Thursday, May 28, 2015

Catholic Men Preparing for Spiritual Battle

The following comes from Fr. Longenecker at Crux:
Catholic men are arming themselves for battle.
Spiritual battle.
Behind the headlines and beneath the radar, a grassroots movement is growing among Catholic men in the United States. Spurred on by the culture wars, they are rallying to conferences, retreats, seminars, and parish study groups that aim to support them in their faith, encourage fellowship, and motivate Christian action in support of charity, social justice, pro-life causes, and the traditional family. Catholic men’s events have become phenomenally successful, gathering Catholic men from a wide spectrum of age ranges to hear motivational speakers, inspiring converts, and spiritual leaders.
In an interview with Tim Drake at Catholic Pulse, Dan Spencer, executive director of the National Fellowship of Catholic Men, said that at the beginning of the century there were just 16 Catholic men’s conferences. Now a quick check of the Web discovers more than 100 nationwide. In addition to the keynote speakers, the conferences feature workshops and breakout sessions focused on topics such as battling pornography, being a better husband and father, successful stewardship, and how to develop a stronger spirituality.
In our own state of South Carolina — a state where less than 5 percent of the population is Catholic — the first annual men’s conference was standing-room-only with more than 500 registrants. The second year the attendance nearly doubled. The same story is told at men’s conferences across the country.
The renewal of men’s ministry is also taking place at the parish level. Pastors and laymen are starting their own groups, while the National Fellowship of Catholic Men, That Man is You!, and The King’s Men offer guidance and content for local groups.

Remembering Blessed Margaret Pole

The following comes from the Patron Saints Index:

Daughter of the Duke of Clarence. Niece of King Edward IV and King Richard III of England. Married Sir Richard Pole in 1491. Mother of five, one of whom became a cardinal. Widow. Unofficial ward of King Henry VIII, who made her Countess of Salisbury and governess to Princess Mary, daughter of Henry VIII.

When she opposed Henry’s plan to marry Ann Boleyn, she was driven from court and received the king’s disfavor. When her son, Cardinal Reginald Pole, wrote against Henry’s presumptions to spiritual supremacy, the king decided to crush the family. Two of Margaret’s sons were executed in 1538 for the crime of being the brothers of Reginald. The elderly Margaret was arrested soon after, falsley charged with plotting revolution; in 1539 she was sent to the Tower of London where she spent her remaining two years. In 1541, at the outbreak of an actual uprising, Margaret was summarily executed with trial as a precaution. Martyr.

To find out more about the Blessed Margaret Pole film here.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

I Give Myself Away by William McDowell

Fr. Longenecker: Is It Time to Hunker Down?

The following comes from Fr. Dwight Lonenecker:
As Ireland votes overwhelmingly for same sex marriage and the rest of the Western world, it seems, can’t wait to follow their example, is it time to throw in the towel in the cultural slugfest?
As radical Islam advances giving us nightmares and as the economic “recovery” looks increasingly shaky is it time to hunker down?
Over at The Week Damon Linker analyzes what Rod Dreher calls “The Benedict Option”.
This is the idea that the church will follow the pattern of St Benedict. To understand what this means we have to understand the social conditions in Benedict’s day.
It was the end of the fifth century. The once mighty Roman Empire was collapsing. Economic decline was forcing a retreat of the Roman armies across the empire. Famine and plague decimated the population. Moral decay ate away at the family and robbed the population of energy and ambition. In the vacuum the barbarians were invading from the North and the East.
Benedict headed for the hills.
He established small monastic communities of prayer, work and study to survive the social upheaval.
These Christian communities went on to become little havens of peace and lighthouses in the storm. Before long they became the only centers of education, health care, social justice and learning. They preserved the remnants of the earlier classical civilizations and went on to be the kernels of what would be medieval Christendom.
The Benedict Option is the idea that this is where we are headed. It’s not a new idea. T.S.Eliot predicted the continued decay and disintegration of Western civilization and that a new monastic movement would arise and carry the flame and become the nexus of a new Christendom. Cardinal George’s famous prophecy considered the same.
I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.”
The classic novel, Canticle for Lebowitz is set in a future where this has already happened.
The Benedict Option has a double meaning because it can also connect with the prophecy of Pope Benedict XVI who, as Joseph Ratzinger…

Pope Benedict: We need a living experience of Jesus

“Our knowledge of Jesus is in need above all of a living experience: Another person's testimony is certainly important, as in general the whole of our Christian life begins with the proclamation that comes to us from one or several witnesses. But we ourselves must be personally involved in an intimate and profound relationship with Jesus.”

Pope Benedict XVI

Saint of the day: Augustine of Canterbury

The following comes from the Monastery of Christ in the Desert:

The man who would become the first Archbishop of Canterbury and eventually be acclaimed as the "Apostle of England" was the prior of the Abbey of St. Andrew in Rome when, in AD 596 Pope St. Gregory I selected him to head a missionary effort aimed at converting the Anglo-Saxons. Although difficulties encountered in southern Gaul forced him to return to Rome, the pope promptly consecrated him a bishop and dispatched him again. This time the the endeavor met with success and the party reached Ebbsfleet on the Kentish coast in 597, to be warmly welcomed by King Ethelbert of Kent and his Christian wife. The monarch gave the monks permission to evangelize, and soon provided them with an old church in his city of Canterbury, as well as a place in which to live. Before long Ethelbert and many of his courtiers and subjects would be baptized.

Augustine then journeyed to Arles to be invested with the pallium as bishop of the English by St. Virgilius. Thus empowered, he set about establishing bishoprics in London and Rochester. Pope Gregory had desired that the principal See be situated in London with a second in York, both of which would have twelve suffragens. But Augustine thought otherwise, electing instead to remain in Canterbury, a city which he felt to be not only the most culturally sophisticated but also the most important for the Church, since it happened to be the capital of the only Christian Anglo-Saxon kingdom. It was there he built the Cathedral of Christ Church. Outside the walls, King Ethelbert erected the Abbey of SS. Peter and Paul, later to be renamed after the kingdom's first archbishop.

Gregory instructed Augustine carefully on matters pertaining to the integration of this new territory into the Roman Church. Extant letters show that as long as his actions remained canonically correct he was given a certain latitude on decisions concerning the adoption of Gallican liturgical practices. Gregory forbade the outright destruction of pagan temples, and his bishop was strongly encouraged to absorb popular religious rites into Christian feasts whenever possible.
In 603, Augustine tried to united the Celtic Church with Rome, but without much success. In fact, there had been little in the way of cooperation along these lines during the whole of his time in England. Old attachments to provincial customs and practices were simply too engrained. However, with Canterbury firmly established as the ecclesiastical center of England, use of the Roman Rite and calendar would, after his death be universally accepted.

Shortly before his death in 604 he consecrated Lawrence of Canterbury as his successor. Augustine was buried in the Abbey Church of SS. Peter and Paul.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Bed by the Window by Tony Melendez

Pope Francis Homily for Pentecost

The following comes from Vatican Radio:

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis presided over Mass in St Peter's Basilica this Pentecost Sunday saying that, the world needs men and women who are filled with the Holy Spirit.

Below is the English translation the Pope's homily this Pentecost Sunday

“As the Father has sent me, even so I send you... Receive the Holy Spirit” (Jn 20:21-22). The gift of the Spirit on the evening of the Resurrection took place once again on the day of Pentecost, intensified this time by extraordinary outward signs. On the evening of Easter, Jesus appeared to the Apostles and breathed on them his Spirit (cf. Jn 20:22); on the morning of Pentecost the outpouring occurred in a resounding way, like a wind which shook the place the Apostles were in, filling their minds and hearts. They received a new strength so great that they were able to proclaim Christ’s Resurrection in different languages: “They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4). Together with them was Mary, the Mother of Jesus, the first disciple and the Mother of the nascent Church. With her peace and her smile, she accompanied the joyful young Bride, the Church of Jesus.

The word of God, especially in today’s readings, tells us that the Spirit is at work in individuals and communities filled with the Spirit: he guides us into all the truth (cf. Jn 16:13), he renews the face of the earth (Ps 103:30), and he gives us his fruits (cf. Gal 5:22-23).

In the Gospel, Jesus promises his disciples that, when he has returned to the Father, the Holy Spirit will come to guide them into all the truth (cf. Jn 16:13). Indeed he calls the Holy Spirit “the Spirit of truth”, and explains to his disciples that the Spirit will bring them to understand ever more clearly what he, the Messiah, has said and done, especially in regard to his death and resurrection. To the Apostles, who could not bear the scandal of their Master’s sufferings, the Spirit would give a new understanding of the truth and beauty of that saving event. At first they were paralyzed with fear, shut in the Upper Room to avoid the aftermath of Good Friday. Now they would no longer be ashamed to be Christ’s disciples; they would no longer tremble before the courts of men. Filled with the Holy Spirit, they would now understand “all the truth”: that the death of Jesus was not his defeat, but rather the ultimate expression of God’s love, a love that, in the Resurrection, conquers death and exalts Jesus as the Living One, the Lord, the Redeemer of mankind, of history and of the world. This truth, to which the Apostles were witnesses, became Good News, to be proclaimed to all.

The gift of the Holy Spirit renews the earth. The Psalmist says: “You send forth your Spirit… and you renew the face of the earth” (Ps 103:30). The account of the birth of the Church in the Acts of the Apostles is significantly linked to this Psalm, which is a great hymn of praise to God the Creator. The Holy Spirit whom Christ sent from the Father, and the Creator Spirit who gives life to all things, are one and the same. Respect for creation, then, is a requirement of our faith: the “garden” in which we live is not entrusted to us to be exploited, but rather to be cultivated and tended with respect (cf. Gen 2:15). Yet this is possible only if Adam – the man formed from the earth – allows himself in turn to be renewed by the Holy Spirit, only if he allows himself to be re-formed by the Father on the model of Christ, the new Adam. In this way, renewed by the Spirit of God, we will indeed be able to experience the freedom of the sons and daughters, in harmony with all creation. In every creature we will be able to see reflected the glory of the Creator, as another Psalm says: “How great is your name, O Lord our God, through all the earth!” (Ps 8:2, 10).

In the Letter to the Galatians, Saint Paul wants to show the “fruits” manifested in the lives of those who walk in the way of the Spirit (cf. Gal 5:22). On the one hand, he presents “the flesh”, with its list of attendant vices: the works of selfish people closed to God. On the other hand, there are those who by faith allow the Spirit of God to break into their lives. In them, God’s gifts blossom, summed up in nine joyful virtues which Paul calls “fruits of the Spirit”. Hence his appeal, at the start and the end of the reading, as a programme for life: “Walk by the Spirit” (Gal 5:6, 25).

The world needs men and women who are not closed in on themselves, but filled with the Holy Spirit. Closing oneself off from the Holy Spirit means not only a lack of freedom; it is a sin. There are many ways one can close oneself off to the Holy Spirit: by selfishness for one’s own gain; by rigid legalism – seen in the attitude of the doctors of the law to whom Jesus referred as “hypocrites”; by neglect of what Jesus taught; by living the Christian life not as service to others but in the pursuit of personal interests; and in so many other ways. The world needs the courage, hope, faith and perseverance of Christ’s followers. The world needs the fruits of the Holy Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal 5:22). The gift of the Holy Spirit has been bestowed upon the Church and upon each one of us, so that we may live lives of genuine faith and active charity, that we may sow the seeds of reconciliation and peace. Strengthened by the Spirit and his many gifts, may we be able uncompromisingly to battle against sin and corruption, devoting ourselves with patient perseverance to the works of justice and peace.

Saint of the day: Philip Neri

The following comes from the Patron Saints Index:

Though he was related to Italian nobility, Philip came from a poor family. His father, Francisco Neri, worked as a notary. Philip’s brother died in childhood, but his two sisters, Caterina and Elisabetta survived. Known as a pius youth, Philip was taught humanities by the Dominicans.

Moved to San Germano in 1533 to help some family with their business, and while there would escape to a local Dominican chapel in the mountains. Having received a vision that he had an apostolate in Rome, Philip cut himself off from his family, and went there.

Befriended by Galeotto Caccia who took Philip in and paid him to tutor his two sons. Wrote poetry in Latin and Italian. Studied philosophy and theology. When he tired of learning, he sold all his books and gave the money to the poor.

Began to visit and care for the sick, and impoverished pilgrims. Founded a society of like-minded folk to do the same. Friend of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. A layman, he lived in the city as a hermit. During Easter season of 1544, while praying in the catecomb of San Sebastiano, he received a vision of a globe of fire that entered his chest, and he experienced an ecstasy that physically enlarged his heart.

With Persiano Rose, he founded the Confraternity of the Most Holy Trinity. He began to preach, with many converts. In 1550 he considered retiring to the life of a solitary hermit, but received further visions that told him his mission was in Rome. Later he considered missionary work in India, but further visions convinced him to stay in Rome.

Entered the priesthood in 1551. He heard confessions by the hour, could tell penitents their sins before they confessed, and had the gift of conferring visions. He began working with youth, finding safe places for them to play, becoming involved in their lives.

Pope Gregory XIV tried to make him a cardinal, but Philip declined. His popularity was such that he was accused of forming his own sect, but was cleared of this baseless charge. In 1575 he founded the Congregation of the Oratory (Oratorians, a group of priests dedicated to preaching and teaching, but which suffered from accusations of heresy because of the involvement of laymen as preachers. In later years he was beset by several illnesses, each of which was in turn cured through prayer.

“Cheerfulness strengthens the heart and makes us persevere in a good life. Therefore the servant of God ought always to be in good spirits.” – Saint Philip Neri

Archbishop Romero Beatified as a Martyr and Hero of the Poor

The following comes from John Allen at Crux:
In a Saturday ceremony believed to mark the largest religious gathering in the history of Central America, the late Archbishop Oscar Romero, killed in 1980 for defending the poor and victims of human rights abuses in El Salvador, was declared a “blessed” of the Catholic Church.
Beatification is the final stage before sainthood. Romero was beatified as a martyr, meaning someone who died giving witness to the Catholic faith, following a decree recognizing him as martyr issued by Pope Francis last February.
The crowd gathered in a downtown San Salvador plaza for the beatification Mass was estimated to be at least 300,000, including scores of pilgrims from outside the country. The crowd included roughly 300 bishops from around the world and nine heads of state, all from Latin America.
“The memory of Romero is still alive and giving comfort to the poor and marginalized,” said Italian Cardinal Angelo Amato, head of the Vatican department for sainthood causes, who celebrated the beatification Mass.
“He was the light of the world and the salt of the earth,” Amato said. “His persecutors have disappeared and been forgotten, but Romero continues to shine a light over the poor and marginalized of the earth.”
Pope Francis, the first Latin American pope, sent a personal message to the beatification ceremony.
“In times of difficult coexistence, Romero knew how to lead, defend, and protect his flock,” the pope wrote.
“We thank God because he gave this bishop and martyr the ability to see and hear the suffering of his people,” Francis said. “When it is fully understood, faith in Jesus Christ generates communities of workers of peace and solidarity.”
Amato read the pope’s letter aloud at the beginning of the Vatican ceremony.
US President Barack Obama issued a statement on the beatification, saying he was “grateful to Pope Francis for his leadership in reminding us of our obligation to help those most in need, and for his decision to beatify Blessed Oscar Arnulfo [Romero].”
“Let us hope that Archbishop Romero’s vision can inspire all of us to respect the dignity of all human beings, and to work for justice and peace in our hemisphere and beyond,” Obama said.
Named the archbishop of San Salvador in 1977, Romero quickly became the country’s most outspoken opponent of a U.S.-backed right-wing government with strong ties to the military.
Romero’s final public act, the day before his death, was to beg, even order, soldiers and security forces not to fire upon civilians protesting government policies. The next day, he was shot through the heart while saying Mass in a small chapel on the grounds of a Catholic hospital, which also contained the modest house where he lived.

Monday, May 25, 2015

After All These Years by Andrew Peterson

Pope Francis: 'My Life is in God's Hands'

The following comes from Zenit:

In a new in depth interview, Pope Francis discussed details on his election, his relationship with the people, the challenges of being Pope and the centrality of poverty in the Gospel. The Pope was interviewed by journalist Juan Berretta of the Argentine newspaper La Voz del Pueblo (The Voice of the People).

Beretta began the interview by asking him whether he dreamed of becoming Pope, to which the Holy Father responded with a definitive "Never!" He also said that neither he nor any others at the time of the conclave saw him as a papabile. They also said that I was a kingmaker, that I could influence the Latin American cardinals on who they would vote for," he recalled. So much so that not one photo of me was published in the newspapers, nobody thought [that it would be me]. In the betting houses in London, I was number 46. I didn't even think it would be me, it didn't cross my mind."

The Pope went on to say that given there were no strong candidates in this election compared to the 2005 conclave that elected Benedict XVI, he fully expected to return to Argentina. "I came to Rome […] with a return ticket on Saturday night so that I could be in Buenos Aires on Palm Sunday. I also had my homily ready on my desk. I never thought that it would happen.

Regarding his feelings following his election, Francis said that he was in peace, and that his address to the faithful was natural to him. "I felt a lot of peace and I said what came from my heart."

The Pope and the People

Berretta asked Francis if he realizes the magnetism that draws people towards him. While acknowledging it, the Holy Father said that what he has been told by cardinals is that people feel that they understand him when he speaks. "I try to be concrete and that is what you call magnetism, certain cardinals tell me that it has to do with the fact that people understand me," he said.

The 78 year old Pontiff said that he enjoys being with people in both a "human and spiritual sense" and that feeling lead him to live at Casa Santa Marta. "Psychologically, I cannot live without people, I would be no good as a monk, that is why I stayed here in this house," he said.

"This is a guest house, there are 210 rooms. We are 40 people who live here that work in the Holy See and the others are guests, bishops, priests, laity who pass by and stay here. To come here, eat at the dining room where there are people, to have the Mass in which four days of the week people from outside come, from the parishes… I like that a lot. I became a priest to be with the people. I give thanks to God that this has not left me."

Among the things that he misses most is going out on the streets for a walk or "to go to a pizzeria and eat a good pizza."

"You can ask for a delivery to the Vatican," Beretta responded.

"Yes, but it isn't the same, the point is to go there. I was always a person of the streets. As a cardinal I loved walking down the street, going by bus, subway. I love the city, I am a soulful citizen."

The Holy Father admitted that his way of being sometimes went at odds with security protocols. While there are certain protocols that he abides, the Pope said that he is somewhat "undisciplined" when it comes to following protocol.

The Importance of Crying

The Argentine journalist asked Pope Francis on the importance of crying, something mentioned by the Holy Father during his visit to Manila. When asked if he cries, the Holy Father said that he does when he sees human tragedy. Among the examples was the plight of the Rohingyan people who are facing persecution. "They go up on these boats in Thai waters and when they approach land they are given a little bit of food, water and then thrown back at sea. This moves me deeply, these types of tragedies."

The Jesuit Pope also said that he is moved by the sick, the suffering and the imprisoned, which he said pauses him to "think that I could also be here."

"Publicly I do not cry. There two occasions where I was at the limit, but I was able to stop on time. I was very moved, there were even some tears that escaped, but I just played dumb and after a whipped my hand on my face. When asked what caused him to cry on those occasions, the Pope replied: "I remember one, the other I don't. The one I remember was about the persecution of Christians in Iraq. I was speaking about it and I was deeply moved."

Regarding fears on possible threats against his life, the Holy Father said that he is in God's hands. "In my prayers I speak to the Lord and say: 'Look, if this has to be, then let I be, I only ask for one grace: that it may not hurt"; because I am a coward to physical pain. The moral pain I can withstand, but physical, no. I am very cowardly when it comes to that. It's not that I'm afraid of an injection, but I prefer not to have problems with physical pain. I am very intolerant; I assume that it is something that stayed with me after a lung operation when I was 19 years old."

Francis also recounted the pressures of his daily work in governing the Church, among which is the intensity of the amount of work that he has. Recalling some of the problems that arise, the Pope said that one of the major ones is his words being taken out of context.

"The other day in the parish of Ostia, near Rome, I was greeting the people, and they placed the elderly and the sick in the gym. They were seated and I passed by and greeted them. Then I said: 'How amusing, the elderly and the sick are here where the young ones play. I understand you because I am also elderly and I also have my pains, I am a little sick.' The next day, the headlines read 'Pope admits he is sick.'"

The Pope of the Poor

After answering several questions on his native Argentina, the Holy Father was asked on his particular focus on the poor and poverty. Berretta asked if he liked being known as "El Papa Pobre" (The Poor Pope".

"If they put a word after, yes; like 'pobre tipo' (that poor guy)", the Pope responded jokingly.

"Poverty is the center of the Gospel. Jesus came to preach to the poor: if you take out poverty from the Gospel, you won't understand anything."

Berretta asked the Holy Father whether the ideal of eradicating poverty was an "utopian" goal. While acknowledging that it was, the Pope said however that "utopias push us forward." He went on to say that there are three essential things needed in life: memory, the ability to see the present and utopia for the future.

"That is why the future of a people is manifested in its care for the elderly, who are the memory and of children and youth, who are the ones that will bring it forward. We adults must receive that memory, work on it in the future and give it to the children."

Concluding his interview, Pope Francis was asked what he hopes people will remember him as, to which he replied: "As a good guy. That they say: "This was a good guy who tried to do good."

Memorial Day: A Catholic Perspective

St. Bede the Venerable: Father of English History

Today the Church remembers St. Bede the Venerable. Bede was a monk at the English monastery of Wearmouth and Jarrow, in Northumbria. From the age of seven, he spent all his life at that monastery except for a few brief visits to nearby sites. He says of himself: "I have devoted my energies to a study of the Scriptures, observing monastic discipline, and singing the daily services in church; study, teaching, and writing have always been my delight."

The following comes from

Within the walls of the imposing Norman Cathedral of Durham lies the simple tomb of a Christian monk who has earned the title as "Father of English History."

Bede was born at Tyne, in County Durham, and was taken as a child of seven to the monastery of Wearmouth. Shortly afterwards he was moved to become one of the first members of the monastic community at Jarrow. Here, he was ordained a deacon when he was 19 and a priest when he was 30; and here he spent the rest of his life. He never travelled outside of this area but yet, became one of the most learned men of Europe.

The scholarship and culture of Italy had been brought to Britain where it was transported to Jarrow. Here it was combined with the simpler traditions, devotions and evangelism of the Celtic church. In this setting Bede learned the love of scholarship, personal devotion and discipline . He mastered Latin, Greek and Hebrew and had a good knowledge of the classical scholars and early church fathers.

Bede's writings cover a broad spectrum including natural history, poetry, Biblical translation and exposition of the scriptures. His earliest Biblical commentary was probably that on the book of the Revelation. He is credited with writing three known Latin hymns.

He is remembered chiefly for his "Ecclesiastical History of the English People." This five volume work records events in Britain from the raids by Julius Caesar in 55-54 BC to the arrival of the first missionary from Rome, Saint Augustine in 597. Bede's writings are considered the best summary of this period of history ever prepared. Some have called it "the finest historical work of the early Middle Ages."

Bede's motive for recording history reminds us of his deepest desires. He clearly states his purpose in his writings when he says, "For if history records good things of good men, the thoughtful hearer is encouraged to imitate what is good; or if it records evil of wicked men, the good, religious reader or listener is encouraged to avoid all that is sinful and perverse, and to follow what he knows to be good and pleasing to God."

As we celebrate the new millennium, we are indebted to Bede, as it is to this man that we owe, from his historical accounts, our dating of years from the birth of Christ.

Check out a brief video on St. Bede here.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Salve Regina by the Monks of the Grande Chartreuse

Feast of Mary, Help of Christians!

The following comes from the CNA:
The Feast of Mary Help of Christians is celebrated on May 24. 
The tradition of this advocation goes back to 1571, when  the whole of Christendom was saved by Mary Help of Christians when Catholics throughout Europe prayed the Rosary. The great battle of Lepanto occurred on October 7th 1571. For this reason this date has been chosen as the feast of the Holy Rosary. In 1573 Pope Pius V instituted the feast in thanksgiving for the decisive victory of Christianity over Islamism.
Near the end of the 17th century, Emperor Leopold I of Austria took refuge in the Shrine of Mary Help of Christians at Pasau, when 200,000 Ottoman Turks besieged the capital city of Vienna, but a  great victory occurred thanks to Mary Help of Christians: on September 8th, Feast of Our Lady's Birthday, plans were drawn for the battle. On September 12, Feast of the Holy Name of Mary, Vienna was finally freed through the intercession of Mary Help of Christians. All Europe had joined with the Emperor crying out "Mary, Help!" and praying the Holy rosary.
In 1809, Napoleon's men entered the Vatican, arrested Pius VII and brought him in chains to Grenoble, and eventually Fontainbleau. His imprisonment lasted five years. The Holy Father vowed to God that , if he were restored to the Roman See, he would institute a special feast in honor of Mary. Military reverses forced Napoleon to release the Pope, and on May 24th  1814, Pius VII returned in triumph to Rome. Twelve months later, the Pope decreed that the feast of Mary Help of Christians, be kept on the 24th of May. 
St. John Bosco (1815 - 1888) was a dynamic priest who founded the Salesian Order in the XIX century in Italy. His many prophetic dreams, beginning at age nine, guided his ministry and gave insights on future events.
On May 14, 1862, Don Bosco dreamed about the battles the Church would face in the latter days. In his dream, the  Pope of those days anchors the 'ship' of the Church between two pillars, one with a statue of Mary (Auxilium Christianorum or 'Help of Christians') and the other with a large Eucharistic Host
St. John Bosco wrote about his congregation, the Salesians:  "The principal objective is to promote veneration of the Blessed Sacrament and devotion to Mary Help of Christians. This title seems to please the august Queen of Heaven very much." 
The Salesian Sisters of St John Bosco or Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, are the sister order of the Salesians of Don Bosco.
St. John Bosco, himself, on June 9 1868, dedicated to Our Lady Help of Christians, the mother church of his congregation at Turin (Italy). The Salesian Fathers and their Sisters have carried the devotion to their numerous establishments.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Thank you Jesus, Grazie Gesù Song of Medjugorje

Don Bosco: "Be brave...!"

"Be brave and try to detach your heart from worldly things. Do your utmost to banish darkness from your mind and come to understand what true, selfless piety is. Through confession, endeavor to purify your heart of anything which may still taint it. Enliven your faith, which is essential to understand and achieve piety."

~Don Bosco