Sunday, May 30, 2010

St. Bernadette's "Sign"

St. Bernadette's "Sign" -- by Dr. Rosalie A. Turton

If then one reads about the life of St. Bernadette, one becomes fascinated by her direct and decisive answers. She was a simple, uneducated, sickly young person, often unable to attend school, and barely able to learn her catechism, but she answered the piercing questions put before her with ease, simplicity, and great wisdom.

I feel that it was the Holy Spirit working though her, as a great gift from God. She confounded many people, even brilliant ones, by her tremendous logic.

When they criticized her for eating "grass" at the Grotto, she quickly responded, "You eat salad, don't you?" When they asked, "Bernadette, pray for me," she sweetly responded, "pray for yourself," well knowing that that person was not praying enough.

It should be very clear to us that when we pray, God always answers. Sometimes, however, His answer is "No." But, even with that answer, we can be sure that He is giving us something better than what we "asked for (Romans 8:28).

He knows what is best for us, and just as any parent does, He gives His child what is best at that moment, even if it was not exactly what was requested. A saintly nun once asked Jesus, "Do You always give us what we pray for?" He responded with a laugh, "I make you pray for what I want to give you!"

Her "Sign"

But what is the sign to which I am referring in the title of this article? Remember that when Our Lady first appeared to Bernadette in the Grotto, at that instant fear of the unknown struck her, and she attempted to make the Sign of the Cross as a protection from all evil. However, strangely, she was unable to move her arm.

Then Bernadette intently watched this most extraordinarily beautiful female Image make the most beautiful Sign of the Cross that she had ever seen! It was breathtaking and in that single instant, those motions burned deeply into Bernadette's memory.

Bernadette fell in love with the Lady, never to recover from that love-"sickness and joy." She was stricken with love-sickness and until her death, at the age of 35, no other love could surpass it.

Because of that great love, she was happy, but later Our Lady told her, "You will not be happy in this life, but in the next." But she was happy, in spite of poor living conditions, treatment by others, and terrible illnesses. The first sight of this Image in the Grotto never left her mind and her heart. Forever, she could only be a joyful victim of love.

That first moment in the Grotto, the Lady had Rosary beads in Her hands. Bernadette took out her own beads from her pocket. So captivated had been Bernadette by the loveliness and charm of the movements of the Image, she herself then began making the Sign of the Cross, trying to copy the exact lovely movements, that the Image had just made.

Some 18 apparitions of Our Lady then occurred, and all the while, and in the interim, Bernadette, was practising making the beautiful Sign. It reminded her of the Image, of her love, of the hope to see Her again, and doubtlessly, of Heaven itself.

When Bernadette joined the convent in Nevers, after one talk, and one question and answer period, the nuns were never again allowed to speak about the apparitions. However, whenever possible, they would look at Bernadette to watch her make the impressive Sign of the Cross, and that movement spoke to them about Our Lady. If you would ask them what holiness, what stood out, what was special about Bernadette, they would answer in one voice, her Sign of the Cross.

How Did She Make It?

Many of us bless ourselves quickly, with some motions that may look like we are wringing our hands, or brushing away a fly. Sometimes we do not even touch our foreheads or bodies at each point of prayer, nor clasp our hands in a reverent finish.

Both Our Lady's and Bernadette's movements were slow, ample, and prayerful. The fingertips of the right hand slowly touched the forehead, (In the name of the Father) probably thinking about the Father... then touched the waist, not the center of the chest (And of the Son), thinking about Jesus... then touching the farthest side of the left shoulder (And of the Holy), then touching the farthest side of the right shoulder (Spirit), and then clasping the hands closed, fingers upward, (Amen).

Holiness and sincerity become obvious. All movements are done in grace, and grace is returned from God. The movements themselves become a prayer in action.

One of the Sisters at Nevers asked Bernadette, "What should one do to be sure to go to Heaven?"

Immediately, Bernadette said, "To make a proper Sign of the Cross is already a good start."

Bernadette's life is an inspiration to us, not so much because she was favored with apparitions, and her body is now beautifully incorrupt, but because she heard and heeded the words and actions of Christ's Mother.

Now look at yourself in the mirror and practice it a little bit. We should always be working for the next life, which is for all eternity, and not only for this one, which could be over in a flash. Think about it. +++

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Cardinal in Medjugorje

by Dr. Rosalie Ann Turton

Christoph Cardinal Schoenborn of Vienna, Austria, is personable brilliant, young, decisive, was a former student of Pope Benedict XVI, and presently is in close collaboration with the Holy Father, both as a friend and as a colleague. He is considered by many to be eminent and papabile.

Titles and Responsibilities

To name a few of his responsibilities, the Cardinal is a member of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Director of the team that wrote the Catechism of the Catholic Church. He is a dogmatist, an expert in Church Teaching, and was a professor of Theological Dogma.

His impressive credentials include "curial membership" in the Congregations for the Oriental Churches and Catholic Education. He is a member of the Pontifical Council on Culture, the commission on the Cultural Heritage of the Church, as well as the Special Council for Europe of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.

He serves as the Ordinary for the Faithful of the Byzantine Rite in Austria. With Archbishops of Paris, Brussels, Lisbon, and Budapest, Schoenborn is deeply involved in the re-evangelization of Europe.

He is active in bringing about cooperation between new movements (such as Charismatic Renewal) and the Church's hierarchical structure, and is recognized for his sensitivity to Eastern Christian and Orthodox spiritualities. Within Austria and Europe, Schoenborn has led the way in reconciling Christians and Jews.


Cardinal Schoenborn is a prominent voice in a wide variety of contemporary discussions and is considered by many as "papabile, " that is, a prelate with a significant chance of some day being elected Pope.

30 Million Pilgrims

The Medjugorje apparitions have been disputed since 1981, when six young people said that they had regularly seen visions of the Virgin there.

Neither Rome nor the local diocese had formally approved Medjugorje as an official shrine site, but the lack of official recognition has not stopped the remote village, 70 miles southwest of Sarajevo, from thriving. More than 30 million faithful religious and lay persons have visited the area since 1981.

Committee Of Yugoslav Bishops

There are some who think that Rome has spoken definitively, and, since the local bishop of Mostar and of Medjugorje, Bishop Ratko Peric, is against the apparitions, that no one should go there. However, in this particular case, the local bishop is not the sole authority regarding the supernatural nature of the events, since Rome has ruled otherwise.

Long ago, Rome appointed a committee of some Yugoslavian bishops, to discern the spiritual nature of the events, and in 1991, they declared it non constat de supernatualitatae, meaning that thus far, the supernaturality of the event has not been confirmed.

However, although Bishop Peric is no longer in charge of discernment, as far as mystical claims, the bishop still retains the authority over sacramental practices in Medjugorje, and should be respected in this role.

Of late, he has used his authority to restrict the activities of pilgrims and seers, despite a powerful rebuke from Rome. For the time being, the debate seems not likely to end.

In March of 2010, while in Medjugorje with some pilgrims, I heard that he is ill and a new bishop is being considered, in the event that it might be necessary.

In Rome in 1996, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, wrote that official pilgrimages to Medjugorje were not to be organized at parish or diocesan levels, since bishops from the former Yugoslavia had affirmed in 1991 that the evidence is not sufficient to declare with certainty that supernatural appari¬tions and revelations had taken place.

No One Knows The Outcome

Cardinal Schoenborn pointed out that the Church has not yet ruled upon Medjugorje. He stated that no one knows what the final decision will be. But, instead of being a rejection, this leaves open the possibility that it is, indeed, a supernatural event.

The cardinal said that pilgrims and priests are allowed to go there, while reiterating the Rome ruling of 1996, as long as such a pilgrimage is not an official parish event.

He Needed To Know

He wanted to see the place from which so many positive fruits had come. Thus, he made a private visit to Medjugorje in late December, 2009, through January 1, 2010. The cardinal felt that he needed to know more about Medjugorje. And considering his eminent position, HE DID NEED TO KNOW!

He had heard the detractions, but he had also seen the number of priestly vocations coming to his seminary in Vienna, attributed to Medjugorje.

He knew of a number of personal conversions, physical and moral healings, new prayer groups, a heard Fr. Rene Laurentin, one of the world's leading Mariologists, describe the site of Medjugorje as: the "Confessional of the World."

He had heard both sides of the story, and now wanted to be more clearly informed by "seeing for himself."

What Did He Do There?

The cardinal spent his time concelebrating Mass at St. James Church, hearing confessions, praying in silent Eucharistic Adoration, and (with visionary, Marija Lunelti, and thousands of other pilgrims), he climbed Apparition Hill.

A Special Favor

On the evening of December 31, 2009, the visionary, Marija, asked the Blessed Mother for a special favor, explaining that the next day, the Feast of the Mother of God, and the first day of the year, many pilgrims were requesting permission to attend the apparition at her home the following afternoon.

Because her chapel is very small, she was sad not to be able to offer this opportunity to all who wanted it. Therefore, she asked the Blessed Mother for a change in location to make it easier for more people to be able to attend.

Marija suggested that instead of coming at 5:40 p.m. to Marija's chapel, that Our Lady would appear on Apparition Hill at that time, so that everyone could attend. The Gospa replied that She would do both on the first of the year: "come to the chapel at 5:40 p.m., and come to Apparition Hill at 10:40 p.m.!"

Word of it got around fast, and the crowds were elated! On the evening of January 1st, 2010 thousands of people climbed Mt. Podbro, praying their Rosaries in the cold and pouring rain! Their feet were full of mud... but their hearts were full of joy!

The apparition of Our Lady lasted quite a while, and Marija told everyone, "The Gospa was very happy today, and She came with legions of angels!

"She looked at us, and said, 'You are My joy; you are My hope!' Then She urged us again to live the messages that She has been giving to us."

My Own Thoughts

This is how they started the year 2010 in Medjugorje, with Our Lady and Her heavenly army of Angels.

I have been to Medjugorje many times since 1986, and I have personally seen many conversions, healings, and various phenomena... but especially conversions.

I could tell you stories of people who had not gone to confession for years, and somehow they become
inspired to go to confession there, and they leave the confessional spiritually healed!

Many people, find that after confession there... to ordinary priests... the Holy Spirit worked in such a powerful way, that their lives have been forever changed.

I have seen physical healings almost every time I go there, and there is a plethora, a profusion of phenomena, especially to people who go for the first time.

To me, it seems to be mostly a place of spiritual healing and spiritual rejuvenation. It seems to bring comfort to the mind, soul, and body of the pilgrims. Many people go there often to obtain their spiritual "shot in the arm," the needed "spiritual vitamins and nourishment," thus enabling them to cope better with the problems of life that all of us encounter at various times.

Of all apparition sites, it seems to me, to be the one to which most people want to return. Also, at other apparition sites where confession is available, confession does not seem to be the main priority of the pilgrims that it most certainly has become in Medjugorje.

Our Lady's Joy

I feel that Our Lady may also have been joyful to have that loved cardinal present for Her apparitions twice on that special day, and I believe that Her joy made him very happy as well. It may have been Our Lady's gift to him for going there. In my mind, the many angels present that day in the apparitions to Marija, may also have been an indication of Heaven's joy regarding the Feast of the Mother of God, the many devotees of God present, and of Cardinal Schoenborn's openness (to either positive or negative findings) with a desire to "see for himself." Yes, he needed to know... and so do many others.

What Was His Personal Opinion?

At one point after his arrival, he asked, "Who could make these things up?"
"Who could invent this thing? Man? No, this is not a human act."

He went on to say, "When you look at a place like Medjugorje, you can see a superpower of mercy. Many merciful deeds were born here or they are supported here... something that is impossible from a human point of view."

No Official Declaration

Added Cardinal Schoenborn, "There is no official declaration, either way. I would advise for patience. The Mother of God is so patient with us, that for almost 30 years here, in a very direct way, She is showing Her closeness and care for the parish of Medjugorje and the numerous pilgrims.

We can peacefully wait and have patience! This number of years is a long period of time for us, but not such a long period to Our God."

Cardinal Schoenborn's comments prompted Bishop Peric to write him a letter on January 2, 2010, sharply criticizing his visit and stressing to him that his presence there was by no means a formal recognition of the apparitions.

Cardinal Schoenborn met with the Pope on January 15, 2010, after which he wrote to Bishop Peric, saying that he regretted "if you have the impression that my pilgrimage to Medjugorje did a disservice to peace. Rest assured that this was not my intention."

New Vatican Studies

A Vatican spokesman, Rev. Federico Lombardi, said that the Vatican has decided to launch the investigation based on a request from Bosnian bishops.

Therefore, on Wednesday, March 10, 2010, the Vatican released a statement that an international commission of inquiry, headed by Italian Cardinal Camillo Ruini, a top adviser to the late Pope John Paul II, has been formed to study the case and report back to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith... (and later to us). +++

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Our Lady of Medjugorje message May 25, 2010 for the world

Message of May 25, 2010

"Dear children! God gave you the grace to live and to defend all the good that is in you and around you, and to inspire others to be better and holier; but Satan, too, does not sleep and through modernism diverts you and leads you to his way. Therefore, little children, in the love for my Immaculate Heart, love God above everything and live His commandments. In this way, your life will have meaning and peace will rule on earth. Thank you for having responded to my call."

St. Philomena, Powerful with God--May 25,1802--found her holy remains
St. Philomena is a lesser known saint in the Church. In fact, her feast day, August 11th, is not even on the liturgical calendar. Nevertheless, do not underestimate the power bestowed upon her, and it is no coincidence that her name is coming to the forefront of modern times in obtaining incredible results through her powerful intercession.

She spent 40 days suffering in her final 13 years of life in defense of her purity and her faith. Some of the sufferings inflicted upon her include a physical scourging, an attempted drowning, and an array of arrows launched upon her. Finally, she was decapitated, but she never wavered from the faith. She is the Patroness of the Children of Mary and of the Living Rosary. Our Lady has said, "To Philomena, nothing is refused."

Little is known of her life; the little information we have about her came from her private revelation to her devotees. Martyred at the age 14, she enjoyed fame 1800 years after her death.

On May 25, 1802 the remains of a young woman were found in the catacomb of St. Priscilla at the Via Salaria, Italy. It was covered by stones, the symbols on which indicated that the body was a martyr named St. Philomena. The vial containing dry blood (as it was custom to bury a sample of the blood of the martyrs) and the bones were exhumed, catalogued, and effectively forgotten since there was so little known about the person. (The sample of her blood made her the intercessors of those with blood related problems).

In 1805 Canon Francis de Lucia of Mugnano, Italy was in the Treasury of the Rare Collection of Christian Antiquity (Treasury of Relics) in the Vatican. When he reached the relics of St. Philomena he was suddenly struck with a spiritual joy, and requested that he be allowed to enshrine them in a chapel in Mugnano. After some disagreements, settled by the cure of Canon Francis following prayers to Philomena, he was allowed to transfer the relics to Mugnano. Miracles began to be reported at the shrine including cures of cancer and healing of wounds. Philomena became the only person recognized as a saint solely on the basis of miraculous intercession as nothing historical was known of her except her name and the evidence of her martyrdom.

Pope Leo XII granted permission for the erection of altars and churches in her honor. Pope Gregory XVI authorized her public veneration, and named her patroness of the Living Rosary. The cure of Pope Pius IX, while archbishop of Imola, was attributed to Philomena; in 1849, the Pope named her patroness of the Children of Mary. Pope Leo XIII approved the Confraternity of St. Philomena. Pope Pius X named St. John Vianney as the patron of this Confraternity because this saint had a strong and well-known devotion to her. Others with known devotion to her include St. Anthony Mary Claret, St. Euphrasia Pelletier, St. Francis Xavier Cabrini, St. John Nepomucene Neumann, St. Madeline Sophie Barat, St. Peter Chanel, St. Peter Julian Eymard, Blessed Anna Maria Taigi, and Venerable Pauline Jaricot who received a healing of her sickness from her.

"To Philomena Nothing Is Refused"

One night, Mother Mary Louisa had a vision in which she saw Our Lady and St. Philomena. The latter confided her to the protection of the Mother of God saying: "Stand firm beneath the protection of Mary." Again, she saw Saint Philomena laying he crown before Mary's throne saying: "Lady of Heaven I am come to ask grace." Whereupon she solicited more than thirty graces for different persons. Our Lady replied: "To Philomena nothing is refused." St Gabriel wrote down the concessions with a golden pen. Then the saint turned to Mother Mary Louisa and asked: "Have you seen how this was done? I asked the graces from Mary, and through Mary they were granted to me."

These revelations have received the Imprimatur of the Holy Office, which means simply that the Church has pronounced them free from anything contrary to the Faith. It does not pronounce further. Everyone is left quite free to accept them at their worth or reject them. But surely the speedy and marvelous answers everywhere to prayers which have been offered in her honor, and by all classes of persons, seem to verify the words: To Philomena nothing is refused!

"My children, St. Philomena, has great power with God. Her virginity and generosity in embracing her heroic martyrdom has rendered her so agreeable to God that He will never refuse her anything that she asks for us." St. John Vianney (Cure of Ars)

"Philomena is a great Saint." Pope Leo XII

"Have full confidence in this great Saint, she will obtain for you all that you ask." Ven. Pauline Jaricot

"Our accursed enemy is this great Virgin and Martyr, St. Philomena. Devotion to her is a new and terrible warfare to hell." (devils during exorcism)

St. Philomena also explained the wonderful power of her intercession when asked what was the difference between the essential glory of the saints and their accidental glory. "We realize", said Philomena, "that we are before God as so many vases of honor, some larger, some smaller. The vases of our souls dilate according to the desire to love God that we had when we were on earth. As soon as we are brought into the presence of God, each vase is filled to the brim with knowledge and love of Him. This plenitude is what is called essential glory, and this, through all eternity, cannot be enlarged or diminished. God Himself can put in the hearts of the faithful to pray to Him through His saints; and then graces descend from Him like limpid water, falling on our vases. But being already full, they cannot contain it, wherefore the water splashes from them and falls down on the earth and on you who are pilgrims. This glory is called accidental, and can increase or diminish. But in either case we lose nothing. Always we give glory


We beseech Thee, O Lord, to grant us the pardon of our sins by the intercession of Saint , virgin and martyr, who was always pleasing in Thy sight by her eminent chastity and by the profession of every virtue. Amen.
Illustrious virgin and martyr, Saint Philomena, behold me prostrate before the throne whereupon it has pleased the Most Holy Trinity to place thee. Full of confidence in thy protection, I entreat thee to intercede for me with God, from the heights of Heaven deign to cast a glance upon thy humble client! Spouse of Christ, sustain me in suffering, fortify me in temptation, protect me in the dangers surrounding me, obtain for me the graces necessary to me, and in particular
(Here specify your petition).
Above all, assist me at the hour of my death. Saint Philomena, powerful with God, pray for us. Amen.
O God, Most Holy Trinity, we thank Thee for the graces Thou didst bestow upon the Blessed Virgin Mary, and upon Thy handmaid Philomena, through whose intercession we implore Thy Mercy. Amen.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Christmas Eucharistic Elevation

Recived this from a friend today---
This is the picture that I mentioned to you. That’s Bishop Ricard (Pensacola-Tallahassee) elevating the host. Bishop Martin Holley is on the left in the photo. The person who sent it to me says that the picture was not touched up.