March 27, 2012

Thought of the Day


If God causes you to suffer much, it is a sign that He has great designs for you, and that He certainly intends to make you a saint. 

-- St. Ignatius of Loyola

Solemnity of the Annunciation


The Annunciation is the Christian celebration of the announcement by the angel Gabriel to Mary that she would become the Theotokos (God-bearer). Despite being a virgin, Mary would miraculously conceive a child who would be called the Son of God. Gabriel told Mary to name her son Jesus, meaning “YHWH delivers”. Most of Christianity observes this event with the Feast of the Annunciation on 25 March, nine full months before Christmas. According to the Bible (Luke 1:26), the Annunciation occurred in “the sixth month” of Elizabeth's pregnancy with the child who would later become known as John the Baptist.

March 26, 2012

Wear black on Fridays to end abortions.



Abortion Blackout is calling upon the faithful in the United States of America to wear black every Friday as a public witness to the horror of abortion and as a call for it's end in this country

March 23, 2012

A Lenten Prayer

Merciful and loving God, you give us* this Lenten desert for our purification, for our chance to become your faithful friends.

Because we are wearied by our sins and exhausted by the weight of our guilt, the devil seeks to tempt us further away from you.

Let us hear his false promises with your ears and see his counterfeit prizes through your eyes. With your Word in our mouths, we reject his poisonous gifts and run to you for our salvation.

Fr. Barron comments on Abortion: Shocking Numbers out of New York

March 22, 2012

Rallies for religious freedom to take place across nation on Friday

Rallies for religious freedom are scheduled to take place March 23 at noon at over 100 cities around the country. The rallies, coordinated by Eric Scheidler of the Pro-Life Action League and Monica Miller of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, have gained the endorsement of dozens of pro-life organizations.

“The Obama administration’s attempt to force all Americans to buy coverage for sterilization and contraceptives, including drugs that induce abortion, is a radical incursion into freedom of conscience,” Stand Up for Religious Freedom states on its web site.

“The Rally for Religious Freedom--popularly known as the ‘Stand Up Rally’--will launch an ongoing, grassroots effort to stand in solidarity with the American Catholic bishops and other religious leaders denouncing the HHS Mandate, educate the general public about what’s truly at stake in this controversy, and demand that Congress reverse this assault on our cherished freedoms--or effect that reversal through the democratic process.”

March 20, 2012

Additional commentary from Fr. Barron on the HHS mandate

Dear President Obama...



Under the new HHS mandate, Catholic schools, hospitals & churches will be forced to participate in practices that are contrary to Catholic Church teaching. We must stand up and demand that our religious liberty is respected. For more visit: www.catholicvote.org

March 19, 2012

F.Y.I. Ave Maria Radio


There is an excellent station streaming online at AveMariaRadio.net for faithful Catholics and seeking Christians. I highly recommend this apos- tolate and the programming it offers.

A blessed Solemnity of St. Joseph, spouse of Mary, to all.

Today's Collect:

Grant, we pray, almighty God, that by Saint Joseph's intercession you Church may constantly watch over the unfolding of the mysteries of salvation, whose beginnings you entrusted to his faithful care.

And in this day and age when the free exercise of our faith is under attack in our land, the intercessions of good St. Joseph, protector of Mary and Jesus, patron of the Church, is especially needed.

“Stand Up for Religious Freedom—Stop the HHS Mandate!”


The Nationwide Rally for Religious Freedom is being held Friday, March 23 at noon, local time, outside federal buildings, Congressional offices and historic sites across the country. The theme for the Rally is “Stand Up for Religious Freedom—Stop the HHS Mandate!”
 
Click here for rally locations

March 15, 2012

The Secret to Life is....


The goal of life is to be with God forever...

-- St. Ignatius of Loyola

October Baby: Official Movie Trailer

Vatican Says Number of Catholics, Priests, Bishops Worldwide Increased

The number of Catholics in the world and the number of deacons, priests and bishops all increased in 2010, while the number of women in religious orders continued to decline, according to Vatican statistics.

At the end of 2010, the worldwide Catholic population reached 1.196 billion, an increase of 15 million or 1.3 percent, slightly outpacing the global population growth rate, which was estimated at 1.1 percent, said a statement published March 10 by the Vatican press office.

Catholics as a percentage of the global population "remained stable at around 17.5 percent," it said.

The statement reported a handful of the statistics contained in the 2012 "Annuario Pontificio," a yearbook containing information about every Vatican office, as well as every diocese and religious order in the world.

Officials of the Vatican Secretariat of State and its Central Office of Church Statistics presented the first copy of the 2012 yearbook to Pope Benedict XVI during an audience March 10.

Detailed statistics in the yearbook are based on reports from dioceses and religious orders as of Dec. 31, 2010.

The percentage of Catholics declined slightly in South America from 28.54 percent to 28.34 percent of the regional population, and dropped considerably in Europe from 24.05 percent to 23.83 percent. The percentage of Catholics increased in 2010 by just under half a percentage point in Southeast Asia and Africa.

The Vatican said the number of bishops in the world increased from 5,065 to 5,104; the number of priests went from 410,593 to 412,236, increasing everywhere except Europe.

The number of permanent deacons reported -- 39,564 -- was an increase of more than 1,400 over the previous year. 97.5 percent of the world's permanent deacons live in the Americas or in Europe.

The number of men joining a religious order showed "a setback," the Vatican said, with an increase of only 436 male religious worldwide in 2010.

The number of women in religious orders fell by more than 7,000 in 2010, despite showing a 2 percent increase in both Asia and Africa. At the end of the year, Catholic women's orders had 721,935 members.

The number of seminarians around the world showed continued growth, from 117,978 at the end of 2009 to 118,990 at the end of 2010.

In the last five years, it said, the number of seminarians rose more than 14 percent in Africa, 13 percent in Asia and 12.3 percent in Oceania. Numbers decreased in other regions of the world, particularly Europe, which saw a 10.4 percent drop in the number of seminarians between 2005 and 2010.

On the Existence of Evil Spirits

March 14, 2012

Test of Fire: Election 2012 (Official HD Version - Catholic)


Will you vote the values that will stand the test of fire? Some things are more important than high gas prices or a faltering economy. They are life, marriage and freedom. This November, Catholics must stand up and protect their sacred rights and duties.

March 13, 2012

Sister Mary Ann Walsh: What does Obama have against Catholics?

The following is from the Media Blog of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. It was posted Friday, March 9, by Sister Mary Ann Walsh, director of media relations for the USCCB.

The Amish are exempt from the entire health care reform law. So are members of Medi-Share, a program of Christian Care Ministry. Yet, when the Catholic Church asks for a religious exemption from just one regulation issued under the law – the mandate that all employers, including religious institutions, must pay for sterilization and contraceptives, including abortion-inducing drugs – the Administration balks.

The government respects the First Amendment that guarantees the right to freely exercise one’s religious beliefs, but only to a point. In the health care law it picks and chooses which beliefs it respects. The Amish do not believe in insurance, and the government understands. Christian Care Ministry believes people should form a religious community and pay medical bills for one another, and the government says okay. Yet when the Catholic Church opposes being forced to pay for services that violate its beliefs, the Administration says “tough.”

What is so special about this mandate that it cannot be touched? It was added after Congress passed the health care law and offers no exemption for religious charitable or educational institutions. It will not accept Catholic charities and schools as “religious enough” unless they hire only Catholics, serve only Catholics, have the narrow tax exempt status granted to houses of worship, and teach religion as their purpose.

Amazingly, this mandate has more force than the overall health care law. In fact recent regulations allow states to decide which “essential health benefits” to require in health plans, such as hospitalization, prescription drugs and pediatric services. At the same time, all insurance plans must include the objectionable services mentioned above. Here federal law trumps state law and threatens to fine into submission institutions that dare oppose it. The going rate is at least $100 per day per employee.

What has the government got against the Catholic Church? Has it forgotten the contributions the church has made to the poor and needy for centuries?

Catholic elementary and secondary schools provide the only real alternative to public schools in many parts of the nation. Catholic colleges offer outstanding education, be it at the university or the community college. The contribution has a long history, back to 1789 when Georgetown University was founded by the Jesuits. Yet under the health care law, if these schools and colleges wish to remain faithful to their religious principles the government will fine them into submission. There’s a thank-you note.

Many Catholic hospitals were founded by religious orders of women, and today one out of six persons seeking hospital care in the United States goes to a Catholic hospital. Until now, religious background of the patient has not been an issue. “Where does it hurt?” is the first question, not “Where is your baptismal certificate?” This approach threatens to deny hospitals any real protection as “religious employers” under the new rule. Yet their Catholicity means many of these hospitals have an added benefit. At Providence Hospital in Washington, DC, for example, patients not only get medical care, they can get clothing too if they need it. It comes through the Ladies of Charity, an auxiliary of the Daughters of Charity who founded the hospital in 1861.

Catholic social service agencies, including adoption and foster care agencies, parish food banks, and soup kitchens, meet human concerns. Services depend on need, not creed. Church sponsorship means the services have a little extra, be they volunteers from parishes, financial donations through diocesan appeals, or the dedication that comes from working for God as well as paycheck.

A Catholic might take personally the Administration’s dissing their beliefs. Lucky the Amish, who have their basic constitutional rights respected. If only we objected to health insurance generally, we might be able to enjoy the same protection. Seems odd that the Administration is more inflexible on contraception than on services that actually treat disease.

CBS Touts Dissenting Catholics' Agenda in Favor of Married Priesthood

By Matthew Balan

On Monday's CBS This Morning, correspondent Michelle Miller highlighted one of the 77 married Catholic priests in the U.S. who converted from the Episcopal Church in recent years and boosted a favorite pet cause of left-leaning dissenting Catholics: ordaining married men. Miller trumpeted that Father Doug Grandon's example "begs the question: should all Catholic priests have the option to marry?"

Father Grandon himself leaned towards that concept when he stated that "the most we could say is that having a married priest...allows them to look and see how it would work if they wanted to change it." The morning show's religious and faith contributor, Father Edward Beck, also acknowledged that the several dozen former Episcopalian clerics are "bringing a whole liberal notion with them," but also noted one of the main reasons for Catholic clerical celibacy - that parish priests can devote all 24 hours of each day to their ministry.

Michelle Miller, CBS News Correspondent | NewsBusters.orgThe media's common ignorance of Christianity- and Catholicism specifically- was apparent from the beginning of Miller's report, which aired at the bottom of the 8 am Eastern hour. The CBS journalist admitted in her introduction that the concept of married Catholic priests "certainly surprised me. A number of priests are living lives that are not very different from the family men in their own parishes."

If the correspondent needed to find a married Catholic priest, instead of going all the way to Denver to where Father Grandon lives, she could have looked no further than the many Eastern Rite parishes in the New York City metro area. Eastern Catholics, which number in the hundreds of thousands in the U.S. (out of a total Catholic population of about 77 million), have a long tradition of married priests. The journalist omitted any mention of this different, but fully Catholic faith tradition during her report.

For more go  here.

March 12, 2012

Gloria Purvis - HHS Mandate is Anti-Woman: Catholics Need to Speak Up

Plenary Indulgence Can Be Obtained During Lent

The Catholic Church offers an easy plenary indulgence (with the usual conditions) to the faithful who recite the following prayer before a crucifix after having received Communion on any Friday in Lent. A plenary indulgence, you'll remember, remits all the temporal punishment due to personal sins - eternal punishment is remitted in baptism and sacramental confession.

You may pray the prayer in either Latin or your vernacular:

En ego, o bone et dulcissime Jesu, ante conspectum tuum genibus me provolvo, ac maximo animi ardore te oro atque obtestor, ut meum in cor vividos fidei, spei et caritatis sensus, atque veram peccatorum meorum paenitentiam, eaque emendandi firmissimam voluntatem velis imprimere; dum magno animi affectu et dolore tua quinque vulnera mecum ipse considero, ac mente contemplor, illud prae oculis habens, quod iam in ore ponebat tuo David Propheta de te, o bone Iesu: "Foderunt manus meas et pedes meos; dinumeraverunt omnia ossa mea." (Grant 8 § 1, 2º in the Manual of Indulgences.)

Behold, O kind and most sweet Jesus, I cast myself upon my knees in thy sight, and with the most fervent desire of my soul, pray and beseech thee that thou wouldst impress upon my heart lively sentiments of faith, hope, and charity, with true contrition for my sins and a firm purpose of amendment; while with deep affection and grief of soul I ponder within myself and mentally contemplate thy five wounds, having before my eyes the words which David the prophet put on thy lips concerning thee: “My hands and my feet they have pierced, they have numbered all my bones."

The conditions for gaining the Plenary Indulgence are as follows:

1. The act accomplished
2. Sacramental Communion
3. Sacramental Confession within 20 days
4. Prayer for the intention of the Holy Father
5. Freedom from attachment to sin (Be not afraid! This last condition doesn’t mean that you will no longer be tempted towards sin but that, with this action, you are willing to root out anything in your life which is displeasing to God and to love Him above all things).

March 9, 2012

We Are the People of Life

Fr. Frank Pavone

In the 37th chapter of Ezekiel, the Lord declares: “O My people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them.” The Lord is promising that He will return the exiles to their own land, and He is also promising the future resurrection from the dead and our entrance into the promised land of heaven. Through Ezekiel, God is proclaiming that He is the God of Life, and that we are the People of Life. That is why we are pro-life. To believe in God and to work for salvation means we work against anything that destroys life. The God Who promises to open our graves does not want us to send children into their graves. Let the evangelizing work of the Church speak strongly for life!

March 8, 2012

St. Patrick Novena

Blessed saint Patrick, glorious Apostle of Ireland, who didst become a friend and father to me for ages before my birth, hear my prayer and accept, for God, the sentiments of gratitude and veneration with which my heart is filled. Through thee I have inherited that faith which is dearer than life. I now make thee the representative of my thanks, and the mediator of my homage to Almighty God.

Most holy Father and patron of my country, despise not my weakness; remember that the cries of little children were the sounds that rose, like a mysterious voice from heaven, and invited thee to come amongst us. Listen, then, to my humble supplication; may my prayer ascend to the throne of God, with the praises and blessings which shall ever sanctify thy name and thy memory.

May my hope be animated by the patronage and intercession of our forefathers, who now enjoy eternal bliss and owe their salvation, under God, to thy courage and charity. Obtain for me grace to love God with my whole heart, to serve him with my whole strength, and to persevere in good purposes to the end, o faithful shepherd of the Irish flock, who wouldst have laid down a thousand lives to save one soul, take my soul, and the souls of my countrymen, under thy special care.

Be a father to the Church of Ireland and her faithful people. Grant that all hearts may share the blessed fruits of that Gospel thou didst plant and water. Grant that, as our ancestors of old had learned, under thy guidance, to unite science with virtue, we too, may learn, under thy patronage, to consecrate all Christian duty to the glory of God. I commend to thee my native land, which was so dear to thee while on earth. Protect it still, and, above all, direct its chief pastors, particularly those who teach us.

Give them grace to walk in thy footsteps, to nurture the flock with the word of life and the bread of salvation, and to lead the heirs of the Saints thou hast formed to the possession of that glory which they, with Thee, enjoy in the kingdom of the Blessed: through Christ Jesus, our Lord. Amen.

V. Pray for us, O glorious saint Patrick.
R. And obtain for us the intention of this Novena.

Video from a priest about Pres. Obama’s HHS mandate attack on the 1st Amendment

March 6, 2012

This is Abby Johnson's letter to abortion clinic workers:

Dear Clinic Worker,

You entered the abortion industry because you wanted to help women. You were told that illegal abortion was dangerous. You didn’t want to see that happen to anyone. You came in with the right intentions. Or, maybe you just needed a job. Maybe you really didn’t know what Planned Parenthood was all about. Now you know. Now you see what abortion really is and you may feel uncomfortable…but how do you leave? You may be a single mom, or maybe you are woman who is supporting her whole family during this terrible economy. Maybe this is the first time you have ever had a job that offered insurance…not just for you, but for your children also. How will you support your family? Aren’t you doing the right thing anyway? Maybe you aren’t sure anymore.

You see people outside praying. You don’t know what they are doing. Are they praying for you or just the women going in to have abortions? You are told every day that they are dangerous and want to harm you. Do they? You have seen some crazy “pro-lifers.” Sometimes they may yell at you…or you have heard those stories from other workers you know. Sometimes they say hateful things. You hear about bombings at other clinics and workers that are killed…are these the same people? Your employer says they are. Some of them seem like they really want to help you. But you know you could never really trust them. They are the enemy, right?

You just don’t understand why people say that you coerce women into having abortions. You don’t feel like you are coercing them. It feels like you are just helping them make the best decision. I mean, a 14 year old shouldn’t be forced to have a baby. In fact, you went to a training on how to talk about abortion in “tough situations.” These women don’t seem to be upset when they come back. In fact, they are happy about the decision they made. They can’t thank you enough. So where are all these people that “regret” their abortions? You don’t see them. You tell women that “abortion is normal” and that women don’t feel sad after their abortion…maybe that is really true.

Sometimes women ask about their baby before the abortion. You don’t really know what to say. You haven’t been taught anything about fetal development. You really want to answer their questions…but you don’t know what the answers are. So, you just feel like you have to say something to ease the woman’s mind. You have only been taught about abortion. You know every detail of the abortion procedure. Why can’t these patients just stick to facts about abortion…that is what they are here for anyway.

People ask you where you work, and you don’t know why, but you always feel embarrassed to talk about it. Instead of telling them, “I work at an abortion clinic,” you simply say, “I work at a doctor’s office.” You just want to avoid the whole “abortion” conversation. Your family intentionally avoids talking about your job. It almost feels like they are embarrassed by what you do.

You hear about former abortion clinic workers…”traitors” they are called. When they are talked about, people always talk about how they betrayed women…how they betrayed the whole pro-choice movement. But you wonder how they did it? How did they get out? How did they leave everything behind? Their friends, money, stability…how could they do that? You have heard that pro-lifers helped them when they wanted to leave? Would they help you, too?

Yes, we will. We will help you. You can trust us. We don’t just want you to leave the abortion industry…we want a change in your life. We want you to find peace and happiness. You probably haven’t felt those things in a while. We know it will be hard for you to step out and trust people that are supposed to be your enemy. But if you will just take that first step, we will hold your hand through this difficult transition.

The road out of the abortion industry is not an easy one. Some people will question your conversion. Some pro-lifers will not trust you…some will even say terrible things about you. But remember, you do not want to leave to be popular…you want to leave because it is the right thing to do. Your current friends at work will desert you. You will literally be starting over. And even though that sounds like it would be really lonely, it’s not. It is the best new life you could ever ask for.

You may be confused and scared. Don’t be. We are here. We are waiting. We are praying.

Sincerely,


Caring pro-lifer

Thought of the Day

"When freedom does not have a purpose, when it does not wish to know anything about the rule of law engraved in the hearts of men and women, when it does not listen to the voice of conscience, it turns against humanity and society."

- John Paul II


March 1, 2012

LaSondra Spears - Letter to Planned Parenthood

‘Tolerant’ Huffington Post Publishes Bigoted Attack on Catholics

Mary Chastain

Last week The Huffington Post published Larry Doyle’s “satire” article “The Jesus-Eating Cult of Rick Santorum.” It’s a disgusting piece of bigotry that’s disguised as satire. I think Mr. Doyle should leave The Simpsons” and work on “South Park” where they perfectly nail satire every single week. I even enjoy their satire episodes on the Catholic Church. The best part about “South Park” though, is they are consistent and will go after everyone. No one is sacred.

I’m a Catholic. I converted in April 2006. When I went through RCIA I was amazed at how the Church was more than willing to admit their mistakes in the past. They’re not perfect. Far from it! But they admit their mistakes. My teacher even told me he didn’t blame Martin Luther for rebelling against the Church because they were corrupt. But that’s not enough for people.

But let’s dissect and refute Mr. Doyle’s hit piece. He mentions the supposed “bloody jihads his [Santorum] so-called church has carried on for centuries.” First off Mr. Doyle, jihad is an Islamic term. So while you try to make Catholics look bad by using the word you in turn just make yourself look like a bigger idiot because you’re accusing the Catholic Church of waging a holy war on behalf of Islam. The key word is has, as in they’re still carrying out bloody “jihads.” Like I said, the Catholic Church isn’t perfect, but taking a look into the Catholic past Mr. Doyle I couldn’t find a single incident of them waging a holy war on behalf of Islam.

You know who is waging a holy war on behalf of Islam? Islam. I can think of a few very bloody jihads. Remember Osama bin Laden? Yeah, he declared jihad on America back on August 23, 1996. One incident, you may remember, happened on September 11, 2001. Shall I continue? I’d rather not. You may also remember Pope John Paul II. He went through so much to make amends for wrongs the Catholic Church did in its past. Thing is Islam is still waging a holy war on all non-Muslims and has been since before the formation of the Catholic church.

I also love how Mr. Doyle doesn’t call us Christians. Here’s some history Mr. Doyle: The Catholic Church was started by Jesus. The Protestants broke off from the Catholic Church. So yes we are Christians. Without the Catholic Church there wouldn’t be Methodists or Lutherans. But we are all Christians because of Jesus. You do realize that the different sects of Protestants are, in fact different from each other. So do you think Methodists aren’t Christian either because they worship differently than the Lutherans? How about Baptists? Anglicans? Presbyterians? Are they non-denomination Christians non-Christians too?

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