Canonizations of John XXIII & John Paul II from Washington, D.C.

New Portraits of Saints John Paul II & John XXIII at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

New Portraits of Saints John Paul II & John XXIII at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

It was an amazing weekend visiting Washington D.C. for the canonizations of two new saints — Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II on Divine Mercy Sunday.  These two men helped to bring the Roman Catholic Church into the modern world with great courage, love, joy, humor, grace, and humility.  To celebrate this historic event, the John Paul II Shrine was hosting a series of events over the weekend.

Saint John Paul II National Shrine

Saint John Paul II National Shrine

It started with a procession of the Blessed Sacrament for three miles around the area in Washington, D.C. fondly known as “Little Rome,” because there are so many Catholic organizations, churches, and shrines in a concentrated area of the city.  The procession went from the JPII Shrine to the Basicilca of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, then to Catholic University of America, then to the John Paul II Seminary, and returning back to the JPII Shrine.   At each stop there was speech honoring both saints, and then time for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.  Many faithful devoutly joined this procession, despite having rain and wind to endure, nature was not going to stop this joyous occasion.

Adoration of Blessed Sacrament at Catholic University Chapel

Adoration of Blessed Sacrament at Catholic University Chapel

 

After the procession, there was a midnight Mass for Divine Mercy Sunday, a Feast instituted by Pope John Paul II.  There were about 1,000 people in attendance of this beautiful Mass celebrated by the chaplain of the John Paul II Shrine, Fr. Gregory Gresko.  This temporary chapel was set-up for the weekend, and had a beautiful artwork in the background of Christ, and there were protraits of John Paul II and the Divine Mercy image on each side of the altar.  There were TVs for viewing the Masses locally and in Rome throughout the facility, and a wall also had the live Twitter Feed from people posting from around the globe on #2PopeSaints.

Mass and Live Event in main chapel at JPII Shrine

Mass and Live Event in main chapel at JPII Shrine

There were two first class relics of Saint John Paul II that were taken out for veneration, one is a permanent gift from Cardinal Donald Wuerl, a blood soaked cloth from the time of the shooting of JPII, and the other was on loan from the Knights of Columbus that is a vile of blood from JPII.

Fr. Gregory Gresko carrying the First Class Relic the Blood of Saint John Paul II

Fr. Gregory Gresko carrying the First Class Relic the Blood of Saint John Paul II

Fr. Gresko said that the walls will enclose this space and an artists is coming who had worked with John Paul II on some iconic art in Rome, and will be working on beautiful art to cover the walls of the new chapel opening in the Fall of 2015.  The basement museum space is currently being overhauled, and will have a wonderful permanent interactive exhibit opening in July 2014.  The exhibit will invite visitors to walk in the footsteps of of Saint John Paul II while exploring how his understanding of the dignity of the human person informed his life and papacy.  It will also explore his teachings and spirituality through computer interactives, personal artifacts, and original artwork.  This inspiring Shrine will always offer Mass, Confession, The Angelus, Adoration, and Veneration of JPII relics (see website below for schedule)

A Gift Of Love:  The Life of Saint John Paul II -- a permanent exhibit to open July 2014

A Gift Of Love: The Life of Saint John Paul II — a permanent exhibit to open July 2014

 

The crowds who came cheered when Pope Francis and Pope Bendict XVI embraced to start the Holy Mass for the Canonizations of these two holy men about to become saints.  When it was official everyone rejoiced and the Holy relic if John Paul’s blood was processed out and people had opportunity to pray with the relic.  Saint John Paul II was with us both in spirit and body during this special event in Washington, DC, where he designated the place for his own shrine to be during his lifetime.  It is interesting that he did not choose Italy or Poland, but chose Washington, DC since he knew it was a place that welcomes all peoples around the world. You and your parish should make a pilgrimage to Washington, DC to see this inspiring shrine, which now also includes the nearby Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land & The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Catholic Celebrate the Canonizations from the Saint John Paul II National Shrine (Catholic News Service)

Saint John XXIII (1881-1963)

I made a short video to highlight the history and great contributions that the “Good Pope” gave to our faith.

Fr. James Martin, S.J. also shared the joy and humor and humility of Saint John XXIII.  Fr. Martin also wrote an excellent article in The Washington Post called Do we still need saints?

Pope John Paul II (1920-2005)

Rome Reports offered a good short history of John Paul “The Great” who many called for his sainthood during his funeral in 2005.

Chris Stefanick walked the grounds near Denver’s World Youth Day and spoke about the powerful influences on youth Pope John Paul II made with so many.

Catholic New Media Coverage of the Canonizations

This was really the first canonization of a modern saint that had such modern media coverage with radio, tv, internet, and social media, that brought many more stories to light that was not true of any similar canonization before.  It was also historic having two current popes in attendance who are canonizing two saint popes.  Below are some of the best stories and media that I was able to see during this event that offer some unique insights and behind the scenes that you may not have seen just watching or hearing from one media source.

Behind the Scenes in Rome

It was fun to follow and number of great priests who were helping to tell the stories of the saints and what was happening in Rome.

Fr. Robert Barron was reporting for NBC News, but also was made five behind the scenes videos that are worth watching:

The Church’s One Purpose (Word From Rome #1) — more in link below.

Fr. Roderick VonHogen was reporting for SQPN and produced 18 videos (more in link below) showing how it was to be a pilgrim from the crowd perpective at the events in Rome.  Fr. Roderick is a wonderful priest who started podcasting at the funeral of Pope John Paul II, and has grown a network of the best Catholic podcasters through work of many around the world and help from the Holy Spirit.  Here he is visiting the tombs of both John XXIII and JPII.

Fr. Leo Patalinghug was reporting for Grace Before Meals, and cooked up a meal in honor of what the two saints would like to eat.  Fr. Leo is an inspiring priest, chef, and media personality who helps preach his message of faith, food, and family.

Pilgrims, priests, sisters, and kids in Rome dancing to Pharrell Williams Happy:

Students from John Paul the Great Catholic University read the inspirational Letter to Artists by Saint John Paul II

 

Saint fans having fun with Social Media

Here is an entertaining cartoon regarding the two new saints by Jason Bach:

JasonBach 2

Here is a fun photo showing the Fab Four Popes walking a Roman Road to the Abbey:

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Saint John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter Dies Domini

To end Divine Mercy Sunday, I attended an event hosted by the Institute of Catholic Culture at St. Veronica’s in Chantilly, Virginia.  The speaker was my cousin, Monsignor Charles Pope, who offered a very insightful and heart-felt speech about this important papal document from Pope John Paul II.  I urge you to please view this video, and the speech starts at the 11:30 mark

Monsignor Charles Pope talking at the Insitute of Catholic Culture

Monsignor Charles Pope talking at the Insitute of Catholic Culture

Video of Monsignor Charles Pope for the Institute of Catholic Culture

 

LINKS

Saint John Paul II National Shrine

Divine Mercy (Marians of the Immaculate Conception)

Institute of Catholic Culture

Fr. Robert Barron’s Word From Rome

Fr. Roderick Vonhogen – The Catholic Insider

Many More Links in the “Popefest” edition of  John Clem’s Sweet Tweets

 

Sign for Saint John Paul II National Shrine

Sign for Saint John Paul II National Shrine

 

 

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Holy Journey Home

Honda CRV St Anthony Shrine

On my drive back to Virginia from Boston’s Catholic New Media Conference, I seemed to be guided by the Holy Spirit on a pilgrimage that I was not expecting.  Starting my day on Monday with 7am Mass, and I decided to visit the St. Anthony Shrine in downtown Boston.  This is a wonderful ministry church that serves many people in acts of mercy and support to those most in need.  Fr. Ronald Stark was the celebrant of the morning Mass, and I was able to talk with him after Mass about our new ministry at Catholic Web Services called Greater Good Technology, in helping bring technology to the homeless offering on-line training to help get employment.  I told Fr. Stark we would love to help bring this program to Boston and other communities, and we are hoping for prayers and donations to help us make this happen.  Father Stark gave his blessings to the ministry and wished me well on my journey home.

St. Anthony Shrine in downtown Boston

St. Anthony Shrine in downtown Boston

St. Francis receiving the stigmata before the San Damiano Cross

St. Francis receiving the stigmata before the San Damiano Cross

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old Sturbridge Village

In leaving Boston, my Honda CRV needed some gas, and it brought me to Sturbridge, MA. My knee was tight, and I needed a walkabout, so decided to visit Old Sturbridge Village. This was a great blessing that helped my knee as well as gladdening my soul to walk through this beautiful living history village in full Fall colors.  Old Sturbridge village brings history to life, and reminds us of how hard life was in the early days of this country and how much we have to be thankful for in America.  Old Sturbridge Village depicts life in New England from 1790-1840 on over 200 acres filled with historic buildings and costumed historians.

Old Sturbridge Village

Old Sturbridge Village

Gardening in an earlier time

Gardening in an earlier time

 

Covered bridge and pond at Old Sturbridge Village

Covered bridge and pond at Old Sturbridge Village

Historian showing the way life was for the poor in early America.

Historian showing the way life was for the poor in early America.

 St. Anne Shrine

My next stop was the gas station, but I guess the Holy Spirit had something else in mind, as I spotted an inviting sign to the Shrine of St. Anne.   I had not heard of this shrine, but decided to stop and find out more.

St. Anne Shrine

St. Anne Shrine

St. Anne Shrine is a sacred place, dedicated to St. Anne, mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary and grandmother of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Pilgrims and visitors come to the Shrine seeking physical and spiritual healing, and in this peace-filled atmosphere they find hope, strength and comfort for themselves and their loved ones.  The St. Anne Shrine just celebrated its 125th Anniversary last year.

St. Anne Shrine and Gift Shop

St. Anne Shrine and Gift Shop

The natural beauty of the grounds, the Way of the Cross, the Lourdes Grotto, the Scala Sancta (Holy Stairs) and many other prayerful places provide an ideal setting for contemplation and meditation.  There is also a well-stocked gift store that also has a Russian icon exhibit that is the property of the Augustinians of the Assumption who help run the shrine.  I was very spiritually moved by this wonderful shrine, and encourage you to stop by for spiritual renewal.  It is amazing the read the letters from people whose prayers were answered, and to see all the crutches and rosaries hanging near the relic of St. Anne, a testament to the miracles at this holy site.

Russian icon exhibit at St. Anne Shrine

Russian icon exhibit at St. Anne Shrine

Stations of the Cross done in large bronze castings.

Stations of the Cross done in large bronze castings.

Statue of St. Anne & Blessed Mother Mary

Statue of St. Anne & Blessed Mother Mary

 

St. Anne Shrine with relic (a piece of St. Anne's wristbone)

St. Anne Shrine with relic (a piece of St. Anne’s wristbone)

 

Crutches & Rosaries left at the St. Anne Shrine honoring the many healings and answered prayers.

Crutches & Rosaries left at the St. Anne Shrine honoring the many healings and answered prayers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shrine for St. Anne for mothers

My next stop was for lunch and gas in Waturbury, Connecticut.  I spotted a beautiful church and drove up to it.  To my surprise it was named Shrine of St. Anne for mothers.  It is a place of pilgrimage and worship where we promote the sanctity of life by honoring and praying for our mothers, grandmothers and godmothers.   The Shrine of St. Anne is evolving from the French Canadian ethnic parish of greater Waterbury into a Shrine, and has been undertaking a major fundraising and restoration effort.  This is a beautiful shrine and parish, and must see it if you are driving through Connecticut.

Shrine of St. Anne for mothers

Shrine of St. Anne for mothers

Gorgeous stained glass at Shrine of St. Anne for mothers

Gorgeous stained glass at Shrine of St. Anne for mothers

 

Angel at St. Anne Shrine for mothers

Angel at St. Anne Shrine for mothers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. Anne Shrine with relic

St. Anne Shrine with relic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interior of Shrine of St. Anne for mothers

Interior of Shrine of St. Anne for mothers

Frankie's - The Hot Dog King

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great lunch tip from my Yelp App:  Frankie’s Hot Dogs –worth the visit in Waterbury.

Bethlehem

As sunset was pending, I stopped in Pennsylvania for a break and a lady suggested that I go see the town of Bethlehem on the way home, noting its beauty.  It was a lovely drive through the Delaware River Valley and crossing the Appalachian Trail, where I also passed through the town of Nazareth (a town associated with Jesus, Mary, and Anne). Upon arrival in the town of Bethlehem I could see a large lighted star on a mountaintop overlooking the village, and then looking to my right I saw a neon sign on top of a building “Hotel Bethlehem.”  Wow, I hope when Jesus has his second coming that he is welcomed at the inn?  What a great spirit-filled trip home, and thankful for the great experiences and people I met in Boston and on my journeys.

Hotel Bethlehem

LINKS

St. Anthony Shrine & Ministry Center (Boston)

Old Sturbridge Village (Sturbridge, MA)

St. Anne Shrine (Sturbridge, MA)

Shrine of St. Anne for mothers (Waterbury, CT)

Catholic New Media Conference (Boston)

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One Million Bones & The Labyrinth

 

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”

Thomas Merton

One Million Bones art exhibit on National Mall

One Million Bones art exhibit on National Mall June 8-10, 2013

ONE MILLION BONES

I was witness to an amazing piece of artwork and political statement addressing genocide on Washington, D.C.’s National Mall this past weekend.  Seeing the huge pile of shoes at the U.S. Holocaust Museum a few blocks away, was one of the most moving things I have seen about genocide until this weekend.   Seeing one million bones laid out helps put into perspective the horrors and loss of genocide.  Naomi Natale is the artist who started this project, and she can be seen in this TED-Global video about her inspiration and creativity in making this project come to reality:

One Million Bones, a project of the Art of Revolution, was developed over three years and started with 50,000 bones being made and laid out in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  The project grew and went to other cities like New Orleans and growing to a national campaign to culminate the work of many people.  These hand-made bones were made by people from all 50 states and from over 30 countries by people affected by genocide.  It also raises awareness of the ongoing genocide and mass atrocities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, South Sudan, Burma, and Somalia.  Congratulations to Naomi and the Art of Revolution for reaching their goal and shining light on this important issue.

Cellist playing beautiful and haunting music at the One Million Bones exhibit

Cellist playing beautiful and haunting music at the One Million Bones exhibit

 

 

THE LABRYINTH : The Testimony of Marian Kolodziej

Seeing these bones on the National Mall also brought to mind a DVD that I watched recently and highly recommend called The Labyrinth (2011).  It is a powerful documentary about a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp.  His artwork drawings are a haunting and detailed remembrance of the horrors of the camp.  Marian also honors Maximilian Maria Kolbe,   a Polish Conventual Franciscan friar he knew briefly in the camp and is represented in his artwork.

Saint Maximillian Kolbe

History of Saint Maximillian Kolbe (martyr): On July 31, 1941, in reprisal for one prisoner’s escape, ten men were chosen to die. Father Kolbe offered himself in place of a young husband and father. And he was the last to die, enduring two weeks of starvation, thirst, and neglect. He was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1982. (Catholic Online)

Below is a video clip of the documentary:

The Labyrinth Trailer from Jason Schmidt on Vimeo.

Marian Kolodziej was on one of the first transports to enter Auschwitz. He was given number 432. He survived and never spoke of his experience for 50 years. After a serious stroke in 1993, he began rehabilitation by doing pen and ink drawings depicting the experiences he and others endured in the concentration camp. These drawings, in their skeletal detail, are a gripping depiction of the pain, death, and horrors of the camp. While most of the drawings represent the memories of a young man’s hellish experiences in Auschwitz, some tell stories of small acts of kindness and dignity.

Marian’s story of survival, of persistence, of life before, during, and after Auschwitz are a testament to the human spirit. Marian’s drawings and art installations, which he called The Labyrinth, fill the large basement of a church near Auschwitz and draw visitors into the horrific reality of the holocaust.

“This is not an exhibition, nor art. These are not pictures. These are words locked in drawings…I propose a journey by way of this labyrinth marked by the experience of the fabric of death…It is a rendering of honor to all those who have vanished in ashes.”

Kołodziej

LINKS

One Million Bones Official Website

The Labryinth Documentary official website

Saint Maximillian Kolbe (SQPN) (patron saint of drug addicts, prisoners, and journalists)

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Second Anniversary of Call To Holiness Blog

anniversary-2nd

Today is the second anniversary of this blog.  Thanks to all the readers and contributors that have helped this blog grow in popularity.  Last year we marked 14,441 unique readers of our blog, and that has now grown to 44,415 unique readers of Call To Holiness–Wahoo!

It has been a blessing to write about the many events, people, and places involving the Catholic Faith.  I really appreciate the feedback from the readers, and am always open to your thoughts and ideas to make this blog better.

Since today is the Feast of St. Damien of Molokai, I want to repost the link from my visit to Hawaii 2 years ago and seeing his relics in Honolulu:  Call To Holiness with Hawaii’s Saints

There is a now a new documentary about Fr. Damien that has been winning at film festivals:

New Blog from Fr. Steve Grunow on Fr. Damien at Word on Fire

Father Damien–Pray for Us!

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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.

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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

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Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

Saint Patrick

Saint Patrick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today we celebrate the feast of Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.  St. Patrick is most famous for coming to Ireland to help evangelize and convert much of the country to Catholicism.  It is even more amazing that he did this after being imprisoned as a teenager and later coming to reform the same people who had jailed him.  Today we need to continue to pray for Ireland as they are going through a difficult time of recovering from abuses in the church much like America’s current struggle with this issue.

shamrock

shamrock plant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saint Patrick used the shamrock plant to illustrate the mystery of the Holy Trinity being three in one God.  Father Barron talks about this in the following video:

 

There are some great resources on the internet today regarding St. Patrick and Ireland:

Wishing you an Irish Blessing:

 

Rome Reports about life of St. Patrick:

 

Tribute to Irish Saints from Gloria.TV:

http://www.gloria.tv/?media=1778

 

Fr. Greg Friedman from Franciscan Media shares some thoughts about Ireland & Bishop Fulton Sheen:

 

Prayer: An Irish Blessing

An Irish Blessing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LINKS

American Catholic – St. Patrick

SQPN-Saints – St. Patrick

St. Patrick – Catholic Online

 

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Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today, December 12th, is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  My parish, Church of the Incarnation, has a large Hispanic community that comes together to celebrate the entire day honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe.  It begins at 2am with a procession for 7 miles through Charlottesville to the parish where there is prayer, music, and celebration all day ending with an evening Mass.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Pilgrimage

Our Lady of Guadalupe Pilgrimage

 

Church of the Incarnation

Church of the Incarnation

Our Sunday Visitor offers a good history of Our Lady of Guadalupe:

The information about the Lady of Guadalupe is based on a sixteenth-century work written in Nahuatl, the Aztec language, by the Indian scholar Antonio Valeriano.

On Saturday, December 9, 1531, a poor Aztec named Juan Diego was on his way to Mass when he neared a hill not far from a former temple once dedi- cated to the virgin mother of Aztec gods. Suddenly, he heard the most beautiful music and smelled a sweet aroma that made him wonder if he was dream- ing. But then, he spied a beautiful lady with a dark complexion who asked him where he was going. When he told her he was going to Mass, she smiled and said:

“Know for certain, my son, the smallest one, that I am the perfect and ever virgin holy Mary, mother of the true God, through whom one lives, the creator of mankind, the one who owns what is Near and Beyond, the owner of heaven and earth. I ardently desire that here they build me my sacred little house, a Teocalli, where I will show him, I will exalt him and make him manifest. Where I will offer him to all the people with all my love, my compassionate gaze, my help, and my salvation, because I am truly your merciful mother, yours and mother of all who live united in this land, and of all mankind, of all those who love me, of those who cry to me, of those who search for me, of those who have confidence in me. There I will listen to their cry, to their sadness, so as to curb all their different pains, their miseries and sorrow, to remedy and alleviate their sufferings.”

Juan Diego was then charged with taking this message to his bishop.  Although impressed with Juan’s humility and sincerity, the bishop hesitated to trust his word. He asked Juan to visit with him on another day when, he promised, he would take the heavenly Lady’s message into consideration.

The next day, Juan Diego arrived at the bishop’s place of residence and requested an audience. Once again, the bishop questioned him but did not believe what he was told and asked for a sign from the heavenly Lady.

When Juan surprised the bishop by confidently asking him what type of sign he would like, the bishop didn’t answer, only dismissed him and sent some trusted aides to follow and observe him. Juan went directly to Tepeyac Hill, where he met Our Lady and commu- nicated the bishop’s demand. She listened, then asked Juan to return the next morning, December 12.

The next day, instead of meeting with Our Lady, Juan went to find a priest to administer the last rites to his dying uncle. Even on this alternate route, how- ever, Our Lady appeared to him and asked where he was going. Ashamed, Juan explained. Our Lady responded, “Listen and let it penetrate your heart, my dear son. Do not be troubled or weighed down with grief. Do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain. Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection . . . is there anything else you need?” Juan Diego’s uncle recovered from his illness at that very moment.

Our Lady then told Juan to go to the top of the hill, where he would find a variety of flowers blooming in the frozen ground.  The would be the sign the bishop requested.

Juan obeyed, gathered the blooms and arranged them in his tilma, after which Our Lady instructed him to reveal the content only to the bishop.  When he arrived at the bishop’s residence, authorities first met Juan with sus- picion and demanded to know the contents of his tilma. But when the bishop heard the commotion, he welcomed Juan. At this welcome, Juan knew the time was right to show the bish- op the sign he had requested. So he opened his cloak, the flowers cascaded to the ground and the bishop and others in the room gazed in awe and fell to their knees in veneration. Amazed, Juan Diego looked to his tilma and realized that the image of Our Lady was miraculously imprinted there. In light of this clear sign, the humbled bishop begged for Juan Diego’s forgiveness and invited him to be his honored guest at his residence.

Our Lady of Guadalupe may be the most recognized apparition of the Blessed Virgin in the world. Twenty-five popes have honored her, and millions of pilgrims have come to ask her intercession and to recognize her as mother, protectress, and guardian. In 1999, Pope John Paul II declared December 12 a holy day for the entire American continent and placed all young children, especially the unborn, under her care.

LINKS:

Our Lady of Guadalupe–Patroness of the Americas (website)

The Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico (where Holy Tilma is visited)

Saint Juan Diego (SQPN Saints)

Mary, Mother of God (Catholic Online)

 Church of the Incarnation, Charlottesville, Virginia

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Forming a New Secular Franciscan Order

San Damiano Cross

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am excited to be involved with helping to start a new Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) fraternity here in Charlottesville, Virginia.  I have always been drawn to St. Francis and Franciscan Spirituality, and was interested in looking into the SFO, but most fraternities were too far away.  Thankfully, Carl Stacy is a member of the SFO, who lives in Central Virginia, and started the idea of getting our own fraternity here in Charlottesville.  We are a group of lay men and women who are learning to follow Christ in the footsteps of St. Francis.

If you are interested in learning more about Franciscan spirituality, or possibly find yourself discerning a call to the Secular Franciscan Order, please join us.

Meetings are held at:

Mount LaVerna Fraternity
Church of the  Incarnation, Room #8
1465 Incarnation Drive, Charlottesville, VA 22901

In 2013 meetings will be on the first Saturday of each month at 12:15pm

E-Mail: info@peaceandallgood.org

Saint Francis of Assisi

Saint Francis of Assisi

Saint Clare of Assisi

Saint Clare of Assisi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Following is a video about the Secular Franciscan Order, that details the history and famous people who were part of the Secular Franciscan Order:

This is a nice video entitled “The Secrets of Saint Francis”

This is the famous Prayer of Saint Francis sung by Sara McLachlan

LINKS:

Website for Forming Charlottesville Fraternity of Secular Franciscan Order

The National Fraternity of the Secular Franciscan Order – USA

Saint Francis

Saint Francis sunrise at Franciscan Monastery, Washington DC

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A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms

A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms

There is a wonderful new book that I have been enjoying reading called A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms: 52 Companions for your Heart, Mind, Body, and Soul by author Lisa M. Hendey.  I had the pleasure of meeting Lisa at the Catholic New Media Conference in Kansas City last month.  Lisa has had a tremendous impact with Catholic Media through her website called CatholicMom.com, her first book called The Handbook for Catholic Moms, and her podcast called Catholic Moments with Lisa Hendey.  She was recognized by The Vatican for her work and was invited to the first Bloggers Convention in Rome this past year.

Lisa Hendey

Lisa Hendey

Don’t let the title fool you as this book is not only for “moms,” but can be read and appreciated by anyone who wants to know more about the saints and be inspired by their stories and wisdom.  My favorite on-line resource for the Saints at SQPN now lists 7,274 saints, and if I had to chose only 52 saints I would have chosen the same 52 beloved saints that Lisa chose for her book.  I love the format of this book, as each of the 52 chapters offers a weekly saint with brief history, lessons from the saint, traditions & wisdom, daily readings, and saint-inspired activities for mom, children, and family.  Lisa has also made a beautiful video to promote her book which follows:

 

Lisa has been touring America by vehicle and by internet to promote her new book and was very excited she agreed to be on my blog.

Lisa Hendey Blog Tour

I was blessed to have Lisa on as a guest blogger to answer five questions that were posed to her about the making of this great book and resource:

1) Because I have an interest in Franciscan Spirituality, wondering if you would have any more inspiring words about St.Francis,St. Clare, or St. Anthony?

John, all three of the saints you mention are included in the book and are among my favorites! Here are a few of the thoughts I share about them in A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms:

St. Francis of Assisi — As a product of Catholic schools, I had a deep connection with St. Francis since I was taught by both Poor Clare and Franciscan sisters in elementary school. During his time, St. Francis sought both a radical transformation of his personal life and a “rebuilding” of the Church as well. In contemporary times, he is both a role model for me personally in trying to perfect my own spiritual life, and also a reminder to me that each of us has a place in the ongoing transformation of our Church and her place in our world.

St. Clare of Assisi — In the book, I dwell on the fact that for me St. Clare is a role model of embracing our own simple paths to sainthood. Clare successfully left behind a wealthy lifestyle in favor of a cloistered existence, giving her all for her faith. She reminds me to try to strip away all that is not central to my ultimate goal: a life in heaven forever and the salvation of my family. Additionally, as a mom I pray quite frequently for her intercession in helping our family to make good entertainment choices, since we know her as the patron saint of television!

St. Anthony of Padua — My own parish is named after this amazing man and I’ve endeavored to follow his precepts in my own life. We know he was a gifted preacher, and yet he himself said, “Actions speak louder than words; let your words teach and your actions speak.” As a writer, blogger and speaker, I deal quite a lot with words, but St. Anthony reminds me to be ever cognizant of the fact that the entirety of my life (not simply my speaking or writing) proclaims what I believe.

2) Do you have a favorite saint, and why?

My personal patroness is St. Therese of Lisieux. The more I read her work and learn about her life, the more deeply I connect with her “Little Way” and see that my own path to sainthood does not necessarily need to involve extraordinary activities, but rather a commitment to doing the simple tasks that fill my life with the greatest love possible. But honestly, if you ask me who my “favorite” saint is, the answer will likely vary depending upon what is happening that day in my own personal life and in the lives of my husband and sons. I keep up a steady flow of conversation with the whole communion of saints regularly and have several of them on personal intercessory “speed dial”!

3) What saint should mothers look to when facing the challenges of motherhood? and why?

There are so many terrific saints for parents — both mothers and fathers. I would encourage modern moms to learn more about the life of Saint Gianna Beretta Molla. A physician, a mother and a pro-life champion, Gianna gave her life for that of her unborn child — but in her day to day walk through life she was also a great role model for busy, working moms and teaches us a great deal about balancing a busy life with a deep spirituality.

For dads, I always recommend a devotion to St. Joseph, for the obvious reasons, but I have also learned to love St. Thomas More, Blessed Frederic Ozanam, and Blessed Lois Martin.

4) What is your favorite writing/book of the saints?

My “go to” book on the lives of the saints is a simple book my mother gave to my father back in 1975. It’s an illustrated Lives of the Saints book that I use daily in my personal prayer life. As for writings by the saints, I of course love St. Therese’s “Story of a Soul”. I am also very moved by Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales. I must also say that “My Life with the Saints” by Fr. James Martin (one of my favorite authors) has had a dramatic impact upon my life in recent years. Fr. Jim helped me to see in a more clear way my own personal intercessory relationship with the saints. His book has a permanent place on my “favorites” bookshelf!

5) Who would you look to in modern times as a model for motherhood?

I mentioned St. Gianna Beretta Molla above and I think she is one of the best role models and intercessors for modern moms. But the ultimate intercessor in my life and a true champion for modern moms in today’s world is the Blessed Virgin Mary. In so many ways while she lived and since her assumption to heaven, she has sought to draw us into a closer relationship with her son Jesus Christ. As a mother of sons, I so often turn to Mary in prayer for my “men” and for the grace to follow her perfect role model. She is a champion for all of us in a time when we greatly need conversion in our families, our Church and our world. For me, she will always be the best “role model” for a vocation to motherhood.

Thanks Lisa for answering my questions, and for being such a bright light and role model for everyone in the Catholic Faith.  I urge you to get this book, it is a great resource that will probably not leave your nightstand.   Also take a look at her many works in Catholic New Media in the links below.

You have a chance to WIN your own copy of Lisa’s new book.  I will have a random drawing on Thanksgiving Day for all the people who have submitted a comment in this blog.  I will e-mail the winner to request a mailing address.

LINKS TO LISA HENDEY’S WORK:

A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms (Ave Maria Press, 2011)

The Handbook for Catholic Moms (Ave Maria Press, 2010)

CatholicMom.com (website founded by Lisa with many contributors)

Catholic Moments with Lisa Hendey (podcast)

LisaHendey.com (Lisa’s own website)

SQPN’s Catholic Weekend Podcast (great interview in this podcast with Lisa Hendey)

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