Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I Do Believe in God, But . . .

Tribulation Times


June 1, 2011  

CARDINAL SARAH: "Undoubtedly, since the beginning of his papacy, Pope Benedict XVI has considered this 'religious indifference' and 'silent apostasy' as the major challenge the Church has to take up today in her relations with the modern world. Therefore, he is more determined than ever to make our minds more aware and our faith more visible and more active, in order to show the world that the Church's mission is deeply rooted in faith in God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit."

THEOLOGY FOR THE LAITY: Cafeteria Catholics

EDITORIAL: I do believe in God, but…

If I were presenting a talk show and a member of the audience begins to express an opinion on a known scientific or geographical fact, I would certainly stop him/her from continuing further. I would not accept someone saying "They say that the world is round but my opinion is that it is flat" or "We were taught that two and two are four but my opinion…"

Similarly, I would also interrupt anyone who starts saying "I do believe in God, but…" because the proclamation "I believe" means I accept all the truths about God revealed to us, even though there may be some of these truths that I cannot understand fully (mysteries).

"… in God" means the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the Almighty; Creator of heaven and earth; God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Three Persons in one God; God the Father revealed to us through the prophets in the Holy Scriptures; the Son, Jesus Christ, who came on earth to redeem and save us; the same son who was born of the Virgin Mary, died for us on the cross and rose again from the dead; the 

Ascension of Christ

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Holy Spirit, who fills people with His seven gifts and turns weak, illiterate and humble men into courageous apostles full of divine wisdom.

Our Lord Jesus Christ ordered the members of His Church to "go and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Those who believe and are baptised will be saved (heaven); those who do not believe will be condemned (hell). The sins of those you forgive on this earth will be forgiven in heaven; the sins of those you do not forgive on this earth will not be forgiven in heaven".

So the statement "I believe" includes the acceptance of Christ's teachings and of the Catholic Church as the only authority to interpret these teachings.

One day, when Jesus Christ was preaching, He said: "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven." Many disciples could not take this teaching and left Him. So Jesus turned to his apostles and said: "Do you also want to go?" And Peter replied: "To whom do you want us to go, Lord? You have the words of eternal life". Although the apostles could not understand what this statement meant, they had the patience to wait for the Last Supper, where Jesus Christ showed them the manner in which He was to become our spiritual sustenance and eternal salvation.

There is no compromise in Christ's teachings. The same applies when Peter tried to interfere with the will of the eternal Father that Christ had to suffer and die on the cross. Here, Christ chides Peter for letting sentiment cloud his judgement. Peter is called Satan for tempting Jesus to stay away from Jerusalem and the crucifixion.

In the same way, there cannot be any compromise with any of the articles in the Creed which we pronounce every Sunday during Holy Mass.

So, if anyone says to me: "I believe in God but not in the Catholic Church or the virginity of Our Lady or Jesus Christ, etc," I will reply: "You may be sincere in your statement but I am afraid you are wrong. You either believe in a god other than the one outlined above or else you do not understand what the word 'believe' fully entails. If you wish to remain a committed Christian, you are invited to rediscover the richness of the Christian faith, some aspects of which you might have forgotten. If you truly believe in God, then you have to believe in heaven, hell, the Catholic Church, the virginity of Our Lady, Holy Communion, confession to a priest and, in short, all the other articles of the Creed."

"I believe" is a package. One cannot pick and choose at random from this package (what some are now referring to as the supermarket syndrome), accepting what I like and discarding what does not tickle my fancy. One either accepts the whole package or none at all.

"But am I not supposed to follow my conscience," some might rightly ask. Rather than expressing my ideas I would like to offer those of an expert in the field – Richard M. Gula – who, in his book Moral Discernment, states among other things:

"If we are going to grow in our loving relationship with God and neighbour then we need to discern what is truly loving. Conscience is our capacity for making such discernment."

We must not confuse conscience with the superego. The superego is like a recording in our heads reminding us of all that we should do in the process of growing up under the influence of authority figures. It commands us to act for the sake of gaining approval or out of fear of losing love. The wants of conscience look to personalised and internalised values or acquired virtues.

Conscience responds to an invitation of love and is oriented towards the future – "the person one ought to become". In the depths of his conscience, man detects a law which he does not impose upon himself but which holds him to obedience. Man has in his heart a law written by God. In fact, conscience is the place where God speaks to us.

However, the obligation to follow conscience presupposes that we have properly formed our conscience. This is a lifelong task and an ongoing process of conversion. We are often blinded by sin to recognise moral truth all by ourselves. So we have to consult the established sources of wisdom. For a Catholic, these sources include our own experience and those of others around us; the testimony of the sacred scriptures and our creeds; the moral instruction of the teaching office (magisterium) of the Pope and the bishops: this office carries a weight of truth for Catholics that no other teacher can rightfully claim; and the informed judgement of theologians who are in communion with the Church's magisterium.

What we do ultimately shapes our character.

US CATHOLIC: Is there a list of infallible teachings?
LINK: Doctrinal Commentary on the Concluding Formula of the Professio fidei

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 28- "On holy and blessed prayer"

29. Do not say, after spending a long time at prayer, that nothing has been gained; for you have already gained something. And what higher good is there than to cling to the Lord and persevere in unceasing union with Him.

Prayer request?  Send an email to:

This month's archive can be found at:



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First day of hurricane season: Catholics hold Mass to avert storms

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Orlando Catholic Diocese Bishop John Noonan will hold a Mass to Avert the Storms on Wednesday, the first day of the hurricane season. The Mass will be held at 12:10 p.m., June 1, at St. James Cathedral, 215 North Orange Ave., Orlando.,hYf2w7wQY...

The Mass will include prayers for the safety of the nation, Florida and neighbors during the hurricane system and that Central Florida be spared from the ravages of nature this year.

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Pope Benedict XVI speaks at an Oct. 2010 concert held for his birthday
Pope Benedict XVI has reminded church musicians of the primacy of Gregorian chant in the Mass, describing it “as the supreme model of sacred music.”
The Pope set out his views in a letter for the 100th anniversary of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music. The letter was read at the institute on May 26 and made public on May 31.
He praised Gregorian chant as being “of huge value to the great ecclesial heritage of universal sacred music.” But Pope Benedict also noted that sometimes it was erroneously “considered an expression of an idea corresponding to a past, gone and to be forgotten, because it limited the freedom and creativity of the individual and the community.” This was a view he wanted to counter. 

“We always have to ask again: who is the true subject of the Liturgy? The answer is simple: the Church. It is the individual or group that celebrates the liturgy, but it is primarily God's action through the Church, which has its own history, its rich tradition and creativity.”
Gregorian chant, often referred to as plainchant, is named after the 6th century Pope Gregory the Great. He both simplified and cataloged the sacred music of the Church used throughout the year. It’s been the normative music of sacred liturgy ever since.
The present Pope stressed that there’s no tension between tradition and genuine progress in the development of sacred music.

“The liturgy, and therefore sacred music, lives in a correct and consistent relationship between healthy traditio and rightful progressio, always keeping in mind that these two concepts - that the Council Fathers clearly emphasized - complement each other because the tradition is a living reality and, therefore, it includes in itself the principle of development and progress.”
Music is a topic of particular interest to the Pope. He’s a great lover of classical music in general with a special fondness for Mozart and Bach. He’s also an avid pianist who has an upright piano in his Vatican apartment.
Pope Benedict noted in his letter that all his musical conclusions are mandated by the Second Vatican Council’s constitution on the sacred liturgy, “Sacrosanctum Concillium.”

Read more:

When Pregnancy Met Pregnancy | Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen on The Visitation | From "The World's First Love" | Ignatius Insight

Check out this website I found at


One of the most beautiful moments in history was that when pregnancy met pregnancy when childbearers became the first heralds of the King of Kings. All pagan religions begin with the teachings of adults, but Christianity begins with the birth of a Child. From that day to this, Christians have ever been the defenders of the family and the love of generation. If we ever sat down to write out what we would expect the Infinite God to do, certainly the last thing we would expect would be to see Him imprisoned in a carnal ciborium for nine months; and the next to last thing we would expect is that the "greatest man ever born of woman" while yet in his mother's womb, would salute the yet imprisoned God-man. But this is precisely what took place in the Visitation.

At the Annunciation the archangel told Mary that her cousin, Elizabeth, was about to become the mother of John the Baptist. Mary was then a young girl, but her cousin was ''advanced in years," that is, quite beyond the normal age of conceiving. "See, moreover, how it fares with thy cousin Elizabeth; she is old, yet she too has conceived a son; she who was reproached with barrenness is now in her sixth month, to prove that nothing is impossible with God. And Mary said, 'Behold the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done unto me according to thy word.' And with that the angel left her." (Luke 1:36-38)

The birth of Christ is without regard to man; the birth of John the Baptist is without regard to age! "Nothing is impossible with God." The Scripture continues the story: "In the days that followed, Mary rose up and went with all haste to a city of Juda, in the hill country where Zachary dwelt; and entering in she gave Elizabeth greeting. No sooner had Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, than the child leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth herself was filled with the Holy Ghost; so that she cried out with a loud voice, "Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. How have I deserved to be thus visited by the mother of my Lord? Why, as soon as ever the voice of thy greeting sounded in my ears, the child in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed art thou for thy believing; the message that was brought to thee from the Lord shall have fulfillment." (Luke 1:39-45)

Mary "went with all haste"; she is always in a hurry to do good. With deliberate speed she becomes the first nurse of Christian civilization. The woman hastens to meet a woman. They serve best their neighbor who bear the Christ within their hearts and souls. Bearing in herself the Secret of Salvation, Mary journeys five days from Nazareth to the city of Hebron where, according to tradition, rested the ashes of the founders of the people of God, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The terraced-fields of Juda
pregnant with seed
called out to her
as she passed, praising the Child
she was yet to bear,
invoking His Blessing
on their expectancy.*

"She gave Elizabeth greeting"; springtime served the autumn. She, who is to bear Him Who will say: "I came not to be ministered unto but to minister" now ministers unto her cousin who bears only His trumpet and His voice in the wilderness. Nothing so provokes the service of the needy as the consciousness of one's own unworthiness when visited by the grace of God, The handmaid of the Lord becomes the handmaid of Elizabeth.

On hearing the woman's greeting, the child whom Elizabeth bore within her "leaped in her womb." The Old Testament is here meeting the New Testament; the shadows dissolve with joy before the substance. All the longings and expectations of thousands of years as to Him Who would be the Saviour are now fulfilled in this one ecstatic moment when John the Baptist greets Christ, the Son of the Living God.

Mary is present at three births: at the birth of John the Baptist, at the birth of her own Divine Son, and at the "birth" of John, the Evangelist, at the foot of the Cross, as the Master saluted him: "Behold thy mother!" Mary, the Woman, presided at the three great moments of life: at a birth on the occasion of the Visitation, at a marriage at the Marriage Feast of Cana, and at a Death, or surrender of Life, at the Crucifixion of her Divine Son.

"The child leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth herself was filled with the Holy Ghost." A Pentecost came before Pentecost. The physical body of Christ within Mary now fills John the Baptist with the Spirit of Christ; thirty-three years later the Mystical Body of Christ, His Church, will be filled with the Holy Spirit, as Mary, too, will be in the midst of the Apostles abiding in prayer. John is sanctified by Jesus. So Jesus is not as John - not man alone, but God, as well.

The second part of the second most beautiful prayer in the world, the Hail Mary, is now about to be written; the first part was spoken by an angel: "Hail (Mary) full of grace; the Lord is with Thee; blessed art thou amongst women." (Luke 1:28)

Now Elizabeth adds the second part in a "loud voice"; "Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb (Jesus)" Old age is here not jealous of youth or privilege, for Elizabeth makes the first public proclamation that Mary is the Mother of God: "How have I deserved to be thus visited by the mother of my Lord?" She learned it less from Mary's lips than from the Spirit of God nestling over her womb. Mary received the Spirit of God through an angel; Elizabeth was the first to receive it through Mary.

Cousin-nurse at birth, Mother-nurse at death. There is nothing Mary has that is for herself alone - not even her Son. Before He is born, her Son belongs to others. No sooner does she have the Divine Host within herself than she rises from the Communion rail of Nazareth to visit the aged and to make her young. Elizabeth would never live to see her son lose his head to the dancing stepdaughter of Herod, but Mary would live and die at once in seeing her Son taste death, that death might be no more.

* Calvin Le Compte, I Sing of a Maiden, Macmillan, 1949.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen (1895-1979) is considered by many to be the most influential Catholic of the 20th century in America. Millions of people watched his incredibly popular television series every week, "Life is Worth Living", and millions more listened to his radio program, "The Catholic Hour". Wherever he preached in public, standing-room-only crowds packed churches and halls to hear him. He had the same kind of charisma and holiness that attracts so many people to Pope John Paul II, who called Sheen "a loyal son of the Church." Learn more about Archbishop Sheen by reading his autobiography, Treasure In Clay, or visiting the Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Foundation website.

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Brownsville man makes a sculpture of Jesus Christ from dirt :

Mary TV Daily Reflection 5/31/2011

Visitation - Albertini  

Visitation by Mariotto Albertinelli (1503) 

May 31, 2011
The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Dear Family of Mary!

"My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; 
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 
For he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:

The Almighty has done great things for me, 
and holy is his Name.

"He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm, 
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, 
and has lifted up the lowly.  

He has filled the hungry with good things, 
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy, 
the promise he made to our fathers, 
to Abraham and his children for ever."  (Luke 1:46-55)

This is Our Lady's song of victory!  She sang it in the power of the Holy Spirit as a declaration of joy because Jesus was in her.   He was her little boy, her little child, and she was so happy! Imagine being filled with such life!  The very source of all life was enclosed in her womb.  She could hardly contain her joy at the presence of such power within her.  She must have sung these words!  

Every day, during evening prayer, the Church also sings these words.  They are our victory cry as well.  Jesus i


Image by Getty Images via @daylife

s present to us, the Church, much as He was in Mary's womb.  Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament dwells in the womb of Mother Church as silently as He did in Mary's womb.  And the power He emits is greater than all the suns in the universe!  The Source of Life dwells in us when we receive Him in Holy Communion.  And He turns our world upside down, just as Mary prophesied in her victory song.  He blesses us, His lowly servants, He does great things for us, He shows us mercy, He lifts us up in incredible ways, He fills us with good things and he comes to our help as He promised of old.  Jesus raises us, the lowly, to the throne of His Father, where we are crowned with His crown and given seats in heaven for ever.  This victory song is our song.  May we sing it day in and day out!  The Lord has done great things for us, and holy is His Name!

"I desire to share my joy with you." (August 25, 2000)

Thank you, dearest Mother, for sharing your joy with us!  Your joy is Jesus, our Lord!

In Jesus and Mary!
Cathy Nolan
©Mary TV 2011



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Church to observe anniversary of Pope Benedict’s ordination with Eucharistic Adoration

A priest for 60 years

News release from USCCB 

WASHINGTON -- Catholics worldwide are asked to mark the sixtieth anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s ordination to the priesthood with sixty hours of Eucharistic prayer for vocations. 
The pope will celebrate his anniversary June 29, the Solemnity of St. Peter and Paul. 

In honor of his anniversary, the Vatican Congregation for Clergy suggested Catholic clergy and faithful be invited to participate in Eucharistic Adoration with the intention of praying for the sanctification of the clergy and for the gift of new and holy priestly vocations. 

Dioceses nationwide are planning special prayers before the Blessed Sacrament in June, offered continuously or across various days in the month. Celebrations might conclude July 1, the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the World Day of Prayer for Priests. 

Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, highlighted the importance of this celebration. 

“An increase in number and sanctity of the priests in service to our dioceses is a sign of health and vitality in the Church,” he said. Prayer for vocations is “a worthy intention” and an appropriate spiritual sacrifice “in gratitude for the example and service of Pope Benedict XVI,” he wrote in a May 17 letter to bishops. 

For this occasion, the USCCB Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations has designed a prayer card that can be downloaded from The prayer card can be linked to diocesan or parish websites, printed in parish bulletins, and used for dioceses or parishes. 

“This is an exceptional opportunity to give thanks for our Holy Father, to pray for all of our priests, and to ask the Lord for more vocations to the priesthood,” said Archbishop Robert J. Carlson of St. Louis, chairman for the Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations. “The Holy Father has been an outstanding model of priestly ministry and service to the Church. In his Message for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Proposing Vocations in the Local Church, he reminded the faithful that we all have a responsibility to pray for vocations. This is a great opportunity to do just that.” 

Dioceses and parishes are asked to share information on how they are celebrating the anniversary in prayer by sending their information to

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The Holy Father will travel to Croatia on June 4 and 5. [Video]

Benedict XVI will travel to Croatia on June 4 and 5. During his two-day visit, he will More


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VISnews : Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for June:



05.31.2011 – Twenty-First Year – Num. 102












VATICAN CITY, 31 MAY 2011 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for the month of June is: "That priests, united to the Heart of Christ, may always be true witnesses of the caring and merciful love of God".


  His missionary intention is: "That the Holy Spirit may bring forth from our communities many missionaries who are ready to be fully consecrated to spreading the Kingdom of God.".



VATICAN CITY - JANUARY 05: Pope Benedict XVI ...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife


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Is Only Rome Right?


I would like some information about being a Catholic and a question my daughter has, are all churches the same?  Do we have to be Catholic to get into heaven?   Can a person pick any denomination even though they were baptized a Catholic?  What can a person do if they are going to a church and the priest really isn't a good preacher – can they go to a different denomination and find a good preacher at another church?


Answers by Father Rocky Hoffman here: 

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Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on the upcoming Terrence McNally play, "Corpus Christi," which will be performed at the San Pedro Playhouse in San Antonio from June 17 to July 10:
Cover of

Cover of Corpus Christi

On February 22, I wrote to Mr. Julián Castro, mayor of San Antonio, about this outrageously anti-Christian play, "Corpus Christi," but never heard back; I sent a copy to Felix Padron, executive director of the Office of Cultural Affairs for the City of San Antonio, and to Ricardo Briones, chairman of the City's Cultural Arts Board. Here is an excerpt:
"The San Pedro Playhouse is in the process of holding auditions for a notoriously anti-Christian play, 'Corpus Christi.' What makes this so disturbing is that it commits the City of San Antonio to sponsoring hate speech against Christians: the Office of Cultural Affairs, advised by the Cultural Arts Board, is one of the play's sponsors.
"I do not assume that you know anything about this offensive play, and that is why I am enclosing a news release which I wrote in 1998 after I saw it. It is a direct in-your-face assault on Christian sensibilities."
I also provided these three public officials with information about the play. It depicts the Christ-figure, Joshua, having sex with the apostles, branding him "King of the Queers"; it portrays Jesus saying to the apostles, "F*** your mother, F*** your father, F*** God"; and it shows Philip asking Jesus to perform oral sex on him. Moreover, the script is replete with sexual and scatological comments.
It will not do for the San Pedro Playhouse to advertise this play as having "Adult language and content." It is not only obscene, it is a frontal attack on Christians, all of whom in San Antonio are being forced to underwrite it. Mayor Castro has acted irresponsibly and deserves to be publicly rebuked for his unwillingness to cancel this play. Indeed, he even refuses to condemn it!
Contact Felix Padron:
Contact our director of communications about Donohue’s remarks:
Jeff Field

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Posted via email from deaconjohn's posterous 6 Apparitions of the Virgin Mary: Kibeho


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You can download it free at the following address:


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Pope: How to face the New Evangelization

Mary, The First Tabernacle

Monday, May 30, 2011

7 Common Holy Communion Abuses

3rd quarter of 16th century

Image via Wikipedia

Posted: 30 May 2011 07:43 AM PDT

Do You Commit One Of Theses 7 Common
Holy Communion Profanations

A Letter from The Cathedral Rector by Very Rev. Fr. John Lankeit, Rector, Ss. Simon & Jude Cathedral Phoenix, AZ January 30, 2011 to his parishioners.

Dear Parishioners,

I want to thank all of you who have recently started receiving Holy Communion on the tongue, not to mention those of you who already had been. This subject has generated a lot of buzz over the past few weeks, the vast majority of which has been overwhelmingly positive.

While my main objective in encouraging reception on the tongue is to deepen appreciation for the Eucharist, I also have a pastoral responsibility to eliminate abuses common to receiving in the hand. Such abuses are no doubt unintentional. Nevertheless, what I witness troubles me. And I’m not alone.

In 2004, responding to the problem of Eucharistic profanation, the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacrament released an official instruction entitled REDEMPTIONIS SACRAMENTUS: On certain matters to be observed or to be avoided regarding the Most Holy Eucharist. Regarding Holy Communion the document states:

“[S]pecial care should be taken to ensure that the host is consumed by the communicant in the presence of the minister, so that no one goes away carrying the Eucharistic species in his hand. If there is a risk of profanation, then Holy Communion should not be given in the hand to the faithful.” (Paragraph 92)

Here are 7 common Holy Communion profanations that I see all too frequently:

Students receiving the Holy Communion during H...

Image via Wikipedia

  • Blessing oneself with the host before consuming it. (The act of blessing with the Eucharist is called “Benediction” and is reserved to clergy).
  • Receiving the host in the palm of the hand, contorting that same hand until the host is controlled by the fingers, then consuming it (resembling a one-handed “watch-the-coin-disappear” magic trick).
  • Popping the host into the mouth like a piece of popcorn.
  • Attempting to receive with other items in the hands, like a dirty Kleenex or a Rosary.
  • Receiving the host with dirty hands.
  • Receiving the host, closing the hand around it, then letting the hand fall to the side (as if carrying a suitcase) while walking away and/or blessing oneself with the other hand.
  • Walking away without consuming the host.
  • Giving the host to someone else after receiving (including animals)… yes, it happens!


Girl receiving first Holy Communion, Sicily

Image via Wikipedia

We would never treat a piece of GOLD with the same casualness – especially in this economy! Yet many treat the Eucharist “piece” of GOD with casualness at best, indifference and irreverence at worst. Of course, much abuse is due to ignorance, owing to poor catechesis, which is precisely why I have written about this issue for four consecutive weeks.

Yet we have another great incentive…

When Holy Communion is received on the tongue… every single one of these abuses is instantly eliminated!
The way we treat another person says more about our relationship with that person than any words we might say. This is especially true of our relationship with the Divine Person, Jesus Christ. So let us continually seek to increase our reverence for our Eucharistic Savior, and to eliminate anything that degrades the respect He deserves.

God’s Blessings…
my prayers…

Rev. Fr. John Lankeit,
Rector, Ss. Simon & Jude Cathedral
Phoenix, AZ


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Mary TV Daily Reflection 5/30/2011

Calling of Matthew 

Calling of Matthew
Hendrick Terbrugghen, c. 1616 

May 30, 2011

Dear Family of Mary!

"Dear children! My prayer today is for all of you who seek the grace of conversion. You knock on the door of my heart, but without hope and prayer, in sin, and without the Sacrament of Reconciliation with God. Leave sin and decide, little children, for holiness. Only in this way can I help you, hear your prayers and seek intercession before the Most High. Thank you for having responded to my call."   (May 25, 2011)

"Leave sin and decide, little children, for holiness."  In this simple sentence Our Lady summarizes the challenge before us.  Our gift of free will has a dark side.  We can choose evil. We can tend towards actions and desires that are destructive and dehumanizing.  We can choose to be less than the beautiful creatures we are intended to be by our Creator.  We can choose to say "no" to our call from God to reflect His glorious image.  

In another brilliant little book, Father Jacques Phillipe talks about our call to be fully human, to be fully realized images of the Father and the Son.  He directs our attention to the call that comes from God, the call that draws us into our destiny as children of God.  He says that it is our response to this call that is our holiness.  Let me quote him:

" 'For you were called to freedom, brethren' (Gal 5:13).  So says St. Paul in the letter to the Galatians.  God calls us to freedom.  But instead of being given to us instantaneously and in full measure, this freedom is built up progressively and patiently day by day, by being faithful to God'scalls.  Typically, they open a space of freedom in us whereby we can escape the various snares that so easily engulf us.  Let us consider this from several perspectives.

"Unless called, human beings remain enclosed in their sin.

"As the story in Genesis of creation and the fall makes clear, sin is a rejection of life as God's child bringing enslavement with it.  Through pride, human beings refuse to accept life and happiness from the Father's hands, with confident and loving dependency, preferring to be the source of life for themselves.  Suspicions, fears, worries, and inflamed desires are the result.  Looking for happiness not to God, but to ourselves, we feverishly seek it in things like riches, pleasure, and fame.  Our state of being called points to a path of liberation from some of the most fundamental expressions of sin: pride, fear, and desire.

"Openness to God's calls frees us from pride.  It sweeps aside the attitude of self-sufficiency, the pretense that one is the sole master of one's life.  In its place come dependency, availability to another, humility, and confident submission.  Openness to God's calls helps us to escape the pitfalls of desire.  God redirects desire toward goods better able to satisfy us than those we lust after.  And this openness frees us from fear.  By being open to God's calls, the believer receives encouragement and strength that empower him to rise above his fears and break out of the narrow circle of inadequate coping strategies by which people too often attempt to handle fear.

"When the Pharisees in the Gospels are scandalized at seeing Jesus eat with tax collectors and sinners, Jesus replies: I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners (Lk 5:32).  Here is the infinite mercy of God, who calls us not because of our merits but purely out of love.  He does not want us to remain prisoners of our past.  He always wants to propose a new future to us, however hesitant we may be.  The best way to leave sin and misery behind is not by despairing or blaming ourselves, but by opening up to God's calls that come to us continually, no matter what our situation is.  Even the most hardened sinner is called.  And the call is a path of salvation for him." (Jacques Philippe. Called to Life.  New York: Scepter Publishing, Inc. 2008.  P. 11-13)  

I purposefully italicized the word call in this excerpt because it is so important.  To be called is to be fully human.  God calls us forth, in creating us, in bringing us into the Christian faith, in giving us the unique gifts that we each have, and in following Him throughout our lives.  Those calls create us into holy people if we hear them and follow them.  They are our ticket out of our own fabricated realities into the life of God.  Wow!!!

Hearing God's call opens us up to a new way of being, a new way of loving.  It is as if Jesus comes with His Holy Spirit flash light into our darkness and leads us out of our sin and selfishness, one little step at a time, from right where we are, like Matthew the tax collector.  He just says, "Follow me."  Why not!  We are free to choose life, to choose love.  It is a matter of answering the CALL!!

In Jesus and Mary!  

©Mary TV 2011



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The priest Father Salvador Ruiz Enciso, kidnapped last week was found dead



Tijuana (Agenzia Fides) - The Mexican priest Salvador Ruiz Enciso, who disappeared from his parish in the city of Tijuana, northern Mexico, near the border with the United States, was killed as informed by the Archbishop of Tijuana, Archbishop Rafael Romo Muñoz. The funeral was celebrated on Saturday, May 28 in the parish where he was pastor, dedicated to the "Divine Rostro de Jesus. " "We condemn the brutal manner in which he was killed and we have confidence in the authorities that those responsible will be brought to justice, " said the Archbishop of Tijuana in a statement sent to Fides.


Father Salvador Ruiz Enciso had disappeared last weekend from his parish (see Fides 26/5/2011). On Monday, May 23 the police had found in a neighborhood near Tijuana a body with hands and feet tied, unrecognizable. It was thought that it could be the dead body of the priest, so the DNA test was carried out. On Friday, May 27 Archbishop Romo Muñoz confirmed that it was him, and the statement underlined that the "Chava father, as he was affectionately called, was a simple person and dedicated to his ministry. " In communities where he exercised his priestly ministry "he is remembered with affection and as a man of God, always correct in his behavior. " He had become popular for promoting the "Mass of the family", during which he used some puppets, which he handled with skill, to explain the Gospel in an understandable way to children. (EC) (Agenzia Fides 05/30/2011)


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VISnews: Pope: "Catholicism could not exist without a Marian character, that being Catholic meant belonging to Mary"



05.30.2011 – Twenty-First Year – Num. 101




VATICAN CITY, 28 MAY 2011 (VIS) - This afternoon in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received members of the "Mariä Verkündigung" Marian Congregation of Men of Regensburg, Germany. They had come to the Vatican to celebrate with the Pope the 70th anniversary of his induction in that congregation in the Archbishopric Seminary of St. Michael of Traunstein, Germany.


  The Pope recalled that when he entered the seminary, Europe was going through "a dark age. It was a time of war. One after the other, Hitler had subjugated Poland, Denmark, Benelux, and France. In April of 1941 ... he had occupied Yugoslavia and Greece. It seemed that the continent was in the hands of this power that, at the same time, put the future of Christianity in doubt. We had been admitted to the Congregation but shortly thereafter the war against Russia began. The seminary was dissolved and, before it was able to reassemble, the congregation was scattered to the four winds".


  That is why, the pontiff continued, his entry in the "Mariä Verkündigung" was not "an 'exterior fact', but it stayed with me as 'an interior fact' because it had always been clear that Catholicism could not exist without a Marian character, that being Catholic meant belonging to Mary".


  "Here, through the bishops' ad limina visits", the Holy Father commented, "I constantly sense how people - especially those in Latin America but in other continents as well - can entrust themselves to the Mother; how they can love the Mother and, through the Mother, can then learn to love Christ. I sense how the Mother continues to give birth to Christ; how Mary continues to say 'yes' and to bring Christ to the world".


 "Mary is the great believer. She has taken up Abraham's mission of belief and made Abraham's faith into concrete faith in Jesus Christ,  thus showing us all the way of faith, the courage to entrust ourselves to the God who puts Himself in our hands, the joy of being His witnesses. Then she shows us the determination to remain fast when all others have fled, the courage to remain at the Lord's side when he seems lost and thus to bear the witness that led to His Passion".


  "I am thus very grateful", the Pope concluded, "to know that in Bavaria there are approximately 40,000 congregants; that still today there are men who, together with Mary, love the Lord. Men who, through Mary, are learning to know and to love the Lord and who, like her, bear witness to the Lord in difficult times as well as happy ones; who remain with Him under the Cross and who continue to live the Passion joyfully together with Him. Thank you all for continuing to hold this witness high, so that we might know that there are Catholic Bavarian men and members of the congregation who continue along the path initiated by the Jesuits in the XVI century and who continue to demonstrate that faith doesn't belong to the past but always opens itself to 'today' and especially to 'tomorrow'".

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VATICAN CITY, 29 MAY 2011 (VIS) - This afternoon Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace to pray the Regina Coeli with the thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.


  The Pope commented on the passage from the Acts of the Apostles from the sixth Sunday of Easter when Phillip, "one of the deacons, arrived in a city of Samaria. There he preached the Risen Christ and his proclamation was accompanied by numerous healings. The episode ends very significantly: 'There was great joy in that city'. This expression, which basically communicates a sense of hope, strikes us every time. It is as if it said: 'It is possible! It is possible for humanity to know true joy because, wherever the Gospel reaches, there life flourishes".



  "Phillip and the other disciples, with the strength of the Holy Spirit, carried out in the villages of Palestine what Jesus had done: they preached the Good News and worked miraculous signs. It was the Lord who acted through them. As Jesus announced the coming of the Kingdom of God, the disciples announced the Risen Jesus, proclaiming that He is Christ, the Son of God, baptizing in his name and driving out every illness of body and spirit".


  The Holy Father affirmed that "reading this passage, one thinks spontaneously of the Gospel's healing power, which throughout the centuries has 'watered' so many peoples like a beneficial river. Some great saints brought hope and peace to entire cities - think of Charles Borromeo in Milan during the time of plague; Mother Teresa of Calcutta; and those many missionaries, whose names are known to God, who have given their lives to bring the news of Christ and to make profound joy flourish among persons".


  "While the powerful of this world sought to conquer new territories for political and economic interests", he continued, "Christ's messengers went everywhere with the purpose of bringing Christ to human beings and human beings to Christ, knowing that He alone can give true freedom and eternal life. The Church's vocation today is still evangelization: to the many the peoples who have not yet been 'watered' by the living waters of the Gospel as well as to those who, although having ancient Christian roots, are in need of new nourishment to bear new fruit and to rediscover the beauty and joy of the faith".


  The Pope pointed out that "Blessed John Paul II was a great missionary, as an exhibit organized in Rome in these days documents. He re-launched the mission 'ad gentes' and, at the same time, promoted the new evangelization".


  After praying the Regina Coeli, the Pope noted that "last Saturday in Cerreto Sannita, Italy, Sr. Maria Serafina of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (born Clotilde Micheli), was proclaimed Blessed. Born in Trentino, she founded in Campania the Institute of the Sisters of the Angels. On recalling the 100th anniversary of her birth in heaven, we rejoice with her spiritual daughters and all those devoted to her".


  Addressing the Polish pilgrims, Benedict XVI noted that "yesterday was the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the death of Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, the 'Primate of the Millennium'. Invoking the gift of his beatification, let us learn from him a total abandonment to the Mother of God. Let his trust, expressed with the words: 'I have entrusted all to Mary', be a special model for us. Let us  recall this at the end of the month of May, which is especially dedicated to the Virgin".

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VATICAN CITY, 30 MAY 2011 (VIS) - "The Second Vatican Council reminds us that, among the more important responsibilities of bishops, the proclamation of the Gospel is pre-eminent", said Benedict XVI today to the prelates from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India at the end of their ad limina visit, emphasizing that it is "a source of satisfaction that the proclamation of God's word is bearing rich spiritual fruit in your local Churches, especially through the spread of small Christian communities in which the faithful come together for prayer, reflection on the Scriptures and fraternal support".


  "Every effort should be made", he continued, "to stress that individual and group prayer is, by its very nature, born of and leads back to, the wellspring of grace found in the Church's sacraments and her entire liturgical life. Nor can it be forgotten that the word of God not only consoles but also challenges believers, as individuals and in community, to advance in justice, reconciliation and peace among themselves and in society as a whole. ... In fidelity to the new commandment to love one another as the Lord has loved us, Christians of all times and places have striven to serve their fellow human beings selflessly and to love them with all their heart. After all, love is God's gift to humanity; it is his promise and it is our hope".


  "In this light, I am pleased to note the impressive signs of the Church's charity in many fields of social activity, a service borne in a particular way by her priests and religious. ... The Church's schools prepare young people of all faiths and none to build a more just and peaceful society.  Church agencies have been instrumental in the promotion of microcredit, helping the poor to help themselves. In addition, they promote the Church's healing and charitable mission through clinics, orphanages, hospitals and innumerable other projects aimed at promoting human dignity and well-being ... May Christ's faithful in India", the Pope prayed, "continue to assist all those in need in the communities around them, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or social status, out of the conviction that all have been created in God's image and all are due equal respect".


  In conclusion, the Holy Father spoke of "the grave challenges which threaten to undermine the unity, harmony and sanctity of the family", which the bishops had referred to him, and about "the work which must be done to build a culture of respect for marriage and family life. A sound catechesis which appeals especially to those preparing for marriage", he said, "will do much to nourish the faith of Christian families and will assist them in giving a vibrant, living witness to the Church's age-old wisdom regarding marriage, the family, and the responsible use of God's gift of sexuality.

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VATICAN CITY, 30 MAY 2011 (VIS) - This afternoon the Holy Father received participants in the plenary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, instituted in October of 2010, along with its president, Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella.


  Referring to the theme of the next synod of bishops in October of 2012, the theme of which will be "The New Evangelization and the Transmission of the Christian Faith", the Pope said that "the term 'new evangelization' recalls the need of a new way of evangelizing, especially for those who live in a situation like today's where the development of secularization has left deep marks on even traditionally Christian countries".


  "The crisis we are living through", he stated, "carries with it signs of the exclusion of God from people's lives, a general indifference to the Christian faith, and even the intention of marginalizing it from public life. ... Moreover, the phenomenon of people who wish to belong to the Church but who are strongly determined by a vision of life that is opposed to the faith is often seen".


  Benedict XVI emphasized that "proclaiming Jesus Christ, the sole Savior of the world, is more complex today than in the past, but our task continues to be the same as at the beginning of our history. The mission hasn't changed, just as the enthusiasm and courage that motivated the apostles and first disciples should not change".


  The Church's message, he continued, "needs to be renewed today in order to convince modern persons, who are often distracted and insensitive. That is why the new evangelization must find the ways to make the proclamation of salvation more effective, the salvation without with life is contradictory and lacking in what is essential. This includes those who remain tied to Christian roots but who have a difficult relationship with modernity. It is important to make them understand that being Christian is not a type of outfit that one wears in private or on special occasions, but something living and totalizing, capable of taking all that is good in modernity".


  The Pope expressed the desire that in the plenary's work these days, the members and consultors outline "a plan to help the entire Church and the particular different Churches in the commitment of the new evangelization; a plan whereby the urgency of a renewed evangelization takes charge of formation, particularly that of the new generations, and is united to the proposal of concrete signs capable of making the Church's response in this particular moment clear".


  "If, on the one hand, the entire community is called to revive the missionary spirit in order to offer the new message that persons of our times are hoping for, it cannot be forgotten", he finished, "that the lifestyle of believers needs real credibility, as much more convincing as the more dramatic is the condition of the persons to whom it is addressed".

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