towards limbo would be much appreciated to get him heavenward. Thank you very much.

God Bless
Dawn
Image Source: Photo of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, Believed to be in the Public Domain
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Blessed Mother Teresa on the Unloved and Unwanted
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Blessed Mother Teresa: "People who are unloved and unwanted are, just like us, children of God. Even more, they are Christ in our midst and they belong to us. They are our brothers and sisters."

Image Source: Image believed to be in the Public Domain
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Blessed Jacinta and Francisco Marto
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Today we remember Blessed Jacinta and Francisco Marto. Just yesterday I watched the transfer of the remains of the other Fatima visionary, Sister Lucia who died in 2005, on EWTN.

Blessed Jacinta and Francisco Marto died shortly after the Fatima apparitions from 1917. Blessed Jacinta (1910-1920) and Blessed Francisco (1908-1919) both died of influenza, and their bodies rest in Fatima today. Shortly before Francisco died, Jacinta said, "Give my greetings to Our Lord and to Our Lady and tell them that I am enduring everything they want for the conversion of sinners" All of the children offered all of their sufferings in reparation of the sins of the world.

The story of Fatima is too long to repost, so please see that post for the amazing story.

Here are some of Mary's requests from Fatima:

* "Men must stop offending Almighty God Who is already so deeply offended."
* "I have come to warn the faithful to amend their lives."
* "To obtain Peace in the World you must pray--pray the Rosary every day!"
* "Pray and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to Hell, because they have no one to pray and make sacrifices for them."
* "Certain fashions and styles will be introduced, that will offend Our Lord very much."
* "More souls go to Hell, because of sins against purity and chastity, than for any other reason."
* "War is a punishment for sins."
* "The Holy Father will consecrate Russia and the World to My Immaculate Heart."
* "Mary showed a vision of Hell to the children."
* "Our Lady foretold that all three children will go to Heaven."

Please say this prayer for their canonization:

Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, I adore Thee profoundly with all the powers of my soul, and I thank Thee for the Apparitions of the most Holy Virgin in Fatima which have made manifest to the world the treasures of her Immaculate Heart. By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and through the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary I implore Thee -- if it should be for Thy greater glory and the good of our souls -- to glorify in the sight of Thy Holy Church Francisco and Jacinta the shepherds of Fatima, granting us through their intercession the grace which we implore. Amen.
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Adoration is a Moment of Joy
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"When you approach the tabernacle remember that He has been waiting for you for twenty centuries."- St. Josemaría Escriva

"Of all devotions, that of adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the greatest after the sacraments, the one dearest to God and the one most helpful to us." - St. Alphonsus Liguori

(More information on Eucharistic Adoration)

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain
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Sunday, February 19, 2006
Governor Blagojevich Funds Embryonic Stem Cell Research
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Governor Blagojevich of Illinois just announced in his 2006 budget proposal to take $100 million in funds from tobacco lawsuit settlement funds to fund embryonic stem cell research. This money deserves to be spent to on finding cures for diseases like lung cancer and not wasted on immoral research.

He calls for spending $15 million next year and increasing it by $2.5 million annually for each of the next five years. Last year he diverted $10 million to embryonic stem cell research and $4-6 million of those have already been spent. And what has embryonic stem cell research amounted to? Nothing other than the destruction of human embryos. This research is a waste of taxpayer's dollars and completely immoral.

For more information on this, visit Life News. I strongly recommend you contact the Governor and voice your disapproval.

At the same time please voice your disapproval on his contraception mandate.

In April 2005, Governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinois instituted a mandate requiring all pharmacists to distribute the morning after pill and other emergency contraceptives. Before this, pharmacists with conscience objections could refer the client to another near-by pharmacy. Not only do contraceptives fail, cause serious health side effects, and induce abortions, but now the Governor is forcing all pharmacists to distribute them. There is now no exception for pharmacists who know it's wrong!

One pharmacist was John Menges, an Illinois pharmacist, fired for refusing to sell the morning after pill. He stood up for the firm belief of our faith - artificial contraception and abortion are morally wrong. John Menges said, "Life begins at conception, and anything done to interfere with that is wrong." And for that he was fired from his $100,000 job and forced onto unemployment. How sad...
"Now, I understand that several bills have been introduced that would overturn my executive order," he said in his State of the State address last week. "So let me make something else very clear -- if any of those bills reach my desk, they are dead on arrival." Source: Life News

Those bills in question that would overturn his mandate did not get scheduled for a vote and therefore are gone. It is morally wrong for him to refuse conscience rights to pharmacists, the same rights given to doctors who refuse to perform abortions.

Please speak out against this. Even if you are not from Illinois, please just write Governor Blagojevich and tell him you are displeased with his mandate. Let him know that pharmacists are entitled to conscience rights. Please spread this message on so that others can contact him.
Here is the address:

The Office of the Governor
207 State House
Springfield, IL 62706

Or this website:http://www.illinois.gov/

Image Source: Photo believed to be in the Public Domain
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The Miracles of Fatima
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What is Fatima?

Fatima, Portugal is the source of a beautiful miracle in our times. In 1917, between May 13 and October 13, 1917, Mary appeared six times to Lucy, Francisco, and Jacinta. Their small village of Fatima was persecuted by the government, but its citizens remained faithful to the Catholic Church.

In her requests, she promised that many souls would be saved if they listened to her requests. She told us that war was a punishment for sin along with hunger, persecution of the Church, and persecution of the Holy Father. She reminded us of the Commands of God; she added nothing new but renewed our urgency to follow Christ.

Since the 1930's the Church has approved and supported these apparitions as authentic. All following popes have also voiced their approval of these apparitions. They really happened! One miracle, the Miracle of the Sun, was witnessed on October 13, 1917, by 70,000!

Jacinta and Francisco died in 1919 and were beatified in April 9, 2000, and May 13, 2000, respectively.

The Apparitions:

On the 13th of each month at roughly the same hour from May till October, Mary appeared to the three children.

On May 13, 1917, the children saw "a lady, clothed in white, brighter than the sun, radiating a light more clear and intense than a crystal cup filled with sparkling water, lit by burning sunlight." Mary's request was clear, "I have come to ask you to come here for six months on the 13th day of the month, at this same hour. Later I shall say who I am and what I desire. And I shall return here yet a seventh time."

Her final request that day was thus: "Say the Rosary every day, to bring peace to the world and the end of the war." The children went about in penance receiving little support from the community - they suffered much for the truth like Mary told them.

On June 13, 1917, Mary appeared and Lucia asked her to take her to heaven. Mary said, "I will take Jacinta and Francisco shortly; but you will stay here for some time to come. Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."

She also revealed to them the Fatima Prayer and implored them to continue praying the Rosary. The children then saw a vision of a heart in the palm of Mary's right hand, with thorns piercing it. The three children understood it to be the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so offended by the sins of mankind, desiring reparation.

Roughly fifty people say this apparition and they spread the news to many others.

On July 13, 1917, Mary appeared again as promised and asked for the Rosary to continue to be said each day. Lucia asked for her name and a miracle and Mary answered, "Continue to come here every month. In October, I will tell you who I am and what I want, and I will perform a miracle for all to see and believe."

Mary presented three secrets to the children called the Three Secrets of Fatima. The first was of a vision of hell, where she said sinners would go. She asked for continued prayer and sacrifice to save souls.

The First vision:

"She opened Her hands once more, as She had done the two previous months. The rays [of light] appeared to penetrate the earth, and we saw, as it were, a vast sea of fire. Plunged in this fire, we saw the demons and the souls [of the damned]. The latter were like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, having human forms. They were floating about in that conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames which issued from within themselves, together with great clouds of smoke. Now they fell back on every side like sparks in huge fires, without weight or equilibrium, amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fright (it must have been this sight which caused me to cry out, as people say they heard me). The demons were distinguished [from the souls of the damned] by their terrifying and repellent likeness to frightful and unknown animals, black and transparent like burning coals. That vision only lasted for a moment, thanks to our good Heavenly Mother, Who at the first apparition had promised to take us to Heaven. Without that, I think that we would have died of terror and fear." (From Sister Lucia's Memoirs)

Mary said, "...The war is going to end; but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father."

The second vision was a prophecy of World War II and came with her request to consecration Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary:
"After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendour that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!'. And we saw in an immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it' a Bishop dressed in White ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father'. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God." (Source: The Vatican)

Then Mary asked for another prayer added to the Rosary, which we pray, "O my Jesus..."

More Apparitions:

In August 1917, the three children were kidnapped and threatened with death if they did not reveal the secrets of Mary. The children refused. Mary appeared and told them to come to the spot again on the 13th.

She also said, "Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell, because there are none to sacrifice themselves and pray for them." The children frequently rejected food and drink and remained faithful to Our Lord through Mary's requests.

On September 13, 1917, Mary appeared again and said, "Continue to pray the Rosary in order to obtain the end of the war. In October Our Lord will come, as well as Our Lady of Dolours and Our Lady of Carmel. Saint Joseph will appear with the Child Jesus to bless the world. God is pleased with your sacrifices. He does not want you to sleep with the rope on [a rope they wore for mortification and penance], but only to wear it during the daytime."

Lucia presented requests for cures for people that were ill and Mary said something that all of us can keep to heart: "Yes, I will cure some, but not others. In October I will perform a miracle so that all may believe."

The Last Apparition and the Miracle:



On October 13, 1917, Mary appeared again to the three children and said, "I want to tell you that a chapel is to be built here in my honour. I am the Lady of the Rosary. Continue always to pray the Rosary every day. The war is going to end, and the soldiers will soon return to their homes." By then there were thousands of witnesses.

Mary also said, "Do not offend the Lord our God any more, because He is already so much offended."

At that, the Miracle of the Sun was witnessed by 70,000 people as it danced in the sky, changed colors, and was hurled towards earth as if to destroy it.

Mary appeared later on in 1929 to Sister Lucia. For more information and the source for much of the information from this post, see "The Apparition of Fatima" as well as Read Fatima Crusader.
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Gospel: February 19, 2006
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February 19, 2006
Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

I found the Gospel reading from Mass today filled with unlimited joy. It was so beautiful, but I found one priest's reflection on it to be even more profound. Let me share my thoughts.

Today's Gospel:

When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days, it became known that he was at home. Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them, not even around the door, and he preached the word to them. They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through,they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic,“Child, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves,“Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming.Who but God alone can forgive sins?”Jesus immediately knew in his mind what they were thinking to themselves, so he said, “Why are you thinking such things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic,‘Your sins are forgiven,’or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk?’ But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth”—he said to the paralytic,“I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.” He rose, picked up his mat at once, and went away in the sight of everyone. They were all astounded and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.” Mk 2:1-12

Just think about the faith of the paralytic! He and his friends knew the truth and mercy of Jesus Christ. They knew it and went so far to break through the roof. How many people in our time would do something so radical? How many people would value God's mercy in Confession that enthusiastically? As last Sunday's Gospel reading showed, the personal encounter of Jesus in the Sacraments is what it's all about. In Confession I find such peace in the absolution of my sins: "I forgive you in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit" because it is truly Jesus speaking through the priest.

For God's love and mercy are inseparable in this life. His mercy endures forever and in no place better than Confession - where we are washed clean of all guilt when we make a sincere and heartfelt confession. For God gave us Confession for sins; He didn't tell us "Confess your sins and you will be saved." This is what he said:

"He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you. When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained" (John 20:21-23)

We are facing a paralysis in the Church where people no longer attend Mass, receive the Eucharist, or go to Confession. This is disheartening and we have an obligation to counter it! We must teach others of the Catholic faith; we must spread it. We must reach out to that friend or relative that does not attend Mass and bring them to the fullness of the Catholic faith.

That is why if you have any questions at all on the Catholic faith please do not hesitate to contact me. I will help answer any and all questions for fallen away Catholics or those interested in the faith. Do not despair, if you have any questions on the Catholic faith, I will do whatever I can to explain them for the glory of Jesus Christ and His Church.
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Assisting at Mass
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Padre Pio - "While assisting at holy Mass renew your faith. Have your mind elevated to the mystery that is happening before your eyes."

What graces are derived from assisting (assisting means attending) at Mass?

  1. The Mass is Calvary continued.
  2. Every Mass is worth as much as the sacrifice of Our Lord's life, sufferings and death.
  3. Holy Mass is the most powerful atonement for your sins.
  4. At the hour of death the Masses you have heard will be your greatest consolement.
  5. Every Mass will go with you to judgement and plead for pardon.
  6. At Mass you can diminish more or less temporal punishment due to your sins, according to your fervor.
  7. Assisting devoutly at Holy Mass you render to the humanity of Our Lord the greates homage.
  8. He supplies for many of your negligences and omissions.
  9. He forgives the venial sins which you have not confessed. The power of Satan over you is diminished.
  10. You afford the souls in Purgatory the greates possible relief.
  11. One Mass heard during life will be of more benefit to you than many heard for you after your death.
  12. You are preserved from dangers and misfortunes which otherwise might have befallen you. You shorten your Purgatory.
  13. Every Mass wins you a higher degree of glory in Heaven.
  14. You receive the Priest's blessing which Our Lord ratifies in Heaven.
  15. You kneel amidst a multitude of Holy Angels, who are present at the adorable Sacrifice with reverential awe.
  16. You are blessed in your temporal goods and affairs.
Image Source: Images in the Public Domain. If you are interested in obtaining all of the images of this series in high resolution, please click here to visit my post to obtain them.
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Saturday, February 18, 2006
Boycott the DaVinci Code Movie
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This book is filled with numerous lies and slanders on the truth of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. He was not married to Mary Magdalene! He did not have children! These lies are blasphemy, and I have boycotted the book and will also boycott the movie.

Father John Trigilio, of EWTN, has released a statement calling for Catholics to boycott the movie. Will you join in the boycott?
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A Win/Loss in Australia
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I posted last week on an Australian bill in the House of Representatives that would pave the way for the abortion drug, RU-486 to become legalized. Unfortunately, it passed.

The story:

After being stripped of his authority to prohibit the use of the dangerous abortion drug RU 486, pro-life Australia Health Minister Tony Abbott has announced a plan to spend $60 million over five years to provide women counseling and assistance in finding abortion alternatives. He is expected to take the proposal soon to the government cabinet and is calling for funds for a national pregnant support hotline and additional counseling for women with unplanned pregnancies. The 24 hour a day hotline would be funded with $12 million over four years. A second part would consist of a Medicare rebate to provide women three counseling sessions with psychologists or other medical professionals. (Source: Life News)
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Do you have Questions on Mary?
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Audrey from My Journey has been posting parts of a Q&A on Mary. If you are not a Catholic and ask yourself "Why do Catholics belief that about Mary," then take a look at her posts.

  1. Installment 1
  2. Installment 2
Image Source: Image believed to be in the Public Domain, Title Unknown
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Prayer request for Father Vittorio Mazzucchelli
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I was asked by a reader of my blog to ask for prayers for Father Vittorio Mazzucchelli from the Institute of Christ the King. He suffered a tragic car accident on January 16th, 2006, and he despertately needs our prayers.

His story is recorded on the website of the Institute of Christ the King.

Please pray for this priest! We need our priests.
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Friday, February 17, 2006
Requesting Apologetists to Help
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I was just visiting Salt of the Earth, a blog by Adam, and I read this:

"I'm not going to go into why the pope is the Antichrist right now"
How horrible! Our Holy Father is not the Antichrist! The pope is the successor of St. Peter, who was the first pope founded on the Catholic Church in Matthew 16:18. Please go over there and present the truth of the Catholic faith and counter this saddening lie.

Other Related Posts:

Image Source: Image believed to be in the Public Domain, Image of Pope Pius XII
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Mark your calendars for Sunday!
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This Sunday is another episode of "Sunday Night Live" with Fr. Benedict Groeschel, one of my favorite TV programs. And this week at 7 PM EST, Fr. Benedict's Program is entitled "How the Church Leads us to God".

If you have ever asked yourself that question see his program; I have a feeling it will be an excellent program.
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The Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows of Mary
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"Mary lived in the divine Eucharist, the center of her love. All her thoughts, words and actions sprang from It like the rays from the sun."
(St. Peter Julian Eymard)

Today - February 17 - we remember the Seven Founders of the Order of Servites, who had an intense devotion to Mary as Our Lady of Sorrows. Please pray the Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows of Mary today.

The Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows of Mary:

"This devotion was originated in the thirteenth century It recalls the Sorrows the Virgin Mother of God endured in compassion for the suffering and death of her Divine Son. The Seven Sorrows rosary consists of seven Hail Marys For each of the seven Sorrows. One Our Father is said before each group of seven Hail Marys: which ore separated by a medal. On the three beads of the rosary at the end three Hail Marys are said in honor of the Tears of Our Sorrowful Mother. While reciting the prayers meditate upon.


1. Prophecy of Simeon - reflect on and sympathize in the sorrow of our Blessed Lady, when she presented her Divine Child in the Temple, and heard from the aged Simeon that a sword of grief should pierce her soul on His account.
Our Father, Seven Hail Mary's


2. Flight into Egypt - reflect on her sorrow when, to escape the cruelty of King Herod, she was forced to fly into Egypt with St. Joseph and her beloved Child.
Our Father, Seven Hail Mary's


3. Three-day Separation from Jesus in Jerusalem - reflect on her grief, when, in returning from Jerusalem she perceived that she had lost her dear Jesus, whom she sought sorrowing during three days.
Our Father, Seven Hail Mary's


4. Meeting Christ on the Road to Calvary - reflect on her meeting her Divine Son, all bruised and mangled, carrying His cross to Calvary, and seeing Him fall under His heavy weight.
Our Father, Seven Hail Mary's


5. Crucifixion and Death of Jesus Christ - reflect on her standing by when her Divine Son was lifted up on the cross, and the blood flowed in streams from His sacred wounds.
Our Father, Seven Hail Mary's


6. Our Lord is Taken Down from the Cross (Pieta) - reflect on her sorrow, when her Divine Son was taken down from the cross, and she received Him into her arms.
Our Father, Seven Hail Mary's


7. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is Buried in the Tomb - contemplate her following His sacred body, as it was borne by Joseph of Arimathea, and Nicodemus, to the sepulcher, enclosed there, and hidden from her sight.
Our Father, Seven Hail Mary's


3 Hail Mary's in honor of the Sorrowful tears of Our Lady


V. Pray for us, O most Sorrowful Virgin
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ

Let us pray:
Lord Jesus, we now implore, both for the present and for the hour of our death, the intercession of the most Blessed Virgin Mary, Thy Mother, whose holy soul was pierced at the time of Thy Passion by a sword of grief. Grant us this favor, O Savior of the world, Who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost for ever and ever. Amen."

(Source: Catholic Culture)

Image Source: Image believed to be in the Public Domain

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Seven Founders of the Order of Servites
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Greater Double (1955 Calendar): February 12
Optional Memorial (1969 Calendar): February 17

Today is the Church remembers the Seven Founders of the Order of Servites from the 13th Century.

In the mid-13th Century, morals were low and religion seemed nearly meaningless in the political city of Florence. In 1223, seven men from that city decided to form into a small group and go off to a silent place to serve God direct. The Order was founded that day on the Feast of the Assumption as Mary appeared to the seven men. Two of them were widowers and two were still married and brought their families to live together in faith.

They meant to live in solitude, but the group was continually disturbed by visitors. They all left Florence and went to Monte Senario. In 1244, under the direction of St. Peter of Verona, O.P., this group adopted a religious habit similar to the Dominicans and chose to live in accord with the Rule of St. Augustine. They adopted the name of the Servants of Mary.

The men were beatified on December 1, 1717 and canonized in 1887. The original founders were the following:

Saint Alexis Falconieri
Saint Bartholomew degli Amidei
Saint Benedict dell'Antella
Saint Buonfiglio Monaldi
Saint Gherardino Sostegni
Saint Hugh dei Lippi-Uguccioni
Saint John Buonagiunta Monetti

Prayer:

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who, to honor the memory of the sorrows of Thy most holy Mother, didst through seven blessed Fathers enrich Thy Church with a new family of her Servants: mercifully grant that we may be so linked in fellowship to them in their sorrows, as to share also in their joys: Who livest and reignest.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal

Image Source: Image believed to be in the Public Domain
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Today's Readings - Protestants Please Read
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February 17, 2006
Friday in the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial of the Seven Servite Founders

I was astonished by today's reading after my recent discussion with protestants like Aaron and Adam. If you a protestant, please read this post.

Here was the first reading at Mass:

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day,and one of you says to them,“Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead. Indeed someone might say, “You have faith and I have works.” Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works. You believe that God is one. You do well. Even the demons believe that and tremble. Do you want proof, you ignoramus, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by the works. Thus the Scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, and he was called the friend of God. See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. For just as a body without a spirit is dead,so also faith without works is dead. James 2:14-24, 26

It's all right there - we must have works. St. James makes it crystal clear. Without works we don't have faith. For faith is not enough as he remarks, even the devils believe. But is believing enough? No! It's not enough. If you confess Jesus is Lord you are not automatically saved. Salvation is a process, a journey with Christ. Faith is the cornerstone of our faith, but we must have works. We must be servants and followers of Christ. Faith by itself is not enough. You can clearly tell this by St. James.

Listen to today's Gospel reading:

Jesus summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them,“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sakeand that of the Gospel will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole worldand forfeit his life? What could one give in exchange for his life? Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this faithless and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” He also said to them,“Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the Kingdom of God has come in power.” Mk 8:34–9:1

Jesus never said "Just believe and you shall be saved." He never said this. Don't believe anyone who says this. What did Jesus say? He said, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me." We must follow Him and serve the Lord. These works include the Sacraments, which allow us to follow Him closer.

Works are a necessity to serving Christ. As St. James wrote, "Faith without works is dead." It's that simple.
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Thursday, February 16, 2006
Special Rosary Novena
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"This comes a little late but you can still begin a nine-day Rosary novena for the intentions of the Holy Father. The novena ends on the feast of the Chair of Peter, next Tuesday, February 22."

Thanks to St. Peter's Helper for this.

Image Source: Pope Paul III
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Pro-life Story on The Inspired Traditionalist
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Ginny at the Inspired Traditionalist has posted a truly moving story of how ordinary people fighting against abortion can save lives.

It's worth you time. Please read it.
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Please pray for my father
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I posted last week that my father was admitted to the hospital. Well, he's home now, but he is still not feeling well. Doctors found out that one of his veins in his head is rather narrow, so he can easily get a blood clot. Plus, he's been feeling dizzy and sick with headaches this past week.

Please pray for his recovery.

Thank you
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The Cost of Abortion
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The South Dakota House just approved a bill February 14, 2006, that would outlaw abortions in the state. The Governor is expected to sign the bill into law, though it will certainly be fought in court. With changes in the makeup of the Supreme Court, we can only pray that the court upholds this and overturns Roe v. Wade.

In light of this, we must discuss the cost of abortion since it's legilization on Jan. 23, 1973:

  1. Over 46 million surgical abortion have been performed. An entire generation has been murdered and the government allows this. 46 million human lives were murdered! This is more than the casualties of the Revolutionary War, Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, and Iraq War combined. Abortion is the greatest holocaust in our history.
  2. Abortion is the leading cause of death for African Americans. 13 million black lives in the last 30 year years has been murdered. 33% of all abortions are performed on African Americans.
  3. 24% of pregnancies end in abortions. 1 in 4 of us human beings are murdered by abortion
  4. So how many abortions are because of rape...1%! Incent...0.5%! Don't let the lies of the world confuse you. Abortion on demand accounts for nearly 98% of all abortions. These children were murdered because they were unwanted. That could have been any of us.
  5. 80% of unborn diagnosed with Down Syndrome are aborted. But, I'm sure you realize how wrong doctors are on these diagnosis half of the time. People are being murdered so that their families won't be burdened by a less than "ideal" person.

(All stats are from the Human Life Alliance)

Abortion should be illegal! I'll say it until it's illegal. It's 21 days after conception that a baby's heart begins to beat. An unborn child is one of us - a creation of God simply in another part of development. An adult is no more human than a 7 yr old even though the child is not completely developed. The same things applies to an unborn child - just because it can't function outside of the womb doesn't mean it's not a live human being.


Prayer to End Abortion
Lord God, I thank you today for the gift of my life, And for the lives of all my brothers and sisters.
I know there is nothing that destroys more life than abortion, Yet I rejoice that you have conquered death by the Resurrection of Your Son.
I am ready to do my part in ending abortion. Today I commit myself Never to be silent, Never to be passive, Never to be forgetful of the unborn.
I commit myself to be active in the pro-life movement, And never to stop defending life Until all my brothers and sisters are protected, And our nation once again becomes A nation with liberty and justice Not just for some, but for all.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen!

(Source: Priests for Life)

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Family Planning Funds Slashed
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Some good news with the Federal Budget...

President Bush's has severely slashed funding for family planning (contraceptives). In 2001 President Bush initiated the Mexico City Policy to stop taxpaying funds from being used to perform or support abortions in other countries. At that time, President Bush froze family planning at $425 million each year. This year, the budget calls for $357 million, a 18% slash in funds.

Let us pray for an end to the use of contraceptives. Since the earliest days of the Catholic Church, our fathers have condemned artificial contraception as an offense against God and the natural law. This was the case with all Christians until the early 1900s when other denominations began to allow them. Thank be to God for guiding the Church and keeping it in the Truth, a promise recorded in scripture (Matthew 16:18).

For more information on why contraception is sinful, see "Weekly Discussion Topic One."
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A Prayer Request for a Departed Seminarian
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Here is a prayer request sent to me today:

My cousin who was missing for 3 days was found dead early this morning of foul play. He was a seminarian for a long time but was not ordained. Please pray for his eternal repose. The whole family is in shock by this news of his unpleasant death. His name is Jojo. Thank you so much. Suzette

What he truly needs are Masses said in his name. Please, if you can, have a Mass said for him. The value of a Mass is nearly of infinite value. For, at the Mass, the Sacrifice of Calvary is recalled. For the Eucharist is Jesus Christ; He is truly present at each Mass.

Q: When a Mass is said for the soul of a deceased loved one, does this help lessen the soul's time in purgatory?

A: Just as we pray for others here on earth, we are encouraged by the Church to pray for souls who may be in purgatory. Why? We are all in need of grace to come into the perfection of charity. We cannot enter heaven if we have not been completely cleansed of sin and all punishment due to sin. See Catechism of the Catholic Church #1031 and 1472

Since the Mass is the "source and summit" of the Christian Life, we naturally look to that Holy Sacrifice of Christ, containing the perfect prayer, to offer for our deceased relatives and friends who may still need the help of our prayers. Priests are under a strict obligation to remember in a special way the person for whom the Mass is being offered. Often you wil hear the priests say the name of the person in the part of the Mass which specifically remembers those who have gone before us. Sometimes the intention for the Mass is listed in the bulletin or announced before the Mass.

We can't really speak of "time" since the deceased person has entered eternity, but we can speak in terms of "final purification" before entrance into heaven. We believe that a Mass offered for a departed relative or friend may help hasten that final purification which he/she may still be undergoing in purgatory.

For more information on the Mass, see "The Holy Mass."
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