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Monday, April 30, 2007
Blog Silence Day
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Sunday, April 29, 2007
Pope Benedict XVI ordains 21 men
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On the 44th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Pope Benedict XVI ordained 22 men in St. Peter's Basilica, including Juan Carlos Mari, the son of the man who has been the Vatican's official photographer for decades. Juan Carlos Mari was ordained along with the other 21 men as members of the Legionaries of Christ. The first photo below is of Juan Carlos Mari's ordination.
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44th World Day of Prayer for Vocations
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Today is the 44th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, and Pope Benedict XVI's message for today is available on the Vatican's website. For me, this is day especially important since I am now an official Roman Catholic Seminarian. Over the past year, I have heard the call of the Lord to leave the offerings of the world and follow after the things of eternity. It is no secret that Holy Catholic Church needs vocations. According to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, the number of religious sisters at the end of 2006 was 55,500 and the average age was 70 with 73% being 65 and older. But, as in most areas, quality is better than quantity even in vocations.

The Church does not need thousands of women entering religious life, who refuse to practice celibacy or who refuse to wear the traditional habit as an expression of faith. As I stated in my post Nuns Should Wear the Habit, traditional orders are growing, liberal and modernistic ones are thankfully dying away. So, let us pray to Our Lord and God for a greater amount of holy, reverent women to enter religious life and become brides of Christ. In my post Nuns Should Wear the Habit, I listed several religious orders that are faithful and holy, which have not fallen into the grasp of modernism. These holy order are following the requirement set forth in the current Code of Canon Law: "Religious are to wear the habit of the institute determined according to the norm of proper law as a sign of their consecration and as a testimony of poverty" (Canon 669, 1).

Similarly, the Church needs vocations of holy, reverent men to the priesthood as well as the religious life as monks. Speaking as a Roman Catholic Seminarian, men who promote heresy or heterodox ideas - including the need to ordain women, the need to allow homosexuals to be ordained, and the need to abandon priestly celibacy - are not the answer to the Church's prayers. The Church needs holy men who feel called to rise up in the midst of the world in order to defend the Real Presence, defend Marian doctrine, encourage weekly Confession, and promote Traditional practices including women's veils, altar rails, and the Tridentine Mass. As Fr. Pat Stratford stated in his article "Why the Church must continue to uphold priestly celibacy", priestly celibacy must be retained in the Catholic Church, and the Church does not need another modern priest attack this Church doctrine. People who promote the ordination of women remain oppose to the firm teachings of the Church in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, and they only perform great dishonor to Christ and His Church.

If you have not previously read it, I strongly suggest reading my article The Priestly Vocation today where I share a beautiful metaphor pertaining to the vocation to the priesthood.  In this past year, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) finally published a 98-page Program of Priestly Formation document (.pdf), the fifth of its kind, which thankfully states, "A candidate must be prepared to accept wholeheartedly the Church's teaching on sexuality in its entirety."

Let us remember to fast, prayer, and give alms not just in Lent but year round. By practicing such virtues and living in the state of grace, we can hear the words of Christ: “Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men!” (Mk 1: 17; cf. Mt 4: 19). I heard the calling of Christ to serve the people of God and offer the Mass and the Sacraments.  Just a few days ago, a friend of DilexitPrior, the blogger at Letters from a Young Catholic, entered the Poor Clares.

The Church is very much alive and vocations are sprouting! Let us continue to pray for holy, reverent men and women to answer the call of Christ. Let us also pray for the conversion of those who promote heresy, heterodox ideas, or have not remained faithful to their vows. And let us pray for the growth of traditional religious orders.

Prayer for Vocations:

O Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus and Mother of the Church, To You We Commend our Young People, In Particular Those Called to Closely Follow Your Son. You Know the difficulties, the Struggles, the Obstacles They Must Face. Assist Them to Answer "YES!" to the Divine Call, As You Did at the Invitation of the Angel. Draw them near to your heart So that They Can Understand the Beauty and the Joy that Awaits Them When the Lord Jesus Calls Them Into His Intimacy, To Be Witness of His Love in the World.

Prayer for Priestly Vocations:

O Lord, God of power and majesty, you said that the harvest is great but the laborers are few. Send forth, we beseech thee, laborers into your vineyard to forgive sins, celebrate the Eucharist, baptize, and above all make us a people worthy of thee. We ask this through Jesus Christ, Our Lord.

Parent's Prayer for Vocations:

Dear Heavenly Father, You Have Blessed Us With Children. We Sometimes Forget that They are Not Ours, But Yours, And that You Have Asked Us to Bring Them Up in Your Ways. 0 Gracious and Loving God, We Pray that Our Children Will Discover And Respond Enthusiastically To Your Desire for Them Whether It Be to the Vocation of Consecrated Religious or Single, Sacramental Marriage, or Ordained Life. Please Help Our Children To Have Open Hearts and Minds to Your Call. Help Us to Support and Encourage Our Children To Seek Your will in Choosing a Vocation. We Offer this Prayer in the Name of Jesus through the Power and Grace of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Photo #1 Source: Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia Congregation
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Friday, April 27, 2007
The Greatest Man in the History of the World
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Jesus had no servants, yet they called Him Master.

Had no degree, yet they called Him Teacher.

Had no medicines, yet they called Him Healer.

He had no army, yet kings feared Him.

He won no military battles, yet He conquered the world.

He committed no crime, yet they crucified Him.

He was buried in a tomb, yet He lives today.

I feel honored to serve such a Leader who loves us!
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Ave Maria Award
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I am honored to accept this beautiful award from the author of Holy Reflections because of my post, The Power of One Hail Mary. I am so thankful for the graces I have received through blogging, and I hope to continue spreading the Catholic Faith over the Internet for years to come.

I wish to express my sincere gratitude to Holy Reflections, and I strongly encourage all of my readers to visit the website. It is a truly beautiful website. Again, I humbly accept this most beautiful award.
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Already 7,000 website views in one day
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I logged into my email today and noticed dozens of messages. I decided to check and see how many views my blog has received today. I typically receive about 700-800 daily. I was astonished by seeing nearly 7,000 visitors for today! I realized just a few minutes later that a link to my blog's post The Power of One Hail Mary was placed on the extremely popular website, Spirit Daily.

Welcome, visitors! Please look through my blog including my archives and sidebar.

Update: I checked the statistics a little after midnight and all together, I received 12,071 page views in one day!
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Thursday, April 26, 2007
Mary: The Power of the Scapular and Rosary
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The Blessed Virgin Mary told Saint Dominic "One day, through the Rosary and [Brown] Scapular I will save the world"
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The Power of One Hail Mary
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I received this message in an email yesterday. I did not write this. I am just passing it on to my readers. Catholic information on Mary can be found at my post on the Blessed Virgin Mary:

Hail Mary,Full of Grace,The Lord is with Thee. Blessed art Thou among women, and Blessed is the Fruit of Thy Womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now,and at the hour of death. Amen.

Millions of Catholics often say the Hail Mary. Some repeat it hastilynot even thinking on the words they are saying. These following wordsmay help some say it more thoughtfully. They can give God's Mother greatjoy and obtain for themselves graces that she wishes to give them.

One Hail Mary well said fills the heart of Our Lady with delight and obtains for us indescribably great graces. One Hail Mary well said gives us more graces than a thousand thoughtlessly said.

The Hail Mary is like a mine of gold that we can always take from but never exhaust. Is it hard to say the Hail Mary well? All we have to dois to know its value and understand its meaning.

St. Jerome tells us that "the truths contained in the Hail Mary are so sublime, so wonderful that no man or Angel could fully understand them."

St. Thomas Aquinas, the Prince of Theologians, "the wisest of Saints and holiest of wise men," as Leo XIII called him, preached for 40 days in Rome on the Hail Mary, filling his hearers with rapture.

Father F. Suarez, the holy and learned Jesuit, declared when dying that he would willingly give all the many learned books he wrote, all his life's labors, for the merit of one Hail Mary prayerfully and devoutly said.

St. Mechtilde, who loved our Lady very much, was one day striving to compose a beautiful prayer in her honor. Our Lady appeared to her, with the golden letters on her breast of: "Hail Mary full of grace." She said to her: "Desist, dear child, from your labor for no prayer you could possibly compose would give me the joy and delight of the Hail Mary."

A certain man found joy in saying slowly the Hail Mary. The Blessed Virgin in return appeared to him smiling and announced to him the day and hour that he should die, granting him a most holy and happy death. After death a beautiful white lily grew from his mouth having written onits petals: "Hail Mary."

Cesarius recounts a similar incident. A humble and holy monk lived in the monastery. His poor mind and memory were so weak that he could only repeat one prayer which was the "Hail Mary." After death a tree grew over his grave and on all its leaves was written: "Hail Mary."

These beautiful legends show us how much devotion to Our Lady wasvalued, and the power attributed to the Hail Mary devoutly prayed.

Each time that we say the Hail Mary we are repeating the very same words with which St. Gabriel the Archangel saluted Mary on the day of the Annunciation, when she was made Mother of the Son of God. Many graces and joys filled the soul of Mary at that moment.

Now when we say the Hail Mary we offer anew all these graces and joys to Our Lady and she accepts them with Immense delight. In return she gives us a share in these joys.

Once Our Lord asked St. Francis Assisi to give Him something. The Saint replied: "Dear Lord, I can give You nothing for I have already given you all, all my love." Jesus smiled and said: "Francis, give Me it all again and again, it will give Me the same pleasure."

So with our dearest Mother, she accepts from us each time we say the Hail Mary the joys and delight she received from the words of St.Gabriel.

Almighty God gave His Blessed Mother all the dignity, greatness and holiness necessary to make her His own most perfect Mother. But He also gave her all the sweetness, love, tenderness and affection necessary to make her our most loving Mother. Mary is truly and really our Mother. Aschildren when in trouble run to their mothers for help, so ought we torun at once with unbounded confidence to Mary.

St. Bernard and many Saints said that it was never, never heard at anytime or in any place that Mary refused to hear the prayers of her children on earth. Why do we not realize this most consoling truth? Why refuse the love and consolation that God's Sweet Mother is offering us?

Is it our lamentable ignorance which deprives us of such help and consolation. To love and trust Mary is to be happy on earth now and afterwards to be happy in Heaven.

Dr. Hugh Lammer was a staunch Protestant, with strong prejudices against the Catholic Church. One day he found an explanation of the Hail Mary and read it. He was so charmed with it that he began to say it daily. Insensibly all his anti-Catholic animosity began to disappear. He became a Catholic, a holy priest and a professor of Catholic Theology in Breslau.

A priest was called to the bedside of a man who was dying in despair because of his sins. Yet he refused obstinately to go to confession. As a last recourse the priest asked him to say at least the Hail Mary after which the poor man made a sincere confession and died a holy death.

In England, a parish priest was asked to go and see a Protestant lady who was gravely ill, and who wished to become a Catholic. Asked if she had ever gone to a Catholic Church, or, if she had spoken to Catholics,or if she had read Catholic books? She replied, "No, no." All she could remember was that------when a child------she had learned from a little Catholic neighbor girl the Hail Mary, which she said every night. She was Baptized and before dying had the happiness of seeing her husband and children Baptized.

St. Gertrude tells us in her book, "Revelations" that when we thank God for the graces He has given to any Saint, we get a great share of those particular graces. What graces, then, do we not receive when we say the Hail Mary while thanking God for all the unspeakable graces He has given His Blessed Mother?
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St. Louis de Montfort on the Rosary
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FROM ST. LOUIS DE MONTFORT:

"If you say the Rosary faithfully until death, I do assure you that, in spite of the gravity of your sins 'you shall receive a never-fading crown of glory.' Even if you are on the brink of damnation, even if you have one foot in hell, even if you have sold your soul to the devil as sorcerers do who practise black magic, and even if you are a heretic as obstinate as a devil, sooner or later you will be converted and will amend your life and will save your soul, if-- and mark well what I say-- if you say the Holy Rosary devoutly every day until death for the purpose of knowing the truth and obtaining contrition and pardon for your sins."
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Contact the Cardinal Glennon Children's Foundation
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Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis has resigned from the board of directors of the Cardinal Glennon Children's Foundation over its decision to let pro-abortion rock star Sheryl Crow sing at the event. Crow has been a longtime abortion advocate who founded the Rock for Choice events to promote pro-abortion politics.

The group plans to hold its 19th annual benefit for the Bob Costas Cancer Center on Saturday and Crow will provide musical entertainment at the event.

Burke told the Associated Press he had tried to get the board to delist Crow from the schedule of events but it refused.

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ACTION:
Contact the Cardinal Glennon Children's Foundation with your thoughts:

Cardinal Glennon Children's Foundation
1465 South Grand Blvd.
Saint Louis, MO 63104

314-577-5605 or 800-269-0552
Source: LifeNews

See the website of the Archdiocese of St. Louis in order to view a video by Archbishop Burke.

Update: Archbishop Burke did not show up, but his name came up and was insulted by Bob Costas and Billy Crystal.
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Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Major Rogation Day
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Today is April 25, the Feast of St. Mark, and the Major Rogation. While no longer required after Vatican II, Rogation Days can still (and should) be observed by the faithful. I encourage my readers to observe these days.  Fasting and penance were required, and the faithful would especially pray Litanies on this day.

What are Rogation Days?

"Rogation Days are the four days set apart to bless the fields, and invoke God's mercy on all of creation. The 4 days are April 25, which is called the Major Rogation (and is only coincidentally the same day as the Feast of St. Mark); and the three days preceding Ascension Thursday, which are called the Minor Rogations. Traditionally, on these days, the congregation marches the boundaries of the parish, blessing every tree and stone, while chanting or reciting a Litany of Mercy, usually a Litany of the Saints" (1)

More information:
Image Source: Last Day of Pompeii by Karl Pavlovich Bryulo, 1833
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Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Catholic Carnival 116
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Check out this week's Catholic Carnival #116 at Cause of Our Joy.
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Changing my Display Name
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After thinking about it, I have decided to change the display name on my blog. Since I am a Roman Catholic Seminarian I do not feel it looks appropriate to use my previous screenname of "Moneybags". The idea for my screenname was a result of Monopoly. I love the boardgame, so I planned on calling myself "Pennybags". However, since I like to be original, I changed it to "Moneybags". Also, when I was very young I enjoyed playing the video game Spyro. And one of the characters on the game was named Moneybags. That was what caused me to take my original idea of Pennybags and turn it into Moneybags.

However, I do not think it looks appropriate since I am now an official seminarian. Most people won't know the reason for my original display name, and they might assume it deals with greed. From now on, my display name will be Matthew, named after St. Matthew the Apostle and writer of the Gospel according to St. Matthew.

Update (May 2009): I am no longer a seminarian.
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Bishop Nienstedt made Coadjutor Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis
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I am very excited to offer the following news since I will be living in the Archdiocese of St. Paul - Minneapolis.

VATICAN CITY, APR 24, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:





Bishop John Clayton Nienstedt of New Ulm, U.S.A., as coadjutor archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis (area 17,225, population 3,027,000, Catholics 837,000, priests 514, permanent deacons 221, religious 1,206), U.S.A. The archbishop-elect was born in Detroit, U.S.A., in 1947, he was ordained a priest in 1974, and consecrated a bishop in 1996. Current Archbishop Harry Flynn remains the ordinary.

Here's a Diocesen biography of the new Coadjutor Archbishop: http://www.dnu.org/bishop/

The following excerpt is From the Pioneer Press:
Roman Catholic Bishop John Nienstedt of New Ulm, Minn., a theological conservative who has taken on Hollywood, stem-cell research and people who make too much noise in church, was named Tuesday to succeed Archbishop Harry Flynn.

The announcement by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis that Nienstedt, 60, had been named "coadjutor archbishop" ended months of speculation over who would succeed Flynn, who will step down when he turns 75 next year.

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But Nienstedt's time as bishop of the Diocese of New Ulm has not been without controversy. While Flynn and others lauded him as an able administrator and liturgist, some of his actions have rankled his own priests and parishioners in the diocese he has led since August 2001.

Soon after being named bishop in New Ulm, he condemned some of the theological views of the man who had held the post before him for 25 years, Bishop Raymond Lucker, a noted progressive clergyman who died in 2001. Denouncing his predecessor's views was an "extraordinary step," the National Catholic Reporter noted in an article on the incident.

As bishop in New Ulm, Nienstedt prohibited cohabitating couples from being married in Catholic churches. He barred female pastoral administrators from leading prayers at a semiannual Advertisement leadership event. He once disciplined a priest for holding joint ecumenical services with a Lutheran congregation after the Catholic church had been destroyed by a tornado.

Kenneth Irrgang, a retired priest who clashed with Nienstedt when he was bishop in New Ulm, predicted that Nienstedt will meet resistance among the 654 active priests in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

"I expect disaster there. I don't think those priests are going to accept him," said Irrgang (haha nomen est omen - Irrgang means walking around, not knowing where one is or where one is going), who now lives in St. Cloud. "He's a micromanager. He has to control everything. He hews the line from the Vatican without any question whatsoever. He's not a very good people person."

But the Rev. Philip M. Schotzko of the Church of St. Peter in St. Peter, Minn., praised Nienstedt's abilities.

"Bishop Nienstedt is a consummate man of the church," said Schotzko. "He thinks with, prays with and loves the church with everything he's got. He just follows very carefully the teachings and all aspects of church theology and moral teachings. You'll get a very committed man in that way."

He said Nienstedt is "gifted in many ways as a liturgist" and considers him "a good organizer and planner and administrator."
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Monday, April 23, 2007
Pro-death group in Ecclesiastical building in São Paulo
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I would like to direct all of my readers to the post entitled Pro-death group in Ecclesiastical building in São Paulo Situation unchanged despite Pope's visit over on Rorate Caeli. I also ask that my readers send in emails calling for immediate action.

Here are the email address:

His Eminence, the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Franc Cardinal Rodé, C.M. : civcsva.pref@ccscrlife.va

His Excellency, the Archbishop Secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Archbishop Gianfranco Agostino Gardin, O.F.M. Conv. : civcsva.segr@ccscrlife.va

Prior General of the General Curia of the Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Father Carlo Cicconetti: pcarlo@pcn.net

Vice-Prior of the General Curia of the Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Father Kevin Alban: kalban@carmelnet.org

Archbishop Odilo Pedro Scherer, new Archbishop of São Paulo and General Secretary of the Brazilian Episcopal Conference (CNBB): secgeral@cnbb.org.br

Spokesman of the Archdiocese of São Paulo: vicariatocom@uol.com.br

Spokeswoman of the Papal Visit to São Paulo: contato@visitadopapa.org.br
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Words of Inspiration: April 23, 2007
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"A man who fails to love the Mass fails to love Christ. We must make an effort to "live" the Mass with calm and serenity, with devotion and affection. And this is why I have always suspected that those who want the Mass to be over with quickly show, with this insensitive attitude, that they have not yet realized what the sacrifice of the altar means" (St. Josemaría Escriva)

Remember, the Mass is the Sacrifice of Calvary.
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Updates on My Life
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Blogging has been light because of several reasons. In addition to trying to answer Catholic questions on Yahoo Answers, I have embarked on a new project. Inspired by the desire to correct liturgical abuses, I have searched the Internet using the terms "Eucharistic Minister" and "Minister of the Eucharist". I have emailed parishes that use those terms to refer to laypeople.

Why did I do this? Well, by definition, the only Ministers of the Eucharist are the bishops, priests, and deacons. The term "Extraordinary minister of Holy Communion" is to be used as opposed to the term "Minister of the Eucharist" or "Eucharistic Minister" as stated in the Vatican document Redemptionis Sacramentum in paragraphs 154-156. I am hoping to correct a common liturgical error.

Also, I attended a 50th Wedding Anniversary Party last weekend, and I spent most of the weekend working on the party.

Tomorrow, I have my final meeting, where I will receive my official acceptance as a seminarian for my diocese. I ask for your prayers for this last meeting - the most important of them all.
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The Repose of the Soul of Msgr. Richard Schuler
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As Fr. John Z. of What Does The Prayer Really Say has posted, Msgr. Richard J. Schuler has died. Please pray for the soul of this holy priest from St. Agnes Parish in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen.
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Sunday, April 22, 2007
Pope Benedict XVI Prays Before the Remains of St. Augustine
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On April 22, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI visited the northern Italian city of Pavia, where he prayed before the remains of St. Augustine. Below is a copy of his homily.

PASTORAL VISIT TO VIGEVANO AND PAVIA (ITALY)
CELEBRATION OF VESPERS
HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI


Basilica of St Pietro in Ciel d'Oro, Pavia
Third Sunday of Easter, 22 April 2007

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

With this final event, my Visit to Pavia acquires the form of a pilgrimage. This is the form in which I had conceived of it from the outset, desiring to come here to venerate the mortal remains of St Augustine, to express both the homage of the whole Catholic Church to one of her greatest "fathers" and my personal devotion and gratitude to the one who played such an important part in my life as a theologian and a Pastor, but, I would say, even more as a man and a priest.

I renew with affection my greeting to Bishop Giovanni Giudici and I offer a special greeting to Fr Robert Francis Prevost, Prior General of the Augustinians, to the Father Provincial and to the entire Augustinian community. I greet you all with joy, dear priests, men and women religious, consecrated lay people and seminarians.

Providence has deigned that my journey acquire the character of a true and proper Pastoral Visit, and therefore, in this pause for prayer here at the tomb of the Doctor gratiae, I would like to identify a significant message for the Church's progress. This message comes to us from the encounter of the Word of God and the personal experience of the great Bishop of Hippo.

We have listened to the short biblical Reading for Second Vespers of the Third Sunday of Easter (Heb 10:12-14). The Letter to the Hebrews has set us before Christ, the eternal High Priest, exalted to the Father's glory after offering himself as the one perfect sacrifice of the New Covenant in which the work of Redemption was accomplished.

St Augustine fixed his gaze on this mystery and in it he found the Truth he was so ardently seeking. Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word, the Sacrificed and Risen Lamb, is the Face of God-Love for every human being on his journey along the paths of time towards eternity.

The Apostle John writes in a passage that can be considered parallel to the one just proclaimed in the Letter to the Hebrews: "In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins" (I Jn 4:10). Here is the heart of the Gospel, the central nucleus of Christianity. The light of this love opened Augustine's eyes and led him to encounter the "beauty so old and so new" (Confessions, X, 27) in which alone the human heart finds peace.

Dear brothers and sisters, here, in front of St Augustine's tomb, I would like in spirit to present anew to the Church and to the world my first Encyclical, which contains precisely this central message of the Gospel: Deus caritas est, God is love (cf. I Jn 4:8,16). This Encyclical, especially Part One, is deeply indebted to the thought of St Augustine, who was in love with the Love of God and sang of it, meditated upon it, preached it in all his writings and above all witnessed to it in his pastoral ministry.

Following in the wake of the teachings of the Second Vatican Council and of my venerable Predecessors John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I and John Paul II, I am convinced that humanity today stands in need of this essential message, incarnate in Jesus Christ: God is love. Everything must start from here and everything must lead to here, every pastoral action, every theological treatise.

As St Paul said, "If I ... have not love I gain nothing" (cf. I Cor 13:3). All charisms lose their meaning and value without love, thanks to which instead, all compete to build the Mystical Body of Christ.

Here then is the message that still today St Augustine repeats to the whole Church and in particular, to this diocesan Community which preserves his relics with such veneration. Love is the soul of the Church's life and of her pastoral action. We heard it this morning in the dialogue between Jesus and Simon Peter: "Do you love me?... Tend my sheep" (cf. Jn 21:5-17).

Only those who live a personal experience of the Lord's love are able to exercise the task of guiding and accompanying others on the way of following Christ. At the school of St Augustine, I repeat this truth for you as Bishop of Rome, while as a Christian I welcome it with you with ever new joy.

Serving Christ is first of all a question of love. Dear brothers and sisters, your membership in the Church and your apostolate always shine forth through freedom from any individual interest and through adherence without reserve to Christ's love.

The young, in particular, need to receive the proclamation of freedom and joy whose secret lies in Christ. He is the truest response to the expectations of their hearts, restless because of the many questions they bear within them.

Only in him, the Word spoken for us by the Father, is found that combination of truth and love which contains the full meaning of life. Augustine lived in the first person and explored to their depths the questions that man carries in his heart, and investigated his capacity to open himself to the infinity of God.

In Augustine's footsteps, may you also be a Church that candidly proclaims the "glad tidings" of Christ, his proposal of life, his message of reconciliation and forgiveness.

I have seen that your first pastoral goal is to lead people to Christian maturity. I appreciate this priority given to personal formation because the Church is not a mere organization of group events or, on the contrary, the sum of individuals who live a private religiosity. The Church is a community of people who believe in the God of Jesus Christ and commit themselves to live in the world the commandment of love that he bequeathed to us.

Thus, she is a community where one is taught to love, and this education happens not despite but through the events of life. This is how it was for Peter, for Augustine and for all the saints. So it is for us.

Personal maturation, enlivened by ecclesial charity, also makes it possible to grow in community discernment, that is, in the ability to read and interpret the present time in the light of the Gospel in order to respond to the Lord's call. I encourage you to progress in your personal and communal witness to active love.

The service of charity, which you correctly conceive of as always linked to the proclamation of the Word and the celebration of the Sacraments, calls you and at the same time drives you to be attentive to the material and spiritual needs of your brothers and sisters.

I encourage you to pursue the "high standard" of Christian living which finds in charity the bond of perfection and which must also be expressed in a lifestyle inspired by the Gospel, inevitably against the tide by the world's standards but which must always be witnessed to with humility, respect and cordiality.

Dear brothers and sisters, it was a gift to me, truly a gift, to share with you this time at St Augustine's tomb. Your presence has given my pilgrimage a more concrete sense of Church. Let us start out from here bearing in our hearts the joy of being disciples of Love.

May the Virgin Mary, to whose motherly protection I entrust each one of you and your loved ones, accompany us always, while with deep affection I impart my Apostolic Blessing to you all.

* * *

As he left the Basilica, the Pope greeted the faithful of Pavia, including a large number of children who were waiting for him outside:

Dear Children,

In taking leave of this marvellous City of Pavia, it is a great joy for me to be able to see the children, boys and girls and young people. You are especially close to the Lord. His love is especially for you.

Let us move forward in love for the Lord! Pray for me, and I will pray for you. Good-bye!

© Copyright 2007 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Image Source: REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini (ITALY)
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Saturday, April 21, 2007
The Limbo of the Infants
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There is a great controversy over the news release yesterday, which stated the Pope had "buried" the concept of the Limbo of the infants (limbus infantium). Let me start by clarifying that the Limbo of the Fathers (limbus patrum) - the place where the holy people who died before Christ was resurrected - still is part of Catholic Theology. The Limbo of the infants, called Limbo for short, was the only idea addressed yesterday.

Here is part of an article by Reuters:
The Roman Catholic Church has effectively buried the concept of limbo, the place where centuries of tradition and teaching held that babies who die without baptism went. In a long-awaited document, the Church's International Theological Commission said limbo reflected an "unduly restrictive view of salvation," according to the U.S.-based Catholic News Service, which obtained a copy on Friday.

The thumbs-down verdict on limbo had been expected for years and the document, called "The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptised," was seen as most likely to be final since limbo was never formally part of Church doctrine. Pope Benedict authorized the publication of the document. According to the CNS report, the 41-page document says the theologians advising the Pope concluded that since God is merciful he "wants all human beings to be saved."
The media is attempting to make it seem as if Limbo was always a firm dogma. It wasn't! The Limbo of the infants was just a "theological hypothesis". In reality, no one knows the fate of children who die without the Sacrament of Baptism. Baptism is necessary for salvation, but these children may have never had the opportunity to become baptized. St. Augustine took a different approach and believed that children who die without Baptism would unfortunately have to go to Hell. Pope St. Pius X and numerous other saints have disagreed and claimed that such children go to an special place called Limbo (see bottom of post). Personally, I will continue believing in the Limbo of the infants.

All of this is just a theological hypothesis. We do not know the fate of such children even after the report by the International Theological Commission because the Commission is not infallible either. The findings of the Commission are not binding to anyone!

From a Catholic World News article of yesterday: "Limbo has never been defined as church dogma and is not mentioned in the current Catechism of the Catholic Church, which states simply that unbaptized infants are entrusted to God's mercy."
The Catechism of Pope St. Pius X:

11 Q. When should infants be brought to the Church to be baptised?
A. Infants should be brought to the Church to be baptised as soon as possible.

12 Q. Why such anxiety to have infants receive Baptism?
A. There should be the greatest anxiety to have infants baptised because, on account of their tender age, they are exposed to many dangers of death, and cannot be saved without Baptism.

Auctorem Fidei by Pope Pius VI, August 28, 1794:

[Errors of the Synod of Pistoia.] The doctrine which rejects as a Pelagian fable that place of the lower regions (which the faithful generally designate by the name of limbo of the children) in which the souls of those departing with the sole guilt of original sin are punished with the punishment of the condemned, exclusive of the punishment of fire [...] is false, rash, injurious to Catholic schools.
Image Source: REUTERS/Tony Gentile (ITALY)
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Friday, April 20, 2007
Friday, the Day Our Lord was Crucified
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O King of Glory, have mercy on us sinners!


Today is Friday, the day we commemorate Our Lord's passion and death. It was our own sins that condemned Our Glorious Lord to death - death on a Cross. As Catholics, we are still bound to either abstain from meat today or rather to do some act of penance. It was on this day of the week that Our Glorious Redeemer died for us. Please, never forget this, especially at 3 o'clock, the hour that He died. At 3 o'clock attempt to pray the 3 o'clock Mercy Prayer. Please remember Our Lord's love and repent today.
Code of Canon Law:

Canon 1251: "Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the episcopal conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday."
Canon 1253 provides an exception to the rule - and, perhaps, an explanation for the cultural shift: "The episcopal conference can determine more particular ways in which fasting and abstinence are to be observed. In place of abstinence or fasting it can substitute, in whole or in part, other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety."

(Read More)


Today is also a great day to pray the Stations of the Cross. The Stations are a wonderful devotion that can be prayed in Church or at home. Nonetheless, the stations allow us to contemplate the true love of our Redeemer during His bitter Passion. Please join me in praying the Stations of the Cross. Remember, it was on this day that He gave up His life all for you.

Prayer to the Glorious Cross:

I adore You, O glorious Cross, which was adorned with the Heart and Body of my Savior Jesus Christ, stained and covered with blood. I adore You, O Holy Cross, out of love for Him, Jesus, who is my Savior and my God.

(Pope Pius IX declared that reciting this prayer five times on Friday will free five souls from Purgatory and 33 souls by reciting it on Good Friday. This prayer should be recited before a crucifix with a contrite heart and praying a few minutes for the Pope).

Prayer to Jesus Christ Crucified:

My good and dear Jesus, I kneel before you asking you most earnestly to engrave upon my heart a deep and lively faith, hope, and charity, with true repentance for my sins, and a firm resolve to make amends. As I reflect upon your five wounds, and dwell upon them with deep compassion and grief, I recall the words the prophet David spoke long ago concerning yourself: they have pierced my hands and my feet, they have numbered all my bones!
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Quotations: Pope Pius XII
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"Bodily pain affects man as a whole down to the deepest layers of his moral being. It forces him to face again the fundamental questions of his fate, of his attitude toward God and fellow man, of his individual and collective responsibility and of the sense of his pilgrimage on earth."

"Labor is not merely the fatigue of body without sense or value; nor is it merely a humiliating servitude. It is a service of God, a gift of God, the vigor and fullness of human life, the gauge of eternal rest" (Message for Labor Day, Guideposts Sep 1955)

People continue to criticize Pope Pius XII claiming that he supported Nazism and did nothing to stop the Holocaust. That is completely false.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Video: Tridentine Mass on the Feast of the Sacred Heart
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Partial-Birth Abortion ruled Unconstitutional!
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On November 5, 2003, President George W. Bush signed the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act into law. The bill had passed the House of Representatives by a 281–142 vote and the Senate by a vote of 64–34. The law states, "Any physician who, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, knowingly performs a partial-birth abortion and thereby kills a human fetus shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both."

Alleluia! In one of the most important Supreme Court decisions since Roe v. Wade, the Partial-Birth Abortion Act of 2003 was ruled constitutional today!! History will remember Gonzales v. Carhart.

The Supreme Court has reversed a decision it handed down in 2000 and upheld a Congressional ban on the gruesome partial-birth abortion procedure. The ruling indicated that the federal ban on the abortion procedure did not violate the so-called right to abortion established under Roe v. Wade.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion for the Supreme Court and indicated that the abortion advocates who sued to overturn the ban "have not demonstrated that the Act would be unconstitutional in a large fraction of relevant cases." Source: LifeNews
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Monday, April 16, 2007
Students Killed at Virginia Tech
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I am asking all of my readers to pray for the souls of those students murdered at Virginia Tech today. Pray also for their families and all affected by this tragedy.

Kyrie Eleison!
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Sunday, April 15, 2007
Divine Mercy Sunday
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Today is Divine Mercy Sunday and also Low Sunday, the Octave Day of Easter.

Our Lord revealed special messages concerning His Divine and Endless Mercy to St. Faustina. He appeared to her between 1930 and 1938, and on Good Friday of 1937 He asked for a special a Novena to precede this Sunday. Today we especially thank God for the merciful institution of the Sacrament of Confession. The title of "Divine Mercy Sunday" began on May 23, 2000. Today is the perfect day to pray for mercy, go to Confession, and pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

Our Lord said to St. Faustina:
"My daughter, tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened.
Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity. Everything that exists has come forth from the very depths of My most tender mercy. Every soul in its relation to me will contemplate My love and mercy throughout eternity. The feast of Mercy emerged from My very depths of tenderness. It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the fount of My Mercy." (699 - Diary of St. Faustina)
You may read more excerpts from the Diary of St. Faustina by clicking here.

Today is the day to turn to God again and live again the joy of Easter - Jesus Christ is Risen from the dead!  Concerning the image at the top of this post, Our Lord told St. Faustina: "I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over its enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I Myself will defend it as My own glory." (48)

St. Faustina, ora pro nobis!
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Text Of The New Icel Translation
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Yes, an unofficial version of the New Translation of the Roman Missal is available in English. It appeared over on the blog of Fr. Finigan. Unfortunately, it seems to still be flawed in numerous areas, but it is certainly at least a step in the right direction. See The Hermeneutic of Continuity by Fr. Finigan for more information. There are some good improvements from the current English version. Here is one below:

For information please see The New Translation of the Roman Missal: A Guide and Explanation
Latin text
Supra quae propitio ac sereno vultu respicere digneris; et accepta habere, sicuti accepta habere dignatus es munera pueri tui justi Abel, et sacrificium patriarchae nostri Abrahae, et quod tibi obtulit summus sacerdos tuus Melchisedech, sanctum sacrificium, immaculatam hostiam.

Old ICEL
Look with favor on these offerings and accept them as once you accepted the gifts of your servant Abel, the sacrifice of Abraham, our father in faith, and the bread and wine offered by your priest Melchizedek.

New ICEL
Be pleased to look upon them, with a serene and kindly gaze, and to accept them as you were pleased to accept the gifts of your just servant Abel, the sacrifice of Abraham, our father in faith, and the offering of your high priest Melchizedek, a holy sacrifice, a spotless victim.

Also below:

Latin text
accipens et hunc praeclarum calicem in sanctas ac venerabiles manus suas

Old ICEL
he took the cup

New ICEL
he took this precious chalice into his holy and venerable hands,
For information please see The New Translation of the Roman Missal: A Guide and Explanation
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Saturday, April 14, 2007
Saturday in the Octave of Easter
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"Proclaim the Good News to all creation." (Mark 16:14-15)

Prayers:

Family Prayer for Easter Octave
Regina Coeli

Scripture Readings for Today (1962 Propers of the Mass):

EPISTLE I Peter 2:1-10.

Beloved: Wherefore laying away all malice and all guile and dissimulations and envies and all detractions, As newborn babes, desire the rational milk without guile, that thereby you may grow unto salvation: If so be you have tasted that the Lord is sweet. Unto whom coming, as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men but chosen and made honourable by God: Be you also as living stones built up, a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore it is said in the scripture: "Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious. And he that shall believe in him shall not be confounded." To you therefore that believe, he is honour: but to them that believe not, "the stone which the builders rejected, the same is made the head of the corner:" And, "a stone of stumbling and a rock of scandal," to them who stumble at the word, neither do believe, whereunto also they are set. But you are a chosen generation, a kingly priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people: that you may declare his virtues, who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: Who in times past were not a people: but are now the people of God. Who had not obtained mercy: but now have obtained mercy.

Alleluia, alleluia. V. Ps. 117:24
This is the day the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it. Alleluia!
V. Ps. 112:1. Praise the Lord, you His servants, praise the name of the Lord.

SEQUENCE
May you praise the Paschal Victim,
immolated for Christians.
The Lamb redeemed the sheep:
Christ, the innocent one,
has reconciled sinners to the Father.

A wonderful duel to behold,
as death and life struggle:
The Prince of life dead,
now reigns alive.
Tell us, Mary Magdalen,
what did you see in the way?

"I saw the sepulchre of the living Christ,
and I saw the glory of the Resurrected one:
The Angelic witnesses,
the winding cloth, and His garments.
The risen Christ is my hope:
He will go before His own into Galilee."
We know Christ to have risen
truly from the dead:
And thou, victorious King,
have mercy on us.
Amen. Alleluia.

GOSPEL John 20:1-9.

At that time, on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalen cometh early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre: and she saw the stone taken away from the sepulchre. She ran therefore and cometh to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved and saith to them: "They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre: and we know not where they have laid him." Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple: and they came to the sepulchre. And they both ran together: and that other disciple did outrun Peter and came first to the sepulchre. And when he stooped down, he saw the linen cloths lying: but yet he went not in. Then cometh Simon Peter, following him, and went into the sepulchre: and saw the linen cloths lying, And the napkin that had been about his head, not lying with the linen cloths, but apart, wrapped up into one place. Then that other disciple also went in, who came first to the sepulchre: and he saw and believed. For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.

Reflection:


Today is nearly final day in the Octave of Easter. This 9-day long celebration of Easter is coming to an end tomorrow on "Low Saturday". Typically, those baptized at the Easter Vigil would wear their baptismal garments through all of the Easter Octave. Today those garments were on Low Sunday aside for the first time.

Let us never forget that Our Lord Jesus Christ, God the Son, died on the Cross for our salvation. It is through the royal road of the Cross, that we reach the Resurrection. Our Lord has said, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me" (Matthew 16:24). In Baptism we were spiritually buried with Christ and lain in the tomb in the hopes of rising again. Only through the Cross is there the Resurrection. For this reason, I am always saddened to see churches removing Crucifixes and putting images of the Risen Christ in there. Let us never forget Our Lord's suffering, which lead to the Resurrection. Without the Cross, there is no Resurrection.

There is much evangelization needed over the Internet and in the world. At times I am easily discouraged by the lack of Faith, hatred, and ignorance. But, let us remember Our Lord's words, "In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world" (John 16:33). Let us go forth each and everyday living by living the teachings of Jesus and preaching the Truth of the Catholic Church and Jesus. Jesus told His disciples to "Proclaim the Good News to all creation" (Mark 16:14-15). We also must help spread the Truth. In the words of St. Francis of Assisi, "Preach always, when necessary use words."
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Transfiguration by Fr. John Dear
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Two days ago I started reading "Transfiguration" by Fr. John Dear, published by Double Day in 2007. After completing 20% of the book, I had to put it down. I was excited to read the book because in the first few pages, Fr. Dear describes the Transfiguration of Jesus and his experience with visiting Mt. Tabor, the place where the Transfiguration took place. Unfortunately, the book hit rock bottom after this point.

After reading 55 pages and scanning the remaining parts of the book, Fr. Dear is concerned only about anti-war messages and social work. The entire book is meant to the peace movement, elimination of nuclear weapons, end of the death penalty, protection of the environment, etc. He wants the Just War Theory removed from Church teaching. Fr. Dear makes no mention of the need to receive the Sacraments. He seems so concerned with the world that he is neglecting the purpose of the priesthood - saving immortal souls!

I decided to find more information, so I visited Fr. John Dear's website. And what did I find? I found pictures of a man dressed in laypeople's clothing. Yes, Fr. John Dear is one of the Catholic priests that doesn't teach the Catechism well or dress like a priest with a Roman Collar. I was even more disappointed. In fact, anti-war was the only message I saw on his website. I saw nothing about the need for Confession, Eucharist, Mass, etc. While Jesus certainly did preach peace (Matthew 26:52), Our Lord still used the rope to drive thieves from the Temple (Matthew 21:12-17). I politely suggest that Fr. John Dear needs to read that part of the Gospel again.

Concerning the book, I did enjoy some parts like his inclusion of Mother Teresa and her total dependence on God. Unfortunately, there were some parts that I did not like at all. For example, on page 11 it states, "Through contemplative prayer, Gospel study, and shared community, we can learn to walk with [Jesus]..." There is no mention of the Sacraments, the Mass, the Rosary, or anything genuinely Catholic. Furthermore, page 19 states, "Jesus was determined not to play God, but to be as human, as real, as possible". Jesus Christ is God! Fr. Dear is very wrong and appears close to blasphemy with that statement. And finally, Fr. Dear writes, "Jesus would dedicate His life to justice for the poor, the imprisoned, the blind, the oppressed and the homeless..." (Page 21). Again, wrong - Jesus dedicated His life to saving our immortal souls by dying on the Cross. While He did heal and preach, His mission was to die for our salvation.

If you want a book on the Transfiguration of Jesus on Mt. Tabor, this is not your book. If you want a book about the Transfiguration and how it promotes a radical message on total pacifism from a priest that can't even wear a Roman collar, this is the book.

I do not recommend this book.
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Pope Benedict XVI writes on Evolution
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I originally posted about evolution back in May 2006 with the post Catholics and the Theory of Evolution. Today there is an update to subject. The following is from USA Today:

Benedict XVI, in his first extended reflections on evolution published as pope, says that Darwin's theory cannot be finally proven and that science has unnecessarily narrowed humanity's view of creation. 

In a new book, Creation and Evolution, published Wednesday in German, the pope praised progress gained by science, but cautioned that evolution raises philosophical questions science alone cannot answer.

"The question is not to either make a decision for a creationism that fundamentally excludes science, or for an evolutionary theory that covers over its own gaps and does not want to see the questions that reach beyond the methodological possibilities of natural science," the pope said.

Photo Source: Gregorio Borgia, AP
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Friday, April 13, 2007
Pray for those that do not believe in the Real Presence
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I ask all of my readers to please say a prayer for those that do not believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Please pray for them. Pray that they will come to believe. I ask your prayers especially for a person whom I was writing to today. He does not believe in the Real Presence. I ask you to pray for him that he will accept the Catholic Church and Her teachings. Also, pray for the well-being of himself and his family. The Lord knows his name. Please, just say a short prayer.
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Friday in the Octave of Easter
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"I have seen the Lord" (John 20:18)

Prayers:

Family Prayer for Easter Octave
Regina Coeli

Scripture Readings for Today (1962 Propers of the Mass):

EPISTLE I Peter 3:18-22.

Beloved, Because Christ also died once for our sins, the just for the unjust: that he might offer us to God, being put to death indeed in the flesh, but enlivened in the spirit, In which also coming he preached to those spirits that were in prison: Which had been some time incredulous, when they waited for the patience of God in the days of Noe, when the ark was a building: wherein a few, that is, eight souls, were saved by water. Whereunto baptism, being of the like form, now saveth you also: not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but, the examination of a good conscience towards God by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Who is on the right hand of God, swallowing down death that we might be made heirs of life everlasting: being gone into heaven, the angels and powers and virtues being made subject to him.

GRADUAL Ps. 117:24, 26-27

This is the day the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it.
V. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; the Lord is God and He has given us light.

Alleluia, alleluia!
V. Ps. 95:10. Announce among the nations, that the Lord reigns upon a cross.

SEQUENCE
May you praise the Paschal Victim,
immolated for Christians.
The Lamb redeemed the sheep:
Christ, the innocent one,
has reconciled sinners to the Father.

A wonderful duel to behold,
as death and life struggle:
The Prince of life dead,
now reigns alive.
Tell us, Mary Magdalen,
what did you see in the way?

"I saw the sepulchre of the living Christ,
and I saw the glory of the Resurrected one:
The Angelic witnesses,
the winding cloth, and His garments.
The risen Christ is my hope:
He will go before His own into Galilee."
We know Christ to have risen
truly from the dead:
And thou, victorious King,
have mercy on us.
Amen. Alleluia.

GOSPEL Matt. 28:16-20.


At that time, the eleven disciples went into Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And seeing him they adored: but some doubted. And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: "All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations: baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world."

Reflection:

I hope my readers have enjoyed this series of meditations and readings for each day in the Octave of Easter. As we arrive on Easter Friday, I want today's meditation to be directly from the words of Pope John XXIII:

"Easter reminds us of these fundamental requirements of the Christian life: the practice of piety and the exercise of patience. Through piety we live detached from human frailties, in purity of mind and body, in close union with Christ. Through patience we succeed in strengthening our character and controlling our temper so as to become not only more pleasing to the Lord for our own sake, but an example and encouragement to others, to our fellow men, in the various contingencies of social life.

"The Resurrection of the Lord truly represents—and for this reason it is celebrated every year—the renewed resurrection of every one of us to the true Christian life, the perfect Christian life which we must all try to live. "The Resurrection of Christ is the sacrament of new life".

"My beloved brothers and children! First of all let us look closely at our pattern, Jesus Christ. You see that everything in his life was in preparation for his resurrection. As St Augustine says: "In Christ everything was working for his resurrection".

"Born as a man, he appeared as a man for but a short time. Born of mortal flesh, he experienced all the vicissitudes of mortality. We see him in his infancy, his boyhood, and his vigorous maturity, in which he died. He could not have risen again if he had not died; he could not have died if he had not been born; he was born and he died so that he might rise again.

"This is what St Augustine tells us in simple, sublime words."

Excerpted from Prayers and Devotions from Pope John XXIII, edited by John P. Donnelly © 1967, 1966.
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Thursday, April 12, 2007
Yahoo Answers
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Today I especially was calling on the intercession of St. Dominic, whose Order especially engages in teaching, as I embarked on a new project. I realize that knowledgable and faithful Catholics must spread the Faith. And with the Internet, we have another means of spreading it! I journeyed over to Yahoo Answers today and began answering questions on Catholicism, Rosary praying, artificial contraception, etc.

I am encouraging some of my faithful Catholic readers to spend a few minutes on Yahoo Answers searching for questions to answer each day. It is quick and easy. Unfortunately, many people that either hate or do not believe in Our Lord are answering the questions. I feel that in such a place where people come for answers, faithful Catholics should be teaching.

St. Dominic, ora pro nobis!
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Thursday in the Octave of Easter
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"Blessed are those who have not seen but believed" (John 20:29)

Prayers:

Family Prayer for Easter Octave
Regina Coeli

Scripture Readings for Today (1962 Propers of the Mass):

LESSON Acts 8:26-40.

In those days, an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying: "Arise, go towards the south, to the way that goeth down from Jerusalem into Gaza": this is desert. And rising up, he went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch, of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge over all her treasures, had come to Jerusalem to adore. And he was returning, sitting in his chariot and reading Isaias the prophet. And the Spirit said to Philip: "Go near and join thyself to this chariot." And Philip running thither, heard him reading the prophet Isaias. And he said: "Thinkest thou that thou understandest what thou readest?" Who said: "And how can I, unless some man shew me?" And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.

And the place of the scripture which he was reading was this: "He was led as a sheep to the slaughter: and like a lamb without voice before his shearer, so openeth he not his mouth. In humility his judgment was taken away. His generation who shall declare, for his life shall be taken from the earth?" And the eunuch answering Philip, said: "I beseech thee, of whom doth the prophet speak this? Of himself, or of some other man?" Then Philip, opening his mouth and beginning at this scripture, preached unto him Jesus.

And as they went on their way, they came to a certain water. And the eunuch said: "See, here is water: What doth hinder me from being baptized?" And Philip said: "If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest." And he answering, said: "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."
And he commanded the chariot to stand still. And they went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch. And he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord took away Philip: and the eunuch saw him no more. And he went on his way rejoicing. But Philip was found in Azotus: and passing through, he preached the gospel to all the cities, till he came to Caesarea, the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

GRADUAL Ps. 117:24, 22-23
This is the day the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it.
V. The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the work of the Lord, and is wonderful in our eyes.

Alleluia, alleluia!
V. Christ, who created all things and who has had compassion upon the human race, is risen.

SEQUENCE
May you praise the Paschal Victim,
immolated for Christians.
The Lamb redeemed the sheep:
Christ, the innocent one,
has reconciled sinners to the Father.

A wonderful duel to behold,
as death and life struggle:
The Prince of life dead,
now reigns alive.
Tell us, Mary Magdalen,
what did you see in the way?

"I saw the sepulchre of the living Christ,
and I saw the glory of the Resurrected one:
The Angelic witnesses,
the winding cloth, and His garments.
The risen Christ is my hope:
He will go before His own into Galilee."
We know Christ to have risen
truly from the dead:
And thou, victorious King,
have mercy on us.
Amen. Alleluia.

GOSPEL John 20:11-18.

At that time, Mary stood at the sepulchre without, weeping. Now as she was weeping, she stooped down and looked into the sepulchre, And she saw two angels in white, sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been laid. They say to her: "Woman, why weepest thou?" She saith to them: "Because they have taken away my Lord: and I know not where they have laid him."

When she had thus said, she turned herself back and saw Jesus standing: and she knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith to her: "Woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou?" She, thinking that it was the gardener, saith to him: "Sir, if thou hast taken him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him: and I will take him away." Jesus saith to her: "Mary." She turning, saith to him: "Rabboni" (which is to say, Master). Jesus saith to her: "Do not touch me: for I am not yet ascended to my Father. But go to my brethren and say to them: I ascend to my Father and to your Father, to my God and to your God." Mary Magdalen cometh and telleth the disciples: "I have seen the Lord; and these things he said to me."

Reflection:

Our Easter celebrations continue as we celebrate Easter Thursday. For today's meditation, I have chosen to post sections of the Catechism of St. Pius X. The Catechism was composed in 1905 under Pope St. Pius X, and it still applies today because the Catholic Faith is changeless.

Catechism of St. Pius X:

1 Q: What are we taught in the Fifth Article: He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead?
A: The Fifth Article of the Creed teaches us that the Soul of Jesus Christ, on being separated from His Body, descended to the Limbo of the holy Fathers, and that on the third day it became united once more to His Body, never to be parted from it again.

2 Q: What is here meant by hell?

A: Hell here means the Limbo of the holy Fathers, that is, the place where the souls of the just were detained, in expectation of redemption through Jesus Christ.

3 Q: Why were not the souls of the Holy Fathers admitted into heaven before the death of Jesus Christ?
A: The souls of the holy Fathers were not admitted into heaven before the death of Jesus Christ, because heaven was closed by the sin of Adam, and it was but fitting that Jesus Christ, who reopened it by His death, should be the first to enter it.

4 Q: Why did Jesus Christ defer His own resurrection until the third day?
A: Jesus Christ deferred His own resurrection until the third day to show clearly that He was really dead.

5 Q: Was the resurrection of Jesus Christ like the resurrection of other men who had been raised from the dead?
A: No, the resurrection of Jesus Christ was not like the resurrection of other men who had been raised from the dead, because He rose by His own power, while the others were raised by the power of God.
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Photo: Altar of Repose
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Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Prayer Requests from Various Blogs
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Let us remember these prayer requests at Mass.
  • For Bobby's health via A Catholic Mom in Hawaii
  • For Nathanael in his exams
  • For The Divine Lamp, whose father passed away on Easter Monday
Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen.

Image Source: Photo of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, Believed to be in the Public Domain
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Pope Benedict XVI's Holy Week in 2007
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Below is a post on Pope Benedict XVI's Holy Week in 2007.

Holy Thursday


AP Photo/Plinio Lepri



AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito


Good Friday


AFP/POOL/Danilo Schiavella


REUTERS/Maurizio Brambatti-Pool


REUTERS/Maurizio Brambatti-Pool



AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito



AFP/Christophe Simon


Holy Saturday


REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito



REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito (VATICAN)



Giampiero Sposito/Reuters


Easter Sunday


AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia


On Easter Sunday, he also gave the Urbi et Orbi Address.
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The Transformation of the Altar
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I have found a fabulous video showing how the FSSP transformed a very plain free-standing altar into a decorated and reverent one.


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The Joy of the Priesthood
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Although I have not yet read this book, I was interested if anyone else has read the book. I have already read several reviews of this book, which highly praise it.

Written by Fr. Stephen Rossetti, the book is highly appropriate because he has been the president of the St. Luke Institute in Silver Spring, MD, which is a residential program for treating clergy and religious men and women suffering from mental problems. In an era when consecrated life is highly frowned upon, Fr. Rossetti clearly has seen some of the lowest points in the lives of consecrated men and women. However, Fr. Rossetti offers this book with practical advice for priests on how to spread the Truth of Jesus Christ. It is a means of offering hope to priest. In addition, Catholics are able to understand the challenges and joys of priestly life through this book.

In a positive note, of the 368 residents of the St. Luke Institute treated between 1985-2004, over 95% have not relapsed.
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Wednesday in the Octave of Easter
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"He is not here. He has risen" (Luke 24:6)

Prayers:

Family Prayer for Easter Octave
Regina Coeli

Scripture Readings for Today (1962 Propers of the Mass):

LESSON Acts 3:13-15, 17-19.

In those days, Peter opening his mouth, said: "The God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus, whom you indeed delivered up and denied before the face of Pilate, when he judged he should be released. But you denied the Holy One and the Just: and desired a murderer to be granted unto you. But the author of life you killed, whom God hath raised from the dead: of which we are witnesses. And now, brethren, I know that you did it through ignorance: as did also your rulers. But those things which God before had shewed by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. Be penitent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out."

GRADUAL Ps. 117:24, 16

This is the day the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it.
V. The right hand of the Lord has exercised power; the right hand of the Lord has lifted me up.

Alleluia, alleluia!
V. Luke 24:34. The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Peter.

SEQUENCE
May you praise the Paschal Victim,
immolated for Christians.
The Lamb redeemed the sheep:
Christ, the innocent one,
has reconciled sinners to the Father.

A wonderful duel to behold,
as death and life struggle:
The Prince of life dead,
now reigns alive.
Tell us, Mary Magdalen,
what did you see in the way?

"I saw the sepulchre of the living Christ,
and I saw the glory of the Resurrected one:
The Angelic witnesses,
the winding cloth, and His garments.
The risen Christ is my hope:
He will go before His own into Galilee."
We know Christ to have risen
truly from the dead:
And thou, victorious King,
have mercy on us.
Amen. Alleluia.


GOSPEL John 21:1-14.


At that time, Jesus shewed himself to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias. And he shewed himself after this manner. There were together: Simon Peter and Thomas, who is called Didymus, and Nathanael, who was of Cana of Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee and two others of his disciples.

Simon Peter saith to them: "I go a fishing." They say to him: "We also come with thee." And they went forth and entered into the ship: and that night they caught nothing.

But when the morning was come, Jesus stood on the shore: yet the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus therefore said to them: "Children, have you any meat?" They answered him: "No."
He saith to them: "Cast the net on the right side of the ship; and you shall find." They cast therefore: and now they were not able to draw it, for the multitude of fishes. That disciple therefore whom Jesus loved said to Peter: "It is the Lord." Simon Peter, when he heard that it was the Lord, girt his coat about him (for he was naked) and cast himself into the sea. But the other disciples came in the ship (for they were not far from the land, but as it were two hundred cubits) dragging the net with fishes.
As soon then as they came to land they saw hot coals lying, and a fish laid thereon, and bread.

Jesus saith to them: "Bring hither of the fishes which you have now caught." Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land, full of great fishes, one hundred and fifty-three. And although there were so many, the net was not broken. Jesus saith to them: "Come and dine." And none of them who were at meat, durst ask him: "Who art thou?" Knowing that it was the Lord. And Jesus cometh and taketh bread and giveth them: and fish in like manner. This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to his disciples, after he was risen from the dead.

Reflection:

Below is the Easter Sermon of St. John Chrysostom. It is a good meditation for us as we continue our celebration of Easter. Remember Easter is an 8-day celebration like Christmas. In addition, let us contemplate the sheer joy that the followers of Jesus must have heard when told these words: "He is not here. He has risen."

Sermon of St. John Chrysostom:

Is there anyone who is a devout lover of God?
Let them enjoy this beautiful bright festival!
Is there anyone who is a grateful servant?
Let them rejoice and enter into the joy of their Lord!

Are there any weary with fasting?
Let them now receive their wages!
If any have toiled from the first hour,
let them receive their due reward;
If any have come after the third hour,
let him with gratitude join in the Feast!
And he that arrived after the sixth hour,
let him not doubt; for he too shall sustain no loss.
And if any delayed until the ninth hour,
let him not hesitate; but let him come too.
And he who arrived only at the eleventh hour,
let him not be afraid by reason of his delay.

For the Lord is gracious and receives the last even as the first.
He gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour,
as well as to him that toiled from the first.
To this one He gives, and upon another He bestows.
He accepts the works as He greets the endeavor.
The deed He honors and the intention He commends.

Let us all enter into the joy of the Lord!
First and last alike receive your reward;
rich and poor, rejoice together!
Sober and slothful, celebrate the day!

You that have kept the fast, and you that have not,
rejoice today for the Table is richly laden!
Feast royally on it, the calf is a fatted one.
Let no one go away hungry. Partake, all, of the cup of faith.
Enjoy all the riches of His goodness!

Let no one grieve at his poverty,
for the universal kingdom has been revealed.
Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again;
for forgiveness has risen from the grave.
Let no one fear death, for the Death of our Savior has set us free.
He has destroyed it by enduring it.

He destroyed Hades when He descended into it.
He put it into an uproar even as it tasted of His flesh.
Isaiah foretold this when he said,
"You, O Hell, have been troubled by encountering Him below."

Hell was in an uproar because it was done away with.
It was in an uproar because it is mocked.
It was in an uproar, for it is destroyed.
It is in an uproar, for it is annihilated.
It is in an uproar, for it is now made captive.
Hell took a body, and discovered God.
It took earth, and encountered Heaven.
It took what it saw, and was overcome by what it did not see.
O death, where is thy sting?
O Hades, where is thy victory?

Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!
Christ is Risen, and the evil ones are cast down!
Christ is Risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is Risen, and life is liberated!
Christ is Risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead;
for Christ having risen from the dead,
is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

To Him be Glory and Power forever and ever. Amen!
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