May 30, 2013

Monsignor Charles Pope on the Power of Our Prayers

There is a wonderful article on the power of prayer written by Monsignor Pope available here.

May 23, 2013

Catholic IQ Test

This is a great Catholic IQ test online.  It is quite lengthy so be prepared to answer questions for 20-25 minutes.  It's well worth your time.  Go here to take the test.

May 22, 2013

Homily for Trinity Sunday, 2013

Excerpted from Father Michael J. Woolley's Trinity Sunday homily. Read it in its entirety here:

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And so today we celebrate this wonderful and central mystery of our Faith: that the One True God is a community of Persons, Father Son and Holy Spirit.

The Bond of Love that Unites these Three Persons into One is like a Triple Linked Chain that nothing could ever break.

This Strong Love of the Most Blessed Trinity has been poured into our hearts at Baptism. And so long as we remain united with the Trinity through loving God and loving our neighbor, even now in this life we get a foretaste of that Love we will abide in forever in Heaven.

But while chains of Love uniting the Persons of the Holy Trinity with each other are unbreakable, the chains of Love which unite us to God are not.

As the saying goes, a chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link. And when we commit sin, we may break only one link in the chain that binds us to God, but that one link can make our whole relationship to God come crashing down like that one link in this chain almost made our Cross come crashing down.

On this Trinity Sunday, may we examine each link in the chain which unites us to Jesus crucified and through Him to the Father and the Holy Spirit. May the Blessed Trinity help us to strengthen any weak links and repair any broken ones, that we may receive fully into our hearts the Love and Power of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

May 14, 2013

A Pentecost Reflection

Order Out of Confusion

Fr. Rene Butler

Remember learning about mixed metaphors, where two or more incompatible images are used to describe one thing? Years ago I saw a cartoon from the New Yorker magazine, where an executive speaking to his staff says, “Gentlemen, I smell a rat. I can feel it in the air. And I will nip it in the bud!”

We seem to have a similar confusion about the Holy Spirit, presented in the New Testament as a dove, wind, fire, and called “Paraclete,” which in turn is translated sometimes as Comforter and sometimes as Advocate. The hymn “Veni Sancte Spiritus” calls on the Spirit to “melt the frozen, warm the chill,” just after describing the Spirit as “Grateful coolness in the heat.”

But all this isn’t so strange as it might at first appear. The key lies in John 3:8, “The wind blows where it wills… but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.” (See 1 Corinthians 12Galatians 5:22-23 for just a few examples.) The Spirit is “spontaneous,” unpredictable, bestowing extraordinary gifts, often on unsuspecting, unlikely persons, precisely to meet a particular need in the Church or the world.

It’s no wonder that Pentecost is such an exciting feast!

Homily - Pentecost Sunday

Fr. René J. Butler, M.S.

Imagine you are one of the disciples gathered in the upper room, Acts 1:14 “All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.”

You hear something like a mighty wind.

You see something like tongues of fire.

You feel something happening within you and in the whole group.

You do something: you start to speak in ways you have never spoken before.

This is a pivotal event in the life of the disciples. The death and resurrection of Jesus were pivotal for their faith. Pentecost is pivotal for their life. Nothing will ever be the same again.

We have all had experiences we will never forget. Whether they are positive or negative, they are pivotal. They are more than memories to us.

In the creed we say: “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life.” This is more than remembering.

“The Lord formed man from the earth and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being.” (Gen. 2:7) The powerful breath of the Spirit at Pentecost made the disciples – and continues to make us today – a “living being” known as the Church.

The Church can never forget that first Pentecost, because the Church would not exist without it, and because the Holy Spirit continues to dwell in the Church and in all believers. The “Giver of Life” continues to give life.

The life of the Church consists in the gifts (charisms) the Spirit brings. They take many different forms, but all serve one purpose: to proclaim that Jesus is Lord!

We tend to think of gifts we receive as something for ourselves. The pivotal event of Pentecost shows us that the gifts we receive are never just for ourselves, but for the good of all. First we need to recognize the gift. Then we need to figure out how best to share it.

Fr. René Butler, M.S., is Director of the La Salette Shrine in Enfield, NH.

May 1, 2013

Why is May the Month of Mary?

In early non-Christian cultures goddesses of fertility were honoured in May, the first month of summer in the Northern Hemisphere.

As part of its evangelising practice the new religion of Christianity substituted Christian feasts for pagan ones e.g. St Brigid for the first day of Spring.

Later, a connection developed between the blossoms of May and the custom of offering flowers to Mary. By the Middle Ages, particularly in Spain, Mary was honoured on individual days in May, but it is due to the Italians that the whole month of Mary was given over to Marian devotion from the 18th Century onwards

The Ascension is celebrated on the first Sunday of May. According to the account in the Acts of the Apostles (1: 6-14), Mary did not witness the Ascension of Jesus. She was present in Jerusalem with the other women when the Apostles returned, and surely drank in every word they said.

The following Sunday is Pentecost Sunday We commemorate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the traditional "birthday of the Church". Mary was still present in Jerusalem: she who from the earliest days was known as Mother of the Church.

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The Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ is celebrated on the last Sunday of May. In the Year of the Eucharist it is fitting to recall what Pope John Paul II said about Mary and the Eucharist: "Mary is present with the Church, and as the Mother of the Church, at each of our celebrations of the Eucharist. If the Church and the Eucharist are inseparably united, the same ought to be said of Mary and the Eucharist" (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 57).

The Visitation rounds off the Marian month. We remember the young, pregnant Virgin Mary, hastening to visit her cousin, also pregnant but of more advanced age. We are reminded of the importance of visiting as an act of charity, not "virtual visiting" but connecting in a way that touches the human spirit, particularly with ageing relatives and friends.

Above all, the Visitation gives us the great lesson of joy in the Lord as Mary sings: My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour (Lk 1:46, 47).

May you all, joined in joy with the blessed Mother, do the same during her month.

- Bishop Kevin Manning.