Fatima Centenary

On this upcoming Saturday one hundred year ago Lúcia Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto were herding sheep outside of Fátima, Portugal. Pope Francis will be canonizing Jacinta and Francisco when he travels to Fatima this Friday and Saturday. Saturday will be the hundredth year since the shepherd children first saw a woman “brighter than the sun, shedding rays of light clearer and stronger than a crystal goblet filled with the most sparkling water and pierced by the burning rays of the sun.” This woman asked the children to devote themselves to the Holy Trinity and to pray the Rosary every day, to bring peace to the world and an end to the war (World War I). This was the first of six appearances to the children between May and October of 1917, now these were about once a month and I’ll go into those during their months.

EWTN has a nice website up about the Fatima Apparitions.  If you want an easy overview of all the apparitions take a look at their site. I think that if Mary were to come today she’d ask us to do the same thing devote ourselves to the Trinity and to pray the Rosary for world peace. I hope that as we reflect on the events in Fatima this year we are compelled to pick up a Rosary and pray it.  Pope John Paul II also has a connection with Fatima as on May 13 in 1981 John Paul was shot and critically wounded, and John Paul believed that it was through the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima that his life was spared.  Next week we will reflect on what Pope Francis did and said in Fatima.

Immaculata prayer

This is a prayer written by Maximilian Kolbe, one of the Saints of World War II. Maximilian Kolbe was a Conventual Franciscan (Greyfriars) who volunteered to die in the place of a stranger at Auschwitz. He is a pretty cool saint and Pope John Paul II named him “The Patron Saint of Our Difficult Century”. The prayer is a consecration to the Immaculata, Mary the Immaculate. I hope that we all can remember to turn to Mary of Mother when we are in need. The prayer comes in two forms the long one is:

Immaculata, Queen of Heaven and earth, refuge of sinners and our most loving Mother, God has willed to entrust the entire order of mercy to you. I, (name), a repentant sinner, cast myself at your feet, humbly imploring you to take me with all that I am and have, wholly to yourself as your possession and property. Please make of me, of all my powers of soul and body, of my whole life, death and eternity, whatever most pleases you.

If it pleases you, use all that I am and have without reserve, wholly to accomplish what was said of you: “She will crush your head,” and “You alone have destroyed all heresies in the whole world.” Let me be a fit instrument in your immaculate and merciful hands for introducing and increasing your glory to the maximum in all the many strayed and indifferent souls, and thus help extend as far as possible the blessed kingdom of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus. For wherever you enter you obtain the grace of conversion and growth in holiness, since it is through your hands that all graces come to us from the most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

V. Allow me to praise you, O Sacred Virgin       R. Give me strength against your enemies

Or there is a shorter version of the prayer for daily renewal of the consecration which is as follows:

Immaculata, Queen and Mother of the Church, I renew my consecration to you for this day and for always, so that you might use me for the coming of the Kingdom of Jesus in the whole world. To this end I offer you all my prayers, actions and sacrifices of this day.

Prayer to Saint Michael

I’ve got a soft spot for this prayer, growing up I went to school at Saint Michael’s from first to eight grade. I’m sure at some point we were taught the prayer and we’d pray it like when we would attend one of the daily Masses during like Lent not on a first Friday or something, It’s been a while since I was there. Anyways the prayer is one of the Leonine Prayers that Pope Leo XIII added after the celebration of a low mass, now this tradition was ended during Vatican II, however to this day we still have some individuals who pray some type of prayer after a low Mass.  This prayer is as follows:

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle,
be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil;
may God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
by the power of God, cast into hell
Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls.

Although no longer prescribe for after a low Mass, Pope John Paul II in one of his Regina Caeli addresses on 24 April 1994 where he said “‘Although this prayer is no longer recited at the end of Mass, I ask everyone not to forget it and to recite it to obtain help in the battle against the forces of darkness and against the spirit of this world.” So if you have some time learn this prayer it a pretty neat prayer and as the world seems to be on the brink it is always nice to have an archangel on our side.

World Youth Day 2016

For the past five or so days young pilgrims from around the world have gathered together in Krakow, Poland. This World Youth Day had added significance as Krakow was where Karol Wojtyla later Pope John Paul II, current Saint John Paul served as Archbishop before he became Pope. World Youth Day is one of the ideas that John Paul developed and this is the thirty-second World Youth Day and the fifteenth global celebration. As every year since 1984 there have been celebration at the diocesan level and about every three years there is a International gathering. The next World Youth Day will be in Panama in 2019. Hopefully the next World Youth Day will take place in like Africa or

On the final day (Sunday) at Mass the Gospel reading was the Zacchaeus story and in his homily Pope Francis talked about how we are all like Zacchaeus. If you have some time read the whole homily. It was what Francis said towards the end that caught my mind, it was what Jesus says to Zacchaeus “Come down, for I must stay with you today.” it isn’t asking to stay it’s Jesus saying I must stay. This is the same message to us all Jesus must stay with us. Pope Francis notes that “The Lord doesn’t want to remain in this beautiful city, or in cherished memories alone.  He wants to enter your homes, to dwell in your daily lives: in your studies, your first years of work, your friendships and affections, your hopes and dreams.”  At our baptism we are given a special name and the Good Shepherd uses this to calls us to draw nearer to him. Let us all listen for our names and remember that World Youth Day continues tomorrow in our lives at our homes, outside of the “mountaintop experience” of something like a World Youth Day.  We can’t be like Peter asking to put us tents to prolong the Transfiguration we should take what we got and bring it into our lives to use.

Franciscan Crown: Resurrection of Jesus

We move from the Joyful Mysteries to the Glorious ones. Jesus has risen from the grave and appears to Mary of Magdala, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, perhaps another Mary as well, then to the Apostles.  It is the women who Jesus first appears to all in the Gospels accounts except for Luke which just has the Emmaus encounter. Let us keep the Resurrection in our minds this week as those gather in Krakow, Poland for World Youth Day. In this year of mercy let us reflect upon these Mysteries as Mary can be considered as Mediatrix, Co-Redemptrix as well as an advocate for us in heaven. Following in the lead of Pope St. John Paul II let us all turn to Mary with affection as a child to their mother. If you have some time over the next several days perhaps pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet for all those in Poland as well as the world in general. We need to be like the women going to the tomb and learning that it is empty bring this message out to the world.

The Institution of the Eucharist

The fruit of this mystery is Adoration.

This is the final Luminous mystery as it turns out that I didn’t do this back before Lent began, so here it is now.  The focus is on adoration of the Eucharist however this is simply adoration of God. One of the ways that the Church can adore the Eucharist is in Eucharistic Adoration, where a host is place in a Monstrance and that is placed on an altar. Some churches have perpetual adoration chapels but if you can’t find any place that holds an Adoration or even a Benediction. One of the ways to adore the Eucharist is to pray in the presence of the Tabernacle before or even after Mass. This might not be a common idea but show up to church a bit early and prayer before the service begins or before and after you receive Communion pray. However, Pope John Paul II suggested to us all in his letter, Dominicae Cenae that “The Church and the world have a great need of Eucharistic worship. Jesus waits for us in this sacrament of love. Let us be generous with our time in going to meet Him in adoration and in contemplation that is full of faith.” This is more than just the brief time we have before or after Mass we need to make more time in our week for God and grow closer to Jesus.

Amoris Laetitia: Part One

The latest Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia from Pope Francis is the culmination of the synods on the family held in October 2014 and 2015. Where the bishops discussed the family and marriage in depth and what consists of a family today, but we will get to that later. It consists of nine chapters with an introduction as well as a prayer for the Family at the end. I’ve gotten through Chapter Five so here are my thoughts so far.

First and foremost in the introduction we hear that there isn’t a simple fix for all the problems in around the world and that some issues are better suited for local churches to do anything so that it helps with the various cultures around the world.  The other big part of the introduction is Pope Francis saying to take your time to prayerfully read through this document.

In the first chapter Pope Francis goes into a deep meditation Psalm 128:1-6, often used in Jewish and Christian weddings, and pulls from it a starting place that Family is a real thing there is no “perfect family”. Family is at the core of the Bible and can be seen though the trinity as Saint John Paul II said “Our God in his deepest mystery is not solitude, but a family, for he has within himself fatherhood, sonship and the essence of the family, which is love. That love, in the divine family, is the Holy Spirit”. The Word of God is a road map for our journey.

In chapter two the focus turns to the current situation of the family. There are many problems that families face today from all sides. Pope Francis gets together a laundry list ranging from migration to the ideological denial of differences between the sexes (“ideology of gender”); from the culture of the provisional to the anti-birth mentality and the impact of biotechnology in the field of procreation; from the lack of housing and work to pornography and abuse of minors; from inattention to persons with disabilities, to lack of respect for the elderly; from the legal dismantling of the family, to violence against women.

In chapter three we basically cover the Church’s position on Family and Marriage. We look to Christ as the role model for the Vocation of Family. The part does a lot of referencing to older documents like Vatican II’s Gaudium et Spes, Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae, and St. John Paul II’s Familiaris Consortio. Francis call us to remember Familiaris Consortio where Pope John Paul defined family as the way of the Church. The focus then turns to marriage are reminds us that the sacrament of marriage is not a social convention, an empty ritual or merely the outward sign of a commitment as Familiaris Consortio says it is mutual self-giving. Another big thing is the discussion that the main mission of the Church is to form consciences not be the conscience for people.

As we reach chapter four we look at love. Pope Francis once again goes into the Bible and take one of the classic wedding readings, Paul’s First letter to the Corinthians 13, and offers a deep meditation on it. This is something that will become something all couples getting married should read before they get married. It’s roughly a quarter of the document and for a good reason,

In the fifth chapter it looks at the family not just the nuclear family but the wider ranging social community that marriages exist within. Pope Francis also doesn’t only talk about traditional families but also adopted ones as well. A key aspect is in relating between the old and young as well as brothers and sister because these are building blocks for growing up and relating with others as we grow older.

Chaplet of Divine Mercy Novena

This is just a reminder that on Friday (Good Friday) is the First Day of the Divine Mercy Novena. It is in preparation for Divine Mercy Sunday, the Sunday after Easter. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy comes to us from Sister Mary Faustina Kowalska, a Polish Saint canonized by John Paul II in 2000 from when she visions and conversations with Jesus, is where we get the prayer. Faustina wrote Jesus instructed her that the Feast of Mercy (the Sunday after Easter) be preceded by a Divine Mercy Novena which would begin on Good Friday. John Paul in a homily on Divine Mercy Sunday said “Jesus said to St. Faustina one day: “Humanity will never find peace until it turns with trust to Divine Mercy”. Divine Mercy! This is the Easter gift that the Church receives from the risen Christ and offers to humanity.” In this year of mercy why not pick up a rosary or your fingers and pray the Chaplet this year.

To pray the Chaplet is rather easy, however there are some alternate prayers that you can add to the beginning and the end, I’ve never done these.

To begin you can do the opening prayers or just jump right in with an Our Father, Hail Mary and The Apostle’s Creed (these are prayed on the three Hail Mary’s on the part with the cross).

On the Our Father beads (big ones) you pray “Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.”

On the Hail Mary beads (small ones)you pray “For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

You continue this all the way around the Rosary, all five decades.

Then you pray “Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”  You say this three times, and then you can add the optional closing prayer and or simply end it all with “Jesus, I Trust in you” again said three times.