Sunday, August 21, 2011

St. John of Avila: 34th Doctor of the Church

"Dear Brothers and Sisters,

With great joy, here in this Cathedral Church of Santa María La Real de la Almudena, I announce to the People of God that, having acceded to the desire expressed by Cardinal Antonio María Rouco Varela, Archbishop of Madrid and President of the Bishops’ Conference of Spain, together with the members of the Spanish episcopate and other Archbishops and Bishops from throughout the world, as well as many of the lay faithful, I will shortly declare Saint John of Avila a Doctor of the universal Church.

In making this announcement here, I would hope that the word and the example of this outstanding pastor will enlighten all priests and those who look forward to the day of their priestly ordination.

I invite everyone to look to Saint John of Avila and I commend to his intercession the Bishops of Spain and those of the whole world, as well as all priests and seminarians. As they persevere in the same faith which he taught, may they model their hearts on that of Jesus Christ the good shepherd, to whom be glory and honor for ever. Amen."


Pope Benedict XVI has honored the 16th century Spanish priest St. John of Avila by naming him the 34th Doctor of the Catholic Church.

“In making this announcement here, I would hope that the word and the example of this outstanding pastor will enlighten all priests and those who look forward to the day of their priestly ordination,” said the Pope at the conclusion of a special World Youth Day Mass for seminarians at Madrid’s Cathedral of the Almudena on August 20.

St. John of Avila was born in 1500 in the town of Almodovar del Campo, 155 miles south of Madrid. A Christian of Jewish descent, he studied law at the University of Salamanca before being ordained a priest. He went on to become a great preacher, author and mystic, writing works that influenced St. Theresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross and St. Francis Borgia among others.

His best-known works include “Audi Fili,” a tract on Christian perfection, and his collected spiritual letters to his followers. He was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1970, with his feast day falling on May 10.

The title of ‘Doctor of the Church’ is bestowed upon a saint whose writings are deemed to be of universal importance to the Church. The Pope must also declare the individual to be of “eminent learning” and “great sanctity.” Other Doctors of the Church include St. Augustine, St. John Chryosostom, St. Francis de Sales, and St. Catherine of Siena.

“It is very happy news because he is the patron of secular priests in Spain, and it was a surprise because we didn’t know this announcement was going to be made,” said 22-year-old Madrid resident Alfonso Rodriguez-Ponga, speaking to CNA after the Mass.

“I think that he’s a very important saint for Spanish people,” said 28-year old Almudena Vigie, also from Madrid, “and I think that it’s very good news because we all in Spain love this saint and we study him at school and know all about him. And now, hearing the Pope say he’ll be a Doctor of the Church is very good news. We are very happy.”

The last saint to be given the title was the 19th century French nun St. Theresa of Lisieux. Her elevation to the rank was announced by Pope John Paul II during World Youth Day in Paris back in August of 1997, with the proclamation coming into effect two months later.

More info on St. John of Avila

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Confession IS VERY Important

Michael has some wonderful words on the importance of Confession, something many Catholics take WAAAAAY too lightly today for the most part! We, as humans, are practically constantly in a state of missing the mark, merely by virtue of our humanity. Try as we might, the world, it's pressures, worries, problems and pains are just too much for our weak flesh to endure for any length of time without the much needed strength received through grace by the most MERCIFUL Sacrament of Confession.

I remember being a kid and being afraid of Confession. Now that I understand more by the grace of God and have a deeper Faith, I RUN TO CONFESSION (well I would if I COULD! LOL) Jesus acts through the priest. A 'man' doesn't grant you absolution. But Jesus in His great Mercy, let's our poor hearts hear the beautiful words of absolution as a comfort and outward sign of His abundant Love!

Our salvation is an ongoing process, Confession helps keep us on the right path, that one day, we might spend eternity and live as we were initially meant to live ... in the Presence of our Glorious Triune God, our Blessed Immaculate Mother, the angels, saints and all those we ever held dear! Our God IS an AWESOME GOD!

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Assumption

We have reason to celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary with great joy. She who is the model of the entire Church in its perfection was assumed body and soul into glory. Now, when we reflect on what has happened to her, we can anticipate our own glory.

The Assumption reminds us that our death is not an end, but rather the next stage of our eternal life — the life that began the moment that we were conceived in our mother's womb.

Our Blessed Mother is now glorified body and soul in heaven. This should remind us of the fact that our bodies, as well as our souls, will also be glorified at the Resurrection of the Dead.

What are the characteristics of a glorified body? First of all, our glorified bodies, and our souls, will live in total spiritual union with God. Our bodies will be agile beyond our imagination — able to move at the speed of thought. Our minds will be incredibly sharp and brilliant beyond our current imagination. Our bodies will never experience suffering again; and, of course, they will live forever. This sounds wonderful to me. How does it sound to you?

When we think about the great dignity God will give to our bodies in heaven, it should encourage us to treat them with honor while we live here on earth.

How do you treat your body? I think that it is safe to say that there are times when all of us could do better.

I remember some years ago a doctor told me that I should put some skin ointment on every day through the year. I didn't want to do it. (I didn't want that sticky stuff on me!) Now that I have had my first (and hopefully my last) skin cancer removed, I make sure that I put that ointment on every day!

Our bodies are already temples of the Holy Spirit. They are God's gift to us. Let's recognize that fact and treat them accordingly!

As we care for our physical bodies and look forward to seeing them glorified, we can also count on the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She occupies a special place in heaven, sharing fully in God's glory, body and soul. From heaven, she is not only the Mother of the Divine Son of God, but our spiritual mother as well!

In fact, next to Jesus Himself, she is our greatest intercessor before the Father's throne. So, whatever our problems — whatever our aches and pains in this life — we can ask our Heavenly Mother to intercede for us.

Let us persevere in faith. Let us place our trust in Jesus through our Mother Mary. If we do, then the hope of glory is ours.

by: Father Larry Dunn, MIC, lives in Washington, D.C.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Immaculate Mary

Immaculate Mary, thy praises we sing,
You reign now in splendor with Jesus, Our King.
Ave, ave, ave Maria! Ave, ave Maria!

In heaven the blessed thy glory proclaim;
On earth, we, thy children, invoke thy sweet name!
Ave, ave, ave Maria! Ave, ave Maria!

We pray for the Church, our dear mother on earth;
And bless, dearest Lady, the land of our birth.
Ave, ave, ave Maria! Ave, ave Maria!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Catholic Series Will Air on Public TV this Fall!

Groundbreaking series on Catholicism to air on PBS this fall


Fr. Robert Barron films the Catholicism 
Project on location in Florence, Italy.
A high-definition series exploring the beauty and 
richness of Catholicism is set to air on over 
80 public television stations across the U.S. this fall. 
Fr. Robert Barron, head of Word on Fire media and the visionary behind the “Catholicism” series, told CNA his hope is that the films will be used  “as a tool of evangelization for everybody.”
“I want the series to go out beyond the walls of the Church,” he said in an Aug. 10 interview. “That's why we're so happy it's going to be on public television.”
Set in 50 locations in over 16 countries, the series examines major themes within the Church such as the person of Christ, the mystery of God, the Virgin Mary, Saints Peter and Paul, the “missionary thrust of the Church,” the liturgy and the Eucharist, prayer and spirituality and the saints, Fr. Barron said. 
In the episode on the Virgin Mary, for instance, the crew traveled to the Holy Land, France, Mexico and “around the world to see where the Marian faith shows up.”
“The approach I used,” he said, “was just to go to places around the world that visually show the themes I'm talking about.”
Fr. Barron said that the series comes at time when the U.S. is going through what he believes to be “the darkest period in the history of the American Catholic Church,” and that the “wrong” people are telling the story of what the Church actually is.
He pointed to the secular media's depiction of the Church “as the place where the sex abuse scandal happened,” a narrative that he finds “so tiresome and counterproductive.”
“I think Catholics from the inside have to tell a much richer, broader, fascinating story,” Fr. Barron said, stressing the importance of not allowing the Church to be “reduced to the sex abuse scandal.”
He noted that during challenging times in Church history, the saints “tended to come forward in the times of crisis and bring things back to their evangelical basics.”
Taking his cue from the saints, Fr. Barron said he was inspired to show Catholicism for what it really is.
“Whether its Francis, Dominic, Benedict, or Ignatius – they came forward at a time of crisis and said, 'what is the Church fundamentally about?'”
Fr. Barron also said he wanted to address the modern problem of what he called “domesticating” Jesus.
“I see that happening a lot both in high academic culture and the wider culture too—and that is turning Jesus into one more guru,” along with “sufi mystics, Hindu wisemen, Jewish rabbis or Deepak Chopra.”
“People look around to the spiritual world and then Jesus becomes one more of those figures,” he explained. “And I just think that's the way to miss him.”
“The Gospel presents him as this deeply challenging figure,” Fr. Barron noted. “Jesus is distinctive. He stands out in a sharp profile vis a vis other religious founders and I think Christians have to make that difference clear.”
The Chicago priest, who also holds the Francis Cardinal George Chair of Faith and Culture at the University of St. Mary of the Lake, said the project has taken close to four years to complete since its inception.
After getting permission to begin filming the series from the Archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Francis George, the team began the unenviable task of fundraising.
“We had to raise about 3 million dollars to make this possible,” Fr. Barron said, “so we started in Chicago where we're based, but we ended up going all over the country.”
Fr. Barron said the project was done on a “shoe-string” budget compared to most productions of this size and that the team traveled in spurts for nearly two years – from 2008 to 2010 – whenever enough money was raised to journey to each location.
“The experience was immeasurable and I'm still unpacking it,” he added.
Noting the quality of the series, he said that top film and production experts from NBC worked with high-definition equipment to capture the lush colors and intricate details of every location. The episodes also feature an original musical score by Chicago composer Steven Mullen.
“That was from the the beginning a strong emphasis of mine. I said, 'if we're going to show off this beautiful tradition that we have, I don't want to do it in some second-rate way,'” Fr. Barron recalled.
He added that a “wonderful study program” has also been created to go along with the episodes and that it is intended for parish use such as RCIA classes.
The priest expressed his desire that people who are “not religious at all – maybe they're atheists, agnostics, fallen away Catholics – would see the series and maybe be drawn in by the beauty of it, drawn in by culture, drawn in by history.”
“That's my hope – that it would be used inside the Catholic world but also as an evangelical tool outside the Catholic world.”
By Marianne Medlin ...  For more information, visit: www.catholicismproject.org

Thursday, August 11, 2011

God's Love Truly goes beyond our Limited Understanding



I've noticed how impatient I can get with God.

I desire to have His love at work within me, transforming me. But I don't know how to go about it and I quickly get frustrated. The problem is, when I let my impatience get in the way, I forget that God is God and His ways are not my ways. He is beyond our questions of how, when, and where. God is beyond our limitations of space and time, matter and gravity.

You and I need to consider how God's love really does work in us, so we can better understand His ways and grow in patience.

First, and most simply, we need to realize, "God is Love!" (1 Jn 4:8). So, we need to let Him be God and love us. In fact, God is always loving us. It's His nature. And He takes the initiative: "Love consists in this; not that we have loved God, but that He has loved us" (1 Jn 4:10).

Second, this God who is Love is always present. The love of God is present in us by the gift of the Holy Spirit who has been poured into our hearts at Baptism. So we can be present in silent, loving adoration to the One who is always present to us.

Third, God's love is always at work. Whether we feel it or not, His love is at work in the deep, dark caverns of our hearts, cleaning up and reaming out all the obstacles to His presence. He is making space for the gift of Himself. We need to ask Him, then, to continue His work of love in us as He makes more space for Himself.

Fourth — and perhaps most importantly for us — God waits for us to open our hearts ever wider to Him. What the Lord asks of us is a bit of good will and permission for Him to work in our hearts. He says to you and me, "Here I stand, knocking at the door. If anyone hears Me calling and opens the door, I will enter his house and have supper with him, and he with Me" (Rev 3:20).

Saint Faustina allowed the Lord's love to work in her heart as she grew in greater trust and a deeper desire for Him. So, too, we can invite Jesus ever more fully into our hearts, asking Him to remove any obstacles to His love.

"O my Jesus, how easy it is to become holy; all that is needed is a bit of good will," writes St. Faustina. "If Jesus sees this little bit of good will in the soul, He hurries to give Himself to the soul, and nothing can stop Him, neither shortcomings or falls — absolutely nothing" (Diary, 291).

If we muster only a "flicker of good will, the mercy of God will accomplish the rest" (see Diary, 1486). We can make a simple offering of ourselves or a gesture expressing our good will. Then, the Lord will take us deeper and further into His love.

Even St. Faustina had to probe her soul more deeply when the Lord told her that there was something she still had not offered Him. Finally, she cried out, "Jesus, tell me what it is, and I will give it to You at once with a generous heart."

Jesus replied with kindness, "Daughter, give Me your misery, because it is your exclusive property."

"At that moment, a ray of light illumined my soul," writes St. Faustina, "and I saw the whole abyss of my misery. In that same moment, I nestled close to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus with so much trust that even if I had the sins of all the damned weighing on my conscience, I would not have doubted God's mercy" (Diary, 1318).

So, what can I do?

The Lord is waiting for me to give Him everything — my impatience, my frustration, all of my misery.

I can say with all of my being, "Come into my heart, Lord Jesus! Do your work of love. Root out all of my misery."

"Make my heart like Yours. Make it ever true."

By: Father George Kosicki, CSB, one of the best-known authors and speakers on Divine Mercy. He lives in solitude in upper Michigan with the community of Companions of Christ the Lamb.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

As “Mass”Progressed I Was Both Disappointed and Annoyed

Bishop Coyne: I Went to Mass and Things
Went Downhill From There

This morning I attended Mass rather than concelebrated Mass. Earlier in the week I was unable to find a Saturday morning Mass anywhere in the area so I was pretty much going to have to miss Mass today. But late last night on the internet I found a church abut a half an hour away that had an 8:00 AM Mass.

I left around 7:15 AM and got there in plenty of time to spend some time preparing for Mass and,hopefully,the Sacrament of Reconciliation. When Mass began,the priest,a guy about my age,came out and said,“Hello,”and then proceeded with the Mass. The only problem was he had forgotten the Sign of the Cross. Well,maybe he was just a little distracted. I think we did the penetential rite but I’m not sure. There was no “Gloria”so I was beginning to think we weren’t going to be celebrating the Feast of the Transfiguration since it hadn’t been mentioned yet but eventually we got there when he “prayed”a spontaneous opening prayer that did mention the Transfiguration.

Things kind of went downhill from there. I’ll spare you the details. I will say I’m pretty sure it was still a valid Mass even though he changed the words of the Eucharistic institution –a lot,not just a few. There is a theological practice of the Church called “Ecclesia supplet”(“the Church provides”) where if a priest inadvertently forgets some of the words of the ritual form or changes them,the “Church”recognizes the good faith of those gathered and their right to valid celebration of the sacraments and provides sacramental validity in the case of a human error or priestly malpractice. This is done for the sake of the people of God and not as an excuse for the sloppy or ‘creative’celebration of the priest or bishop. Even though the priest went way over the the line in terms of his ‘creativity’this morning,I think the intention of those us who came to Mass was to celebrate the Eucharist as the Church intends and so it was.

As “Mass”progressed I was both disappointed and annoyed. I wasn’t angry. I learned the trick long ago of moving into emotional “cruise control”when this stuff starts to happen. I also began to wonder if I should say something to the priest afterwards. I mean,I was just there as a visitor not as his bishop or vicar general. I was also on vacation so …Nevertheless,I didn’t let it go. What I did or did not do,I will leave between me and the priest. I hope it was helpful.
Why I Didn’t Go to Confession Today.

I do know one thing. I certainly wasn’t going to ask him to hear my Confession. If he changed the words of the Institution Narrative,there’s no telling what he might do with the words of Absolution. I suppose I could have asked him before we began the sacrament if he would be so kind as to use the Church’s rite and not his own but then that opens a whole can of worms. So I didn’t go to Confession. I’ll try and make an appointment with a priest and go Monday. But isn’t it a shame that I couldn’t go to Confession?
The Latin Mass:My Thoughts

Every time people ask my why some in the Church have a desire for the “extraordinary rite,”the traditional Latin Mass,I guess I can give them at least one good reason. Masses like this. When one attends the Mass according to the Tridentine Rite,you know what you are going to get. There is no one being ‘creative,’no one making up their own prayers or rite,and no question of validity.

I am a child of Vatican II. From the time I was old enough to understand what was happening at Mass,it has been the Mass of Pope Paul VI. I have been formed in it. I have studied it. I love it. Out of it,I have been ordained a deacon,a priest,and a bishop to celebrate it for the people of God. I have no desire to celebrate the Tridentine Rite but any time I hear people criticize those who want the “traditional”Mass,I am more inclined to understand why they want this form of the Mass. Perhaps if each priest were committed to the correct celebration of the present Mass of Paul VI –the Church’s rites and not the rite of Fr. X –then maybe there would be less clamor for the “traditional”rite. Just a thought.
by Bishop Chris Coyne Let Us Walk Together

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

You Can't be Catholic and Pro-Abortion, Period

I just received this from a friend in Massachusetts .. it's deplorable and we need to make some noise about it so that something will be done. I have added links on the bottom.

Live Action President Lila Rose is leading a protest this coming Thursday, August 4, at Mercy Regional Medical Center in Durango, CO. The event, which will include a press conference, is intended to draw attention to the fact that Mercy Regional, a Catholic hospital, employs an abortionist on its staff.

Dr. Richard Grossman is a Quaker, an adherent of the Protestant Christian sect famous for its aversion to violence. He is 67-years-old, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, and spends his Fridays perpetrating abortions at the Durango Planned Parenthood.

It's undeniably true that one does not have to be Catholic or even Christian to be pro-life. It is also equally true that one cannot be Catholic without being pro-life. To quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

  "Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law. Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae, 'by the very commission of the offense.'"

Abortion is different from other sins because of its gravity. It is the most final and audacious act - the taking of a human life - committed against the smallest, weakest, and most completely innocent of humans, the unborn child.

For this reason, the Church hands down the serious judgment of excommunication for anyone who willingly participates in abortion. You can disagree with the Church on a whole host - pun intended - of issues, and still remain in communion with the Catholic Church. But if you have an abortion, or take someone to have an abortion, or encourage someone to have an abortion, you're persona non grata as far as Rome is concerned.

As long as they employ Dr. Grossman on their staff, Mercy Regional is grossly misaligned with Catholic teaching.

When a person is confirmed a Catholic, as I was in 2007, she agrees to adhere to the teaching of the Church. She submits to the authority of the Church as the body of Christ on earth. She professes faith in the Catholic Church as "holy." And as far as the Church is concerned, there is no such thing as a "conscientious objector" when it comes to the issue of abortion. This is one issue - and maybe the only one - on which Rome allows no wiggle room in the belief of the faithful. You can walk around Catholic secretly believing in women priests, gay weddings, and free condoms for teenagers, but if you are walking around Catholic secretly - or not secretly - believing in "abortion rights," you've got a deadly serious problem.

"The reason I perform abortions is because I'm a Christian," Dr. Grossman has said in print. I haven't read the doctor's reasoning behind this statement, but I would imagine it's short on reason. If there's one thing almost all Christians are in pretty close agreement about, it's that the murder of innocent children is wrong. Dr. Grossman then goes on to say that he believes the woman "empowers" the fetus, in other words, that the fetus is not a child until the woman says it is. This is such unscientific, nonsensical drivel it makes me wonder how on earth the man is qualified to wield a scalpel.

But no matter what Dr. Grossman thinks, feels, or believes, the fact remains that Mercy Regional is a Catholic hospital. It is therefore not just important but absolutely necessary that the hospital sever all ties to Dr. Grossman, or sever all ties to the Church.

The hospital's website proclaims in its mission statement:


  "We celebrate the value of each person's life. In this manner, we strive to create healing sanctuaries that carry on the ministry of Jesus Christ."

Well, Mercy Regional, step one in your "mission" of carrying on the ministry of Jesus is firing that guy who takes the day off every Friday to go kill babies.

By the way, Mercy's website has a publicity section called "Mercy In the News," but no mention is made of the ongoing controversy. I guess that's not the kind of publicity they're looking for, but it's exactly the kind we need to give them. This hospital needs to be told, and loudly, that the pro-life and the Catholic faithful of this country will not abide the resources of a Catholic hospital being used by a murderer, nor will we stand for women seeking a healing sanctuary in a Catholic hospital encountering a man who wounds their bodies and souls and kills their children.

Dr. Grossman's phone number at the hospital is 971-382-8800, and his fax number is 970-382-0122. The hospital's main number is 970-247-4311. They will not enjoy hearing from you. Call them anyway. Be polite, but tell them you are pro-life and think the idea of the Catholic Church, the single most important, vocal, and stalwart pro-life force on the planet, allowing an abortionist to operate within one of its hospitals is unconscionable. Tell them that until they fire Dr. Grossman (who by the way could not be reached for comment) you will be using social media to spread the word that Mercy Regional cannot be trusted and should not be relied on for medical treatment of any kind. If you happen to live in Colorado and have 4,000 Facebook friends, make sure they know that.

Every time a "Catholic" organization endorses legislation that will endanger the lives of the unborn, help to uphold abortion "rights," or place women in the path of more pro-abortion counseling and harmful birth control pills, I cringe. The pro-life movement has enough opposition to contend with from unrepentant pro-abortion radicals. We shouldn't have to fight lukewarm, post-modernized "Catholics" as well, although we routinely do. It's not enough to just call yourself Catholic, or call yourself pro-life, or both. If we believers in the rights of the unborn fail to loudly, unabashedly stand up for those rights, this movement is simply doomed.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn said, "Let evil come into the world, even dominate the world, but not through me." Solzhenitsyn wrote from prison camps in which he was incarcerated by a ruthless, Godless, corrupt, and unjust government. We don't have that kind of government in the United States - not yet. And we will not as long as the people keep a very close eye on our leaders. Apathy, though, can be our downfall, in our country and in our Church. To the Catholics reading this: It's our Church. It belongs to the faithful, not the faithless. It belongs to the obedient, not those who pervert and stretch and ignore its teachings. In short, the Catholic Church is a pro-life Church, with no exceptions.

Refuse to participate in the kind of apathy that allows a hospital to call itself Catholic while ignoring the most important tenets of the faith. It's the same kind of apathy that has let abortionists get away with murder.

Do what I just did: Call Mercy Regional and tell them what you think. Then post it to your Facebook. Link this article on your Wall. Tweet your head off. Whatever you need to do. But get the word out.

Because I want him to have something to read in between abortions, I just faxed Dr. Grossman a copy of this article. I hope he enjoys it.

LifeNews.com Note: Kristen Walker is Vice President of New Wave Feminists. She tweets as @walkertxkristen and blogs at Eve's Ransom.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

August 2nd: Our Lady of the Angels (of the Portiuncula)

From the Franciscan supplement to the Divine Office:
OUR LADY OF THE ANGELS OF THE PORTIUNCULA Feast
portiuncula

Our Seraphic Father Francis in keeping with his special love for the Blessed Virgin was especially fond of the chapel of Saint Mary of the Angels known as the Portiuncula. It was here in the designs of Divine Providence that he started the Order of Friars Minor, inaugurated the Order of the Poor Clares and brought his sojourn on earth to its holy end.
In this chapel according to tradition our Holy Father obtained the famous indulgence which the Supreme Pontiffs confirmed and extended to many other churches. On ac­count of the many blessings conferred here the celebration of a liturgical feast was granted for this day which marks the anniversary of the dedication of this chapel.
+++
And St. Bonaventure wrote in the Major Life of St. Francis:  Francis had great devotion to the Queen of the world and when he saw that the church was deserted, he began to live there constantly in order to repair it. He heard that the Angels often visited it, so that it was called Saint Mary of the Angels, and he decided to stay there permanently out of reverence for the angels and love for the Mother of Christ.

He loved this spot more than any other in the world. It was here he began his religious life in a very small way; it is here he came to a happy end. When he was dying, he commended this spot above all others to the friars, because it was most dear to the Blessed Virgin.
Santa Maria degli Angeli
Santa Maria degli Angeli where
the Portiuncula is located within the Basilica
This was the place where Saint Francis founded his Order by divine inspiration and it was divine providence which led him to repair three churches before he founded the Order and began to preach the Gospel. This meant that he progressed from material things to more spiritual achievements, from lesser to greater, in due order, and it gave a prophetic indication of what he would accomplish later.

As he was living there by the church of Our Lady, Francis prayed to her who had conceived the Word, full of grace and truth, begging her insistently and with tears to become his advocate. Then he was granted the true spirit of the Gospel by the intercession of the Mother of mercy and he brought it to fruition. He embraced the Mother of Our Lord Jesus with indescribable love because, as he said, it was she who made the Lord of majesty our brother, and through her we found mercy. After Christ, he put all his trust in her and took her as his patroness for himself and his friars.

Queen of Angels
A Beautiful Gift : Portiuncula Indulgence
 Background on this Grace: Everyone knows how special the Church of The Portiuncula in Assisi was to St. Francis. It is there that he began his service to Christ and His Church. It is there that he was called to rebuild the Church. It is there that he made humble service, obedience, love, and dedication to Our Lord and Our Lady the cornerstones of his unique and inspiring life. It was even there that St. Clare, the spiritual daughter of St. Francis, received her call, lost her locks of hair to the scissors of Francis, and gained her place in the service of God and in the list of great saints.

During one of his many conversations with Jesus and Our Blessed Mother. Francis requested and received this indulgence as a measure and means of God's Divine Mercy and love for us. Upon receiving the approval of Our Lord, Francis took this cause to the Pope, Honorious III, in who finally approved as well. While the benefits of this indulgence were not taken advantage of in the days of Francis given the difficult travel and poor roads, we are given a unique and fortunate opportunity to benefit today given easier transportation.

The Indulgence Itself 

The magnitude of this indulgence is nothing less than the full remission of the punishments due to one's sins from the day of Baptism to the day one enters the church to perform the indulgence requirements!!

Conditions To Obtain The Plenary Indulgence of The Forgiveness of Assisi
(For oneself or for a departed soul)

*        Sacramental Confession to be in God's Grace (within 8 days before or after)
*        Participation in the Holy Mass and Eucharist
*        Visit to a Franciscan Church, followed by the Profession of Faith
*        Say the Our Father
*        A Prayer for the Pope

Indulgences as Gifts and Opportunities

Once again we see the beauty, majesty, magnitude, and Divine Mercy of God Almighty! All that Our Lord asks is that we humbly and contritely seek forgiveness, that we receive His Most Sacred Body in The Eucharist that we visit a Franciscan church and profess our faith, that we say The Our Father, and that we pray for the Pope. Despite those things on which we may not
agree with the Pope, this indulgence provides us with the opportunity to declare our eternal loyalty to preserving the Faith and not abandoning our mission and duty to be soldiers for our God.

Eventually, the Church modified the conditions and said the faithful could obtain the indulgence either on August 2nd or on the following Sunday and by going to any Catholic church with the intention of gaining this special indulgence. May we take advantage of this beautiful gift and the opportunities which it provides to approach our God in renewed contrite purity, love, appreciation, and loyalty! 
st francis