Saturday, July 31, 2010

AUGUST 1, The Sunday Homily - by Fr. James Farfaglia


The summer following the tragic events of September 11, I took the time to visit New York City and “ground-zero” during my home visit to Binghamton, NY. My visit to Manhattan gave me the opportunity to reconnect with a high-school friend whom I had not seen since 1979. He worked in an office building located three blocks from “ground-zero”. We met at his apartment on the north side of Manhattan. The 45-minute subway ride took us to the spot where the World Trade Center once proudly stood. Although my friend was one of the many who could walk away from lower Manhattan through the billowing cloud of smoke and dust, he graciously allowed me to visit something that I had to see. I needed to stand on hallowed ground and pray for the dead.
As we got off of the subway and walked towards “ground-zero”, I quickly began to perceive the horrific suffering of the innocent and the heroic. Hundreds of people lined up along the fences to look, to pray, to remember and to cry.
As I gazed upon the craters where the towers once rested, the infamous iron cross, the American flag proudly flying in the gentle breeze and the countless memorials erected along the surrounding sidewalks, I reflected upon the fundamental questions of human existence. Who am I? What is the purpose of life? What happens when this life comes to an end?

In light of these questions, is the salvation of your soul worth more than the home that you live in, the school that your children attend, the size of your portfolio or the car that you drive?
Let us recall words from this Sunday’s Old Testament reading: “Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth, vanity of vanities! All things are vanity” (Ecclesiastes 1: 2).

The World Trade Center, symbol of economic power and prosperity, was snuffed out in a short span of time. All of the fallen faced their creator without their home, their education, their investments or their car.

For the fallen, this life had ended and eternity began. But for the millions that remain, it seems that for the majority, life goes on unchanged by the apocalyptic events of September 11. The fundamental questions are never asked and no desire for transcendence occurs.

Atheism causes disbelief in God. Nevertheless, the atheist is usually passionate about an ideological cause. Secularism is different. It suffocates the soul and kills it. The secularist is only interested in the here and now. The desire for eternal life is converted into passion for money, sports, entertainment, pleasure, and fame.

As we read this Sunday’s second reading from Saint Paul, we are reminded how to find meaning in life, establish a hierarchy of values and place priorities in the things of eternity. “If you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3: 1-3).

As I contemplated the large empty craters that once gave support to the Twin Towers, I recalled the familiar words of Ash Wednesday. “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return”. These words tie in perfectly to the words that we pray in this weekend’s responsorial psalm: “You turn man back to dust, saying, ‘Return, O children of men’. For a thousand years in your sight are as yesterday, now that it is past, or as a watch of the night” (Psalm 90: 3-5).

As a Catholic priest I have often seen death close at hand. For almost twenty years, I have prayed at the side of little babies, children, teen-agers, adults in their prime, and adults in the twilight of their lives as they died. Death comes at any age.

No matter how many advances science may bring to our contemporary world, no one will ever be able to keep people from dying. Dying is a part of life. It is part of our earthly existence.

When we were little children we learned the simple, yet profound truth from our catechism lessons about our existence. Why did God make me? God made me to know him, to love him, to serve him in this world and to be happy with him in everlasting life. Here lies the plain truth about our life on earth. We will not be here forever.

Life is like a bus ride. We move forward with our bags packed, hoping that when the bus stops and the door opens, we will be at the right location. We must remember the fundamental truth of Revelation: eternity consists of three states: heaven, purgatory and hell. To deny the existence of purgatory and hell is to deny Christianity. To tell people that everyone is going to heaven is to deprive them of the truth. It is a lie to tell people that everyone is saved. Moreover, when people accept this lie, the very lie may even endanger their eternal salvation because they will no longer be using the necessary means of salvation in order to gain eternal life.

“Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry. Stop lying to one another, since you have taken off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed, for knowledge, in the image of its creator” (Colossians 3: 5-10).

One day each of us will stand before God for judgment. We will stand before God without a lawyer, without family and friends to support us. We will stand alone before Almighty God. Each day could be our last day on earth. We should each ask ourselves today, if I were to die today, how would God judge me? Is there any particular sin, attachment, or attitude that might be an obstacle to my eternal salvation? Rather than becoming sad when we consider our own death, the reality of leaving this life and facing God for judgment should lead us to continual conversion.

Let us remember the words from this Sunday’s gospel passage: "Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one's life does not consist of possessions” (Luke 12: 15).

A very dear friend of mine has spent most of his adult life in the lay apostolic work of the Catholic Church. Now, as he has entered his mature years and enjoys the fruits of his many labors, he sets his eyes on eternity.

In order to help him prepare for eternity, a number of years ago, he commissioned a friend to make him a simple coffin made of pine. The coffin sits in his basement, waiting for the day when his mortal remains will rest. To some, this idea may seem strange, even morbid. However, a visible reminder of death is an excellent aid to meditate on the reality of death and prepare for eternal life. Our reflection on death must fill us with hope in the reward of eternal life, however, our thoughts should also remind us that we need to be well prepared and ready for that mysterious day when the Lord call us to himself.

This Sunday’s liturgy is not inviting us to live unconcerned for the things of this world. We cannot live reckless lives, waiting for pennies to fall from heaven. Christian stewardship means that we take our time, talent and financial resources, and do all that we can to make this world a better place for everyone. There is nothing wrong about enjoying God’s creation. Christians need to dress properly, enjoy their homes and properly enjoy all that God provides us. However, we are called to live detached from the things of this earth and remember that creatures are only stepping stones on our journey towards eternity.

One man who has correctly understood Christian stewardship is Tom Monaghan. Tom Monaghan’s early childhood was a true test of endurance. His father died on Christmas Eve when he was only four years old. Tom’s mother could not support his brother Jim and himself on her salary of only $27.50 a week so she decided to put the two brothers into a foster home.

After many years of hard work, in 1960, Tom and his brother Jim borrowed $900 to buy a pizzeria named Dominick’s in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Tom’s success certainly did not happen overnight. In his first 13 years in the business, he worked 100 hour work weeks, seven days a week. He only had one vacation, and that was for six days when he got married to his wife Margie.

By the late 1970’s, Domino’s was up to over 200 locations. The 1980’s proved to have phenomenal growth. In 1985, sales topped $1 billion and just three years later, sales hit over $2 billion. The number one pizza delivery company in the world closed out the decade with over 5,000 locations.

Tom Monaghan hit the headlines in December 1998 when he sold his company, the international pizza giant Domino's, and raised over a billion dollars from the sale. His motivation: to give his money away to Catholic and pro-life charities. "I feel it's God's money and I want to use it for the highest possible purpose - to help as many people as possible get to heaven."

Aside from founding Legatus, a Catholic association of businessmen, Monaghan is best known for his founding and developing Ave Maria University in Naples, Florida.

You can help Father James and his apostolic work by making a donation to Saint Helena of the True Cross of Jesus Catholic Church in Corpus Christi, Texas.
The audio podcast of this Sunday homily will be posted some time Sunday afternoon.

Friday, July 30, 2010


Once yo u see this, you will be blown away. If you have never seen this before, you are in for a treat. Some of us wonder what the best computer is in the world - got to be a brain. THIS MAN IS KNOWN AS THE 'HUMAN CAMERA' !
an austic young man goes in a helicopter and does a visual of the vatican and then draws it - unreal!

Paddy Kelly Conversion story through Our Lady of Medjugorje

World famous rock star gives life to Jesus. Led there by the hand of the Queen of Peace the Blessed Virgin Mary. Amazing conversion video at the end

In 1994 his album “Over the Hump sold more than 4.5 million copies throughout Europe. In Germany it is the biggest selling album of all time. Bigger than the Beatles.

The group has sold over 50 million records worldwide.

At twenty years old he was a teenage sensation, a huge rock star and lived in a 17th century castle in Europe He had all the riches, fame, fortune and the adulation of millions. His name is Paddy Kelly.

He and his group the Kelly Family sold out the huge Westtaleanhalle in Dortmund Germany nine times in a row. A feat no other musician has since accomplished. They filled football stadiums, some shows with over 250,000 .

He was born in Ireland to American parents. He was the star of the incredible singing group “The Kelly Family” He has eleven brothers and sisters and most sing in the band. They started out singing in the streets of Europe but quickly their incredible singing talents took them to the top. Paddy Kelly became a huge idol with adoring female fans. He needed body guards in public. He was hounded by paparazzi where ever he went and traveled by private jet and helicopters. He was recognized everywhere he went. He had it all... this amazing young man had everything, but despite the fame and money he began to feel empty, isolated..

He felt lost... He felt his soul was dying. He had lost his mother when he was five years old but toured the world with his family that gave him love and support.  rest of story, click below.

latest update Jan. 2011
By  January 11, 2011
After 6 years as a monk in the Community of St John, Paddy Kelly left the consecrated life in the monastery. At the end of his vows, he decided, in consultation with leaders of his order that it would be better to spend more time making music.
Here are a few words of Paddy:
"The last 6 years were the most extraordinary time of my life I'm so thankful to God, Father Marie Dominique Philippe, and my brothers of the Community of St. John for this profound encounter with Jesus and experience His love of St. John wrote..: "God is love" (1 Jn 4:8) and that's what I've seen in this precious time I have received so many graces the words of Mary, I can say is. "The Almighty has great things done for me, holy is his name! " (LK 1:49). "I am happy that he has brought me so far and I am on my way forward with Him."
Paddy Kelly entered the novice home in France in 2004, eight months later, the habit (religious dress) and received the religious name of Brother John Paul Mary. It followed the completion of his vows, he studied philosophy four years and accomplished the first year of theology and apostolic activities provided through his music and his testimony throughout Europe. He now writes in the final throes of the "new music" that he had already started composing as a monk and is working on some projects that he intends to implement in the near future.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Excerpt from the book HUNGRY SOULS by Gerard J.M. Van Den AArdweg

Immaterial spirits take on material forms to make themselves visible, and these forms express essential features of their spiritual and moral state of being. Demons appear as repulsive creatures; if they disguise themselves as human persons, there is usually some abhorrent quality of shape or manners that puts the seer on his guard. An angel may appear "as a light whiter than snow in the form of a young man, quite transparent and brilliant as crystal," as the Angel of Portugal in the story of Fatima, thus expressing his heavenly origin.

The ghostly forms of souls from Purgatory show, on the one hand, recognizable characteristics of the face and body that they animated during earthly life and with which they will be united on the day of general judgment. On the other hand, the appearance of the ghost sometimes symbolizes its state of suffering and/or its individual moral imperfections: the "rust of sin" not yet cleaned off, the imperfect habits and tendencies that the person carried with him across the threshold into the afterlife.

These apparitions clearly prove that it is the individual person and not some depersonalized, anonymous "soul matter" that survives bodily death. The reports of so many seers over the centuries are doubtless reports of direct contacts with a supernatural reality and with real persons. If there is much symbolic in the way they appear, these symbols seem to be the most appropriate method to bring the living as near to the supernatural reality of Purgatory as they can possibly come.

In some mysterious way, the deceased is present, there and then, in the place and in the moment he appears. At the onset of an apparition, the seer and bystanders often observe physical phenomena such as atmospheric changes, a gust of cold wind, crackling sounds, a strange and sudden silence; the spirit develops its figure and form out of a hazy cloud or mist, or starts as a passing shadow. It is not unusual for animals to perceive something physical, too: dogs may become scared, and cattle or chickens become restless. The perception of a spirit cannot be reduced to a merely mental event, something internal in the seer; it is a manifestation outside of him. He can see the door opening or a strange light that makes the objects in the dark room visible; objects (such as a light-switch on the wall) cannot be perceived anymore during the time the phantom stands before it, but as soon as it is gone, the object is normally visible again.

There are roughly three variants of the visible forms or figures of appearing poor souls: either they come in the figures of the persons they were in life, with their typical clothes; amid flames; or again, as deformed humans with remarkable symbolic features that represent their sins and/or punishments—sometimes even as humanized animals or animalized humans. Ghosts from Purgatory are as a rule recognizable by their eyes and mouth, wrote the 20th-century seer Eugenie von der Leyen. "You never see such eyes in men . . . they demonstrate, or give to understand, misery. The mouth . . . this bitterness is found in no [living] human."

The saintly Bavarian mystic, Sister Maria Anna Lindmayr (1657— 1726), regularly saw the poor souls in a manner that characterized the spiritual or moral state of their souls. Their features symbolized their vices as well as the kind of punishment they suffered:

I have always been given to understand that: how you sin, so you must do penance . . . [Some] appeared to me very hungry, emaciated, in an indescribable form. These implored me to help them by fasting severely on water and bread, to correct what was wanting in them during their lifetime by their eating and drinking well and abundantly. Others again made known by their behavior their quick-temperedness and impatience and they implored me to help them by acts of patience and meekness. Such souls . . . were shown to me, their mouth locked with a nail.

Some souls do not show the fire they are in, at least not initially, but appear as they had been in life. A deceased friend of Maria Anna walked before her on the street when she went to church, early in the morning; this happened so naturally that the seer "did not give it a thought, otherwise I would have been frightened," and only when she was in the church did she realize what she had seen (by then the apparition had vanished). In a subsequent apparition, although no trace of burning or flames had been visible when it had manifested itself as the woman on her way to church, this same soul nonetheless demonstrated that it was burning by touching the foot of the seer "with a glowing finger."

The visible appearance of the soul of a woman who came to Eugenie von der Leyen changed in response to the question of the seer:

"Do you then suffer so much?"

"Look at me!" was the soul's reply. Then she was as if flooded with fire.

It is sometimes thought that the strange or fantastic — and of course, symbolic — forms sometimes adopted by souls from Purgatory, and the severity of the punishments in that abode, are merely products of the romantic imaginations of certain cultural periods, notably the Middle Ages and the Baroque. That theory, however, becomes rather improbable if we look at various trustworthy reports of well-examined apparitions made to psychologically healthy, virtuous, and even saintly persons of those periods, and then compare them to reports from less "imaginative" ages. The Servant of God, Mother Maria Anna Lindmayr, a balanced personality in the age of the Baroque, displayed a quite natural, sober attitude when she wrote that she "could never have imagined that things were that harsh in purgatory; yes, no one would be able to grasp it. I was instructed, though, by this [poor] soul [a deceased friend who repeatedly appeared to her in 1690], and so I could afterwards believe what otherwise I would never have believed." This kind of apparition does not differ much either from those of earlier times or from those of more rationalistic ages closer to our own century.

Moreover, it has always been believed, from the Church Fathers on, and in the Jewish tradition as well, that the sufferings of Purgatory surpass all terrestrial sufferings, so that the sometimes terrible images seen by those with whom the poor souls enter into contact, although "symbolic," can hardly be qualified as exaggerations of the imagination.

It cannot escape us that the seers of souls from Purgatory are often reported to be especially good and pious persons. That sounds logical, for God permits a soul to appear so that it can be released from Purgatory, or at least, that its suffering be mitigated, and the pious (or at least, compassionate) person is more likely to respond to its requests. (Of course, God may choose others for one reason or another.) These considerations may also explain why apparitions from Purgatory and burned-in hands are predominantly (exclusively?) found in Catholic regions, more precisely, when and where Catholicism is flourishing, especially the devotion to the holy souls.

Many canonized saints have been great helpers of the suffering souls. To honor the saints who are known for promoting devotion to these souls, the facade of the church of the Sacred Heart of Suffrage in Rome is adorned with beautiful statues of St. Augustine, St. Dominic, St. Francis Xavier, St. Victor, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Nicolas of Tolentino, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, St. Catherine of Genoa, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, St. Gregory the Great, and St. Odilon of Cluny. On its stained-glass windows are the images of many famous saintly helpers of the poor souls: St. Francesca Romana, St. Bridget, St. Ambrose, St. Bonaventure, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Efraim, St. Peter Damian, St. Francis de Sales, again St. Catherine of Genoa, and others. As we shall see in later chapters, several recently canonized saints have also been zealous helpers of the "holy souls," including Padre Pio, Josemarfa Escriva, and Sister Faustina.

The poor souls themselves sometimes express a preference for visiting persons who are generous enough to respond to their supplications with often great sacrifices. "What then can I poor wretch give you for special help?" Mother Maria Anna Lindmayr asked a supplicating soul. "My child!" was the reply, "How is it with people on earth? Don't they like to be with their friends and benefactors? Therefore we, too, like to be with you." To a similar question, Eugenie von der Leyen got similar answers (from various souls): "You have always prayed for me" . . . "You attract us" . . . "The purer you are, the more you can help us" . . . "We are without pain when we are near you."

Thus many saints were regularly visited by poor souls. It is also true that certain other persons appear to have been specifically called to holiness by devoting their life in a heroic way to the alleviation or deliverance of the suffering souls. Their charity helps the poor souls while at the same time purifying and sanctifying themselves. Are there more women than men among these unselfish and spiritually privileged people? It would seem so, if we go by the documented reports about persons who entertained such self-sacrificing, intensive relationships with the poor souls. Should this correlation with the female sex be confirmed, it might be explained by the motherly, caring, and more compassionate nature of the woman.
PS>>>> My mother died in 1989 at the age of 62.  A few months after that, I found out about Medjugorje and my life has forever changed for Jesus Christ.  My first 'visit' or 'dream like vision' of my mother was many years ago and I saw her upside down with her legs above her head on a couch. She was in a room that she could not get out of but it had glass half-walls so I could see in and she could see out and it had a door. She was definitely miserable and had a deep frown on her face. I had another 'dream visit' from her last week. She was below me and her face was moving upward towards me and I could see all the make-up she had on her face.  We went to the store and to the make-up counter and the lady and I washed off all her make-up and my mother was left with only a slight cover of make-up and I remember telling her how much better she looked with less make-up and then I realized that she was so much younger and purer and gentler and peaceful, these things, she rarely was on earth. And I believe that she will come again when she is all 'clean' and taken to Heaven.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

MEDJUGORJE TESTIMONY - Lisa Burns (22), from Manchester, gave her testimony

A Story About Jesus & Grace - By Lidija Paris Translated by Marianne Sajn
Reprinted with permission from Glasnik Mira, January, 2010

At the Youth Festival in August 2009, Lisa Burns (22), from Manchester, gave her testimony. She talked about how the death of Pope ]ohn Paul II returned her to ]esus.

My name is Lisa, I'm 22 years old. I come from Manchester, in England, and now I live in Scotland, in Craig Lodge. That is a house of prayer which lives the Medjugorje messages and holds spiritual exercises, and you are all cordially invited to come if you want to spend some time with us, and live the messages of Our Lady. It is a place where young people consecrate themselves for a year of their life to Our Lady and Jesus. I was asked to give you my personal testimony and I want to tell it to you from my heart. I cannot offer you any kind of theology, but simply a story of great grace that Jesus offers, to me, and to every one of us.

I was raised as a Catholic in a Catholic family. In our diocese, I was the only such case, because as a seven-year-old, in one year, I had received all the sacraments. When I was about 12 years old, everything that I had learned, everything that I had received with such joy had ended. I didn't remember anything. Even though I came from a Catholic family, we actually didn't practice our faith. We didn't go to Church every Sunday, and they didn't do a good job of teaching me the foundations of my faith either. I went to Catholic school in which, even though it was Catholic, the mutual maltreatment between the young people was in full swing. Since I was a good student and wanted to be a good person, and that people would like me, and because I just wanted to help people, the school pests (bullies) immediately saw me as an easy target. They began to systematically harass me, and one by one, my friends left me out of fear that they would become maltreated as well. I felt very isolated. Since I felt so helpless and isolated, I began searching for answers, how I might come to some strength, how I might gain control over this situation.

I remember one day sitting in school during catechism class, and next to me sat one of the popular girls, one of the abusive kids, and she was reading a book on sorcery/witchcraft. When I looked at that book, the first thing I saw was the sentence: "Sorcery formula for how to overpower violence and become popular". At that moment I thought, that's the answer! That's it! That's what I need! The girl closed the book, and I was thinking I need to investigate this further. I began to make progress in sorcery. It began with magazines for teenagers, who in England, and I think all of Europe offer pages with sorcery formulas, supernatural phenomenon, and occult practices under the guise of something harmless - the guise of a joke that has no con¬sequences. I went to a bookstore, a regular English bookstore and found an entire wall full of books on occult themes and sorcery, and there was one section that was exclusively assigned to young people who were interested in sorcery. Let me add that these books were found right next to the Harry Potter books. They were so attractive to me, so tempting. And so from the age of 12 to 15, I was constantly progressing in sorcery. My life started becoming darker, and darker, and darker. One day, I opened one of the books to a page that said, "Now call on the name of Lucifer. Do not be afraid, he is not the devil." It was saying to me that the devil does not exist, that the Church is corrupt, that it hates women. Those are all lies.

When I was 16 years old, I understood that the sorcery was not helping me and I stopped it, but I did not have a firm foundation of faith in Jesus, so I did not turn towards Him. Instead, I was lost. I was searching for Him with my whole heart, but I didn't understand it. I remember I used to lie in bed at night and cry to God in hopes that my life would come to an end. I thought there was no reason for living. Why are we even here on this earth? I was cynical, I didn't believe that love could possibly even exist.

That's when the Pope died.

I remember the newscast in which they announced that he had died. John Paul II had died, and my life changed. He was a man whom I had never met, a person who didn't interest me at all, but in that moment, I didn't know for what reason, something hit me. During the following days I followed the news about his life and I began to change, but I didn't understand why. He contradicted everything that I knew. Here was a man who devoted himself to the Church and to the people, here was an intelligent person who believed in Jesus, and that Satan does exist, and I thought it was all mid-century religion. He loved with his entire heart, and even though he was 84 years old, and had Parkinson's disease, something radiated from him that I had never seen before in anyone else. I was 17 years old, I was depressed and hopeless, I wanted to end my life. I looked at him and, not knowing, saw Jesus himself and I said, "I want what he has."

God's love melted the ice that was enslaving my heart.

The day came for the Pope's funeral. I was fascinated. I couldn't tear my eyes away from the TV screen. My heart was broken as if a member of my family had died. I was comical unto myself, I didn't understand what was happening to me. Then Cardinal Ratzinger, our current Pope, stood up to give the homily. During the entire homily I constantly heard; follow me, follow me! And then the one sentence that changed my entire life, He said, "He is standing at the window of the Father's house and is blessing us." Yes, bless us, Holy Father. I don't know for what reason, I cannot explain it, at that moment I felt as though something hit me. In my heart, which had been as though marooned in ice, at that moment God's love, God's grace descended, and melted the ice that was enslaving my heart. That reminds me of the words from the Bible when God said, "I will remove your heart of stone and give you a new heart of flesh." For the first time in many years, I once again felt like a human being. I felt that I had hope and that I once again can dare to believe in love. I took my grandmother's rosary and said to myself, I have to go to confession.

There was a battle waging within me. I didn't understand what was happening in me. When I kissed the cross and looked at Jesus, I said to myself, all this time, He was here. I was looking for Him but I didn't know it. For all these years my heart was yearning for Him.

I was cursing Christ, when in fact, I was searching for Him.

The next day I went to confession. I was shaking like a leaf. When I went into the confessional I felt a heavy burden, and I told the priest that I had been very stupid, and that all these years I had been cursing and rejecting Christ, and that I didn't know that, in fact, I was searching for Him. When I came out of the confes¬sional it was as if I had risen out of the tomb with Jesus. I didn't know that there is an entire theology behind that. I had simply felt that way. While I was standing in the Church, I felt an enormous spiritual and physical burden fall off of me. The darkness that had surrounded me for so long had ceased. Once again, sun¬shine and hope returned. As I was standing there like that in Church, and looking towards the tabernacle, I didn't comprehend that Jesus was there, but I thought it was just bread there. I heard it said to me, "You have returned home." I cried like a baby for two days. From that day my life was completely transformed.

That transformation did not stop and it will continue until my dying day.
Thanks be to God and to John Paul ll. I can love, I can believe in love even in my worst days. Now I know that, no matter how isolated I may feel, I am never alone.

The risen Lord gives his love which forgives, reconciles and opens souls for hope.

I would like to tell you, if you have friends, or if you yourselves are occupied with occult practices or sorcery, I warn you with much love and concern in my heart that the devil does exist. As tempting as those things may seem, it is of itself repulsive, and wishes to separate you from Jesus Christ who loves you and who died for you. My words are so poor. At the end, I would repeat the last words of John Paul II to the world and to the youth, which I had read prior to my confession. It was as if he spoke to me. Maybe he's speaking to you as well. Listen, "To all of humanity, which seems so lost today and under the power of evil, selfishness and fear, our risen Lord gives his love which forgives, reconciles, and once again opens souls for hope." Thank you, Jesus.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Franciscan Rosary

I was given a great gift today from a person (non-Catholic and also anti-Catholic) that my husband works with. She had a bag of very old holy memorial cards from the funerals of some people along with this 7 decade rosary in her drawer for many years. She pulled it out and knew that she had to give it to us.  I had to look on line to find our about the 7 decade rosary and this is what I found.  We have a newly founded great devotion to the poor holy souls and so we are praying for these people as well. We found it very exciting to be called upon to receive this packet and to pray for these people and especially the rosary.  We always pray a decade of the rosary for the holy souls daily.

The Franciscan Crown   -  (Seraphic Rosary)

The Franciscan Crown, or "Rosary of the Seven Joys of the Blessed Virgin Mary" -- also known as the "Seraphic Rosary" -- is a 7-decade Rosary that focuses on the 7 Joys of Mary. It's an ancient Franciscan sacramental that has its origins in A.D. 1422, when a young man, whose name is unknown to us, joined the Franciscan Order. He'd had the practice of crowning a statue of Mary with garlands of fresh flowers, but couldn't continue the practice during his novitiate. When he was tempted to leave the Order, he had a vision of Our Lady, who told him, "Do not be sad and cast down, my son, because you are no longer permitted to place wreaths of flowers on my statue. I will teach you to change this pious practice into one that will be far more pleasing to me and far more meritorious to your soul. In place of the flowers that soon wither and cannot always be found, you can weave for me a crown from the flowers of your prayers that will always remain fresh."

She then asked that the novice say one Pater and 10 Aves in honor of each of her Seven Joys -- the Annunciation; Visitation; Nativity; Adoration of the Magi; Finding Jesus in the Temple; Resurrection; and Assumption and Coronation of the Virgin.

The young friar began his prayers as instructed, and when he was deep in the middle of it, the novice master noticed him, and watched as an Angel wove a garland of fresh roses, inserting a golden lily after each tenth rose. When the novice's prayers were finished, the Angel crowned him with the garland.

The novice master asked if the novice knew anything about the vision he'd just seen, and after it was explained to him, he told the rest of his brothers what he'd seen. Thereafter, the practice of reciting what became known as the "Franciscan Crown" spread.

Seven decades of 10 Aves equal 70 Aves, but two Aves were later added to make the total of the Aves equal to seventy-two, the number of years that Our Lady is said to have lived on earth.

When praying the Franciscan Crown, one can keep count on standard Dominican Rosary Beads, just going an extra two decades; use no beads at all; or obtain a 7-decade Rosary made just for praying the Franciscan Crown. The beads do not have to be blessed (unless one is praying the Franciscan Crown publicly and is intending to gain the indulgences given to those attached to the Franciscan Order when making this devotion).

To pray the Franciscan Crown, one simply prays a Pater, and then 10 Aves, for each decade, in honor of each of the 7 Joys at each decade (meditation on those Joys isn't necessary). Then add two Aves at the end. One may also add a Pater, Ave, and Gloria at the very end for the intentions of the Holy Father.

Some announce the Joys by incorporating them into the Ave, like this:

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, Whom thou didst joyfully conceive. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.

There are many variations of the Seraphic Rosary: some add the Apostles Creed, three Aves, and a Pater before beginning, as in the Dominican Rosary; some add Glorias to the Paters in between the decades, etc.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sister Briege McKenna

June 15, 2010. As thousands of priests came to Rome to celebrate the end of Year for Priests, a nun with the gift of healing came to speak and minister at a retreat for priests and bishops in St. John Lateran Basilica.

For the past 35 years, Sister Briege McKenna has traveled more than 1 million miles to more than 100 countries to minister to priests.
Sister Briege McKenna
St. Clare Sisters Retreat Ministry

“Yesterday I met a priest here who was in Miami who was a happy engineer with a great life ahead of him and he heard me speak in Miami. He left it all and went to be a priest after he heard me speak.”

She feels she received her call from God to speak on the priesthood years after she was miraculously cured of arthritis during the celebration of the Eucharist. She says God told her there was going to be a great shortage of priests and that many would reject the priesthood.
Sister Briege McKenna
St. Clare Sisters Retreat Ministry

"And I said to the Lord there is no way, Lord. I'm a first grade teacher. I can't do that. And I got this most extraordinary love for the priesthood, and the Lord said in a voice I could almost hear, you don't do it, just be obedient, just listen and I'll do it through you."

Although she said she was scared, she put her trust in God. Even when He told her their would be a great crisis in the priesthood.
Sister Briege McKenna
St. Clare Sisters Retreat Ministry

“Of course Satan likes them as his prime target. Because once a priest is attacked we are all affected by it. So when I'm giving retreats I affirm them, encourage them, warn them and challenge them.”

Sister Briege says the priesthood is under a terrible attack, but she has never lost respect for priests. She will continue to help them and encourage others to join the vocation.

BOOK- MIRACLES DO HAPPEN by Sister Briege McKenna

Some people believe in the theory of miracles. Sister Briege McKenna believes in the reality of miracles because she sees them happen. Since 1970, when she was healed of crippling arthritis, Sister Briege has experienced more of the extraordinary ways of the Spirit than most Christians ever imagine. Today her healing ministry takes her all over the world - from huge rallies in Latin America to retreats in Korea.

Miracles Do Happen tells the story of Sister Briege's encounter with the healing power of God. It shares her insights about faith for healing, the power of the Eucharist in healing, the vital importance of prayer, and the ministry of the priesthood. Most of all, it points the way to closer fellowship with Christ, greater knowledge of his love, and deeper faith in his power to do the impossible.
UPDATE 10/10/2010 -
Sr. Briege McKenna, O.S.C.was born in Ireland and entered the Sisters of St. Clare at the age of fifteen. After coming to Tampa, Florida as a teacher, she became crippled by the onset of rheumatoid arthritis. At the age of twenty-four, she was miraculously and instantaneously healed during the celebration of the Eucharist and some time later received, in prayer, the gift of healing for which she has become so widely known. Her book, "Miracles Do Happen" has been translated into many languages through out the world.

On human respect -- St. Alphonsus Liguori

SERMON XXVII. - On human respect. " Whosoever killeth you, will think that he doth a service to God "—John, xvi. 2.

IN exhorting his disciples to be faithful to him under the persecutions which they were to endure, the Saviour said: " Yea; the hour cometh, that whosoever killeth you, will think that he doth a service to God ". Thus, the enemies of the faith believed that in putting Christians to death they did a service to God. It is thus that many Christians of the present day act. They kill their own souls by losing the grace of God through human respect and to please worldly friends. Oh! how many souls has human respect —that great enemy of our salvation—sent to Hell! I shall speak on this subject to-day, that, if you wish to serve God and save your souls, you may guard as much as possible against human respect. In the first point, I will show the importance of not being influenced by human respect; and in the second, I will point out the means by which this vice may be overcome.

First point. On the importance of not being influenced by human respect.

1.      " Wo to the world because of scandals "—Matt., xviii. 7. Jesus Christ has said, that through the scandals of the wicked, many souls fall into Hell. But how is it possible to live in the midst of the world, and not to take scandal ? This is impossible. To avoid taking scandal, St Paul says, we should leave this world. " Otherwise, you must needs go out of this world "—I. Cor., v. 10. But it is in our power to avoid familiarity with scandalous sinners. Hence the Apostle adds: "But now I have written to you not to keep company with such an one, not as much as to eat"—ibid., v. 11. We should beware of contracting an intimacy with such sinners; for, should we be united with them in the bonds of friendship, we shall feel an unwillingness to oppose their bad practices and bad counsels. Thus, through human respect and the fear of contradicting them, we will imitate their example, and lose the friendship of God.

2.      Such lovers of the world not only glory in their own iniquities—("They rejoice in most wicked things"—Prov., ii. 14)— but, what is worse, they wish to have companions, and ridicule all who endeavour to live like true Christians and to avoid the dangers of offending God. This is a sin which is very displeasing to God, and which he forbids in a particular manner. "Despise not a man that turneth away from sin, nor reproach him therewith"—Eccl., viii. 6. Despise not those who keep at a distance from sin, not to draw them to evil by your reproaches and irregularities. The Lord declares, that, for those who throw ridicule on the virtuous, chastisements are prepared in this and in the next life. " Judgments are prepared for scorners, and striking hammers for the bodies of fools "—Prov., xix. 29. They mock the servants of God, and he shall mock them for all eternity. " But the Lord shall laugh them to scorn. And they shall fall after this without honour, and be a reproach among the dead for ever"—Wis., iv. 18. They endeavour to make the saints contemptible in the eyes of the world, and God shall make them die without honour, and shall send them to Hell to suffer eternal ignominy among the damned.

3.      Not only to offend God, but also to endeavour to make others offend him, is truly an enormous excess of wickedness. This execrable intention arises from a conviction that there are many weak and pusillanimous souls, who, to escape derision and contempt, abandon the practice of virtue, and give themselves up to a life of sin. After his conversion to God, St. Augustine wept for having associated with those ministers of Lucifer, and confessed, that he felt ashamed not to be as wicked and as shameless as they were. " Pudebat me ", says the saint, " essepudentem ". How many, to avoid the scoffs of wicked friends, have been-induced to imitate their wickedness! Behold the saint, these impious scoffers will say; get me a piece of his garment; I will preserve it as a relic. He ought to go into the desert. Why does he not become a monk? How many also, when they receive an insult, resolve to take revenge, not so much through passion, as to escape the reputation of being cowards! How many are there who, after having inadvertently given expression to a scandalous maxim, neglect to retract it (as they are bound to do), through fear of losing the esteem of others! How many, because they are afraid of forfeiting the favour of a friend, sell their souls to the Devil! They imitate the conduct of Pilate, who, through the apprehension of losing the friendship of Caesar, condemned Jesus Christ to death.

4.      Be attentive. Brethren, if we wish to save our souls, we must overcome human respect, and bear the little confusion which may arise from the scoffs of the enemies of the cross of Jesus Christ. "For there is a shame that bringeth sin, and there is a shame that bringeth glory and grace"—Eccl, iv. 25. If we do not suffer this confusion with patience, it will lead us into the pit of sin; but, if we submit to it for God's sake, it will obtain for us the divine grace here, and great glory hereafter. "As", says St. Gregory, "bashfulness is laudable in evil, so it is reprehensible in good"-—horn, x., in Ezech.

5.     But some of you will say: I attend to my own affairs; I wish to save my soul; why then should I be persecuted ? But there is no remedy; it is impossible to serve God, and not be persecuted. " The wicked loathe them that are in the right way"—Prov., xxix. 27. Sinners cannot bear the sight of the man who lives according to the Gospel, because his life is a continual censure on their disorderly conduct; and therefore they say: " Let us lie in wait for the just; because he is not for our turn, and he is contrary to our doings, and upbraideth us with transgressions of the law"—Wis., ii. 12. The proud man, who seeks revenge for every insult which he receives, would wish that all should avenge the offences that may be offered to him. The avaricious, who grow rich by injustice, wish that all should imitate their fraudulent practices. The drunkard wishes to see others indulge like himself, in intoxication. The immoral, who boast of their impurities, and can scarcely utter a word which does not savour of obscenity, desire that all should act and speak as they do: and those who do not imitate their conduct, they regard as mean, clownish, and intractable—as men withoivt honour and without education. " They are of the world; therefore of the world they speak"—I. John, iv. 5.

Worldlings can speak no other language than that of the world. Oh! how great is their poverty and blindness! Sin has blinded them, and therefore they speak so profanely. " These things they thought, and were deceived; for their own malice blinded them"— Wis., ii. 21.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Perseverance in Prayer - St. Alphonsus Liguori

Sermons of St. Alphonsus Liguori--SERMON XXVI

14. Men feel annoyed at being frequently and importunately asked for a favor. But God exhorts us to pray frequently; and, instead of being dissatisfied, He is pleased with those who repeatedly ask his graces. Cornelius a Lapide says, that "God wishes us to persevere in prayer, even to importunity"—in LUG.,cap. xi. St. Jerome says: "This importunity with the Lord ig seasonable"—in Luc. xi. That God is pleased with frequent and persevering prayer, may be inferred from the words of Jesus Christ—"Ask, and it shall be given, you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you"—Luke, xi. 9. It was not enough to have said ask; but he added, seek, knock; in order to show, that, during our whole lives, we should be as importunate in supplicating, the divine graces, as beggars are in asking alms. Though they should be refused, they do not cease to cry out, or to knock at the door; they persist in asking relief till they obtain it.

15. If, then, we wish to obtain from God the gift of perseverance, we must ask him for it continually and with importunity. We must ask it when we rise in the morning, in our meditations, in hearing Mass, in our visits to the blessed sacrament, in going to bed at night, and particularly when we are tempted by the Devil to commit any sin. Thus, we must always have our mouths open praying to God, and saying: Lord, assist me; give me light; give me strength; keep thy hand upon me, and do not abandon me. We must do violence to the Lord. " Such violence ", says Tertullian, "is agreeable to God". The violence which we offer to God by repeated prayers does not offend him: on the contrary, it is pleasing and acceptable in his sight. " Prayer", according to St. John Climacus, " piously offers violence to God" Our supplications compel him, but in a manner grateful to him. He takesgreat complacency in seeing his mother honoured, and therefore wishes, as St. Bernard says, that all the graces we receive should pass through her hands. Hence the holy doctor exhorts us, " to seek grace, and to seek it through Mary, because she is a mother, and her prayer cannot be fruitless "—de A qiiced. When we ask her to obtain any grace for us, she graciously hears our petitions and prays for us: and the prayers of Mary are never rejected.

Prayer for Healing the Family Tree Rev. John H. Hampsch, C.M.F.
Prayer for Healing the Family Tree Rev. John H. Hampsch, C.M.F.

Heavenly Father, I come before you as your child, in great need of your help; I have physical health needs, emotional needs, spiritual needs, and interpersonal needs. Many of my problems have been caused by my own failures, neglect and sinfulness, for which I humbly beg your forgiveness, Lord. But I also ask you to forgive the sins of my ancestors whose failures have left their effects on me in the form of unwanted tendencies, behavior patterns and defects in body, mind and spirit. Heal me, Lord, of all these disorders.

With your help I sincerely forgive everyone, especially living or dead members of my family tree, who have directly offended me or my loved ones in any way, or those whose sins have resulted in our present sufferings and disorders. In the name of your divine Son, Jesus, and in the power of his Holy Spirit, I ask you, Father, to deliver me and my entire family tree from the influence of the evil one. Free all living and dead members of my family tree, including those in adoptive relationships, and those in extended family relationships, from every contaminating form of bondage. By your loving concern for us, heavenly Father, and by the shed blood of your precious Son, Jesus, I beg you to extend your blessing to me and to all my living and deceased relatives. Heal every negative effect transmitted through all past generations, and prevent such negative effects in future generations of my family tree.

I symbolically place the cross of Jesus over the head of each person in my family tree, and between each generation; I ask you to let the cleansing blood of Jesus purify the bloodlines in my family lineage. Set your protective angels to encamp around us, and permit Archangel Raphael, the patron of healing, to administer your divine healing power to all of us, even in areas of genetic disability. Give special power to our family members’ guardian angels to heal, protect, guide and encourage each of us in all our needs. Let your healing power be released at this very moment, and let it continue as long as your sovereignty permits.

In our family tree, Lord, replace all bondage with a holy bonding in family love. And let there be an ever-deeper bonding with you, Lord, by the Holy Spirit, to your Son, Jesus. Let the family of the Holy Trinity pervade our family with its tender, warm, loving presence, so that our family may recognize and manifest that love in all our relationships. All of our unknown needs we include with this petition that we pray in Jesus’ precious Name. Amen.

St. Joseph, Patron of family life, pray for us. Our Lady Queen of Peace, pray for us.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Medjugorje testimony of Silvia Busi
A video testimony of Silvia Busi, girl from Padova who was miraculously healed in Medjugorje. Fragment from the "Italy at the Mirror of 13/4/2009 broadcast on RaiDuo. Italian with English subtitles

Video Testimony of Silvia Busi, girl from Padova who was miraculously healed in Medjugorje

A video testimony of Silvia Busi, girl from Padova who was miraculously healed in Medjugorje. Fragment from the "Italy at the Mirror of 13/4/2009 broadcast on RaiDuo. Italian with English subtitles

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Dante's Inferno and the Seven Deadly Sins

Picture reads--'In the midway of this our mortal life, I found me in a gloomy wood, astray'

As Dante journeys through the Inferno he encounters sinners condemned to eternal damnation because of their actions or in some cases inaction while on earth.

One can gain a deeper understanding of Dante's Inferno by studying the seven deadly sins which brought these souls to this miserable place.

In the 6th Century AD, the Catholic Pope Gregory the Great listed the the seven deadly sins are as follows: Luxuria (extravagance, later lust), Gula (gluttony), Avaritia (greed), Acedia (sloth), Ira (wrath, more commonly known as anger), Invidia (envy), and Superbia (pride). Each of the seven deadly sins has an opposite among the corresponding seven holy virtues: chastity, abstinence, temperance, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility.

The seven deadly sins are also called the chief sins. They are a classification of vices used in Christian teaching.

The sinners that Dante encounters in the Inferno are each punished in accordance with which of the seven deadly sins they were most guilty of while they were alive.

The First Deadly Sin: Lust

- The first deadly sin is the sin of Lust. Lust is usually thought of as involving obsessive or excessive thoughts or desires of a sexual nature. In Dante's view lust led to "excessive love of others," which therefore made love and devotion to God secondary. .


- The second deadly sin is the sin of gluttony. Gluttony is the over-indulgence and over-consumption of anything to the point of waste. It can refer to over-eating, which is a sin because it witholds food from the needy and also debases the glutton by making him a slave to base, animal desires, such as his appetite. As such gluttony distracts the sinner from the spiritual life.


- The third deadly sin is the sin of greed or avarice. Like gluttony, this sin is a sin of excess. Its most common form is the excessive love of money, manifested in various forms such as miserliness and unethical business practices. This sin turns the sinner away from God by promoting selfishness, destroying charity, and creating a preoccupation with the acquisition and preservation of material things and possessions. As such this sin blinds the sinner to the fact that material possessions such as gold are worthless compared to the everlasting rewards of heaven. But because the sinner guilty of greed does not see that what he covets the most is worthless, he ignores the treasure and rewards of Heaven and therefore does not follow the right path.


- The fourth deadly sin is the sin of sloth. This sin has a somewhat ambiguous definition and has gone through some changes over the centuries. Originally, sloth referred to sadness, apathy and joylessness, which reflected the sinners failure to see God's gifts and His goodness. Dante defined sloth as the "failure to love God with all one's heart, all one's mind and all one's soul." Dante felt that this was the "middle sin" in that it was the only sin characterised by an absence or inadequcy of love. In modern times sloth is interpreted as the sin of laziness, of an unwillingness to act, an unwillingness to care (rather than a failure to love God and His works).


- the fifth deadly sin is the sin of wrath (anger or hatred). This sin leads to other serious sins and transgressions including violence, a desire to seek revenge, and a failure to forgive. Dante described vengeance as "love of justice perverted to revenge and spite".


- the sixth deadly sin is the sin of envy or jealousy. Thomas Aquinas described Envy as "sorrow for another's good". People who commit this sin desire the qualities or possessions or situation of another person which they perceive as lacking in themselves. Dante defined this sin as "love of one's own good perverted to a desire to deprive other men of theirs."


- the seventh deadly sin is the sin of pride. Despite being listed as the seventh deadly sin, the sin of pride is considered the first and foremost sin. It is the sin which led to Lucifer's downfall and which plagues mankind in various forms. Indeed pride is the ultimate sin from which all the others arise. Dante's definition was "love of self perverted to hatred and contempt for one's neighbor." The Catholic Encyclopedia has a great article on why pride is such a serious sin.

The nine circles of Dante's inferno were illustrated by Gustave Dore in a series of classic engravings, which are presented here in full.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Bleeding Hands, Weeping Stone: true stories of divine wonders, miracles, and messages :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

Bleeding Hands, Weeping Stone: true stories of divine wonders, miracles, and messages :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)
Ficocelli, Elizabeth. Charlotte, N.C.: St. Benedict Press, April 2010. ISBN 978-1935302-31-5. $12.95.

This book is very inspiring and a worthy teaching tool about the Catholic faith. In it, Elizabeth Ficocelli presents some of those old-time miracles and fascinating wonders which in fact are timeless. She covers miracles from all over the world and from various time periods of the Church’s history.

Ficocelli divides her book into different miracle types: Eucharistic miracles, the stigmata, incorrupt bodies, levitation, apparitions and visions, weeping images and statues, and a conclusion. She always refers to the authority of the Catholic Church to decide what is authentic or not.

For example, if a “miracle” is contrary to the Bible or Church teachings it is not a true “miracle” from God. Rather, it isfrom the evil one or from some other source. That is why those involved in the “miracle” must be in line with the Bible and Church teachings.

This is a very entertaining book because Ficocelli mixes facts with humor which livens up the story very much. There are some minor typos, but they do not hurt the flow of the story.

The author has also inserted some black and white photos that are connected with the subjects she is writing about. She provides a bibliography of books and websites for those interested in further study on the topic of miracles.

This book is meant to help Catholics and non-Catholics to grow in their faith. It is highly recommended to those interested in miracles and their relationship with the Catholic Church.

* Br. Benet Exton, O.S.B., St. Gregory's University, Shawnee, Oklahoma.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Medjugorje: Encounter with the Queen of Peace

Medjugorje is without doubt the most influential apparition of the twentieth century after Fatima. The parish records of St. James Catholic Church in Medjugorje show that over fifty thousand priests and religious—among them hundreds of bishops and cardinals—have come to Medjugorje, inspired by the presence of the Virgin. Second, other than Guadalupe, no other Marian apparition in history has been the direct cause of as many conversions as Medjugorje. Guadalupe brought about the conversion of eight million Aztecs. Medjugorje has now attracted over thirty million pilgrims, the vast majority of whom have had their lives transformed or touched by their encounter with the Queen of Peace (not to speak of the tens of millions of others who have never visited Medjugorje but have been third-party recipients of the graces mediated by the Virgin).

The significance of these two facts will be evident to anyone who has studied the Church's time-tested canons for the discernment of supernatural phenomena. The Church's great doctors of the spiritual and the mystical life have said for centuries that an authentic supernatural revelation will bear two marks: it will attract the religious and it will cause conversions. Satan posing as an angel of light can bring about many extraordinary signs and wonders, but the one thing he cannot and will not do is bring about a conversion.
Judged by these two criteria of an authentic supernatural revelation, Medjugorje has no parallel in Christian history beyond Guadalupe: it has attracted tens of thousands of priests and religious and it has caused hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of conversions (along with unprecedented levels of reception of the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist).

These two facts about Medjugorje no one can dispute since they have been so publicly chronicled. It is also to be noted that there are over a thousand documented cures attributed to Medjugorje. article continues...