Holy Vietnamese Martyrs

Initially the Fullness of Truth Angels and Demons conference was to have been hosted by St. Mary Cathedral but, most likely because of limited on-street parking, the venue was changed to northeast Austin.

Holy Vietnamese Martyrs

The church was beyond gorgeous— eye candy for the mind, heart, and soul— so I made the most of my time between sessions and photographed everything in sight.

September 28-29, 2018

          

         

         

          

        

                       

                  

          

          

         

         

         

          

         

         

          

Fullness of Truth

                  

                  

      

                  

Prayers

Lord, so great is our love for you that, even though we walk in a world where speaking your name can mean certain death, your faithful still speak it— and speak it all the louder.  Help us work for a world where all may speak their creeds and pray their prayers without fear of violence.  Hear the prayers of those who abide with you in dangerous times and in dark valleys and who die with your name on their lips.  Draw them quickly to your side where they might know eternal peace.  Amen (Catholic Relief Services).

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.  I do not see the road ahead of me.  I cannot know for certain where it will end.  Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.  But I believe that the desire to please you does, in fact, please you.  And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.  I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.  And I know that, if I do this, you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.  Therefore will I trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadows of death.  I will not fear for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone (Thomas Merton).

O God, source and origin of all fatherhood who kept the martyrs, St. Andrew Dung-Lac and his companions, faithful to the cross of your Son even to the shedding of their blood, grant, through their intercession, that, spreading your love among our brothers and sisters, we may be your children both in name and in truth.  Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your son who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen (The Roman Missal).

Señor, tan grande es nuestro amor por ti que, a pesar de que vivimos en un mundo donde pronunciar tu nombre puede significar una muerte segura, tus fieles aún lo dicen— y lo dicen con más fuerza.  Ayúdanos a trabajar por un mundo donde todos pueden hablar sus credos y rezar sus oraciones sin miedo a la violencia.  Escucha las oraciones de los que están contigo en tiempos difíciles y en los valles oscuros y que mueren con tu nombre en sus labios.  Llévalos pronto a tu lado donde puedan conocer la paz eterna.  Amen (CRS).

January 2, 2019

“Intimacy with the Lord is not a matter of physical kinship; rather, it is achieved by cheerful readiness to do the will of God” (St. Basil the Great).

January 3, 2019

The gift of faith, which comes to us from God, is a sublime grace.  But we are not intended to keep it to ourselves— in effect, to bury it in the ground.  The apostolic fishermen were ordained to be fishers of souls and not custodians of an aquarium (Fr. George W. Rutler in Hints of Heaven).

January 5, 2019

My God, how great you are, how wonderful in all your works!  Teach me your will that I may begin and end all my actions for your greater glory (St. John Neumann).

April 9, 2019

This is the perfect will of God for us: You must be holy.  Holiness is the greatest gift that God can give us because for that reason he created us.  Sanctity is a simple duty for you and me.  I have to be a saint in my way and you in yours (St. Teresa of Calcutta in The Love that Made Mother Teresa).

January 1, 2020

Do what God has given you to do today.  That is enough.  That is your path to holiness; it is all you need (Fr. Timothy M. Gallagher, OMV, in Overcoming Spiritual DiscouragementThe Wisdom and Spiritual Power of Venerable Bruno Lanteri).

Links of interest…  Fullness of Truth: Angels & Demons / Why do Catholics do that…  Holy Vietnamese Martyrs church: facebook / Mass times / photos / website…  St. Andrew Dung-Lac & companions117 martyrs / about / holy cardsNov 24 (more) / prayer / quote

WP posts…  Angels all around…  Angels keeping watch…  St. Austin Church…  St. Mary revisited…  St. Mary’s…  St. Michael chaplet…  Two angels…  Welcoming spirit

Unbounded joy

Steven and I were Unbound (CFCA) sponsors five years before we learned that others within the Corpus Christi diocese knew about the program, too.

From: Unbound
Date: Monday, June 26, 2017 11:12 AM
Re: Unbound volunteer opportunity at St. Pius X

Dear Steven & Deli,

We will be in your area on July first and second hosting a weekend sponsorship event at St. Pius X.  Fr. Thomas Landgraff, an Unbound presenter, will be celebrating Mass and inviting parishioners to visit the sponsorship table and see folders of children, youth, and elderly friends awaiting sponsorship.

Would you be available to volunteer at the sponsorship table after one of the Masses?  It only takes about thirty minutes of your time, and we’ll make sure you’re prepared before the event.

Please reply to this email or call us to let us know you are available.

We are grateful for your continued support in creating change in our world.

Sincerely,
Maureen Ortiz
Outreach Coordinator

CFCA

We first learned about the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging (CFCA) from Dotty and Loren Smeester, April 2012.  Although they’d wintered in Port Aransas the month of February most years, I’d never seen them in church until they happened to occupy the pew behind ours at nine o’clock Mass.

February 2012

I so enjoyed Loren’s singing, richly reminiscent of a cowboy on a long cattle drive, that I imagined him as a farmer or a rancher.  I complimented him as we exchanged the sign of peace and received a great big smile in return!

After Mass, Loren approached the ambo, introduced Dotty and himself, and told us about the two items— an I’m #3 card and a CD— that he felt compelled to share with our St. Joseph Church community.   He was friendly, unassuming, and faith-driven; so I couldn’t wait to hear more of his story before we left church that morning.

               

                

Invitation

Taking photos for the church blog (as usual after Mass) I had the opportunity to observe not just Loren in his interactions with Fr. Xaviour and the parishioners, but also Dotty as she very patiently waited for him to complete his mission.  They were so attuned to each other that they communicated wordlessly, effortlessly— truly a match made in heaven.

When Loren had dispensed all his wares, I approached the beautiful couple smilingly.  Steven joined in the conversation, too.  We learned that the Smeesters owned the Silver Bison Ranch in Baldwin, Wisconsin.

“Come see us when you’re in the area!” Loren insisted.  “You’re welcome anytime!”

I chuckled within because the thought, while appealing, was almost outrageous.  I’d never been up north before, and I doubted that we’d travel there just to take in a tour of the ranch and Dotty’s home cooking.  Still, I graciously accepted.

April 2012

The following month Steven was asked to attend a conference in Marinette, Wisconsin in April; so Steven made all the arrangements, allowing extra time for Dotty and Loren.

Without giving the Smeesters advance notice— in case we had a change in plans— we flew into Minneapolis, drove to Baldwin, and stopped by the family gift shop before calling Dotty and Loren for a quick “hello” and then be on our way.

Long story short, we visited their home twice— a few hours that evening and an entire day before returning to the airport to head back to Texas.  And, for reasons that I don’t recall at the moment, Loren shared the story behind the letter they’d recently received from their precious godson in Central America and very gently encouraged us to sponsor a child, too, because it was a mutually rewarding experience.

Sponsorship

When we got home days later, Steven looked into CFCA and signed us up.

Mid-May we received three packets with photos and information about our sponsored friends: two girls— the older one in Costa Rica; the younger, in Lima, Peru— and an elder, Freska, in the Philippines.

My letter-writing skills from childhood were quickly embraced; and my Spanish, though rusty, began a slow-but-steady comeback, thanks in part to the internet.  How amazing to correspond without the need of a CFCA translator!  The girls and I wrote in Spanish; Freska’s grandchildren and I, in English.  A worthy endeavor for all of us!

In 2013, an unexpected change disrupted my correspondence with the older girl when her family relocated to a country that CFCA didn’t serve.  I miss Vanessa’s long, soulful letters and often wonder how she’s doing!  Still, her photo, on display with the other two that change periodically, represents not just our hope for her well-being, but also our continued thoughts and prayers for her success.

Unbound

CFCA has since changed its name— “Unbound sums up our work in one simple and powerful word” (Website; January 2, 2014)— but all else remains the same.  Letters, drawings, cards, and updated photos, along with Unbound pamphlets and inserts, arrive at different times during the year.  And sponsors are encouraged to write (and include photos) at least twice a year, though more often is incredibly fulfilling.

July 2, 2017

Until we received Maureen’s email invitation to volunteer, we had no idea that other Unbound sponsors lived within the diocese of Corpus Christi, Texas; so imagine our surprise at being asked to assist at the weekend sponsorship event!  We were happy to attend Mass at St. Pius X, a church we visit on special occasions.  But we were especially delighted to meet Ana, a young woman who has sponsored a little girl since 2012, and Fr. Tom Landgraff, OSFS who, himself, sponsors an elder.

And the icing on the cake?

Among those we met, two families who already were part of a sponsorship program added friends.  A couple with four children in tow took home the packet of a darling little girl in a festive gold-and-green dress; and a very thoughtful woman gifted herself with the sponsorship of an elder from Mexico, an addition to her one child from before

As for Steven and me?

For months I’d wanted to grow our sponsored family, so we knew we’d be taking a packet home.  But, as usually happens, the heart always yearns for more.

Unbounded joy

As we’d spread out the packets on the table to prepare for potential sponsors (before and after the Masses), we’d been smitten by the little girl and the elder whom we later enthusiastically promoted to the two families (above) who readily accepted them.

Our thinking was to find good homes for as many children and elders as we could, so we rejoiced with each perfect match.

But what about us? I wondered when church had emptied except for us.

In that brief, quiet moment I had no idea that, even before the morning sessions had concluded, Steven had found the three remaining packets from Mexico in Fr. Tom’s box.  He hadn’t forgotten my request: “I want someone I can write to in Spanish.”

“These are all that’s left,” Steven approached with the youngsters from Merida.

“We’ll take them!” I exclaimed with unbounded joy.

I knew that the sooner I mailed my introductions, the sooner I’d receive our sponsored children’s replies.  What a promise of hope!

           

                              

                     

            

            

            

                        

                                

            

            

            

Postscript

Today, November twentieth, is Juanito’s seventh birthday.  He is the oldest of the three youngsters we began sponsoring in July.  His sister, just three years older, wrote two of the most delightful, endearing letters I’ve ever received.  Infused with love, her accounts latched onto my mind, heart, and soul.  But, October eighteenth, we received word from Unbound’s office in Kansas that the family was relocating from Merida because of the dad’s new job.  This meant Juanito’s exit from the program.

While I was ever so grateful for the family’s much-needed economic blessing, I couldn’t help but think of Hania’s colorful perspectives on her little brother and the family.  I’ll miss being part of their lives and the many adventures Hania has yet to share!  Still, as with Vanessa, Juanito’s family will remain with us through the brief but indelible memories forged in just a few months.

And, when one door closes, another opens.

While Unbound’s telephone message was terribly disheartening— and the realization of not hearing from Hania again immensely disappointing— I had to do something to honor, not mourn, the loss of Juanito and his family.  Instead of returning the phone call right away, I took a few hours to clear my thoughts… and made quite a discovery.

After visiting “Find someone to sponsor” on Unbound’s home page, I telephoned the Kansas office not only to express my gratitude for having learned about Juanito’s family through Hania’s beautiful letters, but also to discuss the sponsorship of a child in Kenya whose Mona Lisa smile tugged at my heartstrings, a five-year-old girl who, like Juanito, dreams big and loves to sing.

Prayers from the Unbound community

Bountiful God, your faith in your children overflows and overwhelms us.  Help us to embrace the confidence you have in us so that we may realize how truly magnificent it is to be human.  May gratitude to you, expressed in loving care for others, guide us and fill us with the joy that is the reward of the good and faithful servant.  We ask this in your holy name.  Amen (Larry Livingston).

Compassionate God, you have called us to act as agents of your love in our world, and blessed us with the gifts we need to fulfill that mission.  Following the example of Jesus, may we embrace our calling to be your partners in creating a world of justice and mercy.  We ask this in your holy name.  Amen (Fr. Dave Noone).

Dear God, I pray for anyone going through new, difficult or uncertain times to feel your constant love and support.  I pray they can learn from your example and the example of others to rise above their situation and embrace the journey and the growth.  More importantly, I pray we continue to count our blessings, to see life as a gift.  I pray we develop the strength to endure life’s difficulties and the wisdom to appreciate life’s splendor.  Amen (Gustavo Adolfo Aybar).

Dear God, thank you for believing in us.  When we don’t believe in ourselves or others, you show us compassion and our hearts are filled.  Wonderful teacher, thank you for showing us, through our sponsored friends, that nothing is insurmountable if we believe in each other and put our faith in you.  Help us become better sources of encouragement and light in each other’s lives.  We ask this in your name.  Amen (Jordan Kimbrell).

Dear God, thank you for helping us wake up each day and do the small deeds.  Thank you for giving us strength to contribute.  Help us to give without expectation.  Help us to see and appreciate your love, manifested through others, all the days of our lives.  In your name, we pray.  Amen (Bridget Barry).

Dear Lord, help us ensure that our actions and our words remain focused on our goals and that our day-to-day efforts reflect an ever-increasing desire to help those who need us.  Help us stay true to our mission and remember to be thankful for the gifts offered by others, especially their time, talent, and financial resources.  Watch over us as we walk with people in poverty.  Help us remain their loyal and loving servants.  Amen (Aybar).

Dear Lord, your work takes us to many places for which we are thankful.  We offer our gratitude to you for all you have given us.  May we continue to walk along the path you have chosen for us with humility, as we carry our gifts to those we serve.  Amen (Bernetta McKindra).

Dear Lord, please help us to remain humble, as well as generous to others and ourselves, in words, thoughts and actions.  Allow us to see Christ’s life, especially his passion, as a perfect model of strength, commitment and faith.  Help us to embrace all of life’s joys and challenges and remain ever faithful to your will.  Amen (Aybar).

Faithful God, we know that all things work for good for those who follow you.  Remind us of that truth and empower us to look to the good that you have for us and trust the path you’ve laid out.  We thank you for all the success with which you’ve blessed Unbound families, that they may find greater confidence in themselves and in your love.  Amen (Maureen Lunn).

Father, when we look at our lives and see how fragmentary everything is, how many plans have gone undone, and all the reasons we have to be embarrassed and ashamed, help us to realize that there has not been a minute in any day when we have not been embraced by your love.  Amen (Noone).

Generous God, in the Blessed Virgin Mary we see the grace of one who dedicated herself to the fulfillment of your will.  May we, like her, have the courage to let it be done to us according to your word, that we may give ourselves in loving service to our sisters and brothers in need.  We ask this in the name of your son, Jesus, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever.  Amen (Livingston).

Glorious God, you created the human person to proclaim your goodness.  May we never shrink from that magnificent calling.  Bolster us in times of doubt and send us companions in times of loneliness.  At all times, give us the grace to live life to the full.  Amen (Livingston).

God of all, you have created us to build one another up and help each person reach their full potential.  Bless us as we strive to live in solidarity with our sisters and brothers.  Give us the wisdom to look past that which separates us to that which we have in common, our sacred identity as your beloved children.  We ask this in the name of your son and our brother, Jesus the Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, forever and ever.  Amen (Livingston).

God of creation, help us to see beyond ourselves.  Thank you for the community you’ve provided us, our coworkers, family members, and those we serve.  Remind us to be grateful for the work of all of society, and empower us to be kind as we create together.  In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen (Lunn).

God of open arms, thank you for welcoming us into your love and forgiveness.  Thank you for making space for us in your heart.  Give us the wisdom to see others with the same welcoming eyes through which you see them.  We desire to foster a world where everyone belongs, and we pray for your guidance.  Amen (Lunn).

God whose goodness runs deeper than we can fathom, speak to us in sacred stillness.  Deliver us from the noise and clutter of the world and bring us to the depths of our hearts, where we may listen to you in peace and confidence.  Fed by your grace, may we be messengers of hope and agents of love in a world in need.  We ask this in the name of your son and our brother, Jesus the Christ.  Amen (Livingston).

God, our most gracious father, I pray that we all might reach out in solidarity and befriend one another.  May we “get our feet wet” in the courageous belief that loving others means not taking ourselves too seriously, but seriously believing in the potential of others.  Amen (Shantel Davis).

Gracious God, all that we have is a gift from you.  Whatever good we do is but a glimmer of your goodness.  Teach us how to be gifts for others, and may we have the wisdom to allow them to bless us in return.  Break open the bread of our lives so that all may be fed.  We ask this in your most holy name.  Amen (Fr. Bill Donnelly).

Gracious God, open our ears to hear your voice.  Lead our feet on your path as we walk with you and in solidarity with others.  Fill our lives with your presence and peace as you bless and make use of us.  Amen (Benjamin Haley).

Lord, thank you for simple reminders of our past.  May we reflect on them and continue to grow.  Thank you for the founders of Unbound, who heard your call of service and created something that has lasted nearly four decades.  Thank you for the children, youth and elders we serve, as they continue to remind us that poverty is still among us.  Bless us as we continue the journey started by Bob and the other founders. We ask this in your name.  Amen (Kimbrell).

Lord, we thank you for being a loving father who calls us to you no matter who we are.  The love we feel being included in your family is overwhelming.  We pray that others living on the margins of society will know how much they’re also loved, wanted, and welcomed.  Show us how we can include those around us, drawing them into your love.  Amen (Clair Paul).

Lord, you filled our world with beautiful and diverse languages.  Thank you for connection through communication.  We appreciate the gifts others share to build bridges between those who don’t share common tongues.  May our words draw us closer together and closer to you.  Amen (Paul).

Loving God, Mary, Joseph and your Son, Jesus, were visited by the Magi.  They were poor and surely astounded by such wonderful gifts that were brought to them.  Yet they were a gift to their visitors from distant lands.  Open our eyes and help us to see the gifts of love that come our way, gifts that may be small in material value, but rich in love and faith.  Amen (Fr. John Anglin, OFM).

Loving God, bless your people with generosity of spirit.  May our days be marked by love for our brothers and sisters, and may we be filled with the resolve to live in solidarity with them.  In all that we say and all that we do, may compassion guide us, and may others see within us a reflection of your perfect love.  We ask this in the name of your son and our brother, Jesus Christ.  Amen (Fr. Joseph Gosselin, MS).

Loving God, you gave us the gift of free will to chart our own course.  You also gave us the blessing of accompaniment by the Holy Spirit and our fellow human beings.  Open our eyes to see potential, our ears to listen to dreams, our minds to create opportunity and our hearts to give freely of ourselves.  May we seek your wisdom as we go forth with faith and confidence, knowing we’re not alone. We ask this in your holy name.  Amen (Loretta Shea Kline).

O God, who feels our pain, open our hearts to those in need.  May our own pain and hurt help us feel that of others and lead us to walk with them through suffering to hope.  We are grateful for the life you pour out upon us and that we, in turn, pour out on others in Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Amen (Paco Wertin).

O God, you who choose us for one another, open a space in our hearts to receive what you give so generously, the ability to love as you love us! Thank you for showing us the way through Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.  Amen (Wertin).

Thank you for the beauty, O God, that lies deep within each of us.  Help us to love everyone and everything that you love.  Help us to know that recognizing the dignity of each opens a door to new possibilities of forging that path out of poverty, a path that emerges from and leads to the depths of our hearts, where you live and reign forever and ever.  Amen (Wertin).

October 24, 2017

Pause for a moment and look around you.  Simply thank God for all the gifts that you have right now, all the gifts saved from the wreck of life: the lamp that illumines this page, the chair that gives you comfort, the home that provides shelter.  That’s a good exercise of stewardship.

Thank God for the sun and stars in the sky, for the support of friends, for the opportunities of a new day, for the ability to laugh and cry.  A disciple receives everything with gratitude.  It is prayer that helps keep the heart grateful and filled with joy (Robert F. Morneau in Living Prayer: A Simple Guide to Everyday Enlightenment).

October 28, 2017

An admirer of Mother Teresa once gifted her with her own personal “calling card.”  Teresa liked the card so much that she had copies made and regularly handed them out to people for the rest of her life.

Written on the small yellow cards were spiritual lessons Teresa had learned from the Church, her prayer life, and her ministry to the poor.  She summed them up in five steps.

The fruit of silence is PRAYER.
The fruit of prayer is FAITH.
The fruit of faith is LOVE.
The fruit of love is SERVICE.
The fruit of service is PEACE.

Mother Teresa carried that prayer around with her— its words emblazoned on her heart (Kerry Walters in St. Teresa of Calcutta: Missionary, Mother, Mystic).

November 1, 2017

“A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal” (Steve Maraboli).

November 8, 2017

To discover that you are loved is the center of all existence.  And when we are filled with this total and delirious love, little by little, we grow and love in turn.  That gradualness in our journeys is a sign of the infinite tenderness of God (Chiara Corbella Petrillo; Simone Troisi & Cristiana Paccini in A Witness to Joy).

November 24, 2017

Thanksgiving focuses on God’s gifts.  Our challenge is to take nothing for granted, but to appreciate every blessing.  Thanksgiving is a way of life.  Indeed, the prayer of thanksgiving characterizes a eucharistic people.

Our gratitude centers on the greatest gift of all— Jesus.  This gift, and all the other gifts through God’s providence, are expressions of God’s love.  How fitting and just it is that we always and everywhere express our gratitude to the Lord (Robert F. Mourneau in Living Prayer: A Simple Guide to Everyday Enlightenment).

November 25, 2017

God calls every one of us into a relationship of intimate, personal, loving, and life-giving communion.  He is inviting us to share his life and the life of his whole family.  Our response to God’s invitation to intimacy and communion is to be the person he created and calls us to be— to make a gift of ourselves— because, when we give ourselves away in love, we truly find ourselves (Sonja Corbitt and Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers in Ignite: Read the Bible Like Never Before).

November 27, 2017

Every family is a work in progress, but each one can move toward wholeness.  Circumstances differ, but every family needs peace, love, and trust.  Christian hope springs from belief in God’s presence during life’s high and low points.

In the struggle for wholeness, families become holy and generate holiness in others.  Holy families, not perfect families, are sources of hope to those facing dark and painful times (Robert J. Hater in Your [Imperfect] Holy Family: See the Good, Make it Better).

November 28, 2017

“Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day” (Sally Koch).

December 1, 2017

We may read volumes and volumes on the art of swimming, yet we’ll never understand what swimming is like unless we get wet. So we may read all the books ever written on the love of God and never understand loving unless we love.

Where love is genuine, belonging is always mutual. It is like submerging ourselves into an ocean of sublime grace (Brother David Steindl-Rast in The Way of Silence: Engaging the Sacred in Daily Life).

October 15, 2018

Charity works.  It gets good jobs done.  It gives form and life to all of the virtues.  Infused by God, it reigns supreme in loving goodness over the talents of learning and the talents of living (Kevin Vost in Unearthing Your Ten Talents).

December 17, 2018

The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.  Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof (Richard David Bach).

August 7, 2019

Everyone, young or old, strong or weak, can love.  But, in this world, love is bound up with giving; it entails sacrifice.  The highest kind of love means self-offering (Fr. Killian J. Healy, O. Carm in Awakening Your Soul to the Presence of God).

Links of interest…  Catholic group continues Blessed Stanley Rother’s work in Guatemala (influence remains strong)…  CFCA is now Unbound…  Changing the world one grandchild at a time…  Fr. Stanley Rother: American martyr in Guatemala / beatification (video; 9.23.17) / blesseddevotional / fact sheetguild / holy relics: preparing the remains / martyrmissionary / my cousin the martyr / prayer for intercessionpriest / Servant of God / Shepherd who didn’t run (book) / sister remembersstories by those who knew him / Unbound…  Glorify God in body & spirit…  Godparents: Faithful examples to their spiritual children…  Missionary work begins with everyone…  Mother Teresa & the power of silence…  Mully: A documentary with heart & soul…  On belonging: How adoption is like a sacrament…  Providing hope to children, aging for 35 years…  Spiritual adoption: What it is, why we do it, & the joy it brings…  St. Pius X: facebook / Santo Niño devotion / patron saint: about (more) – catechism – novena – profile –  schedule of services / website…  St. Pope JPII prayer card…  Unbound (Bob Hentzen dies – impactprayer requests – sponsor – writing letters)…  What children teach us about our relationship with God…  World vision flips the script on child sponsorship

WP posts…  Call of service…  Celebrations…  Dear God…  Gifts…  God’s loving mercy…  Mercy and justice…  Multicultural Mass…  Niño de Cebú…  Time well spent

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).

November 12, 2017

Sacrifice teaches us the joy of putting others first while it strengthens us to respond decisively to the influence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  Yielding to God takes guts, like leaping off a high precipice into pitch darkness.  It feels risky; but when we can’t clearly see what’s ahead and we choose to entrust ourselves to God’s love, the rewards are fantastic.  It’s as if we ventured out into the wilderness with no provisions, to discover mysterious treasures that speak to our hearts like nothing we have ever experienced before (Lisa Mladinich in True Radiance: Finding Grace in the Second Half of Life).

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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 (Marian militia turns 100 – 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) / Mass at Auschwitzmoral 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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SAP61413s-35    SAP61413-118    SAP61413-135    SAP61413s-9

SAP61413-91      SAP61413s-6      SAP61413s-21      SAP61413s-12

SAP61413s-19      SAP61413s-18      SAP61413s-16

SAP61413s-11      SAP61413s-15      SAP61413s-31

SAP61413-63        SAP61413s-7        SAP61413s-39

SAP61413s-53        SAP61413s-51        SAP61413s-59

SAP61413s-57        SAP61413s-49        SAP61413s-44

SAP61413-168        SAP61413-159        SAP61413-163

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SAP61413-180      SAP61413-226      SAP61413-177      SAP61413-201

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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…    Relics bring us closer to the saints we love…  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”

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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SAP61413s-40        SAP61413-112        SAP61413-147

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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…  W 2013-15 (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).

December 28, 2017

“Let us ask the Holy Innocents to help us… to offer up our own pain and to have great compassion for all who suffer” (Fr. Francis Fernandez).

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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 / boy who died for love of Christ the Kingfacebook / feast / martyr / martyrdom / memorial / pray for / sainthood (16 Oct 2016) / shining example (ECyD) / 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 (review)…  Fr. Robert Barron: redemptive suffering…  Immaculate Conception Church: diocese page / facebook / parish…  Mexican martyr’s miracle helped save hometown girl…  In a grandmother’s dress, the hidden story of a Ukrainian priest’s martyrdom…  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…  Persistence…  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).

August 22, 2018

“The renewal of acts of faith animated by charity deepens the encounter with God and habituates one to a further receptivity to the power of God in the events of daily life”
(Fr. Wojciech Giertych, OP in The Spark of Faith: Understanding the Power of Reaching Out to God).

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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…  Oasis of Mercy: Boston mall chapel relics…  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

St. Bonaventure Church

SBC42812-43For three years I imagined myself at the
St. Bonaventure Church in Detroit, and, oh, the roller coaster rides that led to that unforgettable pilgrimage!

Steven was to attend a conference in Marinette, Wisconsin the last week of April; so, as he planned his trip, he had an idea.

“Why don’t you accompany me?  Let’s do what we’ve put off for too long.”

Landin’s magic of three’s

Steven knew that I’d lived in Philadelphia many years ago.  I’d even been to Chicago for the Christmas holidays in 2004.  But I’d never been straight up to the northern states, and neither had he.

“So why not take some extra time and explore?  How about visiting the Solanus Center in Detroit, the Dominican St. Jude Shrine in Chicago, and St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, South Dakota?”

“Really?!!  Sure!”

       

       

The third day of Steven’s conference, we came very close to calling off the rest of the trip; but somehow, with a lot of determination and resilience, we prevailed despite the doubts and emotional distress.  We proceeded instead to Milwaukee where we spent the night visiting with Steven’s cousin, Reid, and his partner, Dale.

“Be very careful driving in Detroit,” they cautioned us.

Oh, my gosh, I thought.  Detroit sounds scary and foreboding. 

We’d driven from Minneapolis to Baldwin, Wisconsin to Marinette to Michigan so we could proceed to Detroit.  How could we turn back after traveling all that distance?

I recalled what I’d told my students during the writing process.  “Every good story has drama, so remember Landin’s magic of three’s.  Make sure your story has three very exciting parts leading to the happy conclusion.”

Uncertainty

We had three special places to visit and about a thousand miles to drive.  I was so emotionally distraught that I wasn’t sure I could pull myself together.  Could I see the trip through to completion?

My Inner Voice rallied.  Maybe Father Casey was beckoning, cheering us on?

Just a little farther.  Just a little more.  You can do it.  You can get past this.

High anxiety kept us alert.  Reid and Dale had told us to keep our doors locked, but what we saw was totally unexpected and shockingly artsy with an air of self-deprecating humor.  Only, the dilapidated houses weren’t funny; and the empty lots revealed a mass exodus from the neighborhood.

           

“If these houses could speak, what would they tell us about the neighborhood’s economic woes?  How beautiful the place must’ve been in its heyday!  So many abandoned houses now, though.  All down the same street.  Gosh!  How could life have come to this?” I wondered aloud.

Veritable beacon   

Deeper and deeper into the depressed area we drove.  I was stunned to see such ravages in an American city.  Even the European countries we visited didn’t look like this.  What sadness!  How did the residents feel?  What about the kids?  I couldn’t imagine growing up in such a somber environment.  Yet the streets were clean, smooth, and well-kept.

Before long we saw a huge cemetery and, oh, what a welcome sight!  The Solanus Casey Center and the St. Bonaventure Friary were right across the street.

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“This is where we’ll be tomorrow morning,” Steven said.  “Now to find a place for the night.”

We could escape to a better place, but what about the residents?

We drove around until we found a place where I’d feel safe, away from the unseen dangers that surely lurked nearby.  Then, as we met folks who worked within the hotel, I relaxed and enjoyed their smiles and their conversations.

       

St. Bonaventure Church

Still feeling somewhat disheveled the following morning, we were relieved and glad to arrive at the Solanus Center without any difficulty.  We parked in the gated area and took the sidewalk to the front entrance where, lo and behold, our emotions took over the moment we stepped within.

After an incredible journey and a tearful time, Father Casey awaited us with open arms!

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October 24, 2012

Yesterday, Steven emailed Fr. Larry Webber, OFM Capuchin, Director of the Solanus Casey Center and St. Bonaventure Church.

I noticed that the glass doors are etched with a building or buildings.  I am unable to identify it.  Please let me know what and where it is, so we can add that to the blog.

Today, Father Larry responded.

The etched doors at the tomb of Venerable Solanus (which, unfortunately, are almost never closed to be able to appreciate) are of the New Jerusalem from the book of Revelations (21:10-14)— a sign of promised life and the second coming of Christ which we await.

Prayers

After Communion  Most sweet Lord Jesus, pierce my inmost heart with the most dear and most bracing wound on your love.  Pierce it with true, serene, apostolic, and most holy charity, that my soul may ever yearn and melt with love for you and the desire to possess you.  May my soul be drawn toward you and overwhelmed with the hope of entering your courts.  May it long to be dissolved and to be with you.

Grant that my soul may hunger for you, the bread of angels and the food of holy souls, our supersubstantial bread, having in itself every sweetness and good taste, having the delightfulness of all that charms my heart.  May my heart always long for you and find its nourishment in you, and may my inmost heart be filled with the sweetness of your savor.  May my heart thirst for you, the fountain of life and of wisdom and of knowledge and of eternal life, the torrent of pleasure, and the richness of the house of God.

May my heart always draw near to you, seek you, catch sight of you, be drawn to you, and arrive at your presence.  May my heart think of you, speak of you, and do all things that it does for the glory of your name, with humility and care and affection and delight, with eagerness and with deep feeling, and with perseverance to the end.  Thus may you alone always be my hope, all my confidence, my joy, my rest and my tranquility, my peace, all that charms me; my fragrance, my sweetness, my food, my nourishment, my refuge, my help, my wisdom, my portion, my possession, my treasure.  In you may my mind and my heart be fixed and secure and rooted forever without any change.  Amen (Daily Roman Missal, Third Edition, 2010, pp. 2320-21).

Novena…  Dear St. Bonaventure, cardinal, bishop, and doctor of the Church, you chose a life that embraced mortification and great humiliation.  Choosing to serve those individuals who were rejected and sick, you risked illness for yourself.  You made your life a continuous prayer and spent hours meditating on the wounds of Christ.  Please pray for us that we may have a sincere and humble heart.  Pray that we may not lose sight of Jesus’s wounds and, thus, walk on the straight path to eternal salvation.  May we take a great many souls with us to our heavenly Father.

St. Bonaventure, you were known to say, “One should carefully beware of decreasing, even in the slightest, the honor that is due to Mary.”  May we strive, as you did, to love our Blessed Mother and be carriers of her peace in this world.  Please place our petitions… in the loving hands of our Blessed Mother, as we know they will be warmly received by her Son.  Amen.

Pray one Hail Mary after each recitation of the novena.

To the Holy Spirit…  Lord Jesus, as God’s Spirit came down and rested upon you, may the same Spirit rest on us, bestowing his sevenfold gifts.  First, grant us the gift of understanding, by which your precepts may enlighten our minds.  Second, grant us counsel, by which we may follow in your footsteps on the path of righteousness.  Third, grant us courage, by which we may ward off the enemy’s attacks.  Fourth, grant us knowledge, by which we can distinguish good from evil.  Fifth, grant us piety, by which we may acquire compassionate hearts.  Sixth, grant us fear, by which we may draw back from evil and submit to what is good.  Seventh, grant us wisdom, that we may taste fully the life-giving sweetness of your love.

July 15, 2014

“In everything, whether it is a thing sensed or a thing known, God himself is hidden within” (St. Bonaventure).

February 3, 2015

“Although you feel tepid, approach with confidence; for the greater your infirmity, the more you stand in need of a physician” (St. Bonaventure).

July 15, 2015

“Men do not fear a powerful hostile army as the powers of hell fear the name and protection of Mary” (St. Bonaventure).

July 15, 2016

“That heart is free which is held by… the love of God” (St. Bonaventure).

May 29, 2017

“Lord Jesus Christ, pierce my soul with your love, so that I may always long for you alone, who are the bread of angels, and the fulfillment of the soul’s deepest desires”
(St. Bonaventure).

June 21, 2017

“That heart is free which is held by… the love of God” (St. Bonaventure).

July 15, 2017

“Since happiness is nothing other than the enjoyment of the highest good… no one can be happy unless he rises above himself not by an ascent of the body, but of the heart” (St. Bonaventure).

July 18, 2018

“Every great story happened when someone decided not to give up” (Spryte Loriano).

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Links of interest…  Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph: ministries / weekly re:cap…  Franciscan saints calendar…  God’s doorkeepers: Padre Pio, Solanus Casey, & André Bessette (Joel Schorn)…  Mt. Elliott Cemetery…  Solanus Casey Center: Beatitude people (videos) / home / shrine / virtual tour…  St. André Bessette: feast / miracle man of Montreal, wisdom, & wondrous miracles…  St. Bonaventure: about (more) / author / biography / centered on Christchapel / doctor / feast day (Dec 1st) / keeping Jesus as model / memorial / mystical prayer / patron saint / prayer (seven gifts of the Holy Spirit) / theologian / thanksgiving…  This beautiful church was a gift from Slovakia to Icelandic Catholics…  Venerable Solanus Casey: about / blog / books / cards / Capuchin / doorkeeper / ecards / “favors” / garden (paver) / guild / legacy / meets Father Flanagan, SOLT / memorial / message / mystic / novena / opening the door to miracles / ordination / photos / pilgrims & porters / prayer / priest / relic badge / saint / saintmaker / simple man / story / venerable / vocation…  Visit to Venerable Fr. Solanus Casey (blog post)…

WP posts…  Budding relationships…  Capuchin church stations…  Franciscan experience…  Franciscan treasures…  God’s master plan…  Grapes of generosity…  Holy relics…  Lady of sorrows…  Mary’s miraculous medal…  Mary’s seven joys…  Mercy and justice…  My Franciscan Crown…  Powerful intercessor…  Prayer…  Prayers and blessings…  Saint of miracles…  Saintly connections…  Si quaeris miracula…  Solano, Solanus, Solani…  St. Anthony…  St. Elizabeth Church…  St. Felix…  St. Peregrine relic…  Stella Maris…  Today’s Beatitudes…  Tony’s big day