Saturday, October 22, 2016

A Beloved Pope

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October 22 is the feast day of St. John Paul II. Join us in celebrating the beloved saint who started from humble beginnings in Poland to become one of the longest-serving popes in modern history.

Born in Wadowice, Poland, Karol Jozef Wojtyla had lost his mother, father and older brother before his 21st birthday. Karol’s promising academic career at Krakow’s Jagiellonian University was cut short by the outbreak of World War II. While working in a quarry and a chemical factory, he enrolled in an “underground” seminary in Kraków. Ordained in 1946, he was immediately sent to Rome where he earned a doctorate in theology.

Communist officials allowed him to be appointed auxiliary bishop of Kraków in 1958, considering him a relatively harmless intellectual. They could not have been more wrong!

Elected pope in October 1978, Pope John Paul II was the first non-Italian pope in 455 years. He promoted ecumenical and interfaith initiatives, especially the 1986 Day of Prayer for World Peace in Assisi.

In his 27 years of papal ministry, John Paul II wrote 14 encyclicals and five books, canonized 482 saints and beatified 1,338 people. He made pastoral visits to 124 countries, including several with small Christian populations.

Pope Benedict XVI beatified John Paul II in 2011, and Pope Francis canonized him in 2014.

–adapted from Saint of the Day

Pope Francis celebrates the canonization Mass for seven new saints

Pope canonizes seven saints who ‘fought the good fight of faith’VATICAN CITY - The seven new saints of the church were holy not because of their own efforts but because of “the Lord who triumphs in them and with them,” Pope Francis said.

Each one “struggled to the very end with all their strength,” which they received through perseverance and prayer, the pope said Oct. 16 at a canonization Mass in St. Peter’s Square.

“They remained firm in faith, with a generous and steadfast heart. Through their example and their intercession, may God also enable us to be men and women of prayer,” the pope told the estimated 80,000 people present at the Mass.

Seven large tapestries bearing the portraits of the new saints decorated the facade of St. Peter’s Basilica, some representing specific aspects of their lives that exemplified their holiness.

Argentine “gaucho priest,” St. Jose Gabriel del Rosario Brochero was portrayed sitting on a donkey, his humble means of transportation when traveling thousands of miles to minister to the poor and the sick.

St. Jose Sanchez del Rio, a 14-year-old Mexican boy martyred for refusing to renounce his faith during the Cristero War of the 1920s, was depicted holding a palm branch and rosary while a trail of blood and a single bullet were at his feet.

St. Salomone Leclerq, who was killed after refusing to renounce his faith at the height of the French Revolution, was shown with his eyes fixed toward heaven as an angel carried a palm, symbolizing his martyrdom for the faith.

The French Carmelite writer and mystic, St. Elizabeth of the Holy Trinity, was shown seated in prayer, and St. Manuel Gonzalez Garcia, a Spanish bishop who spent his life devoted to Eucharistic adoration, smiled radiantly.

Brightly colored tapestries also featured the images of two new Italian saints: St. Ludovico Pavoni, the founder of the Sons of Mary Immaculate, who dedicated his life to the vocational and spiritual education of the poor and hearing impaired, and St. Alfonso Maria Fusco, founder of the Congregation of the Baptistine Sisters of the Nazarene and of the Little House of Providence, a home for abandoned children.

The celebration began with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, requesting Pope Francis enroll the six men and one woman “among the saints, that they may be invoked as such by all the Christian faithful.”

Following the singing of the Litany of the Saints, the pope “declared and defined” their sainthood which was met with applause from the crowd, many waving banners and flags in approval.

In his homily, the pope said the central theme of the Sunday readings was prayer, an important aspect in the lives of the newly canonized saints and something that obtained for them “the goal of heaven.”

He reflected on the day’s first reading which recalled Moses raising his arms in prayer while the Israelites fought Amalek’s army. When Moses’s arms would fall from weariness, the tide would turn against Israel.

Just as Aaron and Hur held Moses’s arms up until the Israelites won the battle, the pope said, so should Christians “support one another” in the “commitment to prayer.”

“Weariness is inevitable,” he said. “Sometimes we simply cannot go on, yet, with the support of our brothers and sisters, our prayer can persevere until the Lord completes his work.”

Like Moses who grew weary, yet was sustained by Aaron and Hur, Christians must remember they are not alone in the church, the pope said.

“We are members of the body of Christ, the church, whose arms are raised day and night to heaven, thanks to the presence of the risen Christ and his Holy Spirit. Only in the church, and thanks to the church’s prayer, are we able to remain steadfast in faith and witness,” he said.

Looking at the day’s Gospel reading, the pope said Jesus’s parable of the widow who persists in seeking justice reveals “the mystery of prayer” which involves crying out persistently and not losing heart.

“To pray is not to take refuge in an ideal world, nor to escape into a false, selfish sense of calm. On the contrary, to pray is to struggle, but also to let the Holy Spirit pray within us,” the pope said.

Before the final blessing, Pope Francis led the faithful in praying the Angelus and thanked the delegations as well as the pilgrims from the various countries of the new saints for their presence. The official delegations included Argentine President Mauricio Macri and cabinet ministers from Spain, France and Italy. The official Mexican delegation was headed by Roberto Herrera Mena, adjunct for religious affairs.

Pope Francis prayed that “the example and intercession of these luminous witnesses sustain the commitment of each one in your respective areas of work and service for the good of the church and the civil community.”

Friday, October 21, 2016


I came across this video scrolling through the blog Bulldog Catholic recently. Bethel, a worship group that aims to express who God is and who we are in Him, held a concert on a mountaintop to worship the Lord overlooking His creation.

It is absolutely incredible and allows the listener to truly enter into a place of authentic worship of our Lord–while at the same time appreciating the beauty of the composition itself. The blogger says that the musicians are hipster! Just look at them!

"Then you crash over me, I'm right where you want me to be, I'm going under, I'm in over my head. Whether I sink, whether I swim, it makes no difference when I'm beautifully in over my head."

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Right-to-die law

NB: Two post limit. Stay on topic please.

You may have read the story from the Netherlands in which a person who has decided that they have "completed their life" can end it with the physician-assisted suicide law. That is, even if they are not ill, they can end their lives if they feel their lives are "complete." To me, this is the slippery slope that we have all rightly feared. Here is that piece, from Crux:…/dutch-set-permit-euthanasia-complete…/

Increasingly it seems that the hidden danger in this law will be with people who are coerced into thinking that they are a burden to others, that they are "worthless" for their illness, or, in the case, below, will be taken advantage of because of their race. All of these are important questions to consider.

D.C. Council is set to pass bill allowing doctors to prescribe fatal drugs to terminally ill patients.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

HS football player gives great postgame interview

I spent several years covering prep sports for various newspapers, and I can tell you first hand high school athletes are difficult interviews. Maybe it’s nerves in talking to the media, but they typically bottle up and provide very short responses to your questions.

Not Apollos Hester.

This kid, who plays football for East View High School in Texas, is a reporter’s dream. The following video comes from Time Warner Cable news in Austin, and reporter Lauren Mickler is catching up with Hester after his team held on for a 42-41 victory over Vandergrift. Everything about Hester’s interview is perfect, namely his words and his enthusiasm. We can only hope Hester becomes a motivational speaker or a coach someday

September 23, 2014 / Football

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Bon Voyage

Today we said bon voyage to our Superior General and his council who have spent the last two weeks with our Province.

The General Administration visited with many student groups, faculty, and lay collaborators at Chaminade High School, Kellenberg Memorial High School, and St. Martin de Porres Marianist School. 

The members of the General Administration celebrated Mass with our Communities, attended an educational symposium for the faculties and staffs of all three Marianist schools on Long Island, and presided at Evening Prayer for the Marianist World Day of Prayer. Our General Council is composed of four members: Very Rev. Manuel Cortes, Superior General; Very Rev. Andre Fetis, Assistant for Religious Life; Bro. Maximin Magnon, Assistant for Education; and Bro. Michael McAward , Assistant for Temporalities. 

Their visit deepened our connection with our Marianist Brothers and Sisters worldwide and reminded us of our debt of gratitude to our Founder, Blessed William Joseph Chaminade. 

As he wrote, "As Mary, by her faith, conceived Jesus Christ in the natural order, we too can conceive Him very truly in the spiritual order, by our faith."

Monday, October 17, 2016

Marian faith

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Marian faith, for Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, was faith of the heart as well as of an intellectual assent, a faith so deep that, like Mary’s, it could conceive and give birth to Jesus. Mary, in her assent, embodies the openness to and cooperation with the action of the Holy Spirit that is at the center of Christian faith. Inspired by the Spirit, Mary brings Jesus into the world, dramatically showing us that with God all things are possible.

Secondly, Blessed Chaminade knew that transforming the social order required the action not just of individuals, but of many people working together with a common mission. For Chaminade, communities of faith were the natural embodiment of a vibrant Christianity. He frequently cited the example of the first Christians who held everything in common, prayed, and broke bread together. And as Mary, first of believers, gathered in prayer with the apostles in the upper room and gave birth to the Church, so she still stands at the center of all Marianist communities of faith.

Thirdly, Blessed Chaminade worked to infuse these communities of faith with a deep sense of mission. Faced with the devastation of the Revolution, Marianist communities of faith aimed at nothing less than rebuilding the Church. Religious and lay, men and women, wealthy and poor they came together and looked to Mary for inspiration in their great task. Mary, who formed Jesus for his mission, who despite her great faith had to ponder many things she did not fully understand, who despite an uncertain future uttered her fiat—this same Mary will form us, Chaminade believed under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to become like Jesus for the sake of others. The person and influence of Mary is a distinguishing thread woven throughout the entire fabric of Marianist spirituality.