Thursday, February 28, 2013

Novena to the Holy Spirit for the Conclave of Cardinals

Pope Benedict  XVI (Photo:CNS)
Today Pope Benedict stepped down as Supreme Spiritual Head of the Catholic Church and made a surprise statement to his fellow Cardinals:

“I will continue to be close to you the next few days in prayer that you may be full of the Holy Spirit in the election of the new Pope.  May the Lord show you what He wants from you.  Among you is the next Pope.”

Hearing these words of Pope Benedict XVI there was a feeling that we should join with him in prayer for the same intention.  Could there be a better phrasing of a prayer for the Cardinals then the one Our Holy Father spoke from the depths of his heart.  May I humbly ask you to join together beginning tomorrow (March 1st 2013) a 9 day novena of prayer to the Holy Spirit for the intention given to us by our dear Pope Benedict XVI.  We have been given a precious gift and privilege to know the prayers of the Holy Father for his successor may we not lose this opportunity to be one with him in prayer for a most Divinely inspired Conclave.  Thank you all and may the Lord bless you for your love and prayers for the future of Our Holy Church.  Amen.

(photo courtesy of Catholic News Service)
Novena to the Holy Spirit
Dearest Holy Spirit, confiding in Your deep, personal love for me, I am making this novena for the following request, if it be Your Holy Will to grant it: that the Cardinals may be full of the Holy Spirit in the election of the new Pope.  May the Lord show them what He wants from them.(mention your additional requests). 

Teach me, Divine Spirit, to know and seek my last end; grant me the holy fear of God; grant me true contrition and patience. Do not let me fall into sin. Give me an increase of faith, hope and charity, and bring forth in my soul all the virtues proper to my state in life.
Make me a faithful disciple of Jesus and an obedient child of the Church. Give me efficacious grace sufficient to keep the Commandments and to receive the Sacraments worthily. 

Give me the four Cardinal Virtues, Your Seven Gifts, Your Twelve Fruits. 
Raise me to perfection in the state of life to which You have called me and lead me through a happy death to everlasting life.
I ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen. 
(novena to the Holy Spirit obtained from EWTN website)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Important Announcement!

New Children's Rosary Book Now Available
The Children's rosary book is now available at Neumann Press.  This little book was first conceived this fall when a priest suggested that we have a book which explains how to begin a Children's Rosary prayer group.  As my background is in dentistry and not publishing I wondered how one goes about writing and having a book published.  Weeks of prayer went by before I felt capable to begin such an endeavor.  My repeated prayer was a simple one...that the Children's Rosary book would be "exactly as Our Lady envisioned it."

Many wonderful hands came together to bring this book to completion. It felt at times as if someone were bringing all these hands together.  Through the generosity of a professional artist from NY, we were able to have original hand drawings of each mystery of the rosary custom made for the book.  In this way the book has two purposes: it explains how to start a Children's Rosary and also can be used by the children in the prayer of the Holy Rosary.

It is a complete guide on how to pray the rosary with prayers included and reflections taken from the writings of Pope John Paul II.

The blessings continued as the Most Reverend Henry J. Mansell Archbishop of Hartford, CT USA was also so kind as to write the preface for this book.

This book by all estimations should not have been possible with a rather inadequate/inexperienced author leading the way.  Yet by way of so many prayers from so many individuals including many children, Our Lady guided the way and created a most beautiful book... a treasure to be sure.

Two Children's Rosary Groups to Meet Tomorrow

The Children's Rosary at St. John the Evangelist in Hopkinton, MA USA will have their first meeting tomorrow at 12:15PM EST.  The group will meet in the lower Chapel of the Church. They will begin by consecrating the new group to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary.  In this way the group will be under the protection of Christ and His Mother. Any questions please contact Jim at

St. Thomas Church
The Children's Rosary at St. Thomas Church in Thomaston, CT USA will have their weekly Children's Rosary at 11 AM EST.  It will be followed by light refreshments provided by the Legions of Mary. If you have any questions please contact Cindy at 

Each group has been asked to pray for the intentions of all the members of the Children's Rosary.  Please consider joining them in prayer from your home.

In addition both groups will be praying in a special way for Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI.  They will also be praying that the Holy Spirit will guide and help the Cardinals in their upcoming decision and for our future new Pontiff. 

Pope Benedict XVI
(Photo: Allesssandra Tarantino/AP)

Friday, February 22, 2013

A Gift to Pope Benedict XVI

As we approach the last days of Pope Benedict's papacy may we keep the Holy Father in a special way in our daily prayers.  Especially today on the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter the Apostle which honors the authority and mission of the pope. 

The Children's Rosary has also requested a Mass be said for Pope Benedict on February 28th as a gift of love to Our Holy Father for his selfless service to Our Church.  

Friday, February 15, 2013

New Children's Rosary in Hopkinton, Massachusetts

A New Children's Rosary is forming at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Hopkinton Massachusetts USA. They will have their first meeting Sunday February 24th at 12:15 PM EST in the lower Chapel of the Church.  All are invited to attend or join them in prayer from your homes.  The new Children's Rosary group will begin their first meeting with a dedication to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  In this way they will be under the guidance and protection of Christ and His Mother. 

If you have any questions or would like to submit an intention to be prayed over during their first meeting please contact Jim at

Thank you all and God Bless!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Prayer to Father Vincent Capodanno

Servant of God
Father Vincent R. Capodanno, MM
February 13 1929-Sept 4 1967

Prayer to Obtain a Favor through the Intercession of Servant of God Fr. Capodanno: 
May God who has offered healing and strength through the hands of His only Son, Our Lord, and through Christ’s many servants grant me the favor of His healing and through the intercession of His servant, Fr. Vincent Capodanno, priest, missionary, and chaplain, who always sought to heal and comfort the wounded and dying on the field of battle. May I be granted this request on my own field of battle I pray in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. 
 +Most Rev. Edwin F. O'Brien 
Archbishop, Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA

A friend at Church had recently seen a program on Father Vincent Capodanno and recommended a documentary about him called the Grunt Padre.  I was intrigued by this heroic missionary and Chaplain from New York and wanted to learn more.  A visit to the Vincent Capadonno website brought the story of a wonderful priest a true inspiration.  The children and I ordered the documentary and after watching the story of his life we decided we wanted pray a novena to Fr. Capodonno and felt that his birthday February 13th would be a good day to start it.  

Included below is a statement given about Fr. Capadonno obtained from 

Over here [Vietnam] there is a written policy that if you get three Purple Hearts you go home within 48 hours. On Labor Day, our battalion ran into a world of trouble- when Father C. (Capodanno) arrived on the scene it was 500 Marines against 2500 North Vietnamese Army Regulars. Needless to say, we were constantly on the verge of being completely overrun and the Marines on several occasions had to advance in a retrograde movement. This left the dead and wounded outside the perimeter as the Marines slowly withdrew. Casualties were running high and Father C. had his work cut out for him. Early in the day, he was shot through the right hand which all but shattered his hand- one corpsman patched him up and tried to med evac him but Father C declined saying he had work to do. A few hours later, a mortar landed near him and left his right arm in shreds hanging from his side. Once again, he was patched up and once again he refused evacuation. There he was, moving slowly from wounded to dead to wounded using his left arm to support his right as he gave absolution or Last Rites, when he suddenly spied a corpsman get knocked down by the burst of an automatic weapon. The corpsman was shot in the leg and couldn't move and understandably panicked. Fr. C. ran out to him and positioned himself between the injured boy and the automatic weapon. Suddenly, the weapon opened up again and this time riddled Father C. from the back of his head to the base of his spine- and with his third Purple Heart of the day- Father C. went home. 

- Lieutenant Joseph E. Pilon, MD Christmas 1967

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Lightning Strikes St. Peter's Hours after Pope's Announcement

On February 11th the Holy Father announced his resignation which will take effect February 28th.  Hours after his announcement a bolt of lightning hit St. Peter's Basilica.

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Transcript of Pope's Resignation Announcement

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Rosary for Our Holy Father

Photo from the Holy Father's Apostolic Journey to Cameroon
(photo obtained from www.the
Dear Friends,

Many of us are just hearing of Our Holy Father's Announcement today of his upcoming resignation February 28th due to health reasons.  An announcement of such importance must have weighed heavily on the Holy Father and required great courage.  Today as we remember Our Lady of Lourdes may we join together in prayer of the Holy Rosary to Our Blessed Mother to guide and protect Our Holy Father and the Church through these days ahead.  The Children's Rosary would like to offer a Rosary at 3:00PM.  We are inviting all who would like to join us to unify our prayers together to Our Lady where ever you may be at 3PM.  Many of us our still home due to the effects of the blizzard.  Please feel free to share this with friends.


Transcript of Pope's Announcement Today

Pope Benedict XVI  (Pier Paolo Cito/AP)
"Dear Brothers,
I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today's world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer."

Join Us for a Rosary for Our Holy Father Today

Pope Benedict XVI Announces He Will Resign Feb 28th

A Call For Prayers for Our Holy Father

Today the Holy Father announced in Latin that due to advanced age he did not have the strength to continue to carry out his duties.

The Holy Father said "After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine Ministry. "

An announcement of such importance must have weighed heavily on the Holy Father and required great courage.  Today as we remember Our Lady of Lourdes may we join together in prayer of the Holy Rosary to Our Blessed Mother to guide and protect Our Holy Father and the Church through these days ahead.  

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Children's Rosary at St. Thomas Apostle Unable to Meet at the Church this Morning

The children and I were hoping we could reach the Church  in West Hartford this morning for our monthly Children's Rosary however we are still snowed in.  For those of you who are not local you may not be aware that close to 3 feet of snow fell yesterday in parts of Connecticut, USA. This is a historic blizzard for our area.  We are inviting everyone to join us in prayer form their home at 9:45 AM EST. The children will be praying in a special way for the intentions of all the members of the Children's Rosary as well as Our Lady's intentions and for our priests.  May we humbly ask that if you are joining us in prayer could you also include among your intentions those I have mentioned. Thank you all and may Our Lady cover you with her Mantle of love and protection. Amen 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Blanket of Snow

As the sun rose this morning and the snow began to stop we all peered out our windows at what appeared a fresh white blanket of snow over everything.  Even opening the front door revealed snow had found its way into the smallest cracks. 

As total snow accumulation here in Hartford CT USA totals near 3 feet with snow drifts close to 4 feet much of the landscape around us seems obliterated with only bumps visible as evidence of cars beneath.  
Our driveway
These snow accumulations are historic for our area and may excede the highest recored snow fall for Hartford which is 24 inches.  While the lights and heat our still on, thanks to God, there is a wonderful simplicity which this storms has given us.  The roads are officially closed and a vehicle has not passed our street except for the very large plows.  Families are hold up in their homes together.  We have been instructed by our govenor to stay in our homes and stay safe.  All the apointments and errands are on hold and the family is given a gift of togetherness.  It seems perfectly timed as the month of February is traditionally dedicated to the Holy Family. 

Tomorrow we have two Children's Rosary groups scheduled to meet: 
The Children's Rosary at St. Thomas Apostle Church in West Hartford CT at 9:45 AM EST
The Children's Rosary at St. Thomas Church in Thomaston CT at 11AM EST.  

Updates will be provided when the driving ban is lifted and if these groups will still be able to meet at the Church.  However,  the children will still be praying these rosaries from their homes if travel is not permitted and we encourage you to join us as well. 

God Bless you all!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Children's Rosary at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception

The Children's Rosary at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Waterbury, CT USA met last Saturday.  The women running the group had attended the first Children's Rosary meeting at St. Peter's Parish in Steubenville, Ohio USA the previous day and then made the 8 1/2 hour drive home with 5 of her children to run the Children's Rosary in Waterbury.  As the Children's Rosary in Steubenville had 75 children attend she wondered how many would be coming to the one she had planned at the Basilica.  Knowing of only two other family that had confirmed they were coming she was consoled that Our Lady would be pleased with their efforts whatever the outcome.  

However, when she arrived at the Basilica she found many more families had chosen to come.  In total 34 children plus their families came to the Children's Rosary last Saturday.  As there were so many unexpected families who came she prayed that there would be enough brownies, juice and cookies for all the children after the Rosary.  Her prayers were answered and nothing ran out and a surprising 5 cookies were even left over.  

Thank you all who joined us in prayer from your homes.  

Reflections from the Feb 2nd Children's Rosary at St. Agnes Church

The Children's Rosary at St. Agnes Church in Naples, Florida USA met last Saturday.  As one of the families in attendance was from Mexico the group prayed the rosary in Spanish and English.  One of the little girls, just 3 years old, led the third joyful mystery in Spanish.  Seeing such a little one praying the mystery of the Nativity when she herself is barely more than a baby herself touched many there.  

Thank you all who joined us in prayer from your homes.  The children prayed in a special way for the intentions of all the members of the Children's Rosary.

God Bless you all!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Triumph for Our Lady

The first meeting of the Children's Rosary at St. Peter Church in Steubenville, Ohio USA was held last Friday.  The organizer of this new group was joined by her dear friend from CT who had recently started a Children's Rosary in Waterbury, CT.   As the two mom's and their children entered the Church there were thoughts that maybe they would be the only ones there.  However,  Our Lady had other plans.  She would have a multitude of children to join them.  An unexpected 75 children came.

The first meeting of the Children's Rosary at St. Peter was begun by consecrating the group to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary.  In this way Christ and His Mother would guide and protect this new group.  Their parish priest joined the group and led the consecration.

Despite the cold of winter and the sweeping flu which has affected so many,  Our Lady would find a way to bring warmth and joy back through the voices of children praying.  As the rosary was over and for some it meant the beginning of a long 8 and a half hour drive back to CT to lead a Children's Rosary the next day in Waterbury CT...there was a glorious feeling that the Rosary that day had been a real triumph for Our Lady.

Stop Asking Questions and Pray

Have you ever worked and prayed toward something good and on the eve or day of the event  found yourself under a barrage of challenges and your response a disappointment.  Do the challenges highlight in neon lights all your spiritual flaws so that anyone could see them crystal clear?  Yes, this has been my experience.  It is at these times that one starts to question many things such as whether the soul has any business planning religious events or efforts when it is in a very sorry state itself.  Yes, this is where I found myself today but something stopped the tail spin that had begun.  It was a call to stop the useless questioning and pray.  

A passage from the diary of St. Faustina comes to mind, one I have taken solace in many times:

January 7.  During the Holy Hour, the Lord allowed me to taste His Passion.  I shared in the bitterness of the suffering that filled His soul to overflowing.  Jesus gave me to understand how a soul should be faithful to prayer despite torments, dryness, and temptations; because oftentimes the realization of God’s great plans depends mainly on such prayer.  If we do not persevere in such prayer, we frustrate what the Lord wanted to do through us or within us.  Let every soul remember these words:  “And being in anguish, He prayed longer.”  I always prolong such prayer as much as is in my power and in conformity with my duty.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Children's Rosary Today

The St. Thomas Childrens' Rosary in Thomaston, CT USA will hold their weekly Children's Rosary at 11 AM EST.  Please consider joining them in prayer either in person or from you homes.  The children always include in their prayers the intentions of all the members of the Children's Rosary.  God Bless!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Finding Answers to Our Spiritual Questions in the Garden

“And other seeds fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” (Mark 4:8)
Our home garden summer 2012

This was part of the Gospel reading this past Wednesday at Mass.  It was taken from the parable of the sower. The complete parable is included here:
“A farmer went out to sow his seed.  As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.  Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.  But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.  Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain.  Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.” (Mark 4:3-8)
Thinking about this Gospel at Mass I began to reflect on my recent experiences with our family garden.  Growing up it was my mother who taught me what I know about gardening.  It all begins she taught me with soil preparation. There is a proper time to turn the soil.  Never too early when it is wet.  Well aged compost is crucial to a garden and only certain things go into compost.  
Our Hone Garden Summer 2012
When my husband and I got married and moved into our home I asked him to make raised beds, a suggestion also from my mom.  My impatience to fill the raised beds and get planting and the fact that our town dump had free composted soil led to a rapid filling of our raised beds using the soil from the dump.  The seedlings I had started months earlier went in as well as the vegetable seeds typically planted directly into the garden.  All seemed to go well at first.  The seedlings emerged and the little transplanted vegetable plants survived but after several weeks it seemed many of the vegetable plants such as the carrots, radishes and lettuce just weren’t growing.  The tomato plants were the only plants that seemed to really grow significantly in size.  Some fertilizers were added and kitchen scraps placed around the plants under the dirt and technique I had read about.  As the tomatoes grew some began to flower and make small fruit.  However, brown spots began to appear on the tomato leaves.  I read that these leaves should be removed right away.  The condition wasn’t always fatal but the plant would be compromised and less fruit would be expected.  The season in all turned out to be a huge disappointment.  After all the work of making the beds and planting the seeds there was almost no vegetables to show for it.  We realized the was the soil.  
Our Home Garden Summer 2012
Veteran farmers at our town farmers market recommended removing the soil and starting over.  This seemed to be such a drastic step.  After a winter of adding wood ash, compost from our kitchen and worm castings from our vermis composter we were ready for a second try.  Plants seemed to take off better but the diseases were far from gone.  We began to see the familiar brown spots but a new disease appeared, a wilt that over night would kill the plant.  It was so sad to see a thriving plant full of fruit, but still too young to harvest, killed almost over night with a terrible wilt.  A subsequent season went by with more improvement of the soil and more harvest but the diseases were always present just not as devastating.  This brought me to start a new cold frame raised bed but this time we added aged manure from my mom’s farm and lots of wood ash and worm castings.  We are poised to begin our new season of planting and as we have just entered February it is time to begin the indoor seedlings.  Hearing the parable in the gospel Wednesday the wisdom of Our Lord’s words hit me face on.  A healthy and bountiful garden starts with fertile soil.  Best to begin with new soil from compost, but the origins of the compost are important.  Compost made from diseased plants will yield sickly plants.  Thinking yet more about Our Lord’s words I began to think of a small baby with fresh new soil given by the Creator Himself.  As the child grows what is put into the soil?  Are additives of prayer generously added to the soil?  Is there love also worked through the soil as it is turned over?  Has the purity of the soil been lost through exposure to violence and profanity and impure images?  When the seed is brought by the Sower will the soil be ready for the seedling to take root and grow without the hinderance of spiritual disease?  
What I have found now three years into the raised bed system is that I would have done far better to start with fertile soil, continue to improve it regularly and watch for the addition of contaminants.  However,  there is still hope for those of us who let our soil run low of nutrients and allowed impurities to be added over the years.  The process to clean and create fertile soil is a slow one.  Lots of good quality material needs to be added liberally.  Vigilance is needed to prevent further contamination.  The yields may not be as bountiful but there are yields.  Each passing year the amount of harvest grows.  The cycle of nature is one which renews itself.  Each season an opportunity for more work to be done but with the work there is joy in seeing the fruits of ones labor.  The life of a gardener is a hard one but always full of hope for a better harvest next year.  As the sun begins to strengthen here in CT USA there is an awareness that once again it is planting time and a new chance to grow and yield fruit.

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Grow in God's love as a flower that feels the warm rays of spring

Friday, February 1, 2013

Two Children's Rosary Groups to Meet Tomorrow

Please Join Us in Prayer!!

The Children's Rosary at St. Agnes Church in Naples, Florida USA will meet tomorrow, February 2nd, at 9:30AM EST in the Chapel.  

The Children's Rosary at The Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Waterbury, CT USA will meet tomorrow at 3:30 PM EST.  

Please consider joining these groups in prayer either in person or from your home.  If you live far away consider unify your prayers with those of the children meeting tomorrow.  We have asked that each group pray for the intentions of all the members of the Children's Rosary and the intentions of Our Lady.  To join our group you only have to tell Our Lord in your heart of your desire to join us.  You will then be included in all our rosaries and prayers said daily.  God Bless you all!

If there isn't a Children's Rosary in your Parish consider starting one.

The Month of February is Dedicated to the Holy Family

Important Feasts and Dates in February
Feb 2 The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord
Feb 5 Memorial of St. Agatha
Feb 6 Memorial of St. Paul Miki and Companions
Feb 8 Opt. Memorial of St. Jerome Emiliani and St. Josephine Bakhita
Feb 11 Opt. Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes
Feb 13 Ash Wednesday
Feb 14 Opt. Memorial of St. Cyril and St. Metodius
FEb 21 Opt Memorial of St. Peter Damian
Feb 22 The Feast of the Chair of St. Peter the Apostle
Feb 23 Memorial of St. Polycarp of Smyrna

Prayer Intentions of the Holy Father for the Month of February 2013