Monday, July 30, 2012

Cardinal George: Is the City Council going to set up a “Council Committee on Un-Chicagoan Activities?"

Cardinal George has column up at the Archdiocese of Chicago website presumably in response to the Chick-Fil-A dust-up.
Recent comments by those who administer our city seem to assume that the city government can decide for everyone what are the “values” that must be held by citizens of Chicago. I was born and raised here, and my understanding of being a Chicagoan never included submitting my value system to the government for approval. Must those whose personal values do not conform to those of the government of the day move from the city? Is the City Council going to set up a “Council Committee on Un-Chicagoan Activities” and call those of us who are suspect to appear before it? I would have argued a few days ago that I believe such a move is, if I can borrow a phrase, “un-Chicagoan.”

The value in question is espousal of “gender-free marriage.” Approval of state-sponsored homosexual unions has very quickly become a litmus test for bigotry; and espousing the understanding of marriage that has prevailed among all peoples throughout human history is now, supposedly, outside the American consensus. Are Americans so exceptional that we are free to define “marriage” (or other institutions we did not invent) at will? What are we re-defining?

It might be good to put aside any religious teaching and any state laws and start from scratch, from nature itself, when talking about marriage. Marriage existed before Christ called together his first disciples two thousand years ago and well before the United States of America was formed two hundred and thirty six years ago. Neither Church nor state invented marriage, and neither can change its nature.

Marriage exists because human nature comes in two complementary sexes: male and female. The sexual union of a man and woman is called the marital act because the two become physically one in a way that is impossible between two men or two women. Whatever a homosexual union might be or represent, it is not physically marital. Gender is inextricably bound up with physical sexual identity; and “gender-free marriage” is a contradiction in terms, like a square circle.

Both Church and state do, however, have an interest in regulating marriage. It is not that religious marriage is private and civil marriage public; rather, marriage is a public institution in both Church and state. The state regulates marriage to assure stability in society and for the proper protection and raising of the next generation of citizens. The state has a vested interest in knowing who is married and who is not and in fostering good marriages and strong families for the sake of society.

Continue reading Un-Chicagoan...

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Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mission to be preached this weekend at Grotto

The priests of the Holy Cross who have helped out at Grotto for many years are holding a mission this weekend.  It's no ordinary mission.

Fr. John, filling in for the vacationing Fr. Perrone, had this in his Grotto News column (emphasis mine in bold):
This year commemorates the 850th anniversary of the death of St. Theotonius, co-founder of the Order of Canons Regular of the Holy Cross, and has therefore been named by the Prior General of the Order, Fr. Joachim Welz, ORC, a Year of St. Theotonius, from February 18, 2012 to February 18, 2013.

During this entire year, the Apostolic Penitentiary grants a plenary indulgence to the faithful under the usual conditions whenever they take part in a solemn sacred function or in a pious exercise in honor of St. Theotonius in the chapels of the Order of the Holy Cross. It also allows for the indulgence to be gained in other sacred places as designated by the local Ordinary. Archbishop Allen Vigneron has appointed Assumption Grotto and the Adoration chapel [at the "Grotto convent"] of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, as places where the indulgence may be gained.

The relics of the Saint from his place of birth, Ganfei, Portugal, are on a tour of all the houses of the Order throughout the world. They will be here in Detroit from September 10 to 22, 2012. The Order of Canons Regular will preach a mission here at Assumption Grotto this week from July 26-29 [click for details]. In the coming weeks, an image of the saint will be exposed in the Church. At the end of each Mass a prayer to the saint will be prayed for gaining the plenary indulgence. For a detailed program of the entire mission take a flyer from one of the side tables.

The hot temperatures are no longer an issue during the summer. The parish church now has a form of air-conditioning and it is very comfortable in there, even on hot days. 

For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Reading the Bible (OT and NT) cover to cover

At long last, I got it done. I've read the Bible - Old Testament and New Testament, cover to cover.  I had always read this passage or that; or, this book or another from the Bible, but never the whole thing from cover to cover.

I should mention that I'm not a big reader.  Some, like the Curt Jester plow through several books per week (you can see his reviews mostly on Facebook, which you can pick up from his blog).  I'm all excited when I finish one after several weeks.  I want to read more.

I used the Ignatius Bible which is RSV-Catholic Edition. I started out with the hard copy, then switched over to Kindle. You may have seen me making posts with quotes from certain passages here and there.  The Kindle gives me the opportunity to share quoted text on Facebook and Twitter.

I must admit, it gives you a different perspective when you read the Bible in it's entirety. I know some people repeat this now and then, like during Lent.  I will do it again at some point.

Now that it is done, I plan on doing some deeper Scripture study, but want to finish the Catechism of the Catholic Church first, which I am also reading cover to cover in Kindle. Those are two texts I think every Catholic should read cover to cover.  My spiritual director had told me to just read it through the first time and not get hung up on anything.  When I go back through it another time, I can go deeper or use a structured Scripture study now that I am familiar with the sequence.

I found the Old Testament intriguing at times.  Many things puzzled me, while I was able to see connections with the New Testament later, which was cool.  I probably understood about one grain of sand's worth in a vast ocean of what there is to be understood (knowing that most mysteries will remain mysteries).

 Here are some versions of the Ignatius Bible RSV-CE in both hard copy and Kindle.

For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

July 17: Memorial - Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne

Today is another day for Carmelites around the world. We remember the Martyrs of Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne. These cloistered nuns went to guillotine for not renouncing their vows during the French Revolution.  As they waited, they sang the Salve Regina, which my secular Carmelite does at the end of each monthly meeting. The violence ended soon after the nuns paid the ultimate sacrifice.

The story is rather remarkable. I'm going to refer you to a 2010 post by "Clare" which captures it quite well.

While France reeled in the throws of the revolution a group of 16 Carmelite nuns continued their prayerful lives in the cloister.

On October 29, 1789 the sisters were directly affected for the first time by the revolution when the government decreed that the profession of vows for all religious orders was to be suspended. The prioress of the Carmelites - Mother Therese of St. Augustine - was distressed with this order because it prevented their sole novice, Sr. Constance, from making her final profession of vows. Sr. Constance was no stranger to objections to her vocation. As Mother Therese wrote "Sr. Constance remains always a novice here. Troubles have not been lacking on the side of her family: now they do not want her letters anymore or to hear her spoken of. The Lord permits this to be assured of her fidelity, and she accounts herself happy if they leave her in peace as at present. She hopes that the good God will at last touch their hearts and that they will look on her perseverance without sorrow."

The government's next attack on the Church came in the Civil Constitution on the Clergy which, among other things, ordered the suppresion of all religious orders and the "liberation" of any monks or nuns who should wish to renounce their vows. Government officials arrived at the monastery at Compiegne on August 15, 1790 to offer the sisters their "freedom." The sisters unanimously declared that they had no intention of renouncing their vows. Some of the sisters were rather more forceful. Sister of Jesus Crucified declared "For fifty-six years I have been a Carmelite. I desire to have the same number of years more to be consecrated to the Lord." Sister Euphrasie stated "I became a religious by my own will. I have made up my mind to go on wearing this habit, even if I have to purchase this joy with my own blood." Sister Saint Francis Xavier displayed her love of the Lord when she stated "A good spouse desires to remain with her husband. I do not wish to abandon my spouse." Sister Therese of the Heart of Mary finished "If I will be able to double the bonds of my attachment to God, then, with all my strength and zeal, I will do so."

The infamous guillotine was erected in Paris two weeks after Easter in 1792. At this time Mother Therese instructed her sisters to offer everything they could for an end to the massacres; in her own words "in order that the Divine peace which Christ has brought to the world may be restored to the Church and to the State."

The government continued in its persecution of the Church with a decree that all religious orders must take the Oath of Liberte-Egalite and, three days later, that all monasteries must be vacated. On September 14, 1792 the Carmelites of Compiegne took on secular clothing and divided into four groups to live inconspicuously in the town. For two years the Sisters struggled to maintain their religious life in the world outside the cloister.

In the summer of 1793 Maximilien Robespierre and his Jacobin henchmen attained power and instituted the infamous Reign of Terror which led thousands of French citizens, many of whom were clergy and religious, to the guillotine.

Sister Marie and Mother Therese were obliged to go to Paris in March 1794 for family reasons. While walking down the street the sisters were confronted with the sight of tumbrils carrying victims to the guillotine. Sister Marie attempted to avert Mother Therese' gaze but she told her sister "allow me the sad consolation of seeing how martyrs go to their death."

Upon the return of Mother Therese to Compiegne she received the report from her sisters that all four of their houses had been searched by the Committee for Revolutionary Surveillance and all their papers and food had been seized.

Shortly after the sisters were arrested... [continue reading the Martyrs of Compiegne at Clare's Catholic Clutter]

Further reading:

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Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.

Monday, July 16, 2012

After the Bishops' Fortnight, Let Reparation Accompany Petition

Drawing of the Crucifixion by St. John of the Cross (c. 1550)

"...the more perfectly that our oblation and sacrifice corresponds to the sacrifice of Our Lord, that is to say, the more perfectly we have immolated our love and our desires and have crucified our flesh by that mystic crucifixion of which the Apostle speaks,  the more abundant fruits of that propitiation and expiation shall we receive for ourselves and for others..." 
Pope Pius XI, Miserentissimus Redemptor, 1928.


The Fortnight for Freedom is over, but our work continues!

When we ask God for something in prayer it is a called a prayer of petition. Ponder: Should we simply petition God, or should we offer something to him first?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church discusses the need to first ask for pardon with our petitions:

2631. The first movement of the prayer of petition is asking forgiveness, like the tax collector in the parable: "God, be merciful to me a sinner!" It is a prerequisite for righteous and pure prayer. A trusting humility brings us back into the light of communion between the Father and his Son Jesus Christ and with one another, so that "we receive from him whatever we ask." Asking forgiveness is the prerequisite for both the Eucharistic liturgy and personal prayer.

Like the unblemished sacrificial victims of the Old Testament (Leviticus 22:20), and like Jesus - the unblemished Lamb of God (1 Peter 1:19), we must offer our sacrifice of prayer with the docility of a lamb and purity of soul. That is, we ought to be cleansed of grave sin. (CCC 1846-1876). Only Sacramental Confession can make us clean so our offering is pure. Even when we are in the state of grace, and without mortal sin, we have venial sins and imperfections we should acknowledge, if only in our hearts, with our prayer of petition.

That which follows examines the subject of reparation for our own offenses, and the offenses of others, as we offer our prayers of petition.

Prayers of Petition for the Upcoming Election and Beyond

In the wake of the Fortnight for Freedom, we ought to continue with our petitions to God to help this nation - leading up to the presidential election and beyond.  But, we should first ask pardon for our offenses and for those committed by others.  This is often referred to as reparation and it should be a part of our daily prayer.  When we do this, graces come to us, and to those for whom we ask pardon.

We have many legitimate reasons to petition God here in the United States: The presidential election is forthcoming and the outcome can affect many things. Religious liberty comes from God, but man-made laws can hinder our ability to put the Gospel fully into practice.  There is an assault on this aspect of religious liberty in America.  It is coupled with secular humanism and relativism which continues to creep into every corner of society, even within the Catholic population. Families are shattered and broken and the institution of marriage is under persistent threat.  Immorality is elevated in media with society's approval;  vice is the new "virtue," narcissism is rampant and nihilism is on the rise among those more feral than civilized.  Drug use and suicide rates are up; babies are discarded through abortion like yesterday's trash, while the elderly and disabled are abandoned or "helped" along in death in the name of "compassion." There seems to be no end to the wars taking life and limb.  Materialism and consumerism rule our days as the needy starve; and, we are hanging from an economic cliff with many still looking for decent work, with some losing their homes. More people skip their Sunday obligation than fulfill it; open dissent permeates Catholic circles and a pseudo-magisterium with broad reach on the web is competing for authority with our bishops.  The life and death of souls hangs in the balance.

Every age has had a litany of problems.  We ought not become surprised or despondent, nor should we dismiss these things as if they are someone else's job to deal with.  We need to turn to proven, God-pleasing remedies. It begins with each of us keeping the Commandments which is a sign of our love for God (1 John 2:3-4).  But, it ought not end there.

Jesus showed us the way when He went to the cross to expiate the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2).   From the cross, Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." (Lk 23:34).  The love Christ shows through His Sacrifice for us is the love that we ought to reflect by following the example of Our Lord, and begging pardon of the Father for the offenses of others. In this way, our charity leads us to unite ourselves to Christ in His sufferings with the hope that sinners will turn back to God and all the angels and heavens will rejoice (Col 1:24, Lk 15:7,10).  Peace in the world comes with unity in Christ! (Eph 4:1-3)

Pope Pius XI on Reparation

Pius XI wrote extensively about reparation in his 1928 encyclical, Miserentissimus Redemptor (on Reparation to the Sacred Heart), it is hard not to imagine that it was written for today. In fact, it is truly timeless and something worth revisiting considering the problems we now face.  While the Month of the Sacred Heart (June) is now behind us, devotion to the Sacred Heart is performed around the year, particularly on the First Friday of each month. This particular encyclical treats the subject of reparation very deeply, and it is a relatively short read.

Near the beginning, in paragraph 4, Pope Pius XI says something that caught my attention, given our current situation here in the United States. Remember, this was written in 1928.

"...But since in the last century, and in this present century, things have come to such a pass, that by the machinations of wicked men the sovereignty of Christ Our Lord has been denied and war is publicly waged against the Church, by passing laws and promoting plebiscites repugnant to Divine and natural law,..."

Paragraphs 16 and 17 are worth quoting in full because they too seem remarkably written for today:

16. But it is yet more to be lamented, Venerable Brethren, that among the faithful themselves, washed in Baptism with the blood of the immaculate Lamb, and enriched with grace, there are found so many men of every class, who laboring under an incredible ignorance of Divine things and infected with false doctrines, far from their Father's home, lead a life involved in vices, a life which is not brightened by the light of true faith, nor gladdened by the hope of future beatitude, nor refreshed and cherished by the fire of charity; so that they truly seem to sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. Moreover, among the faithful there is a greatly increasing carelessness of ecclesiastical discipline, and of those ancient institutions on which all Christian life rests, by which domestic society is governed, and the sanctity of marriage is safeguarded; the education of children is altogether neglected, or else it is depraved by too indulgent blandishments, and the Church is even robbed of the power of giving the young a Christian education; there is a sad forgetfulness of Christian modesty especially in the life and the dress of women; there is an unbridled cupidity of transitory things, a want of moderation in civic affairs, an unbounded ambition of popular favor, a depreciation of legitimate authority, and lastly a contempt for the word of God, whereby faith itself is injured, or is brought into proximate peril. 
17. But all these evils as it were culminate in the cowardice and the sloth of those who, after the manner of the sleeping and fleeing disciples, wavering in their faith, miserably forsake Christ when He is oppressed by anguish or surrounded by the satellites of Satan, and in the perfidy of those others who following the example of the traitor Judas, either partake of the holy table rashly and sacrilegiously, or go over to the camp of the enemy. And thus, even against our will, the thought rises in the mind that now those days draw near of which Our Lord prophesied: "And because iniquity hath abounded, the charity of many shall grow cold" (Matth. xxiv, 12).

Of course, abortion was not legal in the U.S. in 1928 and in many other countries. While there were always some abortions happening illegally, since Roe v. Wade more than 54 million persons were deprived of the opportunity to know, love, and serve God giving us more then 54 million acts of reparation to make collectively.  This says nothing of the children they were destined to have, and their offspring.  From among these discarded people were priests and religious who could have served our parishes and schools (keeping them open), scientists who could have discovered cures for cancer, engineers who could have solved the problems of famine, diplomats who could have prevented wars, musicians and artists, and many ordinary people. Abortions don't end when they become illegal; they end when hearts are won over to Christ!  Moreover, no one is beyond God's mercy for those who seek it, including women who have had abortions, and for those who encouraged them.

In paragraph 18, Pius XI writes, "Now, whosoever of the faithful have piously pondered on all these things must need be inflamed with the charity of Christ in His agony and make a more vehement endeavor to expiate their own faults and those of others, to repair the honor of Christ, and to promote the eternal salvation of souls."  In the next paragraph, we are reminded of how the Angel consoled Jesus in the garden.  When we make acts of reparation - big and small -  they are consoling to Our Lord because He is not confined by time.

There is a Prayer of Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus at the end of the encyclical, Miserentissimus Redemptor.  And, there are a number of other prayers associated with this devotion.

A Teenage Saint Who Frequently Made Acts of Reparation

Dominic's guiding motto was, that no occasion for doing good to souls, or of offering some little act of reparation to God, should be missed; and this accounts for his constant zeal, and his visits to the Blessed Sacrament, in which he generally managed to be accompanied by a friend or some one he wished to bring to a better life. [St John Bosco (2009-05-19). The Life of St Dominic Savio by St John Bosco (Kindle Locations 430-432). St Athanasius Press. Kindle Edition.]

St. Dominic Savio demonstrates that one way to make an act of reparation is to spend time before the Blessed Sacrament, even if only a few minutes. If you read the book on his life by St. John Bosco, you will find many other acts of reparation the young saint performed, often with little ejaculatory prayers. 

While it is good to arrange for Adoration on the eve of a presidential election in your parish, or all-night as we have at Assumption Grotto, it is even better when we make some effort to frequently visit the Blessed Sacrament. If you cannot spend an hour before the Lord each day, or each week, perhaps you can spend 30 minutes, or 15 minutes as time allows.  Adoration is second only to assisting at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  If you are homebound, or if you have work or family obligations which prevent you from making it to Church or an Adoration chapel, then take some time out for a holy hour or prayer time at home.

Reparation and Fatima

In 1916, in Fatima, the visionaries first saw an Angel who taught them a simple prayer of reparation.  This should be memorized and can be said any time of the day.  It is often repeated three times in succession:
My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love You. I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love You.

Much more was explained to the children about reparation by the Angel in that encounter, which can be read in pages 76-80 in this online version of Sr. Lucia's Memoirs.  This book also shows the many creative ways the visionaries of Fatima found to offer sacrifices for reparation and conversion of others. Something as simple as passing on a coveted piece of fruit, or cutting a meal in half, or spending part of the day working in silence, fasting, doing something for a neighbor, and offering up pain and sickness.  These are just some of the ways we can make acts reparation, and they also help with mortification.

Pope Benedict XVI, on May 13, 2010, in Fatima reminded us about reparation using the words of the Blessed Virgin Mary: 
"...An example and encouragement is to be found in the shepherd children, who offered their whole lives to God and shared them fully with others for love of God. Our Lady helped them to open their hearts to universal love. Blessed Jacinta, in particular, proved tireless in sharing with the needy and in making sacrifices for the conversion of sinners. Only with this fraternal and generous love will we succeed in building the civilization of love and peace. 
We would be mistaken to think that Fatima’s prophetic mission is complete. Here there takes on new life the plan of God which asks humanity from the beginning: “Where is your brother Abel […] Your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground!” (Gen 4:9). Mankind has succeeded in unleashing a cycle of death and terror, but failed in bringing it to an end… In sacred Scripture we often find that God seeks righteous men and women in order to save the city of man and he does the same here, in Fatima, when Our Lady asks: “Do you want to offer yourselves to God, to endure all the sufferings which he will send you, in an act of reparation for the sins by which he is offended and of supplication for the conversion of sinners?” (Memoirs of Sister Lúcia, I, 162)..."

Pope Pius XI had this to say about the Blessed Virgin Mary in paragraph 21 of the aforementioned encyclical:

"...And now lastly may the most benign Virgin Mother of God smile on this purpose and on these desires of ours; for since she brought forth for us Jesus our Redeemer, and nourished Him, and offered Him as a victim by the Cross, by her mystic union with Christ and His very special grace she likewise became and is piously called a reparatress. Trusting in her intercession with Christ, who whereas He is the "one mediator of God and men" (1 Timothy ii, 5), chose to make His Mother the advocate of sinners, and the minister and mediatress of grace..."

The Holy Rosary is a fitting prayer for an act of reparation.  If you are not aware of the First Saturday Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, it is a good idea to consider it.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary are often referred to as "The Two Hearts."  Devotions to both involve acts of reparation.

Reparation and Divine Mercy

St. Faustina, in paragraphs 474-476 in her diary, tells us about a vision she had one night. She says, "I saw an Angel, the executor of divine wrath...which was about to strike the earth, and in particular a certain place, which for good reasons I cannot name." So Faustina implored the Angel to wait, saying the world would do penance. When she saw the Angel unmoved, another vision came, this time of the Most Holy Trinity.  After recognizing the grace of Jesus, She writes:

"...I found myself pleading with God for the world with words heard interiorly. 
As I was praying in this manner, I saw the Angel's helplessness: he could not carry out the just punishment which was rightly due for sins. Never before had I prayed with such inner power as I did then.

The words with which I entreated God are these: Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ for our sins and those of the whole world; for the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us.."

You might recognize that as part of the Divine Mercy Chaplet, which is a 5-10 minute prayer that can easily be prayed daily for reparation.  It is popular, when possible, to pray it at 3:00 PM, known as the Hour of Mercy, but any time of the day is fine.

I found another interesting note in St. Faustina's diary.  She suffered from the severe pains on several different occasions. They would begin at 8:00 PM and end three hours later.  Nothing would stop the pains and she was inspired to offer up this suffering in reparation for the murder of babies in the womb (Diary, No. 1276).

Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ on Masses of Reparation 

What Servant of God, Fr. Hardon, says in his discussion on abortion and reparation, applies for other offenses, as well:

Among all the conditions determined by our Lord, none is more effective for obtaining divine mercy than the Sacrifice of the Mass. 
This is only to be expected. In the Mass, it is the same identical Jesus who died on Calvary, who is now offering Himself for us in an un-bloody manner. Every Mass is a re-enactment of Calvary. Jesus is really and truly on the altar, made really present by the words of consecration of the priest.

To my priestly readers, look for opportunities to teach the faithful about reparation through Masses. In recent years, bishops have been offering them, but why not offer this at your parish whether for a specific circumstance, or on a regular basis, such as the evening of First Fridays (so more of the working class may attend), or the mornng of First Saturdays, with appropriate devotions to the Sacred Heart and Immaculate Heart of Mary.


There is so much more that could be written on the subject of reparation. Hopefully, this sampling of stories and quotes will encourage you to find ways each day to offer something along with our petitions for God's blessings on the United States of America.

As you make your act of reparations, be mindful of what Our Lord says about not looking gloomy like the hypocrites who seek attention for what they do (Mt 6:1-18).

We will continue to discuss reparation and all that is related, especially in the coming months. 

For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.

Feast Day for Carmelites: Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Today is a special day for all who wear the scapular, and especially for members of the Carmelites. It is the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

Assumption Grotto is the home base for the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Secular Carmelites (discalced) which meet at the parish on First Saturday's starting with an added Mass time of  8:30am and ending around Noon following refreshments, business meeting, and formation.  Scrolling here will offer some info and good Carmelite articles.

From the Catholic Encyclopedia:

This feast was instituted by the Carmelites between 1376 and 1386 under the title "Commemoratio B. Marif Virg. duplex" to celebrate the victory of their order over its enemies EWTN's page on the Brown Scapular
on obtaining the approbation of its name and constitution from Honorius III on 30 Jan., 1226 (see Colvenerius, "Kal. Mar.", 30 Jan. "Summa Aurea", III, 737). The feast was assigned to 16 July, because on that date in 1251, according to Carmelite traditions, the scapular was given by the Blessed Virgin to St. Simon Stock; it was first approved by Sixtus V in 1587. After Cardinal Bellarmine had examined the Carmelite traditions in 1609, it was declared the patronal feast of the order.........
it was extended to the entire Latin Church by Benedict XIII. The lessons contain the legend of the scapular; the promise of the Sabbatine privilege was inserted into the lessons by Paul V about 1614. The Greeks of southern Italy and the Catholic Chaldeans have adopted this feast of the "Vestment of the Blessed Virgin Mary". The object of the feast is the special predilection of Mary for those who profess themselves her servants by wearing her scapular

Pope Benedict XVI released a message today for the 450th Anniversary of Carmelite Reform.  From VIS:
Vatican City,  (VIS) - Benedict XVI has sent a message to Bishop Jesus Garcia Burillo of Avila, Spain, to mark the 450th anniversary of the foundation of the Monastery of St. Joseph and the beginning of the Carmelite reform by St. Teresa of Avila. The message, ample extracts of which are given below, is dated 16 July.

"The reform of the Carmelite Order, the anniversary of which fills us with inner joy, arose from prayer and tends towards prayer. In promoting a radical return to the original Rule and abandoning the mitigated Rule, St. Teresa of Jesus sought to create a form of life which favoured a personal encounter with the Lord, finding 'a place where we can be alone and look upon Him present within us. Nor need we feel strange in the presence of so kind a Guest'".

"St. Teresa presented a new way of being Carmelite in a world which was also new. Those were 'difficult times' in which, according to that Mistress of the spirit, ... 'the world is on fire. Men try to condemn Christ once again. They would raze His Church to the ground. No, my sisters, this is no time to treat with God for things of little importance'. Does this luminous and engaging call, written more than four centuries ago by the mystic saint, not sound familiar in our own times?"

"The ultimate goal of Teresa's reform and the creation of new monasteries in a world lacking spiritual values was to protect apostolic work with prayer, proposing a form of evangelical life that would act as a model for people seeking the path of perfection, on the basis of the conviction that all authentic personal and ecclesial reform involves an ever more faithful reproduction of the 'form' of Christ in our own selves.

 ... Today too, as in the sixteenth century, in the midst of rapid transformation, it is important that trusting prayer be the heart of the apostolate, so that the the redeeming message of Jesus Christ may sound our clearly and dynamically. It is urgently important for the Word of life to resound harmoniously in peoples souls, with sonorous and attractive notes".

"The example of St. Teresa of Avila is of great help to us in this exhilarating task. In her time the saint evangelised unhesitatingly, showing tireless ardour, employing methods free from inertia and using expressions bathed in light. This remains important in the current time, when there is a pressing need for the baptised to renew their hearts through individual prayer in which, following the guidance of St. Teresa, they also focus on contemplation of Christ's blessed humanity as the only way to reach the glory of God".

"The power of Christ will lead to a redoubling of efforts to ensure that the people of God recover their vigour in the only way possible: by finding space within ourselves for the feelings of the Lord Jesus, and in all circumstances seeking to live His Gospel to the full. This means, above all, allowing the Holy Spirit to make us friends of the Master and to mould us to Him. It also means accepting all His mandates and adopting in ourselves criteria such as humility of conduct, renunciation of the superfluous, not harming others and acting with simplicity and humbleness of heart. Thus those around us will perceive the joy that arises from our adherence to the Lord; they will see that we put nothing before His love, and that we are always ready to give reasons for our hope".

Other good reads:


Carmelite Items (move through the items with the two arrows; when you click on the one in the center, it will take you to that page at Amazon).

For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Condi Rice on ticket with Romney would damage his credibility among Catholics and Evangelicals

Drudge and other news outlets are reporting that Condoleeza Rice is the front-runner for Mitt Romney's VP pick.

I know an awful lot of Catholics and Evangelicals who are not exactly enthused with the choice of Mitt Romney, but are willing to pull that lever for him just to get Obama out of office.  We know what we will get with Obama: A radical pro-abortion, culture of death president bent on steam-rolling the U.S. Constitution, especially religious liberty.
Those who are debating whether to leave the presidential column blank are not convinced Romney is pro-life enough. Putting Rice or other "moderately pro-choice" people on the ticket with him, is not going to help. It will also be a lightening rod issue since she worked in the Bush Administration. The left will latch on to it like pitbull with a beef-bone.

Rob Portman, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Allen West - All people who are truly pro-life, pro-family, and conservative.

Sarah Palin also complimented Condi Rice, but expressed the same concern.

Steve Ertelt at LifeNews explains why Rice should be excluded from consideration:

Elizabeth Scalia throws out her own reasoning as to why this won't work.

Carson Holloway at Catholic Vote also offers some thoughts.

Denny Burke - an associate professor of Biblical Studies at Boyce College (Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) discusses part of an interview Rice had with Christianity Today - things that will not sit well with social conservatives who tend to vote Republican.

For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Monk's Love Knows No Bounds

I was doing some online searches for something on St. Thérèse and a prisoner she prayed for before he was executed when I stumbled upon an article called, The Monk and the Murderer.  The story I was looking for was briefly noted in the article, which is why it came up.  This was written in 2007 and some of you may recall it.  I don't remember it at all, so it is brand new for me and perhaps for many of you.

It's a true story of how one of the monks of Clear Creek Monastery, worked to get a condemned murderer to reconcile with God before his execution in 2005.  He worked at it for several years.  It was gripping and spiritually thought-provoking.

It reminds us that vengeance belongs not to us, but to God, no matter how heinous the crime someone commits. I'm not talking about consequences here on earth, but sometimes I see Christians saying they hope someone rots in hell.  Such an attitude is not in harmony with Scripture.

We can, and should, have righteous indignation when we hear of a murder, but we should also thirst for the offending soul the way Jesus thirsts for all sinners (John 19:28).  When it is most difficult is when the mercy we seek by our prayers for conversion, is most precious to God.  St. Maria Goretti not only forgave her murderer before she died, she won Allessandro Serenelli's soul for God (see how).  Even her mother would later embrace the murderer of her child because she had no cause not to forgive him when both her daughter, and the Church, had forgiven him.  The world cannot comprehend Christians who pray for the conversion of criminals who commit sins that cry out to heaven.  We should be motivated by the fact that all of heaven rejoices over one sinner who repents (Luke 15:7).

Something else to ponder as you read the story is the monk's prudence in not overloading the soul he is trying to win. He gains nothing by laying it all on the table at once and risks having the condemned man telling him to leave and never come back.  There is a balance that must be struck when wanting to win souls over, whether it is a criminal, someone online, a friend, or a family member.  St. Augustine's mother spent decades praying for the conversion of her son. Our patience should mirror God's patience when dealing with others whose faith is weak (Rom 14:1).  If you pile on too much too fast, people run the other way.  Therefore, our approach should imitate Jesus who was meek and humble of heart (Matthew 11:29). 

I'll leave you with those thoughts as you read the story.  Keep in mind also, that it is an act of mercy to pray for the conversion of souls, and for those in purgatory.  

The Monk and the Murderer, by Anne Calovich, originally published in Catholic World Report in 2007, is now found online at Catholic Culture.

I will start you out here, then follow the link to see how this story ends.

This is a story about how God leveled time and space, breaching prison bars and cloister walls, lining up the Catacombs of Rome with Death Row in McAlester, Oklahoma, through the life of a hidden monk in the 21st century.

The monk, Brother Vianney-Marie Graham of the contemplative Clear Creek Monastery in Hulbert, Oklahoma, had long been praying for inmates on Death Row because he considered them "the abandoned of the abandoned."

He had a famous precedent for his prayers. St. Therese of Lisieux had prayed for the conversion of the notorious and unrepentant killer Henri Pranzini in 1887 and was able to read in the newspaper of his last-minute grab for a crucifix as he approached the scaffold. He kissed the wounds of Jesus three times before being guillotined.

In 2001, Brother Vianney-Marie decided to ask his superior for permission to write a few inmates, "to tell them not to despair, to tell them that God's mercy is available to them no matter what their crimes."

In deciding whom to write, Brother Vianney-Marie sought out the worst cases. [continue reading Monk and Murderer]

For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Novena to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

Today we begin the Novena to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel which is on July 16.

Here is the first day, compliments of EWTN:

First Day

O Beautiful Flower of Carmel, most fruitful vine, splendor of heaven, holy and singular, who brought forth the Son of God, still ever remaining a pure virgin, assist us in our necessity! O Star of the Sea, help and protect us! Show us that you are our Mother!

(pause and mention petitions)

Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us

Bookmark this page and go back to do the remaining days.

For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.

Friday, July 6, 2012

July 6: St. Maria Goretti

This is an old post that I copy into a new one each year, with slight modifications.  Much can be learned from St. Maria Goretti.

I highly recommend watching the movie on her life, found in the Amazon widget below.  Check with your local Catholic supply store first.  I'm pretty sure this video can be found at Grotto's gift shop for those who come there.  See also, the Fourteen Flowers of Pardon discussed below. Not only did she live a life of extraordinary virtue, especially for someone so young, but she teaches us that love can move mountains. She loved her attacker enough to forgive him before she died of the wounds sustained at his hands, and expressed desire for him to be someday be in heaven with her. Read on....

While working at home Thursday [of last year], I left EWTN on and was very much pleased with the 60 minute program, Fourteen Flowers of Pardon.

This documentary went through the virtuous life and death of St. Maria Goretti, and the many miracles worked through her.

Maria Goretti was not even twelve years old when she was viciously stabbed 14 times after refusing the advances of a 18-20 year old neighbor, Alessandro Serenelli (each resource varies on his exact age). He made two prior sexual advances without success.

The little girl had quickly built up virtue and wisdom, especially after her father died of malaria. Neighbors said she was obedient and always willing to do the most mundane of chores without complaint. She was devout, stopping in at the nearby parish to pray before the Blessed Mother on her way to the store to get things for her mother. It was on one such trip that she was approached by Alessandro. She boldly told the man who wanted to attack her virginity,

"No, it's a sin! I will not do it!"

On July 5, 1902 the little girl was mortally wounded. After getting stabbed 14 times, Maria Goretti died the next day, on July 6 after much suffering. During that time, this child of God prayed for her attacker and granted him forgiveness before she died.

Alessandro was sentenced to 30 years in prison, but was unrepentant until he saw Maria in a vision years into his incarceration, in 1910. She presented him with 14 lilies, which he said turned into white flames. Following this vision, he asked to meet with the bishop where he finally told the truth - that the little girl had never given in and that she had boldly protested his advances. This marked the beginning of one of the greatest miracles - the conversion of Alessandro Serenelli.

After serving 27 years he was released and went to the mother of Maria to seek forgiveness. Assunta Goretti said that if Maria had forgiven him, and he was forgiven before Christ, then she had nothing to hold over him. She too forgave Alessandro (both pictured at right). At one point, Assunta Goretti and Alessandro Serenelli approached the Communion rail together. He provided testimony leading to her beatification. While it is known for certain that Maria's mother was present at her canonization, accounts differ as to whether Alessandro was there or not.

Alessandro went on to eventually join a Capuchin monastery as a third order member. On his death bed in 1970 he wrote,
"I ask pardon of the world of the outrage done to the martyr Maria Goretti and to purity. I exhort everyone to keep away from immoral shows, from dangers, from occasions that can lead to sin."

There is something noteworthy here, and that is an apostolate based on Alessandro Serenelli called the Serenellians, which is dedicated to those who suffer from sexual addictions. They use his example and words to help reform their lives. Think about television today with all of the sexual content. Even the suggestive outfits worn by actresses today can make it very difficult for people to use self-control. Just going through a check-out line with cover photos on many popular magazines can be a source of temptation. Add to that the availability of porn on the web. Alessandro Serenelli nails it by saying it is necessary to "keep away" from it all. For some people, it is necessary to turn off the TV, or to stay off the internet.

There were many miracles attributed to St. Maria Goretti for her canonization. She is the youngest canonized saint ever. According to a priest-witness who was present in St. Peter's square, Pope Pius XII was moved to tears as he asked the crowd if they were ready to immitate this saint's life. The footage in the movie was spectacular, as were the many still photos of the family and people involved.

See also: Love's Bravest Choice.

References (recently edited with additional links):

St. Maria Goretti bio at
Alessandro Serenelli bio at
St. Maria Goretti at Catholic-Forum
St. Maria's Messenger (Magazine for girls 10-teens)
St. Maria Goretti - a role model for youth (by Pope John Paul II)
Sermon of Pope Pius XII from St. Maria's Canonization Mass
Writings of St. Maria Goretti and of Alessandro Serenelli

St. Maria Goretti - Pray for us!

Te Deum Laudamus! Home
The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Archbishop Chaput's Homily, closing the Fortnight for Freedom

CNS/Bob Roller
The Fortnight for Freedom ended yesterday, with Mass in the National Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC.  Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia was the homilist. Here is video of his homily, and a link to text.

Here is full text of Archbishop Chaput's homily at the Archdiocese of Philly's website.

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Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Independence Day the Grotto Way...

I received this message from David Schuster, Grand Knight of the Assumption Grotto Knights of Columbus:
"Tomorrow morning there will be a few special events in celebration of Independence Day at Assumption Grotto Church.

We will start with the flag raising and Pledge of Allegiance outside at 9:00 A.M. Immediately following, there will be a special Requiem Mass (Extraordinary form) offered for the souls of the Founding Father's of our country, and military service members who have died defending our country.

After Mass we will go outside, in front of the Church, and read aloud the Declaration of Independence.

At this point in our Country's history it is important that we be reminded (and remind others) of our founding documents, and why it is so important that we fight to maintain our liberty from an ever oppressive federal government."

For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.

Detroit's Msgr. Monforton Appointed Bishop of Steubenville

Msgr. Jeffrey Montforton (front, left) led the November 15, 2008 prayer vigil for the
Helper's of God's Precious Infants of Michigan in front abortion clinics on the 8 Mile Blvd in Detroit.

I saw the news this morning, but am only now able to pass it along.
- [Pope Benedict] Appointed Msgr. Jeffrey Marc Monforton of the clergy of the archdiocese of Detroit, U.S.A., pastor of the parish of St. Andrew in Rochester, as bishop of Steubenville (area 15,309, population 538,000, Catholics 38,900, priests 118, permanent deacons 6, religious 100), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Detroit in 1963 and ordained a priest in 1994. He has served in pastoral care in numerous parishes, and has worked as professor and later rector of the Sacred Heart Seminary.

While rector at SHMS, Msgr. Montforton led one of the Helpers of God's Precious Infants of Michigan prayer vigils (pictured above).   The apostolate normally asks for involvement from the bishops and monsignors, and they always generously respond.  We had heavy downpours that day.  As is customary, after praying the Rosary in front of the abortion clinic, there is a moment of silence, most kneeling.  Monsignor Montforton didn't hesitate to kneel in that wet, muddy grass - in that red-lined cassock.  Unfortunately, I had already left because I could not keep my camera dry, so I did not get a shot of it.  You can see other pictures in my post for the November 15, 2008 vigil.

I don't know him personally, but someone else who does told me that he is very devout, faithful, and good-natured.

Rocco Palmo, doing what he does best (discussing episcopal appointments), did everything I had planned on doing in my post, but packages it much better than I could have. I was going to mention the Detroit being a bishop factory, but Rocco beat me to it.   Go read his very good post on Bishop-designate Montforton.

EDIT: Here is the Diocese of Steubenville press release.

For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.

Monday, July 2, 2012

A priest demonstrates how to defend Church with knowledge and virtue

Even if you have seen the video of a Kalamazoo, Michigan priest responding to a group of dissenting women after Mass, I thought I would pull some lessons out from my viewing and share them here.

Some will have you believe that Church teachings cannot be defended charitably.  The fact is, you can exercise the charity of instructing the ignorant and admonishing the sinner while still being nice.  In fact, since God gives to each of us a free-will, it becomes all the more important to use an approach that will get people to want to listen, even when we think they will not.   Harshness will often cause others to put up a wall or simpy walk away.  We don't see any of that in Fr. Ted Martin's handling of this issue.  Credit also has to be given to him for not dismissing them, and for going out to speak with the women, knowing full well it was not likely to be friendly.

This priest shows that you can defend the Church soundly, while being nice.  Pay careful attention to the dissenting woman's response to him. While she doesn't get it, and barely allows him to get a word in edgewise, his cage is never rattled. He is armed not only with knowledge, but with virtue and grace. His good-natured manner disarms her anger at times. While no one could fault him for manifestations of righteous indignation, there is not even a hint of anger in Father that could be interpreted as hate or spite even though she is very rude and condescending to him. He goes so far as to invite her to make an appointment for more in-depth discussion, believing he can win (Romans 8:31)

This priest is no less concerned about the teachings of the Church being perverted than anyone else who knows the truth; but, what you are witnessing is a defense rooted in love for the person, and mindful of their dignity.  This is not a "style", but a grace-filled skill.   He is not interested in scoring points for the best zinger (which is actually self-serving); he is interested in winning the souls in his presence against seemingly overwhelming odds. That takes knowledge, extraordinary patience, skill, and a whole lot of grace.  I should add long-suffering to the list because I don't think I would have lasted three minutes without going off half-cocked (which is nothing more than lack of control).

By never losing his cool, he left the door open for future dialogue with his eyes on the prize (Luke 15:7).   It is tempting to laugh at these women (and I did); it's far more God-pleasing to keep that Scriptural passage in mind and pray earnestly for them (which I neglected to do until this reflection).  Love for God and neighbor demands it. It's that part of charity we sometimes forget about when we slip into making a sport of the bad behavior of others.

Thank you, Fr. Ted, for a humbling lesson in how to handle dissenters. Ad multos annos! May God bless your work abundantly!

This is over 18 minutes long, so watch it when you can invest the time.

Father decided to respond to the women in his own video seen in the frame below (the one above was actually shot and uploaded, apparently by someone with the group of women).  In fact, here is Part 1, when they were outside St. Augustine Cathedral as parishioners left after Mass, and before Fr. Martin came out).

Now to his responses to the women.  Here again, there is not a hint of anger, nor does he have a mocking attitude.  I think he shows genuine concern for them, and for others who may have been misled by some of what they said in their video.

And, he continues...

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Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.