July 20, 2017

Saint Anne Novena 2017 | Day 5

St. Anne

July 21, 2017

Saint Anne Novena - Day 5

Great Saint Anne, how far I am from resembling you. I so easily give way to impatience and discouragement; and so easily give up praying when God does not at once answer my request. Prayer is the key to all heavenly treasures and I cannot pray, because my weak faith and lack of confidence fail me at the slightest delay. O my powerful protectress, come to my aid, listen to my petition…

(State your intention here.)

Make my confidence and fervor, supported by the promise of Jesus Christ, increase as the trial to which God in His goodness subjects me is prolonged, that I may obtain like you more than I can venture to ask for. In the future I will remember that I am made for heaven and not for earth; for eternity and not for time; that consequently I must ask, above all, the salvation of my soul which is assured to all who pray properly and who persevere in prayer. Amen.

Pray for us, St. Anne, that we may be worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen.

O Lord, God of our Fathers, who bestowed on Saints Joachim and Anne this grace, that of them should be born the Mother of your incarnate Son, grant, through the prayers of both, that we may attain the salvation you have promised to your people. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

For more on this novena and daily email reminders go to PrayMoreNovenas.com.

St. Lawrence of Brindisi, Priest & Doctor of the Church

Saint Lawrence of Brindisi

Optional Memorial - July 21st

His name was Giulio Cesare Russo, and he was born at Brindisi in the kingdom of Naples in 1559. Educated in Venice at the College of St. Mark, he entered the Capuchins and took the name Lawrence. Finishing his studies at the University of Padua, he showed a flair for languages, mastering Hebrew, Greek, German, Bohemian, Spanish, and French, and showed an extraordinary knowledge of the text of the Bible. He is the greatest linguist among the Doctors of the Church.

While still a deacon, St. Lawrence of Brindisi became known as an excellent preacher and after his ordination startled the whole of northern Italy with his amazing sermons. Sent into Germany by the pope to establish Capuchin houses, he became chaplain to Emperor Rudolf II and had a remarkable influence on the Christian soldiers fighting the Muslims when they were threatening Hungary in 1601. Through his efforts, the Catholic League was formed to give solidarity to the Catholic cause in Europe. Sent by the emperor to persuade Philip III of Spain to join the League, he established a Capuchin friary in Madrid. He also brought peace between Spain and the kingdom of Savoy.

His compassion for the poor, the needy, and the sick was legendary. Elected minister-general of his order in 1602, he made the Capuchins a major force in the Catholic Restoration, visiting every friary in the thirty-four provinces of the order and directing the work of nine thousand friars. He himself was a dominant figure in carrying out the work of the Council of Trent and was described by Pope Benedict XV as having, "a truly distinguished place among the most outstanding men ever raised up by Divine Providence to assist the Church in time of distress."

In 1619, he undertook a journey to see King Philip III of Spain on behalf of the oppressed people of Naples who were ruled by a tyrannical governor. Lawrence reached Lisbon where the king was residing, and it was there that his last illness overtook him. His body was carried back to Spain and buried in the church of the Poor Clares at Villafranca del Bierzo.

Lawrence was canonized by Pope Leo XIII in 1881 and declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope John XXIII in 1959. O God, who for the glory of your name and the salvation of souls bestowed on the Priest Saint Lawrence of Brindisi a spirit of counsel and fortitude, grant, we pray, that in the same spirit, we may know what must be done and, through his intercession, bring it to completion. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit.

Adapted excerpt from The One Year Book of Saints, Fr. Clifford Stevens.

July 19, 2017

Two Other Apparitions of Our Lady

Our Lady of Knock

Our Lady of Knock 

Our Lady of Knock was seen by 15 residents of Knock, a poor, small village in County Mayo, Ireland, on Aug. 21, 1879, outside of the Church of St. John the Baptist. St. Joseph and St. John the Evangelist accompanied her; there was also an altar with a lamb and cross on it. In this apparition, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to all present but remained silent. A prayer to Our Lady of Knock includes the words, “Our Lady of Knock, Queen of Ireland, you gave hope to your people in a time of distress and comforted them in sorrow.” Pray for us Our Lady.

Our Lady of La Salette

Our Lady of La Salette 

Two children, Maximin Giraud and Mélanie Calvat, reported seeing “a beautiful lady” weeping bitterly on the mountain of La Salette in the French Alps in 1846. Through the children, she gave her message of reconciliation to the world and insisted that this message be made known to all her people. She was crying, and around her neck was a crucifix, with a hammer and pincers on either side. The hammer symbolizes the sins of humanity that put the nails into the hands of Jesus; the pincers symbolize the good people do that remove the nails from Jesus’ hands. (See "Homily for the Feast of Our Lady of La Salette" for more.)

Pray for Charlie Gard

Charlie Gard

Charlie Gard is an 11 month old baby in the UK who suffers from a genetic disorder known as mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome. His condition is caused by a disruption in the mitochondria, the part of the cell that provides energy to his muscles, kidneys and brain. There is a new treatment available which is a nucleoside bypass therapy, which could potentially repair Charlie’s mtDNA and help it synthesize again by providing him the naturally occurring compounds that his body cannot now produce.

Charlie's Situation is Dire

"According to press accounts, Charlie is terminally ill at this point. His parents have raised more than $1 million to try an experimental treatment to help him, but hospital officials—backed by British and European courts—have forbidden his parents to take him from the London hospital where he currently is." [Source]

England's National Health Service has repeatedly denied Charlie this potentially lifesaving treatment despite the pleas of Charlie’s parent and other medical experts. The hospital insist it is in Charlie’s best interest to cease all life support, since the odds of recovery are slim. Pray that the governing authorities come to their senses and allow this child to obtain the treatment he urgently requires.

Saint Anne Novena 2017 | Day 4

St. Anne

July 20, 2017

Saint Anne Novena - Day 4

Glorious Saint Anne, I kneel in confidence at your feet, for you also have tasted the bitterness and sorrow of life. My need, the cause of my request, is…

(State your intention here.)

Good Saint Anne, you who did suffer much during the twenty years that preceded your glorious maternity, I beseech you, by all your sufferings and humiliations, to grant my prayer.

I pray to you, through your love for your glorious spouse Saint Joachim, through your love for your immaculate child, through the joy you did feel at the moment of her happy birth, not to refuse me. Bless me, bless my family and all who are dear to me, so that some day we may all be with you in the glory of heaven, for all eternity. Amen.

Pray for us, St. Anne, that we may be worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen.

O Lord, God of our Fathers, who bestowed on Saints Joachim and Anne this grace, that of them should be born the Mother of your incarnate Son, grant, through the prayers of both, that we may attain the salvation you have promised to your people. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

For more on this novena and daily email reminders go to PrayMoreNovenas.com.

Homily for the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, July 23, 2017, Year A

Fr. René J. Butler, M.S.
Provincial Superior, La Salette Missionaries of North America
Hartford, Connecticut

(Click here for today’s readings)

The three Parables we heard today all speak about growth of one kind or another, and so they also imply some level of patience. This dovetails perfectly with the first reading, from Wisdom, especially its concluding phrase, “You gave your children good ground for hope that you would permit repentance for their sins.”

From that perspective, it might seem almost as if, in the Parable of the Wheat and the Weeds, that the weeds will be given time to become wheat—impossible in nature, but possible in this kind of imagery, not so different really from other Scriptures, such as Ezekiel’s vision of dry bones being covered with flesh and returning to life.

When Jesus explains the Parable, however, we see that the patience on the landowner’s part is just to allow the wheat to mature. The wheat has had only to survive whatever threat might have been posed by the weeds. The final scene is one of judgment.

We do indeed proclaim in the creed that Jesus “will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,” but something in us prefers to look away from the image of “the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.” Despite the number of times the notion of damnation turns up in the New Testament, despite the number of images used to describe it, we would rather not hear it. Even the famous judgment scene in Matthew 25, in which the Son of Man says, “I was hungry, and you gave me to eat,” etc., is remembered and cited mostly for its call to treat others with Christian kindness, even though it ends with a reference to eternal punishment and eternal life.

Rather than linger on these unappealing truths, then, let us look at the very last words of Jesus’ explanation of the Parable: “Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” It echoes a passage from the prophet Daniel: “Those with insight shall shine brightly like the splendor of the firmament, and those who lead the many to justice shall be like the stars forever.”

These are pleasant truths. Just imagine:

There you are, leading many to righteousness and justice, by your exhortations, by your example.

There you are, a lighthouse, a beacon helping others avoid the shoals.

There you are, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, welcoming the homeless.

There you are, carrying out the lesson taught by God himself in today’s reading from the Book of Wisdom, “that those who are just must be kind.”

There you are, living a life of the Beatitudes, blessed indeed as you hunger and thirst for justice and serve as a meek and humble peacemaker, rejoicing when you are persecuted for the sake of Christ.

There you are (as we read today in Romans 8) counting on the Holy Spirit to come to the aid of your weakness and make your prayer what it ought to be.

There you are, like Mother Teresa, doing “something beautiful for God.”

What amazing thoughts!

What? Don’t you see yourself in them? If in fact you are finding it hard really to imagine yourself in these situations, behaving in these ways, what is the alternative?

Before you throw up your hands in despair and cry, “I’m doomed!” stop and think again about the three Parables. You aren’t doomed. You have time to grow. You have time to meet the challenge issued by all these inspiring images.

You have time. Make the most of it.

Saint Apollinaris, Bishop and Martyr

Saint Apollinaris

Optional Memorial - July 20

Early accounts report that Saint Apollinaris was ordained Bishop by Saint Peter himself and sent as a missionary bishop to Ravenna during the reign of the emperor Claudius. Renowned for his powers to heal in the name of Christ, he was exiled, tortured and imprisoned for the faith, and [at last] martyred. [Source]

The Life and Heroic Martyrdom of St. Apollinaris

Apollinaris came to Rome from Antioch with the prince of the apostles, by whom he was consecrated bishop, and sent to Ravenna to preach the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. He converted many to the faith of Christ, for which reason he was seized by the priests of the idols and severely beaten. At his prayer, a nobleman named Boniface, who had long been dumb, recovered the power of speech, and his daughter was delivered from an unclean spirit; on this account a fresh sedition was raised against Apollinaris. He was beaten with rods, and made to walk barefoot over burning coals; but as the fire did him no injury, he was driven from the city.

He lay hidden some time in the house of certain Christians, and then went to Aemilia. Here he raised from the dead the daughter of Rufinus, a patrician, whose whole family thereupon believed in Jesus Christ. The prefect was greatly angered by this conversion, and sending for Apollinaris he sternly commanded him to give over propagating the faith of Christ in the city. But as Apollinaris paid no attention to his commands, he was tortured on the rack, boiling water was poured upon his wounds, and his mouth was bruised and broken with a stone; finally he was loaded with irons, and shut up in prison. Four days afterwards he was put on board ship and sent into exile; but the boat was wrecked, and Apollinaris arrived in Mysia, whence he passed to the banks of the Danube and into Thrace.

In the temple of Serapis the demon refused to utter his oracles so long as the disciple of the apostle Peter remained there. Search was made for some time, and then Apollinaris was discovered and commanded to depart by sea. Thus he returned to Ravenna; but on the accusation of the same priests of the idols, he was placed in the custody of a centurion. As this man, however, worshipped Christ in secret, Apollinaris was allowed to escape by night. When this became known, he was pursued and overtaken by the guards, who loaded him with blows and left him, as they thought, dead. He was carried away by the Christians, and seven days after, while exhorting them to constancy in the faith, he passed away from this life, to be crowned with the glory of martyrdom. His body was buried near the city walls. [Direct your faithful, Lord, in the way of eternal salvation, which the Bishop St. Apollinaris showed by his example and martyrdom,.Amen.]

Excerpted from Roman Martyrology

July 18, 2017

Saint Anne Novena 2017 | Day 3

St. Anne

July 19, 2017

Saint Anne Novena - Day 3

Beloved of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, mother of the Queen of Heaven, take us and all who are dear to us under your special care. Obtain for us the virtues you instilled in the heart of her who was destined to become Mother of God, and the graces with which you were endowed. O model of Christian womanhood, pray that we may imitate your example in our homes and families, listen to our petitions,

(State your intention here.)

Guardian of the infancy and childhood of the most Blessed Virgin Mary, obtain the graces necessary for all who enter the marriage state, that imitating your virtues they may sanctify their homes and lead the souls entrusted to their care to eternal glory. Amen.

Pray for us, Saint Anne, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen.

O Lord, God of our Fathers, who bestowed on Saints Joachim and Anne this grace, that of them should be born the Mother of your incarnate Son, grant, through the prayers of both, that we may attain the salvation you have promised to your people. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

For more on this novena and daily email reminders go to PrayMoreNovenas.com.

The Weather Lore Surrounding St. Swithin’s Day

Saint Swithin

We are posting belatedly about Saint Swithin (or St Swithun), the 9th century saint perhaps best known for a meteorological prediction which is supposed to take place on his feast day, July 15th. Here is the ancient rhyme responsible:
St Swithin’s Day, if it does rain
Full forty days, it will remain
St Swithin’s Day, if it be fair
For forty days, t’will rain no more
According to traditional folklore whatever the weather is like on that day, whether rainy or sunny, it will continue for the next 40 days and 40 nights. The likelihood that this proverb is an accurate predictor of weather is slim, although occasionally the jet stream cooperates giving some degree of veracity to the ancient formula.

What little we do know about St. Swithin is that he was born in Wessex, England sometime in the 9th century and was educated at the old monastery at Winchester. He was subsequently ordained there and became chaplain to King Egbert of the West Saxons. At the time, Winchester was the kingdom's capital. .

Known for his humility and his care for the poor, he was also the tutor to the King’s son, who apparently elevated him to the Bishopric of Winchester after he himself ascended the throne. He supposedly performed just one miracle during his lifetime, making an old lady's eggs whole again after workmen smashed them while constructing a church.

It is said that at his death in 862, St. Swithin requested that he be buried, not in his cathedral, but outside the church among the common people. He was named patron saint of Winchester Cathedral about 100 years after his death. Swithin is derived from the Old English word for "strong" and St Swithin's symbols are raindrops and apples.St. Swithin, intercede for us so we love God completely.

July 17, 2017

Saint Anne Novena 2017 | Day 2

St. Anne

July 18, 2017

Saint Anne Novena - Day 2

Glorious Saint Anne, how can you be otherwise than overflowing with tenderness toward sinners like myself, since you are the grandmother of Him who shed His blood for us, and the mother of her whom the saints call advocate of sinners? To you, therefore, I address my prayers with confidence.

Vouchsafe to commend me to Jesus and Mary so that, at your request, I may be granted remission of my sins, perseverance, the love of God, charity for all mankind, and the special grace of…

(State your intention here.)

for which I stand in need at the present time. O most powerful protectress, let me not lose my soul, but pray for me that through the merits of Jesus Christ and the intercession of Mary, I may have the great happiness of seeing them, of loving and praising them with you through all eternity. Amen.

Pray for us, Saint Anne, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen.

O Lord, God of our Fathers, who bestowed on Saints Joachim and Anne this grace, that of them should be born the Mother of your incarnate Son, grant, through the prayers of both, that we may attain the salvation you have promised to your people. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

For more on this novena and daily email reminders go to PrayMoreNovenas.com.

St. Camillus de Lellis, Caregiver to the Sick, Founder

Saint Camillus de Lellis

Optional Memorial – July 18th

St. Camillus' mother was nearly sixty years old when he was born [in 1550]. As a youth, he gave himself to the sinful pleasures of this world. His conversion dates from the feast of the Purification, 1575. Two attempts to join the Capuchin Order were frustrated by an incurable sore on his leg. In Rome, Camillus was placed in a hospital for incurables; before long he was put in charge due to his ability and zeal for virtue. There, he provided the sick every kind of spiritual and bodily aid.

At the age of thirty-two he began studying for Holy Orders and was not ashamed of being numbered with children. After ordination to the holy priesthood he founded a congregation of Regular Clerics, the "Ministers to the Sick." As a fourth vow the community assumed the duty of caring for the plague-ridden at the risk of their lives. With invincible patience Camillus persevered day and night in the service of the sick, performing the meanest and most difficult of duties.

His love shone forth most brightly when the city of Rome was stricken by epidemic and famine, and when the plague raged at Nola. Having suffered five different maladies, which he called God's mercy, he died in Rome at the age of sixty-five. On his lips was the prayer for the dying: "May the face of Christ Jesus shine gloriously upon you." Camillus was beatified by Pope Benedict XIV, and canonized by him four years later in 1746. Leo XIII declared him the heavenly patron of hospitals and added his name in the litany for the dying.

He is the patron saint of the sick, hospitals, nurses and physicians and against gambling. His mortal remains rest in the altar of the Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Rome, along with several of his relics. Also displayed is the Cross which allegedly spoke to Camillus, asking him, "Why are you afraid? Do you not realize that this is not your work but mine?". Almighty God, who adorned the Priest Saint Camillus with a singular grace of charity towards the sick, pour out upon us, by his merits, a spirit of total love for you, so that, serving you in our neighbor, we may, at the hour of our death, pass safely over to you. Amen.

Expanded and adapted excerpt from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch.

Saint Anne Novena 2017 | Day 1

St. Anne

July 17, 2017

Saint Anne Novena - Day 1

Great Saint Anne, engrave indelibly on my heart and in my mind the words that have reclaimed and sanctified so many sinners:

“What shall it profit a man to gain the whole world if he lose his own soul?” May this be the principal fruit of these prayers by which I will strive to honor you during this novena.

At your feet renew my resolution to invoke you daily, not only for the success of my temporal affairs and to be preserved from sickness and suffering, but above all, that I may be preserved from all sin, that I may gain eternal salvation and that I will receive the special grace of…

(State your intention here.)

O most powerful Saint Anne, do not let me lose my soul, but obtain for me the grace of heaven, there with you and your glorious daughter, to sing the praise of the Most Holy and Adorable Trinity forever and ever. Amen.

Pray for us, Saint Anne & Saint Joachim, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen.

O Lord, God of our Fathers, who bestowed on Saints Joachim and Anne this grace, that of them should be born the Mother of your incarnate Son, grant, through the prayers of both, that we may attain the salvation you have promised to your people. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

For more on this novena and daily email reminders go to PrayMoreNovenas.com.

July 16, 2017

Homily for the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, July 23, 2017, Year A

Field of wheat

Fr. Charles Irvin
Senior Priest
Diocese of Lansing


We live in a strange world, don’t we? So many people begin things with good intentions, wonderful visions, and really want to make things better, both in their own lives and in the lives of others. Marx and Lenin, the fathers of communism, really wanted to make the lives of their countrymen better. We went to war in Vietnam with good intentions. Atomic energy was supposed to make the world a better place. But, as in so many great efforts, things are likely to eventually go wrong.

The same is true in our own personal lives. People fall in love and get married with nothing but the best of intentions, with high hopes, with hearts filled with love, and with wonderful visions. Then, somewhere along the line, things turn sour.

Life is mixture of good and evil. We are imperfect people living in an imperfect world. There’s much in our nation that is both good and bad. Our governmental officials are both good and bad. There’s much in our Church that is good, and there are some bad things in it too. If we’re honest, we see that there is both good and bad in us individually and collectively. Everywhere we look we find this strange mixture of what’s right and what’s wrong.

The world of great literature and the world of great art try to help us deal with this mixture of good and evil. The famous Star Wars movie series presents good people who, for some mysterious reason, go over to the Dark Side. The authors and producers of Star Wars didn’t give us an explanation of why this happens, they gave us only the epic struggle of good trying to overcome evil. The world’s great writers, novelists and poets give us no ultimate answer to the problem of evil’s origins; the only thing they can do is help us deal with the problem.

The Bible tells us that Lucifer was one of the greatest of all God’s angels. His name, Lucifer, means “Light Bearer.” He was one of highest of God’s creatures; he bore God’s own light. And yet… for some reason he became the Prince of Darkness.

The reason? Lucifer put his will before God’s will. He refused to obey God. He opted to go his own way. He defied God. The mystery is: Why did he do that? Isn’t that the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden?

As followers of Jesus Christ, what do we do with the problem of evil? That’s the question raised in today’s readings. Answering the question is a big problem for all of us. Just what do we do when it comes to ridding ourselves and our world of evil? The Scripture passages in today’s first reading and today’s gospel account suggest that we deal with evil as God deals with it, with patience and forbearance. Evil will eventually reveal itself and evil will eventually suffer the consequences it brings down upon itself. Sin brings with it its own suffering and punishment. Don’t we see that?

There are a couple of interesting points about the parable of Jesus we just heard that I want to point out to you. One is that when He was asked where the weeds came from Jesus replied: “An enemy has done this.” He doesn’t tell us why God has enemies; He simply takes it as a fact. He is a realist, not a dreamy eyed idealist. To take a realistic view of life we simply must begin with the facts – evil exists and it comes from people who have chosen to defy God. It may not make any sense to us. We simply must take it as a fact of life. People, of their own free will, choose to defy God and do things on their own quite apart from Him. In the world of human choices, things are not as they ought to be, things are quite apart from what God intended them to be. The price of human freedom of choice is terribly costly, not only to us, but to God. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, had to pay that price.

Why, we ask, doesn’t God simply pull up all of evil’s weeds? Why doesn’t God, with fire and brimstone, simply blast evil off the face of the earth? Well, that’s a lot easier said than done. Suppose God did, what would happen? What would happen to each one of us? Aren’t we all a mixture of good and evil? Wouldn’t we still get caught up on their firestorm of evil’s destruction?

Which brings me to the second point, namely the fact that so very often what is evil appears to be good, and what is good appears to be evil. We can’t make the sorting, only God can.

In today’s parable Jesus speaks of the weeds as darnel. Now at the beginning of the growing process darnel looks just like wheat. It’s only when harvest time approaches that the difference between the two becomes apparent.

We know that to be true, don’t we, when it comes to the great enterprises we have begun. It’s only after the passage of time that we find out what’s really good and what’s really bad in our marriages. It was only after communism matured that we came to know just how evil it was. And the same principle applies in so many areas of our lives. Everything has something wrong within it. We certainly know that’s true in our own Church, in our nation, in our world, and in our own personal lives.

There are no “quick-fix” and easy solutions. Patience and forbearance are necessary, and to have patience and forbearance one must have faith. This is what Jesus is calling us to have – faith in His heavenly Father’s plan, faith in His heavenly Father’s ultimate ways of dealing with us and with our world. We have to believe in God’s goodness and believe in His love for all that is good in our world. Reliance on God and acceptance of His ways is the only way we can overcome evil both in our world and in our lives.

Isn’t that the faith Jesus had when we suffered His agony in the Garden of Gethsemani and as He hung dying on the cross? The Evil One tempted Him to despair, tempted Him to go over to the Dark Side. But Jesus remained steadfast, confident that in the end, at harvest time, His Father in heaven would harvest the good wheat and burn the darnel. Dying, Jesus handed over His fate to His Father in heaven.

Yes, it is a strange world we live in. But at the same time it is a beautiful world, a beautiful world filled with wonderful… even heroic people. The great miracle is that goodness and love have survived evil’s onslaught.

What is the vision in which you live? Do you really have faith in God your heavenly Father? Today, once again, Jesus invites you to share in His, vision, in His hope, and in His faith that in the end God will bring good out of evil. Truly Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.

Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel | 2017

Our Lady of Mount Carmel

July 16th is the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel is universal. Many Catholics are familiar with the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, also known as the Brown Scapular. On July 16, 1251, Mary appeared to Saint Simon Stock, giving him the scapular with the following words: "This will be for you and for all Carmelites the privilege, that he who dies in this will not suffer eternal fire." The feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was instituted for the Carmelites in 1332, and extended to the whole Church by Pope Benedict XIII in 1726. May the venerable intercession of the glorious Virgin Mary come to our aid, that, fortified by her protection, we may know eternal beatitude.

The Story of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Today is the principal feast day of the Carmelite Order. Through the efforts of the crusader Berthold, a group of hermits living on Mount Carmel were organized into an Order after the traditional Western type about the year 1150. Oppressed by the Saracens, the monks slowly emigrated to Europe. During the night preceding the sixteenth of July, 1225, the Blessed Virgin is said to have commanded Pope Honorius III to approve the foundation. Since the Carmelites were still under constant harassment, the sixth General of the Order, St. Simon Stock, pleaded with the Blessed Virgin for some special sign of her protection. On July 16, 1251, she designated the scapular as the special mark of her maternal love.

That is why the present feast is also known as the feast of the Scapular. The scapular, as part of the habit, is common to many religious Orders, but it is a special feature of the Carmelites. A smaller form of the scapular is given to lay persons in order that they may share in the great graces associated with it. Such a grace is the "Sabbatine privilege." Pope John XXII's Bulla Sabbatina  affirmed that wearers of the scapular are soon freed from the flames of purgatory, at least by the Saturday after death. The confirmation of the Bulla Sabbatina was promulgated by the Sacred Congregation of Indulgences, July 4, 1908.

Adapted excerpt from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch (From July 2016).

The 2017 St. Anne Novena Starts Monday, July 17th

St. Anne

Although Saint Anne is not mentioned in Sacred Scripture, she is the holy mother of Mary and grandmother of Jesus. When we pray the St. Anne Novena, we are asking help from our Blessed Mother’s mother. St. Anne’s feast day is July 26th. Her novena traditionally starts on July 17th.

Devotion to St. Anne began early in the history of the Catholic Church. As she was favored by God to become the mother of the Virgin Mary. She is often invoked as the patron of: carpenters, childless couples, grandmothers, grandparents, homemakers, housewives, lost articles, miners, mothers, pregnancy,  pregnant women, seamstresses, sterility, and women in labor, among other things. Women seeking a Godly husband may invoke her intercession.

O Lord, God of our Fathers, who bestowed on Saints Joachim and Anne this grace, that of them should be born the Mother of your incarnate Son, grant, through the prayers of both, that we may attain the salvation you have promised to your people. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

For more on this novena and daily email reminders go to PrayMoreNovenas.com.