Sunday, January 31, 2016

St. John Bosco

MEMORIAL OF ST. JOHN BOSCO-FRIEND OF THE YOUTH
On January 31 the Church honors the Memorial of St. John Bosco-Friend of the Youth. He was called "Apostle of Youth" because he dedicated his life to the young people by organizing youth clubs, hostels, and boarding schools where he taught them. He founded the Salesian Society for the boys in 1854 which was named St. Francis de Sales. In 1872 he also founded the Salesian Sisters called Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians to work for girls.
St. John Bosco had no formal system or theory of education. His methods centered on persuasion, authentic religiosity, and love for young people. He was an enlightened educator and innovator. The educational philosophy of John Bosco can be condensed in three words: reason, religion, and kindness. The basic principle of his system was a deep understanding and love for young people and their problems.

Saint of the Week January 31
St. John Bosco is considered as the saint of the youth. Founder of Salesian Society, named in honor of St. Francis de Sales. His lifework was the welfare of young boys and girls, hence his title, "Apostle of Youth." His methods centered on persuasion, authentic religiosity, and love for young people. He was an enlightened educator and innovator. Pope John Paul II named him "teacher and father to the young."

At age 14, he really wanted to be a priest because he wants the youth to understand their faith. He served a priest for its morning masses and the priest taught John Bosco Latin. But the young John Bosco needed to stop his lessons with the priest because he needed to work in a farm to help their family for a living. But he did not stop dreaming of becoming a priest until one day his uncle brought him to a school where he can fulfill his dream.

Don Bosco was first and foremost a priest. Whatever priestly work needed doing and came to his hand he did, whether it was saving some poor waif off the streets of Turin or conducting delicate negotiations between the Vatican and the government for the appointment of bishops to the vacant Italian sees. So greatly in fact had the influence of this peasant priest from Becchi grown that he was called on to act as intermediary in this important matter. He consented to do so, as he told the President of the Council at Florence, solely as a priest — "Priest at the altar, priest in the confessional, priest among my boys, and priest in the king's palace or his ministers' offices: I will be nothing but a priest." ~ Lancelot C. Sheppard, Don Bosco's biographer



He is a patron saint of apprentices; boys; editors; young people; laborers; students and young people.

To know more about St. John Bosco, please click on the following links:

Sunday, January 24, 2016

A Crisis For Saints

St. Pio

Faithful Catholics: Pray More and Complain Less,
A Message of Hope

Dear Catholic Friend,
I am writing to you to give you a word of encouragement. So I would hope you take this in the fatherly way I want to address you, as one who is a priest of over 32 years and as spiritual director of dozens of people, a priest who very much has personal contact with many of the lay faithful and knows very well the deep concern – anxiety may be a better word – over the present situation in the Church. Take this as if I were in your presence, saying firmly and clearly and with great confidence: Be at peace! Pray more! Calm down and don’t lose heart!

Padre Pio is quoted as saying, “Pray, hope, and don’t worry!” I want to aim that especially at people who write those anxiety-filled blogs and articles at the Church’s present situation, but certainly to all the Catholic faithful who are confused, bemused, or just plain angry. I certainly understand your concern; in fact, I share it but my consideration as to what to do is different. I conclude that we should pray more and complain less; besides you might recall the words of Psalm 95 which we priests and religious who recite the Divine Office have the joy of choosing as the invitatory psalm in our daily recitation of the breviary; specifically the verse that says: “Forty years I endured that generation. I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray and they do not know my ways.’ So I swore in My anger, ‘They shall not enter into My rest.’”

What Are You Going to Do?

Let’s not try our Lord’s patience, rather let’s take this as an opportunity to establish a firmer faith, a more secure hope and a deeper charity. After all, what are you going to do? Leave the Church?! Wouldn’t the Evil One then have the victory over your soul?
Think of it! Aren’t you one who loves that old title given to us at confirmation, “soldiers of Christ.” Well, then don’t walk off the field of battle. These are the times, I’m convinced, that St. Louis Marie de Montfort prophesied, the time of the great saints: “Towards, the end of the world . . . Almighty God and His holy mother are to raise up great saints who will surpass in holiness most other saints as much as the cedars of Lebanon tower above little shrubs.” (St. Louis Marie de Montfort, True Devotion to Mary, article 47). Take it a s a compliment that our father God finds you worthy of these times, that He finds you capable of great sanctity!
I write as one who gives direction to many souls and who is alarmed at the discouragement that has entered so many hearts. I hear it and see it a lot and I must confess that discouragement is not foreign to me, especially given the confusion spread even by those called to strengthen our faith. That being said, I want to tell you what I tell the souls entrusted to me: Pray more! Pray for an increase of faith, hope, and love and make it an apostolic prayer, said with missionary zeal for the sake of others. “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, increase our faith, hope and love!” Not just once, but many times a day, pray this way and you will fulfill your duty as a good soldier of Christ.


Hang in There Friends!

I write this out of gratitude for all the Catholic faithful whose loyalty to Christ and His holy Church has inspired me throughout my life. Hang in there friends! Hang in there with greater faith, hope, and love. “The gates of Hell will not prevail!”
May holy Mary, the woman of great faith and mother of the Church, envelop you in Her most compassionate and immaculate heart. Peace!

by:  Fr. William Moser
January 20, 2016
originally posted: http://courageouspriest.com

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Octave of Christian Unity Resources And Prayers

What is it?

Pope Francis and Patriarch BartholomewThe Week of Prayer for Christian Unity lasts from January 18th until January 25th and is a time when Christians of all stripes are called to pray for the unity of the Church. Pope Leo XIII had asked for Catholics to pray for Christian unity and in 1897 established the continual recitation of a novena. The actual dates of the week of prayer were established by Spencer Jones, an Anglican priest and Lewis Wattson, an Episcopal priest who later converted to Catholicism.
They suggested the dates of January 18-25 to begin with the old date of the Confession (or Chair) of St. Peter and end on the Conversion of St. Paul, holy days within the Church year. Pope Pius X approved the new octave and extended its observance throughout the whole of the Catholic Church. Paul Couturier, a Frenchman, is well known for popularizing the week. The links below explain more of the history of the octave and served as sources for this brief introduction.
A Brief History of the Week of Prayer
Another Brief History

We believe the best way to achieve unity between Orthodox and Catholics is twofold: prayer and mutual understanding. This is also how we will accomplish greater unity with our Protestant brothers and sisters. On Ancient and Future Catholics we have always worked towards mutual understanding and now we want to make prayer for visible unity another primary focus. What better way to achieve that goal than to start with the octave of Christian unity? We have several suggestions for these 8 days. The first obvious activity is prayer. Each day we will post prayer suggestions, but above all, we must pray for visible unity between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches, and with other churches as well. Secondly, we will provide a reading from both Eastern and Western Christian writers. This purpose is to help each side become more acquainted with the riches involved in the Western and Eastern heritage. This will also include liturgical texts. Finally, we will give practical suggestions for better relations with individual Orthodox and Catholics, principles which apply also to our relationships with Protestants. Although we are primarily focusing on Catholic-Orthodox relations, our secondary focus will be prayer for the unity of all Christians and the conversion of non-Christians. This effort is not officially associated with any diocese or parish and we are loyal to the Magisterium and our bishops. We are simply laymen trying to live out our faith.
So, starting on January 18th, please join us and the Catholic Church as we pray that all Christians, by God's grace, may be one as our Lord prayed before his Passion.

Start Praying!

Octave: Day 1 (Jan. 18)
Octave: Day 2 (Jan. 19)
Octave: Day 3 (Jan. 20)
Octave: Day 4 (Jan. 21)
Octave: Day 5 (Jan. 22)
Octave: Day 6 (Jan. 23)
Octave: Day 7 (Jan. 24)
Octave: Day 8 (Jan. 25)

taken from http://www.ancient-future.net

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Epiphany - (Traditionally on the 6th, this year transferred to the 3rd)

Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem!
Your Light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you.
~Isaiah 60:1
Many Christians around the world annually celebrate Epiphany on January 6. It is a public holiday in many countries and marks two events in Jesus Christ’s life, according to the Christian Bible. The first event was when the three wise men, or kings, visited infant Jesus. The second event was when St John the Baptist baptized Jesus. 3 Wise men following the star. The three wise men's (or kings) visit to the baby Jesus is remembered on the feast of the Epiphany.

The Epiphany is 12 days after Christmas in the Gregorian calendar, it marks not only the end of the Christmas holidays but also the start of the Carnival season, which climaxes with Mardi Gras. In some European countries, such as the Czech Republic and Slovakia, children dress as the three kings and visit houses. In their roles as the kings, or wise men, they sing about the Jesus’ birth and pay homage to the “King of kings”. They are rewarded with praise and cookies. Dia de los Reyes Magos is the Latin American celebration of Epiphany.

In many Latin American countries, it is the three wise men and not Santa Claus who bring gifts for children. Children write letters to the wise men telling them how good they were and what gifts they want. In France Le Jour des Rois (the Day of Kings), sometimes called the FĂȘte des Rois, is celebrated with parties for children and adults. The galette des rois, or “cake of kings”, highlights these celebrations. This cake is round and flat, cut into the pantry, covered with a white napkin and carried into a dining room. Children in Spain fill their shoes with straw or grain for the three kings’ horses to eat and place them on balconies or by the front door on Epiphany Eve. The next day they find cookies, sweets or gifts in their place. The “three kings” make an entry in many cities in Spain on Epiphany Eve, accompanied by military bands and drummers in medieval dress. What's Open or Closed? Epiphany is a public holiday in countries such as Austria, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland, Ethiopia (but on different date that varies annually), parts of Germany, Greece, Italy, Slovakia, Spain, and Uruguay. It is not a public holiday in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States (except the US Virgin Islands where it is a public holiday).

The  Epiphany is commonly known as Three Kings’ Day or the Feast of the Epiphany. It means “manifestation” or “showing forth”. It is also called Theophany (“manifestation of God”), especially by Eastern Christians. Epiphany refers not only to the day itself but to the church season that follows it – a season that has a varied length because it ends when Lent begins, and this depends on the date of Easter. It commemorates the first two occasions on which Jesus’ divinity, according to Christian belief, was manifested: when the three kings (also known as wise men or Magi) visited infant Jesus in Bethlehem, and when John the Baptist baptized him in the River Jordan. The Roman Catholic and Protestant churches emphasize the visit of the Magi when they celebrate the Epiphany. The Eastern Orthodox churches focus on Jesus’ baptism. Epiphany is one of the oldest Christian feasts. It was celebrated since the end of the second century, before the Christmas holiday was established. Like other Christian seasons, the church appropriated Epiphany from an old pagan festival. As early as 1996 BCE, the Egyptians celebrated the winter solstice (which then occurred on January 6) with a tribute to Aeon, the Virgin. It is important to note that the holiday was established prior to the Gregorian calendar’s introduction. Symbols Various paintings, artworks and sketches show the three wise men and Jesus.

Some paintings artworks show the three wise men on the way to Bethlehem or adoring baby Jesus. The kings are important because their visit illustrates that Jesus was the king of all kings who came for the Jews and the Gentiles.

 The star that guides the wise men to Christ also symbolizes Epiphany, as well as the three gifts they gave to Jesus: Gold (fit for a king). Frankincense (used to worship at a temple). Myrrh (used for embalming, as well as a salve for irritations such as diaper rash). Many Orthodox churches consider Jesus’ baptism to be the first step towards the crucifixion. The liturgical color for the Epiphany season is white.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Jan 1st Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God / Happy New Year

Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, please pray for us sinners and spread the effects of grace of your Flame of Love over all humanity, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
 On January 1, the Church commemorates the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God - the greatest title of Mary. This feast in the oldest Marian feast of the church of Rome and it celebrates Mary's vocation to be the mother of Jesus Christ. Through Mary, Jesus Christ entered this world, taking on human flesh and a human soul. Jesus is true God and true man. In His person are united both a divine nature and a human nature. Mary is in every history with Jesus and by her intercession we obtain all necessary graces to our life. Besides, being the Mother of God, Mary assumed the mother of all humanity working and helping all those who seek her. So when we look at the image of the Virgin Mary we felt an encouragement in our heart which fortifies our spirituality and comfort our soul. It is the fragrance of the immense and grandiose love.
"So they hurried away and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. When they saw the child they repeated what they had been told about him, and everyone who heard it was astonished at what the shepherds said to them. As for Mary, she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds went back glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as they had been told. When the eighth day came and the child was to be circumcised, they gave him the name Jesus, the name the angel had given him before his conception."  ~Luke 2,16-21

Meanwhile, January 1 also marks the jubilation of the New Year and every faithful exchange new years greetings as an expression of hope for a peaceful new year. Along with this, the date has been designated as “World Day of Peace”. As a deep aspiration for peace, this particular day is reserved for intense prayer for peace, education towards peace and those values inextricably linked with it, such as liberty, fraternal solidarity, the dignity of the human person, respect for nature, the right to work, the sacredness of human life, and the denunciation of injustices which trouble the conscience of man and threaten peace. 
Just like the Great Jubilee that John Paul observed, we have another opportunity not only to celebrate a new year, but an Extraordinary Jubilee Year. John Paul taught that “the Jubilee, ‘a year of the Lord’s favor,’ characterizes all the activity of Jesus; it is not merely the recurrence of an anniversary in time.” Anniversaries are not mere numbers, but a way of making present what we celebrate. This New Year’s Day let us celebrate God’s transformation of history by his coming into the world and then let this celebration continue to mark our observance of this Jubilee Year of Mercy.