Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Nero's Fire
Today is the Feast of the First Martyrs of Rome: Christians put to death under the Emperor Nero in the first great persecution in 64 AD. Also today, the Pope announced a new Prefect for the Congregation for Bishops, and the creation of a new Vatican office to evangelize the de-Christianized nations of the once-Christian West
By Robert Moynihan


"Ergo abolendo rumori Nero subdidit reos. et quaesitissimis poenis adfecit quos per flagitia invisos vulgus christianos appellabat. Auctor nominis eius christus. Tyberio imperitante per procuratorem pontium pilatum supplicio adfectus erat. repressaque in praesens exitiabilis superstitio rursum erumpebat. non modo per iudaeam originem eius mali. sed per urbem etiam quo cuncta undique atrocia aut pudenda confluunt celebranturque .,. Igitur primum correpti qui fatebantur. deinde indicio eorum multitudo ingens. haud proinde in crimine incendii. quam odio humani generis coniuncti sunt .,. 

"Therefore, to put an end to the rumor, Nero created a diversion and subjected to the most extraordinary tortures those called Christians, hated for their abominations by the common people. The originator of this name (was) Christ, who, during the reign of Tiberius, had been executed by sentence of the procurator Pontius Pilate. Repressed for the time being, the deadly superstition broke out again not only in Judea, the original source of the evil, but also in the city (Rome), where all things horrible or shameful in the world collect and become popular. So an arrest was made of all who confessed; then on the basis of their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of arson as for hatred of the human race." --
Tacitus's Account of Nero's Persecution of Christians, Annales, 15, 44.2-8 (Tacitus lived from c. AD 56-c. 120; he wrote the Annales after AD 100; he was not a Christian, and is regarded as one of Rome's greatest historians)
June 30, Feast of the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome

Today's Feast of the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome does not include the name of any martyr.
They are anonymous.
These unknown followers of Christ were executed by the Emperor Nero, who accused them of setting the fire which destroyed nearly all of Rome in July of 64 AD -- 1,946 years ago -- after the city burned for nine straight days that July.
Both the pagan historian Tacitus and St. Clement of Rome (the fourth Pope; his papacy was from about 92 to 99 AD) tell of a night of horror (August 15, 64 A.D.) when in the imperial parks Christians were put into animal skins and hunted, were brutally attacked, and were made into living torches to light the road for Nero's chariot. 

There was a considerable Jewish population in Rome in the first century, but the Emperor Claudius expelled all Jews from Rome in A.D. 49-50, perhaps due to controversy between Jews and Jewish Christians. (Suetonius, the Roman historian, says that the expulsion was due to disturbances in the city "caused by the certain Chrestus" [Christ].)

Claudius died in 54 AD. Since Paul's Letter to the Romans was addressed to Christians in Rome in the late 50s, it is thought that Christians had returned to the city after Claudius' death.

In July of A.D. 64, more than half of Rome was destroyed by fire. Rumor blamed the tragedy on Nero, who wanted to enlarge his palace.

But Tacitus tells us that he shifted the blame by accusing the Christians.
According to Tacitus, a "great multitude" of Christians were put to death because of their "hatred of the human race."
Peter is thought to have been executed at this time.

Nero, threatened by an army revolt and condemned to death by the Senate, committed suicide in 68 AD at the age of 31.

What was the date of Peter's death?

The brilliant Italian scholar Margherita Guarducci, who passed away several years ago, argued, compellingly, that it was precisely on October 13, 64 AD -- the day of the final apparition at Fatima in 1917.

Guarducci, in a study on this question, wrote: "Tacitus has no hesitation in establishing the year 64 for these events. If we look at the series of events the historian lists as having happened between the fire of Rome (July 18-19) and the end of the year, we can establish that the Vatican spectacles took place in the first half of October. Nor is it difficult to prove that between the end of 64 and Nero's death on June 9, 68, there are no other periods in which there was anti-Christian persecution of the type that Tacitus and Clement describe. It is also useful to note that the period between the end of September 66 and the beginning of 68 can be excluded without doubt since that was the period of Nero's travels in Greece."

She continues: "But, confirming the dating proposed for the circus spectacles and, therefore, for Peter's martyrdom, are two other important, anonymous, texts in Greek contained in a papyrus conserved in Vienna today. They are theApocalypse of Peter and the Ascension of Isaiah. I believe that these texts (belonging to the so-called "apocalyptic literature," a very common category between the end of the first century and the first half of the second which used prophetic and symbolic language to interpret historical events of the time) are so well informed on the history of the Neronian period that they must have been written not long after events in 64 (not after the year 80, perhaps). I also believe that they are the fruit of the same Judeo-Christian environment. After addressing Nero's infamies, the authors of the two texts announce his punishment as imminent. According to the author of the Apocalypse, it would be none other than Peter's martyrdom that would mark the beginning of the emperor's end. This statement is echoed in the Ascensiontext which affirms that Nero's kingdom would last for "three years, seven months and 27 days" after the apostle's death.

She concludes: "If we calculate three years, seven months and 27 days from Nero's death (June 9, 68), we arrive at the year 64 and October 13 to be precise: this date falls perfectly within the period in which, according to the Tacitus passage, we have set the unleashing of Nero's persecutions."

And she notes: "October 13 was not just any ordinary day. It was the anniversary of Nero's ascent to the throne, his dies imperii. Moreover October 13, 64 was the 10th anniversary of his reign (decennalia), October 13, 54/October 13, 64)... It is highly likely, then, that the Emperor Nero, who loved manifestations to be as spectacular as possible, would have promoted cruel spectacles for his decennalia (a feast when, in the person of the emperor made a god, the majesty of the Roman Empire was exalted). It is highly likely that he would have organized the execution of Christians who were already condemned on charges of being enemies of the empire."

So, it is quite likely that the precise date of Peter's martrydom was October 13, 64 AD.
Studying the Passage from Tacitus

The passage of Tacitus, because it comes from a non-Christian source, is considered by most scholars to be one of earliest and most credible witnesses to the early presence of the Christian movement in Rome, and to the "historicity" of Jesus himself. It is a therefore an extremely important text. 

Tacitus was a fierce critic of Nero, so some modern scholars have questioned the reliability of his account of this notorious Roman Emperor.

Tacitus writes, continuing the lines at the beginning above:

"Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames. These served to illuminate the night when daylight failed. Nero had thrown open the gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or drove about in a chariot. Hence, even for crimnals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man's cruelty, that they were being punished."

The text is full of difficulties, and there are not a few textual variations in the manuscript tradition (e.g., "Christianos" or "Chrestianos" and "Christus" or "Chrestos").

But the fundamental question is the historical reliability of this information -- i.e., whether this was Tacitus's actual writing, or a later Christian insertion (called an "interpolation").

The idea of some is that, centuries after Tacitus, a Christian scribe, copying this manuscript, added some words in which Tacitus did not write.
The earliest manuscript we have for the Annales dates from the 11th century, and must therefore have been copied and recopied many times, by generations of Christian scribes.

And it is true that no other ancient source associates Christians with the burning of Rome until Sulpicius Serverus in the late 300s, 300 years after Tacitus.

Also, it does seem that the description of the tortures suffered by the Christians resembles the executions portrayed in the Acts of Christian Martyrs, which do seem to contain legendary material.
Moreover, this passage from Tacitus is the only time in all of ancient pagan literature that Pontius Pilate is mentioned by name as a way of specifying who Christ is. This, some scholars argue, could indicate Christian apologetic intervention -- that the original text from Tacitus did not contain these words.
Now, Tertullian, 150 years later, around 200 AD, does write: "Consult your sources; you will find there that Nero was the first who assailed with the sword the Christian sect" (Apol 5). So it does seem certain that Tacitus is accurate and authentic in giving us the news that Nero persecuted the Christians int he 60s AD.
But Tertullian makes no mention of the accusation that the Christians had set Rome on fire. 
Other ancient historians also refer to Nero's persecution of Christians (Suetonius, Dio Cassius, Pliny the Elder).
But none of these associates the persecution of Christians with the burning of Rome.
Irenaeus makes no reference at all to a persecution under Nero. 
This silence about the (false) charge that the Christians had set fire to the city in other early Christian sources has led some scholars to conclude that this text truly is a medieval Christian interpolation.

Still, in defense of authenticity, it has been argued that no Christian would ever have written that Christianity was seen as a "pernicious superstition" or "the home of the disease" or that Christians were "loathed for their vices."
In any event, this much seems sure: many, many Christians were arrested and martyred under Emperor Nero in 64 AD. Owing to their executions during the reign of Nero, they are called the Neronian Martyrs. These early Christians were disciples of the Apostles, and they endured hideous tortures and horrible deaths. But the Church did not die.
The blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church.


A Canadian Cardinal in Rome: Cardinal Marc Ouellet Prefect of the Congregation of Bishops

Today, the Holy See announced a widely-rumored appointment, that of the Archbishop of Quebec, Marc Oullet (photo), Primate of the Church in Canada, as the head of the Congregation for Bishops, the Vatican office which advises the Pope on candidates for the Catholic episcopate worldwide (except in mission countries, which are under the direction of the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples). 

He will succeed Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re whose resignation for reason of age the Holy Father accepted at the same time.

Oullet, whom I have known for many years, is a calm, quiet, simple, thoughtful, devout man, and his appointment should ensure that the Holy Father has careful and good advice on the choice of bishops for the Church in the coming years.

Oullet is a staunch defender of life, and served in Rome as a professor at the John Paul II Institute on Marriage and the Family, then as Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.


New Office for Evangelization Created
Two days ago, on Monday, June 28, Pope Benedict formally announced the creation of the first new dicatery in the Roman Curia during his pontificate. (Previously he had decreased the number of offices, merging four dicasteries into two.)
The office will be called the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization.

Pope Benedict announced the creation of a the new Council during the Vespers service marking the vigil of the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul. The place Pope Benedict chose to make the announcement, the Basilica of St. Paul's Outside the Walls, is, of course, dedicated to the first great Christian missionary to the Gentiles, St. Paul.

Today, June 30, Benedict XVI appointed the sometimes controversial Italian Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella (photo), president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, to be president of the newly created Council.

The Sun Is Darkened: "The Eclipse of the Sense of God"

In his June 28 homily, Benedict said that the new Council would be "dedicated to the specific task of promoting a renewed evangelization in countries where the first proclamation of the faith already resounded, and where Churches are present of ancient foundation, but which are going through a progressive secularization of society and a sort of 'eclipse of the sense of God,' which constitutes a challenge to find the appropriate means to propose again the perennial truth of the Gospel of Christ."

Today, the Vatican announced the appointment of Fisichella, 58, who has also been serving as rector of the Pontifical Lateran University, to lead the new dicastery.

Born in Codogno, Italy, he was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Rome in 1976, and an auxiliary bishop of Rome in 1998.

In 2008, he was named president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, at which time he was elevated to the dignity of archbishop. Fisichella will be succeeded in his former post by Monsignor Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, who has been serving as the academy's chancellor. The Spanish-born Carrasco de Paula is a member of Opus Dei, and has served as director of the Bioethics Institute of the University of the Sacred Heart in Rome. 

Powers and Principalities in High Places...

By implication, the new Council will be attempting to evangelize nations, to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom to nations, which have been "secularized," that is, literally, "plunged into this saeculum (this age, this world)."
To put it another, blunter way, these once-baptized, once "Christian" nations are oriented no longer toward the Kingdom of God, but toward the "saeculum," and toward the Prince who rules this age, who proposes the lust of the eyes and the pride of life instead of the sacrifice of the cross as the highest goal for men.
And so these nations are no longer Christian, no longer oriented toward and receiving their identity from their baptism and their literal "immersion" (their "ingrafting") into the mystery of salvation through the death and resurrection of Christ (think of France, the "eldest daughter" of the Church, or England, "Mary's dowry"). They simply have forgotten that mystery, and that identity, and are no longer interested in it any more...
During his homily, Benedict spoke of how his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, had urgently proclaimed a new evangelization for nations which had once received the Gospel.

Pope Benedict said he received this legacy upon his own election to the Chair of Peter.

He said he wanted to give the new Council the task of preaching and witnessing in countries with deep Christian roots yet now experiencing the “eclipse of God."

The challenge, he said, is to find the appropriate means to revive faith in the Gospel of Christ.

We are, in fact, watching the Pope in real time unfold his plan to "restore all things in Christ" even in areas where the Church seems to have suffered losses and reverses due to many different reasons.

But in this effort as well, today as at the beginning, one truth holds: "the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church."

And of course, there can be "white martyrdom" -- the sacrifice of one's pleasure and ease for the sake of God and one's neighbor, redemptive sacrifice of every type, which builds not only the Church, but civil society as well.

As this new effort commences, the love of Christ, and of his Kingdom, will spring from the sacrifices of those who have already heard the Good News.

“He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God's providence to lead him aright.” —Blaise Pascal (French mathematician, philosopher, physicist and writer, 1623-1662)


Note: Pilgrimage with special meetings inside the Vatican. We are now beginning to take preliminary requests for our Fall 2010 and Spring 2011 pilgrimages, which will include visits to Assisi, Norcia, Rome and the Vatican. If you would like information about these trips, please email us at:

Best-Seller: A Talk by Dr. Robert Moynihan about the "Old Mass" on CD

Unexpectedly, this little talk has become a minor "best-seller."

We have now produced more than 2,000 of these CDs, and they are still running out every few days. Why?
Evidently, people really like this talk!
It is called: “The Motu Proprio: Why the Latin Mass? Why Now?”

In this talk, Dr. Moynihan gives a 2,000-year history of the Mass in 60 minutes which is clear and easy to understand. The talk covers questions like:

— Does the motu proprio overcome some of the liturgical confusion since Vatican II?
— Who was Annibale Bugnini?

— The mind of Pope Benedict: How can the Church restore the sense of the presence of God in the liturgy? 


Special note: Three years ago, we participated in a concert in Rome (on March 29, 2007) in which a Russian choir and orchestra, flying in from Moscow, performed a new version of The Passion According to St. Matthew composed a few months before by the young Russian Orthodox bishop (now Metropolitan and "foreign minister" of the Russian Orthodox Church, Hilarion Alfeyev).
That moving concert, in which one or two of the exhausted women singers fainted on stage and had to be carried off, was broadcast live worldwide via a Vatican Television Center feed by EWTN.
No DVD or CD was ever made of that concert — until a few days ago. After nearly three years, we have finally produced the DVD and CD of that historic concert, and they are now available for sale.
I believe the sound of this music, and the sight of the performance, especially during Holy Week, when we recall Christ's Passion, will bring tears to your eyes.
The DVD and CD of this historic concert are now available on at website at the following link:

Other Gift Ideas:

On December 17, 2007, a leading Russian orchestra performed an exceptional "world premiere" concert of Russian Christmas music at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC. Now you can order your copy of the concert on DVD, which includes English sub-titles.

The music is a completely new composition by a young Russian Orthodox Archbishop, Hilarion Alfeyev, 43. At the time, he was the Russian Orthodox bishop for all of central Europe, based in Vienna, Austria. He is now a Metropolitan and the head of the External Relations Department of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Makes a wonderful gift. Order one for yourself, one for a loved one and one for a friend... at three copies, the price is less! Click here to order

To subscribe to the print edition of Inside the Vaticanclick here

The newsflash is free, but there are costs associated with producing it. To support this writing, you may call our toll-free number in the USA, 1-800-789-9494, or click here: 

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From Mark Mallett: Why Does the River Turn?




Why Does the River Turn?

Photographers in Staffordshire


WHY is God letting me suffer in this way? Why are there so many obstacles to happiness and growing in holiness? Why does life have to be so painful? It feels as though I go from valley to valley (even though I know there are peaks in between). Why, God?




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USCCB News release: “Why marriage is and can only be the union of one man and one woman”

‘Unique for a Reason’

USCCB News Release 
June 29, 2010 

WASHINGTON -- The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage has launched a new initiative for the protection of marriage, entitledMarriage: Unique for a Reason. The initiative is to help catechize and educate Catholics on the meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. 

The launch comes with the release of the first of five videos. The first video is called Made for Each Other and includes a Viewer’s Guide and Resource Booklet. It explores sexual difference and the complementarity between man and woman as husband and wife in marriage. Later videos will treat the good of children, the good of society and what constitutes discrimination, religious liberty, and issues particular to a Latino/a audience. 

“The Committee’s efforts are grounded in the recognition that marriage, as the union of one man and one woman, is at the heart of a flourishing society and culture,” said Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, chairman of the Committee. “The truth of marriage lies at the very core of a true concern for justice and the common good. Promoting marriage is crucial to the New Evangelization. These initial materials seek to provide a key starting point, a compass, for assisting Catholics and all people of good will in understanding why marriage is and can only be the union of one man and one woman.” 

The DVD, guide, and booklet are intended for use by priests, deacons, catechists, teachers and other leaders. Potential uses include instruction for young adult groups, adult faith formation, and seminary and diaconate education. 

For materials online, Click Here

To purchase from USCCB Publishing, Click Here.

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Fr. Gordon MacRae profiles a brilliant Belgian priest and scientist. It can be found at Great article!

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[MaryVitamin] the Priesthood


Mary Vitamin for June 30th

Topic: the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Priesthood


St. Peter Julian Eymard

Pray, therefore, for the priesthood; beg that vocations to it may be multiplied; labor to obtain holy, zealous priests for the people. This was Mary's prayer, her apostolate of predilection.


St. Peter Julian Eymard

And now, she not only begs her Son for holy vocations, but she guards and protects them. The priest is Mary's privileged child. It is she who trains him to piety in youth and shields his virtue; she it is who nourishes his fervor, who leads him by the hand to the foot of the altar and presents him to the Bishop, as once she offered Jesus in theTemple. She encourages him in the thousand sacrifices of study, in his combats against fear of the priestly responsibility. The priest formed by Mary!_O good and holy priest, how well Jesus will receive thee!

Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, (Eymard Library): 138-9.


Today, my prayer will be for vocations, a prayer close to the Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

 By priests, Jesus receives that sacramental life which He consecrates to the glory of His father; by them, He is more glorified than by even the most devout of the Faithful. He has given them all His rights and all His power.

Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, (Eymard Library), 138.

 Marian Vow:

The sixth of the Seven Biblical Guideposts: Acts 1:14 

It is the mission of the Mother of the Church, of the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, of the Queen of the Apostles in prayer at the Cenacle. The Eucharist, the Holy Spirit, our Lady, the Church: the Immaculate is at the center with her mission of gathering all her children into the Church animated by the Holy Spirit at the foot of the Tabernacle.

Marian Seraphic Pathways 

I give this resolution to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Thanks be to God for graces received.

Related sites: Castle of the Immaculate & AirMaria


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The Love of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary: "My Sufferings Were For You, Child" by Rita Ring

August 20, 1994

My Sufferings Were For You, Child

Mary speaks:  I cannot express in words how I suffered. I have given you some experience in my sufferings.

My suffering was so deep, only by God's grace could a human person experience such suffering.

There were not wounds, there was no blood, there was, my child, only the experiences of my heart. My heart was pierced so deeply with a sword. Such deep pain, a sword piercing would not describe the pain I had. Do you wonder how deep did the sword pierce my heart? The depth was incomprehensible. My life was lived in such connectedness with my Son, in such intimacy with Him. I watched my beloved Son, to Whom I was so closely united for 33 years, suffer so dishonorably.

My sufferings were for you, child. I love you as no earthly mother ever loved a child. I am your most loving Mother. If I underwent such suffering for you, do you think I would not be protecting and loving you now? I have not gone. I am with you!

If I could only tell you what I saw: my Son suffering for love of you. If I could let you see through my eyes what He suffered for love of you!

If you meditate on His Passion in the rosary and the Stations, you see His immense love. I will help you to see His love more and more through my eyes.

I appear to tell all of this suffering. This is the key to understanding how much you are loved. Think of what I saw, look through my eyes, hold His lifeless body under the cross, meditate on the Seven Sorrows that I hold deep in my heart. It is there you will know His immense love. Look at my Son through a mother's eyes. Look at Him as He dragged the heavy cross on His way to the Crucifixion. Stand by and watch them pull His hair and drag Him away, and beat His precious bare body. Stand with me, little ones, as I walked with Him and look through my eyes. You will realize more His great love for you.

Go to Him, love Him, He is in the Eucharist this day. He longs, longs for your individual love. He is your lover, on FIRE for love of you. I love you so much.

I am Mary, your Mother.

Emotions (ecstasies):

R.    I experienced great graces and insights into Jesus and Mary's sufferings. The veil was lifted and I felt so deeply the presence of God. It is His presence that saturated my being, a connectedness to Him and this deep intimacy with Him alone. This world seems non-existent and I am wrapped into the experience. Time seems to stand still and I behold the presence of God, deep, deep in my being. On Christmas day after Mass, 1993, I had such immense pain, I could hardly stand it. Pains in the heart, not physical pain, an understanding of agony in my heart. On January 6, 1994, I was elevated to such a high level, saturated in His love, then after Communion such immense agony in my heart. Agony inexpressible in words.

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"a little dog with a flaming torch coming out of its mouth."

Saint Dominic: His Mother’s Favorite 



By Nora V. Clemente-Arnaldo 

Just like any caring and loving mother, Doña Jane de Guzman wanted her favorite child to be successful. There were moments though when she wondered what the future held for him. She was always having the strangest dreams about him as she would see him with a bright light shining round his head and his eyes aflame as though he were seeing things which only he could see. Sometimes she would hear voices calling out, “It is Dominic de Guzman who is going to speak. W

Guido Reni 061

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e must come and see him.”

But most often, according to M.V. Woodgate’s “Saint Dominic,” she had a dream which did not seem to be connected with him at all. It was of a little dog with a flaming torch coming out of its mouth. To her, it was such a funny little animal that she could not help but laugh at it. Yet, when she described it to a wise woman who lived in the town, the latter did not laugh. She said that the appearance of this dog meant that her favorite child would someday speak words so wonderful that they would set the world on fire.

Click here to read the rest of the article

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God frees his faithful servants from every evil and frees the Church from negative powers:


Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - “God is close to his faithful servants and frees them from all evil, and frees the Church from negative powers.” This was the theme of the biblical texts proclaimed on the Solemnity of the Apostles Saints Peter and Paul, June 29, according to the Holy Father Benedict XVI, who presided the Mass at the Vatican Basilica, concelebrated by 38 Metropolitan Archbishops who received the pallium. 
“In the first reading – the Holy Father said - a specific episode is narrated that shows the Lord's intervention to free Peter from prison. In the second Paul, on the basis of his extraordinary apostolic experience, is convinced that the Lord, who already freed him 'from the mouth of the lion' delivers him 'from all evil,' by opening the doors of Heaven to him. In the Gospel we no longer speak of the individual Apostles, but the Church as a whole and its safekeeping from the forces of evil, in the widest and most profound sense. Thus we see that the promise of Jesus - 'the powers of hell shall not prevail' on the Church – yes, includes the historical experience of persecution suffered by Peter and Paul and other witnesses of the Gospel, but it goes further, wanting to protect especially against threats of a spiritual order.”

Continuing his homily, the Pope highlighted: “if we think of the two millennia of Church history, we can see that - as the Lord Jesus had announced (cf. Mt 10.16-33) – Christians have never been lacking in trials, which in some periods and places have assumed the character of real persecution. These, however, despite the suffering they cause, are not the greatest danger for the Church. In fact it suffers greatest damage from what pollutes the Christian faith and life of its members and its communities, eroding the integrity of the Mystical Body, weakening its ability to prophesy and witness, tarnishing the beauty of its face.” Faced with this reality, therefore, there is “a guarantee of freedom promised by God to the Church, it is freedom from the material bonds that seek to prevent or coerce mission, both through spiritual and moral evils, which may affect its authenticity and credibility.”
Associating the theme of the Church's freedom to the rite of the imposition of the Pallium, Benedict XVI explained that “historically, union with the Apostolic See, ensures the particular Churches and Episcopal Conferences freedom with respect to local, national or supranational powers, that can sometimes hinder the mission of the ecclesial Church. Furthermore, and most essentially, the Petrine ministry is a guarantee of freedom in the sense of full adherence to truth and authentic tradition, so that the People of God may be preserved from mistakes concerning faith and morals. Hence the fact that each year the new Metropolitans come to Rome to receive the pallium from the hands of the Pope, must be understood in its proper meaning, as a gesture of communion, and the issue of freedom of the Church gives us a particularly important key for interpretation. This is evident in the case of churches marked by persecution, or subject to political interference or other hardships. But this is no less relevant in the case of communities that suffer the influence of misleading doctrines or ideological tendencies and practices contrary to the Gospel. Thus the pallium becomes, in this sense, a pledge of freedom.”
Lastly, the Pope highlighted the ecumenical meaning of Christ's promise that the powers of hell will not prevail over the Church: “one of the typical effects of the Devil is division within the Church community. The divisions are in fact symptoms of the power of sin, which continues to act in members of the Church even after redemption. But...the unity of the Church is rooted in its union with Christ, and the cause of full Christian unity - always to be sought and renewed from generation to generation - is well supported by his prayer and his promise.” (SL) (Agenzia Fides 30/06/2010)

Complete text of the Holy Father's homily, in Italian

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VATICAN - Note from the Press Office regarding the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples

emblem of the Papacy: Triple tiara and keys

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Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) – The following is the entire text of the statement published by the Holy See Press Office on June 28, 2010.

Faced with news reports which, for some time now, have been circulating with regards the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (formerly known as "De Propaganda Fide"), it has been deemed necessary to recall some objective facts to protect the reputation of this important body of the Holy See and the Catholic Church. 
The Congregation is the organ responsible for directing and coordinating worldwide the work of evangelization and missionary cooperation (cf. Apostolic Constitution. Pastor Bonus, 85). 
The first and fundamental aim is therefore to guide and support young churches, located in areas of recent or poor evangelization, territories which, according to a long tradition, are subject to the jurisdiction of the Congregation for all aspects of church life. 
Therefore, it coordinates the presence and action of missionaries in the world, submits candidates to the episcopate to the Holy Father and is responsible for the formation of local clergy, catechists, and pastoral workers. 
This function is exerted by members of the congregation of the highest level, mostly cardinals, many of whom come from the same mission countries, and who meet regularly. In ordinary management the Congregation is directed by the Cardinal Prefect and other Superiors, in accordance with their duties. 
In order to fulfill their duties, the Congregation manages and maintains a wide range of structures for the purpose of formation in Rome, among which the Pontifical Urbaniana University (about 1,400 students in the current academic year) and several colleges, where an estimated 150 seminarians, 360 priests, 150 religious and lay people sent from the five continents are currently studying. 
This vast work, which requires a considerable amount of financial resources, is only part of the commitment of the congregation. It is known that it bestows each year to the churches of the territories subject to it (1,080 districts) an ordinary financial subsidy, which in many cases is the main or a major source of revenue for the diocese, apostolic vicariates, prefectures, the sui iuris missions etc.. Besides this, the congregation sends annual subsidies for the formation of local clergy. For the Holy See, this is an indispensable instrument for growth and maturation of these churches, which are among the most vital and promising for the future of the Catholic Church. With the help of the congregation and many other works of mission support by Catholics around the world a significant number of priests, seminarians and other pastoral workers can study in Rome, close to the Successor of Peter, living a unique educational experience, characteristic of Catholicism, that is capable of indelibly marking their future service in their communities. 
Moreover, every year funding is given to aid projects for the construction of new churches and pastoral institutions, for literacy projects, healthcare and hospitals, particularly for childhood and education, often in regions that are among the world's poorest. This entire series of initiatives, and numerous others, are promoted and coordinated by the Pontifical Mission Societies, which is part of the Dicastery. If we consider the relationship between the quantity of personnel and resources deployed, it can be easily verified that the operating costs are much lower than any international organization engaged in the field of cooperation (and this is thanks to the direct and free cooperation worldwide, from Bishops, Apostolic Nunciatures, Catholic organizations). 
The Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples derives its resources mainly from the collections of World Mission Sunday, all distributed through the national Pontifical Mission Societies, and, secondly, the income of its financial assets and real estate. This patrimony has been formed over decades through numerous donations from benefactors from all walks of life, who intended that part of their property be bequeathed to serve the cause of evangelization. 
The effective management of this patrimony is of course a complex and challenging task, one which requires the advice of experts from different professional backgrounds and who, like all financial transactions, may also be exposed to errors of assessment and to fluctuations in the international market. 
Nevertheless, reflecting efforts towards a sound administration and the growing generosity of Catholics, this legacy has continued to increase. At the same time, in recent years the awareness has gradually emerged of the need to improve profitability and to this end structures and procedures to ensure a professional management that is in line with the highest standards, have been established. 
This note aims to recall the identity, value and great significance of an institution vital to the Holy See and the entire Catholic Church, responding to Jesus' command: "Go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature "(Mark 16:15). It has earned and deserves the support of all Catholics and those who care about the good of man and his integral development. (Agenzia Fides 30/06/2010)

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010



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Ordinations in the Diocese of Brooklyn:


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‘In Prison and You Visited Me’

Tribulation Times


June 29, 2010 

(Eph 4:11-12) And he gave some apostles, and some prophets, and other some evangelists, and other some pastors and doctors: For the perfecting of the saints, for the word of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 

Bud CopeWhen I read your write-up, asking for prayers for the people of Louisiana, I thought it would be well to send you our appeal for prayers and needs of the St. Dismas Prison Ministry in LA. . We are scheduled to go back to the Women's state prison (LCIW) for the 3rd time during September 10-11-12, 2010. We were very successful with our Catholic retreat at the East Baton Rouge Parish Jail this past year. We are probing a Metanoia for a jail in the Cajan Country for the future.

Notice the following write-up in the "Catholic Register":

Excerpt from ‘In Prison and You Visited Me’

His name is St. Dismas, but he is better known as the Good Thief. His cry of repentance while hanging next to Jesus at Calvary guaranteed him eternity in paradise. This patron saint of prisoners and reformed thieves gives hope to inmates across America through St. Dismas Holy Name Society Prison Ministry.

“The prisoners are really touched by St. Dismas,” says ministry founder Harry “Bud” Cope. “They identify with him.” Cope has been leading Catholic retreats for inmates — from hardened convicts in maximum-security facilities to young “prodigals” in juvenile detention centers — for more than 30 years.

The 80-year-old from the Epiphany of our Lord Church, Monessen, Pa., told the Register he was first inspired to take action after making a Cursillo retreat in 1970. After asking God how he could live out his newfound Christian fervor, Cope felt the Lord leading him to answer the invitation of a neighbor who was working at a nearby prison.

Cope, a former wholesale grocer, became a volunteer at the State Correctional Institute in Greensburg in 1974. At that time, he was allowed to take inmates outside the prison walls for weekend retreats. That lasted for about five years before the state of Pennsylvania rescinded the privilege.

While leading a prison retreat, Cope himself experienced a deep conversion: God showed him his own sinfulness and the Lord’s power. “It was there,” Cope recalls, “that I knew God was calling me.” Retreats inside prisons became his “life’s calling.” In 2008, Cope and his prison-ministry group conducted 11 retreats at 11 different prisons across the nation. Prisoners sign up for a four-day retreat that runs Thursday through Sunday. Local volunteers help Cope and his co-leaders run the retreats. Called metanoia retreats (the word is Greek for change of heart), these weekends are packed with inspirational talks, small-group sharing, prayer, Mass and confession.

Father Tom Hayes in the Diocese of San Francisco, Calif., seconds the importance of Catholic retreats for Catholic inmates. He serves as the spiritual director for the national office of the Holy Name Society, under whose auspices the St. Dismas Prison Ministry operates.

“When you offer an authentic presentation of the Gospel, there is a positive result,” says Father Hayes, who will celebrate his 50th year as a Dominican this year.

He notes that, frequently, in prison ministry the depth of Catholic spirituality and teaching depends on the dedication of the prison chaplain. In many cases, he says, the chaplain in charge can be someone who misunderstands or misrepresents the Catholic Church.

When a St. Dismas retreat is offered, he adds, Catholic prisoners know what they are getting.

“This is a work that is bringing the love of Jesus to the people,” says Father Hayes. “The weekends are energetic and have an evangelizing effect on everyone involved.”

Beyond Sunday

Cope explains that a successful metanoia weekend is one during which hearts really do change. He calls the process “self-evangelization.” “When these men come on these retreats, they are more often than not at the bottom of the pit in terms of their lives,” he says. “It’s there that they start to turn to God.” The St. Dismas website confirms the power of these spiritual exercises. Numerous testimonies from prisoners attest to the retreats’ life-changing power.

From the moment the metanoia (retreat) started and especially after the first weekend, something dramatic had taken place in my heart,” writes Kevin, a 33-year-old prisoner who attended a metanoia retreat several years ago at the Lawtey State Correctional Institution in Lawtey, FL.. “It seemed my burdens and negativity had greatly subsided. My belief and faith in the Catholic way of life has been fully restored.:

Sometimes prison employees are affected as much as inmates. Cope says that, regardless of the workers’ personal response, nearly all welcome the positive changes in the prison environment that the retreats invariably bring.

Cope is adamant that a good retreat must go beyond the time he and his team are there. St. Dismas Holy Name Society outreach groups are often established to assist the retreatants with their ongoing spiritual growth.

“After the retreat, we have a very good follow-up and ongoing spiritual-growth program,” Cope says. “We find that you can’t set their hearts on fire and then just say, ‘See you next year.’” With close to four decades of bringing the word of God to inmates near and far, Cope has no plans of slowing down. He is always on the search for a new prison where Christ’s love and mercy can become a reality, just as it did for St. Dismas on that Friday at Calvary.

* With your help, we will probe new prisons, letting the Holy Spirit open the doors
* Pray for our uniquely Catholic prison movement, as all expenses are paid for by donations – and we are growing faster than contributions
* We are part of the National Holy Name Society, and under the umbrella of the American Catholic Bishops, any donations to our non-profit qualify for a tax deduction

Harry “Bud” Cope, Chair of Saint Dismas Holy Name Society Prison Ministry (724)684-4990

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

60. All who ask and do not obtain their requests from God, are denied for one of the following reasons: because they ask at the wrong time, or because they ask unworthily and vaingloriously, or because if they received they would become conceited, or finally because they would become negligent after obtaining their request.       

Prayer request?  Send an email to:

This month's archive can be found at:

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[MaryVitamin] Solemnity of St. Peter & Paul


Mary Vitamin for the Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul

: St. Peter and the Blessed Virgin Mary
Acts of the Apostles 5:15-16
Thus they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and mats so that when Peter came by, at least his shadow might fall on one or another of them. A large number of people from the towns in the vicinity of Jerusalem also gathered, bringing the sick and those disturbed by unclean spirits, and they were all cured.
St. Alphonsus di Liguori
Saint Basil of Seleucia remarks, "that if God granted to some who were only His servants such power, that not only their touch but even their shadows healed the sick, who were placed for this purpose in the public streets, how much greater power must we suppose that He has granted to her,  who was not only His handmaid but His Mother?"
St. Alphonsus di Liguori, The Glories of Mary, (Tan Books), 95-96

Today, I will pray that my loved ones may have Our Lady's shadow fall upon them and heal them.
Marian Vow:
Is not one with the Marian Vow, constantly living in the shadow of Our Lady? I will remember my vow, and ask to be transubstantiated into the Immaculate.
I give this resolution to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Thanks be to God for graces received.
An article by Fr. Hardon discussing the miracles of  the first disciples:


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The Love of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary: "A Light Will Come After Your Trials" by Rita Ring

Jesus Passions, Holy Monastery of Stavronikita...

Image via Wikipedia

August 20, 1994

Title:  A Light Will Come After Your Trials

R.  Every time I think I have it rough, I can remember how I felt on August 16. This was only a foreshadowing of Mary's immense pain at the Passion!


     What will you suffer for Me, sweet one? Do you love Me this much and then say no, not that much? I never gave up My cross, I carried it and held on to it willingly. My thoughts were for My love of you. My Father gave Me strength with His love. I could withstand this because of the will to please My Father, because of the love that exists between My Father and Me, because of My intense love, dear one, for you.

     It is in the pain that you realize why you operate as you do. You operate for love of Me. You operate for everlasting union with Me. You will see a new light in your life, but first the trials, dear one. You have suffered to obey the rules of those who hold your messages. My will is that you comply with them. You will know an opening in the sky soon and a breakthrough in spreading My words.

     Dear one, I talk to you, you know this. Be so steadfast in Me. Trust Me. I am the Almighty God. Trust Me and be with Me now, dear one.

Zemanta helped me add links & pictures to this email. It can do it for you too.

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God, who had specially chosen me while I was still in my mothers womb, called me through His grace & chose to reveal His Son in me. Gal 1:15

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Do Not Be Afraid of the Cross in Each Day

Jesus Speaks: 
Written by Anne a Lay Apostle   

The messages from "Anne, a Lay Apostle," from the international spiritual movement "Lay Apostles of Jesus Christ the Returning King" have been released for international distribution with the permission of Bishop Leo O'Reilly of the Diocese of Kilmore, Ireland, the diocese in which Anne and the international headquarters of the Lay apostolate reside. They have also been submitted by Bishop O'Reilly to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome. On the first of every month, Our Lord gives Anne a new message about His call to service. - Ed.


January 1, 2008

I am always with you, dear apostles. You move through your days of service learning greater and greater lessons in holiness. I am the teacher. When you offer Me your day, you pledge to remain with Me throughout it. This in no way diminishes the need for you to experience your humanity with all of its joys and sorrows. On the contrary, it is through your daily joys and sorrows that you are learning the lessons of love. You might think that your cross is heavy and perhaps in truth the cross that you carry is heavy. You might think that you would proceed more easily or more swiftly without the cross. This is possible, My friends, but to what purpose? Surely, I, Jesus Christ, could have advanced more quickly and comfortably to Calvary without the jeering of the crowds, the physical infirmities or the weight of the cross. This is an obvious statement. But you were destined to be saved by My Passion. The whole world benefited by My decision to accept God's will, which included suffering. In the same way, the world is benefiting from your decision to accept the crosses in your life. You offer Me your day. This is such a simple thing from the eyes of the world and yet, from the eyes of heaven, this is a very large offering indeed. Do not be afraid of the cross in each day. Do not think that your cross will interfere with the plan that I have for you. The truth is the opposite.


The plan that I have for you includes suffering, and your holiness will increase because of your crosses. I do not rejoice in the suffering of My friends. No, I do not. I do rejoice in the willingness of My friends to suffer, for Me and with Me. This will never change. My gratitude toward each of My beloved apostles increases as each day's commitment flows into the past. A stream of allegiance pledges trail behind you as you proceed into tomorrow. Be at peace in your crosses, I beg you, because your crosses benefit you in ways that you cannot understand. It must be enough for you that the Saviour understands. If you are weary, do not be afraid. You will have what you require to cope and I will sustain you. I was weary, also. If you falter, do not be discouraged. I faltered, also, and I will lift you back to your feet. There are no circumstances that should cause you to be anxious because just as you pledge your allegiance to the Father, I, the Saviour, pledge My allegiance to you. I will take care of you, My beloved ones. You will not be abandoned.

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[MaryVitamin] St. Josemaria Escriva


Mary Vitamin for June 28th
Topic: St. Josemaria Escriva's devotion to Our Lady
Feast day of St. Josemaria Escriva June 26

"Regina pacis, ora pro nobis -- Queen of peace, pray for us."
Have you at least tried it when you have lost your calm? You will be surprised at its immediate effect.
Holy Mary is the Queen of peace, and thus the Church invokes her.
So when your soul or your family are troubled, or things go wrong at work, in society or between nations, cry out to her without ceasing. Call to her by this title: "Regina pacis, ora pro nobis -- Queen of peace, pray for us."

Queen of Peace will be my motto today.
(I printed one page of the phrase "Queen of Peace, pray for us". I put the phrase throughout the house, for example, in kitchen drawers, on bathroom countertops to remind me to invoke Our Lady frequently. ) 

Marian Vow:

St. Maximilian Kolbe

Every conversion, every step on the road to sanctification, is a fruit of grace. Even cooperation with grace is a grace itself without God's grace nothing is possible. The Mediatrix of All Graces is the Immaculata. The more one draws close to her, the more graces he receives.
Will to Love,(Marytown Press), 116
I give this resolution to the Blessed Virgin Mary
Thanks be to God for graces received.


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