Monday, December 31, 2012

Akua Run for Vocations 2013


Akua/Run Walk for Vocations in the Year of Faith for February 18, 2013 (President's Day)

By Fr. Pascual Abaya
Director of Vocations

The "Akua Run/Walk for Vocations" 2013 series is a creative way to raise awareness and to strengthen the culture of vocations to the ordained ministry and consecrated life in the Diocese of Honolulu, Hawaii. The 2013 series will be held in conjunction with the Marathons in the islands of Hawaii, namely Honolulu Marathon, Maui Marathon, Kauai Marathon, Kona Marathon, etc. Participants may be priests, sisters, lay people and seminarians who pledge to pray and make an extra mile for vocations.

In conjunction with the celebration of the Year of Faith, anyone who will participate will not only be running for him or herself but will become an advocate of Christ.  Our joint efforts and wearing the uniform for the Run/Walk manifest our journey towards bearers of Good News in the Year of Faith.

If you plan to join one or all of the events, register individually or by group in your parish by going to the event website.  Submit your names and the size of your shirt to the Office of Vocations.

For further inquiry, please do not hesitate to call the Office of Vocations, Ph: (808) 585-3343 Fax: (808) 585-3384, www.catholichawaii.org, e-Mail:  manao@rcchawaii.org.

Vocation Discernment on January 6, 2013




RIP to Mr. Juanito Avisa





Rest in Peace Juanito Avisa

Please pray for the happy repose of the soul of Mr. Juanito Avisa, the father of Reverend Jerry Avisa, a priest of the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia, Ilocos Sur, Philippines, who served us here in Hawaii both at St. Michael Parish, Kona, and at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Honokaa. Mr. Avisa passed away the morning of December 26, 2012. May he rest in heavenly peace.

Condolences may be sent to:
Father Jerry Avisa, Pastor
Church of La Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion
Santa Maria-Burgos Road
Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur
Philippines

Source: http://www.catholichawaii.org

Monday, December 24, 2012

Bishop Larry Silva's 2012 Christmas Message






Larry Silva - 2012 Christmas Message
...only Jesus can give us the ability to grow in holiness.
By Bishop Larry Silva
December 21, 2012

From the Hawaii Catholic Herald


In this Year of Faith, I would like to direct my annual Christmas message not only to our very faithful parishioners who always participate in worship and the good works of our Catholic community, but more directly to our sisters and brothers whom we do not see with us very often. I invite you to share this with them by reprinting it and putting it in your Christmas cards or gifts, sending it through the Internet, or in whatever way the Lord moves you.

CHRISTMAS AND EASTER are the most special times of the year for the Catholic Church. At Christmas we celebrate God's eternal love that was so palpable his Word took flesh in a human person, Jesus. At Easter we celebrate the incredible and surprising depth of God's love by which Jesus took upon himself the sins of all humanity, in which he had no personal culpability, and nailed them to the cross. This tremendous act of love was far overshadowed by the shocking event that happened three days later, his resurrection from the dead. Christmas and Easter - the Incarnation and the Resurrection - are the two pivotal events of our Christian faith. Our churches are packed on those days with people we seldom see otherwise. We take consolation that at least people have a sense of the need to worship around these pivotal events, and we are grateful that our brothers and sisters flock to church on these days. But we invite all those who come only at Christmas and Easter - or even less often - to reflect on the meaning of this great feast of Christmas we are about to celebrate.

One night in the environs of Bethlehem, a city whose name means "House of Bread," shepherds tending their flocks had an experience that was not the routine experience for shepherds. They experienced a great light and the presence of angels, who sang to them great news, that in the City of David, a savior had been born who was Christ (Messiah, anointed one) and Lord. After all this high drama, they must have been rather let down when they were told that this would be the sign that all this was true: "You will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger." That was it? The hope of all the centuries, of so much struggle and waiting, was only this? Another infant - one of hundreds in Bethlehem - and this one laying in a feed trough for animals? Yet they went, and they marveled at what they witnessed.

You are invited every Sunday to be in the transorming presence of that same person the shepherds went to see. The Messiah and Lord is physically present in the Eucharist. But if you are expecting great drama, you will miss this entirely. He comes in the midst of a broken people, sometimes sinful, sometimes neglectful of others, sometimes with an atmosphere that may be as barren as a stable. His presence is not even a cute, cuddly little baby, but is in bread and wine, unamazing things to be sure. He no longer lies in a feeding trough for animals, but he offers himself as nourishment for human beings in his own Body and Blood. He calls you to come, to taste and see how good he is. If you come with an open heart, you may hear angels sing, but you will hear the Word Eternal who made his dwelling place with us. Just as the shepherds were amazed to see one so holy in such a lowly form, so you will be amazed. Your life will never be the same once you pick up this tiny Savior and let him draw you to his heart.

Perhaps you do not come to worship more often because you do not feel a need for it. Remember Herod? He said he wanted to worship the newborn king, but he really viewed him as competition. If that little child were king, how could Herod have the power he felt he deserved? Herod could not tolerate anyone else having power over him, so he tried to snuff out the life of Jesus. In these days when we can so easily think that we have no need for God, that the world and our own lives can go on quite nicely without God, do we try to silence the voice of God in Jesus by simply ignoring Him? Perhaps we know that if we worship God, then we cannot be god, making our own decisions about life and death, about the wondrous gift of sexuality that was given to us, or about how we amass the goods of the world. We may not be as blatant as Herod, but we may have the same motive for shutting God out of our lives, the desire to be our own self-made people and not the servants of anyone else. No one can deny that Herod made a name for himself, a name that will live on until the end of time. But is anyone singing carols to Herod? Come, let us sing to the Lord, whose love gives us the security to be servants, even slaves, of Jesus! With the Virgin Mary, let our souls proclaim the greatness of the Lord as we say, "Let it be done to me according to your word."

Do you not come because you feel that those who go to Mass regularly are hypocrites? You are correct that we do not always live what we profess. We strive to be saints, but we are still sinners. Yet we do not come because we are perfect, but because we know that only Jesus can give us the ability to grow in holiness. We come to be transformed by his love, because it is a much needed transformation we cannot possibly accomplish on our own. This is why God became one of us in the person of Jesus. He wanted not only to show us the way, but to be the Way that purifies us. Come, join us on the journey; accompany us on the Way!

Perhaps you have simply lost faith in God because of all the violence and suffering in the world, and the injustices so many people endure. Let this Christmas remind you that your belief in God only comes when you realize that God believes in you! Why else would he send his beloved Son into a cold and dark world to bring it such warmth and light?

We invite you to come and to experience every day of your lives this Savior Jesus Christ, who made angels sing, who inspired wise men, who presented himself to shepherds a sthe finest Lamb they had ever seen, and who died to show you - and all of us - that true love can never die. Merry Christmas!

Most Reverend Larry Silva
Bishop of Honolulu

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Holy gratitude for holy priests


"The life of a priest is an Advent
bringing forth the Incarnation of souls."
 
 
Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity

Let us generously remember our priests in daily prayer.
  
Each day when I attend Mass, as the priest kisses the altar I pray in particular gratitude for that priest and that he will have a deeper, personal encounter with Christ at that Mass. Also - when the water is added to the wine before the Consecration, I offer particular prayer for seminarians discerning the priesthood and transitional Deacons approaching Ordination - I echo a prayer of Jesus, "Ephphatha" (Be opened).~ Janette

When and how do you pray for our priests?
(I will include responses in an upcoming post during Advent.)
 
 
This Eucharistic Reflection is archived. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012






Hau`oli Lā Hānau to Fr. Manny Hewe!


May God continue to pour out blessings upon you.

May God continue to strengthen you.

May your days be filled with God's joy.

Mahalo for all you do!


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Holy Family Celebration 2012








Holy Family Church, November 25
Thank you, Dann Ebina, for these photos!

Advent reflections on my blog Passionate about LIFE.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving 2012





May God forever bless you, dear Servant of God.

May God forever hold you close, dear Worker for Peace.

May God smile at your heart always!

Thank you for all you do.

Happy Thanksgiving!



Monday, November 19, 2012

Vatican Diary / In the curia, everyone dressed as he should

VATICAN CITY, November 19, 2012 – The cassock obligatory for cardinals and bishops during office hours. Cassock or clerical dress for priests and monsignors. Specific habit for religious, always and in every season. And for ceremonies in the presence of the pope or during official meetings in the Roman curia: "abito piano," or cassock with cape, for priests, embroidered cassock for monsignors, and cassock with embroidered cape (called a "pellegrina") for bishops and cardinals.

This is the code of service reiterated recently in the Vatican in the wake of the guidelines issued by John Paul II in a September 8, 1982 letter to the cardinal vicar of Rome at the time, Ugo Poletti:

"La cura dell'amata diocesi di Roma..."
You can read the rest here.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Prayer for the Souls of Priests


Picture source

Jesus, Mary, I love you, save priests' souls,
save souls with the great plea to repeat this act of of love
a thousand times with every heart beat
and every breath.

Amen.

Source:  Old prayer card.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Pope Benedict's prayer intentions for November 2012


Vatican City, (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for November is: "That bishops, priests, and all ministers of the Gospel may bear courageous witness of fidelity to the crucified and risen Lord".

His mission intention is: "That the pilgrim Church on earth may shine as a light to the nations".

  Source

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Priesthood Sunday


Picture source

We apologize from our hearts for not commemorating Priesthood Sunday this past Sunday.  To make up for this unfortunate oversight, we would ask that you remember all our priest especially you own dear adopted son this week with the following prayer.

PRIESTHOOD SUNDAY PRAYER
October 28, 2012

Gracious God and loving Father,
you have called and chosen our beloved priest to sacred ministry.
We humbly pray that he be confirmed 
and strengthened with the grace of Your Holy Spirit.
Fill him with grace and counsel, 
that he may love you with all his heart,
all his mind and all his strength.
Grant him irreproachable conduct,
steadfast faith, 
and good works so that he may help and guide your people with unselfish motivation.
Grant him wisdom,
let his mind be sober and watchful,
so that he may be filled with works of healing and words of instruction.
May he teach your people in meekness and serve
you in holiness with an undivided mind and a willing soul.

May he be enlightened by your only begotten Son that
the world of your gospel may be spread and your name 
may be glorified in every creature!

May he serve at your holy altar with pure heart and good conscience!
Grant that he may prosper in all your commandments and the keeping of your laws, 
so that he may be able to minister joyfully on the day of your coming.

Dear Lord, 
we pray that the Blessed Mother wrap her mantle around Father ____________
and all priests, and 
through her intercession strengthen them for their ministry.
May these priests be holy,
filled with the fire of your love
seeking nothing but your greater glory and the salvation of souls.

Amen.

Saints Peter and Paul R.C. Church, Honolulu, Hawaii

Hau`oli Lā Hānau Father Edgar Brillantes

Today is Father Edgar's birthday!  It was a real blessing to be able to help Father celebrate his birthday with a beautiful Mass this morning at Saints Peter and Paul Church and then with a little birthday breakfast afterwards.




Father Syd made sure we all stayed to celebrate a very joyful occasions.  He also provided very happy music!  Mahalo Father Syd!

Birthday Blessing

Heavenly Father,
today is the anniversary of Father Edgar's birth,
the day on which you allowed him to enter
this magnificent world that you have made...
Make him realize that you set him on this earth 
for a reason,
and that he must continue to work
to carry out your plan in every respect.

Thank you for creating Father Edgar...
Help him to remain close to you until his death,
starting from now,
which is the first day of the rest of his life.
Help him to be a holy priest.

Amen.

Friday, October 12, 2012

A Rule of Life for a Priest by Blessed Pope John XXIII


"Sic decet omino clericos in sortem Domini vocatos vitam moresque suos 
omnes componere, ut habitu, gestu, incessu, sermone,
allisque omnibus rebus, nil nisi grave,
moderatum ac religione plenum prae se ferant; levia etiam delicta,
quae in ipsis maxima essent, effugiant, ut eorum actiones cunctis afferant 
vene rationem."

"Thus it is in every way fitting that clergy who have been called to the 
service of the Lord should so order their lives and habits that in 
their dress, gestures, gait, conversation and all other
matters they show nothing that is not grave, controlled and full of
religious feeling; and let them also avoid minor faults which in them would be
very great, so that their actions may receive the respect of all."

Journal of a Soul

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Saintly Motto - Blessed John XXIII


Picture source

"Fuge quae...in ore saealarium nugae sunt in ore sacerdotum blasphemiae."

(Faults which are trifles in the mouths of lay people are blasphemies in the mouth of priests.)

Written in one of Pope John XXIII's notebooks.

Source:  Journal of a Soul

Monday, October 8, 2012

Masses - For God and Country

Important announcement from Father Andrew Apostoli, CFR the World Apostolate of Fatima

 Picture source

On November 3, 2012 the first Saturday of the month, the World Apostolate of Fatima is asking for Masses to be offered.

Details can be found in the most recent issue of Soul magazine (PDF version here)

7th Annual LAY FAST DAY FOR PRIESTS



Saturday, October 20, 2012
FAST from Dawn until 3.00 PM

Concluding at the 3.00 PM Hour of Power
with a Private Rosary for Our Priests



TO SIGN UP PLEASE COMPLETE THE ATTACHED SHEET OR VISIT
www.annaprae.com

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Day Nine - Last Day of the Novena to the Mother of God for Our Nation

Picture source


Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple; and there were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail. A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. – Rev. 11:19–12:1

Prayer

We fly to your patronage,
O holy Mother of God;
Despise not our prayers in our necessities,
But ever deliver us from all dangers,
O glorious and blessed Virgin.

Reflection

In his homilies on Our Blessed Mother, St. Francis de Sales preached that Mary was perfectly one with Christ on Calvary in his worship of the Father. She offered him lovingly back to the Father and she offered her sufferings for her children. The Saint tells us that Mary would have died with Christ on Calvary had her Son not prevented her. Jesus willed that she stay for some time with the Church on earth after his ascension into heaven and share in his death of love later.

When the time willed by God arrived, Mary died a natural death – but a death that was consciously an act of worshipful love. The Mother of God longed with her whole being to be with Jesus in his Kingdom. When the moment of death came, she offered herself as Jesus had offered himself to the Father at the moment of his death. Entrusting herself into his embrace, Mary, on fire with the Holy Spirit, transformed her death into an act of love of the Father – a Eucharistic act of worship in, through and with Christ.

Preserved from the corruption of the grave, Mary was raised from the dead by Christ and taken, body and soul, into the glory of heaven. In 1950, Pope Pius XII solemnly defined that the Assumption of Mary is an integral part of the Christian Revelation: By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.

Mary’s dormition, that is, her death, resurrection, and assumption into glory, are a source of hope for Christians who believe in the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council taught: As the Mother of Jesus, glorified in body and soul in heaven, is the image and beginning of the Church as it is to be perfected is the world to come, so too does she shine forth on earth, until the day of the Lord shall come, as a sign of sure hope and solace to the people of God during its sojourn on earth (Lumen Gentium 68). From her place in Heaven, Mary intercedes with and through Christ for all of the needs of her children on earth.

Prayer

Mary, Mother of God and our dear Mother, be with us at the hour of our death. Help us understand that, by dying for us, your Son transformed death into an act of worship of the Father – a sacred moment of passage from this life to the next; a moment determined by God alone. Fortified by the sacraments of the Church, help us to die as you did – in an act of love and self-offering for the salvation of others. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
(Adapted from Tessera of the Legion of Mary)
Day Nine of the Novena

Day Eight - Novena to the Mother of God for Our Nation

Our Lady of Victory

Picture source


For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. – 1 Cor. 15:3-7

Prayer

We fly to your patronage,
O holy Mother of God;
Despise not our prayers in our necessities,
But ever deliver us from all dangers,
O glorious and blessed Virgin.

Reflection

Saturday is Mary’s day. The origin of this custom seems to be the sense among Christians that Mary alone believed firmly in Christ’s resurrection from the dead once his body was laid in the tomb on Holy Saturday. All of the other disciples were, at best, distraught and confused by Jesus’ promise that he would rise from the dead. Mary alone did not falter in her faith. It is precisely this faith that the Church honors each Saturday of the year.

Blessed John Paul II explained in a General Audience Address that Mary was very likely the first disciple to see and embrace the risen Lord:

Indeed, it is legitimate to think that the Mother was probably the first person to whom the risen Jesus appeared. Could not Mary’s absence from the group of women who went to the tomb at dawn (cf. Mk 16:1; Mt 28:1) indicate that she had already met Jesus? This inference would also be confirmed by the fact that the first witnesses of the Resurrection, by Jesus’ will, were the women who had remained faithful at the foot of the Cross and therefore were more steadfast in faith. Indeed, the Risen One entrusts to one of them, Mary Magdalene, the message to be passed on to the Apostles (cf. Jn. 20:17-18). Perhaps this fact too allows us to think that Jesus showed himself first to his Mother, who had been the most faithful and had kept her faith intact when put to the test. Lastly, the unique and special character of the Blessed Virgin’s presence at Calvary and her perfect union with the Son in his suffering on the Cross seem to postulate a very particular sharing on her part in the mystery of the Resurrection. (21 May 1997)

The Scriptures tell us that after Christ ascended into heaven, Mary remained with the Apostles as they awaited the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:14). She was with the Twelve on Pentecost and, with them, received the Holy Spirit. The Twelve received the Spirit for their work of preaching the Gospel and baptizing people of every nation. Mary received the Holy Spirit for her mission as mother of Christ’s disciples. Until the end of the world Mary, Mother of the Church, will help her children live by faith, spread the faith, and work tirelessly for the conversion of all men and women to Christ.

St. Louis de Montfort in his masterpiece, True Devotion to Mary, explains that Mary, assumed into Heaven, shares her faith with her children on earth:

Mary will share her faith with you. Her faith on earth was stronger than that of all the patriarchs, prophets, apostles and saints. Now that she is reigning in heaven she no longer has this faith, since she sees everything clearly in God by the light of glory. However, with the consent of almighty God she did not lose it when entering heaven. She has preserved it for her faithful servants in the Church militant. Therefore the more you gain the friendship of this faithful Virgin the more you will be inspired by faith in your daily life (214).

Catholics today need to be strengthened by Mary to stand firm in the fight for the protection of human life from conception to natural death and the preservation of the religious freedom guaranteed to American citizens by the Constitution. May she who has been chosen by God to crush the head of the ancient serpent (Gen. 3:15), accomplish the renewal of faith and apostolic zeal in our land through the labor of Catholics dedicated to the Gospel.

Prayer

Confer, O Lord, on us, who serve beneath the standard of Mary, that fullness of faith in you, and trust in her, to which it is given to conquer the world. Grant us a lively faith, animated by charity, which will enable us to perform all our actions from the motive of pure love of you, and ever to see you and serve you in our neighbor; a faith, firm and immovable as a rock, through which we shall rest tranquil and steadfast amid the crosses, toils and disappointments of life; a courageous faith which will inspire us to undertake and carry out without hesitation great things for your glory and for the salvation of souls; a faith which will be our Pillar of Fire – to lead us forth united – to kindle everywhere the fires of divine love – to enlighten those who are in darkness and in the shadow of death – to inflame those who are lukewarm – to bring back life to those who are dead in sin; and which will guide our own feet in the way of peace; so that when the battle of life is over, all of Mary's children without the loss of any one, may be gathered together in the kingdom of Your love and glory. Amen.
(Adapted from Tessera of the Legion of Mary)


Day Eight of the Novena

Friday, October 5, 2012

Day Seven - Novena to the Mother of God for Our Nation

Picture source


Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother,"Woman, behold, your son!" Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. – John 19:25-27

Prayer

We fly to your patronage,
O holy Mother of God;
Despise not our prayers in our necessities,
But ever deliver us from all dangers,
O glorious and blessed Virgin.

Reflection

As Mary stood close to her crucified son, she suffered everything he suffered in her heart. God asked a great deal of Mary on Calvary. He asked her to believe, even though there was not human reason to believe, what he had spoken to her through the Angel Gabriel thirty years earlier: He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there will be no end (Luke 1:32-33).

God asked the Blessed Mother to consent to the sacrifice of Christ by offering Jesus to the Father in an act of worship, and in joining her own sufferings to his for our salvation. The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council beautifully described Mary’s maternal work on Calvary: In a wholly singular way Mary cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope and burning charity in the work of the Savior restoring supernatural life to souls. Wherefore she is our mother in the order of grace (Lumen Gentium 61).

To reveal that Mary at the foot of the Cross was in labor, giving birth to the Church, Jesus said: WomanBehold your son. And to the Beloved Disciple who represented each of us: Behold your mother. The ancient Christian writer Origen of Alexandria wrote: For if Mary, as those declare who with sound mind extol her, had no other son but Jesus, and yet Jesus says to His mother “Woman, behold your son” and not “Behold you have this son also,”  then He virtually said to her “Behold, this is Jesus, whom you bore.” Is it not the case that everyone who is perfect lives himself no longer, but Christ lives in him, if Christ lives in him, then it is said of him to Mary, “Behold your son Christ.” (Origen, On John, Bk. 1, ch. 6)

St. John then observes, from that hour the disciple took her to his home. Scripture scholars note that the text could be translated literally as from that hour the disciple took her into his own. Christ wants all his beloved disciples to enter into a son-mother, daughter-mother relationship with his mother, the first and most perfect of his disciples. The disciple takes her into his intimacy, asking her to teach him the ways of Christ. Blessed Jiohn Paul II based his understanding of consecration to Jesus through Mary on this one verse of Scripture: "The disciple took her into his own". St. Louis de Montfort and St. Maximilian Kolbe had taught him the importance of total consecration to Jesus through Mary. These three holy priests will also help us to give everything to Jesus through Mary.

It is so important in our perilous times to make an act of total Consecration of oneself to Jesus through the Blessed Virgin. Through this act of self-offering, the Christian gives Christ everything through Mary: body, soul, all material possessions and occupations, and every spiritual gift. Through consecration, the Christian freely becomes Mary’s servant and slave so as to belong totally to Jesus. Unlike the slavery to sin, this freely chosen slavery is the only bondage that brings true freedom and peace. By giving everything to Christ through Mary, the Christian is confident that the Holy Spirit will use him to crush the head of Satan (Gen. 3:15) and prepare for the Reign of Jesus Christ.

Prayer

Prayer of Consecration of St. Maximilian Kolbe

O Immaculate Mary, Queen of Heaven and earth, refuge of sinners and our most loving Mother, God has willed to entrust the entire order of mercy to you. I, (name), a repentant sinner, cast myself at your feet humbly imploring you to take me with all that I am and have, wholly to yourself as your possession and property. Please make of me, of all my powers of soul and body, of my whole life, death and eternity, whatever most pleases you.

If it pleases you, use all that I am and have without reserve, wholly to accomplish what was said of you: “She will crush your head,” and, “You alone have destroyed all heresies in the whole world.” Let me be a fit instrument in your immaculate and merciful hands for intro­ducing and increasing your glory to the maxi­mum in all the many strayed and indifferent souls, and thus help extend as far as possible the blessed kingdom of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus. For wherever you enter you obtain the grace of conversion and growth in holi­ness, since it is through your hands that all graces come to us from the most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

V. Allow me to praise you, O Sacred Virgin.
R. Give me strength against your enemies. Amen

Day Seven of the Novena

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Day Six - Novena to the Mother of God for Our Nation

Picture source


On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; Jesus also was invited to the marriage, with his disciples. When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." And Jesus said to her, "O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come." His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you." Now six stone jars were standing there, for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, "Fill the jars with water." And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, "Now draw some out, and take it to the steward of the feast." So they took it. When the steward of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, "Every man serves the good wine first; and when men have drunk freely, then the poor wine; but you have kept the good wine until now." This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed in him. – John 2:1-11

Prayer

We fly to your patronage,
O holy Mother of God;
Despise not our prayers in our necessities,
But ever deliver us from all dangers,
O glorious and blessed Virgin.

Reflection

The first explicit mention of the Mother of Jesus in St. John’s Gospel is at a wedding feast. Mary arrived at the week-long celebration before Jesus. When he arrived Mary immediately brought him a concern:They have no wine. She wanted everyone, especially the newlyweds and their families and friends, to enjoy the Wedding celebration. Certainly Mary felt the embarrassment of the young couple and was confident in bringing their need to Jesus. He responded to her intercession – yes, this is a powerful instance of Mary’s maternal mediation. Changing water into wine, Jesus performed the first great miracle of his public ministry.

St. John notes that Jesus acted to witness to his divinity for the Apostles: This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed in him. Before the miracle the Apostles thought of Jesus as a rabbi, a kind of professor ofTorah. Seeing the water turn into wine before their eyes, the Apostles experienced Jesus’ glory as Messiah and Lord and began to believe in him. By her intercession, Mary obtained saving faith for those chosen to be the first priests of the Church. Mary, even then, understood her right to bring every human and spiritual need into the presence of her Son. Then in Cana, and now in Heaven, the Mother of God desires her Son to reveal his power as Messiah and Lord of all creation and to save his people.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church connects the first miracle of Jesus and the Sacrament of Matrimony: On the threshold of his public life Jesus performs his first sign – at his mother’s request – during a wedding feast. The Church attaches great importance to Jesus’ presence at the wedding at Cana. She sees in it the confirmation of the goodness of marriage and the proclamation that thenceforth marriage will be an efficacious sign of Christ’s presence (CCC 1613). Mary in Heaven continues to bring the human and spiritual needs of families into the radius of Christ’s messianic power.

Prayer

Mother Mary, at Cana you showed that you are the mother of many children. You understood the pain felt by the poor and turned to your Son for help. Filled with the Spirit of God, you also wanted Jesus' Apostles to share your faith in him. You understood that the absence of faith is the worst poverty any person ever experiences. You also knew that only God can give the gift of faith. Bringing these needs to Jesus in prayer, rich wine flowed through the small village of Cana and the strong wine of faith flooded the hearts of the Apostles.

Mary, we all have needs, great and small. We are poor in material resources and in spiritual goods. We beg you to bring all of our needs to Jesus. You never ask for anything that will harm your children. Jesus never refuses any request you bring to him. Pray especially for our families that are torn apart by marital infidelity, domestic violence, flaws in parental love, and the pain caused by contraception, sterilization, and abortion. Help all to understand that the Sacrament of Matrimony was instituted by your Son so that man and wife, in loving one another, may encounter his grace and bring forth children for the kingdom. Pray for your sons and daughters who bear the heavy burden of same-sex attraction. Help them discover the freedom chastity imparts and its beauty. Mary, pray that our families may live in harmony and love as you lived with Jesus and Joseph in your home in Nazareth. Mary, we need you to be our mother, the mother of all families. Amen.
Day Six of the Novena

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Day Five - Novena to the Mother of God for Our Nation


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Lo, the star which the Wise Men had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy; and going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. – Matthew 2: 9-11

Prayer

We fly to your patronage,
O holy Mother of God;
Despise not our prayers in our necessities,
But ever deliver us from all dangers,
O glorious and blessed Virgin.

Reflection

James Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore from 1877 to 1921, explained to his flock why Catholics delight to honor Mary with the title Mother of God:

When we call the Blessed Virgin the Mother of God, we assert our belief in two things: First – That her Son, Jesus Christ, is true man, else she were not a mother. Second – That He is true God, else she were not the Mother of God. In other words, we affirm that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Word of God, who in His divine nature is from all eternity begotten of the Father, consubstantial with Him. He was in the fullness of time again begotten, by being born of the Virgin, thus taking to Himself, from her maternal womb, a human nature of the same substance with hers.

But it may be said the Blessed Virgin is not the Mother of the Divinity. She had not, and she could not have, any part in the generation of the Word of God, for that generation is eternal; her maternity is temporal. He is her Creator; she is His creature. Style her, if you will, the Mother of the man Jesus or even of the human nature of the Son of God, but not the Mother of God.

I shall answer this objection by putting a question. Did the mother who bore us have any part in the production of our soul? Was not this nobler part of our being the work of God alone? And yet who would for a moment dream of saying “the mother of my body,” and not “my mother?”

The comparison teaches us that the terms parent and child, mother and son, refer to the persons and not to the parts or elements of which the persons are composed. Hence no one says: “The mother of my body,” “the mother of my soul”; but in all propriety “my mother,” the mother of I who live and breathe, think and act, one in my personality, though uniting in it a soul directly created by God, and a material body directly derived from the maternal womb. In like manner, as far as the sublime mystery of the Incarnation can be reflected in the natural order, the Blessed Virgin, under the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost, by communicating to the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, as mothers do, a true human nature of the same substance with her own, is thereby really and truly His Mother.

It is in this sense that the title of Mother of God, denied by Nestorius, was vindicated to her by the General Council of Ephesus, in 431; in this sense, and in no other, has the Church called her by that title.

Prayer

God, our Almighty Father, by becoming a man your Son revealed the goodness and holiness of human conception, pregnancy, and birth. With tender maternal love, the Virgin Mary conceived your eternal Son, carried him beneath her heart, and brought him to birth. No intervention of yours in human history illustrates more clearly the greatness and dignity of woman than the Incarnation. May Mary help all to believe that the man she bore, Jesus Christ, is truly your eternal Son-made-man. May she help all to appreciate the wonder of conception, pregnancy, and birth. Draw all women in our society to her motherly embrace. Help them understand that their children are created by you at the moment of their conception and belong to you in this life and in the next. Father, protect all women from attacks against their maternal fecundity. Guard them from those who war against them and their dignity through the promotion of contraception, sterilization, and abortion. We ask this through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

Day Five of the Novena

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Day Four - Novena to the Mother of God for Our Nation


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The Visitation
Airs live Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 at 8 AM ET

In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord." And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior. – Luke 1:39-47

Prayer

We fly to your patronage,
O holy Mother of God;
Despise not our prayers in our necessities,
But ever deliver us from all dangers,
O glorious and blessed Virgin.

Reflection

Mary, carrying the eternal Son of God in her womb, went with hasteto visit her aged relative, Elizabeth, and her husband, Zechariah. The Angel Gabriel had told Mary that Elizabeth was also pregnant:Behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing is impossible (Luke 1: 36-37).

St. Luke, it would seem, saw 2 Samuel 6, the Old Testament account of King David’s transfer of the Ark of the Covenant from the from the hill country of Judah to Jerusalem, fulfilled in the Visitation account. St. Luke’s intention was to present Mary, making the journey to visit her cousin Elizabeth, as the true Ark of the Covenant – the new dwelling place of God among his people.

Here are some points of comparison: When Jewish people came into the presence of the Ark of the Covenant, they would let out a joyful shout, a certain holy noise reserved exclusively to honor God’s presence in the Ark. When Mary entered her kinswoman’s house and greeted her, Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry. Elizabeth used almost the exact words that King David had used when he realized the significance of the Ark coming to his house: And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? Finally, whereas David danced and leaped before the old Ark of the Covenant, it was John the Baptist in his mother’s womb who danced and leaped before the presence of God in his new Ark of the Covenant, Mary!

This text casts brilliant light on the meaning of the Annunciation and Mary’s fiat. Through Mary’s assent of faith to the word of the Angel, the eternal Son of God came down from Heaven to dwell in her womb. The Ark of the Covenant constructed at God’s command by Moses and Aaron is only a type – a foreshadowing of Mary, the true dwelling place of God. Elizabeth, Zechariah, and the unborn John the Baptist are blessed by Jesus living in Mary. Elizabeth blessed Son and Mother three times: Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”

Prayer

Almighty and Ever-Living God, the Virgin Mary is the new Ark of the Covenant. During the nine months of her pregnancy, she carried your Son-made-man in her virginal womb. From his Royal Throne, Christ began to bring his people salvation. After his birth, which did not diminish His mother's virginal integrity but sanctified it, he continued to dwell in Mary through grace and charity with an unparalleled intensity. Father, we beg you to send Mary to visit the United States, calling all to faith in Christ's Gospel of Life and conversion from sin. May she help all to understand that her conception of Christ in Nazareth, and her wondrous childbirth in Bethlehem, point to the inviolable sanctity of every conception and birth. May she help those women who have had abortions to find God's forgiveness and healing. Father, turn the hearts of all advocates of contraception and abortion to Christ, the Lord of Life. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Day Four of the Novena

Monday, October 1, 2012

Day Three - Novena to the Mother of God for Our Nation

"The Annunciation" by Antoniazzo Roman, 1485

The Annunciation
Monday, Oct. 1, 2012 at 8 AM ET

And Mary said, Behold, I am the handmaid
of the Lord;
Let it be done to me according to your word.
– Luke 1:38

Prayer

We fly to your patronage,
O holy Mother of God;
Despise not our prayers in our necessities,
But ever deliver us from all dangers,
O glorious and blessed Virgin.

Reflection

Scholars speculate that Mary was likely a teenager when Gabriel came from Heaven with God’s message of salvation. That day, God revealed to Mary her vocation, and her role in the salvation of the world. He revealed to her that he had a Son who would come into the world to save all people from sin, death, and the dominion of Satan. God asked Mary, the New Eve, to be the virgin mother of his eternal Son. His plan depended on her “Yes!” God willed to open the floodgates of mercy for the human race through Mary’s consent to be the virgin Mother of God-made-man. God, who needs no one to accomplish his purposes, willed to send his Son to us through Mary’s assent of faith.

Mary stood before God as representative of the People of Israel and, indeed, of the entire human race. At that moment, everything depended upon her fiat; her Yes, let it be done unto to me according to your will. At the Second Vatican Council, the Church stressed Mary’s active participation in the redemption of the world. The Council Fathers recalled the words of St. Irenaeus of Lyon, a bishop of the 2nd century.

Mary, a daughter of Adam, consenting to the divine Word, became the mother of Jesus, the one and only Mediator. Embracing God’s salvific will with a full heart and impeded by no sin, she devoted herself totally as a handmaid of the Lord to the person and work of her Son, under Him and with Him, by the grace of almighty God, serving the mystery of redemption. Rightly therefore the Holy Fathers see her as used by God not merely in a passive way, but as freely cooperating in the work of human salvation through faith and obedience. For, as St. Irenaeus says, she, “being obedient, became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race.” Hence not a few of the early Fathers gladly assert in their preaching, “The knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by Mary’s obedience; what the virgin Eve bound through her unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosened by her faith.” Comparing Mary with Eve, they call her “the Mother of the living,” and still more often they say: “death through Eve, life through Mary” (Lumen Gentium 56).

Through the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit Mary embraced Christ first in her mind through faith, then in her heart through hope and charity, and finally in her body by a miracle that only God could accomplish. She eagerly consented to her virginal motherhood with the full awareness that her child would be named  Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). Through her fiat, Mary gave us Jesus and is, therefore, in God’s plan, the human cause of our salvation. We owe everything good in our lives to Mary, theCause of our Joy.

Prayer

God, Almighty Father, when Mary surrendered herself to your Word, she conceived Christ first in her mind through faith, in her heart through hope and love, and finally in her body through the marvelous operation of your Holy Spirit. By her eagerness to be the mother of your Son, she opened the floodgates of your merciful love for all men and women. May she help all people to live by faith, hope, love, and obedience to your will. May she remind us always that you want to bring salvation to our brothers and sisters through our faith and good works. Help us to accept fully our responsibility to combat the culture of death and foster the culture of life in our American society. We ask this through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

Day Three Novena for Religious Liberties

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Day Two - Novena to the Mother of God for Our Nation



Mary's Desire for Virginity
Airs live Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012 at 8 AM ET

And Mary said to the angel, How shall this be, since I have no husband? – Luke 1:34

Prayer

We fly to your patronage,
O holy Mother of God;
Despise not our prayers in our necessities,
But ever deliver us from all dangers,
O glorious and blessed Virgin.

Reflection

Long before the Angel Gabriel brought Mary the message that God had chosen her to be the mother of his Son, she had resolved to give herself entirely and exclusively – in the gift of perpetual virginity. Mary knew that God had entered into a Covenant – a family bond – with the People of Israel on Mount Sinai. Although the Lord had remained faithful to the Covenant promises, Israel had not. By repeatedly breaking the Commandments of God, her people had shown herself to be an adulterous spouse. Mary, painfully aware of the history of Israel as told by the Prophets, yearned to make reparation for the sins of her people by loving God as his faithful bride.

Here is Pope John Paul II's description of Mary's desire to remain a virgin throughout her life:

Mary herself wanted to be the personal image of that absolutely faithful bride, totally devoted to the divine Bridegroom, and therefore she became the beginning of the new Israel in her spousal heart.... She confirms and strengthens a consecration already in effect, which becomes the abiding condition of her life. She in fact replies to the Angel of the Annunciation: "How will this come about, since I am a virgin?" (Lk. 1:34); as if to say: I am a virgin devoted to God, and I do not intend to leave my spouse, because I do not think that God wills it – He who is so jealous of Israel, so severe with anyone who betrays him, so persistent in his merciful call to reconciliation! Mary is well aware of her people's infidelity, and she wants personally to be a bride who is faithful to her most beloved divine Spouse.

God sent the Angel Gabriel to the town of Nazareth to tell Mary that he had accepted her desire to belong exclusively to him and, in fact, was the source of that desire. Mary's longing for a life of virginity was, in fact, a response to God's faithful love. The Angel tells Mary that she would conceive God's son as a virgin through the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. She is to be simultaneously a virgin, bride, and mother. Her freely chosen virginity allowed Mary to belong totally to Christ as his mother and totally to each of us as our loving mother. The Blessed Virgin Mary witnesses that the beautiful value of virginity is always for the sake of spousal love and motherhood!

Prayer

Almighty and Ever-Living God, Mary gave herself to you unreservedly through the gift of her virginity. As she loved Jesus with an undivided heart, she continues to love and serve all of her children on earth. Through her example, instill in all the members of your Church a deeper appreciation of the value of virginity. Help all to understand that virginity is the perfect gift that spouses give to each other on their wedding day. Inspire many young men and women to embrace a life of consecrated celibacy or virginity in the priesthood and consecrated life. Teach us all the meaning of your Son's words:Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God (Mt. 5:8). We ask this through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.


Day Two Novena