Thursday, July 28, 2011

Requiescat in pace, Archbishop Sambi

From EWTN News:
Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Holy Father’s diplomatic representative to the U.S., died in the evening on Wednesday, July 27. The nuncio was at a Baltimore hospital, where he was on a ventilator because of complications from a lung surgery performed two weeks ago.
On Monday, the nunciature, along with Archbishop Sambi's family, who traveled to Baltimore from Italy after Archbishop Sambi’s condition worsened, asked “Bishops, priests, religious, and lay faithful” to offer “sacrifices and prayers” for his recovery.
Archbishop Sambi was appointed by Pope Benedict in 2005 as the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States. He began his duties in Washington, D.C. in February of 2006.
Continue reading here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Families: Be Holy!

This is an important reminder to parents especially if their child may be called to a religious vocation.  God entrusts parents with the lives of their children to help them become the people He made them to be - to give them proper direction in the journey to heaven.  God has prepared a path for this child to come back to Him and is asking the parents to assist the child in discovering that path.  It is so important, therefore, for the parents to encourage the possibility of a religious vocation for their children. We will be the happiest in the vocation to which God has called us.  Parents, and future parents, you will aid your child in finding happiness and, most importantly, aiding them in their journey to heaven, if you support them if they think they may be called to religious life.  Sadly, many parents discourage their children if the possibility of a religious vocation is brought up, but if there is support rather than hostility, then the reception of the vocation to which the child is called will allow, not only the child, but the whole family to flourish in the freedom of the Holy Spirit. Family life is so incredibly important - families are the basic unit of society and if the family falls apart the society itself will fall apart.  If, however, families are seeking holiness then they have the ability to transform the culture from a culture of death to a culture of life and civilization of love. The family is what it all hinges upon so to speak.  The family is where the child first learns how to love.  This has dramatic consequences whether for good or for ill.  The Church speaks of the family as the 'ecclesia domestica' or 'domestic church'.  Bl. JPII recognized the importance of the family so much that he dedicated the whole year of 1994 as the 'Year of the Family' because he saw a need for a renewal in family life and he also wrote one of his thickest encyclicals 'Familiaris Consortio' on this topic.  Families, be holy!  Bl. John Paul the Great, intercede for us that our families may seek the holiness for which they are made.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Can't make it to WYD? Make a virtual pilgrimage

If you can't make it to World Youth Day in Madrid Aug. 16-21 in person, the tech-savvy have created a virtual pilgrimage website where you can create an avatar, follow twitter updates, facebook updates, watch video, etc. It's kinda fun actually - they've even made a little Pope avatar (even though the Pope will be there - haha!) Around 2,398 people have signed up virtually as of now.  Learn more here.

But, of course, you will also want to unite yourself with WYD pilgrims not only through technology but also spiritually through prayer and the Sacraments. :)

By the way, in a lot of the WYD 2011 Logos like the one pictured, instead of "WYD" you may have seen "JMJ" which stands for "Jornada Mundial de la Juventud" which means "World Youth Day" in Spanish since it's being held in Madrid, Spain this year.

Padre Pio Coming to a Retreat Center Near You

If you have time to make a quick trip over to Vandalia, Illinois I highly encourage you to do so either on Tuesday, August 2 anytime between 10am-8pm or Friday, August 5 between 10am-Noon to venerate one of the gloves and dried blood (basically a scab - I know it sounds gross, but it's actually really cool) from his stigmata.  A priest who lived with St. Pio at San Giovanni Rotundo will be there, Fr. Ermelindo di Capua. 

Read more from the St. Louis Review.  Check out more info about the retreat that coincides with this at Our Sorrowful Mother's Ministry.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Chillin' at Castel Gandolfo

This is a pretty cool tradition that Pope Benedict is continuing with his former university students:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

From the Rocky Mountains to Rocky's Hometown

This is big news:
Photo by James Baca
August, 2010

Cardinal Justin Rigali will hold a news conference this morning to announce that Pope Benedict XVI has named Archbishop Charles J. Chaput O.F.M., Cap. as the 13th Bishop and 9th Archbishop of Philadelphia. Archbishop Chaput will be Installed on Thursday, September 8, 2011, the feast of the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul at 2:00 p.m. The Holy Father has also appointed Cardinal Rigali as Apostolic Administrator with all of the responsibilities of Archbishop until the Installation of Archbishop Chaput.
Archbishop Chaput, who is 66, is a member of the Order of Friars Minor, Capuchin. He was ordained a priest in 1970 and became a bishop at the age of 43. At that time he became the Bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota. Since 1997 he has served as Archbishop of Denver. A member of the Prairie Band Potowatami Tribe, Archbishop Chaput is the second Native American to be ordained a Bishop in the United States and the first Native American Archbishop.
I LOVE Archbishop Chaput!  He is amazing!  Philadelphia is so blessed to have had Cardinal Rigali and now Abp. Chaput - who will most likely come to be known as Cardinal Chaput.  Keep Cardinal Rigali, Abp. Chaput and the Archdioceses of Philadelphia and Denver in your prayers during this time of transition.

Here is the video of Archbishop Chaput's remarks at the press conference:

Monday, July 11, 2011

Today is the Feast of St. Benedict, the twin brother of St. Scholastica.  He's kind of a big deal. :) 

A sacramental that is widely used in the Church is the St. Benedict medal.  Click here to read about the entire medal, but my favorite part is this: around the edge of the back of the medal are the letters V R S N S M V S M Q L I V B:
Get behind me, Satan; Never suggest vain thoughts to me.

The cup you offer is evil;

Drink the poison yourself!
Take that, Satan!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

84 Years of Faithfulness at 103 Years Old

Check out this video of Sr. Teresita - a cloistered nun in Spain who is 103 years old and has spent 84 years in the convent.  I love that she says she's hoping to meet the Pope when he comes to Spain for World Youth Day next month!  hehe! 
There's a lot of good stuff in this video - the encouragement of her parents to join the convent and discern a vocation, the fact that she joined simply because she was called, the misconceptions she had about nuns before she entered, how happy she is in the cloiseter, the prayer that she always offers which she talks about toward the end of the video - good stuff:

Tip of the hat to Fr. Z.

JPII! We love you so much we're naming stuff after you!

I love this picture - I just keep wondering what
he's reading and what he's looking at.
The name of Bl. John Paul the Great is popping up everywhere which I must say I am thrilled about!  Here is a sampling of churches, newman centers, universities and schools that are adopting the name of this great saint of modern times:

John Paul the Great University
John Paul the Great Catholic High School - Dumfries, VA
John Paul II High School - Plano, TX
John Paul II Institute
John Paul II Newman Center at Illinois State University
John Paul II Newman Center at the University of IL - Chicago
John Paul the Great Student Center at Christendom College
John Paul II Student Resource Center at the University of Sydney
John Paul II Center for Special Learning
Bl. John Paul II Parish - Big Fork, Montana
Bl. John Paul II Parish - Southbridge, Massachusetts

Life: Imagine the Potential

This video was made a few years ago but I happened upon it again this morning and it's definitely worth revisiting:

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

St. Maria Goretti: Model of Purity and Forgiveness

Today is the Feast Day of St. Maria Goretti.  Maria is fairly well known in our day and I highly recommend seeking her intercession, especially for youth who may be struggling with embracing chastity.  Maria was only 11 years old when she died in 1902 after a young farm hand named Alessandro Serenelli attacked her with lustful intentions.  He ended up stabbing her many times; wounds which ultimately caused her death.  On her deathbed she spoke words of forgiveness for her attacker.  She is often depicted with lilies and a palm branch; the lilies symbolize her purity and the palm branch symbolizes her martyrdom.  

Alessandro was sent to prison for his crime and during his time there Maria appeared to him with lilies.  This experience was powerful for Alessandro who reformed his ways and upon his release from prison went to live with Capuchin friars until his death in 1970.  Maria was canonized in 1950 in Rome.  Maria's mother was accompanied by Alessandro at the canonization.  The story of Maria and Alessandro is an amazing story of purity, forgiveness, conversion and redemption. The redeeming power of Christ can change even the hardest of hearts. 

Alessandro himself gives testimony to the harmful effects of much of what the world continues to struggle with (and even on a grander scale today) when he wrote the following: "My behavior was influenced by print, mass-media and bad examples which are followed by the majority of young people without even thinking."  As the saying goes, "garbage in, garbage out".  What we watch, listen to, who we look up to, has a profound effect on who we become and the vices or virtues that we practice.  The content of much of our entertainment has become filled with degrading material and the pornography business rakes in billions. But while there is much to fight, there is also much to be hopeful about. 

God is more powerful than our sins, our failings or our disappointments.  A renewal in the life of the family and the Church is happening and as a renewal in the family and the Church happens a renewal in society happens.  Just as when the family is broken, the sociey is broken; when the family is renewed, the society is renewed.  God always sends us what we need when we need it.  Bl. John Paul the Great's Theology of the Body is playing a major role in this renewal as well as Pope Benedict's efforts regarding the liturgy and unity.  Be of good cheer - God knows what He's doing and He is still in control!  Continue to pray for the virtues of chastity, temperance and fortitude.  When you show the world the joy that you experience from embracing a life of chastity you become a witness of redemption and through you God gives others grace to experience that same joy - just like St. Maria Goretti.  Will you be the saint He has made you to be?

Read more about St. Maria Goretti here.