Category Archives: News

A Prophecy Fulfilled – The Franciscan Friars Minor in Costa Rica

osf ft wayne march
In DC, for the annual March For Life

In January, Fr. David Mary and eight Franciscan Brothers Minor from Fort Wayne as well as the Catholics on a Mission team traveled to Costa Rica to minister to the local Costa Rican and indigenous Cabecar people. This is a remote jungle area were homes have dirt floors and the indigenous people share shelter with their animals.

While there, they hosted a Vacation Bible School for the children and shared personal faith testimonies. Most people in the region are able to receive the sacraments only once a month, so it was a blessing that Mass was celebrated at least once a day with people

living in remote villages. As a result of past trips, 60-70 Cabecar now attend Mass regularly and the first, First Communion class in hundreds of years is now a reality!

Franciscans came to Costa Rica in the 16th century with Christopher Columbus and evangelized the indigenous people who began to embrace the Faith. When a tribe from a different area killed a friar and some of the converts, the Franciscans left to prevent further bloodshed. Over the years, a prophecy arose, a promise from St. Joseph, that one day radical barefoot Franciscans would return and bring them the Gospel. In 2013, this became a reality when the Franciscans from Fort Wayne arrived.

San Jose de Orosi anniversary Mass
San Jose de Orosi anniversary Mass

A bishop told them that they were the first Franciscans to set foot in the Cabecar territory in 250 years. Since that time, the Friars have established a partnership with Catholics on a Mission and the St. Bryce Foundation to continue these evangelization efforts. The 2016 mission trip coincided with the 250th anniversary of the completion of Iglesia de San Jose de Orosi, the chapel built in 1766 from the vision of St. Joseph.

Who are Catholics on a Mission? It was started in 2012 when several high school students who were actively involved in the Franciscan Brothers Minor youth group approached Fr. David Mary Engo with the idea to “put their service where their faith is,” and share the ofm guitargospel with people in a foreign country. Catholics on a Mission has become a student-driven service organization evangelizing parishes, cities and the world through the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy.

Following the exhortation of Pope John Paul in Redemptoris Missio, they believe that “the moment has come to commit all of the Church’s energies to a new evangelization and to the mission ad gentes. No believer in Christ, no institution of the Church can avoid this supreme duty: to proclaim Christ to all peoples.”

Foundress of the Oblate Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Beatified

oshj picLast October, a group of forty-one pilgrims consisting of sisters, their relatives, priests and lay people from the Diocese of Youngstown made a pilgrimage to Italy for the beatification of Mother Maria Teresa Casini, foundress of the Oblate Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which took place on October 31, 2015.

Mother Casini founded the Oblate Sisters in 1894 in Grottaferrata. Their charism is to pray for the sanctification of priests and the holiness of the Church. Mother was beatified in the Frascati cathedral where she was baptized in 1864, two days after her birth.

oshjFor the Oblate Sisters from Hubbard, Ohio, this was an extra-special event because the miracle required for Mother’s beatification occurred in their own diocese. In 2003, five-year-old Jacob Sebest of Campbell, Ohio, was diagnosed with irreversible brain damage after a swimming pool incident. Two days later, on the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, after intense prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the intercession of Mother Teresa Casini, young Jacob miraculously awoke from a medically induced coma without any signs of brain trauma. Today he is a healthy, vibrant 17-year-old and a senior in High School.

The day before the beatification, the pilgrims visited Grottoferrata where Mother first established the congregation and where she later died in 1937. They prayed before the historical tabernacle that depicts her vision of the Pierced Heart of Jesus. They also venerated a relic, a braid of Mother’s hair that was cut off when she made her first profession of vows. Unbeknownst to her, said Sr. Joyce Candidi, O.S.H.J., it was preserved “by those who sensed that one day she would be recognized for her great love and heroic virtues.”

Jacob and Bishop Murray
Jacob and Bishop Murray

Jacob and his family were able to make the trip to Italy and greet the Holy Father in Rome after the beatification along with the General Superior and General Counselor of the Oblate Sisters. On the Feast of All Saints, Pope Francis said: “(Mother Teresa Casini) was a contemplative woman and missionary; she made her life an offering of prayer and concrete charity in support of priests. Let us thank the Lord for her witness!”

On November 2nd, Bishop George Murry, S.J., celebrated Mass for the pilgrims in the crypt of St. Peter’s Basilica at the site of St. Peter’s tomb where they gathered to pray in thanksgiving once again for the life and holiness of Blessed Mother Teresa Casini. After the return home, one pilgrims observed, “As each day goes by, it continues to sink in that we experienced life-changing, as well as once-in-a-lifetime events.”

The Diocese of Youngstown is planning to celebrate Mother Casini’s beatification on Sunday, May 22, 2016, at St. Columba Cathedral.

See additional photos from the trip on Facebook.

Need Custom Liturgical Habits & Vestments?!?

norbert sequoiaAre you looking for someone who can design (or repair) high-quality liturgical vestments, linens or religious habits? Someone who understands the Catholic faith and prayerfully goes about her work of making beautiful designs for God?

A good resource is the The Liturgical Co., founded and run by Sequoia Sierra, a Lay (Third Order) Norbertine. Sequoia designed the postulants’ habits for the newly established Norbertine Sisters in Wilmington, CA. You can see the beautiful result in the picture!

The Norbertine sisters were originally founded in the Czech Republic in 1902, though this community was founded in 2011 by the General House of the Congregation of Norbertine Sisters in Slovakia. In the US, they minister to the poor, teach religious education and work in a book store.

In an article in Regina Magazine, Sequoia described the design process and how special the work was to her. “This was an incredible and profoundly moving experience… Having the honor of being a part of their history, at the very beginning of them establishing themselves here in the U.S. is an experience that will always be very special and dear to my heart.  It was the experience of a lifetime.”

I love that the new postulant uniform has 5 buttons on them, to remind everyone of the five marks of the Norbertine Order;

  • Solemn and Reverential Celebration of the Sacred Liturgy in Choir
  • Devotion to the Holy Eucharist
  • Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • A Spirit of Penance
  • Zeal for Souls

opraem vestMay they be blessed with many young women in postulant habits!

To read the Regina article, visit their website. To learn more about The Liturgical Co., visit www.theliturgicalco.com. To read about the new Norbertine family of sisters, visit the Sts. Peter and Paul parish website!

 

St. John Neumann: The Glory of All Emigrants

_5442459Surprisingly, the saint whose feast we celebrate today was not accepted for ordination by his bishop and had to travel around the world in order to fulfill his priestly vocation. St. John Neumann is one of the most famous religious to have been a citizen of the United States and is known for organizing the first diocesan schedule of the Forty Hours’ Devotion in America, as well as, establishing the first system of parochial schools in the United States.

Born in Boehemia in 1811, St. John Neumann sought to serve the Lord by becoming a priest. Unfortunately, the local bishop turned him away citing an excess of priests in the diocese. Undeterred, St. John wrote to bishops throughout Europe who also did not accept him because of the similar circumstances. Finally, the Bishop of New York agreed to ordain him to the priesthood. This meant, however, that he would have to leave his homeland and face many hardships by traveling to live in United States.

After arriving in New York and ordination, St. John Neumann was placed in a parish in western New York. The parish covered a vast area near Niagara Falls forcing the saint to travel throughout the land in order to minister  to his people. His isolated life led him to seek community which he found by joining the Redemptorists. In the Redemptorists, he discovered a community which corresponded to his missionary vocation.

in 1852, St. John Neumann was named bishop of Philadelphia where he quickly became known for his pastoral care. He deeply cared for those within his diocese and learned six languages in order to communicate with them and hear their confessions. As bishop, he organized the first diocesan schedule of the Forty Hours’ Devotion in America and established the first system of parochial schools in the United States. These initiatives proved to be hugely successful and were emulated throughout the country.

St. John Neumann has had a great impact on religious life in the United States. He founded the Third Order of St. Francis of Glen Riddle and is one of the first American citizens who belonged to a religious community to be canonized. Pope Paul VI summarized the activity of the new saint by saying, “He was close to the sick, he loved to be with the poor, he was a friend of sinners, and now he is the glory of all emigrants.”

The New Bethlehem at Greccio

greccio

This fresco was completed by Giotto and his assistants to commemorate St. Francis and his creation of the first manger scene. “I wish to do something that will recall to memory the little Child who was born in Bethlehem,” Francis said, “and set before our bodily eyes in some way the inconveniences of His infant needs, how He lay in a manager, how, with an ox and an ass standing by, He lay upon the hay where He had been placed.”

greccio2Why did St. Francis want to recall this moment in the life Our Lord to the mind of the people at Greccio? Thomas of Celano tells us that Francis “saw a little child lying in the manger lifeless, and he saw the holy man of God go up to it and rouse the Child as from a deep sleep. This vision was not unfitting, for the Child Jesus had been forgotten in the hearts of many; but, by the working of His grace, He was brought to life again through His servant St. Francis and stamped upon their fervent memory.”

The manger was prepared, the hay had been brought, the ox and ass were led in. There simplicity was honored, poverty was exalted, humility was commended, and Greccio was made, as it were, a new Bethlehem. The night was lighted up like the day, and it delighted men and beasts. The people came and were filled with new joy over the new mystery. The woods rang with the voices of the crowd and the rocks made answer to their jubilation. The brothers sang, paying their debt of praise to the Lord, and the whole night resounded with their rejoicing. The saint of God stood before the manger, uttering sighs, overcome with love, and filled with a wonderful happiness.

St. Thomas of Celano from his life of St. Francis

A blessed Christmas to all!

Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration Update

m angelThe Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration in Hanceville, Alabama, were in the news recently for two very different reasons.

The Catholic News Service reported that Mother Angelica, PCPA, their foundress and founder of EWTN, is receiving nutrients from a feeding tube. Suffering lingering effects and partial paralysis as a result of two  strokes she suffering 14 years ago , she is able to communicate with a squeeze of the hand or gestures with her eyes. On her 92nd birthday in April, the sisters said that she offers all her sufferings for the Church.

It was also announced recently that the Poor Clares of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Hanceville will be merging with the Poor Clares from Charlotte, NC. Mother Dolores Marie, PCPA, who is presently the Abbess of St. Joseph Monastery in Charlotte, will be the superior.
In 2002, the Hanceville Poor Clares sent sisters to help their monastery in Portsmouth, Ohio. Sisters were also sent to help reopen their cradle monastery in Troyes, France. Over the past seven years, the community has also made new foundations in Tonopah, Arizona, and San Antonio, Texas.

Mother Dolores Marie and three other solemnly professed nuns of the Charlotte community started out as members of Our Lady of the Angels in Alabama. They were invited to come to Charlotte from Portsmouth, OH, in 2010 by Bishop Peter Jugis.

 Mother Delores says: “I ask your prayers for both of our Communities during this time of transition and for me as I assume the role of Superior of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery. …With this new mission before us, our building plans in the Diocese of Charlotte are obviously placed on hold. However, the Holy See has granted that Saint Joseph Adoration Monastery be held canonically open to facilitate a return in the future.”
For more information, see the posting on the Charlotte website.
Lord, we pray for bountiful vocations for the Poor Clares, so that through their lives prayer, poverty and sacrifice, they can continue to serve the Church both in Alabama and North Carolina.

Year of Mercy Icon Explained

For the Jubilee Year of Mercy, the IRL is pleased to introduce this special icon entitled “Merciful Like the Father” in honor of this extraordinary year in the life of the Church. Written by Vivian Imbruglia, it draws one into the message that the Holy Father hopes to bring to the world. God is a merciful Father. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who will leave the 99 sheep to go in search of the one lost soul. Mary is our Mother whose mantle embraces all.

We were honored to have Fr. John Grigus, OFM Conv., bless the icon at the filled-to-capacity Mass on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception at Marytown in Libertyville, IL, on December 8th. The icon can be seen in the Eucharistic adoration chapel, where adoration of the Blessed Sacrament takes place 24 hours a day.

MercyIconMediumIn the center of the icon is Jesus, the Good Shepherd, taking upon his shoulders the lost soul, who has one eye open, illustrating that all it takes is one look at Christ to bring about a transformation. The rays emanating from Jesus are reflective of the Divine Mercy image, the Blood and Water flowing from the Heart of Jesus.

Jesus stands in front of the Holy Door, opened by Pope Francis on December 8th at St. Peter’s in Rome. “Anyone who enters will experience the love of God Who consoles and pardons and instills hope” (Misericordiae Vultus). Marytown is also a designated as a Year of Mercy Holy Door pilgrimage site.

The Blessed Virgin, Our Mother of Mercy, embraces the whole world with her outstretched hands. To her left, the figures are instances in the Gospel when people encountered God’s mercy: the Samaritan Woman, Zacchaeus, Matthew, the Woman who anointed Jesus’ feet, the Prodigal Son, the Repentant Thief, St. Peter, and the Parable of the Lost Coin.

On the right side are saints who made Divine Mercy their special mission in life: Mother Teresa, St. John Paul II, Padre Pio, St. Faustina, St. Maximilian Kolbe (whose National Shrine is at Marytown), St. Therese of Lisieux. The other figures represent the people of God who participate in the saving work of  Christ.

pope-francis-holy-door-640x360“In passing through the holy door, then, may we feel that we ourselves are part of this mystery of love,” said Pope Francis. “Let us set aside all fear and dread, for these do not befit men and women who are loved. Instead, let us experience the joy of encountering that grace which transforms all things.”

To order holy cards, triptychs, note cards, etc. visit MercyIcon.com or call the IRL office at (847)573-8975. To read about the opening of the Holy Door at St. Peters, visit the National Catholic Register website. To watch the opening of the Holy Door, visit Salt & Light TV.

 

December Intentions: Experiencing God’s Mercy

MErcyIconPope Francis boldly stated that, “No one can be excluded from the mercy of God; everyone knows the way to access it and the Church is the house that welcomes all and refuses no one. Its doors remain wide open, so that those who are touched by grace can find the certainty of forgiveness.” By proclaiming a Jubilee Year of Mercy the Holy Father has emphasized the importance of mercy in our times. In this age, the Year of Mercy is a truly extraordinary opportunity for all to spread God’s merciful love to those who desperately seek it.

The Holy Father has asked the Apostleship of Prayer to pray specifically for people who desire God’s mercy in his universal intention for the month of December. He asked for all members to pray, “that all may experience the mercy of God, who never tires of forgiving” and “that families, especially those who suffer, may find in the birth of Jesus a sign of certain hope.” In presenting these two intentions, Pope Francis is noting  the appropriateness of having the Year of Mercy begin within the context of the Advent season which gives ApostleshipofPrayerus hope in Christ who became a child out of His merciful love.

The IRL has taken Pope Francis’ charge seriously and is celebrating this Year of Mercy by commissioning an icon written by Vivian Imbruglia. This beautiful icon has been utilized in the creation of several devotional items. You can download a Year of Mercy catalogue sheet featuring special icon triptych cards, prayer cards, Gospel of Mercy devotional book, icon prints and greeting cards. These devotional items are a tangible way in which you can open wide the door of mercy to all people.

 As we prepare to begin the Year of Mercy, let us all work to spread this most necessary message in our time. Let us imitate Pope Francis during the Year of Mercy who encouraged the faithful to “allow God to surprise us. He never tires of throwing open the doors of his heart. He loves us and wants to share his love with us.”

Father Hardon Archive & Guild Update

hardon-smileThe Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. Archive and Guild website has a new look that gives everyone interested in the progress of the Servant of God’s cause for canonization a place to go for the most current news.

On the site you will find the approved prayer for the beatification and canonization, a brief biography of Father Hardon, relevant contact information for the Archive and Guild, and some photographs of his life.

The Archive & Guild reside at the Eternal Life Apostolate in Bardstown, Kentucky. Father Hardon’s vast personal library and correspondence are housed there and is being organized and cataloged by Eternal Life volunteers. Father did not waste one minute of time. Ad majorem Dei gloriam!

hardonsjOn the Real Presence Association website are links to many of Father’s writings, all wonderfully organized in categories for easy access. If you look at the Guild website regularly, you will see ongoing postings of some these writings. Though Father wrote many of these some time ago, they are timeless.

Some of the recent postings on the Guild website have been:

Vocations & Commitment – Father explains that the real crisis is not a lack of vocations. “What we are facing today is a massive failure in every state of life to make a lifetime commitment.”

St. Augustine and Marriage – Like in Augustine’s day, “we need to recover the clarity of his faith which saw in Christian marriage the real test of Christianity.”

Pope John Paul II and the Christless Man The modern world has a pathetic need for Christ. “Words could not be more graphic than those of John Paul II in describing the plight of Christless modern man.”

For more information on the Archive and Guild, visit the website (hardonsj.org) or contact them at:

Fr. John Hardon, S.J. Archive and Guild
902 West Stephen Foster Ave.
Bardstown, KY 40004                                                                              800-842-2871, or 502-348-3963

They are happy to send you a free Father Hardon prayer card. Please join the army of people – religious, lay, priest – praying for his cause!