Monday, October 29, 2012

How to Start a Children's Rosary

If there isn't a children's rosary near you consider starting one.  Our Lady has continued to show us through the apparitions in Lourdes and Fatima that she is calling our children to prayer and in a special way the rosary.   Our Lady of Fatima chose to convey messages to the world through children.  With the beautiful guidance of Our Blessed Mother let us follow her example and bring our children to her.  Through her Rosary she will draw them close to her Immaculate Heart and protect them from the harshness of the world.  She will also sanctify families and parishes in this way.  

Steps to Begin a Children's Rosary in Your Parish

1) Obtain permission from your Pastor to begin a children's rosary group
2) Choose a location (usually in a church or parish center but does not have to be limited to those locations)
3) Choose a regular meeting time (Monthly or if interest exists weekly)
4) Invite a small group of families and children to your first children's Rosary and consider putting a notice in your Church bulletin(usually these groups begin small and with time they will increase in size)*
5) Register your children's rosary with us by email at or by mail at 146 Four Mile Rd West Hartford CT 06107 USA (In this way  we will have a central list of all children's rosaries formed and those looking for a children's rosary will easily be able to find one).

Guidelines for Your First Children’s Rosary

1) Begin by consecrating your new group to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary.
2) Bring the children together in front of those gathered and have them kneel (pillows are a welcome addition for them to kneel on)
3) In turns have a child stand and lead a decade of the rosary (if a microphone is present this is a nice way for their soft voices to be heard)
4) The child should say the first part of each prayer
Hail Mary, full of grace.  Our Lord is with thee.  Blessed art thou among women,  and blessed is the fruit of thy womb,  Jesus.
The entire group then responds together:
Holy Mary, Mother of God,  pray for us sinners,  now and at the hour of our death.  Amen.
A similar alternating arrangement should be used for the Our Father prayer and Glory Be. 
5) An optional addition is the use of flowers (roses or any other flower).  This is particularly nice for smaller children not able to lead or children with disabilities preventing them from leading.  At the end of each decade a child is asked to place a flower at the foot of a statue of Mary if available (otherwise just place the roses in a small pile on the ground in front of where the children are praying).  While the child is placing the flower an adult is saying, “Mary we humbly place this flower at your feet and ask for the gift of... Faith”  if one were saying the first glorious mystery.”  The gifts asked for correspond to the fruits of the mysteries.
* In the past many people have found that those people invited individually tend to be more responsive to attending a newly formed children's rosary.  Additional publicity such as notices in bulletins and announcements after Mass have been helpful as well.

Any questions please contact Blythe at:
Address: 146 Four Mile Rd West Hartford CT 06107 USA
Phone: (860) 561-4881

The Month of November is Dedicated to the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

The Catholic Catechism on Purgatory:

To understand this doctrine and practice of the Church, it is necessary to understand that sin has a double consequence. Grave sin deprives us of communion with God and therefore makes us incapable of eternal life, the privation of which is called the "eternal punishment" of sin. On the other hand every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory. This purification frees one from what is called the "temporal punishment" of sin. These two punishments must not be conceived of as a kind of vengeance inflicted by God from without, but as following from the very nature of sin. A conversion which proceeds from a fervent charity can attain the complete purification of the sinner in such a way that no punishment would remain(Catechism 1472).

The Saints and The Church Advocate offering prayers and sacrifices for the souls in Purgatory:

"I come to tell you that they suffer in Purgatory, that they weep, and that they demand with urgent cries the help of your prayers and your good works." (St. John Marie Vianney)

Important Feasts and Dates in November

November 1 All Saints Day (Holy Day of Obligation)
November 2 All Souls Day
November 3 St. Martin de Porres
November 5 St. Elizabeth
November 13 Francis Xavier Cabrini
November 16 St. Margaret of Scotland
November 18 St. Rose Philippine Duchesne
November 21 Presentation of Mary
November 25 Solemnity of Christ the King
November 28 St. Catherine Laboure

Intentions of the Holy Father for the Month of November 2012
General Intention: Ministers of the Gospel. That bishops, priests, and all ministers of the Gospel may bear the courageous witness of fidelity to the crucified and risen Lord.
Missionary Intention: Pilgrim Church. That the pilgrim Church on earth may shine as a light to the nations.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Prayer for the Canonization of Archbishop Fulton Sheen

Prayer for Canonization 
Heavenly Father, source of all holiness, You raise up within the Church in every age men and women who serve with heroic love and dedication. You have blessed Your Church through the life and ministry of Your faithful servant, Archbishop Fulton J Sheen. He has written and spoken well of Your Divine Son, Jesus Christ, and was a true instrument of the Holy Spirit in touching the hearts of countless people.
If it be according to Your Will, for the honor and glory of the Most Holy Trinity and for the salvation of souls, we ask You to move the Church to proclaim him a saint. We ask this prayer through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Fulton John Sheen was born on May 8th 1895 in El Paso, Illinois. He had three younger brothers and spent much of his youth in Peoria, IL where his parents were farmers.  His parents emphasized the importance of hard work and were a devote Catholic family. Fulton and his brothers went to parochial school and Fulton was also an alter boy.  The family attended Church regularly and prayed the rosary nightly as a family.

Sheen entered the seminary in Minnesota and was ordained on September 20th 1919.  Sheen went on to become an Archbishop and was known by many for his television series "Life is Worth Living". In 1951 Sheen designed the World Mission Rosary.

 Pope John Paul II said of Archbishop Sheen during their meeting in 1979, "You have spoken well of the Lord Jesus. You have been a loyal son of the Church!"

Archbishop Sheen was raised to the state of "Venerable" on June 28th 2012.

What is the World Mission Rosary?

World Mission Rosary

Each color on the Rosary represents a different area where the Church continues its mission of evangelization:

  1. Green: for the forests and grasslands of Africa.
  2. Blue: for the ocean surrounding the Islands of the Pacific.
  3. White: symbolizing Europe, the seat of the Holy Father, shepherd of the world.
  4. Red: calling to mind the fire of faith that brought missionaries to the Americas.
  5. Yellow: the morning light of the East, for Asia.

The world mission rosary was designed by Bishop Fulton Sheen in February of 1951 while serving as the National Director for the Society for the Propagation of the Faith.Bishop Sheen said that praying the Rosary would  “aid the Holy Father and his Society for the Propagation of the Faith by supplying him with practical support, as well as prayers, for the poor mission territories of the world.”


Joyful Mysteries (Monday and Saturday)
The Annunciation
That the Good News of a Savior, first announced to Mary, may be proclaimed to all the world.
The Visitation
That missionaries who travel long roads bearing Christ to those in need may be strengthened in faith and holiness.
The Birth of Jesus
For the children of the missions, especially those who are poor and homeless, that they may know the love of Jesus.
The Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple
That Catholic families of the missions, by the example of their lives, may show the love of Christ to their neighbors.
The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple
That all the people of the missions who live in sorrow may find in the Gospel message of Jesus new life and peace.

Sorrowful Mysteries (Tuesday and Friday)
The Agony in the Garden
That all who persevere in faith in the missions may feel the presence of the Lord in their lives.
The Scourging at the Pillar
That all who suffer in body, especially the hungry millions in the missions, may be fed and comforted through our sharing.
The Crowning with Thorns
That all those who suffer from despair, especially the refugees of the missions, may find hope in Christ’s promise of eternal happiness for those who believe in Him.
The Carrying of the Cross
For the Church in the United States, that by our prayers and sacrifices for the missions, we may help bear the burdens of our brothers and sisters worldwide.
The Crucifixion
That those who hunger and thirst for justice in the missions may work peacefully and successfully toward their goal.

Glorious Mysteries (Sunday and Wednesday)
The Resurrection
For the Church worldwide, that our faith in the Risen Christ may draw others to Him.
The Ascension
That Christ, who lived as a man and returned to the Father, will grant to all people knowledge of the way to eternal life.
The Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles
For our Holy Father, that the Holy Spirit will grant him wisdom, fortitude and holiness as he guides the Church in the path of Christ.
The Assumption of Our Lady
That Mary, who gave the human body of Christ to the world, may inspire us who form the Body of Christ on earth to proclaim His message to all peoples.
The Crowning of Our Lady Queen of Heaven
That through the intercession of Mary, Queen of the Missions, young men and women will offer their lives to God as priests and religious in service of their neighbors.

Luminous Mysteries (Thursday)
Moments from Jesus’ public ministry – with stories from the missions
The Baptism in the Jordan
In a hospital in Hong Kong, a Chinese Sister spoke to a young cancer patient about God, our loving Father, and about heaven, our eternal home. The boy, an orphan, told her: “I never had a father. I never had a home.” Baptized, the boy made the journey to God clothed in Christ because a Sister had shared with him the fruits of her own baptism.
The Wedding of Cana
Mother Teresa tells of bringing rice to a hungry family. The next day she discovered the food was gone. It seems that a neighboring family had no food either, so the first family shared what Mother Teresa had brought them. The neighbors, of a different faith, were witnesses to Christian love.
The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God and Call to Conversion
In East Africa, a Catholic family heard of a village far from their own where the people had never heard of Christ. In prayer, and in love, they decided to move to the distant village so that day by day they could tell –
and show – the people what it means to be a follower of Christ.
The Transfiguration
To catch even a glimpse of the glory that awaits us in Christ is a gift beyond compare for millions of people
whose lives are a daily struggle. Such a glimpse was caught in Liberia, West Africa. When people by the hundreds fled from their homes in the midst of civil war, their pastor said, “They left all their belongings behind, but they brought with them one valuable possession – their faith.”
The Institution of the Eucharist
World Mission Sunday, celebrated each year on the next-to-last Sunday in October, in the context of the Mass, reminds us that we who eat Christ’s Body and drink his Blood are sent to continue his mission to the world. “Supported by Mary, we will not hesitate to devote ourselves generously to taking the proclamation of the Good News to the ends of the earth,”
said Pope John Paul II.

How to Pray the Rosary

How to Start a Children's Rosary

When Is World Mission Sunday

World Mission Sunday is celebrated each year on the second to last Sunday in October.  

World Mission Sunday 2012: October 21st 
World Mission Sunday 2013: October 20th 
World Mission Sunday 2014: October 19th 
World Mission Sunday 2015: October 18th 
World Mission Sunday 2016: October 23rd 

The generous support of World Mission Sunday helps over 1,000 mission dioceses around the world.

World Mission Rosary

Novena to St. Lorenzo Ruiz

Novena to St. Lorenzo Ruiz
Feast September 28th

St. Lorenzo Ruiz
Dear St. Lorenzo Ruiz, 
As husband, father, and martyr of faith, 
look upon our humble prayers and our plea for your intercession lovingly.  You were a model of faith and perseverance despite your suffering for the Name of Jesus.

Inspire us to be a witness of faith despite the harshness of the world.  Through your intercession help our young people to seek Jesus in the Holy Eucharist and contemplate His life with His blessed mother through the prayer of the Holy Rosary. We place our needs and intentions (mention them here) in your hands and trust that you will carry them to the Throne of God.  Amen

St. Lorenzo Ruiz pray for us! (say three times)

Pray 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary and 1 Glory Be 
(repeat these prayers for nine days for your intention) 

Lorenzo Ruiz was born in 1600 in Binondo, Manila to a Chinese father and Filipino mother who were both Catholic.  He was an alter boy growing up and was educated by Dominican Fathers.  He was a member of the Confraternity of the Rosary. Ruiz was a  husband and father to a daughter and two sons.

He left the Philippines in 1636 and moved to Japan where he suffered terrible persecution and was cruelly tortured and martyred.  Despite the severe torture he endured he never lost his faith.  Ruiz died on September 27th 1637.

Lorenzo Ruiz was beatified by Pope John Paul II during a Papal visit to Manila on February 18 1981.  Ruiz was later canonized in Rome on World Mission Sunday October 18, 1987. St. Lorenzo Ruiz is the first Filipino Saint venerated in the Roman Catholic Church.

In an address delivered by Pope John Paul II to the Filipino pilgrims in a general audience after the canonization rite of blessed Lorenzo Ruiz the Holy Father said, Saint Lorenzo Ruiz calls families to grow in dignity, in harmony and responsibility as the "domestic Church", where each one learns to be at the service of all, witnessing to the sanctity of human life at every stage and in every condition. For all of this we must pray to God through the intercession of Mary, for whom you have such great devotion, and through the intercession of the newly canonized martyrs.

He goes on to say, “Through your new Saint, Jesus Christ renews his call to persevere in the genuine work of evangelization. Faith rests, not on the wisdom of man, but on the power
of God. You must look to Jesus Christ and to the grace of our heavenly Father for the light and courage to proclaim "God's design in all its entirety". The sign that you belong to God will be that his love has been poured into your hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to you”.

St. Lorenzo Ruiz stands as a wonderful model of living one’s faith even in times of adversity and suffering.  As we enter the Year of Faith and the New Evangelization called upon by Pope Benedict XVI on October 11th 2012 we may look to St. Lorenzo Ruiz and his companions as intercessors in our attempts to persevere in the work of evangelization.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Divine Mercy Chaplet: A Powerful Protection from Storms

Within the Diary of St. Faustina there are two times where she mentions special protection from storms granted through the prayer of the Divine Mercy Chaplet:

"Today a great storm woke me up, the wind was blowing and it was raining as if there was a hurricane, as well as a severe thunder storm.  I started praying so that the storm would not cause any damage; suddenly, I heard these words:  Pray the chaplet that I have taught to you and the storm will stop.  Immediately I began to say the chaplet and I had not even finished it when the storm stopped and I heard these words: Through the chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you request is in agreement with My will." (1731) 

"Once when a great storm was approaching, I started to pray the chaplet.  I heard the voice of an angel suddenly:  I cannot approach with the storm, because the glare from its mouth rejects me and the storm. The angel was complaining to God.  I soon learned how much devastation that storm would have brought, but knew that the prayer was pleasing to God, and how powerful the chaplet is.”(1791)  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Prayer or Blessing Against Storms

Jesus Christ a King of Glory has come in Peace. † God became man, † and the Word was made flesh. † Christ was born of a Virgin. † Christ suffered. † Christ was crucified. † Christ died. † Christ rose from the dead. † Christ ascended into Heaven. † Christ conquers. † Christ reigns. † Christ orders. † May Christ protect us from all storms and lightning † Christ went through their midst in Peace, † and the word was made flesh. † Christ is with us with Mary. † Flee you enemy spirits because the Lion of the Generation of Judah, the Root David, has won. † Holy God! † Holy Powerful God! † Holy Immortal God! † Have mercy on us. Amen!
This prayer originated in a convent and church in Lisbon, Portugal. Pope Innocent III, 1198-1216, ordered it published.

Picture of our street after October Storm 2011

As the anniversary of the historic October storm of 2011 draws near, meteorologists are forecasting a hurricane which may collide with a cold front bringing heavy rain, wind and maybe snow.  If significant snow falls here in CT USA like it did last year we can expect significant damage to power lines as the trees still have most of their leaves on them.  Last October we were without power for over a week.  Our Lord however, took very good care of our family.  Through the generosity of a neighbor who lives behind us we were able to run an extention cord from his garage and power a pellet stove in our basement.  During the cold nights the children slept warm and toasty snuggled on the floor in front of the fire.  Our Lord found a way to bring wonderful blessings and joy even amist considerable devastation.  Thank you Lord for always hearing our prayers and providing for us in our need. Amen

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Halloween: A Return To Its Religious Roots

Many people have forgotten the religious significance of Halloween which means holy eve.  It is from the Old English all hallow E'en. The Feast day which it precedes is all Saints Day celebrated on November 1st.  This is directly followed by All Souls Day on November 2nd.  This year the children are dressing up as Saints and important religious figures in the Bible.  Alina age 12 is dressing up as St. Faustina and just tried on her costume tonight. Kostin who is 8 is dressing up as St. Francis of Assisi and little Asher, who is 5 is dressing up as Noah.  Please stay tuned for upcoming photos of the kids in costume.  All three could not be happier about their choices. My mom had shared with me that while she was growing up in the 1950s many children dressed up as saints.  It is sad to see this tradition slip away.  For our part, this Halloween, we are going to try and bring it back at least in our neighborhood. 
Today my daughter was invited to go to a pumpkin patch and pick out a pumpkin for carving.  When she came home later tonight she was so excited to show us what she had carved.  It was a large cross.  She told me she tried to carve Our Blessed Mother but it was too difficult and then happily settled on the cross.  She mentioned that there was some discussion at her friend's house about her choice.  It made me smile to hear how Alina had suggested a holy theme for the carving.  She shared with them that it was important to pick a religious theme as the meaning of the holiday is really about the Feast the next day.  To hear these words coming out of my daughter made me so grateful to our Lady.  I take no credit for my daughters inward desire to show her love of her faith.  This is a gift from Our Lord and a fruit  of prayer of the Holy Rosary.  More and more I see that our Lady guides our children and protects them when we call upon her through the rosary.  She keeps them simple and pure.  She keeps them children when the world is calling them to grow up too fast.
Seeing this cross a glow in front of our house there is a sense of waiting.  An anticipation for the holy Feasts yet to come.  Might this simple statement of a child remind us all where our hearts should be on October 31st: a truly holy eve.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Prayer of Pope John Paul II

Blessed John Paul II 
Feast  October 22
"Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!"

Pray, O Mother, for all of us. 
Pray for humanity who suffers poverty and injustice, 
violence and hatred, terror and war. 
Help us to contemplate with the rosary 
the mysteries of Him who "is our peace", 
so that we will all feel involved 
in a persevering dedication of service to peace. 
Look with special attention 
upon the land in which you gave birth to Jesus, 
a land that you loved together with Him, 
and that is still so sorely tried today. 
Pray for us, Mother of hope! 
"Give us days of peace, watch over our way. 
Let us see your Son as we rejoice in heaven". Amen!

Blessed John Paul II said this prayer at the Piazza di Spagna on December 8 2002 on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of The Blessed Virgin Mary.  The entirety of his prayers offered that day can be found on the vatican website 

Do you want a Special Apostolic Blessing From Pope John Paul II
Favorite Quotes by Pope John Paul II

Do You Want A Special Apostolic Blessing From Pope John Paul II

The Holy Father Bl. John Paul II, by a personally signed parchment, imparted a Special Apostolic Blessing "to all the faithful, who during Adoration of Our Most Merciful Savior in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Alter will be praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet for the sick and for those throughout the world who will be dying in that hour." The Apostolic Blessing extends indefinitely for all who choose to participate.

The Apostolic Blessing was first given on the occasion of the Great Jubilee of the year 2000.

Favorite Quotes by Pope John Paul II
Prayer of Pope John Paul II

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Lesson From Our Lady of the Holy Rosary

On the Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary we had a special afternoon planned to honor Our Lady.  The afternoon was to begin with a procession led by the Knights of Columbus and children all carrying rosaries and white roses to place before Our Lady.  One of the smallest children was then to crown Our Lady with a real rose crown. The children's rosary was then to lead those gathered in the rosary followed by the Litany, consecration prayers to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary.  This was then going to be followed by a talk by Linda Santo, the mother of little Audrey Santo currently being considered for beatification by the Catholic Church.  Many wonderful people had offered to help with greeting and baking for the reception that was to follow downstairs.

The morning of the Feast two of my children and I were at the Church well early cutting roses and beginning to set up.  Time seemed to fly by and without realizing it we were just 10 minutes before our start time of 1PM.  People were arriving and children were gathering in the back.  All of a sudden there seemed like there were so many different pieces to bring together.  Our previous pastor was arriving and wondering where he should be located.  The musician was arriving and I felt I should check in with him.  The families were wondering how the procession would be arranged.  I then had this momentary feeling that I was not qualified to be organizing this event at all.  I had left too much to the end and there wasn't enough time to answer all the questions.  There was one more concern looming our Speaker Linda Santo had not arrived.  Her absence was a wonderful reprieve for a few minutes as I had a reason to delay the procession and help everyone that had questions.  At 1:15 Linda was still not there and we jointly decided to begin the procession.  As the children were almost to the end of the aisle I realized that I still had the rose crown in the plastic at the back of the church.  I picked up the crown and asked Arlene who was helping with greeting to open the plastic as I have many problems with my hands.  With my heart almost jumping out of my chest I quickly made my way down the aisle trying to catch up to the children.  I had not intended to be part of the procession and definitely did not want to be the one to carry the crown.  Thankfully the children were still all gathered around Mary when I found little Angie and asked her to crown Our Lady.  The children then began the rosary.  As I sat off to the side on the altar helping the children many thoughts went through my mind.  Linda was still not there and it occurred to me that maybe she had gone to St. Thomas Seminary in West Hartford instead of St. Thomas Church.  Her absence brought a focus to my prayers.  A thought entered my head that if Linda were not to come at all no one would ever believe me if I tried to plan something in the future.  It was at that moment that I prayed with all my heart to Our Lady.  I told her this is your Children's Rosary I give everything to you.  I trust in you Mary and I trust in you Jesus.  Whatever the outcome I trust in You.  There was a realization that I could do no more.  I was not in control of this event.  I never was in control of the event but the reality of it was crystal clear.  Scott approached me and asked if I had Linda's cell phone number as he would call her.  I did not have her number but looked at Scott with peace in my heart.  It was not in my hands and all I could do was pray the rosary with all my heart.

We were just getting ready to begin the last decade and it was around 1:35 when I looked up and the back doors of the Church swung open.  A women entered with the sun streaming in behind her.  As she walked forward I could see her face.. it was Linda.  At seeing her I jumped up and raised one arm in the air to gesture to her.  Linda was here.  Our Lady, had safely brought her in time.  The rest of the afternoon would fall together piece by piece.  Speaking with those in attendance at the reception no one had noticed all these bumps along the way.  Instead they had bright eyes full of hope and joy.  The quote spoken at Mass that week echoed in my mind.  "Fear is useless what is needed is faith" (Mark 5:26).  Our Lady of the Rosary had shown me that we have nothing to fear when we consecrate ourselves to her Immaculate Heart and the Sacred Heart of her Son.  If we take refuge under her protection through a devotion to her Holy Rosary she will provide.  She will bring all the pieces together.  There was a feeling that Our Lady desired there to be nothing standing between us.  She wanted all false securities in ourselves washed away and a strengthening of Trust in her and her Son.

This lesson seemed so well timed as we were just days away from the beginning of the Year of Faith.  Our Lady and her Son have repeatedly told us to come to them as children.  To trust as a small child does in their parent.  On Our Lady's Feast of the Holy Rosary we were not only led by the prayers of children but Our Lady showed us we must always have the Faith of a small child.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Spiritual Insights from a Master: St. Teresa Avila

Saint and Doctor of the Church

St. Teresa of Avila speaks also of how a young soul striving to approach the Lord more deeply, as personified by moving through rooms in a castle, will benefit from others who are on the same path.
It is a very great thing for a person to associate with others who are walking in the right way: to mix, not only with those whom he sees in the rooms where he himself is, but with those whom he knows to have entered the rooms nearer the centre, for they will be of great help to him and he can get into such close touch with them that they will take him with them”. (Interior Castles)
St. Teresa of Avila on holy water:
"From long experience I have learned that there is nothing like holy water to put devils to flight and prevent them from coming back again. They also flee from the cross, but return; so holy water must have great value."

"Our body has this defect that, the more it is provided care and comforts, the more needs and desires it finds. "