Monday, May 30, 2011

Prayers for Memorial Day

Prayer for Our Troops
Lord, please hold our troops in
your loving hands.

Protect them as they protect us.
Bless them and their families for
the selfless act they perform
for us in our time of need.

We ask this in the name of
Jesus, our Lord and Savior.

Prayer on  Memorial Day
On this Memorial Day
Grant peace to the souls
of all those soldiers who died in war.
We remember the tears and grief of their families,
The pain of mothers, wives, husbands and children
Who lost precious loved ones.

To build a meaningful memorial to them,
We ask God to give us all the will
To work for peace around the world
So no more sons, daughters, husbands, wives, fathers, nor mothers
Are slaughtered by the guns and bombs of war.

We ask Mary, who held the lifeless body of her son
And was pierced by the sorrow of his suffering and death,
To grant us the compassion and wisdom to affirm life
And honor the dead through forgiveness and peace making.

May God have mercy on the souls of the departed.
Grant them peace, O Lord.

May we have mercy on the living.
Grant us peace, O Lord.
In Your name we pray.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Summer Reading Recommendation

If you are looking for something to read over the summer (and you should be), I strongly recommend My Life with the Saints by James Martin, SJ.  I purchased it awhile ago and only recently sat down to read it.  I enjoyed it immensely.  It is a well written and easy-to-read book that does a wonderful job of weaving together material from our class (saints lives) with modern-day life.

The book can found in your library or can be purchased at or anywhere else books are sold.

Here is a review from Booklist: 
"It is one thing to read the lives of the saints, quite another to read about somebody who lives with the saints, who thinks about, researches, and calls upon certain saints regularly. Such a person is, today, a rarity. Such a person is GE-exec-turned-Jesuit James Martin, associate editor of the national Catholic weekly America, who details his introduction to and relationship with more than a dozen of his favorite haloed heroes in this book. They include Jude, patron saint of lost causes, whom Martin refers to as "the saint of the sock drawer" because that's where, when a young man, Martin kept a statuette of Jude; Ignatius Loyola, who inspired Martin to look for God in his daily life; and St. Joseph, whose quiet service to Christ motivates Martin. With wit and candor, Martin brings those and his other seemingly distant role models down to earth, citing instances from their biographies and, with deepest effectiveness, revealing his personal connection to each and how each has assisted his life." Donna Chavez - Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved.

Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan -- The Altar and the Confessional: A Pastoral Letter on the Sacrament of Penance

As promised, here is the link to the full text of Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan's letter about confession entitled The Altar and the Confessional: A Pastoral Letter on the Sacrament of Penance. It is a little long, but well worth a read.  Enjoy.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

New Mass Translation

Since we are studying the Mass in class, I’ve decided to provide some information on the new Mass translations that will take effect on the first Sunday of Advent (November 27, 2011).
This new Missal,officially the 3rd edition of the Roman Missal, will help us enter more deeply into the richness of the mystery we are celebrate in the Mass.

To be clear:  Mass is not changing. The order of the Mass will stay exactly the same, the priest and the people will be doing the exact some things.  The only thing changing is the phrasing of some prayers. We will actually be saying the same prayers – but many of them will be said in a new way, because we have a new translation of the (same) prayers from Latin.
Below I have provided a ton of really good information to help you better understand and prepare for the upcoming changes.

Material from the USCCB
USCCB - Homepage for all the changes (click around - there's a lot of really good info and articles)

Material from The Long Island Catholic (Really Good Articles) 
Third Edition of the Roman Missal by: Msgr. James McNamara
Something Beyond Ourselves by: Msgr. Joseph DeGrocco

Keeping the Lord’s Day Holy

As we start learning about the Eucharistic Celebration, I recommend reading this letter written by Archbishop Dolan last year about the importance of the Mass.

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Great Prayer

I came across this great prayer over the weekend.  It was written by Thomas Merton, a Catholic convert, Cistercian monk (Trappist), prevalent writer, and spirituality master. (bio here)
Prayer for Discerning God's Will
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think that I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this,
you will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.
There will I trust you always,
though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
                                                                   - Thomas Merton

Vocation Sunday

Sunday was the 48th World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

Vocation comes from the Latin “vocare” and means “called.”  Below are some items for reflection that relate to discerning one's vocations.

John Henry Cardinal Newman on Vocation:
“God has created me to do him some definitive service;
he has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another.”

Blessed John Paul II on his priestly Vocation:
“I  am often asked, especially by young people, why I became a priest.  Maybe some of you would like to ask the same question.  Let me try briefly to reply.  I must begin by saying that it is impossible to explain entirely.  For it remains a mystery, even to myself.  How does one explain the ways of God?  Yet, I know that, at a certain point in my life, I became convinced that Christ was saying to me what he had said to thousands before me: 'Come, follow me!'  There was a clear sense that what I heard in my heart was no human voice, nor was it just an idea of my own.  Christ was calling me to serve him as a priest.

And you can probably tell that I am deeply grateful to God for my vocation to the priesthood.  Nothing means more to me or gives me greater joy that to celebrate Mass each day and to serve God's people in the Church.  That has been true ever since the day of my ordination as a priest.  Nothing has ever changed this, not even becoming Pope."

Pope Benedict XVI's letter in honor of the World Day of Prayer for Vocation:

Friday, May 13, 2011

120th anniversary of Rerum Novarum

This Sunday is the 120th anniversary of Rerum Novarum, the encyclical of Pope Leo XIII that established modern Catholic social teaching and inspired subsequent popes to write on social and economic justice.

Below is the link to an article concerning the role of Rerum Novarum in today's world.

Here is an excerpt from the article:
“At a time when workers continue to struggle for decent wages and rights, panelists at a conference marking the 120th anniversary of the encyclical "Rerum Novarum" made clear that the letter on labor and the rights of workers holds important contemporary lessons.”

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sacrament Assignment

Click the link below for an article about Baptism written by Archbishop Timothy Dolan.  The article was written last May and appeared on the Archbishop's blog ("The Gospel in the Digital Age"). 

There is a reflection assignment at the end of the article .

Monday, May 9, 2011

Worth a Laugh

Jesuit headquarters in Rome, a statue of St. Ignatius Loyola with his words to St. Francis Xavier, before Xavier's great journey to Africa, India, Japan and China: "Ite Inflammate Omnia!" Go Set the World on Fire!

Behind the statue: a fire extinguisher. Awesome.

Definition of a Sacrament

"Sacraments are efficacious signs of God’s grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required disposition.”
 – CCC 1131

Feast Day of St. Pachomius - May 9th

Another First Trimester Flashback!!!

St. Pachomius was born about 292 in the Upeer Thebaid in Egypt and was inducted into the Emperor’s army as a twenty-year-old. The great kindness of Christians at Thebes toward the soldiers became embedded in his mind and led to his conversion after his discharge. After being baptized, he became a disciple of an anchorite, Palemon, and took the habit. The two of them led a life of extreme austerity and total dedication to God; they combined manual labor with unceasing prayer both day and night.

Later, Pachomius felt called to build a monastery on the banks of the Nile at Tabennisi; so about 318 Palemon helped him build a cell there and even remained with him for a while. In a short time some one hundred monks joined him and Pachomius organized them on principles of community living. So prevalent did the desire to emulate the life of Pachomius and his monks become, that the holy man was obliged to establish ten other monasteries for men and two nunneries for women. Before his death in 346, there were seven thousand monks in his houses, and his Order lasted in the East until the 11th century. St. Pachomius was the first monk to organize hermits into groups and write down a Rule for them. Both St. Basil and St. Benedict drew from his Rule in setting forth their own more famous ones. Hence, though St. Anthony is usually regarded as the founder of Christian monasticism, it was really St. Pachomius who began monasticism as we know it today.

above text taken from

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Christmas vs. Advent

In class this week we started discussing the liturgical calendar and the various Church seasons.  Below is an excerpt and link to an article written by Archbishop Timothy Dolan, about the old-school and new-school views of the Advent and Christmas Seasons. 

Here is an excerpt: 
"Some form of the Advent Debate usually goes on at every liturgy committee meeting, parish council or family kitchen table, with the "old timers" recalling the days when the celebration of Christmas began the evening of Dec. 24—not the day after Thanksgiving—and lasted until the Epiphany, and the other side telling us to "give-it-up" and admit the reality that Christmas starts at Thanksgiving and ends on Christmas Day." 

Video of John Paul II's Beatification

Here is a 2 minute clip of Pope Benedict XVI officially declaring Pope John Paul II beatified and the revealing of Blessed John Paul II's official portrait.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Rosary Provides Comfort at a Tense Moment

The New York Times is reporting that as U.S. military forces began their mission to kill or capture Osama bin Laden May 1, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. “fingered his rosary beads” in the Situation Room of the White House.

The Vice President, a Catholic, is said to carry his rosary with him at all times and recite it daily.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Responsing to the Death of Bin Laden

Today the Vatican's spokesman, Federico Lombardi, S.J., released this statement on the death of Osama Bin Laden.

"Osama bin Laden, as we all know, bore the most serious responsibility for spreading divisions and hatred among populations, causing the deaths of innumerable people, and manipulating religions for this purpose.

In the face of a man’s death, a Christian never rejoices, but reflects on the serious responsibilities of each person before God and before men, and hopes and works so that every event may be the occasion  for the further growth of peace and not of hatred."

Feast Day of St. Athanasius

First Semester Flashback!!!!!

St. Athanasius, the great champion of the Faith was born at Alexandria, about the year 296, of Christian parents. Educated under the eye of Alexander, later Bishop of his native city, he made great progress in learning and virtue. In 313, Alexander succeeded Achillas in the Patriarchal See, and two years later St. Athanasius went to the desert to spend some time in retreat with St. Anthony.

In 319, he became a deacon, and even in this capacity he was called upon to take an active part against the rising heresy of Arius, an ambitious priest of the Alexandrian Church who denied the Divinity of Christ. This was to be the life struggle of St. Athanasius.

In 325, he assisted his Bishop at the Council of Nicaea, where his influence began to be felt. Five months later Alexander died. On his death bed he recommended St. Athanasius as his successor. In consequence of this, Athanasius was unanimously elected Patriarch in 326.

His refusal to tolerate the Arian heresy was the cause of many trials and persecutions for St. Athanasius. He spent seventeen of the forty-six years of his episcopate in exile. After a life of virtue and suffering, this intrepid champion of the Catholic Faith, the greatest man of his time, died in peace on May 2, 373. St. Athanasius was a Bishop and Doctor of the Church.

above text taken from

Sunday, May 1, 2011

John Paul II is blessed!

Pope John Paul II was beatified today in a ceremony before 1.5 million pilgrims in Rome.

Here is an excerpt for Pope Benedict's address about the now Blessed John Paul II:
“By his witness of faith, love and apostolic courage, accompanied by great human charisma, this exemplary son of Poland helped believers throughout the world not to be afraid to be called Christian, to belong to the Church, to speak of the Gospel.”

Here is a link to the full text of Pope Benedict's Homily

Below are some articles on today's ceremony
Article 1 - CNA
Article 2 - Catholic Online
Article 3 - Catholic Online
Article 4 - America Magazine
Article written by Archbishop Timothy Dolan about being a "John Paul II Priest"