Monday, April 27, 2015

Witness to life, wife, mother, doctor and Saint

St. Gianna Beretta Molla

Image of St. Gianna Beretta Molla


Feastday: April 28
Patron mothers, physicians, preborn children
Death: 1962
Beatified By: Pope John Paul II

Gianna Francesca Beretta was born in Magenta in Italy. She was the tenth of thirteen children in her family, only nine of whom survived to adulthood. When she was three, her family moved to Bergamo, and she grew up in the Lombardy region of Italy.
In 1942, Gianna began her study of medicine in Milan. Outside of her schooling, she was active in Azione Cattolica. She received a medical diploma in 1949, and opened an office in Mesero, near her hometown of Magenta, where she specialized in pediatrics.
Gianna hoped to join her brother, a missionary priest in Brazil, where she intended to offer her medical expertise in gynecology to poor women. However, her chronic ill health made this impractical, and she continued her practice in Italy.
In December 1954, Gianna met Pietro Molla, an engineer who worked in her office, ten years older than she. They were officially engaged the following April, and they married in September 1955.
The couple had Pierluigi, born in 1956, Maria Zita, in 1957 and Laura, was born in 1959. Gianna suffered two miscarriages after this.
In 1961, Gianna was once again expecting. During the second month, Gianna developed a fibroma on her uterus. After examination, the doctors gave her three choices: an abortion, which would save her life and allow her to continue to have children; a complete hysterectomy, which would preserve her life, but take the unborn child's life, and prevent further pregnancy; or removal of only the fibroma, with the potential of further complications. Roman Catholic teaching would have allowed her to obtain a hysterectomy, but would forbid an abortion. Wanting to preserve her child's life, she opted for the removal of the fibroma.
After the operation, complications continued throughout her pregnancy. Gianna was quite clear about her wishes, expressing to her family, "This time it will be a difficult delivery, and they may have to save one or the other -- I want them to save my baby."
On April 21, 1962, Good Friday of that year, Gianna went to the hospital, where her fourth child, Gianna Emanuela, was successfully delivered via Caesarean section. However, Gianna continued to have severe pain, and died of septic peritonitis 7 days after the birth.
Gianna was beatified by Pope John Paul II on April 24, 1994, and officially canonized as a saint on May 16, 2004. Gianna's husband Pietro and their last child, Gianna, were present at the canonization ceremony.
The miracle recognized by the Roman Catholic Church to canonize Gianna Molla involved a mother, Elizabeth Comparini, who was 16 weeks pregnant in 2003 and sustained a tear in her placenta that drained her womb of all amniotic fluid. Because a normal term of pregnancy is 40 weeks, Comparini was told by her doctors the baby's chance of survival was "nil."
Through praying to Gianna Molla and asking for her intercession, Comparini delivered by Caesarean a healthy baby despite the lack of amniotic fluid for the remainder of her pregnancy.
In his homily at her canonization Mass, Pope John Paul II called Gianna "a simple, but more than ever, significant messenger of divine love."

Founder, devotee of Mary and the Rosary

St. Louis de Montfort

Image of St. Louis de Montfort


Feastday: April 28
Birth: 1673
Death: 1716

Confessor, Marian devotee, and founder of the Sisters of Divine Wisdom He was born Louis Maie Grignon in Montfort, France, in 1673. Educated at Rennes, he was ordained there in 1700, becoming a chaplain in a hospital in Poitiers. His congregation, also called the Daughters of Divine Wisdom, started there. As his missions and sermons raised complaints, Louis went to Rome, where Pope Clement XI appointed him as a missionary apostolic. Louis is famous for fostering devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Rosary. In 1715, he also founded the Missionaries of the Company of Mary. His True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin remains popular. Louis died at Saint-Laurent-sur-Sevre. He was canonized in 1947.

Marist Priest, missionary to Oceania, martyrd for the faith

St. Peter Chanel

Image of St. Peter Chanel


Feastday: April 28
Patron of Oceania
Birth: 1803
Death: 1841

In St. Peter Chanel, Priest and Martyr (Feast day - April 28) The protomartyr of the South Seas, St. Peter Chanel was born in 1803 at Clet in the diocese of Belley, France. His intelligence and simple piety brought him to the attention of the local priest, Father Trompier, who saw to his elementary education. Entering the diocesan Seminary, Peter won the affection and the esteem of both students and professors. After his ordination he found himself in a rundown country parish and completely revitalized it in the three year span that he remained there. However, his mind was set on missionary work; so, in 1831, he joined the newly formed Society of Mary (Marists) which concentrated on missionary work at home and abroad. To his dismay, he was appointed to teach at the seminary at Belley and remained there for the next five years, diligently performing his duties.
In 1836, the Society was given the New Hebrides in the Pacific as a field for evangelization, and the jubilant St. Peter was appointed Superior of a little band of missionaries sent to proclaim the Faith to its inhabitants. On reaching their destination after an arduous ten month journey, the band split up and St. Peter went to the Island of Futuna accompanied by a laybrother and an English layman, Thomas Boog. They were at first well received by the pagans and their king Niuliki who had only recently forbidden canabalism. However, the kings jealousy and fear were aroused when the missionaries learned the language and gained the people's confidence; he realized the adoption of the Christian Faith would lead to the abolition of some of the prerogatives he enjoyed as both highpriest and sovereign.
Finally, when his own son expressed a desire to be baptized, the king's hatred erupted and he dispatched a group of his warriors to set upon the saintly head of the missionaries. Thus, on April 28, 1841, three years after his arrival, St. Peter was seized and clubbed to death by those he had come to save. And his death brought his work to completion - within five months the entire island was converted to Christianity.

Wives of Permanent Deacons

I wrote this last night to the wives of 18 men who soon will be ordained to the Permanent Diaconate.  These wives were just wrapping up the pre-Ordination retreat in anticipation of their husband's ordination.  Many of us do not take the time to consider the contributions and sacrifices of the women who exemplify service via Holy Matrimony who are married to those in Holy Orders.  We should remember them too in our prayers:

"The wife of a Permanent Deacon offers her own gifts to the Church in herself and her faithfulness to the 1st Sacrament of Service, Holy Matrimony. As your husbands receive the other Sacrament of Service, Holy Orders, the Church acknowledges your gifts and your sacrifice. For the many years your husband does not sit with you in the pews, to the unexpected evening meetings, to the weekend plans that constantly get changed, to the possibility of being moved from parish to parish, the Church thanks you and prays for you and with you. I hope this weekend was as special as it was efficacious and that your journey with your husband toward his Ordination and life of Service Sacramentalized will be a journey of great faith, hope and abundant joy!!"

Pope Francis remembers a great Saint today

Pope Francis: Ensure Charisma and Paternity of St. John Paul II

Encourages Foundation Named After Predecessor To Continue Pastoral Care of Youth

Vatican City, ( Deborah Castellano Lubov   

“The canonization of Pope John Paul II gave a new impetus to your work, in the service of the Church and evangelization." Pope Francis made this observation when speaking to the John Paul II Foundation at the Vatican Saturday afternoon.

The work to which the Holy Father was referring had been namely service to the youth, particularly in education.
"St. John Paul II has always had a great love for youth and a special pastoral care for them," he said, pointing out, "And you help to ensure that his charisma and his paternity continue to bear fruit.”
He told them, "You offer a valuable contribution to ensuring that the spiritual heritage of this Holy Pontiff continues to fertilize the large field of the Church and to support his journey through history."
As priests and lay, Francis noted, "you also offer valuable opportunities to enrich their education," especially preparing them to face the "cultural and pastoral challenges of our day."
"For this purpose, you can also draw from the rich teaching of social doctrine that St. John Paul II has left us, and that proves more timely than ever."
Francis encouraged them to recall the late Polish Pontiff's attention to the word 'solidarity,' and reminded them they are to live this out, while at the same time being prayerful and obedient to God's Word.
The Holy Father concluded, telling them to turn to the Virgin Mother Mary, "to whom St. John Paul II has consecrated his life and his pontificate," thanking them for their visit and service, and asking them to pray for him

One year ago today: Saints John Paul II and John XXIII

Pope's Canonization Mass: John Paul II and John XXIII were brave and hopeful, even amid challenges

It was a unique day to say the least. The canonization of John Paul II and John XXIII will forever be recorded in the history of the Catholic Church

The setting itself was impressive. From the two giant tapestries of the two new saints, hanging from St. Peter's Basilica, to the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims, dignitaries, presidents and leaders who made it a point to attend the ceremony. 

The day of four Popes, as its now being described, began with the arrival of Benedict XVI. Cardinals greeted him and then Pope Francis did the same. 

Then, on Sunday morning, before the Universal Church, the Pope read the decree, officially declaring John Paul II and John XXIII as saints

Applause quickly followed in the Square, as thousands payed their respects in Rome and throughout the world. 

Relatives of John XXIII and also the woman cured through the intercession of John Paul II carried the relics of the two new saints. 

In his homily, the Pope explained why they both exemplified God's love and mercy. 

"These were two men of courage, filled with the parrhesia of the Holy Spirit, and they bore witness before the Church and the world to God’s goodness and mercy.”

Even when faced with tragedy and suffering, the Pope explained that the two new saints, were brave. 

"They were priests, bishops and popes of the twentieth century. They lived through the tragic events of that century, but they were not overwhelmed by them. For them, God was more powerful.”

The Pope also highlighted how John Paul II and John XXIII conveyed hope and faith, even in dark times. He described John XXIII as a Pope who was open to the Spirit. John Paul II as leader and protector of the family. In fact, Pope Francis called on them both to intercede in the next synod on the family. 

"May both of them teach us not to be scandalized by the wounds of Christ and to enter ever more deeply into the mystery of divine mercy, which always hopes and always forgives, because it always loves.” 

At the end of the Mass, the Pope made his way through the square in the Popemobile to greet all the pilgrims. He even stretched out to neighboring streets, going beyond Vatican borders to thank all the people who witnessed this historic day in the Church. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Her work was part of her ministry; patron Saint of domestic workers

St. Zita

Image of St. Zita


Feastday: April 27

St. Zita was born into a poor but holy Christian family. Her older sister became a Cistercian nun and her uncle Graziano was a hermit whom the local people regarded as a saint. Zita herself always tried to do God's will obediently whenever it was pointed out to her by her mother. At the age of twelve Zita became a housekeeper in the house of a rich weaver in Lucca, Italy, eight miles from her home at Monte Sagrati. As things turned out, she stayed with that family for the last forty-eight years of her life. She found time every day to attend Mass and to recite many prayers, as well as to carry out her household duties so perfectly that the other servants were jealous of her. Indeed, her work was part of her religion! She use to say: "a servant is not holy if she is not busy; lazy people of our position is fake holiness." At first, her employers were upset by her generous gifts of food to the poor, but in time, they were completely won over by her patience and goodness and she became a very close friend. St. Zita was given a free reign over her working schedule and busied herself with visits to the sick and those in prison. Word spread rapidly in Lucca of her good deeds and the heavenly visions that appeared to her. She was sought out by the important people, and at her death in 1278 the people acclaimed her as a saint. She is the patroness of domestic workers. Her feast day is April 27

Sunday night; what's on your mind?

This is so random but is designed as much to perhaps calm me down as it is to inform.  Do you ever spend Sunday night reflecting on what was and looking forward to what is?  Well I do.  And tonight I'm going to share some of that; like I said, perhaps as a form of therapy for me. 

Good Shepherd Sunday is Vocations Sunday - if your experience was anything like mine you probably heard something today at Mass about vocations and it was focused in on the Priesthood.  Indeed it should be!  We are always praying and hoping and praying some more for more vocations to the Priesthood.  Let's keep this up.  I did hear one inspired homily at yesterday's vigil that focused on the vocation of the married life.  It was awesome.  It served as a reminder to me that the Church should preach vocation often: Priesthood, Diaconate, Religious/Consecrated Life, Marriage, and those who choose to live a single life. 

A retreat for soon to be newly ordained Deacons - These past 5 days, the Formation Class of 2015 attended their pre-Ordination Retreat.  Unlike years past, specifically our 2010 and 2012 classes, I was far removed from this retreat.  A decision was made that no Deacons would be present as this class gathered together to focus on their soon to be new identity.  I have heard from a few of these men via social media and it sounds like a very efficacious retreat.  I sent an email to the class before the retreat began and shared with them that my own pre-Ordination retreat was the most meaningful event I experienced shy of Ordination itself.  Tonight I can only think of praying for each of these men, and their wives, and I am asking you to do the same.

Meeting the family - My wife and I spent a delightful afternoon with our daughter and her boyfriend Mark meeting his parents.  A father's intuition senses their will be more to speak about in this significant chapter in the life of his only daughter!

A Deacon, many times has to work - I sometimes dislike greatly the impression that my job gives many people in the Church.  It goes something like this, you must be a Deacon on the weekend, or your banking career is your real job and the Deacon gig is a side job.  I've also heard that it must be difficult to balance job and ministry.  At a real human level, it is true that balancing is something that must be done.  But ordained a Deacon, having been marked as one receiving Holy Orders, how can I communicate that I am Deacon, 100% of the time, 24/7/365?  In fact, one of the brilliant things about the Permanent Deacon in this age is the opportunity to come from the market place and still witness in the market place.  I pray that all people, especially Catholics, learn more about the Permanent Diaconate and embrace it more fully.

Catholics need to be more Catholic, really they do - Look, I know Facebook and social media in general is not the end all be all authority on anything, especially Catholicism.  Yet, if a sampling of reading articles just today is any indication, way to many Catholics need to learn about humility and obedience and follow the example of Christ in emptying self.  Why do we still have so much doom and gloom among Catholics?  Why do we defy the Holy Spirit and the promises of Christ Himself with our rants?  And why are they some still believing the lies that the train is off the track since Vatican II or since the election of Francis as our Pope?  Fortunately these are misguided thoughts of a precious few however, there must be prayer and outreach to these folks to keep the Body of Christ strong!  Make no mistake, the Church indeed is strong and growing (Christ promises) and will be so with or without the malcontented.  I clearly do not understand where they are coming from but will commit to praying for them!

God strengthens me because it still is who I am not what I do - In the past few days I have been very busy.  In the next few days I will be very busy.  Someone asked me once how do you do all that you do?  You have a job and you meet with folks 3-4 nights a week and your weekends are packed?  And the question did not spur an answer, it caused an epiphany in me.  How does this all happen?  Because God makes a way; because the Holy Spirit is in charge and because I am being faithful to what the grace of Ordination promised.  And I focus not so much on what I do but rather who I am.

I appreciate you - I sincerely admit that in no way do I understand how this blog and blogging in general works.  I do know that somehow, someway, you find yourselves to this page and yes, you read these posts.  I may or may not even know who you are.  Unless you take the time to post a comment, I don't know if this is helpful or you think I am all wet.  Whatever the case may be, I appreciate you and I am happy to pray for you and hope you will consider praying for me!

Good night, God Bless and have a great week!

This is what CRS does best; yes, I'm aware recent issues with CRS; that will get corrected. Being able to mobilize when disaster strikes is the mission.

Major Earthquake Hits Nepal: CRS and Caritas Mobilizing Response

April 26, 2015 by
Updated April 26, 2015
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has made an initial commitment of $725,000 toward relief efforts in Nepal and surrounding countries where a powerful earthquake has caused widespread damage.
donate-nowA dozen CRS emergency specialists are on the way to Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital, where many buildings collapsed in the 7.8 magnitude quake centered about 50 miles northwest of the capital city.
The official death toll is above 2,200 and still rising, with officials yet to reach many outlying villages. A deadly avalanche was reported at Mount Everest, undoubtedly only one of many in the Himalayas.
“People are in a state of shock and are going to face a cold night outside tonight,” CRS India staffer Kushal Neogy, who is in Kathmandu, said right after the earthquake hit. “There is no electricity. It appears to be a chaotic situation with a feeling of panic.” He added, “People of the area are confused, markets are closed, and getting basic essentials is expensive and challenging.”
As CRS personnel arrive in Kathmandu, they will work closely with Caritas Nepal and Caritas India as well as Caritas Australia which has staff on the ground.
“We are immediately sending materials for emergency shelter and for safe water, sanitation and hygiene as these are expected to be the urgent needs,” said CRS India Country Representative Tony Castleman. Because of the cold conditions, CRS is also sending blankets to the area.
Supplies prepositioned in India will be moved by road into Nepal as additional relief items are procured locally. The UN has been contacted about the possibility of humanitarian relief flights should that be needed.
“Rescue is the first priority,” said Fr. Pius Perumana S.J., Director of Caritas Nepal, based in Kathmandu. “Lots of people have lost their homes and are out on the street or in open spaces so we will be looking to provide them with food and temporary shelter.”
Nepal and the neighboring regions are known for seismic activity, but not of this magnitude.
“It is the worst earthquake I have ever experienced in my life,” Fr. Perumana said. “Thank God it was during the day and on a holiday as many people were outside when the quake happened.”
A prayer for Nepal is available in the CRS Resource Center.