Archive for the 'News' Category

Bl. Junipero Serra to be Canonized

Friday, January 16th, 2015

serraToday came the exciting news that Pope Francis will canonize Bl. Junípero Serra during his visit to the US this Fall. Father Serra (1713-1784) is the founder of the California missions and the great evangelizer. He was born on the island of Majorca, Spain, where he became a Franciscan friar. He came to the New World in 1749. In 1769, he arrived in San Diego where he established his first mission.

Father Serra established nine missions himself, and twenty-one others were eventually established on the El Camino Real. It is always a thrill to be traveling in California and stumble across the roadway today. Here are the missions he founded:

serra21769 – San Diego de Alcalá; 1770 – San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo; 1771 – San Antonio de Padua; 1771 – San Gabriel Arcángel; 1772 – San Luís Obispo de Tolosa; 1776 – San Francisco de Asís; 1776 – San Juan Capistrano; 1777 – Santa Clara de Asís; 1782 – San Buenaventura

Father Serra died and is interred today at the mission in Carmel (San Carlos Borromeo). You can see the cell where he died and his tomb and an impressive cenotaph (monument). The cenotaph depicts a life-side bronze statue of Father Serra lying in death, with his bare feet resting on a grizzly bear, the symbol of California. Three other life-size bronze sculptures are nearby: Fr. Juan Crespí, who predeceased him; Fr. Fermin Lasuen, who succeeded him as the president of the missions of Baja and Alta California; and Fr. Julian Lopez, a friar at the Carmel Mission.

Pope John Paul II visited Carmel in 1987 and called Father Serra the Apostle of California. He went on to say: “’In Him who is the source of my strength I have strength for everything’ (Phil. 4, 13). These words of the great missionary, Saint Paul, remind us that our strength is not our own. Even in the martyrs and saints, as the liturgy reminds us, it is ‘(God’s) power shining through our human weakness.’ It is the strength that inspired Father Serra’s motto: ‘Always forward, never back.'”

 

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Year of Consecrated Life Pilgrimage to Rome

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

rome-at-dusk-itineraryThe Year of Consecrated Life began on the first Sunday of Advent, November 30, 2014, and ends on the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, February 2, 2016.

At the end of this special year, the Vatican is holding an International Symposium (gathering/workshops/events) for Religious, Secular Institutes, and Consecrated Virgins in Rome. The dates specified by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CICLSAL) for the gathering of Consecrated Persons are as follows:

  • Symposium for Secular Institutes, and Ordo Virginum January 29-31, 2016
  • Symposium for Religious January 28-30, 2016
  • Vigil at St Peter’s Basilica January 30, 2016 at 8:00 p.m.
  • Audience with Holy Father February 1, 2016
  • Mass to conclude the Year of Consecrated Life with the Holy Father Feb 2, 2016

The ORP/Kairos (Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi ) which acts as the pilgrimage organizer for the Diocese of Rome has arranged for a pilgrimage package for Consecrated Virgins, Religious, and Secular Institute members interested in participating in this Symposium with an optional extension to the Holy Land. For those interested in seeing where hermits, religious, and the Ordo Virginum began, this is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

This pilgrimage package is available so that consecrated persons can attend the International Symposium, with lodgings, meals, transportation and other major details being arranged by the Vatican’s office of pilgrimage. Consecrated persons can relax, attend the Symposium, enjoy each other’s company, and prayerfully visit some of the sights in Rome and Italy that are of special significance to consecrated life.

A religious priest-chaplain is being provided who is familiar with the different forms of consecrated life. Guides to the sacred sites will be available in English, Spanish, French, and Italian, and the pilgrimage is open to religious, secular institute members, and consecrated virgins of all nationalities. If enough people from any country want a guide of their own, they will receive a guide speaking their own language.

They will be lodging as much as possible in places run by religious orders, not 5-star luxury accommodations. They are working towards getting donations and sponsors for people who cannot otherwise afford to attend. For more information, see the ORP/Kairos website.

 

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Patriarch of Constantinople Meets With Conventual Franciscans

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

istanbul2On Sunday, January 4, 2015, the Conventual Franciscans at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Istanbul, Turkey, received a surprise visitor – His Holiness Bartholomew I, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. It’s rather like having Pope Francis suddenly pop over for an afternoon!

Patriarch Bartholomew is regarded as the spiritual leader of the world’s 300 million Eastern Orthodox Christians. He is the 270th Patriarch of the see of Byzantium (Constantinople), a see that traces its roots back to St. Andrew the Apostle.

The Patriarch came to St. Anthony Church to view the exhibit: “ENCOUNTERS OF LASTING LOVE”, which was set up in the courtyard of the church on the occasion of the visit of Pope Francis. The exhibition was curated by Friar Martin Kmetec, a Conventual Franciscan from Slovenia, who made the news in 2006 when he was threatened with death by some Turkish Islamic youth but managed to thwart the attack.

When Pope John XXIII was Vatican Ambassador to Turkey, he preached at St. Anthony’s, the largest Church in Istanbul, for ten years. Amazingly, the Holy Father was fluent in Turkish and for this reason, he was known as the Turkish Pope!

ofm istanbul patriarchFriar Iulina Pişta and a few guests welcomed the Patriarch despite the short notice. The exhibit highlighted three ecumenical moments: the Jerusalem meetings between Pope Paul VI and Athenagoras I, and later Pope Francis and Bartholomew I, as well as the recent meeting that Pope Francis and Bartholomew I had in Constantinople (Istanbul) in November of 2014.

Later, Patriarch Bartholomew visited the Basilica of St. Anthony where a group of Filipinos welcomed him at the church door with Christmas carols. Inside the church, the Patriarch lit candles while Romanian clerics sang. As he visited the manger scene, he met and blessed Friar Giuseppe Robu’s sister and her family who were there for the baptism of their child. Patriarch Bartholomew then blessed an icon depicting Peter and Andrew and affixed his signature on the back. He then went down to the crypt to see the Byzantine style paintings.

The meeting symbolizes the importance that the Churches of the East and the West place on ecumenical dialogue. It also highlights the courage of the Christian community in an Islamic country where they are a very tiny minority.

During his visit to Turkey in November 2014, Pope Francis said, “We are already on the way, on the path towards full communion and already we can experience eloquent signs of an authentic, albeit incomplete union. This offers us reassurance and encourages us to continue on this journey. We are certain that along this journey we are helped by the intercession of the Apostle Andrew and his brother Peter, held by tradition to be the founders of the Churches of Constantinople and of Rome. We ask God for the great gift of full unity, and the ability to accept it in our lives. Let us never forget to pray for one another.”

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New Book on Venerable Fulton J. Sheen

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

sheenA new book about Venerable Fulton J. Sheen came out in 2014, written by Monsignor Hilary C. Franco who for many years was the Archbishop’s closest friend and collaborator. Entitled Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, Mentor and Friend, many of the stories in it are familiar for those of us who have read the Archbishop’s autobiography Treasure in Clay. However, this book has some additional gems in it, particularly in the second half of the book. In an interview format, Msgr. Franco reflects on the Bishop’s crucial contributions during the Second Vatican Council, the Archbishop’s prophetic view of the woes besieging the Church and the solutions, so strongly articulated in the same vein by Pope Francis today. Msgr Franco said, “Much like Pope Francis does, he chose to come to the people.”

The way to restore all things in Christ was simple: bring Christ back into catechetics! Current books, the Archbishop said, began with community, not with Christ. He said that people are following Marx not Mark. The Church in the U.S. needed not a renewal but a re-Christification. To do this, we must preach Jesus Christ, crucified.

The Church was looking more corporate than personal, locked up in itself, “not sufficiently concerned with the problems of the world and especially the evangelization of those outside the Church.” He said, “Only a Church wounded by poverty can convert a doubting world.”

While traveling on a bus in Rome with over 70 bishops on their way to a session during the second Vatican Council,  he said, “My dear Bishops, don’t you think it odd with so many bishops here on an historic  and profound mission, we don’t have a place in the hotel where we can reserve the Blessed Sacrament?” He then got Msgr. Franco to arrange it. The Archbishop himself made a Holy Hour every day of his priesthood. It was a major well-spring from which he drew his strength for the mission.

The Archbishop died early into the Pontificate of Pope John Paul II to whom he wrote: “Every night when silence gives vision scope, I pray to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament for the Chief Shepherd of our souls, and the only moral authority left in the world.”

To order this inspirational book, please visit newhopepublications.org or call 270-325-3061.

 

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An Army of Spiritual Mentors

Monday, January 5th, 2015

samaritan womenOne of the biggest requirements for men and women discerning religious life is a good spiritual director. But often, the parish priest is too busy, the diocese is focused on priestly vocations and others potentially available are not a good fit or equipped to provide good spiritual mentoring.

Therefore, it is with great joy and interest, that we promote this wonderful program called “Catholic Spiritual Mentorship: Forming You to Form Others in the Interior Life.”

Offered by the Apostles of the Interior Life in collaboration with the Holy Family School of Faith, Catholic Spiritual Mentorship is a two-year course of study combining eight distance learning courses with four one-week intensive sessions offered in-residence at Savior Pastoral Center in Kansas City, Kansas.

According to their brochure:

  • The program is designed to form Spiritual Mentors to serve as guide and companion to others on their journey to holiness. We are looking for Catholics who have a desire to develop a deep prayer and sacramental life, a desire to increase their knowledge of the Catholic faith, a desire to grow in the virtues and a desire to help others do the same.
  • While many people in the program are from the greater Kansas City area, we have had participants from 15 different states and dioceses across the United States. This diverse group includes many lay people, permanent deacons,and religious sisters.

They are currently accepting applications for their next session. If you would like more information, please call (913) 310-0014 or email: SpiritualMentorship@SchoolofFaith.com.

The Apostles of the Interior Life were founded in 1990 by Fr. Salvatore Scorza who, as a young seminarian, envisioned a community of young consecrated people with philosophical and theological backgrounds that would seek out their brothers and sisters and guide them to meet God.

Their four pillars are: Prayer (four hours daily including the Mass, Adoration and the Divine Office); Community life; Intellectual formation (at least 5 years of study); and Apostolate (missionary, especially on college campuses, formation of spiritual mentors, retreats, etc).

They are present on the following US college campuses: the University of Illinois in Champaign, IL; the University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS; the University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI; and Texas A&M University in College Station, TX.  In 2009 a Provincial House was established in the Archdiocese of Kansas City, KS. In 2012, the first five brothers were ordained to the Priesthood.

Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, KS, says: “My dream … is to be able to awaken in the hearts of many a yearning for holiness. If we are able to succeed in this area, we will need an army of spiritual mentors who will be trained to help guide and assist others in developing a rich life of prayer.”

The icon for the Apostles of the Interior Life is of Jesus greeting the Samaritan women at the well. May these spiritual mentors draw many to the well of living water, to Jesus Christ.

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Apostolic Visitation Report – Some Highlights

Friday, January 2nd, 2015
Mother Agnes Mary(r) and Sister Sharon Holland (l)

Mother Agnes Mary(r) and Sister Sharon Holland (l)

On December 16, 2014, the final report of the apostolic visitation of U.S. women religious was released by the Vatican. The apostolic visitation’s purpose was “to look into the quality of the life of religious women in the United States” amid concerns about the rising median age of religious, lack of vocations and the rise of secularism in some communities.

Addressing the media were the current prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CICLSAL), Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, and the congregation’s secretary, Archbishop Jose Rodriguez Carballo, OFM. Also present were Mother Mary Clare Millea, ASCJ (Apostolic Visitator); Sr. Sharon Holland, IHM, of the LCWR; and Mother Agnes Mary Donovan, SV, of the CMSWR (who will receive the IRL’s 2015 Pro Fidelitate et Virtute award at this year’s National Meeting in April. Mother Mary Clare was the recipient of the 2013 award).

Despite some communities’ initial concerns regarding the purpose of the apostolic visitation, the general reaction from those involved was overwhelmingly positive.

Some highlights:

  • 341 religious institutes of both diocesan and pontifical right, encompassing approximately 50,000 women religious, were visited.
  • The median age of apostolic women religious is in the mid-to-late 70s. The number of religious has declined from 125,000 in the mid 1960’s to 50,000 today.
  • The majority of women religious have a strong sense of the history of their institute and the charism of their foundress/founder
  • The majority of the religious institutes work with lay collaborators. However, the essential difference between the vowed religious and these lay persons should be respected and celebrated.
  • Aspirants to religious life tend to be older, more educated, and more culturally diverse than in the past. They often have extensive professional backgrounds but less prior theological and spiritual formation. Many wish to be externally recognizable as consecrated women (ie. habits).
  • Caution is to be taken not to displace Christ from the center of creation and of our faith. Institutes should ensure that their spiritual practices and ministry are in harmony with Catholic teaching about God, creation, the Incarnation and the Redemption.

Our times need the credible and attractive witness of consecrated religious who demonstrate the redemptive and transformative power of the Gospel. Convinced of the sublime dignity and beauty of consecrated life, may we all pray for and support our women religious and actively promote vocations to the religious life.

Click here to read Ann Carey’s (Sisters in Crisis) assessment of the document.

 

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King David’s Wine

Thursday, January 1st, 2015
"Noah, a man of the soil, was the first to plant a vineyard." Genesis 9:20

“Noah, a man of the soil, was the first to plant a vineyard.” Genesis 9:20

On New Year’s Day 2015, many are probably remembering the toast they made the night before for a happy and prosperous New Year.

Therefore, it is interesting to learn that a scientist and winemaker in Israel named Elyashiv Drori is on the quest to produce wines that were served in King David’s time 3000 years ago. This isn’t as farfetched as it seems, for 4 years ago, he discovered an old, abandoned cultivated grapevine in Israel that had managed to survive the vicissitudes of heat and drought for centuries on its own.

Archaeologists have unearthed ancient wine presses and certainly the Bible talks about wine in the Old and New Testaments. The Blessed Mother mentions it at the Wedding Feast of Cana (John 2) and Jesus was offered wine vinegar while on the Cross.

Often, in countries where the water is not safe to drink, wine or beer is a safer substitute (taken in moderation of course). Elyashiv and others have scoured the countryside looking for indigenous grapes and so far have found 100 that are unique to Israel. He hopes that DNA samples taken from plant remains found at archaeological sites will match one of the vines that he has identified. In fact, near Jerusalem’s Old City, archaeologists have uncovered the remains of grapes stored nearly 3,000 years ago, preserved under layers of dirt. Elyashiv Drori seems to be coming nearer to his goal of growing vines and harvesting grapes that he can turn into real ancient Israeli wine, a glimpse into the past that King David might have tasted and recognized.

 

 

 

 

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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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Fr. Hardon Memorial Mass 12/30/14

Saturday, December 27th, 2014

2014MemorialMass

 

 

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Catholic Nuns Top Billboard Charts Again!

Saturday, December 20th, 2014

ephesusFor the second year in a row, the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, topped Billboard’s list of best-selling traditional classical albums of 2014. Actucally, their two albums, Lent at Ephesus and Angels and Saints at Ephesus were the first- and second-best selling traditional classical albums of 2014.

Mater Eucharistiae by the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, in Ann Arbor, came in 11th. This album features 15 selections of Sacred Music, all dedicated to Jesus through Mary.

This certainly shows that true beauty never goes out of style. Click below to listen to a sample of the song Duo Seraphim from Angels and Saints at Ephesus.

“He who sings, prays twice” is a quote sometimes attributed to St. Augustine (whether of Hippo or Canterbury is not clear to me) but in any case, the sisters singing here are certainly raising their heavenly voices to God!

 

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