Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Month of October is Dedicated to the Rosary

The Month of October is dedicated to the Rosary.  The practice of the rosary dates back to 1106 when Mary reportedly appeared to St. Dominic and gave him the rosary as a weapon against the heretics of the time.  Saints and Popes have extolled the devotion to the Holy Rosary.

"Give me an army saying the Rosary and I will conquer the world."
-Saint Pope Pius IX

"The Rosary is my favourite prayer. A marvellous prayer! Marvellous in its simplicity and in its depth. . .the simple prayer of the Rosary beats the rhythm of human life."
Pope John Paul II.

"Never will anyone who says his Rosary every day be led astray. This is a statement that I would gladly sign with my blood."
Saint Louis de Montfort

“Just as two friends, frequently in each other’s company, tend to develop similar habits, so too, by holding familiar converse with Jesus and the Blessed Virgin, by meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary and by living the same life in Holy Communion, we can become, to the extent of our lowliness, similar to them and can learn from these supreme models a life of humility, poverty, hiddenness, patience and perfection.”
-Blessed Bartolo Longo

“To recite the Rosary is nothing other than to contemplate with Mary the face of Christ.” Rosarium Virginius Mariae, Pope John Paul II Oct 16 2002

Important Feasts and Events in October

October 1st: St. Theresa of Lisieux
October 2nd: Guardian Angels
October 4th: St. Francis of Assisi
October 5th  St. Faustina 
October 7th: Our Lady of the Holy Rosary
October 11th: The beginning of the Year of Faith
October 13th: St. Edward the Confessor
October 22nd: Bl. John Paul II

Intentions of the Holy Father for the Month of October

General Intention: New Evangelization. That the New Evangelization may progress in the oldest Christian countries.Missionary Intention: World Mission Day. That the celebration of World Mission Day may result in a renewed commitment to evangelization. 

Chaplet of St. Michael

The chaplet was given to Antonia D'Astonac by St. Michael in an apparition.  To all who recite the nine salutations every day in his honor, before receiving Holy communion, he promised that an angel of each of the nine choirs would accompany them to the altar. He also promised his continual assistance and that of all the holy angels during life, and after death, and deliverance of their soul and their relatives' souls from Purgatory.
The Chaplet is begun by saying an Act of Contrition(see at bottom of page for prayer) followed by:
V. O God come to my assistance.
R. O Lord, Make haste to help me. Glory be to the Father...
First Salutation: One our Father and three Hail Mary's in honor of the first Choir of Angels. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Seraphim, may the Lord make me worthy to burn with the fire of perfect charity. Amen.
Second Salutation: One our Father and three Hail Mary's in honor of the second Choir of Angels. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Cherubim, may the Lord vouchsafe to grant us grace to leave the ways of wickedness and run in the paths of Christian perfection. Amen.
Third Salutation: One our Father and three Hail Mary's in honor of the third Choir of Angels. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Thrones, may the Lord infuse into our hearts a true and sincere spirit of humility. Amen.
Fourth Salutation: One our Father and three Hail Mary's in honor of the fourth Choir of Angels. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Dominions, may the Lord give us grace to govern our senses and subdue our unruly passions. Amen.
Fifth Salutation: One our Father and three Hail Mary's in honor of the fifth Choir of Angels. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Powers, may the Lord vouchsafe to protect our souls against the snares and temptation of the devil. Amen.
Sixth Salutation: One our Father and three Hail Mary's in honor of the sixth Choir of Angels. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Virtues, may the Lord preserve us from evil, and suffer us not to fall into temptation. Amen.
Seventh Salutation: One our Father and three Hail Mary's in honor of the seventh Choir of Angels. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Principalities, may God fill our souls with a true spirit of obedience. Amen.
Eighth Salutation: One our Father and three Hail Mary's in honor of the eighth Choir of Angels. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Archangels, may the Lord give us perseverance in faith and in all good works, in order that we gain the glory of Paradise. Amen.
Ninth Salutation: One our Father and three Hail Mary's in honor of the eighth Choir of Angels. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Angels, may the Lord grant us to be protected by them in this mortal life and conducted hereafter to eternal glory. Amen.
At the end say one Our Father each in honor of  St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael, and Our Guardian Angel.
The chaplet is concluded with these prayers
O glorious Prince St. Michael, chief and commander of the heavenly hosts, guardian of soul, vanquisher of rebel spirits, servant in the house of the Divine King, and our admirable conductor, thou who dost shine with excellence and superhuman virtue, vouchsafe to deliver us from all evil who turn to thee with confidence and enable us by the gracious protection to serve God more and more faithfully every day.
V. Pray for us, O Glorious St. Michael, Prince of the Church of Jesus Christ.
R. That we may be made worthy of His Promises.
Almighty and Everlasting God, Who by an act of Goodness and a merciful desire for the salvation of all men, has appointed the most glorious Archangel St. Michael, Prince of Thy Church, make us worthy, we beseech You, to be delivered by his powerful protection from all our enemies, that none of them may harass us at the hour of death, but that we may be conducted by him into the august presence of Thy Divine Majesty. This we beg through the merits of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayers of the Chaplet:
An Act of Contrition
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins because of thy just punishment, but most of all because they offend Thee my God who are all-good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin. Amen
The Lord's Prayer
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.
The Hail Mary
Hail Mary, full of grace! the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of they womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Feast of St. Michael, St. Gabriel, and St. Raphael

Sept 29th is the Feast of the Three Archangels.
The Three Archangels with Tobias
Our knowledge of the angels comes from many sources.  The first of which is Sacred Scriptures which are infallible.  We also know a great deal about Angels from Saints.

St. Michael 
The name Michael means, "Who is like to God?" St. Michael is considered the patron saint and protector of the Church. St. Michael and the good angels are credited with driving satan from Heaven into the realms of Hell.

"Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him." Revelations 12:7-9

St. Gabriel
St. Gabriel first appears in the book of Daniel and refers to St. Michael as a Prince.  St. Gabriel is also the angel who appears to Mary during the Annunciation.

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” 
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.” 
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. (Luke 1:26-38)

St. Raphael
St. Raphael means health or medicine of God.  His intercession is often sought for healing or protection during travel.  In the book of Tobias there is an account of the angel Raphael.

One of the daily devotions that I have is to St. Michael and all of the choirs angels.  It is my daily practice to say the Chaplet of St. Michael while I walk to Mass.  Before I start the Chaplet I ask St. Michael and all the angels to protect myself, my family, all members of the children's rosary and all priests in the Church collective from satan and all the evil spirits.  I also ask them to protect me from injury either from my self or from other people unless God wills me to be injured and then I ask them to pray that I may accept it with love.  (The reason I ask for protection from injury is that I have a genetic condition where I dislocate joints frequently.  Sometimes I accidentally injure myself).  On days when I am unable to say the chaplet I find by the end of the day I have been under stronger temptations to lose my temper or do something during the day that I feel badly about.  When I reflect on those times of greatest temptation to sin they have been days when I have failed to say the chaplet.  I also feel in a special way the chaplet has allowed the virtue of humility to grow within myself.  This is something I continue to struggle with but I am thankful to the angels who through the Chaplet of St. Michael intercede before the Lord to infuse a sincere spirit of humility within my heart.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Great Movie About St. Vincent de Paul

Today is the Feast of St. Vincent de Paul.  Several weeks ago the children and I rented the movie Monsier Vincent.  We have been limiting television time for the children and I have all but given up regular TV but my husband still loves to watch a good movie.  In looking through various movies about saints I happened upon this one.  The movie had received an Oscar in 1948 for best foreign film and is on the Vatican Best Films List.

When the movie arrived we popped it in and the kids gathered round.  It was then that I realized the movie was in French with English subtitles.  It is also in black and white.  Even though Alina age 12 and Kostin age 8 can read they aren't able to keep up with the speed of subtitles. So I filled in as the narrator.  The movie is a riveting story of St. Vincent De Paul.  This man of humble beginnings finds he has gained the favor of many influential people of his time.  However, upon self reflection he decides to leave a life of comfort to live amongst the poorest of the poor.  In a time of plague he risks his own safety for those rejected from society.

While we were only able to see the first half of the movie before bed what impressed me was how captivated the children were with this man.  It has been several weeks since we saw the first half and almost daily the children ask if we can watch the rest.  As the Feast of St. Vincent de Paul approached the thought came that maybe we should watch the last part on his Feast.  Today being the Feast of St. Vincent de Paul we are hoping to gather round this evening and give ourselves an inspirational gift by watching the life of this Holy Saint.

The children and I give this movie our highest recommendation. **** (Four Stars)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Favorite Quotes by St. Padre Pio

Feast Day Sept 23rd
"Prayer is the oxygen of the soul."
“Joy, with peace, is the sister of charity. Serve the Lord with laughter. ” 

"Let us bind ourselves tightly to the Sorrowful Heart of our Heavenly Mother 
and reflect on it's boundless grief and how precious is our soul." 

"Always remain close to the Catholic Church, because it alone can give you true peace, since it alone possesses Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, the true Prince of Peace." 

"You must speak to Jesus also with the heart, besides with the lips; indeed, in certain cases you must speak to Him only with the heart."
"Jesus said to me; 'How many times would you have abandoned Me, my son, if I had not crucified you. Beneath the cross, one learns love, and I do not give this to everyone, but only to those souls who are dearest to Me."
"Oh, how precious time is!  Blessed are those who know how to make good use of it.  Oh, if only all could understand how precious time is, undoubtedly everyone would do his best to spend it in a praiseworthy manner!"

Padre Pio led an intense spiritual life, full of both suffering and mysticism. From this he said,
"In order to attract us, the Lord grants us many graces that we believe can easily obtain Heaven for us. We do not know, however, that in order to grow, we need hard bread: the cross, humiliation, trials and denials."

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Led by the Hands of a Child

This week Fr. Tucker was gracious enough to offer to come to our Parish in Connecticut  from New York to give a prayer workshop.  Fr. Tucker visited our Parish this summer on a mission weekend and we stayed in-touch.  Fr. Tucker held his workshops in parishioners homes.  One of the members of our children’s rosary and our adult daily rosary, Sean had commented on a number occasions how much he enjoyed Fr. Tucker’s Masses when he visited our Church this summer.  When I told him about the workshops he seemed very interested but said he doubted he could come because he would be away.  When he returned from his trip well in advance of the workshops I again invited him.  This time he said he was hesitant because he worried he would be the only man there. I tried to reassure him that there would be many men there.  Something didn’t make sense.  Sean would go on and on about Fr. Tucker and how special he was but he did not seem to want to come to the workshop.  Normally if someone doesn’t seem interested I don’t persist in inviting them.  But with Sean it was different.  Last week during our daily rosary after Mass an idea entered into my mind.  Sean didn’t want to come to the workshop at my house because he is blind and he has never been to my house.  He was afraid to go to a new place alone.  At the end of the rosary I said to Sean I know why you don’t want to go to the workshop you are scared.  He said yes you are right.  I reminded Sean of my disability with my hands and how I always need someone to help me with everything.  Sean smiled and said he would come to the workshop.  However,  several more times as the week progressed Sean seemed to lose courage and would waiver as to whether he would be there.  The day of the workshop after Mass I told Sean do not worry I am going to have my eight year old son by your side to help you.  That seemed to seal the deal.  At 6:30 Sean arrived on time.  His daughter was dropping him off.  My son Kostin ran right to Sean’s side.  He took Sean’s hand and put it in his.  It was a beautiful sight to see Sean who stands quite tall led by tiny Kostin. As Kostin slowly and carefully led Sean safely across the lawn and up the front walk, Sean was smiling ear to ear.  He held tight to Kostin as they made their way up the steps and into the house.  

As a person with a disability that has left my hands weak due to a genetic problem with my joints I have to constantly rely on people for help.  There are certain things I feel embarrassed asking for help.  Yet with children there is a comfort among them.  The difference I realized is that children don’t judge you.  They love being helpful and useful.  They don’t wonder why you are asking them for help instead they are thrilled to be included.

Thinking of Sean and how a little child had broken down the barrier that stood between him and meeting Jesus in a deeper way that night.  I realized why Jesus calls us to be like children.

"Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 8:3-4).

Thinking about this more I now realize why Our Lady and her Son formed the Children’s Rosary.  The children will come forward to help where they are needed.  They won’t ask why but instead joyfully bring families back to prayer.  Through the prayers of small children many others will follow.  Those who were reluctant to join a prayer group will find comfort and acceptance among children.  When children come together to pray they will not wonder why you came to join them only that they are thrilled that you are there.  

Our Lady and her Son have gone to our Children to lead us back to prayer and to the Heart of Jesus.

There is a feeling that comes...Our Lady has not meant the blessings of the Children's Rosary to remain in one Parish.  She means them to exist in many Parishes across the Globe.  It is my prayer this night that those reading this will feel inspired to begin a children's rosary where they live.

In the coming days and weeks there will be more postings outlining how one begins a children's rosary in their Parish.

If you have any interest in starting a Children's Rosary in your Parish please contact

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Prayer to Our Lady of Sorrows by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

Prayer to Our Lady of Sorrows 
by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

I compassionate thee, O most sorrowful Mother! 
Thy heart was pierced with a sword of grief 
when Simeon foretold to thee in the Temple 
the ignominious death and the desolation of thy Divine and most dear Son, 
which thou wert destined one day to witness. 
By the great anguish of thy suffering heart, 
O gracious Queen of the universe, 
impress upon my mind, 
in life and in death, 
the sacred Passion of Jesus and thine own sorrows.

Patience When Answering the Call

Today while walking home from confession my eight year old son asked me if there was a particular school one has to go to become a priest.  I told him yes it is called a seminary.  He asked if he could enter that school now.  I told him unfortunately you have to graduate from high school first.  He asked when that would be and I told him he would be 18 years old.  To Kostin who is only 8 years old this seemed like a lifetime.  Well actually it is a lifetime to him as it is more time then he has actually be alive.  He said in a pleading voice that he wants to enter that school now as he so much wants to be a priest.  This is not the first time Kostin has expressed an interest in becoming a priest.  He has been talking about it since he was 6 but this summer he has become decided on it.

He has mentioned to me in the past that he is worried he will forget how much he wants to be a priest when he is old enough to become a priest.  Today as we walked home I suggested he write a letter to himself which we will seal and have him open when he is 18.  When we got home Kostin began writing and drawing.  He told me part of what he wanted to write was a picture.  Part of the picture would have a sun with an arrow pointing to it.  When I came back in the room the letter and picture were done and he had made an envelope already with a piece of paper.  He put the letter in and sealed it with tape.  He was very private about what was inside but he was purposeful and decided about it whatever it contains.  Kostin's experiences seem to be paralleling those of a dear friend who is also a member of the children's rosary.  She, however is 26 year old.  Her pursuits to find an order of nuns to join have not been fruitful.  She has found it difficult to find where she fits but inside her heart there is a deep longing to consecrate herself to Jesus.  She shares with me the pain that waiting brings.  To find fulfillment each day is a struggle when your heart seems to be calling you to a vocation.  Caitlin and Kostin share another thing, they both have a child's spirit.  Both are innocent to the world in many ways and look to the Lord for guidance in all that they do.  The struggles that they experience remind me of poor St. Rita who for years tried to enter a covenant after her husband died.  It was not until she was miraculously transported within the walks of a convent that she was finally accepted.  St. Faustina, too, experienced rejection from the first covenants that she tried to enter.

I pondered today on the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows why Our Lord places in certain hearts a burning desire to join Him in a consecrated life yet also commands them to wait, in some cases years.  I then think of His dear Blessed Mother who He loved beyond imagining and yet she herself had her heart pieced seven times.  Could it be that those chosen souls who are given the gift of suffering and longing are meant to reside in a special place in the Heart of Jesus.

Honoring Our Lady of Sorrows
Graces given to those who honor the sorrows of Mary
Litany to Our Lady of Sorrows

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Feast of The Most Blessed Name of Mary

The devils revealed to Francis of Yepes, the brother of St. John of the Cross, that three things especially tormented them.  The first is the name of Jesus; the second, the name of Mary; and the third, the Brown scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

The Feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary was yesterday. It falls shortly after the Feast of the Nativity of Mary, just as the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus falls shortly after Christmas.

There is something I have been refecting on this summer that I have been waiting to share until the Feast of the Most Blessed Name of Mary.   Twice at Mass this summer two different priests said Our Lady's Name.  As I heard Our Blessed Mother's Name said by the priest the most tender feelings entered my Heart for Our Lady.  I have been thinking about this for some time.  There was something profounding special when the priest said Our Blessed Mother's name.  It does not surprise me as our priests are her Son's representatives on earth.  It is tuely awesome in the true sense of the word how much Our Lady must love priests and when they say her name, love cannot help but well up in the souls of the people hearing it spoken.

Last night I was taking a walk at sunset with my rosary.  I was thinking to write something on the Blog about the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary. I was contemplating the experience I shared above, however,  I asked Mary to help inspire me as to how she wanted to be remembered on this feast.  Minutes later I turned the corner.  There was a lovely couple walking who I have seen walking their dogs for years.  We see each other at Church and often wave.  I had no idea where they lived but figured it was somewhere in the area.  The thought entered my mind to invite them to the prayer workshop with Fr. Tucker we were having next week.  I paused for one second but then something inside pushed me forward.  I said hello and invited them to the workshop.  I mentioned that the Friday workshop was being hosted by Carole and Laz while the first two nights were at my house.  They said oh, we live right behind Carole.  

Carole had written me the day before that she wanted to invite her neighbor.  When I mentioned this to them they said, she is talking about us.  It was so amazing that person that Carole had mentioned that she wanted to invite to the workshop would walk almost right into me the next day right when I was asking Our Lady how she wanted to be portrayed.  I realized from this "chance" meeting that when we pray to Our Lady and invoke her intercession using her name that she takes care of us.  She prays for us. She intercedes for us with Her Son.  She comes right to our aid.  For weeks I have been constantly asking for her help bringing people to the workshop.  As the evenings began to fill so beautifully I was so thankful.  Today I felt Our Lady said loud and clear she has been working all the while and all is being taken care of.  We have to be like little children and trust in her.  I feel so much safer knowing she is filling our groups according to God's Will and that my role has been in large part to just trust in her and pray. 

My prayer last night at family prayer was that we might honor Mary more and love her more.  I hope and pray that she will grant this grace to all of us. Amen

Prolife Novena for the Unborn

The St. Michael the Archangel Organization is Organizing a Novena for the Unborn.

The intention of the novena is for the protection of unborn human persons

There are two ways to participate:
1) Have a Holy Sacrifice of Mass offered at least once on any of the following days:
(September 29th, 30th, October 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th)

2) Pray one Rosary each of the following days (a total of nine Rosaries):
(September 29th, 30th, October 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th)

So far there are over 42,000 Masses and over 114,000 rosary novenas registered.  This means over 1 million individual rosaries will be said.

Click here to find out more information and to register a Mass or novena.

The childrens's rosary has already registered a Mass for the Unborn at St. Thomas Apostle Church in West Hartford Ct  on September 29th: the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel.

We are also going to be participating in the 9 day rosary novena.  I hope many will feel inspired to join along with us.

God Bless!

Monday, September 10, 2012

September 9th Children's Rosary

A Special Thank You 
to All of You Who Joined Us In Prayer!!

The children's rosary met yesterday.  We began our rosary by offering our children and families in service of Our Lord and His Mother. We continue to pray for renewal of family prayer within our group and across the globe. We prayed for all the intentions given to us and those in the hearts of all physically present and those joining us in prayer from a distance.

We prayed for all the members of the children's rosary. To become a member of the children's rosary one only has to tell Our Lord in their heart of their desire to join our group and then they will be included in all the novenas and rosaries said daily.
Our Lady was especially generous as She brought us several new families who have wanted to join us many times but were unable.  Today the Lord blessed us with the three Boudreaux girls(pictured in the photo below at the podium) and their mom Amy.  Connor also joined us with his mom for the first time.

At the end of each decade we have one of the children place a rose at the foot of Mary and we ask for the fruit of the mystery.  As Connor was placing the rose we were praying for Trust in the Intercession of Our Blessed Mother, the Fruit of the Fifth Glorious Mystery.

Our Lady gave us another gift today, John Sipper was able to join us again and provided translation of the rosary into sign language.  We have many members of the group with various disabilities and we embrace and celebrate each of our differences.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Children's Rosary Tomorrow

This Sunday, Sept 9th,  is the Children's Rosary.  It will be held in the lower Chapel of St. Thomas Apostle Church.  We will meet from 9:45-10:15 AM EST. Please consider joining us in prayer from your home if you live far from us.  We always pray for all members of the children's rosary present and those unable to be with us physically.  One only has to tell the Lord in their heart of their desire to join the children's rosary and then you will be included in our novenas and daily rosaries as well.

This is a particularly special weekend as today is the Feast of the Nativity of Mary. There are only three Feast days in the Church Calendar where we celebrate birthdays.  The First is the Nativity of John the Baptist on June 24th, Our Blessed Mother's Birthday September 9th and Jesus' Birthday on December 25th.  Each figure is remembered in a special way for their role in salvation.  John the Baptist heralded the coming of the Messiah, Our Lady gave birth to our Lord, and Jesus concurred death for all of us on the Cross.  The Feast celebrating the Triumph of the Cross is also this Friday, September 14th. 

A few thoughts to contemplate about Our Lady:

Mary having co-operated in our redemption with so much glory to God and so much love for us, Our Lord ordained that no one shall obtain salvation except through her intercession.'
--St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

"The day of the Nativity of the Mother of God is a day of universal joy, because through the Mother of God, the entire human race was renewed, and the sorrow of the first mother, Eve, was transformed into joy."
--Saint John Damascene, Father and Doctor of the Church

"Let us not imagine that we obscure the glory of the Son by the great praise we lavish on the Mother; for the more she is honored, the greater is the glory of her Son. There can be no doubt that whatever we say in praise of the Mother gives equal praise to the Son."
--Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, Father and Doctor of the Church

A Gift to Our Lord Jesus on the Feast of the Holy Cross

The members of the children’s rosary have been praying over 450 novenas to different saints for renewal of family prayer.  Weekly Masses have been said for the same intention as well as daily rosaries.  In anticipation of the Feast of the Holy Cross on Sept 14th we humbly pray that many will feel inspired to give family prayer a try.  We hope that families will come together if only for a few moments to read a Bible story, say an Our Father and Hail Mary and pray aloud for each other.  

Jesus is waiting for us to come with our burdens, our brokeness, our tired families.  He wishes to refresh us and take our burdens and give us rest.  Our Church is a living Church and our families are the lungs of the Church.  When our families are strong then our Church will be strong. As Pope John Paul II said "As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live."

In our Parish of St. Thomas the Apostle Church in West Hartford CT USA we will have a large wooden Cross set up in front of the Church which will remain for several days.  There will be a basket placed at the foot of the cross for individuals and families to place a card with the number of weeks they would like to say family prayer as a gift to Jesus.  

I pray that many of you reading this from across the globe will also choose to come to the foot of the Cross and offer the gift of family prayer to Jesus in honor of The Feast of the Triumph of the Cross.  We hope and pray that so many will feel inspired to invite Jesus into their home in this concrete way.

Thank you all and God Bless!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Birthday Present for Your Soul

This year we began a new tradition in our home.  For each member of our family we requested one Mass be said as a birthday present.  Instead of having the Mass said on our birth date, the Mass was chosen on a special Saint's Feast day. This year I did the choosing of the Saints for each member of the Family but next year I hope the children will help choose their favorite saint.  My husband is Jewish, but I thought it was important to request one for him as well, regardless of religion a Mass has wonderful benefits for our Soul.  Pope Benedict XVI said, "The Holy Mass would be of greater profit if people had it offered in their lifetime, rather than having it celebrated for the relief of their souls after death."

Today the 8AM Mass at our Church was offered for my daughter Alina who is 12 years old.  She was so excited to see her name in the bulletin on Sunday as all the Mass intentions are listed each week.  Today is the Feast of Bl. Mother Theresa of Calcutta.  Alina has watched programs on Mother Theresa and I knew this would be a wonderful saint to intercede for her.

During the summer when our son, Asher, had a Mass said for him I noticed a wonderful thing that night.  He went and found his Bible which he received for Christmas and asked that his father read it to him before bed.  We always read the Bible as a family each night but usually Asher has different books he likes read before he falls asleep.  On the day the Mass was said he sought out his Bible and wanted it read to him as he fell asleep.  He continued this for several days after the Mass was said.  In a small child, like my son who is only 5 years old, the effects of grace seem more transparent. The Mass was truely a gift for his soul.

Here are the Feast days we chose this year:
Asher age 5- Feast of John Mary Vianney
Kostin age 8-  Feast of St. Joseph
Alina age 12 -Feast of Bl Mother Teresa
Grandma- Feast of St. Faustina
Seth- Feast of Padre Pio
Blythe (me)- Feast of Bl. Pope John Paul II

For those of you not farmiliar with requesting a Mass, contact your Parish or speak to a priest.  Usually there is a customary donation which is made when requesting the Mass.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Holy Communion is My Bread and the Rosary is My Dessert

"Holy Communion is My Bread and the Rosary is My Dessert"- Bl. Dina Belanger

Today, Sept 4th, is the Feast of Bl. Dina Belanger.  She was a nun, virgin and mystic who lived from 1897-1929.  She was born in Quebec, Canada and later moved to New York.  She died at the age of 33 from tuberculosis.  During her short life she was blessed with many graces including an invisible stigmata and frequent communication with Our Lord Jesus.  Like Saint Faustina, Bl Dina Belanger was a privaledged soul who received messages of Mercy from Our Lord.

Bl. Dina wrote of God’s great mercy: “Infinite Mercy is exercised on our behalf in the measure that it finds us miserable and unworthy.”

She heard Our Lord Say, in the sufferings of His Agonizing Heart:

'Very few souls wish to sympathize with Me in My Agony.'

'Very few souls, even consecrated souls, know how to sympathize with the Agony of My Heart'.

'I confide precious secrets to souls who are willing to console Me in My Agony.'

'If religious souls only knew! But alas, they do not know! Some do not know because they are afraid to know. They are afraid of being obliged to give up some of their attachments....I do not call all consecrated souls to compassionate My Agony sensibly and in a special manner. I grant this favor to certain souls that I Myself choose. But I call all consecrated souls to console My Heart by obedience, regularity, perfect observance of the Rule, and care to perform every action perfectly through pure love of Me.'

The devil tempted Dina to not make her perpetual vows, as she began to focus on her flaws.  She began to think she would not make a good religious.  She even began to lose confidence in God's Mercy.  However, Our Lord said to her, 'Do not look at yourself. Have confidence in My Mercy. It is precisely because you are weak and wretched that I have chosen you.'

Tonight these last word's of Jesus to Bl. Dina Belanger are just the encouragement I need.  I feel that the Lord must be very dissappointed with me.  I wonder how the Lord could ever use me as His instrument.  I pray for the Lord's patience with me and then lose patience with my family.  Yet hearing Jesus' instruction "have confidence in My Mercy"  and Bl. Dina's word's “Infinite Mercy is exercised on our behalf in the measure that it finds us miserable and unworthy.”  Who then am I to doubt the depth of Jesus' Mercy.  If I trust in His Mercy completely no matter how wretched and sinful I am then the Lord can still use me. 

As I have repeated in the Praises of Divine Mercy: 
Divine Mercy, only hope of despairing souls
Divine Mercy, lifting us out of every misery
Divine Mercy, embracing all the works of His hands.

On this Feast of Bl. Dina Belanger, let us all be reminded of Jesus' Divine Mercy.  Even when we fall frequently and feel small and dissappointing to Him this is when we can take an opportunity to show Him our trust,  complete trust in His greatest Attribute: Divine Mercy.

Dina Belanger was beatified on March 20th 1993 by Pope John Paul II.