Fortnight for Freedom–Baltimore

Fortnight for Freedom

 

 

 

 

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

 

 

The Fortnight for Freedom started on June 21st in Baltimore with an Opening Mass for the Feast of St. Thomas More & St. John Fisher.  I was privileged to attend this beautiful service that was filled with people from many dioceses including many bishops, priests,  nuns, and lay faithful.  This was a very special Mass that everyone in attendance felt a great energy of spirit, faith, and patriotism.  Archbishop of Baltimore, William Lori, was the celebrant and homilist and he delivered a fantastic homily that was met with enthusiastic applause (rare during a Mass, but this was a special and important event in the history of the American Catholic Church).  Archbishop Lori delivered a sermon that showed the history and wisdom of our faith, and how serious the gravity of the issues of religious freedom are now being threatened.   Archbishop Lori and all the U.S. Bishops calling us all to stand united in prayer and action in defending religious freedom.  I was very impressed with Archbishop Lori who took the time to shake hands with all the people who attended the Mass afterwards–very good shepherd of the church.  Here is a link from USCCB of the full text of the homily from Archbishop Lori (June 21, 2012):

Homily of Archbishop William Lori at Opening Mass of Fortnight for Freedom

Archbishop William Lori

Archbishop William Lori

 

Archbishop Lori offering an inspiring homily

Archbishop Lori offering an inspiring homily

 

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) started this Fortnight for Freedom as a campaign to get all the diocese to participate in prayer, fasting, education, and action to support the protection of religious freedom.  A fortnight is a period of fourteen days, and this fortnight will culminate ceremoniously  on July 4th in Washington D.C.   There are great resources of reflections, prayers, and suggested activities for parishes and diocese on their website for Fortnight for Freedom, they even just added a new text messaging feature (Text “Freedom” to 377377).

The event in Baltimore was a peaceful event, and there were a handful of demonstrators across from the Basilica.  Ironic that the people demonstrating across from the church gain their freedom of right to free speech and to peacefully assemble from the 1st Amendment where the right to freedom of religion also is protected.

Protestors of the Fortnight of Freedom

Protestors of the Fortnight of Freedom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To begin the Fortnight of Freedom, the bishops chose the Basilica of the National Shrine to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, because of its importance as the cradle of religious freedom in American Catholic history.  It was the first metropolitan Cathedral in American dedicated in 1821, and designed by Henry Latrobe, who was also the architect of the United States Capitol.  Many historic events have taken place at the Baltimore Basilica including the funeral Mass of Charles Carroll, the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence and cousin of Archbishop John Carroll.  The Councils of Baltimore held here in the 19th century established the parish system, mandated parochial schools, launched the Catholic University of America, and commissioned the famous Baltimore Cathechism.

Interior-Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Interior-Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

During the last 200 years, visitors to the Basilica have included dignitaries and historical figures from around the world including Blessed Pope John Paul II, Saint Teresa of Calcutta, President Andrew Jackson, the Marquis de Lafayette, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Chief Whitefeather of the Sioux Tribe.  At least 15 saints or potential saints have prayed in the Basilica.  It is worth your time to visit this holy site that has much more to offer than I can include in this blog–more in links below.

Restored Dome (Bicentennial Restoration--2006)

Restored Dome (Bicentennial Restoration–2006)

Altar in Batimore Basilica

 

Mary's Assumption on the West Nave Dome

Mary’s Assumption on the West Nave Dome

St. Teresa of Calcutta in Baltimore Basilica

St. Teresa of Calcutta in Baltimore Basilica

 

Statue in Pope John Paul II Memorial Garden at Baltimore Basilica

Statue in Pope John Paul II Memorial Garden at Baltimore Basilica

Cardinal Timothy Dolan has just written a book, True Freedom:  On Protecting Human Dignity and Religious Freedom, to help educate the faithful about the religious liberty and he illustrated this from many supporting texts in the Bible and from saints and church doctrines.  The book can be downloaded with excerpts from his recent book, A People of Hope, for just 99 cents at many outlets including iTunes and Amazon.  I have just read the 26 page book on my iPad and highly recommend it on your reading list.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The patron saint for religious freedom is St. Thomas More who stood up for his Catholic faith and paid for it with his life.  Fr. Robert Barron has a great short video about St. Thomas More, and about the movie A Man for All Seasons below:

Father Barron also commented on the recent statements from Secretary Sebalius and Maureen Dowd:

Catholic Vote is an organization that is also behind an effort to support religious freedom came out with a very well made short video that illustrates the importance of the issue very well.

I will be blogging on a few more events for the Fortnight of Freedom, stay tuned:

1) I will be attending the Diocese of Richmond Mass with Bishop Francis Dilorenzo at Sacred Heart Cathedral on June 24th.

2) Please consider joining us for a prayer service, Sunday, July 1st at 7pm at the 1st Amendment Monument on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall.  We will be singing songs and praying, and people are encouraged to write on the Free Speech Wall.

3) I will be attending the concluding Mass on July 4th at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C.  My cousin, Monsignor Charles Pope, will also be concelebrating with Cardinal Wehrl and Bishop Chaput.

LINKS

Fortnight for Freedom (United Conference of Catholic Bishops)

The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Religious Liberty (EWTN)

Cardinal Dolan’s True Freedom: On Protecting Human Dignity and Religious Liberty (Amazon)

 Previous Blog on Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rally

 

Prayer for the Protection of Religious Liberty (USCCB)

O God our Creator,

Through the power and working of your Holy Spirit,
you call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world,
bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel
to every corner of society.

We ask you to bless us
in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty.
Give us the strength of mind and heart
to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened;
give us courage in making our voices heard
on behalf of the rights of your Church
and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.

Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father,
a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters
gathered in your Church
in this decisive hour in the history of our nation,
so that, with every trial withstood
and every danger overcome—
for the sake of our children, our grandchildren,
and all who come after us—
this great land will always be “one nation, under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Share Button

The Shrine of St. Anthony

The Shrine of St. Anthony in Ellicott City Maryland

The Shrine of St. Anthony in Ellicott City Maryland

Yesterday, I was honored to join my fellow Secular Franciscans in a day of prayer and reflection at the inspiring St. Anthony Shrine in Ellicott City, Maryland.  The Secular Franciscans from the St. Margaret of Cortona Region (D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and portions of West Virginia & Pennsylvania) gathered together in fellowship and prayer for formation of new and present members of the fraternity.  It was a wonderful day meeting all the fellow SFO members and joining in prayer, Mass, meetings to grow in faith and learning more about Franciscan Spirituality.  If you would like to know more about the Secular Franciscan Order, I have put links below about the SFO and St. Anthony Shrine.

Gathering of Secular Franciscan Order from St. Margaret of Cortona Region

Gathering of Secular Franciscan Order from St. Margaret of Cortona Region

The Shrine of Saint Anthony

The Shrine to St. Anthony has a long history that is fascinating in American history.  The land that belongs to the shrine dates back to the Carroll Family, a Catholic family who helped in the founding of the colony of Maryland.  Charles Carroll III was the ONLY Catholic to sign the Declaration of Independence. His cousin was the first bishop assigned to America.  His estate home called Folly Quarter, is the oldest structure on the property and is now used for meetings, and this entire property is run by the Conventual Franciscan Friars.

Portrait of Charles Carroll III at Folly Quarter House

Portrait of Charles Carroll III at Folly Quarter House

The estate passed though a number of families over the years and eventually was repurchased by the Carroll Family who sold it to the Conventual Franciscan Friars.  Folly Quarter was too small for the growing community from the start. One of the Friars, an architect, Fr. Benedict Przemielewski was commissioned to design a new novitiate. Fr. Benedict chose to miniature the “Sacro Convento,” the original Friary built in Assisi, Italy, in the 13th century. Archbishop Michael Curley blessed the new novitiate at its completion in 1931.

Friary completed in 1931

Friary completed in 1931

In 1995, with the gift of a major relic of St. Anthony from their confreres at the Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua, Italy, the friars began a ministry that grew into the Shrine of St. Anthony we know today. On July 1, 2004, His Eminence William Cardinal Keeler, the Archbishop of Baltimore declared the Shrine of St. Anthony the official Archdiocesan shrine to St. Anthony.  It is a beautiful friary, and with the surrounding landscape you feel as if you were in Assissi, Italy.  The friars have also built trails, installed statuary and shrines around this property for all to enjoy.   Following are some of the photos of the Shrine and grounds.

Chapel at St. Anthony Shrine

Chapel at St. Anthony Shrine

 

Altar at St. Anthony Shrine Chapel

Altar at St. Anthony Shrine Chapel

 

Shrine to Saint Anthony

Shrine to Saint Anthony

 

1st-Class Relic of Saint Anthony at Shrine (his skin)

1st-Class Relic of Saint Anthony at Shrine (his skin)

 

Lourdes Grotto on St. Anthony Shrine grounds

Lourdes Grotto on St. Anthony Shrine grounds

 

Library in Friary at St. Anthony Shrine

Library in Friary at St. Anthony Shrine

 

Many places for prayer, reading, or contemplation

Many places for prayer, reading, or contemplation

 St. Anthony and the Donkey

I love the story of Saint Anthony and the Eucharistic Miracle with the Donkey.  It has been remembered with a statue on the grounds as you approach the friary.  St. Anthony was recognized by his fellow friars as a brilliant theologian and powerful preacher.  He was assigned to preach throughout Italy and southern France.  At Rimini he was heckled by a heretic who denied the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.  St. Anthony challenged the heretic to let his donkey choose between a pile of sumptuous animal fodder or the Eucharist.  As St. Anthony held up the Blessed Sacrament, the donkey approached and knelt in adoration.  There are many more stories of St. Anthony available on the website of the Shrine of St. Anthony, and I encourage you to visit this wonderful treasure of the Conventual Franciscan Friars.

St. Anthony and the Eucharistic Miracle with the Donkey

St. Anthony and the Eucharistic Miracle with the Donkey

LINKS

The Shrine of St. Anthony

National Secular Franciscan Order

St. Margaret of Cortona Region–Secular Franciscan Order

Share Button

All Saints Day & America’s First Saint

Saints

November 1st is the solemn day we celebrate All Saints Day to honor saints, both known and unknown.  One of my favorite reference sites for Roman Catholic Saints is at SQPN Saints that now list 7,274 saints.  It is amazing there are so many saints, but all the people in heaven are saints too, and that number is far greater.  The saints that are recognized by the church are our brothers and sisters who went before us and have shown us the way to live a holy and faithful life with Christ.  Following is good video from Father Barron reflecting on All Saints Day.

There are so many wonderful and inspiring stories from our saints that help to guide us towards a life with in heaven with God, Mary, the angels, and all the saints.  Last month, I had the honor of visiting the holy site of The National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg, Maryland.  Elizabeth Ann Seton was born two years before the American Revolution on August 28, 1774 in New York and was raised in the Episcopal Church.  Elizabeth married at an early age to William Magee and had five children.  The family travelled to Italy, where her husband became ill and they both found a deeper faith during this time, but he unfortunately died.  Elizabeth was comforted by a deeply devout Catholic Family during her mourning period and Elizabeth was so inspired it began her journey toward conversion.  Upon her arrival back to New York City, Elizabeth struggled with family and friends about converting to be a Roman Catholic, but through support and strong convictions made her profession of faith in 1805 at Saint Peter’s Church in Lower Manhattan.

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

Elizabeth Ann Seton went on to work as a teacher to many in education and faith.  She eventually founded The Daughters of Charity near Mount Saint Mary’s College and Seminary.  The Daughters of Charity were originally founded in 1633 in Paris, but brought to America through Elizabeth and they went on to work with Saint Vincent DePaul with the poor, and serve sick and wounded during the American Civil War.  Elizabeth Ann Seton worked tirelessly her entire life to serve the poor and sick up until her death in 1821.  Pope Paul VI canonized her as America’s first saint on September 14th, 1975, saying,:

“Rejoice, we say to the great nation of the United States of America.  Rejoice for your glorious daughter.  Be proud of her.  And know how to preserve her fruitful heritage.  This most beautiful figure of a holy woman presents to the world and to history the affirmation of a new and authentic riches that are yours.  Your land America, is indeed worthy of receiving into its fertile ground the seed of evangelical holiness.”

Basilica of the National Shrine of Elizabeth Ann Seton

Basilica of the National Shrine of Elizabeth Ann Seton

Today, you can visit the place she founded where there is a wonderful Visitor Center, Shrine, original homes, and Basilica dedicated to this great saint.  I think Pope Paul VI would be proud of the work done to help preserve the message and faith of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton.  The Basilica is adorned with beautiful mosaic images of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Evangelists, and The Holy Family, and the she is venerated by many with prayers at the Seton Altar of Relics inside the National Shrine.  Emmitsburg is worth the journey to see this shrine and also visit Mount Saint Mary’s University and the Lourdes Grotto nearby.

Interior of the National Shrine

Interior of the National Shrine

Seton Altar & Relics

Seton Altar & Relics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Original home of The Daughters of Charity

Original home of The Daughters of Charity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are a number of links I list below for more information about the saints and Elizabeth Ann Seton:

LINKS FOR SAINTS

The National Shrine of Elizabeth Ann Seton

SQPN Saints Website (one of the largest reference sites for saints)

Catholic Online Saints (good listing of saints)

Saint of the Day- website and also now an App (AmericanCatholic.org)

The SaintCast – podcast by Dr. Paul Camarata (currently 141 shows available)

BOOKS ON SAINTS

My Life with the Saints by James Martin, SJ (Amazon)

Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life by James Martin SJ (Amazon)

Following is a great video from Busted Halo by Father James Martin about Halloween and All Saints Day:

A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms (Ave Maria Press) by Lisa Hendey

Following is the video for Lisa Hendey’s new book (I will be a writing review next week and excited that she will be answering a few of my questions for this blog–submit your name in comments for a random drawing for a FREE copy of her book)

 

Share Button

Mount St. Mary’s University

Mount St. Mary's University

Mount St. Mary's University

 

 

 

 

 

I had the pleasure of visiting Mount St. Mary’s University last month.  Mount St. Mary’s University (The Mount) is located in Emmitsburg, Maryland and now is recognized as one of the finest Catholic Colleges in the Unites States.  The Newman Guide for selecting Catholic Colleges has listed Mount St. Mary’s as one of the Top Ten Catholic Colleges in America.

Mount St. Mary's Seminary

Mount St. Mary's Seminary

Mount St. Mary’s was begun in 1805 as the first seminary to serve the Diocese of Baltimore–the oldest diocese in America.  Mount St. Mary’s Seminary is now the largest seminary in the United States.  It now has 170 men studying for the priesthood and they come from 31 diocese across America.  The seminary has just surpassed Mundelein Seminary in Chicago which used to be the largest.

Father Leo with St. John's Bible and Saints' Relics

Father Leo with St. John's Bible and Saints' Relics

It was my honor to finally meet theology professor, Father Leo Patalinghug, who gave me a tour of the seminary.  He is very proud of the work he does in guiding young men toward the calling to be a priest.  Father Leo said it is the most important work he does for the church and everything else is secondary.  Fr. Leo shared a very special room in the seminary which houses hundreds of Saints Relics and a St. John’s Bible that was a recent and treasured donation.  The Saint John’s Bible is a hand-crafted bible that took years to complete with fine artwork and calligraphy and was done in the tradition of Benedictine monks from the early church.  This incredible Bible is the work of Donald Jackson and the monks at Saint John’s Abbey in Minnesota.

Seminary-St. Bernard's Chapel

Seminary-St. Bernard's Chapel

 

Chapel of the Immaculate Conception

Chapel of the Immaculate Conception

Interior Chapel of the Immaculate Conception

Interior Chapel of the Immaculate Conception

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Father Leo shared with us the beautiful places for worship and prayer that are in the seminary and around the campus.  The seminary has its own chapel that had the great smell of incense where there is adoration of the Holy Eucharist every evening, and a seminarian is in the sanctuary 24 hours a day to be with Christ.  The campus’ main church is the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception, just recently refurbished, and is a beautiful piece of architecture that inspires one to prayer and holiness.

Father Leo in new seminary kitchen

Father Leo in new seminary kitchen

The other ministry that Father Leo offers was the way I first got to know him–through his cooking ministry, Grace Before Meals.  Father Leo was very proud to show the seminary kitchen that recently had a make-over where he films his video podcasts and cooks for his students.  Father Leo has a great ministry that uses his talents as a culinary master to feed you “Body, Mind, and Soul.”  Father Leo has the mission to use his talents to help families come together to share meals and become stronger through faith and good healthy food.  Father Leo even won a Throw Down cookoff with Chef Bobbly Flay on cable’s Food Network with his famous steak fajitas.  Father Leo has written a cookbook with great recipes and ideas of faith and family that now includes his world famous steak fajita recipe called Grace Before Meals (Amazon).  You can find out more about Father Leo’s ministry and his recipes at his website Grace Before Meals.  Father Leo will also be hosting a retreat to the Meritage Resort & Spa in Napa Valley July 22-26, 2012, which should be a special culinary and spiritual journey for all who attend.  Father Leo is a real gift to our faith and you should view the video below to witness the energy and excitement he brings to the Catholic Church.

Grace Before Meals

Grace Before Meals

 

Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes

Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes

 

Chapel of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

Chapel of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prayer with Mary and Holy Water spouts

Prayer with Mary and Holy Water spouts

The University also offers one of the best places for contemplative prayer that I have ever visited, The National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes.  The National Shrine has a beautiful trail behind the campus at a base of St. Mary’s Mountain that has, The Stations of the Cross, Holy Statuary, Mountain Streams and Ponds, Chapel of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, and the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes.  St. Elizabeth Ann Seton used to take her students up to this place for prayer and teaching.  The Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes is the oldest replica in America of the famous one in France.  There are too many beautiful places to name on this trail of spirituality to name in this blog.  I urge you to see it for yourself.  They are now fundraising for a new Visitor Center at the base of the bell tower with Mother Mary in gold at the top which can be seen for miles in this inspiring St. Joseph’s valley.

New Visitor Center for National Shrine for Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes

New Visitor Center for National Shrine for Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes

I wish Father Leo and all the students at Mount St. Mary’s University well, and encourage you to check out this fine institution and the Grotto.  I bet that Father Leo has had an influence on the student dining, because we ate at the University Cafe and the Butternut Squash-Apple Soup was excellent. Pax Christi:)

Share Button