Wednesday, August 31, 2011

World Youth Day -- Sunday Mass

We survived our night on puddled tarps in brutal heat-turned-unpleasant-cold, passing from Saturday night into Sunday morning. Our wake-up call was not as jarring as an alarm clock, but it was a bit more disturbing: "Good morning, pilgrims! During the night, 26 children went missing. Please, if you find them, bring them to Section C-1." And this was quickly followed by, "During the night, the storm and heavy winds collapsed some of our chapels. Therefore, we do not have hosts for everyone to receive Communion. Only the concelebrants will receive at Mass today. Please offer up this sacrifice and make a spiritual communion instead."

We all wiped our eyes and attempted to remember where we were, simultaneously asking if the two announcements had been a dream or reality. They were repeated often, so their reality was confirmed.

But this is what was awesome -- Everyone prayed for the missing children, and since the announcements eventually stopped, it can be presumed that they were all found. And no one complained about not being able to receive the Eucharist. Certainly it's not because people did not want to receive Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. But there was an understanding, and a patience and a surrender that was a rare sight for such a large group.

Mass was beautiful! Only God could have timed it so that the regular Sunday reading was Matthew 16 -- "You are Peter, and upon this rock I build my church." And there was Peter's successor to address us. We couldn't really understand the Spanish, but there before us was the witness of a man who loves the Lord without limit, and, consequently, loves His bride, the Church, without limit too.

Once again, there was perfect silence during Communion, even though we were unable to receive.

There was incredible joy and enthusiasm when Brazil could officially celebrate that they will host the 2013 World Youth Day.

There was a mad scramble to gather all religious articles for a papal blessing at the end of the Angelus.

And there was a relief, joy and contentment when World Youth Day was officially over, and we could all begin trekking back to our accommodations for a bit of sleep before the next day's flight.

Madrid's radio stations reported that 2.5 million people were present for the papal Mass. It's a number that the U.S. media apparently found uneventful, but for anyone who spent nearly 24 hours in a field with the other 2,499,999 pilgrims, it was an event that one cannot ignore, should not forget and must not downplay.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Quote book

The Love of Christ Impels Us has an awesome quote of the month:

"My dear young people, do not yield to false illusions and passing fads which so frequently leave behind a tragic spiritual vacuum! Reject the seduction of wealth, consumerism and the subtle violence sometimes used by the mass media. Worshipping the true God is an authentic act of resistance to all forms of idolatry...Listening to Christ and worshipping Him leads us to make courageous choices, to make what are sometimes heroic decisions. Jesus is demanding, because He wishes our genuine happiness....There are so many of our contemporaries who do not yet know the love of God or who are seeking to fill their hearts with trifling subsitutes. It is therefore urgently necessary for us to be witnesses to love contemplated in Christ....Dear young people, the Church needs genuine witnesses for the new evangelization: men and women whose lives have been transformed by meeting with Jesus, men and women who are capable of communicating this experience to others. The Church needs saints. All are called to holiness, and holy people alone can renew humanity." -- Blessed John Paul II

Saturday, August 27, 2011

World Youth Day -- Who says youth don't like a challenge?

Yesterday I tried to paint the picture of the oppressive heat before the Saturday World Youth Day vigil. We stayed on our 10x2 area, lethargic and less than enthusiastic. But everything changed.

The sun was no longer as oppressive, because the sky became dark. This wasn't the type of dark that occurs when it is 9 pm, however. It was only 6 or 7 in the evening. And the dark was accompanied by a strong wind. The dust and rocks that covered the airfield became live and active, dancing in the air, encircling our faces and sending people to find a way to cover their mouths or eyes. We saw the clouds, we saw the lightening, and we also saw the Pope. There was the Holy Father -- the man who brought us to this spot in the first place -- the man we wanted to see. But across the sky we could see that the vigil was not going to be smooth sailing.
The vigil began, and the first formalities were undertaken. Then the rain began. It poured. The wind made it fall horizontally. We grabbed our ponchos, covered our heads, ensured that our backpacks were covered by the copious amounts of plastic tarp that our Italian friends made sure we had available to us, since we were relegated to a tiny sliver of space for the night.

The vigil had stopped. The Jumbo-trons no longer worked. I wondered for the first time if perhaps we would all be sent home, though the nightmare of evacuating 2 million people couldn't be any better than our current situation.

And then the rain slowed. The Holy Father offered a few brief reflections, much shorter than what he would have liked to have said. It was determined that really only one thing was necessary for the vigil, and that one thing was speedily brought to the stage: Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.

Suddenly, the crowd of 2 million pilgrims dropped to their knees in silence. In silence. Has it ever been possible to gather 2 million people who speak dozens of different languages and to witness their complete silence, even those who are so far back they cannot see the monstrance? And they knelt. They knelt in puddles of water accumulated on tarps. They knelt in mud. They knelt on rocks. They knelt on ant hills. But they knelt. And I did not hear one complaint.
The time of Adoration didn't seem to last very long. It was then time for Pope Benedict XVI to get his rest for the evening. The emcees told us that we had all prayed for relief from the heat, and that God had given it to us. The rain continued for a while, but not with the same intensity as before.

We found our little spots for napping that night -- spots that now had puddles, or dirt, or piles of ants. Spots that we normally wouldn't find worthy of sleep. But to see the Pope, well, yes, we found it worth it.

Friday, August 26, 2011

World Youth Day -- Here comes the sun

The pinnacle of World Youth Day -- as I adamantly related to my fellow chaperones who were a bit reluctant to participate in this pinnacle experience -- is the Saturday vigil and Sunday Mass, both with the Holy Father. This was my third World Youth Day, and so I've had my share of adventurous overnight vigil experiences, as well as powerful Sunday Mass encounters with the Vicar of Christ. Madrid's experience, however, was in a class all its own.
Most of our group left the hotel at 12:45 pm, walking to the Metro with our backpacks full of overnight supplies and our hands full of grocery bags. We each had our 1.5 liter bottle of water, a quantity that would have to be doubled or tripled in order to counteract the possibility of dehydration and heat exhaustion that was imminent in Madrid's extreme heat. The Metro, of course, was jammed with pilgrims. I watched sweat literally drip off of people's faces and onto the floor. But eventually -- perhaps after close to an hour -- we arrived at our stop.
But the Metro was not the end of the journey. We next began the walking portion of the pilgrimage, traversing a couple of miles with our gear in tow. And what a beautiful sight! Yes, it was hot. Yes, we were tired. Yes, the backpacks became heavy. But what a wonderful, jolting image of our pilgrimage to heaven -- thousands of people from every possible background and country, joining together in their walk toward a common goal, encouraging each other and meeting one another and enjoying the walk on the way to the destination. We had an image of the saints too -- the men and women who stood from their tall apartment windows, splashing water on the pilgrims below. There they were -- one's who had "arrived" at a destination and
were equipped with more than we currently had -- and they were encouraging us and cheering us and giving us what they could. They hung shower heads out of the window, emptied cold water from bottles on us and used their cupped hands to disperse refreshing water out of
buckets. With the extreme heat, even a small splash of cold was a welcome encouragement along the way. One women stood at the side of the road and quickly dunked pilgrims' hats in her icy bucket, giving them some cold water to last awhile.

We continued our trek to the airfield, where the vigil would be held. Eventually we made it to the line heading to "security" checks. The firemen rode around in trucks and hosed us down with water. We made it onto the field and scurried to find our section, C-4, as quickly as possible.

We arrived at C-4 (this whole process had taken more than three hours), and were rather stressed to find no home for our meager sheets, blow-up rafts and ponchos-turned-blankets. There was a small strip of empty land -- perhaps 10 feet long by 2 feet wide -- that we decided to claim. But the Italians around the small space were not pleased. "Walking path! For walking!" they cried, gesturing, and placing their hands in their hair in frustration. We argued with them for a bit, but how does one argue when neither party really speaks the other's language? They wanted "walking space," and World Youth Day veteran that I am, I wanted them to know that
"walking space" does not exist within the vocabulary of the Saturday vigil. They tried arguing by kindness, "Por favore, you cannot fit nine people there!" And I calmly replied, "Actually, we have twelve. And in any event, where else do you suppose we can go?"

We pitched our clear tarp on the ground, piled up our backpacks and then realized that it truly was 102 degrees in Madrid that day. Oh the heat! There was no shade, no cold water, no more fire hoses gushing free showers. There was a great big sun beating down on the masses, heating up our plastic tarp and leaving us exhausted.

"Water! Drink more water!" I had to command my group every 10 minutes. We had experienced a case of dehydration the day before, and I wanted to ensure that everyone stayed healthy in this particular predicament. Still, commanding others to drink water that feels as if it were made for hot chocolate or Ramen noodles, not a refreshing drink, is a bit of a challenge. When two of our pilgrims returned with our World Youth Day meal sacks, we took the ham and salami that was still cold, and held it to our faces for a few seconds of refreshment.

"Whose bright idea was it to have World Youth Day in Madrid?" I asked myself. And I think we all prayed for a break in the heat. Oh yes, I think the Lord wanted to show us that He does listen and He does answer prayer.

To be continued ...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

World Youth Day -- Who wants to see the Pope?

For those who travel to World Youth Day, a great moment of anticipation is seeing the Holy Father, in real life, feet or yards or half a mile away, and to hear his voice and know he is speaking to you. In fact, as we spent a day in Burgos, Spain during our pre-WYD pilgrimage, I told our teens that Pope Benedict, an eighty-something-year-old man was undergoing the rigors of travel for them. Very beautiful, very moving, very true.

So, when Thursday arrived, and every young pilgrim knew that the Holy Father would be in their midst by the end of the day, I asked our group if any of them would like to spend the afternoon in the blazing Spanish sun with the chance (not the guarantee) of a good spot to see the Vicar of Christ. Four of them said yes.

Following our morning catechesis and Mass, Fr. Tim Ralston (our group's chaplain) and I set a brisk pace through crowds of pilgrims, seas of flags and chants about the Pope in order to attempt to secure a good spot. Eventually we arrived at the plaza where the Holy Father would begin his welcoming ceremony. We followed the barricade until we found what I do believe was the last remaining three feet of space along the winding barricade. And like a veteran of scouting ideal places to see the pope, I barked out commands about not moving for any reason, not letting anyone invade the space, how to create our own personal barricade of backpacks and where the most strategic places to sit for the next five hours would be.

Yes, we had five hours in Madrid's intense heat to wait for a glimpse of Pope Benedict XVI. And the heat was so great that volunteers began running near the barricades to spray people's faces with little spray bottles. But this was not enough. So they brought out plastic containers typically used to distribute lawn chemicals, but instead they sprayed us with water. But that was not enough. Eventually, the firemen came onto the scene, lugging their fire-hoses and grinning with glee. Yes, the fire-hoses were enough! We were showered with enormous gushes of water as we all cheered on the firemen, "Agua! Agua! Aqui! Aqui!"

With our hats dripping and our sunscreen battling the effects of the makeshift Madrid waterpark, we waited for the big moment. There was music and videos and reports and footage of Pope Benedict alighting from the plane earlier in the afternoon.
And then it was a little after 7, and we watched on the screen as Papa B came through the streets of Madrid in his popemobile. We readied our cameras and steeled ourselves for the crushing enthusiasm (literally crushing) of those around us who wished to be a centimeter closer to the Pope as he drove speedily by.

He drove by, smiling and waving. We cheered with the Spaniards. We cheered with the French. We cheered with those from the British Islands across the way from us. We cheered with the girl from Cincinnati who happened to be near our group. We cheered with people from every populated continent.

And then? We collapsed. Yes, all six of us didn't last in our prime spots because there was no longer room to sit. We had been standing in the exhausting heat for so long, and the Holy Father's gentle voice in Spanish was not jolting us with renewed energy. So, we sat along the side, followed along with the prayer service as best we could, and then attempted to beat the crowd. This attempt was thwarted when one of our teens spotted her first "real life" Missionaries of Charity. As a great fan of Blessed Mother Teresa, she had meeting some of the sisters at the top of her World Youth Day wish list. It's a good thing we stopped to chat ... they informed us that the Holy Father would be passing by the road on which we were standing. So, we found an opening in the crowd and watched as he sped by again.

So, the six of us had our close encounter with the Pope. One girl said the waiting and the watching were worth all of the money that it cost to get to Spain. I can only hope that the close proximity to the Vicar of Christ will continue to inspire the teens' faith as they grow in holiness for years to come.

(Yes, it's zoomed in, but yes, it's also a picture that I took. A picture that I waited five and a half hours to take.)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

World Youth Day -- Catechesis

For three days prior to the culmination of the World Youth Day experience (the Saturday night vigil and Sunday morning Mass with the Pope), catechesis sessions are offered for pilgrims according to language. It is humbling to have bishops and cardinals serving young people by offering these sessions, and it is beautiful to see the respect young people have for their Shepherds.

At World Youth Day in Madrid, the Sisters of Life and the Knights of Columbus partnered to offer a home for English-speaking pilgrims throughout the week. They had 12,000 people packed into the arena each morning for music, a catechetical talk, fun with the Sisters of Life (who knew a sister would lead a "wave" race ... yes, the "wave" of baseball game fame), and Mass with hundreds of priests and dozens of bishops and cardinals.

It's absolutely incredible to celebrate the faith with 12,000 other people speaking the same language but from every continent of the world. Many of the teens in our group commented that their time at the Love and Life Centre was a favorite of the trip.

So, what did we learn during our time there? Here are some snippets of wisdom gleaned from the bishops/cardinals and other speakers:

  • Sr. Mary Gabriel, SV: "In Baptism, you are promised two things: 1) That you are loved without limit; 2) That you can love without limit. Because Baptism promises the very life of God living in me.
  • Cardinal Pell (Australia): It's when Peter looked around when he was walking on water and considered how ridiculous and impossible his situation was that he dropped.
  • Jason and Crystalina Evert: Women can lead a man toward heaven through their modesty.
  • Archbishop Miller (Canada): When trials and sufferings come, as they inevitably will, when you are built in Christ, then all you have to do is what Peter did in Matthew's Gospel -- cry out, "Lord, save me."
  • Archbishop Dolan (New York): Sometimes we see the Church, the Body of Christ, as radiant, knock-down-dead-beautiful, and other times we see the side of the Bride with curlers in her hair and Noxema on her face. The nails that pierced Christ's hands on the cross have held His Church together for 2,000 years. We are heirs to the nails.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

And we're back -- World Youth Day report begins

We tend to be appalled every year by the lack of coverage of the March for Life, where 200,000 or so people descend upon the nation's capital in the defense of human life. But how can one even begin to imagine landing after a 9 hour and 14 minute flight from Madrid to Atlanta (waiting to fly home to Cincinnati), greeted by national papers that include a paragraph or two referring to an international event with 2.5 million attendees? So, in the next few days, I hope to offer coverage of the event that was not covered.

For now, let me say this: Our pilgrimage to World Youth Day -- seven teens, four adults -- was a wonderful adventure. We had our share of challenges along the way, as any pilgrimage gladly offers, but we also had many joys, sometimes even in and through the challenges. The Pope was there. God was speaking. Young people were listening. Spain was watching. Fruits will come.

Stay tuned for stories, reporting and pictures ...

Monday, August 22, 2011

World Youth Day -- heading home

Please keep the Cincinnati pilgrims (and those from the whole world, while you're at it) in your prayers, as we return from Madrid today. Long flights make for plenty of reflection time on the good that the Lord has started in our lives.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Quote book

"Dear young people, the Church depends on you! She needs your lively faith, your creative charity and the energy of your hope. Your presence renews, rejuvenates and gives new energy to the Church. That is why World Youth Days are a grace, not only for you, but for the entire People of God." -- Pope Benedict XVI

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Ruah Woods' annual banquet

Make plans to join in support of Ruah Woods at our annual banquet, Sept. 8. To RSVP, call 513-407-8672 or register online.

Friday, August 19, 2011

"The Married Lifestyle"

This is really excellent. Gabriel Torretta, OP, has penned some thoughts about the "married lifestyle" in First Things. How do we view marriage in our culture today, even if we believe it is an institution for one man and one woman?

“Marriage” in its Judeo-Christian context means the self-gift of a man and a woman to each other, so that God might bring each to Himself through the other. A man and a woman who get married vow that they will embrace the natural consequences of their life together as a gift from God, be they joyous or tragic: abundant children or the pain of sterility, lobster dinners or store-brand fish sticks, death in sleep at 90 or cancer at 30. It’s what Catholics call a vocation, a specific path to holiness that structures an entire life and everything in it.

But as any pastor who prepares couples for marriage can tell you, that vision of marriage is about as far from most couples’ minds as Mars is from Venus. If marriage is a gift of self, we now make sure to leave the tags on and keep the receipt.

What we expect from a marriage has changed: no-fault divorce helped change when we imagine a marriage ends, contraception helped change how we imagine a marriage should give life, and pornography helped change what we imagine should be done to and by whom in a marriage. In all three instances, what was part of an entire pattern of life that included but surpassed my momentary tastes has been broken apart into small fragments that I can change to suit my whims.

There are many thought-provoking insights here, so be sure to read it all.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Quote book

"Dear friends, the Cross often frightens us because it seems to be a denial of life. In fact, the opposite is true! It is God's 'yes' to mankind, the supreme expression of his love and the source from which eternal life flows. Indeed, it is from Jesus' heart, pierced on the Cross, that this divine life streamed forth, ever accessible to those who raise their eyes towards the Crucified One. I can only urge you, then, to embrace the Cross of Jesus, the sign of God's love, as the source of new life. Apart from Jesus Christ risen from the dead, there can be no salvation! He alone can free the world from evil and bring about the growth of the Kingdom of justice, peace and love to which we all aspire." -- Pope Benedict XVI

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

World Youth Day -- follow along

As hundreds of thousands (even millions?) of Catholic young people gather in Madrid, Spain, for World Youth Day, follow along on the official World Youth Day site. Please pray for all of the pilgrims -- that our faith may be ignited along the journey.

Monday, August 15, 2011

On this day in 1993 ...

For several years, I have found myself returning to John Paul II's World Youth Day homily from August 15, 1993. Since today is the 15th, and since I am currently in Spain for World Youth Day, I thought it would be appropriate to share the homily with you.

It deserves a few good reads, but let me get you started:

At this stage of history, the liberating message of the Gospel of Life has been put into your hands. And the mission of proclaiming it to the ends of the earth is now passing to your generation. Like the great Apostle Paul, you too must feel the full urgency of the task: "Woe to me if I do not evangelize" (1Cor 9,16). Woe to you if you do not succeed in defending life. The Church needs your energies, your enthusiasm, your youthful ideals, in order to make the Gospel of Life penetrate the fabric of society, transforming people’s hearts and the structures of society in order to create a civilization of true justice and love. Now more than ever, in a world that is often without light and without the courage of noble ideals, people need the fresh, vital spirituality of the Gospel.

Do not be afraid to go out on the streets and into public places, like the first Apostles who preached Christ and the Good News of salvation in the squares of cities, towns and villages. This is no time to be ashamed of the Gospel (Cfr. Rom 1,16). It is the time to preach it from the rooftops (Cfr. Matth10,27). Do not be afraid to break out of comfortable and routine modes of living, in order to take up the challenge of making Christ known in the modern "metropolis". It is you who must "go out into the byroads" (Matth 22,9) and invite everyone you meet to the banquet which God has prepared for his people. The Gospel must not be kept hidden because of fear or indifference. It was never meant to be hidden away in private. It has to be put on a stand so that people may see its light and give praise to our heavenly Father.

Read the rest here.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Happy feast of St. Maximilian Kolbe!

Last fall we spent some time in Kenosis looking at various saints who could become our patron and patroness. The youth selected St. Maximilian Kolbe to fill the role. As a martyr for the family and a witness to God's love and generosity, he is an excellent model and intercessor for us as we seek to be disciples of love and life.

Please join in prayer for the teens of Kenosis, asking for the intercession of St. Maximilian Kolbe, whose feast day we celebrate today:

O Lord Jesus Christ, who said, "greater love than this no man has that a man lay down his life for his friends,"
through the intercession of St. Maximilian Kolbe whose life illustrated such love, we beseech you to grant us our petitions . . .
(here mention the requests you have).

Through the Militia Immaculata movement, which Maximilian founded, he spread a fervent devotion to Our Lady throughout the world. He gave up his life for a total stranger and loved his persecutors, giving us an example of unselfish love for all men - a love that was inspired by true devotion to Mary.
Grant, O Lord Jesus, that we too may give ourselves entirely without reserve to the love and service of our Heavenly Queen in order to better love and serve our fellowman in imitation of your humble servant, Maximilian. Amen.

(Say 3 Hail Marys and a Glory Be)

Saturday, August 13, 2011


I wish this video were available on YouTube, so I could embed it on the blog. But you'll just have to trust me that it's worth clicking the link in order to watch. And I don't want to say much about it, so as to not spoil its effect.

You can watch the video here.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Quote book

"If a man relates to a woman in such a way that he considers her only as an object to appropriate and not as a gift, he condemns himself at the same time to become, on his part too, only an object of appropriation for her and not a gift." -- Bl. John Paul II (TOB 33:1).

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"A Reflection on Beauty"

Jennifer Hartline recently penned her thoughts about cultivating the beauty of women.

Here's a glimpse:

This is why it pains me so much to see so many women in our culture behaving so crudely. Women seem to be losing all gentility and grace, choosing instead to be crass, vulgar, immodest, and unkempt. A man behaving badly is boorish, perhaps even savage. A woman behaving badly is just plain ugly. They are profaning the glorious gift of beauty God gave them. A flower should never be covered in dung.

Read it all here.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Adios! World Youth Day, here I come.

I'm heading across the Atlantic today to serve as a chaperone for several high school students attending World Youth Day in Madrid. Depending on the Internet situation, blog updates may be sparse. The blog is set to update automatically, however, with some other quotes, articles and videos, just in case I am unable to post news from our journey to France and Spain while we are on the road.

Please pray for all of the pilgrims attending this year's World Youth Day event. These are powerful experiences, drawing a million young Catholics together in celebration of the gift of faith.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Saint Moms

St. Gianna Beretta Molla's daughter, for whom she sacrificed her life, was recently in the United States. The National Catholic Register ran a brief story, which included a few quotes from Dr. Gianna Emanuela about her mother:

“God loved my mother very much,” Molla told the staff. She added: “God chose her among many saint mothers. There must be many saint mothers in paradise.”

“I would not be here with you if I had not been loved so much,” said Molla, who lives near Milan, Italy. Her saintly mother gave her own life so that she might live by choosing to continue her pregnancy despite a uterine tumor in the 1960s.

“All my mom’s life has been a hymn to life,” Molla said. “She died in the same exemplary way she lived. Her holiness represents something extraordinary … a holiness in which everyone can feel at home.”

Read the whole story here.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Pre-World Youth Day thoughts

St. Anthony Messenger has gathered thoughts from various teens and young adults preparing to travel to Madrid for this year's World Youth Day. You can read the reflections here.

I was asked to contribute to the piece:

My first WYD experience comes to mind daily as I look at the small wooden cross necklace I received and the framed picture of Blessed John Paul II that I snapped as he smiled at me a few feet away in the middle of Toronto—both of which sit on my desk at work.

Nine years ago I was weeks away from my freshman year of college. A WYD encounter with a million young Catholics and with the Holy Father fueled my love of the Catholic faith.

Nearly a decade later, I see the fruit of that week with strangers in the middle of a Toronto field. The Holy Spirit has continued to work in my heart, leading me to fulltime ministry with teenagers in Cincinnati. And so for my third WYD, I will embark upon the journey with tremendous excitement and curiosity for how the Lord will work in the lives of the young people with whom I am traveling.

Who will they meet? How will they react when they see the pope? What crazy adventures will they experience while praying in the overnight vigil before the final day? How will Madrid impact their lives?

Read the rest of my reflection, as well as the thoughts of many others, here.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pray for priests!

Happy feast day to all parish priests! St. John Vianney's day is today. It seems fitting to take a moment today to thank God for the many priests in our lives who bring us Christ every day, and whose sacrifices bring great fruit for the Church.

And after thanking, let's pray:

Dear Saint John Vianney,
your childhood dream was to be a Priest,
to win souls for God.
You endured years of toil and humiliation
to attain the Priesthood.
You became a priest truly after God's own heart,
outstanding in humulity and poverty;
prayer and mortification.
Totally devoted to the service of God's people.
The Church has exalted you as model
and patron saint of all Parish priests,
trusting that your example and prayers
will help them to live up
to the high dignity of their vocation
to be faithful servants of God's people,
to be perfect imitators of Christ the Saviour
Who came not to be served but to serve,
to give His Life in ransom for many.

Pray that God may give to His Church today
many more priests after His own Heart.
Pray for all the priests under your patronage,
that they may be worthy representatives
of Christ the Good Shepherd.
May they wholeheartedly devote themselves
to prayer and penance;
be examples of humility and poverty;
shining modelss of holiness;
tireless and powerful preachers of the Word of God;
zealous dispensers of God's Grace in the Sacraments.
May their loving devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist
and to Mary His Mother
be the Twin Fountains of fruitfulness for their ministry.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Quote book

"Every woman who wants to fulfill her destiny must look to Mary as the ideal." -- St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

"A Pilgrim in Poland"

Joan Desmond does a phenomenal job of bringing her readers onto pilgrimage in Poland in her new piece, "A Pilgrim in Poland." She spent time in the country following the steps of Bl. John Paul II.

Here's the beginning:

“There are no coincidences,” Blessed Pope John Paul II observed more than once. The insight reflected his belief that the central events and people that shaped his life and set him on the path to Rome were part of a divine plan revealed over time through the crucible of the cross.

This was the cross that cast its shadow on his own life and that of his beloved native land, forcing every believer to grapple with the mysterious purposes of a loving God who permits suffering, war and infirmity to serve as the “refiner’s fire,” silently and painfully advancing the pilgrim’s progress through the valley of death.

Yet, it’s one thing to read the statement — “There are no coincidences” — and something else to retrace the path of a man and a nation that clung to their hope in Christ as evil forces sought to destroy everything they held dear.

A weeklong pilgrimage to Poland barely scratches the surface of Karol Wojtyla’s own earthly existence. Still, the luminous beauty of his holy witness, nourished amid the defiant religious convictions of Polish Catholicism, draws the uninitiated into a direct confrontation with his mystical vision.

Read more:

Monday, August 1, 2011

Mandatory contraception coverage

Marcel LeJeune has the scoop on bad news that the federal government is requiring all insurance providers to include coverage for contraception and sterilization, beginning one year from today. Read the news here.