Sunday, June 29, 2008

From "A Friar's Life:" Sent as Missionaries to the World

This is the homily from our assistant pastor, Fr. Tom for today's Mass. I think it's great.

Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, June 29, 2008

"Today begins a historic chapter in the history of the Church: The Jubilee Year of St Paul. Pope Benedict has declared this a year dedicated to remembering this great saint as we commemorate the 2,000th anniversary of his birth. The pope calls every Catholic to get to know St. Paul better during this year. Why? Because he is simply an extraordinary example of what God can do when we cooperate with His plans.

Paul is a man of great transformation. Through the grace of God, he went from being a murderer of Christians to being a martyr for Christ. Paul was first a devout Jew bent on crushing this Christian movement. At the height of his violent campaign, Jesus appeared to Paul, while he was on his way to Damascus to arrest the Christians there. That encounter completely changed his life, and the course of his history and ours.

He became the great missionary who tirelessly traveled for almost 30 years, starting Christian communities in city after city, preaching and suffering, and writing a major portion of the New Testament. Next to Jesus, Paul is the most prominent person in the New Testament. Of its 27 books, 13 are letters attributed to Paul. More than half of the Acts of the Apostles is devoted to his conversion and his activities spreading the good news about Jesus to the world..." (Continued here)

St. Peter and St. Paul

ST. PETER AND ST. PAUL St. Peter Peter, the first pope, was a fisherman from Galilee. Jesus invited him to follow him, saying: "I will make you a fisher of men." Peter was a simple, hard-working man. He was generous, honest and very attached to Jesus. This great apostle's name was Simon, but Jesus changed it to Peter, which means "rock." "You are Peter," Jesus said, "and on this rock I will build my Church." Peter was the chief or prince of the apostles. When Jesus was arrested, Peter became afraid. It was then that he committed the sin of denying Our Lord three times. Fear for his safety got the best of him. But Peter repented totally. He wept over his denials for the rest of his life. Jesus forgave Peter. After his resurrection he asked Peter three times: "Do you love me?" "Lord," Peter answered, "you know all things. You know that I love you." Jesus truly did know! Peter was so right. Jesus said kindly: "Feed my lambs. Feed my sheep." He was telling Peter to take care of his Church because he would be ascending into heaven. Jesus left Peter as the leader of his followers. Peter eventually went to Rome to live. Rome was the center of the whole Roman Empire. Peter converted many nonbelievers there. When the fierce persecution of Christians began, they begged Peter to leave Rome and save himself. It is said that he actually started out. On the road he met Jesus. Peter asked him, "Lord, where are you going?" Jesus answered, "I am coming to be crucified a second time." Then St. Peter turned around and went back. He realized that this vision meant that he was to suffer and die for Jesus. Soon after, he was taken prisoner and condemned to death. Because he was not a Roman citizen, he, like Jesus, could be crucified. This time he did not deny the Lord. This time he was ready to die for him. Peter asked to be crucified with his head downward since he was not worthy to suffer as Jesus had. The Roman soldiers did not find this unusual because slaves were crucified in the same manner. St. Peter was martyred on Vatican Hill. It was around the year 67. Emperor Constantine built a large church over that sacred location in the fourth century. Recent archaeological findings confirm these facts. St. Paul Paul is the great apostle who first persecuted the Christians. Then he was converted. We celebrate Paul's conversion on January 25. At the time of his conversion, Jesus had said: "I will show him how much he must suffer for me." St. Paul loved Jesus very much, so much, in fact, that he became a living copy of our Savior. All his life, during his many missionary trips, St. Paul met troubles and went through dangers of every kind. He was whipped, stoned, shipwrecked, and lost at sea. Many, many times he was hungry, thirsty and cold. Yet he always trusted in God. He never stopped preaching. "The love of Jesus presses me onward," he said. In reward, God gave him great comfort and joy in spite of every suffering. We read about his marvelous adventures for Christ in Luke's Acts of the Apostles, beginning with chapter nine. But St. Luke's story ends when Paul arrives in Rome. He is under house arrest, waiting to be tried by Emperor Nero. A famous early Christian writer, Tertullian, tells us that Paul was freed after his first trial. But then he was put in prison again. This time he was sentenced to death. He died around the year 67, during Nero's terrible persecution of the Christians. Paul called himself the apostle of the Gentiles. He preached the Gospel to the non-Jews. That took him to the whole known world. Because of Paul, we, too, have received the Christian faith. May our hearts be filled with joy as we honor these two great apostles: Peter, our leader in the faith, and Paul, its fearless preacher.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Review of Catholic Saints Prayer Book

By Hugh J.McNichol

The Catholic Church's arsenal of saints is truly a resource that is sadly overlooked by contemporary Catholics. Donna's synopsis of the lives of popular saints is a welcome addition to my spiritual reading library. The heroic lifestyles of the holy men and women that are portrayed in such a clearly spiritual manner by the author are refreshing reminders that all of us as Catholics are called to the ultimate vocation of sainthood. A great book for catechesis and religious education for all levels of faithful Catholics and those interested in learning about the "pillars" of Catholicism. Well done, this book is inspiration to Catholics seeking to identify more closely with the spiritual "heavy-hitters" that have achieved the ultimate title...Saint! Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle has done a great job bringing the great Catholic saints into our unique 21st century perspective.

You can see this review here and there's a place to post a comment.

St. Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria

"St. Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria, one of the metropolitan sees of the Christian Church in the east, was one of the great defenders of the faith against the heresy of Nestorius who denied the oneness of person in Jesus Christ. At the Council of Ephesus in 431, over which he presided in the Pope's name, and at his instigation, it was defined that Christ, the Son of God, is at the same time God and man, and the Blessed Virgin Mary, His mother, is truly the Mother of God. St. Cyril died in 444. The Church venerates him as one of her great doctors. His commentary on the Gospel of St. John is one of the richest doctrinally of those left us by the Fathers of the Church.

According to the 1962 Missal of Bl. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, the feast of St. Cyril of Alexandria is celebrated on February 9." (from Catholic Culture)

You can read Orientalis Ecclesiae (On St. Cyril, Patriarch Of Alexandria)
by Pope Pius XII here:

To Our Venerable Brethren the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops and other Ordinaries at Peace and in Communion with the Apostolic See

Venerable Brethren, Health and Our Apostolic Benediction

St. Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria, glory of the Eastern Church and celebrated champion of the Virgin Mother of God, has always been held by the Church in the highest esteem, and We welcome the opportunity of recalling his merits in this brief Letter, now that fifteen centuries have passed since he happily exchanged this earthly exile for his heavenly home.

2. Our Predecessor St. Celestine I hailed him as 'good defender of the Catholic faith,'[1] as 'excellent priest,'[2] as 'apostolic man.'[3] The ecumenical Council of Chalcedon not only used his doctrine for the detecting and refuting of the latest errors, but went so far as to compare it with the learning of St. Leo the Great;[4] and in fact the latter praised and commended the writings of this great Doctor because of their perfect agreement with the faith of the holy Fathers.[5] The fifth ecumenical Council, held at Constantinople, treated St. Cyril's authority with similar reverence[6] and many years later, during the controversy about the two wills in Christ, his teaching was rightly and triumphantly vindicated, both in the first Lateran Council[7] and in the sixth ecumenical Council, against the false charge of being tainted with the error of Monothelitism. He was, as Our saintly Predecessor Agatho proclaimed, 'a defender of the truth'[8] and 'a consistent teacher of the orthodox faith.'[9]

3. We therefore think it proper in this Letter to give some account of his spotless life, faith, and virtue; and this for the benefit of all, but especially of those who belong to the Eastern Church and therefore have good reason to be proud of this luminary of Christian wisdom, this valiant hero of the apostolate.

4. Born of distinguished family, he was raised to the See of Alexandria--so tradition tells us--in the year 412. His first conflict was with the Novatians and others who attacked the integrity and purity of the faith, and against these he preached, wrote, and issued decrees, ever alert, ever fearless. Later, when the blasphemous heresy of Nestorius began to spread gradually through the East the watchful Pastor was quick to perceive the growth of these new errors and zealous in protecting his flock against them. Throughout this stormy period, and especially at the Council of Ephesus, he showed himself the invincible champion and learned teacher of the divine maternity of the Virgin Mary, of the hypostatic union in Christ, and of the Primacy of the Roman Pontiff. But the leading part which St. Cyril played in these important events has already been admirably described and explained by Our immediate Predecessor of happy memory Pius XI, in the Encyclical Lux Veritatis[10] with which in the year 1931 he celebrated the fifteenth centenary of that ecumenical Council, and therefore it would be superfluous to enter into the details of it here.

5. For Cyril, however, it was not enough to fight vigorously against heresies as they arose, not enough to guard the integrity of Catholic doctrine with energy and solicitude and throw the fullest possible light upon it; he was also untiring in his labors to recall his erring brethren to the straight path of the truth. For when the Bishops of the Province of Antioch were still refusing to recognize the authority of the holy Council of Ephesus, it was due to his efforts that they were at length, after long vicissitudes, brought to complete agreement. And it was only after he had succeeded with God's help in accomplishing this happy reunion and in guarding and securing it against misconceptions that, being now ripe for the reward of everlasting glory, he was taken up to heaven in the year 444, mourned by all men of good will... (Continued here.)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

St. Maximus and Pope Benedict

Vatican City, Jun 25, 2008 / 10:21 am (CNA).- Pope Benedict XVI addressed some 14,000 thousand pilgrims today from beneath a white canopy as the sun blazed down on St. Peter’s Square. The Holy Father, continuing his catechesis on the great figures of the Church, spoke of St. Maximus the Confessor, a monk, theologian and scholar, who was famous for his courageous witness to Christ.

"Maximus understood that our salvation depends on the integrity of Christ, true God and true man," Pope Benedict said. Another aspect of St. Maximus that, the Pope focused on was his “indomitable courage in defending orthodoxy."

Also known as Maximus the theologian, he was born in Palestine in the year 580 and died in exile in the year 662. "From Jerusalem, Maximus moved to Constantinople then, because of the barbarian invasions, he took refuge in Africa where he distinguished himself for his great courage in the defense of orthodoxy. During his time in Carthage, he publicly defended the integrity of Jesus as having both a divine and human nature... (Continued here)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Canticle is out!

The latest issue of Canticle magazine is out and my cover story is, "Women Thirsting for the Living Water: Mulieris Dignitatem and the International Women's Congress in Rome."

Friday, June 13, 2008

St. Anthony of Padua

"St. Anthony was born at Lisbon, Portugal. He became a canon regular and then a Franciscan preaching the Gospel everywhere in Portugal and Italy. Both as a theologian and as a popular preacher he fought vigorously against heresy. His preaching was inspired by the love of God and of souls and had an extraordinary power of conviction; it was filled with the penetrating power of the Bible. Pope Gregory IX, who heard him preach, called him during his lifetime the Arca Testamenti, meaning "the living repository of the Holy Spriptures" and Pope Pius XII, when he proclaimed him a Doctor of the Church, declared that he based all that he said on the texts of the Gospels, and could justly be called the Evangelical Doctor. St. Anthony lived for a time in France, but chiefly in Italy, and died at Padua in 1231 at age 36, with the reputation of great sanctity. From the day of his death innumerable miracles caused the faithful to invoke him as a wonderworker of untiring benevolence." (Catholic Culture)

I have dear St. Anthony in my new saints' book, Catholic Saints Prayer Book. I want to say to St. Anthony:

"Dear St. Anthony, can you please FIND me some more time to be able to keep up with all of my duties and works?!

Additionally, St. Anthony, please help me to FIND Jesus in all of the people that I encounter in any way throughout each day of my life. Thank you for listening to my pleas. I love you! Amen."

Our good and dear Lord gives us the gift of the saints to call upon for help and intercession anytime at all. He doesn't want us to hesitate in asking for their help! So, don't be shy, ask away. They will bring us closer to our Lord!

God bless!


Thursday, June 12, 2008

An approved prayer asking for Pope John Paul II's intercession

O Holy Trinity,
we thank you for having given to the Church
Pope John Paul II,
and for having made him shine with your fatherly tenderness,
the glory of the Cross of Christ and the splendour of the Spirit of love

He, trusting completely in your infinite mercy
and in the maternal intercession of Mary, has shown himself
in the likeness of Jesus the Good Shepherd
and has pointed out to us holiness
as the path to reach eternal communion with You.

Grant us, through his intercession,
according to your will, the grace that we implore,
in the hope that he will soon be numbered among your saints.

(Taken from:
L'Osservatore Romano
Weekly Edition in English
6 July 2005, page 9)

L'Osservatore Romano is the newspaper of the Holy See.
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