Sunday, April 29, 2012

Novena to St. Zita

Novena to St. Zita
(Feast Day April 27th)

Patron of domestic workers and maids.  St. Zita inspire us to take pride in our daily work and do it to the best of our abilities out of Love for God.  May we find Jesus in the most menial of tasks.  May we always embrace a spirit of obedience and charity as you did. Pray for us St. Zita that we may have a generous heart that gives even when we have little.  Place a trust in Jesus deep in our heart that we may never experience despair or loss of hope. Please carry the petitions we hold in our heart to Jesus on our behalf. Amen
(1 Our Father)
St. Zita

Today the children's rosary invites St. Zita to join our group.  We humbly ask her to pray with us and for us always.  The Lord has granted St. Zita an earthy body free from decay and incorrupt.  Her body is magnificently enshrined at the Church of St. Fediano in Lucca, Italy.

Story of  St. Zita
St. Zita worked for a the Fatinelli family.  She was often in charge of the baking. One day she had to leave the kitchen to tend to a person in need.  When her employers investigated they found angels baking the bread for her. Many celebrate her feast day by baking a loaf of bread. 

St. Zita is also commonly prayed to for assistance in finding lost keys.

School of Our Blessed Mother

The Children's Rosary blog follows in many ways the experiences encountered while enrolled in the School of Our Blessed Mother.  It is a school with no vacations.  At its center is Holy Mass.  The Blessed Mother is always pointing toward her Son. The more time spent in prayer to her leads us straight to Her Son present in the Holy Eucharist.  She calls us to become the living Church. As such our families are the lungs of the church.  When we are strong then are Church is strong.  Her remedy to strengthen families is family prayer. Within family prayer there is reading of scripture. She asks us to pray the Holy Rosary individually and also as a family.  The fruits of the rosary are many.  She herself said to St. Dominic that whoever shall faithfully serve me by the recitation of the rosary, shall receive signal graces.  She also promises special protection and the greatest graces to all those who shall recite the rosary.
Our Blessed Mother calls us to weekly fasting if possible and monthly confession.

Our Blessed Mother loves us and has patience with us as her children.  She waits for us.  She prays for us.  She intercedes before her Son for us.  We have only to call upon her assistance and she is there.  The school of Our Blessed Mother is one that graduates souls into Heaven.  May we all choose to enroll in it.  Amen

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Novena to St. Isidore the Farmer

Novena to St. Isidore the Farmer
(Feast May 15th)

St. Isidore you lived a humble life working the land.  You attended Holy Mass each morning which jeopardized the employment that allowed your family to eat.  The Lord repayed your Love by sending his angels to plow the fields while you were at Church.  Dear Isidore, ask Our Lord Jesus to place deep faith in our hearts and water it each day with your prayers that we may progress in holiness as you did.  Pray that as our heart grows in love and humility we may be a living sign of Jesus to those around us.  As a farmer who used his hands to bring forth nurishing food please ask Jesus to bless us with a bountiful harvest.  Pray that our hands and bodies will remain strong that we may farm the land God has given us.  Ask Jesus to care for our gardens as he tends our hearts.  Pray that weeds will be kept far from our fields and likewise give us an aversion to sin.  Humbly we ask that you carry the petitions we hold in our heart to our most loving and generous Lord. Amen

(1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary, 1 Glory Be)

St. Isidore's body remains incorrupt and is on display high above the main altar of the Cathedral of Madrid. We are beginning this novena today and ask St. Isidore to join our children's rosary.  We ask him to pray with us and for us!  As it is also spring and the trees have that wonderful green etherial color which only lasts  a short time, it is a time to sow seeds for our summer gardens.  We pray that through his intercession we may be blessed with a bountiful harvest this year.

Suffering is a Sign that I Am With You

Yesterday while I was saying my rosaries and prayers I found my mind wandering and felt a physical tiredness which made deep prayer difficult.  I felt the Lord needed my prayers in a special way but seemed unable to give him true heart felt prayers.  I hoped that even though much of my prayers were more my mouth moving than my heart, that the effort to say them none the less had some value.
Kostin, my seven year old son and I set out this morning for 8AM daily Mass.  He was running ahead and I was in prayer.  My head was down and I thought that I was looking at the sidewalk but with out any warning my right ankle twisted sharply.  I nearly fell and turning around there was a large chunk of wood that I had clearly stepped squarely on.  I felt as though my ankle touched the ground and for someone with my genetic problem with joints this could be catastrophic.  My first thought was to tell Jesus I loved Him.  I told Him, I love You if this is a horrible injury and I love You if there is a small injury.  These words came from deep inside my heart.  The fear that confronted me hurdled me next to Jesus.  It was as though I went from a mile away to standing right beside Him.  I could feel the closeness in my heart.  I was praying with my whole being and I could feel His presence and Love.  I repeated, Jesus I trust in you and a peace entered inside of me.  Fear left me and joy was there.  The words Jesus spoke to St. Faustina played in my head “Suffering is a sign that I am with you”.  He had in one second taken hold of my soul and pulled it in close to His.  It was a wonderful place to be.  I could appreciate with all my being that suffering is a gift from God.  What hours of prayer had been unable to bring, suffering coupled with prayer and trust had done in one instant.

Jesus tells us:
“there is no way to heaven except the way of the cross. I followed it first. You must learn that it is the shortest way.... I am giving you a share in those sufferings because of My special love for you and in view of the high degree of holiness I am intending for you in Heaven. A suffering soul is closer to My heart.” (Words spoken by Jesus to St. Faustina diary 1487)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Novena to Fr. Patrick Peyton

Novena to Fr. Patrick Peyton
Fr. Patrick Peyton

Fr. Peyton you spent your life on earth working for families.  You brought the rosary into homes and into hearts.  Through your devotion to the Blessed Mother many families came to seek the intercession of Our Lady.  We ask for your prayers that our family will become a chapel where we pray.  Obtain for us the grace that every family will become a prayer group in front of the Cross.  May we experience a renewal of family prayer and may that spread across our tired world.  May our broken families be mended with the Love of Our Mother and her Son Jesus.  We humbly ask that you will carry the petitions we hold in our hearts to Our Blessed Mother and Her Son who cares for each one of us. 

We pray to Jesus that Fr. Peyton will soon be counted among our Saints. Amen
1 Hail Mary

Please see the post: Families that pray together stay together for background on this priest who (God Willing) is on the road to becoming A Patron Saint for Our Families.

The Family that Prays Together Stays Together

"The Family that Prays Together Stays Together"
Did you grow up hearing that phrase? I did.  Although, I never knew who coined the phrase.  While searching for something else I found out who said it.  Fr. Patrick Peyton of the Congregation of Holy Cross.  He is currently being considered for beatification.  On June 28th 2011 the tribunal reviewing the possible miracle for his beatification had its closing liturgy in Albany, NY USA.  The miracle attributed to his intercession was a man cured of multiple organ failure. 
Father Peyton was born in Ireland in 1909.  He grew up in a devote family and prayed the Holy Rosary with his parents and siblings.  At the age of 19 he moved to Scranton Pa USA.  Four years later he entered the seminary. While still a seminarian he became very ill and was diagnosed with advanced tuberculosis.  Patrick began to pray to the Blessed Mother and miraculously all illness left him and the patches on his lung disappeared.  Feeling that his healing was through the intercession of his heavenly mother. Patrick then committed his life to the Blessed Mother. After becoming a priest in 1941 he was assigned as Chaplain of the Holy Cross Brothers in Albany NY and started a group called the Family Rosary.  He began a lifelong mission to advocate for the family and spread devotion to the Rosary.    He felt that one strengthened the other.  He became known as “The Rosary Priest”.  

Fr. Peyton at a Rosary Rally
He was a pioneer in using radio and film to spread these messages and inspired many Hollywood actors to help him such as Bob Hope, Natale Wood, Jimmy Stewart, Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly to name a few. He traveled the world leading “Rosary Rallies” which attracted crowds in the millions.  In 1992 he passed away leaving a legacy of more than 600 radio and TV programs spreading his message.  
Reading about Father Peyton a feeling comes that stumbling upon this great man was no accident.  The work the children’s rosary is doing is an extension of the early work he did.  We are continuing where he left off.  Fr. Peyton also said, “A world at prayer is a world at peace”.  
Tonight I would like to invite Fr. Peyton to join the children’s rosary and pray with us and for us.  The following novena will also be said for the next 9 days asking for his intercession. 
Novena to Fr. Patrick Peyton

Fr. Peyton you spent your life on earth working for families.  You brought the rosary into homes and into hearts.  Through your devotion to the Blessed Mother many families came to seek the intercession of Our Lady.  We ask for your prayers that our family will become a chapel where we pray.  Obtain for us the grace that every family will become a prayer group in front of the Cross.  May we experience a renewal of family prayer and may that spread across our tired world.  May our broken families be mended with the Love of Our Mother and her Son Jesus.  We humbly ask that you will carry the petitions we hold in our hearts to Our Blessed Mother and Her Son who cares for each one of us. 

We pray to Jesus that Fr. Peyton will soon be counted among our Saints. Amen
1 Hail Mary

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

In Want of Love

Have you ever woken up and as your children come down the stairs for school every little thing seems to annoy you.  The littlest thing seems to bring unkind feelings up.  It is a struggle not to snap at them.  You go to Church and pray that the Lord will replace your heart with His.  You pray that more love will exist in your heart especially for your family.  Do you also have days where your children come down missing their uniform, hair a mess and with patience in your voice you tell them to brush their hair and get dressed.  Today was one of those days when the Lord put so much love in my heart.  A priest once told me to love is a decision.  I believe this advice and try to decide for love every day although not always successfully.  However, there are times despite our lowliness that the Lord pours His love in our hearts and it is just there from the moment you awake.  The first reading today seemed in some way to explain this to me as I sat there thankful that I felt like a good mother today when so often I feel quite the opposite.
“Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experience of suffering is required of your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish, and strengthen you".(1 Peter 5:8-10)
As I have shared in earlier posts I struggle many days wishing and praying for more love in my heart especially for my children.  Some comes naturally and some does not.  I pray daily for this gift.  When it seems that I must struggle through these experiences in want of love I think of a quote I recently read. 
It often happens that we pray God to deliver us from some dangerous temptation, and yet God does not hear us but permits the temptation to continue troubling us. In such a case, let us understand that God permits even this for our greater good. When a soul in temptation recommends itself to God, and by His aid resists, O how it then advances in perfection.
-- St. Alphonsus Liguori
Today being on the other side of the temptation if only for one day the joy, peace and love in my heart was so much that I thanked God for all the trials that lead up to today.  There seemed to be so much wisdom in all that occurred days, weeks and years before.  Without each trial the sweetness of the moment I felt today would not have been so precious.  It is a mystery to me how life unfolds but I hold firm in the faith that the Lord and His Mother will accompany me at every step.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Incorruptibles

The Incorruptible Saints

On Divine Mercy Sunday, after giving out many Bibles at both the children’s rosary and the Divine Mercy Celebration we went to dinner with my mother.  We met at the travelers restaurant.  It is an unusual place in that when you go to have dinner each person is allowed to choose 3 books from the wall free.  The books are largely donated from libraries in the area and are usually rather old.  As we were waiting for our food I began to peruse the books.  As we had just finished 170 novenas to saints I was hoping to find a book on Saints to help provide more saints for us to invite to join the children’s rosary group.  As I looked down this one row I saw the words Incorruptibles.  My heart seemed to stop for a moment.  Could the title really be referring to the bodies of the saints.  A closer look proved to confirm it was a book about the incorruptible Saints.  I was ecstatic.  My husband brought it back to the table and on opening it the binding cracked and the pages became loose.  It truly was meant for me as I have a hard time holding and opening books with my hands and often have my husband intentionally break a books bindings so I can hold small parts of the book.  There was a wonderful list of saints and background reading on each saint.  I would like to include the list of saints here for your benefit.
Incorrupt body of St. Bernadette
The author of this book, Joan Carroll Cruz,  provides wonderful background into natural mummification or intentional mummification.  Both processes she explains without exception leave bodies no more than shriveled specimens, always rigid and extremely dry.  Most of the incorruptibles, however, are neither dry nor rigid but quite moist and flexible, even after the passage of centuries. Their preservation has occurred despite conditions which would encourage putrefaction.

The author provides three examples where lime was intentionally placed within caskets of St. Francis Xavier, St. John of the Cross and St Pascal Baylon to speed up the destruction of their bodies. In all three cases the bodies did not decay.  In the case of St. Francis despite amputation of his members for relics, rough treatment of the body and a grave too small to accommodate its normal length the body was beautiful 142 years later and still remains flexible.  

St. Zita
The main factor that encourages dissolution is moisture yet some of the saints were kept in wet conditions without an effect on their body. St. Catherine of Genoa lay in a grave for 13 months and was found perfectly spotless in spite of a damp and decayed shroud. St. Madeleine Sophie Barat was perfectly preserved 28 years after burial in wet and mildewed garments. The casket was significantly decayed but not her body.
While I was at Mass this past week the priest read this prayer after communion:
Look with kindness upon your people, O Lord, and grant, we pray, that those you were pleased to renew by eternal mysteries may attain in their flesh the incorruptible glory of the resurrection.  Through Christ Our Lord. Amen”  
After saying the prayer the priest repeated one portion “incorruptible glory of the resurrection”.  He seemed to be pondering these words in his head. Hearing the word incorruptible my mind went right to the Saints and the book I was reading.  In the context of this book one can see that those whom have followed our Lord Jesus through their life have enjoyed within their bodies an incorruptible glory.  Some of the Saints on this list have already been invited to join the children’s rosary by a 9 day novena.  Those who have not been invited to join our group I am committed to inviting.  In the weeks ahead I would like to spotlight many of these saints in their own blog entry.
Incorrupt body of St. Vincent DePaul
List of Incorrupt Saints:
St. Agatha
St Etheldreda
St Cuthbert
St Werburgh
St Guthlac
St Withburga
St. Alphege of Canterbury
St. Romuald
St Coloman
St Edward the Confessor
St Waltheof
St Ubald of Gubbio
St Idesbald
St. Benezet
St. Hugh of Lincoln
Bl. Bertrand of Garrigua
St. Edmund Rich of Canterbury
St. Rose of Viterbo
St. Serandia
St. Albert the Great
St. Margaret of Cortona
Bl James de Blanconibus
St. Nicholas of Tolentino
Bl. Peter Ghigenzi
Bl Angelo of Borgo San Seplcro
St Clare of Montefalco
St. Agnes of Montepulciano
Bl Mattia Nazzarei of Matelica
Bl Margaret of Metola
Bl John of Chiaramonte
St. Peregrine Laziosi
Bl Sibyllina Biscossi
St Catherine of Siena
St Herculanus of Peigaro
St Rita of Cacia
St Antoninus
Bl Anthony Vici
St. Didacus of Alcala
St Catherine of Bologna
Bl Margaret of Savoy
Bl Eustochia of Padua
Bl Anthony Bonfadini
Bl Eustochia Calafato
Bl Bernard Scammacca
Bl Arcangela Girlani
Bl Osanna of Mantua
St. Catherine of Genoa
Bl Margaret Lorraine
St. Anthony Maria Zaccaria
St. Angela Merici
Bl Lucy of Narni
St John of God
St. Francis Xavier
St Stanislaus Kostka
Bl Mary Bagnesi
St Louis Bertrand
St. Teresa of Avila
St Charles Borromeo
Ven. Catalina de Cristo
St. Benedict the Moor
St Catherine dei Ricci
St. John of the Cross
Bl. Alphonsus de Orozco
St. Pascal Baylon
St. Philip Neri
St. Germaine Cousin
St. Mary Magdalen de' Pazzi
Saint Camillus de Lellis
Ven John of Jesus Mary
Saint Rose of Lima
Ven. Maria Vela
St. Francis de Sales
St. Josaphat
Ven Mother Maria of Jesus
St. Jeanne de Lestonnac
ST. Jane Frances de Chantal
St. John Southworth
St. Andrew Bobola
St. Vincent de Paul
St. Pacifico of Fan Severino
St. Veronica Giuliani
St. Lucy Filippini
St. Teresa margaret of the Sacred Heart
Saint Julie Billiart
Bl. Anna maria Taigi
St. Vincent Pallotti
Bl. Rose Philippine Duchesne
St. Jean-Marie-Baptiste Vianney
St. Madeleine Sophie Barat
St. Peirre Julien Eymard
St. Catherine Laboure
St. Bernadette Soubirous
Bl. Paula Frassinetti
Bl. Charbel Makhlouf
Bl Maria Assunta Pallotta

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Call

Caitlin McEntee, one of the members of the children's rosary, leaves this week to follow a call she has felt in her heart.  She left her job last week in Connecticut to travel across the country to a small monastery on Shaw Island.  This Island is part of Washington State, USA. She is doing a monastic internship for 1 year at Our Lady of the Rock Monastery which is run by Benedictine Nuns.  If God will it she hopes that this year of prayer will lead her to a life consecrated to Jesus.

Our Lady of the Rock Monastery on Shaw Island
Caitlin has been an active member of our children's rosary group.  She has said many novenas to Saints for our children's rosary group and recruited many new members who have also joined in our prayers for renewal of family prayer.  Although she is a gifted orator and singer she in her humility often chooses to do the work behind the scenes. Although Caitlin is 26 years old there is a child-like innocence about her.  Children love being around her and she absolutely brings out the best in my children.

Our Lady of the Rock Monastery
As one would expect, moving toward a consecrated life is fraught with spiritual attacks.  She has suffered greatly this year as she moves forward with her goal.  Bouts of feelings of inadequacy continually snapped at her spirit.  I share these struggles for the sake of those reading who are also discerning a vocation.  It is a difficult road but one with beautiful rewards.  Caitlin has held strong with her rosaries in hand all year and Our Blessed Mother has guided her through.  Caitlin is a beautiful example to all the members of the children's rosary especially our younger members that we can say yes to the invitation to follow Jesus.  I ask those of you who are reading this to keep her in your prayers as she follows the call to a vocation.
Farm at Our Lady of the Rock Monastery
If you want to read more about this Monastery or the Monastic Internship see link below
Dear Caitlin, as you set out to an unfamiliar place far from family and friends know that you are in the hearts of all those at St. Thomas and you are included in the prayers of our Children's rosary each day.

Why do we make the Sign of the Cross?

St. Bernadette
Today at Mass as the children and I were leaving we saw Connor, one of the members of our children's rosary.  We first waved at him and then said hello.  He pointed at me and then said something.  Not hearing what he said I moved a bit closer.  I then heard the word amen.  He then began to make the sign of the cross and again said amen as he finished.  Connor is a wonderfully happy boy with Downes Syndrome.  He is a greeter for the 10:30 Mass on Sunday.  Today it was wonderful to see him.  The time he took to place his hand across himself and the joy in his face as he did it was a beautiful witness of the power of this act of consecration.   As he repeatedly made the sign of the cross I began to remember words I had heard a long time ago.  They were words originally spoken by St. Bernadette when she was asked how one gets to heaven.  She responded, start with making the sign of the cross.

As Saint Bernadette had learned how to make the sign of the cross from Our Lady, Bernadette converted many souls who saw her make the sign of the cross.  Many were brought to tears.  In a recent article by Bert Ghezzi he lists six ways that making the sign of the cross opens Catholics to life changing graces:
First, let’s sign ourselves professing our faith in God.
Second, let’s mark our selves remembering that we died with Christ in baptism.
Third, let’s make the sign to declare that we belong to Christ and that we will obey him.
Fourth, let’s sign ourselves to embrace whatever suffering comes and to celebrate our suffering with Christ for the Church.
Fifth, let’s make the sign of the cross as a defense against the devil and as an offensive advance of God’s kingdom against him.
Sixth, let’s make it to crucify our flesh and to put on Christ and his behaviors. 
Pope Benedict XVI makes the sign of the cross
Full article "Why Catholics Make the sign of the cross"

Friday, April 20, 2012

How To Begin Family Prayer

May I humbly share how our family has approached family prayer.
The best way to begin family prayer is to assemble the whole family.  If only for a few minutes bring everyone together.  At the heart of family prayer is scripture.  The children’s rosary has been giving out read aloud Children’s Bibles .  These are wonderful as they are compiled in a way that makes reading the stories easy and relatively brief.  The Bible we use also has two questions at the end of each story which allow for the children to become more interactive.  Our family reads 2 stories per night. 

The next relatively essential part of night prayer is prayers of petition by each person.  We have by example shown our children that these prayers are not meant for ourselves but other people or family members.  Despite what has gone on during the day, there is a healing of the family that occurs when you hear your children or spouse pray for you.  So often I will lose my temper with the children during the day but yet at night they pray for me.  Hearing them pray for me after I have disciplined them seems to heal any misunderstandings or disagreements we may have.  No matter what has happened they still care about us and we care about them. The next piece to night prayer may include an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be.  This is not essential but merely a suggestion.  When I began adding prayers to our family night prayer, I began with prayers that they would need to learn for the rosary.  This seemed to work out well.  Later after months of night prayer it became much easier to teach them the rosary when they already knew most of the prayers.
One thing I have learned from being in the school of Our Blessed Mother is that she always takes things slowly.  She does not expect us to change our lives over night.  Begin small but do it faithfully.  If I may humbly suggest a starting point a family could:
  • Read 1 or 2 Bible stories
  • Say 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary, 1 Glory Be together
  • Each person individually pray aloud for their petitions

Nice additions to family prayer include having a crucifix present during prayer.  Many graces are available to families who pray at the foot of the Cross. Also place your Bible in a visible place in your home.
Additional prayers that we say during our night prayer include:
  • Children’s Prayer to Mary
  • Fatima prayer
  • Vocation prayer 

Our Father
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day, our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Hail Mary
Hail Mary, full of grace; the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Glory Be
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.
Children's Prayer to Mary
Children’s Prayer to Mary
Dear Mother of Jesus,
look down upon me
As I say my prayers slowly
at my mother's knee.
I love thee, O Lady 
and please willest thou bring
All little children
To Jesus our King.

Fatima Prayer
Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell and lead all souls into heaven, especially those in most need of thy mercy.  Amen.
Vocation Prayer
Loving God we pray that more young people will be touched by your grace and say yes to your invitation to follow Jesus by becoming priests, brothers, and sisters.  We ask this through Christ our Lord .Amen
Advice about prayer from Our beloved Saints:
What prayer could be more true before God the Father than that which the Son, who is Truth, uttered with His own lips? (Saint John Chrysostom)
"Have confidence in prayer. It is the unfailing power which God has given us. By means of it you will obtain the salvation of the dear souls whom God has given you and all your loved ones." Ask and you shall receive," Our Lord said. Be yourself with the good Lord." (Saint Peter Julian Eymard)
My daughter...why do you not tell me about everything that concerns you, even the smallest details? Tell Me about everything, and know that this will give Me great joy. I answered, But You know about everything, Lord." And Jesus replied to me, "Yes I do know; but you should not excuse yourself with the fact that I know, but with childlike simplicity talk to Me about everything, for my ears and heart are inclined towards you, and your words are dear to Me. (St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in my Soul)