Category Archives: News

Apostleship of Prayer: May Intentions

ApostleshipofPrayerThe Holy Father’s prayer intentions for the month of May as well as reflections by Fr. James Kubicki, S.J., National Director of the Apostleship of Prayer.

UNIVERSAL INTENTION: Respect for Women. That in every country of the world, women may be honored and respected and that their essential contribution to society may be highly esteemed. In the words of Pope Francis, Mary is “the true and sublime example of woman.”  
It’s inconceivable to think of the apostles awaiting the Holy Spirit at Pentecost without Mary praying with them. For it was she who conceived by the Holy Spirit and gave birth to Jesus, the one who called and sent the apostles to continue his work.

Women have, in Pope Francis’ words, an “irreplaceable role.” Speaking to the Pontifical Council for Culture, he said: “I encourage the contribution of so many women who work within the family, in the areas of teaching the faith, pastoral work, schooling, but also in social, cultural, and economic structures. You women know how to embody the tender face of God, his mercy, which is translated into a willingness to give time rather than to occupy space, to welcome rather than to exclude.”

Throughout the world, unfortunately, women are not only excluded but under attack. The pope went on: “The many forms of slavery, of prostitution, of mutilation of the female body, require us to set to work to defeat these forms of degradation which reduce it to purely an object to be sold on the various markets. I would like to call attention, in this context, to the plight of so many poor women, forced to live in dangerous conditions, exploited, relegated to the margins of society, and rendered victims of a throwaway culture.”

Perhaps the most common degradation of women is pornography, which the U.S. bishops have said “is so pervasive in sectors of our society that it is difficult to avoid, challenging to remove, and has negative effects that go beyond any one person’s actions.”

And so we pray with Pope Francis that women may not only be respected, but that their contribution to the good of the family and society may be recognized and esteemed.

EVANGELIZATION INTENTION: Holy Rosary. That families, communities, and groups may pray the Holy Rosary for evangelization and peace. 

The rosary is a powerful prayer which is very important to Pope Francis. He said he was inspired by Pope St. John Paul II to pray it faithfully.

He said: “If I remember well, it was 1985. One evening I went to recite the Holy Rosary that was being led by the Holy Father. He was in front of everybody, on his knees. The group was numerous; I saw the Holy Father from the back and, little by little, I got lost in prayer. I was not alone: I was praying in the middle of the people of God to which I and all those there belonged, led by our Pastor.

“In the middle of the prayer I became distracted, looking at the figure of the Pope: his piety, his devotion was a witness. I felt that this man, chosen to lead the Church, was following a path up to his Mother, a path set out on from his childhood. And I became aware of the density of the words of the Mother of Guadalupe to St. Juan Diego: ‘Don’t be afraid, am I not perhaps your mother?’ I understood the presence of Mary in the life of the Pope. From that time on
I recite the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary every day.”

Throughout history popes have asked the faithful to pray the rosary when Christianity and civilization were threatened.  Pope Francis asks us to do the same.  He said: “Mary accompanies us, struggles with us, sustains Christians in their fight against the forces of evil. Prayer with Mary, especially the Rosary, has this ‘suffering’ dimension, that is of struggle, a sustaining prayer in the battle against the evil one and his accomplices. The Rosary also sustains us in the battle.”

In this month dedicated to Mary, we honor her by following in the great tradition of using the non-violent weapon of the rosary, praying for peace and the spread of the Gospel of Mercy.

Carmel of Ada, Michigan, Celebrates 100 Years in America

Ada Gp PhotoOn April 6, 2016, a Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated by Most Rev. David Walkowiak to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Discalced Carmelite Monastery in the Diocese of Grand Rapids. Joined by 10 other priests, the Bishop told the assembled: “The confidence and consolation it gives us to know there are people who are pursuing the love of the Lord alone, and this is the focus of their lives, it gives us a model and an inspiration to do as much as we can in the same direction.”

The sisters also joyfully announce the reception of the habit and the new religious name of Miss Caley Nolan, now Sr. Mary Christina of the Holy Eucharist. Her family attends a local parish and her cousin also happens to be a priest in the Diocese!

IMG_0343 (2)The monastery is under the patronage of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a title dear to the sisters’ hearts for their foundress and 15 other nuns were forced to flee Mexico during the persecutions in the early part of the last century. They were founded by the Carmel in Queretaro, Mexico, and after many separations and stops, were welcomed to the diocese by Bishop Joseph Richter in 1916.

Their epic journey to Michigan is an incredible story.  Their foundress, Mother Mary Elias of the Blessed Sacrament, was a woman who anticipated what was to come, prepared for it, faced it with courage and went back into the lion’s den time and time again to bring her sisters to safety.

ada mother eliasMother prayed to St. Therese, the Little Flower, not yet beatified, to help them out of their difficulties. She promised her that she would do all in her power to spread the Carmelite Order if they were spared. One day, Mother and another sister were led to a large yard to be executed. She knelt, saw the guns and heard the fire. When she regained consciousness, they were able to escape and though there was blood on their clothes, they were not injured. St. Therese had truly saved them.

From the little seed in Grand Rapids came foundations in Mexico (1919, 1936, 1940, 1950), Buffalo (1920), Schenectady (1923), Detroit (1926), Dallas (1927), Littleton (1947), Traverse City (1950), Iron Mountain (1950), and Denmark, WI (1992). She truly fulfilled her vow to the Little Flower to extend the order whenever she had the opportunity!

 

 

Preaching and the Rosary: Dominican Jubilee Activities

OPjubileeop-logo-whiteThe Dominicans around the world are celebrating a “double” Jubilee for not only is it the Jubilee Year of Mercy, it is also the 800th anniversary of the issuing of the Bulls promulgated by Pope Honorius III, confirming the foundation of the Order, in 1216 and 1217. The celebration began on November 7, 2015 (Feast of All Saints of the Order) and will end on January 21, 2017 (the date of the Bull Gratiarum omnium largitori of Pope Honorius III).

The theme of the Jubilee Year is fittingly enough “Sent to preach the Gospel.” On the Jubilee website, there is a beautiful summation of the one identifying sign of Dominican life:

“…a type of genetic code if you will, for the members of the Order and the Dominican family; that is the preaching for the salvation of humanity (Fundamental Constitution V), the ministry of the Word (officium verbi), the mission of evangelization…. The nuns, specifically dedicated to prayer, participate in the ministry of preaching, listening to the Word, celebrating it and proclaiming the Gospel through the example of their lives. Equally, the co-operator brothers join in the preaching through their faithful living out of their Profession in the Order.”

The Order has included the cloistered nuns in the celebrations by arranging an international Rosary Pilgrimage during the Jubilee year. This pilgrimage is hosted in turn by each of the monasteries of Dominican nuns around the world.  In support of this activitiy, they also published a beautiful set of Rosary Meditations from the writings of Dominican Saints.

OP rosary-meditationsThe Dominicans Nuns in Marbury, Alabama, have arranged these into a booklet with sacred art by Dominican artists–Preachers both with words and with images. You can download the PDF or send the sisters a donation for a printed copy (check on availability first). Their assigned days for participating in the Rosary Pilgrimage will be in October.

Pope Francis has also granted the possibility of receiving a plenary indulgence to the faithful who go to a Dominican celebration and/or church. Saying the following prayer in addition to the usual requirements is all that is required to receive the benefits of this Jubilee Year.

God, Father of mercy,
who called your servant Dominic de Guzman
to set out in faith
as an itinerant pilgrim and a preacher of grace,
as we celebrate the Jubilee of the Order
we ask you to pour again into us
the Spirit of the Risen Christ,
that we might faithfully and joyfully proclaim
the Gospel of peace,
through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Benedictines of Mary Issue “Adoration at Ephesus”

ephesusThe Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, have recently issued their newest album, adding to the selection of their other very popular albums of songs and chants that give glory to God. Entitled “Adoration at Ephesus,” it is a collection of songs sung by the nuns when they gather together for Eucharistic Adoration.

The album contains 24 tracks in Latin and English and includes such favorites as: Holy God, We Praise Thy Name, Adoremus in Aeternum, Ave Verum, Panis Angelicus, Jesus My Lord My God My All, and many other well-known and not-so-well-known classics.

The nuns’ previous albums have risen to the top of Billboard’s Classical Traditional Artist’s list for three years running. They are tapping into to the world’s innate desire to lift up their hearts to God, finding peace to that restlessness that St. Augustine says can only be found in Thee.

All proceeds from the album will go towards the nuns’ new monastic church fund. The chapel that they pray in is only a temporary one. “As the community grows and the hospitality apostolate expands,” said Mother Cecilia. “the necessity of undertaking the design and building of a new church has become a pressing reality.”

fatimaMother also noted the link between Fatima and Adoration, for this spring marks the 100th anniversary of the first appearance of the Angel of God to Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta in 1916 in Portugal. In the first apparition, the Angel told the shepherd children to kneel and repeat this prayer: “My God, I believe in Thee, I adore Thee, I hope in Thee and I love Thee. I ask pardon for all those who do not believe in Thee, do not adore Thee, do not hope in Thee and do not love Thee.”

“I was simply astounded that our album corresponds so perfectly and intimately with the message he brought to the children and the world,” said Mother Cecilia. “If one word had to be chosen to summarize that message, it would be: adoration. We pray that all souls will adore our Eucharistic Lord with great faith, love, reverence and thanksgiving!”

To read the complete story, visit the Catholic News Agency.

Pope Francis Addresses Mercedarians

odemThe National Catholic Register has a story on this week on the Mercedarians, those men who profess the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience but profess a fourth vow as well: to offer their lives in place of those who are in danger of losing their Faith.

A few years ago, this would seem to be a symbolic offering, that is,  they were men who offered their time and talent to help those who are struggling with modern forms of slavery such as pornography, addiction, imprisonment and greed. However, as the article points out, they are now collaborating with the Chaldean archbishop of Erbil to provide assistance to Iraqi Christians suffering persecution, slavery and death. The help includes prayer, fasting and sacrifice, as well as material support and public awareness.

“In the eighth centenary of the Order,” said Pope Francis in his address to the members of the General Chapter of the The Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy, “do not cease ‘to proclaim the Year of Favor of the Lord’ to all those to whom you are sent: to those held prisoner and persecuted because of their faith; to victims of trafficking; to the young people in your schools; to all those who are served by your works of mercy and to all the faithful you serve in the parishes and missions with which you have been entrusted by the Church.”

In 2018, the Mercedarians will celebrate the 800th anniversary of their founding in 1218 by St. Peter Nolasco. He founded the community to redeem Christian prisoners from their Muslim captors. May Christ our Redeemer assist the Mercedarians in their work of freeing people from whatever prevents them from serving Our Lord.

St. Catherine of Siena: Messenger of Mercy

Siena Today the Church celebrates the feast of St. Catherine of Siena which is particularly significant during this Year of Mercy and 800th Jubilee of the Foundation of the Dominican Order. St. Catherine led an extraordinary life as an advisor to the Holy See, Dominican tertiary, and witness to God’s merciful love.

Catherine Benincasa was born on the feast of the Annunciation in 1347 and quickly grew to have a deep spiritual life first having an apparition of Christ at the young age of 6. After some hesitation from her family, St. Catherine obtained permission to become a Dominican tertiary and experienced a “mystical marriage” with Christ at the age of 21. Following the momentous occasion, she performed works of mercy including visiting the imprisoned whom she hoped would turn to God and nursing the sick even volunteering to care for those afflicted with the most terrible diseases.

St. Catherine soon became renowned throughout Italy for her sanctity and wisdom. During her life, she strove to maintain peace throughout Italy by negotiating peace terms between cities and preaching a crusade in hopes of unifying the Christendom to retake the Holy Land. St. Catherine’s wisdom caused popes to take her counsel as she was influential in convincing Pope Gregory XI to return to Rome and even moved to Rome herself at the request of Pope Urban VI during the Great Schism that occurred in 1378. Her wisdom and profound spiritual insights are also apparent in her writings which led her to be proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope Paul VI.

8900060944_b1782bb7c7_oThe feast of the renowned Dominican saint corresponds this year with the 8th Triennial General Assembly of the Dominican Sisters International who are currently meeting in Rome to pray, reflect and discuss the future of their preaching mission. The IRL has many Dominican affiliates including the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne who were founded by the youngest child of author Nathaniel Hawthorne, Rose. For more information on affiliate Dominican communities please visit the IRL website.

Founder of the SOLTs Passes Away – Fr. Jim Flanagan

Fr FlanOn Holy Thursday, March 24, 2016, Fr. James Flanagan, SOLT, founder of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, peacefully died, surrounded by members of his family, both immediate and spiritual. The SOLTs were established in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe in 1958, the perfect springboard, Father Jim thought, to eventually reach out to people across the globe. Today they are in 13 countries around the world.

Father attended the University of Notre Dame, with studies interrupted by World War II, and was also a player on the football team. When he told his coach, the famous Frank Leahy, that he was leaving the team to study for the priesthood, Coach Leahy said, “That is the best possible life, Jim. You go.”

SOLT fr__jim_and_sistersAnd go he did. After an unmistakable call from God, Jim established the SOLTs, a Society within the Church that would emphasize relationships as flowing from the Holy Trinity with Mary as the Mother and Mediatrix of this communion.

Their defining characteristics are:

Trinitarian: They exist to give honor and glory to the Most Holy Trinity, to exalt His majesty, and to manifest His greatness.

Marian: They strive to imitate our Blessed Mother Mary in her relationships with the persons of the Trinity, as beloved daughter of the Father, Mother of the Son, and spouse of the Holy Spirit.

Catholic: As loyal and loving members of Christ and His Vicar on earth, the Pope, they are faithful to the Magisterium and devoted to the Holy Eucharist.

Missionary: They serve in areas of deepest apostolic need, as defined by the local bishops where they serve.

Family: They are a family composed of priests, deacons, religious brothers and sisters, single laity and families serving together in the missions and bound together in their spirituality.

soltIn his funeral homily, Fr. Peter Marsalek, General Priest of SOLT, said:

Six years after the founding of SOLT, the Vatican II document on the Church, Lumen Gentium, spoke of Mary in a Trinitarian perspective as the beloved daughter of the Father, temple of the Holy Spirit and Mother of the Son.  In my humble opinion, it was a significant and beautiful Providential confirmation of sorts of the inspiration Fr. Jim received to found a community dedicated to Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity.  In our call to be the beloved children of the Father, the power of the Holy Spirit working interiorly within us leads us to be conformed to the Image of the Son in order to live as the family of God.  And this expression of our spirituality is manifested most beautifully when we are able to serve meaningfully with one another as a family of priests, sisters and lay people, united to Holy Mother Church through the authority of the bishops under whom we serve! 

Father Jim, may you rest in peace.

 

 

Franciscan Handmaids of the Most Pure Heart of Mary Celebrate 100 Years

On March 29, 2016, the Franciscan Handmaids of the Most Pure Heart of Mary celebrated 100 years since their foundation with a Centennial Gala.  In attendance, was Timothy Cardinal Dolan as well as many other dignitaries and well-known entertainers.

osf nyThe sisters were founded in 1916 in Savannah, Georgia, by Fr. Ignatius Lissner, SMA, a Frenchman, and Miss Elizabeth Williams, who became Mother Mary Theodore, FHM, the first Superior General.

Some years prior, Father Lissner had received the blessing of the Holy Father to establish missions to serve the black population in the main cities of Georgia. Father Lissner and other SMAs, in six years, established six churches and seven parochial schools in Georgia.

But in 1915, the state legislature proposed a bill that would outlaw the teaching of black children by white teachers. Alarmed, Father Lissner, a member of the Society of African Missions,  and Miss Elizabeth Williams, an African American woman, founded a new congregation, the Handmaids of the Most Pure Heart of Mary in Savannah, Georgia to minister to and evangelize the African American community. This title was chosen to inspire the members of the congregation to serve their neighbors and each other “with the same zeal and love with which Mary served her son Jesus Christ”.

osf ny2Their life is centered on the Holy Eucharist, the Sacrament of Unity and Transformation. They pray as Jesus taught His disciples for each other, for the grace of self-transformation, renewal of neighbor, the Church, our society, for victims of injustice and for peace and justice in our broken world (Luke: 11:1-13).  They focus mainly on the promotion of Catholic social justice teaching, youth evangelization and healing missions, education of the young and feeding the needy.

We have a firm belief with experience that Prayer works miracles and ardent adoration of the Blessed Sacrament has power to heal wounds.

Mother Angelica, PCPA – R.I.P.

A photo from our 1995 National Meeting when Mother Angelica received the Pro Fidelitate et Virtute Award. Mother was a strong early supporter of the IRL  and we were blessed to have her as a speaker on several occasions.

Mother Angelica 001

EWTN issued this statement yesterday:

We ask for your prayers for the soul of EWTN’s beloved foundress, Mother Angelica, who passed away today on Easter Sunday, March 27, 2016 at about 5:00p.m. Central time. Please remain with us as we remember her joyful words, extraordinary works, and incredible life throughout this week.