Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Drink Problem?

How can the Catholic Church tolerate drinking?

The Church does not tolerate EXCESSIVE drinking anymore than it permits excess in any other thing. Human actions are divided into three categories -- good, bad, and indifferent. Indifferent actions are those which can become good or bad depending upon the use or abuse made of them. For instance, eating is an indifferent act. It becomes good when it is done for the purpose of maintaining health and strength. It becomes sinful, of gluttony, when it is done to excess. So to with gambling, smoking, dancing, and many other indifferent actions.

Drinking can he good if done for reasons of health or innocent recreation. Its abuse, or drunkenness, is always evil and sinful.

Scripture does not condemn drinking as such. In the Bible it has been calculated that there are 117 references to drinking as something good. We have an example of this in St. Paul who RECOMMENDED drinking. Writing to Timothy he says:

"Do not still drink water but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake, and for thy frequent infirmities." (1 Tim. 5:23).

Our Lord Himself was accused by the Pharisees of being a man who was "a glutton and a wine-drinker." (Matt. 11:19). Also our Lord Himself at the marriage feast of Cana changed water into wine. He performed a miracle in order that those there might drink wine. Certainly we cannot accuse our Lord of doing anything which would be sinful. Therefore the drinking of alcoholic beverages is an indifferent act; it becomes evil by abuse and by excess.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Saint for the day - St. Jude Thaddeus

28 October (Roman Church); 19 June (Eastern Church)

Son of Cleophas, who died a martyr, and Mary who stood at the foot of the Cross, and who annointed Christ's body after death. Brother of Saint James the Lesser. Nephew of Mary and Joseph; blood relative of Jesus Christ, and reported to look a lot like him. May have been a fisherman. Apostle.

Writer of canonical letter. Preached in Syria, Mesopotamia, and Persia with Saint Simon. Healer. Exorcist. Could exorcise pagan idols, which caused the demons to flee and the statues to crumble.

His patronage of lost or impossible causes traditionally derives from confusion by many early Christians between Jude and Judas; not understanding the difference between the names, they never prayed for Jude's help, and devotion to him became something of a lost cause.

beaten to death with a club, then beheaded post-mortem in 1st century Persia; relics at Saint Peter's, Rome, at Rheims, and at Toulouse, France

Name Meaning
sweetness or gentleness of character (Thaddeus)

desperate situations; forgotten causes; hospital workers; hospitals; impossible causes; lost causes diocese of Saint Petersburg, Florida

axe; bearded man holding an oar; boat; boat hook; book; club; square rule; sword; nearly every image depicts him wearing a medallion with a profile of Jesus, and usually with a small flame above his head; often carries a pen or sits at a writing location to make reference to the canonical Epistle

Friday, October 26, 2007

Sunday Gospel -

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 18,9-14.

He then addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else.

Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector.
The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, 'O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity--greedy, dishonest, adulterous--or even like this tax collector.

I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.'

But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, 'O God, be merciful to me a sinner.'
I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted."


Also known as

26 October

Son of an Hellenic Jew from Bethlehem. Fifth pope, reigning for eight years, and about whom almost nothing is known. Traditionally considered a martyr, but there is no documentation of the event.

Papal Ascension

c.107; buried in the Vatican near Saint Peter


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Forty Martyrs of England and Wales

25 October; formerly 4 May

Following the dispute between the Pope and King Henry VIII in the 16th century, faith questions in the British Isles became entangled with political questions, with both often being settled by torture and murder of loyal Catholics. In 1970, the Vatican selected 40 martyrs, men and women, lay and religious, to represent the full group of perhaps 300 known to have died for their faith and allegiance to the Church between 1535 and 1679. They each have their own day of memorial, but are remembered as a group on 25 October. They are

Augustine Webster
John Houghton
Robert Lawrence
Richard Reynolds

Augustinian friar
John Stone

Alexander Briant
Edmund Arrowsmith
Edmund Campion
David Lewis
Henry Morse
Henry Walpole
Nicholas Owen
Philip Evans
Robert Southwell
Thomas Garnet

Alban Roe
Ambrose Barlow
John Roberts
Friars Obervant
John Jones

John Wall

Secular Clergy
Cuthbert Mayne
Edmund Gennings
Eustace White, 1591
John Almond
John Boste
John Kemble
John Lloyd
John Pain
John Plesington
John Southworth
Luke Kirby
Polydore Plasden, 1591
Ralph Sherwin

John Rigby
Philip Howard
Richard Gwyn
Swithun Wells, schoolmaster, 1591

Anne Line
Margaret Clitherow
Margaret Ward

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Saint for the day - Anthony Mary Claret

Also known as
Antonio María Claret y Clará

24 October; formerly 23 October

Weaver. Seminary student with Blessed Francis Coll. Ordained on 13 June 1835. Missionary in Catalonia and the Canary Islands. Directed retreats. Founded the Congregation of Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Claretians). Archbishop of Santiago de Cuba on 20 May 1850. Founded the Teaching Sisters of Mary Immaculate. Following his work in the Caribbean, Blessed Pope Pius IX ordered him back to Spain. Confessor to Queen Isabella II, and was exiled with her. Had the gifts of prophecy and miracles. Reported to have preached 10,000 sermons, published 200 works. Spread devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

23 December 1807 at Sallent, Catalonia, Spain

24 October 1870 in a Cistercian monastery at Fontfroide, Narbonne, France

1899 by Pope Leo XIII

25 February 1934

7 May 1950 by Venerable Pope Pius XII

Name Meaning

Catholic press; Claretians; Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary; weavers

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Never Divorce!

Your Church makes no exceptions when it comes to divorce. How then do you explain the exception Christ Himself permitted in the case of adultery in St. Matthew 19:9?

The text St. Matthew 19:9 reads as follows:

"But I say to you, 'That whosoever shall put away his wife, except for immorality, and marries another commits adultery'." St. Matt. 19:9 (cf. St. Matt. 5:32)
Jewish law at the time of our Lord did not permit absolute divorce. It did, however, permit separation for the cause of adultery. However, another school of teachers among the Rabbis taught that even this was not cause for separation, or "limited divorce."

Christ is settling this dispute by permitting separation for the cause of adultery, but does not allow remarriage in such a case. The text would read as follows:

"But I say to you, 'That whosoever shall put away his wife -- and this separation is not permitted except for the cause of fornication -- makes her to commit adultery'."
The Law of God expressed by Christ is clear and definite in the New Testament, and since it is the word of God, neither the Church nor anyone else is at liberty to change this law. What is the law?

"And He said to them, 'Whosoever puts away his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her, and if the wife puts away her husband and marries another, she commits adultery." St. Mark 10:11,12

Sometimes separation is permitted for a good reason. In such cases the Bishop may permit divorce also if this is necessary to secure legal protection for the innocent party and the children. However, this is always with the understanding that no second marriage can be considered valid after this separation.

"But to those who are married, not I, but the Lord, commands that the wife is not to depart from her husband, and if she departs, that she is to remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And let not a husband put away his wife." 1 Cor. 7:10, 11

Saint for the day - St. JOHN of Capistrano

Also known as
Giovanni da Capestrano; John Capistran

23 October; formerly 28 March

Son of a former German knight, his father died when John was still young. Studied law at the University of Perugia. Lawyer in Naples, Italy. Reforming governor of Perugia under King Landislas of Naples. When war broke out between Perugia and Malatesta in 1416, John tried to broker a peace, but instead his opponents ignored the truce, John became a prisoner of war.

During his imprisonment he came to the decision to change vocations. He had married just before the war, but the marriage was never consummated, and with his bride's permission, it was annulled. Franciscan at Perugia on 4 October 1416. Fellow student with Saint James of the Marches. Disciple of Saint Bernadine of Siena. Noted preacher while still a deacon, beginning his work in 1420. Itinerant priest throughout Italy, Germany, Bohemia, Austria, Hungary, Poland, and Russia, preaching to tens of thousands. Established communities of Franciscan renewal. Reported to heal by making the Sign of the Cross over a sick person. Wrote extensively, mainly against the heresies of the day.

After the fall of Constantinople, he preached Crusade against the Muslim Turks. At age 70 he was commissioned by Pope Callistus II to lead it, and marched off at the head of 70,000 Christian soldiers. He won the great battle of Belgrade in the summer of 1456. He died in the field a few months later, but his army delivered Europe from the Muslems.

1386 at Capistrano, Italy

23 October 1456 at Villach, Hungary of natural causes

Name Meaning
God is gracious; gift of God

19 December 1650 by Pope Innocent X

16 October 1690 by Pope Alexander VIII

judges; jurists; military chaplains; military ordinariate of the Philippines

man with a crucifix and lance, treading a turban underfoot; Franciscan with cross on his breast and carrying banner of the cross; Franciscan preaching, angels with rosaries and IHS above him; Franciscan pointing to a crucifix which he holds

Monday, October 22, 2007

Saint for the day - MARY SALOME

Also known as
Irene (Greek equivalent to Salome)

22 October

Wife of Zebedee. Mother of Saint John the Apostle, and Saint James the Greater. May have been a cousin of the Blessed Virgin Mary. One of the "three Marys," the holy women who ministered to Jesus during his earthly ministry, and may have accompanied him on his travels. Witnessed Christ's death on the cross, his entombment, and his resurrection. Mark mentions Salome as one of the women who came to anoint the body of Jesus on the morning of the Resurrection.

One gospels story that shows Jesus and Salome has her asking Jesus what places her sons will have in His Kingdom. Jesus responds that it is the Father who assigns places in the Kingdom and that James and John will have to follow His own example of humility and sacrifice to earn places there.

Legend says that after the Resurrection she went to Veroli, Italy and spent the rest of her life there spreading the Good News.


Name Meaning
peace and prosperity (= Salome)

Veroli Italy

Friday, October 19, 2007

Sunday Gospel - October 21, 2007

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 18,1-8.

Then he told them a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary. He said,

There was a judge in a certain town who neither feared God nor respected any human being.

And a widow in that town used to come to him and say, 'Render a just decision for me against my adversary.'

For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought, 'While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being,
because this widow keeps bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me.'"

The Lord said, "Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says.

Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them?

I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?"

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Saint for the day - St. Luke the Apostle

18 October

Born to pagan Greek parents, and possibly a slave. One of the earliest converts. Physician, studying in Antioch and Tarsus. Probably travelled as a ship's doctor; many charitable societies of physicians are named for him. Legend has that he was also a painter who may have done portraits of Jesus and Mary, but none have ever been correctly or definitively attributed to him; this story, and the inspiration his Gospel has always given artists, led to his patronage of them. He met Saint Paul at Troas, and evangelized Greece and Rome with him, being there for the shipwreck and other perils of the voyage to Rome, and stayed in Rome for Paul's two years of in prison. Wrote the Gospel According to Luke, much of which was based on the teachings and writings of Paul, interviews with early Christians, and his own experiences. Wrote a history of the early Church in the Acts of the Apostles. Martyr.

at Antioch

c.74 in Greece; some stories say he was martyred, others not; relics at Padua, Italy

Name Meaning
bringer of light (= luke)

artists; bachelors; bookbinders; brewers; butchers; Capena, Italy; doctors; glass makers; glassworkers; gold workers; goldsmiths; Hermersdorf, Germany; lacemakers; lace workers; notaries; painters; physicians; sculptors; stained glass workers;

physicians; bishop; book; brush (refers to the tradition that he was a painters); man accompanied by a winged ox; ox; painting an icon of Blessed Virgin Mary; palette (refers to the tradition that he was a painters); winged calf; winged ox

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Saint for the day - Margaret Mary Alacoque

Also known as
Margarita Mary Alacoque; Margherita Mary Alacoque; Marguerite Mary Alacoque

17 October

Healed from a crippling disorder by a vision of the Blessed Virgin, which prompted her to give her life to God. After receiving a vision of Christ fresh from the Scourging, she was moved to join the Order of the Visitation at Paray-le-Monial in 1671.

Received a revelation from our Lord in 1675, which included 12 promises to her and to those who practiced a true to devotion to His Sacred Heart, whose crown of thorns represent his sacrifices. The devotion encountered violent opposition, especially in Jansenist areas, but has become widespread and popular.

22 July 1647 at L'Hautecourt, Burgundy, France

17 October 1690 of natural causes; body incorrupt

18 September 1864

13 May 1920 by Pope Benedict XV

against polio; devotees of the Sacred Heart; loss of parents; polio patients

woman wearing the habit of the Order of the Visitation and holding a flaming heart; woman wearing the habit of the Order of the Visitation and kneeling before Jesus who exposes His heart to her

Saint for the day -IGNATIUS of Antioch

Also known as
Theophoros; God-Bearer

17 October; formerly 1 February

Convert from paganism to Christianity. Succeeded Peter as bishop of Antioch, Syria. Served during persecution of Domitian. During the persecution of Trajan, he was ordered taken to Rome to be killed by wild animals. On the way, a journey which took months, he wrote a series of encouraging letters to the churches under his care. First writer to use the term the Catholic Church. Apostolic Father. Martyr. His name occurs in the "Nobis quoque peccatoribus" in the Canon of the Mass. Legend says he
was the infant that Jesus took into his arms in Mark 9.

c.50 in Syria

thrown to wild animals c.107 at Rome; relics at Saint Peter's, Rome

Church in eastern Mediterranean; Church in North Africa; throat diseases

chains; bishop surrounded by lions; lions

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Real Body -- Real Blood?

Do Catholics really believe they are receiving the Body and Blood of Christ in Communion?

Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist on the night before He died, i.e., on the first Holy Thursday, when He changed bread and wine into His Body and Blood; and then commanded His Apostles to do what He had done in commemoration of Him.

"And while they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed and broke, and gave it to His disciples, and said, 'Take and eat; this is my body.' . . . And taking a cup, He gave thanks and gave it to them, saying, 'All of you drink of this; for this is my blood of the new covenant'." St. Matt. 26:26, 28
Our Lord meant literally to change the bread and wine into His body and blood instead of leaving us a mere symbol or memorial of His passion.
We know this from the words of His promise to do this in St. John's gospel, Chapter 6. The important words of this chapter are: (a) John 6:52, "The bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world."
(b) John 6:54, ". . . unless you eat of the flesh of the Son of man, ye shall not have life in you."
(c) John 6:56, "For my flesh is food indeed and my blood is drink indeed."
These and other texts must be taken literally because the entire context demands it; and because any other interpretation would involve us in absurd consequences. The words' "Eat my flesh and drink my blood" in a figurative interpretation would mean to "persecute or hate bitterly." In this sense, it would mean that our Lord would promise those who hate Him, eternal life and glorious resurrection.

The grammatical construction of the phrases, "This is My Body," and "This is My Blood," does not admit of a figurative or symbolic meaning. When the verb "to be" is used, the antecedent must always be identical with the consequent, i.e., "This" must be identical with "My Body." Therefore, there must have been a change of substance.

The Apostles understood Christ to speak literally.

"The cup of benediction which we bless, is it not the sharing of the blood of Christ, And the bread that we break, is it not the partaking of the body of the Lord?" 1 Cor. 10:16

"Therefore, whoever eats this bread or drinks the cup of blessing which we bless, unworthily, will be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord." I Cor. 10:27
This has been the continuous belief of Christianity until the time of the Reformation.

My Patron Saint (Saint for the day) - St. Gerard Majella

16 October

Son of a tailor who died when the boy was 12, leaving the family in poverty. Gerard tried to join the Capuchins, but his health prevented it He was accepted as a Redemptorist lay brother serving his congregation as sacristan, gardener, porter, infirmarian, and tailor. Wonder worker.

When falsely accused by a pregnant woman of being the father of her child, he retreated to silence; she later recanted and cleared him, and thus began his association as patron of all aspects of pregnancy. Reputed to bilocate and read consciences. His last will consisted of the following small note on the door of his cell: "Here the will of God is done, as God wills, and as long as God wills."

23 April 1725 at Muro, Italy

16 October 1755 at Caposele, Italy of tuberculosis

29 January 1893 by Pope Leo XIII

11 December 1904 by Pope Saint Pius X

childbirth; children; expectant mothers; falsely accused people; good confessions; lay brothers; motherhood; mothers; Muro, Italy; pregnant women; pro-life movement; unborn children

Saint for the day - St. Hedwig

Also known as
Eduviges; Eduvijes; Hedwig of Silesia; Hedwig Queen of Poland; Jadwiga

16 October

Daughter of the Duke of Croatia. Aunt of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary. Married Prince Henry I of Silesia and Poland in 1186 at age 12. Mother of seven. Cared for the sick both personally and by founding hospitals. Widow. Upon her husband's death, she gave away her fortune and entered the monastery at Trebnitz.

1174 in Bavaria

October 1243 at Trebnitz

1266 by Pope Clement IV

Bavaria; Berlin, Germany; brides; duchesses; death of children; difficult marriages; diocese of Görlitz, Germany; Silesia; victims of jealousy; widows

Monday, October 15, 2007

Unpardonable Sin?

Are there sins that God cannot pardon? Does not Christ speak of this sin against the Holy Ghost in Matthew 12:31-32?

There is no sin which God cannot and will not pardon. This is evident from the text in 1 Timothy where we read:

"This is good and agreeable in the sight of God our Savior, who wishes all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." 1 Tim. 2:3, 4
St. Matthew, in Chapter 12, is speaking of the Pharisees who attributed the miracle of the curing of the blind and dumb to the devil. We read this in verse 24 of the same chapter:

"But the Pharisees, hearing this, said, 'This man does not cast out devils except by Beelzebub, the prince of devils.'"

The unpardonable sin, then, for the Pharisees and for all people is the willful rejection of the grace of God. Willful rejection means that the sinner refuses to repent despite all the graces God bestows upon him. He will not receive God's pardon because he will not ask for it and will not do what is necessary to obtain it. As long as he remains in this condition, of course he cannot be pardoned.

Saint for the day -St. Teresa of Avila

Also known as
Teresa de Avila; Teresa of Jesus; Teresa Sanchez Cepeda Davila y Ahumada; The Roving Nun; Theresa of Avila

15 October; 27 August (Transverberation of her Heart)

Spanish noble, the daughter of Don Alonso Sanchez de Cepeda and Doña Beatriz. She grew up reading the lives of the saints, and playing at "hermit" in the garden. Crippled by disease in her youth, which led to her being well educated at home, she was cured after prayer to Saint Joseph. Her mother died when Teresa was 12, and she prayed to Our Lady to be her replacement. Her father opposed her entry to religious life, so she left home without telling anyone, and entered a Carmelite house at 17. Seeing her conviction to her call, her father and family consented.

Soon after taking her vows, Teresa became gravely ill, and her condition was aggravated by the inadquate medical help she received; she never fully recovered her health. She began receiving visions, and was examined by Dominicans and Jesuits, including Saint Francis Borgia, who pronounced the visions to be holy and true.

She considered her original house too lax in its rule, so she founded a reformed convent of Saint John of Avila. Founded several houses, often against fierce opposition from local authorities. Mystical writer. Proclaimed a Doctor of the Church on 27 September 1970 by Pope Paul VI.

28 March 1515 as Teresa Sanchez Cepeda Davila y Ahumada at Avila, Castile, Spain

4 October 1582 at Alba de Tormes in the arms of her secretary and close friend Blessed Anne of Saint Bartholomew; body incorrupt; relics preserved at Alba; her heart shows signs of Transverberation (piercing of the heart), and is displayed, too

24 April 1614 by Pope Paul V

12 March 1622 by Pope Gregory XV

bodily ills; headaches; lacemakers; laceworkers; loss of parents; people in need of grace; people in religious orders; people ridiculed for their piety; Pozega, Croatia; sick people; sickness; Spain

nun wearing the habit of a Discalced Carmelite; Carmelite nun with her heart pierced by an arrow held by an angel; Carmelite nun holding a pierced heart, book and crucifix; Carmelite nun with book and quill; Carmelite nun receiving a message from a dove

Friday, October 12, 2007

Sunday Gospel - October 12, 2007

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 17,11-19.

As he continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee.
As he was entering a village, ten lepers met (him). They stood at a distance from him
and raised their voice, saying, "Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!"
And when he saw them, he said, "Go show yourselves to the priests." As they were going they were cleansed.
And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice;
and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan.
Jesus said in reply, "Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine?
Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?"
Then he said to him, "Stand up and go; your faith has saved you."

Feast day of Our Lady of the Pillar

After the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, his apostles began to spread the message he left throughout Israel and shortly thereafter, through the Roman empire. One of these apostles, James the Greater, reportedly traveled as far west as Spain to the village of Saragossa in northeast Spain. While James was there, circa 40 AD, he became disheartened because of the failure of his mission. Tradition holds that while he was deep in prayer, Jesus' Blessed Mother appeared to him and gave him a small wooden statue of herself and a column of jasper wood and instructed him to build a church in her honor, saying: "This place is to be my house, and this image and column shall be the title and altar of the temple that you shall build."

Another version holds that James, praying with his disciples along the banks of the Ebro River, suddenly heard angels singing "Ave Maria" and saw the Blessed Virgin appear standing on a pillar of marble. The Virgin, who still lived among men, asked James to build a chapel there, and promised "to remain at that site until the end of time, so that the grace of God will work omens and marvels through my intercession for those who, in their hour of need, invoked my name."

Our Lady then disappeared, leaving behind the pillar. James and the eight other witnesses dedicated all their effforts to building the church Our Lady had requested. Before the church was finished, James needed to return to Judea. He then ordained one of his disciples to serve as priest, consecrated the chapel, and dedicated it to Santa María del Pilar, or Holy Mary of the Pillar. This was the first church dedicated to honor the Blessed Mother.

After James returned to Jerusalem, he was executed by Herod Agrippa on about 44 AD, the first apostle to be martyred for his faith. Several of his disciples took his body and returned it for final burial in Spain. The local queen, observing several of the miracles performed by James' disciples, converted to Christianity and permitted James' body to be buried in a local field.

Eight centuries later, a cathedral in honor of St. James was erected on the site of his gravesite, rediscovered by a local hermit. The hermit found the burial site after noticing an unusual star formation. The site for the cathedral was thus called Compostela (starry field), and it is a major pilgrimage site to this day.

Pope Clement XII fixed the feast day of Our Lady of the Pillar on October 12, a date that we know today as El Día de La Raza, as it commemorates Columbus' first sighting of American land. In 1984, Pope John Paul II recognized Our Lady of the Pillar as the patron saint of all Hispanic peoples.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Deliver your prayer to St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City

Deliver your Prayer to St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City
Message: Have your prayers delivered directly
to, and read within, one of the
holiest place on Earth, the Saint
Peter's Church in Vatican City. You
may create your own prayer or choose
from the list of traditional and
wholesome prayers.

Please visit this link:


Monday, October 8, 2007

What is the difference between a diocesan priest and a Jesuit priest?

A diocesan priest commits himself to a specific geographical location and promises obedience to the bishop of the (arch)diocese. A priest who belongs to an order, like the Jesuits, commits himself to the special charism of the Religious Order.

Send Your Prayer to the Nativity Church

With the coming of the New Year, the
Franciscan Foundation for the Holy
Land invites you and your loved ones
to send your prayers in time for the
Special Prayer Service to be held at
the Church of the Nativity in
Bethlehem by the Franciscan Fathers in
the Holy Land.

Today is the day to send your prayer
to the Church of the Nativity - the
place where the Virgin Mary gave birth
to our Lord Jesus!

To send your prayers please click here


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Throughout the centuries, millions of
Christian believers have made a
pilgrimage to the Holy Land. They have
prayed for their loved ones at these
Holy Sites and have literally walked
in the 'Footsteps of Jesus'.

The pilgrimage experience of visiting
and praying at the Holy Sites is one
of the greatest spiritual experiences
one can have. It leaves a mark on the
soul of the believer till the day he

We know how much you may wish to come
and pray at these Holy Sites but we
are equally aware of the expense of
travel these days coupled with working
schedule. This special service is in
your honor and in honor of all the
thousands whose prayers we receive
daily; and for all those who are
searching the Spiritual Light of this
Holy Place.

We accept all requests with great
respect and confidence. We know how
important and efficacious the power of
prayer is especially at this Holy
Site. May God Bless You!

Fr. Peter F. Vasko OFM,
President, Franciscan Foundation for
the Holy Land

Please make your friends aware of this
momentous opportunity.

Forward them this e-mail!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Sunday Gospel - October 7, 2007

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 17,5-10.

And the apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith."
The Lord replied, "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to (this) mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you.
Who among you would say to your servant who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, 'Come here immediately and take your place at table'?
Would he not rather say to him, 'Prepare something for me to eat. Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink. You may eat and drink when I am finished'?
Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded?
So should it be with you. When you have done all you have been commanded, say, 'We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.'"

Saint for the day - Faustina Kowalska

Also known as
Elena Kowalska; Faustina Kowalska; Helena Kowalska; Maria Faustina Kowalska; Sister Faustina

5 October

Third of ten children, she attended only three years of school. As a teenager, she worked as a domestic servant for other families. After being rejected by several religious orders, she became a nun in the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Warsaw, Poland on 1 August 1925; the order is devoted to care and education of troubled young women. She changed her name to Sister Maria Faustina of the Most Blessed Sacrament. During her 13 years in various houses, she was a cook, gardener, and porter.

She had a special devotion to Mary Immaculate, to the Sacrament, and to Reconciliation, which led to a deep mystical interior life. She began to have visions, receive revelations, and experience hidden stigmata. She began recording these mystical experiences in a diary; being nearly illiterate, it was written phonetically, without quotation marks or punctuation, and runs to nearly 700 pages. A bad translation reached Rome in 1958, and was labelled heretical. However, when Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II) became Archbishop of Krakow, he was beseiged by requests for a reconsideration. He ordered a better translation made, and Vatican authorities realized that instead of heresy, the work proclaimed God's love. It was published as Divine Mercy in my Soul.

In the 1930's, Sister Faustina received a message of mercy from Jesus that she was told to spread throughout the world, a message of God's mercy to each person individually, and for humanity as a whole. Jesus asked that a picture be painted of him with the inscription: "Jesus, I Trust in You." She was asked to be a model of mercy to others, to live her entire life, in imitation of Christ's, as a sacrifice. She commissioned this painting in 1935, showing a red and a white light shining from Christ's Sacred Heart.

Apostles of Divine Mercy is a movement of priests, religious, and lay people inspired by Faustina's experiences; they spread knowledge of the mystery of Divine Mercy, and invoke God's mercy on sinners. Approved in 1996 by the Archdiocese of Krakow, it has spread to 29 countries.

25 August 1905 at Glogowiec, Poland as Elena (Helena) Kowalska

5 October 1938 at Krakow, Poland of tuberculosis

7 March 1992 by Pope John Paul II

18 April 1993 by Pope John Paul II; her beatification miracle involved the cure of Maureen Digan who suffered Milroy's disease, a hereditary form of lymphedema that cost her a leg

30 April 2000 by Pope John Paul II; her canonization miracle involved the cure of Father Ronald P. Pytel's heart condition

Thursday, October 4, 2007

East or West?

Is the Orthodox Greek Church the same as the Roman Catholic Church?

The Catholic Church is divided geographically into two great divisions, the East and the West. In the East there is a further division of churches into those which are in communion with the Pope and those which are not. Those which are connected with Rome are called "UNIATE," or more correctly, "Eastern CATHOLIC Churches." Those which are not connected with Rome are called Orthodox Churches.

The Greek Church is one of these Eastern Churches, and in Greece, this Church is divided into those who are united with Rome and those who are not. That is, the Catholic Greek Church and the Orthodox Greek Church.

The Orthodox Eastern Churches are divided into many branches and acknowledge the supremacy of five Patriarchs -- Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Cyprus.

In essential matters, the Orthodox Churches believe as the Western Church for the most part. However, they do not accept the authority of the Pope. Their priests are validly ordained and their bishops validly consecrated. Priests are allowed to be married men, provided they marry before they become deacons.

Their liturgy is similar to the Catholic Eastern liturgy, but different from the Western liturgy except in essential parts such as the consecration.

Saint for the day - St. Francis of Assisi

Francis of Assisi

Also known as
Francis Bernardone; il Poverello

4 October

Son of Pietro Bernadone, a rich cloth merchant. Though he had a good education and became part of his father's business, he also had a somewhat misspent youth. Street brawler and some-time soldier. Captured during a conflict between Assisi and Perugia, he spent over a year as a prisoner of war. During this time he had a conversion experience, including a reported message from Christ calling him to leave this worldly life. Upon release, Francis began taking his religion seriously.

He took the Gospels as the rule of his life, Jesus Christ as his literal example. He dressed in rough clothes, begged for his sustenance, and preached purity and peace. His family disapproved, and his father disinherited him; Francis formally renounced his wealth and inheritance. He visited hospitals, served the sick, preached in the streets, and took all men and women as siblings. He began to attract followers in 1209, and with papal blessing, founded the Franciscans based on a simple statment by Jesus: "Leave all and follow me." In 1212 Clare of Assisi became his spiritual student, which led to the founding of the Poor Clares. Visited and preached to the Saracens. Composed songs and hymns to God and nature. Lived with animals, worked with his hands, cared for lepers, cleaned churches, and sent food to thieves. In 1221 he resigned direction of the Franciscans.

While in meditation on Mount Alvernia in the Apennines in September 1224, Francis received the stigmata, which periodically bled during the remaining two years of his life. This miracle has a separate memorial on 17 September.

In the Middle Ages people who believed to be possessed by Beelzebub especially called upon the intercession of Saint Francis, the theory being that he was the demon's opposite number in heaven.

1181 at Assisi, Umbria, Italy as Francis Bernardone

4 October 1226 at Portiuncula, Italy of natural causes; relics in Assisi, Italy

16 July 1228 by Pope Gregory IX

against dying alone; against fire; animal welfare societies; animals; Assisi Italy; birds; Catholic Action; Colorado; archdiocese of Denver Colorado; dying alone; ecologists; ecology; environment; environmentalism; environmentalists; families; fire; Franciscan Order; Freising, Germany; Italy; diocese of Kottapuram, India; lacemakers; laceworkers; diocese of Lancaster, England; Massa, Italy; merchants; diocese of Metuchen, New Jersey; Nambe Indian Pueblo; needle workers; peace; Quibdo, Choco, Colombia; diocese of Salina, Kansas; archdiocese of San Francisco California; San Pawl il-Bahar, Malta; Sante Fe New Mexico; archdiocese of Sante Fe New Mexico; Sorbo, Italy; tapestry workers; zoos

birds; deer; fish; lamb; skull; stigmata; wolf

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Saint for the Day - St. Clare of Assisi

11 August (formerly 12 August)
23 September feast of the finding of her body
3 October feast of her first translation, celebrated within the Poor Clares

Daughters of a count and countess. Her father died young. After hearing Saint Francis of Assisi preach in the streets, she confided to him her desire to live for God, the two became close friends. On Palm Sunday 1212 the bishop presented her with a palm, which she apparently took as a sign. Clare and her cousin Pacifica ran away from her mother's palace during the night. She eventually took the veil of religious profession from Francis at the Church of Our Lady of the Angels in Assisi.

Founded the Order of Poor Ladies (Poor Clares) at San Damiano, and led it for 40 years. Everywhere the Franciscans established themselves throughout Europe, there also went the Poor Clares, depending solely on alms, forced to have complete faith on God to provide through people; a lack of land-based revenues was a new idea at the time. Clare's mother and sisters later joined the order, and there are still thousands of members living lives of prayer in silence.

Clare loved music and well-composed sermons. She was humble, merciful, charming, optimistic, and chivalrous. She would get up late at night to tuck in her sisters who'd kicked off their covers. She daily meditated on the Passion. When she learned of the Franciscan martyrs in Morrocco in 1221, she tried to go there to give her own life for God, but was restrained. Once when her convent was about to be attacked, she displayed the Sacrament in a monstrace at the convent gates, and prayed before it; the attackers left.

Toward the end of her life, when the was too ill to attend Mass, an image of the service would display on the wall of her cell; thus her patronage of television. She was ever the close friend and spiritual student of Francis, who apparently led her soul into the light.

16 July 1194 at Assisi, Italy

11 August 1253 of natural causes

26 September 1255 by Pope Alexander IV

Name Meaning
bright; brilliant

embroiderers; eye disease; eyes; gilders; goldsmiths; gold workers; good weather; laundry workers; needle workers; Santa Clara Indian Pueblo; telegraphs; telephones; television; television writers

host; monstrance; woman with a monstrance in her hand

Saint for the day -Gerard of Brogne

3 October

Belgian noblility; son of Stance and Plectrude. Raised in a military atmosphere. Courtier to the Count of Namur. Disappointed by court life, and ashamed of the many privileges he received from his family and military post, Gerard realized that he was called to the monastic life.

He found Belgian monasteries too lax in their discipline. While visiting France in 917 on a mission from the Count, Gerard decided the life of the monks of Saint Denis was right for him. He settled his worldly affairs, and took vows at the monastery. There Gerard became an example to other monks in following the Rule, and in his devotion to prayer. His life, and his encouragement of the brothers, helped Saint Denis becoming an example for monasteries throughout Europe.

Ordained, but wrestled with feelings of inadequacy as a priest. After 11 years, the abbot asked Gerard to return home to form a monastery there. Abbot of the new monastery, he soon gained renown for his strict observance of the Benedictine Rule. This led many religious and political leaders to request that he reform monasteries throughout Flanders, Lorraine, and Champagne. Near the end of his life Gerard returned to the monastery he built, and spent the rest of his life there in solitude and prayer.

c.895 at Staves, Namur, Belgium

3 October 959 at Brogne, Belgium

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Feast of Guardian Angels

2 October; first Sunday in September (in Germany)

The term guardian angels refers to the belief that each soul has an angel who is available to shepherd the soul through life, and help bring them to God.

Belief in the reality of angels, their mission as messengers of God, and man's interaction with them, goes back to the earliest times. Cherubim kept Adam and Eve from slipping back into Eden; angels saved Lot and helped destroy the cities of the plains; in Exodous Moses follows an angel, and at one point an angel is appointed leader of Israel. Michael is mentioned at several points, Raphael figures large in the story of Tobit, and Gabriel delivered the Annunciation of the coming of Christ.

The concept of each soul having a personal guardian angel, is also an ancient one, and long accepted by the Church:
See that you despise not one of these little ones [children]: for I say to you, that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. - Jesus, Matthew 18:10

How great the dignity of the soul, since each one has from his birth an angel commissioned to guard it. - Saint Jerome in his commentary on Matthew

Are they not all ministering spirits, sent to minister for them, who shall receive the inheritance of salvation? - Hebrews 1:14
The feast, celebrating the angels who helped bring us to God, began in many local calendars centuries ago, and was widley known by the 16th century. Pope Paul V placed a feast venerating the angels on the general calendar on 27 September 1608. Ferdinand of Austria requested that it be extended to all areas in the Holy Roman Empire. Initially placed after the feast of Michael the Archangel, it was seen as a kind of supplement to that date. Pope Clement X elevated the feast, celebrated 2 October, to an obligatory double for the whole Church. On 5 April 1883, Pope Leo XIII raised the feast to the rank of a double major.

diocese of Gary, Indiana, Spanish police officers

Monday, October 1, 2007

Saint for the Day - St. Therese of Lisieux

Also known as
Teresa of the Infant Jesus; Therese of the Child Jesus; the Little Flower; the Little Flower of Jesus

1 October

Born to a middle-class French family. Her father, Louis, was a watchmaker, her mother, who died of cancer when Therese was 4, was a lace maker, and both have been declared Venerable by the Church. Cured from an illness at age eight when a statue of the Blessed Virgin smiled at her. Carmelite nun at age 15. Defined her path to God and holiness as "The Little Way," which consisted of love and trust in God. At the direction of her spiritual director, and against her wishes, she dictated her famed autobiography Story of a Soul. Many miracles attributed to her. Declared a Doctor of the Church in 1997 by Pope John Paul II.

"For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy." - Saint Therese of Lisieux

2 January 1873 at Alcon, Normandy, France

7pm Thursday 30 September 1897 at Lisieux, France of tuberculosis

14 August 1921 by Pope Benedict XV

29 April 1923 by Pope Pius XI

17 May 1925 by Pope Pius XI

African missions; AIDS sufferers; air crews; aircraft pilots; archdiocese of Anchorage, Alaska; Australia; aviators; Belgian air crews; black missions; bodily ills; diocese of Cheyenne, Wyoming; diocese of Fairbanks, Alaska; diocese of Fresno, California; diocese of Juneau, Alaska; diocese of Pueblo, Colorado; florists; flower growers; foreign missions; France; illness; diocese of Kisumu, Kenya; loss of parents; missionaries; parish missions; restoration of religious freedom in Russia; Russia; sick people; sickness; Spanish air crews; tuberculosis; diocese of Witbank, South Africa

roses; Discalced Carmelite nun holding a bunch of roses; nun with roses at her feet

Raphael the Archangel

Also known as
Azariah; Angel of Love; Angel of Joy

29 September; formerly 24 October

Archangel. One of the three angels mentioned by name in Scripture, and one of the seven that stand before God's throne. Lead character in the deutero-canonical book of Tobit in which he travelled with (and guarded) Tobiah, and cured a man's blindness; hence his connection with travellers, young people, blindness, healing and healers. Traditionally considered the force behind the healing power of the sheep pool mentioned in John 5:1-4.



Name Meaning
God has healed or Healer of God

against nightmares; apothecaries; blind people; bodily ills; doctors; druggists; archdiocese of Dubuque, Iowa; eye disease; eye problems; guardian angels; happy meetings; insanity; love; lovers; mental illness; mentally ill people; nightmares, against; nurses; pharmacists; physicians; archdiocese of Seattle, Washington; shepherdesses; shepherds; sick people; sickness; travellers; young people

angel holding a bottle or flask; angel walking with Tobias; archangel; young man carrying a fish; young man carrying a staff

Gabriel the Archangel

Also known as
Fortitudo Dei

29 September (formerly 24 March)

Archangel. Messenger of God. One of the three angels mentioned by name in the Bible. Appeared to the prophet Daniel to explain the prophet's visions relating to the Messiah. (Daniel 8:16-26; 9:21) Appeared to Zachary in the temple to announce the coming of Zachary's son, John the Baptist, and to strike Zachary mute for his disbelief. (Luke 1:11-20) Appeared to Mary to let her know she'd been selected to bear the Saviour. (Luke 1:25-38)

not applicable


Name Meaning
God is my strength; God is mighty; strong man of God; the strength of God

Argentinian ambassadors; broadcasters; clergy; communications workers; diplomats; messengers; philatelists; Portugal; post offices; postal services; postal workers; radio; radio workers; archdiocese of Seattle, Washington; secular clergy; stamp collectors; telecommunications workers; telegraphs; telephones; television; television workers

lily; shield; spear; trumpet

Michael the Archangel

29 September
8 May - Apparition of Saint Michael and Protector of Cornwall

Archangel. Leader of the army of God during the Lucifer uprising. Devotion is common to Muslims, Christians and Jews with writings about him in all three cultures. Considered the guardian angel of Israel.

The feast of the Apparition of Saint Michael commemorates the 6th century appearance of the archangel on Mount Gargano near Manfredonia in southern Italy. Michael requested a church built in his honor at the site. If you find medals or holy cards with 'relics' of Michael, they are probably rock chips from the cave, or pieces of cloth that have touched it.

not applicable



Name Meaning
Who is like God? (the battle cry of the heaven forces during the uprising)

against temptations; ambulance drivers; artists; bakers; bankers; banking; Basey, Samar, Philippines; battle; boatmen; Brecht, Belgium; Brussels, Belgium; Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico; Caltanissett, Sicily; Castel Madama, Italy; Cerveteri, Italy; diocese of Coimbatore, India; Congregation of Saint Michael the Archangel; coopers; Cornwall, England; danger at sea; Dormagen, Germany; Dunakeszi, Hungary; dying people; emergency medical technicians; EMTs; England; fencing; Germany; Greek Air Force; greengrocers; grocers; haberdashers; hatmakers; hatters; holy death; Iklin, Malta; diocese of Iligan, Philippines; knights; mariners; milleners; archdiocese of Mobile, Alabama; Naranjito, Puerto Rico; Papua, New Guinea; paramedics; paratroopers; diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee, Florida; police officers; Puebla, Mexico; radiologists; radiotherapists; sailors; diocese of San Angelo, Texas; San Miguel de Allende, Mexico; Sant'Angelo Romano, Italy; Saracinesco, Italy; archdiocese of Seattle, Washington; security forces; security guards; Sibenik, Croatia; sick people; Siegburg Abbey; soldiers; Spanish police officers; diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts; storms at sea; swordsmiths; Umbria, Italy; watermen; Zeitz, Germany

banner; dragon; scales; sword