The Burial of Jesus

I came across a story on the web about the burial of Jesus and was most struck by one of the images accompanying the article that was new to me. It was of Jesus and His faithful companions from the Cross, who were watching the silent scene of the wrapping of the Body in a shroud.

Mr. Thomas McDonald in his article points to the sadness surrounding the entombment of Jesus. Instead of being entombed with His ancestors, He was in a new tomb provided by Joseph of Arimathea. “He was alone in a strange place disconnected from His people: it’s a very forlorn image of despair even in death.” It makes you want to weep with Mary even today.

But, “the man Joseph laid in that new tomb would be the first born among all the dead. Death itself was, finally, conquered.”

The image on the left I found out is by the Danish artist Carl Bloch, one of my favorite artists. He painted some amazing scenes from the New Testament, my favorite being the Annunciation. His pictures depicting the life of Christ can be seen in the chapel at Frederiksborg Palace in Denmark. This monumental effort took him 14 years. According to his official website, “more than a hundred years after Carl Bloch’s death, young artists from all over the world, attempting to illustrate the life and death of Christ, make pilgrimage to Frederiksborg Castle to study the great Master.”

Mr. Bloch grieved over the death of his wife who left him with eight children. After his own death in 1890, an art critic said, “If there is an Elysium, where the giant, rich, warm and noble artist souls meet, there Carl Bloch will sit among the noblest of them all!”

The Year of Faith

Our Year of Faith got kicked off with a breathtaking sight as a sizeable group of people gathered together in downtown Libertyville, IL, to say the rosary and entrust the Year of Faith to our Blessed Mother. We had a bishop, local priests, sisters from the Parish Visitors of Mary Immaculate and the Daughters of the Immaculata, brothers from Canons Regular of St. John Cantius, schoolchildren, grandparents, young and older adults, babies in strollers and what looked like a few curious bystanders.

The hour of prayer concluded with the lift off a giant rosary made of yellow and blue balloons that had processed the mile from Marytown, down Highway 176, to the center of town. In a howling 30 mile per hour wind, it was a miracle the balloons arrived intact!

As the balloons lifted up, the cross snagged on a tree limb and the rosary stayed there, hanging over us but as we concluded the final hymn, it broke free and sailed so high it was soon lost to sight. You couldn’t help but be giddy and tearful and happy!

The Holy See also announced that a plenary indulgence may be obtained as follows:

“During the Year of Faith, which will last from 11 October 2012 to 24 November 2013, Plenary Indulgence for the temporal punishment of sins, imparted by the mercy of God and applicable also to the souls of deceased faithful, may be obtained by all faithful who, truly penitent, take Sacramental Confession and the Eucharist and pray in accordance with the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff.

“(A) Each time they attend at least three sermons during the Holy Missions, or at least three lessons on the Acts of the Council or the articles of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, in church or any other suitable location.

“(B) Each time they visit, in the course of a pilgrimage, a papal basilica, a Christian catacomb, a cathedral church or a holy site designated by the local ordinary for the Year of Faith (for example, minor basilicas and shrines dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Holy Apostles or patron saints), and there participate in a sacred celebration, or at least remain for a congruous period of time in prayer and pious meditation, concluding with the recitation of the Our Father, the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form, and invocations to the Blessed Virgin Mary and, depending on the circumstances, to the Holy Apostles and patron saints.

“(C) Each time that, on the days designated by the local ordinary for the Year of Faith, … in any sacred place, they participate in a solemn celebration of the Eucharist or the Liturgy of the Hours, adding thereto the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form.

“(D) On any day they chose, during the Year of Faith, if they make a pious visit to the baptistery, or other place in which they received the Sacrament of Baptism, and there renew their baptismal promises in any legitimate form.

May we partake of all the graces available and may we grow in faith!

Passionist Open House

For all those near the Passionist Monastery in Erlanger, KY, an open house is scheduled for October 14, 2012, from 1:00 – 4:30pm. Erlanger is about 10 miles south of Cincinnati, Ohio. The nuns will be in the parlor to greet visitors and to answer questions.

The address: 1151 Donaldson Highway, Erlanger, KY, (859)371-8568

The Passionists were founded by St. Paul of the Cross who died in 1775.  The nuns are a beautiful, cloistered order who pray for the needs of the world. Please ask God to send many holy vocations to the many communities of Passionsts throughout the world, especially to our Member Communities in Erlanger, KY, Whitesville, KY,: Pittsburgh, PA; and Ellisville, MO.

Their mission is to live with Mary at the foot of the cross, and by their compassion for her sorrows and the sufferings of her Son, to win the grace of salvation for countless souls.

“I felt pain in seeing my dear God so offended. I could faint from seeing so many souls lost for not feeling the fruit of the Passion of Jesus. A desire to convert all sinners will not leave me.”  St. Paul of the Cross


Shining A Light in the Darkness

The pro-life movement will have one less person on the front lines when Kathleen Gilbert, LifeSiteNews Bureau Chief, enters the Discalced Carmelite Monastery in Buffalo, New York, on October 14th. Kathleen joined LifeSiteNews just before President Obama was elected to office and she hopes “God willing, I’m going out with him too.”

Kathleen is devoted to giving the unborn a voice in the world. She says, “There are many businesses in our world that exploit others. The business of killing has the advantage that the victims always keep quiet. That’s why the holocaust happened, why the unborn in America suffer another 9/11 every single day, and why Planned Parenthood’s business is booming: the dead don’t speak.” She tried to shine a light where others wanted it dark. And she hopes to keep the mission to protect life going, albeit, she will be doing it in a different way.

The monastery she is entering has an amazing history. In 1914, as as Mother Elias and a companion faced a firing squad in Mexico, Mother prayed: “Little Therese, if you are a saint, as some people say you are, then deliver us, and I promise to found a Monastery in your honor.” The shots rang out, the nuns sank to the ground and when they regained consciousness, their clothes were bloodied but they were unhurt. In 1925, on the day of the canonization of St. Therese, the Little Flower, the Carmelite chapel in Buffalo, NY, was dedicated, the first in the world to have the Little Flower as its titular Saint.

As the nuns state, “Our Rule and Constitutions represent the authentic charism of our Holy Mother Saint Teresa of Avila, who desired that her daughters apply themselves zealously to prayer and manual labor for the benefit of the Church and especially for priests. We humbly and gratefully wear the full Habit of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, observe strict Papal enclosure in order to safeguard the sacredness of the cloister, and cherish many traditional monastic customs such as the use of Latin and Gregorian Chant.”

May God bless Kathleen and all the Carmelites of Buffalo.



Debt Free and Free to Respond

Mater Ecclesiae Fund for Vocations (MEFV) just came out with their latest newsletter highlighting the milestones of some of the men and women who are able to pursue their religious vocation because of the support of the donors who are helping to reduce their educational debt. It is their mission to eliminate the obstacle aspirant’s student loans present to answering their vocation.

July 2012 – Angela entered the Carmelite Sisters of the most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles

July 2012 – Marcion, a volunteer from our beloved Marytown where we reside, entered the Conventual Franciscans of St. Bonventure Province

July 2012 – Sr. Mariana professed final vows with the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia in Nashville, TN. Srs. Ann Dominic and Rose Miriam made their first profession. Sr. Cora Marie entered the Novitiate.

July 2012 – Sr. Marie St. Francis of the Crucified One received the habit of the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration in Hanceville, AL.

August 2012 – Sr. Mary Gemma entered the novitiate of the Franciscan Sisters, TOR, of Penance of the Sorrowful Mother.

August 2012 – Bro. Kevin was one of four men making perpetual professions with the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius. He is MEFV’s first seminarian to make perpetual vows!

August 2012 – Sr. Marie Therese made her first profession with the Sisters of Our Lady Immaculate, Ontario, Canada

August 2012 – Fra Anthony Serviam Maria made his final profession of vows with the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. He was turned away from several orders because of his student debt but fortunately the FFI vocation director was familiar with MEFV.

August 2012 – Angela was received into the Poor Clares of Corpus Christi Monastery, Rockford, IL

Sr Mariana, OP, said, “If I had to wait until my debt was paid off it would have been years and years before I could enter. The gift that I received from (MEFV) enabled me to follow the call I was receiving from the Lord.” She was ecstatic to realize that there were people out there who wanted to help her, though they had never met her. “It is one of the greatest gifts that I have received – that I am still receiving.”

Mater Ecclesiae Fund for Vocations operates the St. Joseph Student Debt Relief Grant Program for religious life and the St. John Vianney Student Debt Relief Grant Program for the parish priesthood. For more information, please visit their website.


Following the Basepaths to a Vocation

In the news over the past year has been the story of a star baseball player who turned in his glove for the life a Nobertine monk. A long story in Yahoo! Sports tells the story of Grant Desme who was a second round draft pick signed by the Oakland Athletics for $430,000 but said, “I had everything I wanted, and it wasn’t enough.” Wrist and shoulder injuries sidelined him for long lengths of time (Sounds like the story of St. Ignatius of Loyola!) and he got frustrated. He talked to priests and started to wonder what life was all about. When his injuries healed, he became one of the only minor leaguers in history to reach the 30-homer, 40-steal mark in the same season.

But the empty feeling persisted and he realized that he got more enjoyment out of talking about God in the dugout than in the home run he might have hit the inning before. As the article said, “The first phone call went to Billy Beane. It was less than a month before Grant Desme needed to report to spring training, and he was about to call one of the most powerful men in the game to which he dedicated his life – the person Brad Pitt would portray in the “Moneyball” movie – and tell him he was quitting to spend the next decade becoming a priest. ”

His new name in religious life is Matthew because, as his Abbot said, Matthew the tax collector was rich “and I was a rich baseball player.”

May God bless Frater Matthew and his community.

The Norbertines of St. Michael’s were founded by a group of Norbertines from Hungary who escaped Communist persecution in 1950. They worked for almost a decade before saving up enough money to buy the 34-acre parcel of land in a then-uninhabited section of Orange County, California. One monk remains from that group, Father Gerlac Andrew Horvath, 91. The Norbertines have 52 priests and 24 seminarians, a Catholic high school and two albums of Gregorian chant.

May God bless Frater Matthew and his community.

The Norbertines are an IRL Affiliate Community. There is the men’s community and two women’s communities (active and contemplative).

We Are Not Alone

We have been surrounded by feast days of the angels lately and as today is the Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels, I thought I would link to an article on the Ignatius Press blog written by Peter Kreeft. He lists the 12 top things you should know about angels.

“Do not neglect hospitality, for some have entertained angels unawares” (Heb 13:2).

By the way, Peter Kreeft will be speaking at an IRL event called A “Day of Faith” for the Year of Faith to be held on October 13 at Marytown, Libertyville, IL. The title of his talk is: “Defending the Faith: Catholicism is Reasonable.”

Nuns News Post

An anchoress by the name of Elizabeth Scalia compiles an annual “Nuns News Post.” In it she summarizes all the good news coming from many, many, many men’s and women’s communities across our nation. Reading the litany of vocations, professions, aspirants,etc., one can truly see the Holy Spirit at work across our country and Church.

With Zeal for the Lord of Hosts

In 1925, the Bishop of the Diocese of Monterey-Fresno happened to be in Rome for the canonization of St. Therese of Lisieux and was so moved that he asked Pope Pius XI for permission to found a Carmel in Carmel, California. Five months later on the Feast of the Archangel Raphael, 5 nuns established their home in the diocese. There are currently 9 members in the community.

The first Carmelite foundation in this country was established at Port Tobacco in Maryland in 1790, and the Carmelite Monastery in Carmel traces its origin back to this monastery. But what is interesting is that the name “Carmel” was given to the area much earlier, in 1602, by Carmelites who were chaplains aboard the Don Sebastian Vizcaino expedition. They were struck by the similarity between that area of the coastline of California to that of the coastline of Mount Carmel in the Holy Land. And so, as the Patroness of the journey was Our Lady of Mount Carmel it was only fitting, and all agreed, that the area should be called Carmel.

The Carmelite motto is: “With zeal have I been zealous for the Lord God of Hosts.” May the Carmelites around the world be renewed with zeal for the Lord of Hosts on this feast day of the Little Flower.