Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Divine Mercy Novena 2012


Starting on Good Friday, I am joining more than 10,000 Catholics to pray a Divine Mercy Novena!
I’m actually trying to help this online prayer community (PrayMoreNovenas.com) to get 20,000 people praying this novena for God’s Mercy. We all need Mercy, right?
You can sign up for handy email reminders to get the the novena prayers here: http://www.praymorenovenas.com/divine-mercy-novena
After you sign up, maybe you can help spread the word as well. God’s Mercy is abundant and overflowing, let’s share it!
Divine Mercy Novena



Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Twin Devotion to Mary and Jesus


Most of the prophecies associated with Don Bosco came to him during dreams, but just as in Matthew's Gospel where the process of Joseph being instructed by angels during dreams is described it is clear that Don Bosco's experiences were more than the sort of dreams most of us have when asleep. Most of his dreams were concerned with the direction both he and his order, the Salesians, were to take in the future, and in particular with the boys who lived at his oratory in Turin. On 30 May 1862 Don Bosco at his “Good Night” talk told his boys, and the young clerics he was training, about a dream he had dreamt a few nights previously:

“Try to picture yourselves with me on the seashore, or, better still, on an outlying cliff with no other land in sight. The vast expanse of water is covered with a formidable array of ships in battle formation, prows fitted with sharp spear-like beaks capable of breaking through any defence. All are heavily armed with cannons, incendiary bombs, and firearms of all sorts - even books - and are heading toward one stately ship, mightier than them all. As they try to close in, they try to ram it, set it afire, and cripple it as much as possible.
“This stately vessel is shielded by a flotilla escort. Winds and waves are with the enemy. In this midst of this endless sea, two solid columns, a short distance apart, soar high into the sky: one is surmounted by a statue of the Immaculate Virgin at whose feet a large inscription reads: Help of Christians; the other, far loftier and sturdier, supports a [Communion] Host of proportionate size and bears beneath it the inscription Salvation of believers.
“The flagship commander – the Roman Pontiff [the Pope] – seeing the enemy's fury and his auxiliary ships very grave predicament, summons his captains to a conference. However, as they discuss their strategy, a furious storm breaks out and they must return to their ships. When the storm abates, the Pope again summons his captains as the flagship keeps on its course. But the storm rages again. Standing at the helm, the Pope strains every muscle to steer his ship between the two columns from whose summits hang many anchors and strong hooks linked to chains.

“The entire enemy fleet closes in to intercept and sink the flagship at all costs. They bombard it with everything they have: books and pamphlets, incendiary bombs, firearms, cannons. The battle rages ever more furious. Beaked prows ram the flagship again and again, but to no avail, as, unscathed and undaunted, it keeps on its course. At times a formidable ram splinters a gaping hole into its hull, but, immediately, a breeze from the two columns instantly seals the gash.

“Meanwhile, enemy cannons blow up, firearms and beaks fall to pieces, ships crack up and sink to the bottom. In blind fury the enemy takes to hand-to-hand combat, cursing and blaspheming. Suddenly the Pope falls, seriously wounded. He is instantly helped up but, struck down a second time, dies. A shout of victory rises from the enemy and wild rejoicing sweeps their ships. But no sooner is the Pope dead than another takes his place. The captains of the auxiliary ships elected him so quickly that the news of the Pope's death coincides with that of his successor's election. The enemy's self-assurance wanes.

“Breaking through all resistance, the new Pope steers his ship safely between the two columns and moors it to the two columns; first to the one surmounted by the Host, and then to the other, topped by the statue of the Virgin. At this point something unexpected happens. The enemy ships panic and disperse, colliding with and scuttling each other. Some auxiliary ships which had gallantly fought alongside their flagship are the first to tie up at the two columns.

“Many others, which had fearfully kept far away from the fight, stand still, cautiously waiting until the wrecked enemy ships vanish under the waves. Then, they too head for the two columns, tie up at the swinging hooks, and ride safe and tranquil beside their flagship. A great calm now covers the sea.”
Don Bosco added: “Very grave trials await the Church. What we have suffered so far is almost nothing compared to what is going to happen. The enemies of the Church are symbolized by the ships which strive their utmost to sink the flagship. Only two things can save us in such a grave hour: devotion to Mary and frequent Communion. Let us do our very best to use these two means and have others use them everywhere.”

Christ Alive in the Tabernacle


On the evening of the last day of his October 1995 visit to the United States, Pope John Paul II was scheduled to greet the seminarians at St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore. It had been a very full day, beginning with Mass at the Oriole Park in Camden Yards, followed by a parade through the downtown streets, a visit to the Basilica of The Assumption, the first cathedral in the country, lunch at a local soup kitchen, run by the Catholic Charities, a prayer service at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in the north Baltimore area, and finally a quick stop at St. Mary's Seminary.

The schedule was tight so the plan was to simply greet the seminarians while they stood outside on the steps. But Pope John Paul II made his way through their ranks and into the building. His plan was first to make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament. When his wishes were made known, security personnel quickly flew into action ahead of the Pope. Their activities included a sweep of the building, paying closest attention to the chapel where Pope John Paul II would be praying. For this purpose, highly trained dogs were used to detect any persons who might be present.

The dogs are trained to locate living people in collapsed buildings after earthquakes and other disasters. These intelligent and eager canines went through their rounds in the halls, offices and classrooms quickly, and were then sent into the chapel. They went up and down the aisles and past the pews, and finally into the side chapel where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved. Upon reaching the tabernacle, the dogs sniffed and whined and pointed, refusing to leave; they were convinced that they discovered SOMEONE there and firmly remained, their attention riveted to the tabernacle, until called out by the handlers. We Catholics know they were right; they found a REAL LIVING PERSON in the tabernacle!

Eucharistic Miracle of Alberta


On July 18, 1946, Father Gino C. Violini stood before a small wooden church in a little town nestled in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies in Southern Alberta. St. Joseph's was a forlorn, nearly-abandoned little mission church.
A small group of people gathered around this man dressed in mourning. They said they didn't need a priest; Cowley didn't need a priest, and if it ever came to pass that they needed one, they would inform Bishop Carroll of the fact. Furthermore, they didn't want to see him reading his breviary, and he could get rid of that cassock.

He celebrated his first Mass at St. Joseph's the following Sunday. There were nine people in the pews. Well, he had to start somewhere, and he delivered the best sermon ever, in his opinion, to those nine people. The following Sunday, there were only four who had come to adore their God.

The next two years were not crowned with success. The collection was laughable. He could afford a loaf of bread which he'd cut into seven parts, one part for each day of the week, and feasted on dandelion salad. Winter is an especially cruel season in Cowley, and he'd find his blankets snow covered when he awoke in the morning, as the rectory walls were split open from the many seasons that had dried and shrunk the logs apart. His first Christmas collection was a dollar and thirteen cents. The church was no warmer than the rectory, so the water would freeze in the cruets, even though he placed them on a little coal stove.

Father had had it. One day he sat down and wrote a sixteen-page letter, addressed to Bishop Francis P. Carroll, the gist of which was — this town is a write-off, and I want to stamp the dust of it off my feet. The Bishop rejected each and all of his requests for a transfer, and told him to stay put. He had full confidence in Father Violini, and he expected him to bring about a full Catholic revival in this parish, which had been so long neglected. After the latest of these rebuffs, Father was ready to pray for a noble death. But he was in for a great revelation.

On the feast of Corpus Christi, he awoke early and headed for the church for morning prayers. As he walked to the church, he noticed the front door hanging off its hinges. He hurried in and gazed at a scene of great destruction. The walls were in shambles, the statues destroyed and then he noticed the tabernacle had been split open and the consecrated Hosts were scattered down the main aisle. One by one, he gathered them up, counting each one. They were all there except the large Benediction Host which he could find nowhere.
It was raining, The gray sky reflected his anguish. He notified Father Harrington of the Crowsnest deanery who quickly organized a search party of some two-thousand people. They searched Bellevue and Hillcrest, Blairemore and Coleman; some came from as far as Michel and Natal in British Columbia, yet none of the people of Cowley would help. The search party combed miles of Highway 3. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police picked up two suspects at Cowley, and questioned them at Blairemore. They had stolen a pickup truck, and abandoned it down the highway when the police had discovered them.
Father Gino recognized them as transients from Lethbridge who had been seated next to him at a baseball game a couple days before, and who were looking to find work in the coal mines at Crowsnest Pass. He listened to the questioning by Sergeant Parsons: “Remember, it may not mean much to you or to me, but you fellows stole his Jesus.” Father explained the meaning of the Blessed Sacrament to them, and how precious it is to Catholics. He then offered to drop all the charges if they would tell him where they had discarded the Host.

Touched by his explanation, they began to show remorse and offered to help find It. One admitted to having discarded it through the truck window just before the police took them into custody. He didn't know what it was, but he knew it was incriminating evidence. The rain had hardly stopped when they all piled into the police cruiser, the two suspects still handcuffed. Father calculated that if the Host had been dropped as these two men had said, the search parties would surely have found it if the rain had not dissolved it. It was about six o'clock that evening when they arrived at the spot. The sky was clearing; there was a bit of blue in the West.

As they rounded a corner east of Bellevue, they all saw the Host suspended in midair beside the highway. Beautiful rays of coloured light shone from it. Even before the car had stopped, Father leaped from the car and ran towards this astonishing sight. Sergeant Parsons was right behind him. Father fell to his knees in adoration, overcome with joy and wonder. Sergeant Parsons did likewise, and landed in a pool of mud.

Father stood up and reached for the Host. It looked as white and fresh as the day he had consecrated it. As he touched it, they heard: “Father Gino, please take me back to Cowley.”

Here was Christ on the road, asking to be returned to a desecrated church; to a parish that Father had long wanted to leave. As they returned to Cowley, Sergeant Parson's eyes constantly left the road to gaze at the wonder Father held there, beside him. The Bishop arrived the next day. He told Father Gino that he would be the one to rededicate the church. The Bishop prayed with him in the devastated sanctuary. As he finished, he turned to Father Gino to say: “Great changes will soon take place in this parish.”

Sergeant Parsons came to ask for instruction a few days later. His wife and children soon joined him, and later two of his constables from Pincher Creek. As time went on, more and more Catholics began to return to their church. The parish mission was so popular that the beer hall shut down when it was in progress. The patrons, many of whom were not Catholic, would carry the bar stools to the church to listen to Father's sermons. They even had to take out the pot-bellied stove to make room for everyone.

The little church, so long abandoned, was now full to overflowing every Sunday.

Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano


Ancient Anxanum, the city of the Frentanese, has contained for over twelve centuries the first and greatest Eucharistic Miracle of the Catholic Church. This wondrous Event took place in the 8th century A.D. in the little Church of St. Legontian, as a divine response to a Basilian monk's doubt about Jesus' Real Presence in the Eucharist.

During Holy Mass, after the two-fold consecration, the host was changed into live Flesh and the wine was changed into live Blood, which coagulated into five globules, irregular and differing in shape and size.

The Host-Flesh, as can be very distinctly observed today, has the same dimensions as the large host used today in the Latin church; it is light brown and appears rose-colored when lighted from the back.

The Blood is coagulated and has an earthy color resembling the yellow of ochre.

Various ecclesiastical investigation ("Recognitions") were conducted since 1574.

In 1970-'71 and taken up again partly in 1981 there took place a scientific investigation by the most illustrious scientist Prof. Odoardo Linoli, eminent Professor in Anatomy and Pathological Histology and in Chemistry and Clinical Microscopy. He was assisted by Prof. Ruggero Bertelli of the University of Siena.

The analyzes were conducted with absolute and unquestionable scientific precision and they were documented with a series of microscopic photographs.
These analyzes sustained the following conclusions:

The Flesh is real Flesh. The Blood is real Blood.

The Flesh and the Blood belong to the human species.

The Flesh consists of the muscular tissue of the heart.

In the Flesh we see present in section: the myocardium, the endocardium, the vagus nerve and also the left ventricle of the heart for the large thickness of the myocardium.

The Flesh is a "HEART" complete in its essential structure.

The Flesh and the Blood have the same blood-type: AB (Blood-type identical to that which Prof. Baima Bollone uncovered in the Holy Shroud of Turin).

In the Blood there were found proteins in the same normal proportions (percentage-wise) as are found in the sero-proteic make-up of the fresh normal blood.

In the Blood there were also found these minerals: chlorides, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium and calcium.

The preservation of the Flesh and of the Blood, which were left in their natural state for twelve centuries and exposed to the action of atmospheric and biological agents, remains an extraordinary phenomenon.

Eucharistic Miracle of Santarem


An unhappy woman lived in Santarem between the years of 1225 and 1247, because she was convinced that her husband was unfaithful. She tried all the possible means to bring back her husband with out any results. Desperate before her situation, she turned to sorcery visiting the soccer of the town. She promised her that her husband would again love her like before, but with the condition that she would pay her with a consecrated Host. This frightened very much the women, she knew this to be a sacrilege, but finally yield to it.  After receiving communion in her parish church of Saint Stephen, she did not consume the host but left the church immediately took the host out of her mouth and placed it in her head scarf.

On her way to the sorceress house, the Holy Host started to bleed. The woman did not realized this was happening until the people passing by informed her, thinking that she was bleeding. The woman’s heart started to panic. She went home and placed the Host covered in the scarf at the bottom of a chest made of wood where she kept personal items in her room. She remained there with fear all day until night time.

When her husband arrived late that evening, they went to sleep, with the possibility that she herself did not rest much. The guilt of her sin tormented her, and also the idea that perhaps the Host continued to bleed.

In the darkness of the room, a great miracle occurred. From the chest brilliant rays of light shined through, allowing the couple to awakened. They saw a spectacular vision of angles adoring the Holy Host bleeding.  The woman no longer contained herself and confessed the great sin to her husband. Both repented and spent the rest of the night kneeling in adoration and reparation before the miraculous Host.

The next morning they informed the parish priest. He went to the house and heard the story from the woman. The priest returned the Host to the Church of St. Stephen in a solemn procession, accompanied by many priest and lay people. The host continued to bleed for three days. Finally it was decided to place the holy host (still bleeding) in a reliquary made of beeswax. The holy host remained their until a second miracle occurred.

The priest enclosed the holy host in the beeswax reliquary and placed it in the tabernacle. This is were the second miracle occurred. When the priest opened the tabernacle door, the beeswax reliquary disintegrated in small pieces. In its place was a recipient made of glass that contained the blood of the host together with the beeswax. We can contemplate it together with the main reliquary that dates from 1782. Since the XVIII century this reliquary remains in the Eucharistic throne on the mayor altar. Today it is known as the Sanctuary of the Holy Miracle.

Through the centuries, the Host has bleed repeatedly and several images have been seen in the host, images of our Lord Jesus. Among the many witnesses, is Saint Francis Xavier, the missionary apostle of India who saw the sanctuary of the miracle before departing to the missions. It is known that an archbishop of Lisboa broke the glass reliquary trying to detain the bleed flow.

The Eucharistic Miracle of Santarem is considered the most important after the Miracle of Lanciano.  Studies and canonical investigations have been made during the years, being the most important the one in 1340 and 1612, which proved without doubt the authenticity and antiquity of the Eucharistic Miracle.

The Holy Blood has been liquified, 750 years after the miracle occurred. The old, original group (Real Brotherhood of the Sacred Miracle) in charge of safekeeping the Holy Miracle still exists today.

Popes that have granted Plenary Indulgence to the Eucharistic Miracle of Santarem:
Pope Pio IV: (1559-1565) granted Indulgence to pilgrims who visit the Church.
Pope St. Pio V and Pope Pio VI: granted privileges to pilgrims that visit the Church.
Pope Gregory XIV (1590-1591): granted Plenary Indulgence to all the members of the
Real Brotherhood of the Sacred Miracle on the day they entered the brotherhood and the day of their death.

Saints that are in some way united to Santarem and the Eucharistic Miracle
Saint Irene : Santarem in Portuguese means “Saint Irene”, patron of the city. She is a martyr of the year 653. In the Church of St. Irene we can find the Miraculous Crucifix of Monteiraz. Chuch documents relates that the Body of our Lord became alive (like the Miracle of Limpias), Jesus arm came down from the crucifix and embraced a small shepherd girl of the time of the Eucharistic Miracle. The crucifix belonged to a community of the 12 benedictine monks (Abby of 12 apostles) is from the XII century, it is still venerated today.

Saint Stephen: martyr and patron of the Church of the Holy Miracle.
Saint Leonor Alfonso : daughter of the King D. Alfonso, who became a religious of the order Poor Clares and is buried in the Monastery of Santarem.

Saint Francis Xavier: visited most of the sanctuaries of Portugal. He also visited the Church of the Holy Miracle before being sent to missions in India by the King of Portugal. St. Francis Xavier’s image is venerated in the Church of the miracle.

Saint Isabel of Portugal: most of Portugal’s Kings of that time visited the Eucharistic Miracle . The most famous visit was from two visits that Queen Saint Isabel(Isabel of Aragon), in 1295 and 1322.

Her first visit was during her trip to Coimbra coinciding with the feast of St. Irene. The second visit was to request before the Holy Miracle peace between her husband, King Dionisio and her son, the future Alfonso VI, who were in discord.

She requested the Holy Host be taken in procession in the streets. She herself accompanied the procession, deposing of her royal vestments, her crown and jewels. She covered herself with ashes, walked barefoot, with a rope around her neck. This act of penance from the Queen was very pleasing to the Lord, granting her the grace of peace and reconciliation between her husband and son.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Our Lady Of Akita

Excerpt from Third Message to Sr. Agnes on October 13, 1973


". . . if men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one will never have seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead. The only arms which will remain for you will be the Rosary and the Sign left by my Son. Each day recite the prayers of the Rosary. With the Rosary, pray for the Pope, the bishops and the priests."
"The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against other bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres (other priests). Churches and altars will be sacked. The Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord."
"The demon will be especially implacable against the souls consecrated to God. The thought of the loss of so many souls is the cause of my sadness. If sins increase in number and gravity, there will be no longer pardon for them."
". . . Pray very much the prayers of the Rosary. I alone am able still to save you from the calamities which approach. Those who place their confidence in me will be saved."

In 1988 then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) expressed his opinion , as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, that the events at Akita were reliable and worthy of belief.

Our Holy Mother keeps warning us of the coming chastisement and calling us to repent. Will we listen to Her before it is too late?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Our Lady of Good Success


In the 17th century Our Lady appeared to a Spanish Conceptionist nun, Ven. Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres, one of the Founding Mothers of the Convent of the Immaculate Conception in Quito, Ecuador. During her life of 72 years, Mother Mariana received many apparitions and favors from Our Lady, who revealed important facts in the History of the Church. The Virgin Mary also told her to have a statue of Our Lady of Good Success made to be a protection for the whole world in the turbulent times to come. 


Our Lady told Mother Mariana a great crisis in the Church would begin in the 20th century, and that only then would the devotion to Our Lady of Good Success become known because it would be the remedy for that crisis. To atone for the many profanations, blasphemies, and abuses and to hasten the day of the triumphant restoration of the Catholic Church, Mother Mariana was asked to become an expiatory victim for those times which are ours. It is not difficult to figure out that the crisis predicted for the 20th century was Council Vatican II and its consequences. 


It is truly extraordinary. Our Lady set out the whole panorama of the present day calamity to a simple nun in Quito in the early 1600s. Mother Mariana saw the grievous situation, and almost died from the violence of the shock. One can only imagine how a vision of the shriveled post-Vatican II Church would distress a nun living in the healthy climate of the Counter-Reformation in the Church, which had one of its highest points in Spain, her homeland. 


In particular, she suffered from seeing the impurity and corruption of the clergy in this crisis. The depraved priests of those times, she predicted, would so scandalize the Christian people that their vile actions would raise the general indignation of bad Catholics and the enemies of the Church against all priests. It is a very strong statement; nonetheless it has come to pass. Today Catholics world-over have had to face the torrent of homosexuality and pedophilia that has unfortunately inundated the Catholic clergy and hierarchy. Sadly and undeniably, this prophetic message of Mother Mariana has been fulfilled in our days.

OUR LADY'S MESSAGE OF GARABANDAL

October 18, 1961—We must make many sacrifices, perform much penance, and visit the Blessed Sacrament frequently. But first, we must lead good lives. If we do not, a chastisement will befall us. The cup is already filling up, and if we do not change, a very great chastisement will come upon us.

June 18, 1965—As my message of October 18 has not been complied with and has not been made known to the world, I am advising you that this is the last one. Before, the cup was filling up. Now it is flowing over. Many cardinals, many bishops and many priests are on the road to perdition and are taking many souls with them. Less and less importance is being given to the Eucharist. You should turn the wrath of God away from yourselves by your efforts. If you ask His forgiveness with sincere hearts, He will pardon you. I, your mother, through the intercession of Saint Michael the Archangel, ask you to amend your lives. You are now receiving the last warnings. I love you very much and do not want your condemnation. Pray to us with sincerity and we will grant your requests. You should make more sacrifices. Think about the passion of Jesus.

Our Lady of Garabanal

 Bishop del Val, upon retiring from office stated in an interview that the message of Garabandal was "important" and "theologically correct." Indeed, some of the prophetic elements of the message can be found in private revelations which have been approved since the initial decision on Garabandal in the 1960s. For example, the concept of a worldwide warning can be found in the Diary of Saint Faustina (Diary n.83), and both the message of Divine Mercy given to her (Diary n.1588), and that of Akita (approved by the local bishop), speak of chastisement if mankind does not ultimately repent. Similar prophetic content can be found in the writings of Elizabeth Canori-Mora and Mary of Jesus Crucified, both of whom were beatified by Pope John Paul II, as well as in prophecies given by God to Blessed Anna Maria Taigi and St. Caspar del Bufalo. Finally, the principal promoter of Garabandal, Joey Lomangino, testifies that it was Saint Padre Pio who told him the Blessed Virgin was appearing at Garabandal and he should go.

It seems, therefore, that notwithstanding the decisions of two commissions accepted by the bishops of Santander, that there are reasonable grounds for individual Catholics to find Garabandal credible. The children themselves predicted that the message of Garabandal would be approved with difficulty, but in sufficient time to spread it. Perhaps this means that the "warning" (a clearly supernatural event) must occur first for approval to be given. Given the seriousness of the times we do well to heed the message of conversion, whether proposed by F├ítima or some other source such as Garabandal, Medjugorje or another, without fear, that is, with complete confidence in God's providence for us and the world. The future will take care of itself if we remain spiritually prepared for  anything. This has always been the advice of the saints, anyway.