Serendipity

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About ten years ago I came across a wonderful place online that I immediately longed to visit.  The National Shrine of the Infant Jesus of Prague was in Oklahoma, though— too far from home to just drop by one afternoon— so I did the next best thing.

Way better than Calgon, technology can have us there quicker than one can say, “Take me awaaay!” so I clicked on the link to the shrine’s website and imagined myself there.

Serendipity

On our drive back from Wisconsin last October, Steven changed our route on a whim.  I doubt he even knew why; but we agreed that it would save us time, something we desperately needed, since we’d both been under the weather the entire trip, me with awful nosebleeds that only South Texas sunshine could remedy.  I was sure of that!

Feeling light-headed, I mostly drifted in and out of my wishfulness to be home; so I entertained myself by comparing and contrasting places we drove through, memorizing landforms and landmarks, figuring we wouldn’t be that way again.

Then I saw it!

I couldn’t believe my eyes.  A sign announcing the National Shrine of the Infant Jesus of Prague?!!  Oh, my gosh!  I wasn’t wearing my glasses, but I knew I’d read the sign correctly as we’d zipped past it on my right.

Steven wasn’t feeling well at all, so I didn’t want to impose on him by insisting on a detour.  Still, without emotion or expectation, containing myself as much as possible, I quietly muttered, “We just passed a sign to the National Shrine of the Infant Jesus.”

I said nothing more, resumed my koala bear existence, and took in the scenery as I immersed myself in NPR’s political commentary once again.

Okay, I thought.  Another time, maybe.  Right now we just need to get home.

And then, much later on, Steven took an exit.

“Where are we going?  Is something wrong?” I asked.

We were headed to Prague, Oklahoma.

Wowza!  Another long-held, heartfelt wish come true!  I could hardly wait!

St. Wenceslaus Church

Of course, as we’ve discovered during our travels, a shrine is usually, though not always, within a church that serves the parish.  In Chicago, for instance, the Dominican Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus is at St. Pius V, while the Claretian St. Jude Shrine is at Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Similarly, the National Shrine of the Infant Jesus of Prague is housed within St. Wenceslaus, though, really, they are one and the same, wholly synonymous as a singular sacred space for parishioners and visitors alike.

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Letters to Fr. Long Phan

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Prayers

Dearest Christ-child, O divine child, O thou lovely Jesus mine, see thy children would invite thee; come into these hearts of thine.  Yes, we know thy place and grandeur, though thou be but weak and small; for we say with deep assurance, thou art Savior of us all.

Powerful novena…  O Jesus who has said, “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened,” through the intercession of Mary, your most holy mother, I knock, I seek, I ask that my prayer be granted.  (State your request.)

O Jesus who has said, “All that you ask of the Father in my name, he will grant you,” through the intercession of Mary, your most holy mother, I humbly and urgently ask your Father, in your name, that my prayer will be granted.  (State your request.)

O Jesus who has said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away but my word shall not pass away,” through the intercession of Mary, your most holy mother, I feel confident that my prayer will be granted.  (State your request.)

This novena can be recited at the same time every hour for nine consecutive hours— just one day— or once daily for nine days.

Thanksgiving…  Divine Infant Jesus, I know you love me and would never leave me.  I thank you for your close presence in my life.

Miraculous Infant, I believe in your promise of peace, blessings, and freedom from want.  I place every need and care in your hands.

Lord Jesus, may I always trust in your generous mercy and love.  I want to honor and praise you now and forever.  Amen.

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Contact information

Thanks to Cathy Saccente from St. Mary of Victories Church in St. Louis, MO for the booklet, Novena to the Infant Jesus of Prague (Reverend Harry E. Stitz, 1945), from which I took both the Christ-child rhyme and the novena; and to Sister at the Carmelite Monastery in Goonellabah, Australia for the Relic of the True Crib prayer card.

February 6, 2017

A soul of holiness does not strive for that holiness.  It strives to love, to love wholeheartedly; there lies the difference….  The simple soul loves; that is all (Raoul Plus, SJ in Holy Simplicity).

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Links of interest…  Calgon (commercial)…  Child Jesus: aboutchaplet (more) / devotion / feast / infancy & childhood / meditations / miracles (books) / novena / of good health / photos / questions & answers / reverence / shrine / solemnity…  Holy Infant of Prague: about / artifacts / chaplet / devotion / feast / history / league / novena / of good health (more) / petitions / prayers…  How you & your kids can “become like children”…  National Shrine of the Infant Jesus (Prague, OK): facebook / gentle travelswebsite / YouTube…  NPR…  Practice of the presence of God…  Real mystics love Jesus…  Santo Niño de Atocha: about / chapel / history / miracles / origin / prayers / story (more)…  Santo Niño de Cebú: basilica / feast (more) / history / homily / novena / origin / prayerssong…  St. Wenceslaus: about (more) / king & martyr (more) / memorial (more) / prayer (more) / profile / professing faith / song (about – lyrics – more) / story

WP posts…  Budding relationships…  Celebrations…  Christmas year ’round…  Connected tangents…  Faith and prayer…  Forever grateful…  God’s loving mercy…  Making meaning…  On being Christian…  Pink divinity…  Promise of hope…  Santo Niño…  St. Anthony Claret…  Sweet Jesus…  Venerable Margaret

Sunday morning visit

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I’m grateful for having found St. Mary of Victories (SMV) online because God planted the seed thentwo or three years ago, that he harvested today.  His playfulness is uplifting.  I’ve learned that listening to the voice leads me to discover the Holy Infant waiting for me.  His peek-a-boo antics are delightful.  Most of all, I love that God places wonderful folks on my faith journey (My email to Cathy and Bill Saccente, parishioners, who welcomed us sweetly before nine o’clock Mass; 10.9.16, edited).

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Call of service

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Outdoor scenes

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Parish hall

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About the church

After Mass, Max Kaiser, acolyte and lector who serves at St. Mary of Victories “most of the time,” spoke to us about the church and, afterwards, shared a bit of family history and service to the community (October 9, 2016; transcribed audio recording, edited).

smv10916-24This church was dedicated to our Blessed Mother.  It was the first ethnic parish of the archdiocese established by the Old Cathedral in 1843 by the Germans who immigrated to the United States in large numbers.  It was the home for the Maronite community when they came over in 1890s and established
St. Raymond’s Maronite Cathedral here.  And it was yet a third spiritual home to the Hungarian expatriates who fled the Communist revolution of Hungary in 1955 and 1956.  Today it is an indulgence church.  You’ll note that the altar was dedicated with the consecration by Pope Leo XIII [1878-1903], granting a plenary indulgence.  That means [that,] at the time of death, if an individual is in a state of grace and makes a worthy Holy Communion, they get four hundred days’ remission off their stay in purgatory.  And that is a specific request by Leo XIII to this specific church.

One of the other things I might note is [that the church] was consecrated at the behest of Pope Pius IX… in 1866.  That’s why we have the brass candelabra on the wall.  Archbishop Peter Richard Kenrick [1843-1895] anointed each pillar with chrism oil— the oil of kings and bishops— to consecrate and dedicate this church formally to Roman Catholic worship and to no other purpose.

Consecrations are specifically governed by canon law.  They are not easily bestowed; they are not easily revoked.  We’ve had twenty-six consecrated churches in the archdiocese.  In the three-hundred-year history of the diocese, only one has been closed; and it took twenty-six years for the Vatican to lift the consecration of St. Liborius Church on Hogan and Market [North 18th Street], which some of you may remember.

You may also be interested to know about these triangular reliquaries and the large red ones and other relics we have embedded in the altars.  We are the third largest repository of relics in the archdiocese after both cathedrals and the CSJ motherhouse.  That’s the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet down on [Holly Hills] and Minnesota Avenue and, itself, worth a visit to see the remarkable chapel where they have the body of a child saved from Roman times entombed.

You’ll also notice the wonderful organ we have in the back choir loft built in 1856 by [?] Jacob Pfeiffer.  And, immediately above it, we have the crest of Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Ratzinger, the first German pope in seven-hundred years.  As the first German church of the diocese, we’re honoring him [by using], at his request, the emblem of his office using a mitre rather than the tiara which is on Pope St. John Paul II’s coat of arms here.

As an overture ecumenically to our East Orthodox brethren, he switched to the mitre for his coat of arms and incorporated elements of his see in Munich-Freising, Germany that he was promoted by them to become pope.  And, having ancestors from Bavaria, that means a little something to me.

The stained-glass windows were made between 1846 and 1896 by two firms: the Hoffman Company and the Emil Frei Art Glass Company.  The Hoffman Company went out of business in 1890; the Emil Frei Art Glass Company is still in business.  And you might have seen the article in the Post-Dispatch last week on Erin and Nicholas Frei who have been down to this church as visitors along with their dad and granddad, Robert Frei, who was the gentleman who inherited the studio from Emil Frei, Sr., himself a Bavarian immigrant who came first from San Francisco in the 1890s, then to St. Louis and really developed the art of stained glass for Roman Catholic, Lutheran, evangelical, and many other denominational churches.

And the thing that means something here also is [that] these pews, this remarkable communion rail, that baptismal font were all fabricated along with most of the altars by Professor Maximilian Schneiderhahn.  And, even though Maximilian is my first name, we are not related.

He was the first liturgical artist brought from Germany by Archbishop Kenrick to make church interiors for Catholic churches that were being built.  This was his first church interior; St. Pius V on South Grand Avenue was his last.  And he worked in stone, wood, marble, plaster, all sorts of media.  He made these pews in 1846.  He made that baptismal font in 1834.  More than fifteen-thousand people have been baptized.  And, our most recent addition, in terms of liturgical history, is the statue made of Father [now] Blessed Francis Seelos, a nineteenth-century Bavarian priest, in the Vatican statuary foundry in Italy.  I was privileged to uncrate it twelve years ago.

We also have a copy of Blessed Francis Seelos’s death mask on the side altar.  You’re welcome to take a look at it.  We have a portion of his sternum bone, which is locked in our safe in one of the reliquaries that honors him.  And we’re hoping the second miracle gets validated so he can be canonized— the second saint in the metro St. Louis area after Mother Philippine Rose Duchesne.

The church is remarkably churched.  As I said, it’s a granddaddy of all the ethnic parishes of the archdiocese, of all nationalities.  It is especially loved by many of the Marian Catholics in the St. Louis area.  And the Germans, the Hungarians, and the Lebanese all revere this church.  St. Raymond’s, even though it’s Maronite Rite, is very supportive of our continuance.

Something the guys and gals in this day and age might want to know, is [that] the archdiocese allows churches like ours that are historic to be open for Catholic weddings from Catholics outside parish boundaries.  Many of you grew up in the suburbs and, if you choose to hold your wedding here, you can.  And you can even bring your own priest, if you so choose.

Father Harrison, who is our chaplain— we are a chapel of ease of the archdiocese— will do the final paperwork; but the priest who will marry you will have responsibility for the preparation and the actual ceremony.  And we’ve done that many times.

I invite you to walk around and see all the remarkable artworks in the church.  And, when you realize that this church is 174 years old, in this type of condition, it’s pretty obvious Our Lord wants St. Mary of Victories Church to continue.

So, welcome, and thank you all for coming today.

Max is a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre, an honor bestowed on him by Cardinal Ratzinger for his part in preserving historic churches.

smv10916-23My dad, my uncle, and, to a lesser extent, myself were German liturgical craftsmen who fabricated and plated the bronze, gold, and silver textures in the churches for the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Episcopal, Lutheran, and some of the Reform churches.  Many of the Reform churches use rather notable metal ware, believe it or not.  We’ve had our business for more than 118 years.

[My dad and my uncle] volunteered down here in the 1930’s, [and] I’m glad to keep the tradition going.  I really like the German, the Hungarian, [and] the Lebanese who settled this church because… they [were] more flexible.  You could join the parish even if you weren’t that ancestry, [and] now we have all nationalities represented.

Come back anytime and have a great visit.

Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos, CSsR

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Prayer from SMV church bulletin

Our heavenly Father, long ago you inspired our… forefathers in the faith to raise this beautiful house of prayer and sacrifice in honor of your Son’s most holy mother, Our Lady of Victories.  Your providence then brought many… here under the co-patronage of this holy king, St. Stephen.  We humbly place before you today the spiritual and temporal needs of our historic church and its present-day community.  Grant us the grace to discern your holy will and to fulfill it zealously as faithful witnesses to the gospel here in the old heart of our city for as long as it may please your divine majesty.

St. Mary of Victories, pray for us.  St. Stephen of Hungary, pray for us.  In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

November 9, 2016

“The world tells us to seek success, power, and money; God tells us to seek humility, service, and love” (Pope Francis).

December 15, 2016

The Christian heart has always known Mary as the essence of compassion and love, to whom man can turn with particular and unreserved confidence.  This is expressed so well by the intimate name that was given her from the beginning, the name of mother (Fr. Romano Guardini in The Rosary of Our Lady).

March 5, 2017

Mother Mary is right there with us, granting her graces and lovingly pushing us forth— always towards her son, Jesus, so that we will be able to continue each day to put one foot in front of the other to walk in faith (Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle in Our Lady of Fatima).

June 1, 2017

“For our leader, the Divine Word, does not demand a strong body and beautiful countenance or high and noble birth, but a pure soul well-grounded in holiness”
(St. Justin Martyr).

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Links of interest…  Adoremus…  Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos: about / biography
(more) / healernational shrine (more) / prayersprofileten tips / wonderworker…  Catholic community doesn’t look the same for everyone…  Criticism of Pope Francis rooted in misunderstanding of Vatican II: parts one, two, & three…  Desacrilized churches…  Hidden heart of Catholic St. Louis…  I love the Mass, imperfect as it is…  Palm Sunday (2016)…  Scapulars: Just another weird Catholic thing…  Spirit of 79: The number of Americans proposed for sainthood…  St. Louis Mass mob: aboutfacebook…  St. Mary of Victories: about / archdiocese page / early historyfacebook (landmark) / help save the churchmediaphotos / relicswebsite…  St. Stephen: about / Aug 16 / devotion to Mary / Hungarian apostlememorial / prayerprofile / quote…  Ten ways you can love Mother Mary…  Why I wear a brown scapular / sacramentals aren’t Catholic superstition

WP posts…  Comforting thought…  Faces of Mary…  Familiar yet new…  Mary’s miraculous medal…  Mary’s seven joys…  Marytown shrine…  Old cathedral…  St. Mary Cathedral…  St. Mary revisited…  St. Mary’s

Marytown shrine

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After exploring Mundelein that very frigid morning, Martha, Steven, and I drove a little more than two miles— just seven minutes— to the National Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe and arrived in perfect time for noon Mass.  We were beside ourselves with joy!

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Prayers

Immaculata, queen and mother of the Church, I renew my consecration to you this day and for always so that you may use me for the coming of the kingdom of Jesus in the whole world.  To this end I offer you all my prayers, actions, and sacrifices of this day.  Amen.

Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you and for all those who do not have recourse to you, especially the enemies of holy Church and all those recommended to you.  Amen.

O God, who gave the Church and the world the priest and martyr, St. Maximilian Kolbe, burning with love for the Immaculate Virgin Mary and with apostolic zeal for souls and heroic love of neighbor, graciously grant through his intercession that, striving for your glory by eagerly serving others, we may be conformed even until death to your son who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.  Amen (Companions of St. Anthony, 2016).

Our Lady of Czestochowa…  Mother of God, immaculate Mary, to you do I dedicate my body and soul, all my prayers and deeds, my joys and sufferings, all that I am, and all that I have.

With a joyful heart I surrender myself to your bondage of love.

To you will I devote my services of my own free will for the salvation of mankind and for the help of the holy Church whose mother you are.

From now on my only desire is to do all things with you, through you, and for you.  I know I can accomplish nothing by my own strength, whereas you can do everything that is the will of your son and you are always victorious.  Grant, therefore, helper of the faithful, that my family, parish, and homeland might become in truth the kingdom where you reign with your son.  Amen.

Quotes from St. Maximilian Kolbe

The most deadly poison of our times is indifference.  And this happens, although the praise of God should know no limits.  Let us strive, therefore, to praise him to the greatest extent of our powers.

Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much.  You can never love her more than Jesus did.

No one in the world can change truth.  What we can do and should do is to seek truth and to serve it when we have found it.

“Prayer is powerful beyond limits when we turn to the Immaculata who is queen even of God’s heart.”

August 4, 2016

How sweet and full of comfort are the moments spent before the Blessed Sacrament.  Are you in trouble?  Come and throw yourself at his feet
(St. John Vianney).

August 5, 2016

Man has a noble task: that of prayer and love.  To pray and love, that is the happiness of man on earth (St. John Vianney).

August 18, 2016

“The guest of our soul knows our misery; he comes to find an empty tent within us— that is all he asks” (St. Thérèse of Lisieux).

August 22, 2016

“God placed Mary far above all the angels and saints and so filled her with every heavenly grace from his own divine treasury so that her innocence and holiness exceeded every creature but God himself” (Pope Pius IX).

October 28, 2016

From Mary we learn to surrender to God’s will in all things.  From Mary we learn to trust even when all hope seems gone (St. John Paul II).

December 15, 2016

I will not allow myself to be so absorbed in the whirlwind of work as to forget about God.  I will spend all my free moments at the feet of the master hidden in the Blessed Sacrament (St. Faustina Kowalska).

December 23, 2016

I hope that your example attracts many souls to the adoration of Jesus Christ who is present on the altar to be of comfort and hope to those who confide in him with faith and love; they look on him as the Emmanuel, God with us, who wished to dwell among us: his heart in our heart (Pope St. John Paul II).

December 26, 2016

Make a visit to the tabernacle.  Much more will follow.  God will make limitless poetry out of the prose of your life, and he will renew the face of the earth, beginning with your little corner (Editors of Servant Books, A Eucharistic Christmas).

April 18, 2017

Suffering gives you the opportunity to grow.  Your trials give you a gift: the opportunity to become the person you always wanted to become.  A holier person.  A more patient person.  A person who endures.  A person who is kinder.  A person who is more merciful (Jeff Cavins in When You Suffer).

August 12, 2017

“The martyrs of love suffer infinitely more in remaining in this life so as to serve God, than if they died a thousand times over in testimony to their faith, their love, and their fidelity” (St. Jane Frances de Chantal).

August 14, 2017

“For Jesus Christ I am prepared to suffer still more” (St. Maximilian Kolbe).

I am a Catholic priest from Poland.  I would like to take his place because he has a wife and children (St. Maximilian Kolbe, to the commandant at Auschwitz).

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Adoration & Mass: Marytown chapel schedule

Links of interest…  Black Madonna shrine & grottos (more)…  Come, pray the rosary (virtual)…  Enter the world of devotion to Mary…  How a radical atheist became a Catholic priest…  Life for life (movie)…  Marytown: about / chapel live streaming (Mass & adoration) / facebook / video…  Mission of the Immaculata (Niepokalanów)…  Practice of silence for lay people…  Prayer library…  Spiritual reflections…  St. Maximilian Kolbe: 9 things to know (more) / about (more) / biography (more) / Conventual Franciscan / lessons from / martyr of charity (booklet) / moral heropoor weaver’s son / prayers: consecrationfreedom from addictionnovena / priest & martyrprofile (more) / quotes / relics / saint of Auschwitz / story (anecdote) / timeline / writings (Immaculate Conception – more)…  Tune into silence…  Why the Jasna Góra Shrine is one the most popular pilgrimage destinations in Poland (scars on the image)…

WP posts…  Call of service…  Honoring Joselito  Lady of sorrows…  Lourdes novenas…  Marian devotions…  May flowers…  Today’s beatitudes…  Twelve candles

Venerating St. Anthony

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Three weeks ago Steven and I met up again with Fr. Mario Conte, OFM Conventual from the Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua, Italy and Tom Muscatello, USA liaison from St. Adalbert Friary in Elmhurst, NY, and picked up right where we left off almost three years ago at St. Anthony’s in Rockford, IL, June 14, 2013.

Meeting Abelardo

SAP61413-119What gorgeous grounds!  I had no idea that Illinois could produce such green grass and beautiful plants, so— catching sight of the gardener— I walked a good distance to where he was and thanked him for making my day.  In turn, Abelardo, who hails from Michoacán, Mexico, expressed his heartfelt gratitude for the opportunity to do what he loves.  Then, in the middle of our lovely conversation, Steven called out that Mass would start soon so off I went after our cordial goodbyes.

Greeting Fr. Mario

SAP61413-137I looked quite disheveled on entering church.  I hadn’t even combed my hair!  But there was Steven pushing past my I’m-not-ready moments.

“Look, there’s Fr. Mario.  Here’s your chance.  Go talk to him.”

I felt even more pressured when Steven walked up to Fr. Mario and they both turned to look at me.

Oh, my gosh!  What could I do but smile? 

I was so glad to finally meet Fr. Mario that I quickly forgot my appearance, and we’ve been in each other’s thoughts and prayers ever since.

Venerating St. Anthony

During Mass Fr. Mario welcomed Steven and me as “the two who traveled the farthest, all the way from Texas” to be among the faithful venerating St. Anthony’s first-class relics that evening.  We felt so very specially blessed.

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Prayers

Good St. Anthony, in God’s providence you have secured for his people many marvelous favors.  You have been especially celebrated, good
St. Anthony, for your goodness to the poor and the hungry, for finding employment for those seeking it, for your special care of those who travel, and for keeping safe from harm all who must be away from home.

You are widely known also, good St. Anthony, for securing peace in the family, for your delicate mercy in finding lost things, for safe delivery of messages, and for your concern for women in childbirth.

In honoring you, St. Anthony, for the many graces our Lord grants through your favor, we trustfully and confidently ask your aid in our present need.

V.  Pray for us, good St. Anthony.
R.  That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray…  May it be a source of joy, O God, to your Church that we honor the memory of your confessor and doctor, St. Anthony.  May his spiritual help always make us strong; and, by his assistance, may we enjoy an eternal reward.  This we ask through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord.  Amen.

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Contact information

You can reach the Anthonian Association of the Friends of St. Anthony of Padua by mail at 101 Saint Anthony Drive, Mount Saint Francis, IN 47146-9001.  Or you can call 1.812.923.6356 (fax 1.812.923.3200), if you prefer.  The staff is very friendly!

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Links of interest…  Day I made a batch of relics…  Friar Mario: meditations (videos) – relics visit / Messenger of St. Anthony (editorials) / St. Anthony USA (petitions; portal to Italian website)…  Four quick facts about relics…  Help from heaven…  Holy relics (first-class – more – venerating: how & why)…  Miracles…  Nine Tuesdays devotion…  Si quaeris miracula…  St. Anthony: about (more) / “ark of the covenant” (index – more) / biography / for peace of mind / glorious feast day / mail deliveries (S.A.G.) / miracles & traditions / shrine / thanksgiving (pdf) / wonder worker…  St. Anthony of Padua Church: diocesan page / parishes online / St. Joseph altars / video (100th anniversary) / website…  St. Bonaventure (more) / about (more) / archive (more) / bishop & cardinal / memorial / patron (more) / prayer (liturgy archive – more – praying with) / sayings…  What’s the story with relics…  YouTube: Hymn to St. Anthony of Padua (composed by Father Ike Carpio, OFM+; sung by Brother Ariel Manga, OFM) & Si quaeris miracula (sung by Padre Maurizio nella Basilica di San Francesco a Bologna)…

WP page…  Words to ponder (January 9, 2013 & other related entries)

WP posts…  Advent prayers…  Budding relationships…  Christ’s passion…  Franciscan experience…  Franciscan treasures…  Holy relics…  Making meaning…  My Franciscan Crown…  Prayer…  Recollections…  Saint of miracles…  Si quaeris miracula…  Soulful…  St. Anthony…  St. Anthony chaplets…  St. Felix…  Tony’s big day

Recollections

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Thanks to Fr. Mario Conte from the Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua, Italy and Tom Muscatello, USA liaison at St. Adalbert Franciscan Friary in Elmhurst, NY, St. Anthony’s relics are visiting Texas later this month.

Recollections

TM2216-StAWhat a worthwhile endeavor that promises to be, considering that the extraordinary recollections (blog entries shared below) from our January 14, 2013 experience are still as fresh as this morning’s news.  And, yes.  We’ve already made plans to attend!

From “Words to ponder”

Fr. Mario visited the United States with two St. Anthony relics to commemorate the 750th anniversary of St. Bonaventure’s discovery of St. Anthony’s remains.  So how could we possibly pass that up?

We caught up to him (them) at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Rockford, only an hour and thirty-eight minutes— not quite eighty-eight miles— northwest of Chicago.  And, oh, the photo opportunities!

From “Holy relics”

When Steven learned that Father Mario from the Basilica in Italy would be in Illinois, he quickly made plans for us to attend Mass and the veneration of St. Anthony’s first-class relics at St. Anthony of Padua Church.  And we had a phenomenal time!

Father Mario captivated all of us with wonderful stories about St. Anthony and gifted many of us with relics touched to St. Anthony’s tongue.  The reliquary on the left holds part of St. Anthony’s floating rib; the one on the right, tissue from inside his cheek.

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Then, before Father Mario retired for the evening, he did something totally unexpected: He blessed Steven and me with the small reliquary!

We were so taken with Father Mario that I wanted to bring him home with us!  But he had places to go and people to see.  After all, building community within God’s kingdom is what traveling with St. Anthony is all about!

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Prayers

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Contact information

Short Prayers for “Thirteen Tuesdays” and the prayer cards are from the Anthonian Association of the Friends of St. Anthony of Padua, 101 Saint Anthony Drive, Mount St. Francis, IN 47146-9001.

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Links of interest…  Friar Mario: meditations (videos) – relics visit (Houston 2016) / Messenger of St. Anthony (editorials) / St. Anthony USA (petitions; portal to Italian website) / wallpapers & images…  He dwells among us…  Help from heaven…  Let prayer bring peace to your soul…  Miracles…  Nine Tuesdays devotion…  Pray to God in secret…  Prayer: inward / more / paradox of holiness & communion / point / sure path to freedom…  Si quaeris miracula…  Sound of silence…  St. Anthony: about (more) / “ark of the covenant” (index – more) / biography / for peace of mind / glorious feast day / mail deliveries (S.A.G.) / miracles & traditions / shrine / thanksgiving (pdf) / wonder worker…  St. Bonaventure…  What’s the story with relics…  YouTube: Hymn to St. Anthony of Padua (composed by Father Ike Carpio, OFM+; sung by Brother Ariel Manga, OFM) / Si quaeris miracula (sung by Padre Maurizio nella Basilica di San Francesco a Bologna)…

WP page…  Words to ponder (January 9, 2013 & other related entries)

WP posts…  Advent prayers…  Budding relationships…  Christ’s passion…  Franciscan experience…  Holy relics…  Making meaning…  My Franciscan Crown…  Prayer…  Promise of hope…  Saint of miracles…  Si quaeris miracula…  Soulful…  St. Anthony…  St. Anthony chaplets…  St. Felix…  Tony’s big day…  Venerating St. Anthony

Honoring Joselito

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Steven and I attended ten o’clock Mass at Immaculate Conception Church in Taft, TX.

Invitation

On December 4, 2012, Grand Knight of Council 15512, Herman Rodriguez, extended an invitation to all fourth-degree Knights of Columbus within the diocese to assist at the presentation and veneration of the first-class relic of Blessed José Luis Sánchez del Río (Joselito) on the eighty-fifth anniversary of his death, February 10, 2013.

Although Steven and I had learned about the persecution of priests in Mexico from a Franciscan at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Hebbronville, TX, we’d never heard of Joselito until we viewed For Greater Glory (2012) last year.OLG11709-bk

Sympathetic to Joselito’s story and very much interested in his relic, Steven responded right away.

My wife and I will be delighted to attend the ceremony, and I’ll be falling out in full regalia with you.  It will be an honor.

Honoring Joselito

We’d awaited our first visit to Taft with great anticipation.  What excitement to finally see the church, show support for the parish, and enjoy the festivities.  Parishioners were welcoming, everyone was cordial, and Father Lopez was everywhere all at once.  Mass was standing room only, and most in attendance took part in the solemn procession.

I’d been anxious about barking dogs running out onto the streets as we circled the block, but the ??????????neighborhood was so peaceful that we were able to focus on the rosary before returning to church for the icing on the cake.

Spending quality time one-on-one with Blessed José Luis Sánchez del Río through his precious relic was very special, so no one rushed.  Some sat as others waited their turn in line.  Some observed while others quietly conversed.  Father Ed Roche sang to a child before reminiscing with us about Father Mike Jordan, a fellow SOLT, in heaven since July 2012.  Yet the smiles on the two Dominicans, Sisters Patricia and Elena whom we met before leaving church, reflected our collective joy most of all.

As Steven and I talked about the celebration on our drive home, he chuckled.  “I’m in awe of the Knights.  I don’t know how they got the neighbors to keep their pets quiet and out of sight, but they pulled it off!  Simply amazing.”

Honoring Joselito, thanks to the concerted efforts of the Immaculate Conception Church community, was a momentous occasion that we were blessed to have experienced.

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Prayers

Devotion…  I do not wish to fight, live, or die except for you, my Lord, and for your holy Church.  Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, be at my side in the agony of this poor sinner.  Grant that my last shout on earth and my first canticle in heaven be ¡Viva Cristo Rey!

Petition…  Blessed José Luis, watch over, defend and protect all of the children whose innocence is threatened from all sides by evil, direct their hearts to all that is good and holy, and instill in their hearts a living faith and confidence in the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, our King and Lord.  Amen.

St. Pio of Pietrelcina…  O Lord, we ask for a boundless confidence and trust in your divine mercy and [for] the courage to accept the crosses and sufferings which bring immense goodness to our souls and that of your Church.

Help us to love you with a pure and contrite heart and to humble ourselves beneath your cross as we climb the mountain of holiness, carrying our cross that leads to heavenly glory.

May we receive you with great faith and love in Holy Communion and allow you to act in us as you desire for your greater glory.

O Jesus, most adorable heart and eternal fountain of divine love, may our prayer find favor before the Divine Majesty.

To Mary, help of Christians…  Most holy and immaculate Virgin, help of Christians, mother of the Church, we place ourselves under your motherly protection.  We promise to be faithful to our Christian vocation and to work for the greater glory of God and the salvation of our souls and those entrusted to us.

Salesians-prayersWith faith in your intercession we pray for the Church; our family and friends; youth, especially those most in need; and all men.

You were St. John Bosco’s teacher.  Show us how to imitate his virtues, especially his union with God; his chastity, humility, and poverty; his love for work and temperance; his goodness and total giving of self to others; and his loyalty to the Holy Father and the Church.

Grant, O Mary, help of Christians, the graces which we need (mention here).  May we serve God with fidelity and generosity until death.  Help us and our dear ones to attain the boundless joy of being forever with our Father in heaven.  Amen.

To St. John Bosco…  In need of special help I appeal with confidence to you, O St. John Bosco, for I require not only spiritual graces, but also temporal ones, particularly (state here).

You had such great devotion to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and to Mary, help of Christians, and always had compassion for those who were in suffering.  Please obtain from Jesus and his heavenly mother the grace I now request, as well as a sincere resignation to the will of God.

Our Father….  Hail Mary….  Glory be….

To St. Thérèse…  O little Thérèse of the Child Jesus, who during your short life became a mirror of angelic purity, love of God, and wholehearted abandonment to his will, plead my case before his holy throne now that you possess the Lord you so deeply loved.

Make my troubles your own.  You promised to spend your heaven doing good on earth.  Intercede for me in my hour of need (mention grace desired), if it is for the greater glory of God and the good of my soul.

Dear Little Flower, obtain for me the blessing that I may have strength in the trials of life and be defended at the hour of my death.  Lead me to a happy eternity.  Amen.

May 21, 2014

I am innocent, and I die innocent.  I forgive with all my heart those responsible for my death, and I ask God that the shedding of my blood serve the peace of our divided Mexico (St. Christopher Magallanes).

June 3, 2014

Martyrs of Uganda, pray for the faith where it is in danger and for Christians who must suffer because of their faith.  Give them the same courage, zeal, and joy you showed.  And help those of us who live in places where Christianity is accepted to remain aware of the persecution in other parts of the world.  Amen.

June 28, 2014

For the Church the martyrs have always been a seed of life….  By their example they have shown us and made smooth for us, so to speak, the path to the future (St. John Paul II).

June 30, 2014

Around these men with their holy lives, there are gathered a great throng of the elect who, though victims of jealousy, gave us the finest example of endurance in the midst of many indignities and tortures….  But they courageously finished the course of faith and despite their bodily weakness won a noble prize (Pope St. Clement I about the first martyrs).

August 31, 2014

Time is but a period.  It passes like the lightning flash.  Suffering passes with time; suffering, then, is very short (Venerable Bartholomew of Martyrs).

September 2, 2014

“Remember that knowledge without morals is the soul’s ruination” (St. John Bosco).

September 20, 2014

There is no place for selfishness— and no place for fear!  Do not be afraid, then, when love makes demands.  Do not be afraid when love requires sacrifice (Pope St. John Paul II).

October 25, 2014

The martyrs gave up all they had, even life itself, to keep their faith in God.  And I?  Do my words and deeds reflect my faith, even when little difficulties come up? (Daughters of St. Paul).

October 26, 2014

Christ should reign first and foremost in our soul.  But how would we reply if he asked us: “How do you go about letting me reign in you?”  I would reply that I need lots of his grace.  Only that way can my every heartbeat and breath, my least intense look, my most ordinary word, my most basic feeling be transformed into a hosanna to Christ my king (St. Josemaría Escrivá).

November 6, 2014

Does our life become from day to day more painful, more oppressive, more replete with sufferings?  Blessed be [God] a thousand times who desires it so.  If life be harder, love makes it also stronger; and only this love, grounded on suffering, can carry the Cross of my Lord, Jesus Christ (Blessed Miguel Agustín Pro).

November 22, 2014

Arise, soldiers of Christ.  Throw away the works of darkness and put on the armor of light (St. Cecilia).

November 26, 2014

Not all of us are called to undergo martyrdom, but we are all called to a life of Christian virtue.  Now virtue demands courage….  It demands from us daily, assiduous, unremitting effort to our very last breath; and so it can be called a slow and continuous martyrdom (Pope Pius XII).

January 21, 2015

“Christ will guard his own” (St. Agnes).

January 26, 2015

Take your share of suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.  No soldier on service gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to satisfy the one who enlisted him (2 Timothy 2:3-4).

January 31, 2015

What tenderness there is in Jesus’ love for man!  In his infinite goodness he established, with each of us, bonds of sublime love!  His love has no limits! (St. John Bosco).

“Trust all things to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and to Mary, help of Christians; and you will see what miracles are” (St. John Bosco).

February 5, 2015

Not only does the shedding of blood constitute martyrdom, but the perfect service of a soul devoted to the Lord is a daily martyrdom” (St. Jerome).

February 6, 2015

After Christ’s example, I forgive my persecutors.  I do not hate them.  I ask God to have pity on all, and I hope my blood will fall on my fellow-men as a fruitful rain (St. Paul Miki).

February 9, 2015

I give myself completely to Jesus so that he can use me just as he wishes.  I want every word I write, everything I read, everything I do at my desk, and all my work in school to be done for the glory of God (St. Miguel Febres Cordero).

February 26, 2015

Bear patiently the bad temper of other people, the slights, the rudeness that may be offered you….  When you are weary, don’t give way to bad temper yourself.  Bear any illness with resignation, even thanksgiving, to God in your heart (St. John Bosco).

May 12, 2015

“It is not the torture, but the cause, that makes the martyr” (St. Augustine of Hippo).

June 21, 2015

“There is no more evident sign that anyone is a saint and of the number of the elect than to see him leading a good life and at the same time a prey to desolation, suffering, and trials” (St. Aloysius Gonzaga).

December 26, 2015

The Church sees in the sacrifice of the martyrs their birth into heaven.  Therefore, today we celebrate the birth of Stephen, which in its depths springs from the birth of Christ.  Jesus transforms the death of those who love him into a dawn of new life! (Pope Francis).

January 20, 2016

“The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church” (Tertullian).

July 6, 2016

Because the martyrs were devout men and women, fire, flame, wheel, and sword seemed to be flowers and perfume to them.  If devotion can sweeten the most cruel torments and even death itself, what must it do for virtuous actions? (St. Francis de Sales).

December 26, 2016

“The love that brought Christ from heaven to earth raised Stephen from earth to heaven” (St. Fulgentius of Ruspe).

Stephen prayed for his persecutors, who had not been able even to listen to the name of Christ, when he said of those very men by whom he was being stoned: “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.”  And we see the result of this prayer in the case of the apostle, for Paul, who kept the garments of those who were stoning Stephen, not long after became an apostle by the grace of God, having before been a persecutor (St. Ambrose).

January 27, 2017

“Do now what you wish to have done when your moment comes to die” (St. Angela Merici).

January 31, 2017

All for God and for his glory.  In whatever you do, think of the glory of God as your main goal (St. John Bosco).

February 19, 2017

“For the greater glory of God, the important thing is not to do many things, but to do all things well” (St. Bernadette Soubirous).

June 2, 2017

It was not our death that ever we feared.  But we knew that we were not lords of our own lives, and therefore for want of answer would not be guilty of our deaths (St. Edmund Campion, SJ).

June 6, 2017

“This may not be the age of saints, but all times are the age of martyrs” (Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman).

July 26, 2017

“Those who are simply upright men and women walk in the way of the Lord, but the devout run along it; and when they are very devout, they fly” (St. Francis de Sales in Roses Among Thorns).

August 29, 2017

The martyrs are perfected in righteousness; they earned perfection through their martyrdom.  For them the Church does not pray.  For the other departed faithful she prays, but not for martyrs.  They have gone out of this world so perfected that, instead of being our clients, they are our advocates (St. Augustine).

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Links of interest…  Biographies of new Blesseds (2005)…   Blessed Anacleto González Flores…  Blessed José Luis Sánchez del Río: about / beatification / biography / blessed / facebook / feast / martyr / martyrdom / memorial / patron (ECyD) / pray for / sainthood (16 Oct 2016) / story…  Catholic martyrs: 20th century…  Christian martyrs (more)…  Cristero War (La Cristiada)…  Exposition of relics…  Five saints whose patronage came from the way they died…  For Greater Glory (background)…  Fr. Robert Barron: redemptive suffering…  Immaculate Conception Church: diocese page / facebook / parish…  Mexican martyr’s miracle helped save hometown girl…  Mexico: forgotten pain / government versus the Catholic Church / lessons taught / most violent Latin American country for priestsof saints & sinners / persecution of Christians…  Photos of this priest’s martyrdom were meant to dissuade Catholics; that’s not what happened…  Sacred relics…  Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Knights of Columbus, & martyrs…  St. John Bosco: conquering souls for Christ / danger of tolerancememorial / supernatural visit…  St. Thomas More: A saint for the persecuted church…  Ten inspiring quotes from St. Irenaeus…  Treasures of the Church: about relics (video) / expositions / healing / prayer requests…  What the blood of the martyrs means for us…  the Word among us

WP posts…  Franciscan experience…  Franciscan treasures…  Grapes of generosity…  Historic nuggets…  Holy relics…  St. Anthony…  Vaquero Fest Saturday

Mercy and justice

The Solanus Casey Center was so special that I wanted to capture as much as possible to keep me going until we return to Detroit.  We started at St. Bonaventure Church, walked through the arched doorway to Father Casey’s coffin, and thoroughly delighted in the spacious hallway that waited to be explored.

Our time at the Center was “a pilgrimage, not a tour” (Joseph Taylor); an exultant, transformational experience; a spiritual journey that continues even today.

               

       

           

       

       

Mercy and justice

“Each of the saints on the glass wall is an example of a life dedicated to these twin virtues:” mercy and justice (Solanus Casey Center, n. d.).  Shown below are Clare of Assisi, Katharine Drexel, Elizabeth of Hungary, Francis of Assisi, Joseph the Just, Martin de Porres, Thérèse of the Child Jesus, and Our Lady of Guadalupe, respectively.

               

               

               

Displayed on the wall opposite the saint etchings overlooking the tau garden are the Works of Mercy.

The seven corporal works of mercy relate to the material needs of others: feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, visiting prisoners, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick, and burying the dead.

The seven spiritual works of mercy relate to the spiritual needs of others: instructing the ignorant (about Christian practices), counseling the doubtful, admonishing sinners, comforting the afflicted, forgiving injuries, bearing wrongs patiently, and praying for the living and the dead.

               

               

               

               

               

Blessing for justice and peace from Troubadour: A Missionary Magazine (Franciscan Missionary Society, Liverpool, UK: Spring 2005)

May God bless you with discomfort… at easy answers, hard hearts, half-truths , and superficial relationships.  May God bless you so that you may live from deep within your heart where God’s Spirit dwells.

May God bless you with anger… at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people.  May God bless you so that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace.

May God bless you with tears… to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war.  May God bless you so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.  And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, in your neighborhood, so that you will courageously try what you don’t think you can do but in Jesus Christ you’ll have all the strength necessary.

May God bless you to fearlessly speak out about injustice, unjust laws, corrupt politicians, unjust and cruel treatment of prisoners, and senseless wars, genocides, starvations, and poverty that is so pervasive.

May God bless you that you remember we are all called to continue God’s redemptive work of love and healing in God’s place, in and through God’s name, in God’s spirit, continually creating and breathing new life and grace into everything and everyone we touch.

July 29, 2014

Gladden the soul of your servant; to you, Lord, I lift up my soul.  Lord, you are good and forgiving, most merciful to all who call on you (Psalm 86:4-5).

August 16, 2014

“Be merciful to all who are suffering violence, keeping always in your heart the example of the Lord who said, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice'” (St. Stephen of Hungary).

September 16, 2014

Let us remember one another in concord and unanimity.  Let us, on both sides of death, always pray for one another.  Let us relieve burdens and afflictions by mutual love that, if one of us by the swiftness of divine condescension shall go, hence the first, our love may continue in the presence of the Lord; and our prayers for our brethren and sisters not cease in the presence of the Father’s mercy (St. Cyprian).

December 15, 2014

Think well.  Speak well.  Do well.  These three things, through the mercy of God, will make a man go to heaven (St. Camillus de Lellis).

November 13, 2015

For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.  Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves (1 Peter 2:15-16).

December 7, 2015

Mercy is a good thing, for it makes men perfect in that it imitates the perfect Father.  Nothing graces the Christian soul so much as mercy (St. Ambrose).

January 12, 2016

The true efficacy of our works depends upon our interior life, and the true worth of a soul is the worth of its interior life; for a soul’s worth is in direct proportion to the intimacy and intensity of its relations with God.  The interior life is the chief, the most important, and the most efficacious element of the spiritual life.  It is the one thing necessary (Archbishop Luis M. Martinez in Worshipping a Hidden God).

February 8, 2016

We need constantly to contemplate the mystery of mercy.  It is wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace (Pope Francis).

April 26, 2016

“At that day of judgment we shall not be asked what we have read but what we have done” (Thomas à Kempis).

May 9, 2016

“Be on such cordial terms with those under you that, when you are all together, it would be impossible to say which is the superior” (St. Vincent de Paul).

June 10, 2016

“The less we have here the more shall we enjoy in God’s kingdom, where the mansion of each is proportioned to the love with which he shall have imitated Jesus Christ”
(St. Teresa of Ávila).

September 7, 2016

God is truly humble.  He comes down and uses instruments as weak and imperfect as we are.  He deigns to work through us… to use you and me for his great work (St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta in The Love that Made Mother Teresa).

October 6, 2016

“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are” (Benjamin Franklin).

March 31, 2017

Most High, Glorious God, in our times of suffering, may we follow the example of Jesus; but may we also serve as a source of comfort and consolation to others in their suffering.  May we never let the fear of suffering stand in the way of our calling to love and work for justice.  Amen (Daniel P. Horan, OFM in The Last Words of Jesus).

June 3, 2017

Pray always, but not in order to convince the Lord by dint of words!  He knows our needs better than we do! Indeed persevering prayer is the expression of faith in a God who calls us to fight with him every day and at every moment in order to conquer evil with good (Pope Francis in Angelus, October 2013).

June 26, 2017

To love, we must be able to enact love, and we must be able to do it day in and day out in our work.  It is this love that will guide us away from the carelessness that leads us to the destruction of the world and our neighbors through our everyday, middle-class existence of buying plastics, fertilizing lawns, eating cheap food, and driving to soccer practices.

It is love that will ultimately move us toward being good and therefore doing good.  “In order to be good, you have to know how,” writes Wendell Berry, “and this knowing is vast, complex, humble and humbling; it is of the mind and of the hands, of neither alone.”  It is knowledge that requires a spirit and a body and so brings us necessarily to the question of livelihood (Ragan Sutterfield in Wendell Berry and the Given Life).

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Links of interest…  After 1967: Detroit Catholics worked to overcome sins of racism…  Beatitudes: Jesus Christ Savior / Matthew 5:1-12 / New Advent / Tripod / Wikipedia / YouTube…  Being merciful…  Call of service: A witness to idealism: book review / preview / servant leadership / spirituality & practice / summary…  Confirmation…  Corporal works of mercy: ideas for your summer bucket list & in the home…  Dorothy Day as seen by her granddaughter / biography / the model you want…  Fifth Beatitude: Mercy…  Focus (blog – pope alarm)…  Gifts & fruits of the Holy Spirit (Bible verses)…  Instrument of peace (song, YouTube)…  Irish priests’ statement calls for free, open discussion of church’s exclusion of women…  Let your works profess your faith…  Live out divine mercy…  Mercy: embraced / gardener’s reflectionjustice / mission / models: Dorothy Day & St. Francis…  Pope Francis: mercy & justice / “Padre Pio was a servant of mercy“…  Ransoming for Christ: The story of two daring religious orders…  Saintly former slave a model of mercy…  St. Bonaventure’s prayer for the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit…  Virtues…  Was Jesus a community organizer…  Why it matters that God is justice & mercy…  Works of Mercy: catechist’s journey / Catholic kids / confirmed in the Spirit / corporal & spiritualdaily Catholic / divine mercy / doing good / faithful scribbler / first papal message for creationfumbling toward grace / fish eaters / link to liturgy / living the liturgical yearLoyola Press / practicing the spiritual / Wikipedia

WP posts…  Budding relationships…  Call of service…  Capuchin church stations…  Father’s guided tour…  Father now retired…  God’s master plan…  Memory lane…  Promise of hope…  Si quaeris miracula…  Solano, Solanus, Solani…  St. Bonaventure Church…  St. Felix…  Today’s Beatitudes