Archive for the 'Liturgical Year' Category

Candles & the Feast of the Presentation

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

Today, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord Jesus in the Temple, is also the celebration of the World Day for Consecrated Life. This day of prayer, 40 days after Christmas, was instituted in 1997 by Pope John Paul II. Also known as Candlemas Day, it is the day on which candles are blessed symbolizing Christ, the light of the world. Consecrated men and women, by their profession of vows, are called to be this light of Christ in the world.

There was an article on the internet talking about the link between Candlemas Day and Groundhog Day. It is not as farfetched as it first appears.

Candlemas Day got its name about thousand years ago when people began bringing candles, their source of light, to be blessed. In the darkened church, the Canticle of Simeon was sung. Simeon had been promised that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah (Luke 2: 29-32). When he saw Jesus, he took Him in his arms and praised God, saying:

Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace; because my eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples: a light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

One recalls the words of Isaiah as well: The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined (Isaiah 9:2).

An ancient English poem, called Candlemas Day, reads in part:

If Candlemas Day be fair and bright,
Winter will have another flight;
But if it be dark with clouds and rain,
Winter is gone, and will not come again.

The Feast of the Presentation will be celebrated in the United States in parishes on Sunday, February 8, 2015. Let us pray for those who have consecrated their lives to God by the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, that they may live these vows with renewed fervor, open hearts and steadfastness for the sake of God’s people and their own salvation. May they be a light that ignites the hearts of all.

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The Faces of Mary

Monday, December 29th, 2014

Here is a beautiful image of Mary constructed from 100 images of the Blessed Mother by various artists. This picture, called “Faces of Mary” by Michael O’Neill, is itself is a work of art!

365

This image is available on greeting cards at a very reasonable price from from the 365 Days With Mary store (www.mariancalendar.org/store). You can also order the 2015 edition of “365 Days with Mary,” a calendar that features a daily title of Our Lady that is derived from a solemnity, feast day, patronage, apparition or miraculous icon related to that particular date. Each date highlights a particular image of Mary. There is also sufficient writing space to keep a journal or make notes. A beautiful way to walk through the year with the Mother of Jesus!

 

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Indulgences for the Year of Consecrated Life

Friday, December 26th, 2014
Pink Sisters Chapel in St. Louis

Pink Sisters Chapel in St. Louis

Pope Francis will “concede,” as the phrasing goes, plenary indulgences for the Year of Consecrated Life, ending February 2, 2016. This is for all members of the institutes of consecrated life and “other truly repentant faithful moved by a spirit of charity.” I believe this means especially those who exhibit a spirit of fraternal charity to those who have given their all to the Lord in the Consecrated Life.

The usual conditions apply: sacramental confession, Holy Communion and prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father. The indulgence may also be offered for departed souls in Purgatory.

Indulgences may be obtained in the following ways:

1. In Rome, by participating in and reflecting on events surrounding the Year of Consecrated Life followed by Lord’s Prayer, a Profession of Faith and invocations of the Virgin Mary;

2. By visiting a cathedral or another designated sacred place or a convent church or oratory of a cloistered monastery, and publicly reciting the Liturgy of the Hours or through a suitable period of time of reflection, concluding with the Lord’s Prayer, the Profession of Faith and invocations of the Virgin Mary.

3. Consecrated religious who because of ill health or other serious reasons cannot visit these places, may receive a Plenary Indulgence if, completely detached from sin and with the intention of being able to fulfill the three usual conditions as soon as possible, devoutly carry out a spiritual visit and offer their illness and hardships to God through Mary, with the addition of the prayers noted above.

The Apostolic Penitentiary Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, who signed the decree, asked that priests generously offer the faithful the Sacrament of Reconciliation and regularly administer Holy Communion to the sick.

 

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He will come. He will come!

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014

Christmas eve

How lovely on the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who announces peace And brings good news of happiness, Who announces salvation, And says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”  (Isaiah 52.7)

St. Paul said to the Romans (Rom 10:14-15) that the step of those who bring the Good News is a welcome sound. In His Incarnation, the Son of God stepped forth, so to speak, from the Godhead. He brought it with Him. But in our fumbling human way of trying to express this, we say He came forth from the Godhead to earth. That was the greatest step ever made. This was the most welcome sound heard from the beginning of time, the sound for which the prophets had waited for centuries, as they told the people: “He will come. He will come.”

—Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C.

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Shakespeare and the Blessed Virgin Mary

Monday, December 8th, 2014

shakespeareOne of the most interesting news items from last week was the announcement that a First Folio of William Shakespeare’s plays had been discovered in a library in Saint-Omer, in northern France. It was missing its frontispiece and a portrait of Shakespeare, hence it was thought to be an 18th century edition not one from 1623.

The First Folio was compiled by Shakespeare’s friends seven years after his death and is the only source of a number of his plays including Macbeth, Twelfth Night, Julius Caesar and As You Like It. Only 233 copies are known to exist.

Saint-Omer was a place of refuge for English Catholics escaping persecution in England. A Jesuit school, founded in 1593 after Catholic schools were outlawed in England, thrived there until it was expelled from France in 1762. In 1794, it moved to Stonyhurst in England, where it remains today. Stonyhurst has become a warehouse of precious Catholic artifacts including the rope that bound St. Edmund Campion at the time of his execution and a crucifix belonging to St. Thomas More. The First Folio was left behind when other books were sent to Stonyhurst because it was not recognized for what it was.

What does this have to do with the Immaculate Conception? During Mass this morning, the priest said that a First Folio is the most important edition of an author’s works. It is an authentic and true representation. The Blessed Mother is like a First Folio, a perfect example of what God wants us to be. We should all strive to be like First Folios, loving the Blessed Mother’s Son with our whole hearts and allowing that love to infuse all that we do and all that we are.

A blessed Feast of the Immaculate Conception to all.

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Little Followers of Jesus

Monday, December 1st, 2014

c de foucauldOn this date in 1916, 98 years ago, Bl. Charles de Foucauld was dragged out of his little hermitage in southern French Algeria and killed by rebel bandits. Reading the story of the last years of his life could make you weep if it wasn’t for his strong, unwavering humble faith, in Jesus and in his mission among his Moslem brothers in North Africa.

He had good friends among the local people but no converts. He asked: “Is my presence here doing any good? If it does not, the presence of the Most Holy Sacrament certainly does it greatly. Jesus cannot be in a place without shining forth. Moreover through contact with the natives, their suspicions and prejudices are slowly abating. It is very slow and very little. Pray so that your child does more good and that better workers than him might come to clear this corner in the field of the family’s Father.”

While Bl. Charles did not found a religious order, many people have followed in his footsteps. If you see a poor community called the “Little Brothers of Jesus” or some such variation, they are probably inspired by Bl. Charles. A few years ago, I ran across a little elderly Charles de Foucauld sister in a remote area of Israel who invited me into her hermitage (though we did not speak the same language). She opened a tin which contained a few crumbly cookies and offered them to me with great ceremony. I remember that “meal” with more fondness than any 5 star dinner in a fancy restaurant.

little sisters of jesusThere are little sisters and brothers of Jesus in the US. One community is the Little Sisters of Jesus and Mary in Salisbury, Maryland. Their mission: We are sent to help people believe in Christ Jesus who reveals the goodness of the Father, giving preferential love to the poorest of the poor. In the spirit of Charles de Foucauld, united as a community in the love of Jesus, in the spirit of Mary and under the protection of St. Joseph, sharing a life of faith, love and simplicity, we strive to cry the Gospel with our lives.

Charles de Foucauld composed this prayer as he meditated on the death of Jesus on the Cross:

This was the last prayer of our Master, our Beloved. May it also be ours. And may it be not only that of our last moment, but also of our every moment:

Father,
I abandon myself into your hands; do with me what you will. Whatever you may do, I thank you: I am ready for all, I accept all. Let only your will be done in me, and in all your creatures — I wish no more than this, O Lord.

Into your hands I commend my soul; I offer it to you with all the love of my heart, for I love you Lord, and so need to give myself, to surrender myself into your hands, without reserve, and with boundless confidence, for you are my Father.

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Pro Orantibus Day

Friday, November 21st, 2014

ProOrantibusLogo2014Today is Pro Orantibus Day, the Memorial of the Presentation of Mary in the Temple, when Catholics throughout the world are encouraged to honor the cloistered and monastic life.

In 1953 Pope Pius XII instituted Pro Orantibus Day, also known as World Day of Cloistered life, to recognize those men and women who so generously give of themselves to this unique vocation and who each day, from the various convents and monasteries spread throughout the world, offer their prayers unceasingly to build up the Kingdom. Pope John Paul II later expanded its celebration and encouraged the faithful to support this special vocation in any way possible.

“The primary purpose of Pro Orantibus Day (“For Those Who Pray”) is to support—both spiritually and materially— the gift of the cloistered and monastic life,” said Rev. Thomas Nelson, O. Praem., National Director of the Institute on Religious Life. And as Pope Francis reminds us, “it is a good opportunity to thank the Lord for the gift of so many people who, in monasteries and hermitages, dedicate themselves to God in prayer and silent work.”

Please pray this day for our cloistered brothers and sisters, especially for the gift of holy and persevering vocations. Visit our website cloisteredlife.com for regular updates on our commuitities throughout the year!

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Passionist Q & A

Monday, October 20th, 2014

 

The "under 30 gang" in Whitesville

The “under 30 gang” in Whitesville

Who is Paul Francis Daneo, Italian mystic and saint, better known as?

St. Paul of the Cross (1694-1775) whose Feast Day is today, October 20th.

 What does their insignia – Jesu XPI Passio – mean??

Written in Greek and Latin, these words mean: “The Passion of Jesus Christ.”

Who are the Passionsist saints?

St. Maria Goretti, St. Innocent Canoura, St. Gabriel Possenti, St. Gemma Galgani, St. Vincent Strambi, Blessed Lorenzi Salvi, Blessed Dominic Barberi, and most recently St. Charles Houben. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Princess Diana’s great-great-great-uncle, Fr. Ignatius (George) Spencer, Passionist priest, is being proposed for sainthood. He is also the great-uncle of Winston Churchill.

How were the Passionists founded?

The sorrowful Mother appeared to St. Paul of the Cross in the eighteenth century dressed in the Passionist habit, asking him to found an institute to remember the sufferings and death of her Son.

What refrain do they hold close in their hearts?

“May the Passion of Christ be always in our hearts.”

 Where can I learn more about the Passionists nuns?

Visit our three Affiliates’ websites! Located in: Ellisville, MOWhitesville, KYErlanger, KY

Thanks to the Passionist Fathers too for some of the ideas for the Q&A!

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Feast Day of St María Soledad Torres Acosta

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

sdem2ADDRESS OF JOHN PAUL II

TO THE SERVANTS OF MARY MINISTERS TO THE SICK

on the occasion of their 150th anniversary in 2001

The particular nature of your primary task, free care of the sick in their own homes, takes on new meaning in our times where the reality of illness or death is often concealed in daily life. With this service you eloquently proclaim that illness is neither an unbearable burden for human beings nor does it deprive patients of their full dignity as persons.

 On the contrary, it can become an enriching experience for the sick and for their whole family. In this way, by holding out a hand to the sick, your mission also helps to keep families together and discreetly supports cohesion in the home, where no one should feel he is a burden.

 I ask the Virgin Mary, Health of the Sick, to accompany you in your efforts and to visit homes with you, in order to show them Jesus, the true Saviour and Redeemer of every human being through His sacrifice on the Cross and His glorious Resurrection.

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Our Lady of Victories

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

our lady of the rosaryToday, the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, was traditionally known as Our Lady of Victory. It came about because on this day in 1571, the Moslem Turks were attacking cities in the Mediterranean and were on the doorstep of Christian Italy. The Dominican Pope, Pius V, asked for help and got it from several quarters. An armada of ships under the command of Don Juan of Austria successfully repelled the Ottoman Turks in the Battle of Lepanto while the Rosary Confraternity of Rome prayed for Our Lady’s intercession.

In thanksgiving, the Holy Father designated October 7 as our Lady of Victory. It was renamed Our Lady of the Rosary in 1573 by Pope Gregory XIII and extended throughout the Universal Church by Pope Clement XI in 1716. Pope Pius X moved the floating date back to October 7th in 1913.

There is a beautiful Church in Paris named Notre Dame des Victoires. When St. Therese of Lisieux was very ill as a young girl, her worried Father had Masses said at the Church for her recovery. When she visited Paris in 1887, only one sight filled her with delight, as she said in Story of a Soul, Our Lady of Victories! “Ah, what I felt kneeling at her feet cannot be expressed,” she wrote, “The graces she granted me so moved me that my happiness found expression only in tears, just as on the day of my first Communion.”

Notre Dame des Victoires

Notre Dame des Victoires

Fr. des Genettes established a Archconfraternity there that prayed for the conversion of Alphonse Ratisbonne per the request of his brother, Fr. Theodore Ratisbonne. Fr. Theodore announced at Notre Dame des Victoires in  1842 that his brother, an atheist Jew, had become a “fully believing Catholic.” The story is perhaps the best-known conversion story attributed to the Miraculous Medal. It was also in Notre Dame des Victoires that Fr. Hermann Cohen, a Jewish convert, started the Nocturnal Adoration Society.

In these troubled times when we are besieged from the left and the the right, from without and within, let us invoke our Lady of Victories, through the prayers of the Rosary, that Truth prevails and moral order is reestablished in this One Nation, Under God.

Our Lady of Victory,

war and strife are ever present today

and indeed they are yokes that we pass on from generation to generation.

May we remember that true peace comes only from your Son.

May we be channels of His peace. Amen.

 

 

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