Wednesday, February 29, 2012

[video] Saint John Cassian

[MaryVitamin] II Station



Mary Vitamin for February 29th

Topic: Second Station - Jesus Accepts the Cross

Mary of Agreda
The image of [Mary's] divine Son, thus wounded, defiled and bound, remained so firmly fixed and imprinted in the soul of our Queen, that during her life it was never effaced, and remained in her mind as distinctly, as if She were continually beholding Him with her own eyes.
Mystical City of God, Volume III
(Tan Books: 2006), 573.

Pontius Pilate,
Behold the Man!

Father Faber
[V]erily there was need that some one should testify that He was man, who, if He had been only Man could never have survived the crushing of the winepress which the threefold pressure of His Father, of demons, and of men had inflicted upon Him. Then rose over the crowded piazza that wild yell of blasphemous rejection by His own people, which still rings in our ears, still echoes in history, still dwells even in the savage frightfulness of its reality.
The Foot of the Cross, (Tan Books: 1978), 206.

One time today, when presented with a difficulty or with my Lenten resolution, I will try to be like Our Lady who silently and courageously accepted the Cross of Her Son and united Her heart to it.

Marian Vow:
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
No other grace can be compared with that of carrying the cross out of love for our Lord.
The Thoughts and Saying of Saint Margaret Mary, (Tan Books: 1986), 79.

I give this resolution to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Thanks be to God for graces received.

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From The Friars: Lent Revisited

Lent Revisited

“What are you giving up?” Any Catholic who grew up in the “pre-Vatican II” era would immediately know what this question is referring to—especially if you attended a parochial school taught by nuns. It means, “What are you giving up for Lent?” The answer of most school kids back then was somewhat the same—candy, soda, or television. Although the good sisters suggested that giving up fighting with our siblings would be even better, I personally thought that was just a bit too much to give up.

Isn’t it true how easily we can get attached to things. Now that the cell phone has become mainstream and no longer a status symbol, I know there are some of you who might get more than annoyed if you had to give it up! Soon kids will be asking, “What was life like before cell phones. I mean, how did people contact you when you weren’t home?” How true it is—we quickly become best buddies with comfort and convenience; yet as you know, there is always a price we must pay.

Lent is a time to look at our attachments—and not only material things or objects—but attitudes. As our doctors can now scan our bodies looking for problems, this is the time to ask for some help to “scan our souls” and to look deep within for things which can be suspicious and maybe malignant. No doubt, some of our readers are quite comfortable with such examinations and are quick to get at the problem area. Some, for example, have a spat with their spouse; yet they never allow the sun to set on their anger. Instead, the whole affair ends with an apology and a goodnight kiss. Others, however, refuse to admit any guilt and spend years in a cold war. These couples have become quite comfortable with their illness.

Have you ever had something—an article of clothing, for example—that spends most of its life hanging on for dear life in a dark closet or buried in some overstuffed drawer? Maybe it was a gift from grandma or a hand-me-down which once belonged to dear ol’ dad. While our prized possession serves no other purpose but to take up space, the chilling thought of getting rid of our family heirloom borders on sacrilege or treason. Of course, occasionally we take out our treasure and try it on; it is stretched here and it sags there, and it may be just a bit threadbare at the elbows, but besides the broken zipper and a few missing buttons, it looks almost new! Maybe, just maybe, you will wear it in when the weather warms up a bit.

Friends, today we enter the liturgical season of Lent. Lent is an old English word, “lengthen,” which means “springtime.” Lent commemorates the time Our Lord fasted and prayed and was tempted in the desert; therefore, it is a time characterized by prayer, reflection, fasting and abstinence. Our interior attitude or spiritual posture is expressed in the somber violet which is worn by the priest and which decorates the sanctuary. Lent is, in essence, a time to look inside ourselves and open that interior dark closet and overstuffed drawer. It is a time to ask ourselves if we have become accustomed and attached to what is obviously ugly and outdated.

If you are serious about spring cleaning your soul, you must be honest and objective. This is why an extra set of eyes and expert advise is always helpful when making decisions about what stays put and what is put into the garbage. This is but one reason we have the sacrament of confession—we don’t have to do the dirty work alone. This means, instead of going to confession with our wrinkled and weary list of sins, we go in “with a pen and pad,” which means an attitude of openness and a desire to get the job done right. This task begins and is made easy by asking a simple question: “Father, can you help me make a good confession?”

Maybe if we ask for help, we may not only find more junk than we expected, we just might find more room within us for peace and joy. So there they hang—uglier than grandma’s kelly green sweater or dad’s plaid jacket—guilt, shame, anger, lust, resentment. So, what are you giving up this Lent?

God bless you,

Fr.Glenn Sudano, CFR
Most Blessed Sacrament Friary
Newark, NJ

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Mary TV Daily Reflection 2/29/2012


February 29, 2012


Dear Family of Mary!


"Dear children! At this time, in a special way I call you: 'pray with the heart'. Little children, you speak much and pray little. Read and meditate on Sacred Scripture, and may the words written in it be life for you. I encourage and love you, so that in God you may find your peace and the joy of living. Thank you for having responded to my call." (February 25, 2012)


Prayer with the heart! Here is another beautiful message from Our Lady, given to help us move into prayer with the heart:


"Dear children! I call you to prayer, to have an encounter with God in prayer. God gives Himself to you, but He wants you to answer in your own freedom to his invitation. That is why little children during the day, find yourself a special time when you could pray in peace and humility, and have this meeting with God the creator. I am with you and I intercede for you in front of God, so watch in vigil, so that every encounter in prayer be the joy of your contact with God. Thank you for having responded to my call."   November 25, 1988



Comment: Our God is so intent on maintaining our dignity, in our human freedom, that He will not force His presence upon us. Our Lady says here that God gives Himself to us, but He wants us to answer in our own freedom to His invitation. God gives Himself to us. Isn't it so! He gives Himself in Holy Scripture, in the teachings of the Church, in nature, in His Incarnation, and in the Holy Eucharist. He seems to be looking for any way possible to make Himself present to us. But...He waits for our response. He waits for us to see Him, to perceive Him. He waits for us to encounter Him. He waits.


I think Our Lady's coming in these days is a little sign that God is getting worried that we might miss His presence all together. He has sent her to nudge us in the right direction, to point Him out to us so that we will respond to His invitation of love. He is waiting for us to come to Him in prayer, the kind of prayer that engages our entire being, heart and soul and body, the kind of prayer that comes from deep within, and gives all to Him. We should listen to her!


May every encounter in prayer be the joy of our contact with God!


In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

Cathy Nolan

©Mary TV 2012


PS. Ivan has asked to post the following disclaimer:


Feb 01, 2012 - There is a rumor, which originated in Canada, that claims Ivan received an urgent message from Our Lady regarding a war in the Middle East. Ivan has asked us to put this announcement on our web site to let everyone know that this rumor is false. Please do all you can to stop this rumor from circulating. ( )


I just wanted to share this with all of you. If you didn't see the rumor, never mind, but for those who did, it is good to know the truth!



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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

[MaryVitamin] Stations of the Cross with Mary: First Station



Mary Vitamin for February 28th
Topic: The First Station 

"What is truth?"

Ven Mary of Agreda communicates the words of Our Lady:

In order to crush the head of Lucifer and overcome pride and arrogance, my Son observed this patient silence in his Passion, permitting Himself to be treated as an ignorant and foolish criminal. As the Teacher of this philosophy and as the Physcian of the sickness of sin, He would not deny the charges nor defend or justify Himself, nor refute those who accused Him, showing us by his own living example, how to oppose and counteract the intentions of the serpent.
... But do thou, my daughter, prerserve the doctrine of my divine Son and that which comes from me. Abhor human ostentation, suffer in silence and let the world consider thee ignorant; for it does not know where true wisdom dwells.
The Mystical City of God, Volume III (Tan Books: 2006), 582. 

Wisdom and truth are embraced by accepting the Lord and His Cross. Our Lady will help me to do "Whatever He says." I will look for an obedience today.

Marian Vow:
John Paul II
This Wisdom is Jesus Christ himself, the Eternal Word of God, who perfectly reveals and accomplishes the will of the Father (cf.Heb 10:5-10). Mary invites everyone to accept this Wisdom. To us too she addresses the command she gave to the servants at Cana in Galilee during the marriage feast:  "Do whatever he tells you" (Jn 2:5).
Splendor, August 6, 1993. #119

I give this resolution to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Thanks be to God for graces received.


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Mary TV Daily Reflection 2/28/2012


February 28, 2012


Dear Family of Mary!


"Dear children! At this time, in a special way I call you: 'pray with the heart'. Little children, you speak much and pray little. Read and meditate on Sacred Scripture, and may the words written in it be life for you. I encourage and love you, so that in God you may find your peace and the joy of living. Thank you for having responded to my call."  February 25, 2012


Prayer with the heart is the secret weapon with which Our Lady is equipping us for the days ahead. Here are a few more messages about prayer with the heart in which the power and necessity of prayer with the heart is described:


"Dear children! Again I call you to prayer with the heart. If you pray with the heart, dear children, the ice of your brothers will melt and every barrier shall disappear. Conversion will be easy for all who desire to accept it. That is the gift which by prayer you must obtain for your neighbor. Thank you for having responded to my call." January 23, 1986


Comment: Prayer with the heart is heart to heart communication with God. It is a direct connection established by our "yes" to the Lord, our surrender, our turning toward Him. When we make this connection the Holy Spirit flows between our heart and God's heart, bringing God's love and power and strength to us. It is like nuclear power, a burning fire that melts the ice of disbelief in those we pray for. As we include them in our prayer, interceding for them, they receive the same power of love that we are receiving, and they are given a chance to turn to the Lord as well. Prayer with the heart is the secret of intercession!



"Dear children! Today also I am calling you to prayer. You know, dear children, that God grants special graces in prayer. Therefore, seek and pray in order that you may be able to comprehend all that I am giving here. I call you, dear children, to prayer with the heart. You know that without prayer you cannot comprehend all that God is planning through each one of you. Therefore, pray! I desire that through each one of you God's plan may be fulfilled, that all which God has planted in your heart may keep on growing. So pray that God's blessing may protect each one of you from all the evil that is threatening you. I bless you, dear children. Thank you for having responded to my call." April 25, 1987


Comment: God has plans. He has plans for our good and for our welfare. His plans can only come about if we cooperate with them, if we say yes. And so, prayer with the heart is necessary, because in prayer of the heart, we communicate with God. God can teach us about His plans for us in such prayer, and we can then cooperate! We need to hear before we can obey. Hearing happens in prayer. The plan is unique, individual for each of us, and God will only tell us deep within, through prayer. So for God's plans to move forward, He needs His children to be communicating with Him.


"Dear children! Rejoice with me! My heart is rejoicing because of Jesus and today I want to give Him to you. Dear children, I want each one of you to open your heart to Jesus and I will give Him to you with love. Dear children, I want Him to change you, to teach you and to protect you. Today I am praying in a special way for each one of you and I am presenting you to God so He will manifest Himself in you. I am calling you to sincere prayer with the heart so that every prayer of yours may be an encounter with God. In your work and in your everyday life, put God in the first place. I call you today with great seriousness to obey me and to do as I am calling you. Thank you for having responded to my call." December 25, 1987


Comment: Our Lady wants us to be intimately connected with her Son, Jesus. She knows that Jesus is the only one who can heal us, teach us and protect us as we need. He wants to live in us, in our hearts. Prayer with the heart is the only way that Jesus will be able to live in us. In prayer with the heart we open our hearts to Him and invite Him in. This kind of prayer does not have to be at only one time in the day. She tells us that we can encounter God in our everyday life, in work and rest and play. As we live our lives we simply can carry on a conversation with God, constantly. That is how we stay intimately connected to Jesus. Our Lady is serious about this. She told us in this message to obey her! It must be really important.


In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

Cathy Nolan

©Mary TV 2012


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TAKE FIVE FOR FAITH: Daily renewal for busy Catholics 2/28/2012


Tuesday, February 28

Listen with your heart
One of the cornerstones of Lent is prayer, something we often considerour job: talking to God, pouring out our hearts, asking for what we need. It is all that, but more. If we compare prayer to the living intimacy between people who love each other, we will see clearly that if their conversation is one-sided, if they do not let the other speak, if they do not listen with the same intensity with which the other pours out their needs, then something is wrong. Someone put it this way: Show up. Shut up. Pay attention. Crude, but true. To spruce up one’s spiritual life is to consider how one prays. Is there room in my time with God just to be? Must I always be talking or reading or planning? Can I simply wait? Listen?

TODAY’S READINGS: Isaiah 55:10-11; Matthew 6:7-15 (225)
“My word . . . shall not return to me void.”



Alice Camille, Daniel Grippo, Caroline Hopkinson, Father Larry Janowski, O.F.M., Ann O’Connor, Joel Schorn, Patrice J. Tuohy, and Sister Julie Vieira, I.H.M.

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Youth catechism is best selling Catholic book worldwide By David Kerr

Youcat publisher Bernard Meuser talks to CNA on Feb. 23, 2012

Rome, Italy, Feb 23, 2012 / 03:13 pm (CNA).- The co-creator of the Church’s catechism for young people has revealed that it's now the top selling Catholic book in the world.

“The latest figures show that Youcat has sold 1.7 million copies worldwide. It’s been a great success in nearly every country where it has been published,” said German publisher Bernard Meuser in a Feb. 23 interview with CNA.

“For example, it is number one in Spain, number one in America, and number one in Germany along with the Pope’s latest book.”

In 2006 Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna and Meuser decided to work on catechism that transmitted the Church’s teachings “in a way that younger people can understand.” He said Cardinal Schönborn’s key advice was that “if you do something for young people, you should do it with young people.”

Over the next five years the two men worked with theologians, educators, priests, and over 60 young people to create “Youcat.” The name is an abbreviation of “Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church.” 

The distinctive, slim, yellow volume was published ahead of the 2011 World Youth Day in Madrid, and contains 527 questions and answers. They are accompanied by numerous quotations, images and illustrations including their trademark “stick man” who becomes animated by the rapid flicking of each page.

“I was astonished that the young people liked the book so much,” Meuser said. “We’ve had so much praise from young people and, yes, they really like the stick man.” The Youcat Facebook page has also garnered over 21,000 followers to date.

The book is currently published in 20 languages, but Meuser said that by next year that total will rise to 30, including Chinese and Arabic.

One of Pope Benedict’s hopes for the book has also come to fruition. The catechism has generated many study groups, including one in the Philippines that has over 12,000 participants.

Meuser praised God, “who helped us from the beginning,” for the project’s success.

“I really think it is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.”

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Ash Wednesday desecration: Vandals spray ‘satanic symbols,’ deface statues at Union City parish

Click photo to enlarge
Church members take photos of pentagram spray painted on a wall at St. Annes Catholic Church on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012 in Union City, Calif. Vandals broke a cross at the church and defaced statues on the property. (Aric Crabb/Staff)

UNION CITY -- Vandals desecrated a Catholic church, destroying a cross, defacing statues and spray-painting graffiti with satanic symbols -- acts discovered on Ash Wednesday that police have classified as a hate crime.

The vandalism was discovered at St. Anne Catholic Church around 7 a.m., about an hour before services were scheduled for the first day of Lent, a 40-day season of fasting and prayer before the Easter holiday.

"This is terrible and very disturbing," said the Rev. Geoffrey Baraan, the church's pastor for the past six years. "I'm still shaking with fear and wonder and disbelief."

Peter Petit, a longtime parishioner, discovered the damage when he arrived to unlock the house of worship built

at Cabello and Dyer streets in 1982.

He said he was shocked to find the front of the church spray-painted in two places with a circled pentagram -- a common satanic symbol -- surrounded by the words "Satan" and the Latin phrase "Carpe Noctem," meaning "Seize the night."

Vandals destroyed a wooden cross and knocked over a statue resembling a stone tablet.

A second statue of the Holy Family also was damaged, as vandals covered in black paint the faces of the Virgin Mary and Joseph, and spray-painted a small pentagram on each of their chests. The statue's third figure -- Jesus as a child -- was not harmed.

Baraan said he agrees with police's decision to treat the incident as a hate crime.

"These are not kids

doing something for fun," he said. "When you see the word, Satan, we're being hated for who we are."

Church officials said they could not recall the St. Anne parish ever facing violence or vandalism, noting that the church frequently helps the community and serves free meals twice per month to the needy.

"The church is a symbol of Christian and family values, and here you have someone striking out at it," Petit said. "It's appalling for something like this to happen. It's hard to fathom."

Investigators have contacted regional and state authorities to determine whether there have been similar incidents, but they have not detected a pattern, Union City police Cmdr. Ben Horner said.

"As of now, we believe this is an isolated incident," Horner said.

The vandalism was especially upsetting to parishioners because it happened on Ash Wednesday, one of the faith's most signif- icant days, church officials said.

Baraan said in his sermon that, though anger was understandable, parishioners should react with restraint and prayer.

"They destroyed the cross, the best symbol of love, forgiveness and understanding," he said. "But we'll get up and carry that cross again."


Chris De Benedetti at 510-353-7011. Follow him at

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Churches Targeted Three Times

Targeted three times

Churches make easy prey for metal thieves


Another Catholic church – this one in Southern California – has become the victim of copper thieves, a growing and expensive security problem for parishes across the state.

“Investigators said that in a span of two months the air conditioning units of four churches in
Ramona have been vandalized and recyclable items have been stolen,” said a Feb. 22 news release from San Diego Crime Stoppers, which is offering a reward of up to $1000 for leads in the thefts. “One of those churches, Immaculate Heart of Mary, has been hit three times by thieves targeting copper and aluminum.”

Ramona is an unincorporated town of about 30,000 residents in eastern San Diego County. Its police services are provided by the sheriff’s department.

“Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, located at 537 E Street in Ramona was targeted three times between November 26, 2011 and January 25, 2012,” said the Crime Stoppers press release. “Sometime between November 26, 2011 and November 27, 2011 it was discovered that an unknown suspect dismantled three air conditioning units and stole the aluminum and copper evaporator coils found inside. On December 01, 2011, it was reported that someone vandalized one of the air conditioning units by cutting the Freon line. On December 20, 2012 it was discovered that an unknown suspect damaged an industrial heat pump by taking the copper pipes. The damage was so severe that the unit may have to be replaced at a cost of over $30,000.”

Other Ramona churches identified by the sheriff’s departments in the serial thefts included the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, The Way Church, and St. Mary’s in the Valley Episcopal Church.

“Investigators are asking anyone with information on the identity and/or location of the persons responsible for this crime to call the Crime Stoppers anonymous tip line at (888) 580-8477,” said the press release. “Anonymous email and text messages can be sent in via”

Metal thieves – particularly copper thieves – have become increasingly brazen in their crimes across California. In October 2011, they stole a historic 5300-pound bell from the grounds of St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco. The bell was later recovered near a West Oakland salvage yard, where police said it was likely “very close to being broken down for its metal value.”

In late August of 2011, the lights went out at St. Ignatius of Antioch Catholic Church in Antioch after thieves stole about 500 yards of copper wire from an outdoor pipeline containing the church’s electrical cables. Parish officials had to scramble to get the power back on in time for a Saturday Vigil Mass.

The August 2011 incident was the third time the Antioch parish had been hit by copper thieves in a period of two months.


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Vatican City, 26 February 2012 (VIS) - The Pope and the Roman Curia began their annual spiritual exercises this evening, the first Sunday of Lent.

This year's meditations are being directed by Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, archbishop of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, who will focus on the theme of "the communion of Christians with God".

The exercises are being held in the "Redemptoris Mater" Chapel of the Vatican's Apostolic Palace, and will come to an end on Saturday 3 March. During the retreat all audiences are suspended, including the weekly general audience of Wednesday 29 February.


Vatican City, 26 February 2012 (VIS) - In his reflections before praying the Angelus this morning with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI commented on the Gospel reading from this Sunday's liturgy, St. Mark's narrative of the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness.

"The Lord chose to undergo the attack of the tempter so as to defend us with His help and instruct us with His example", said the Holy Father quoting a text written by St. Leo the Great. This episode teaches us that man is never free from temptation, but we can become stronger than any enemy "by following the Lord every day with patience and humility, learning to build our lives not without Him or as if He did not exist, but in Him and with Him, because He is the source of true life. The temptation to remove God, to regulate ourselves and the world counting only on our own abilities, has always been present in the history of man", the Pope said.

In Christ, God addresses man "in an unexpected way, with a closeness that is unique, tangible and full of love. God became incarnate and entered man's world in order to take sin upon Himself, to overcome evil and to bring man back into God's world. But His announcement was accompanied by a request to respond to such a great gift. Indeed, Jesus said "repent, and believe in the good news'. This is an invitation to have faith in God and to convert every day of our lives to His will, orienting our every action and our every thought towards what is good. The period of Lent is a good time to renew and strengthen our relationship with God through daily prayer, acts of penance and works of fraternal charity".

Following the Angelus the Pope greeted pilgrims in a number of different languages, asking them to pray for him as he and the Roman Curia retire for their Lenten spiritual exercises, which begin this evening.


Vatican City, 25 February 2012 (VIS) - At midday today, the Holy Father received 200 scientists and members of the Pontifical Academy for Life, which is currently celebrating its eighteenth general assembly on the theme: "The diagnosis and treatment of infertility". This subject, said the Pope, "has particular scientific importance, and is an expression of the concrete possibility of fruitful dialogue between ethics and biomedical research".

"Research into diagnosis and therapy is the most scientifically correct approach to the question of infertility, as well as being the most respectful of the human condition of the people involved", said Benedict XVI. "Indeed, the union of a man and a woman, in that community of love and life which is marriage, represents the only worthy 'place' for a new human being to be called into existence".

The Pope explained how "the human and Christian dignity of procreation does not lie in a 'product', but in its bond with the conjugal act: that expression of the spouses' love for one another, that union which is not only biological but also spiritual. ... An infertile couple's legitimate aspirations to become parents must therefore, with the help of science, find a response which is fully respectful of their dignity as people and as spouses". Yet, the Holy Father said, the field of human procreation seems to be dominated "by scientism and the logic of profit", which often "restrict many other areas of research.

"The Church is attentive to the suffering of infertile couples", he added, "and her concern for them is what leads her to encourage medical research. Science, nonetheless, is not always capable of responding to the needs of many couples, and so I would like to remind those who are experiencing infertility that their matrimonial vocation is not thereby frustrated. By virtue of their baptismal and matrimonial vocation, spouses are always called to collaborate with God in the creation of a new humanity. The vocation to love, in fact, is a vocation of self-giving and this is something which no bodily condition can impede. Therefore, when science cannot provide an answer, the light-giving response comes from Christ".

Benedict XVI invited the participants in the general assembly to continue to develop "a science which is intellectually honest and dedicated to the continual search for the good of mankind. ... Indifference towards truth and goodness is a dangerous threat to authentic scientific progress", he warned. In conclusion, the Pope encouraged his audience to dialogue with faith because "it was Christian culture - rooted in the affirmation of the existence of Truth, and the intelligibility of reality in the light of Supreme Truth - which enabled modern scientific knowledge to develop in mediaeval Europe, a knowledge which in earlier cultures had remained in the bud".


Vatican City, 25 February 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, accompanied by Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary of the same congregation.


Vatican City, 25 February 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Bishop Arrigo Miglio of Ivrea, Italy, as archbishop of Cagliari (area 4,041, population 572,615, Catholics 567,615, priests 247, permanent deacons 37, religious 919), Italy. He succeeds Archbishop Giuseppe Mani, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Medellin, Colombia, presented by Bishop Gilberto Jimenez Narvaez, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Bishop John F. Du of Dumaguete, Philippines, as metropolitan archbishop of Palo (area 4,620, population 1,762,000, Catholics 1,362,000, priests 161, religious 191), Philippines.

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From New Oxford Review Archives: Your Career in the Church


Ever wonder if you're cut out to be a vocations director, youth minister, liturgical design consultant, chancery official or an American bishop?

Read all about it...


I find this funny, but not surprising, as it reflects more truth than poetry. Just have a good look at most of our parishes.

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O Lord, Dispel from me . . . [video]

Take Five for Faith for Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday, February 27

The least we can do
The vivid biblical descriptions of the Last or Final Judgment are designed to impress upon us the importance of taking our obligations to the less fortunate very seriously indeed. “But where to begin?” you might ask. The Corporal Works of Mercy are a pretty good place. If we each do our part, we can hope for the day when there will be no more hungry to feed, homeless to shelter, prisoners to visit, and the like. Then we can welcome that Final Judgment with confidence. But let’s get started today—after all, none of us knows the day or the hour.

TODAY’S READINGS: Leviticus 19:1-2, 11-18; Matthew 25:31-46 (224)
“Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”


Alice Camille, Daniel Grippo, Caroline Hopkinson, Father Larry Janowski, O.F.M., Ann O’Connor, Joel Schorn, Patrice J. Tuohy, and Sister Julie Vieira, I.H.M.

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For Religious Minorities in the Middle East – With Friends Like Obama, Who Needs Enemies?! Posted by Rick Santorum

From the diaries.

President Obama has an amazing ability to make Jimmy Carter’s foreign policies look good.

Opposition to imperfect allies and support of radical Islamists has resulted in the almost-extinction of religious freedom for religious minorities – from the Copts in Egypt to the defenseless women and children who were slaughtered in Homs, Syria – in the Middle East.

Another example is the devolving situation in Iraq.  President Obama was so committed to fulfilling an arbitrary campaign promise to get our troops out of Iraq that he ignored the advice of his senior military officials about the consequences of establishing a firm withdrawal date and about how long it might take before Iraq was ready to manage the situation on their own.  As a result, Al-Qa’ida is resurgent, Iran’s influence is greater than ever, religious tensions between Sunni and Shi’a are increasing, the existential threat facing Iraq’s indigenous minority communities has never been greater, and our ability to affect the situation there is weaker now.  Recent coordinated car bomb attacks are just the latest in a string of such events since the start of the new year, and they portend many more violent assaults to come.

The departure of our military forces has once again left a security vacuum that is bound to be filled by someone, and all those with the means to vie for that space will do so, whether Sunni insurgents, terrorists like Al Qa’ida, security forces controlled by the ruling Shi’a political establishment, and in parts of the country even Kurdish Peshmerga.  These machinations undermine institutionalizing the rule of law, protecting minority rights, or developing the economy and infrastructure, let alone advancing American interests in that country and the region.

The most vulnerable people in this situation also happen to be the ones most aligned with our values and interests.  These are Iraq’s besieged Christians – the Chaldeans, Assyrians, Syriacs and Armenian Orthodox communities.  The role their faith has played in developing their worldview is far more in keeping with America’s values than any other constituency in the country or the region.  Moreover, because these communities have an ethic that places a premium on education, entrepreneurship, and peaceful co-existence and respect for others, they have constituted a disproportionately large part of the upper-middle class, they have historically contributed far more to the country’s economy than their numbers would suggest, and they have been the most trusted elements of Iraqi society.  They also have a much greater respect for the value of the rule of law, they were the ones who came along side our military, diplomats, and contractors to provide translation services and cultural advice.

With the departure of our forces and the recent announcement of the Obama Administration that we will also be reducing our embassy staff by 50 percent because it is now too dangerous for our diplomats there we are effectively abandoning both Iraq and our investment there as well as the communities who risked the most to help us in that effort.  What is more, walking away like this also sends messages to other players in the region.  It signals to potential allies in the future that we are not dependable.  It signals to terrorists that if they just lay low, they can wait us out.  It signals to the world that we no longer have the resolve to see a situation through to the end – that we can’t finish what we started.

We need all the help we can get in that part of the world, and Iraq’s Christians are the ones most inclined to provide that help, but not if doing so is only going to increase the prospect of their genocidal annihilation.

Accordingly, we need a comprehensive policy aimed at preserving these communities in Iraq.  We need to focus on helping Iraqis create the conditions that incentivize staying in Iraq and making there a better future for themselves. The last thing we want is for them to abandon the land their ancestors have occupied for nearly 7,000 years,forsake the culture they have preserved in that volatile region for all these millennia, and deprive the country, the region, and the world of the positive contributions they could still make if only some space was created for them in Iraqi society.  These people – who are all but canaries in a coal mine – represent hope for a better future for a pluralistic Iraqi society.

First, they need security.  By “security,” though, I mean more than just safety from terrorist and insurgent attacks.  I mean they need the means to protect themselves and their own communities so they do not have to depend on political actors whose interests are not necessarily aligned with the needs of their own communities.  They should not be subjected to political shakedowns and corrupt political machinations. 

Second, they need political empowerment.  They have the right to some degree of self-determination and to have a say in how their local communities should be governed.  It is wrong for them to be treated as a political football, constantly crushed between manipulative forces that surround them.  

Third, they need economic development in the region where they now find themselves.  Having been forced off their ancestral lands in the last century, they reestablished themselves in the cities such as Baghdad and Basra.  In the aftermath of the second Gulf War, though, they have had to seek refuge back in the North again.  Yet this region was not developed very well under Saddam’s regime, and today’s Iraqi Christians are disproportionately of the urban professional class rather than farmers.

It is time that we stand with those who stood with us over the last 8 years.  We must not abandon them.  I will stand with those who stand for freedom of religion and conscience and against violent jihadism and persecution of religious minorities in Iraq, Egypt, and elsewhere.


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Mary TV: February 27, 2012 Reflection

nun praying at St. James Church

(c)Mary TV 2011

February 27, 2012


Dear Family of Mary!


"Dear children! At this time, in a special way I call you: 'pray with the heart'. Little children, you speak much and pray little. Read and meditate on Sacred Scripture, and may the words written in it be life for you. I encourage and love you, so that in God you may find your peace and the joy of living. Thank you for having responded to my call." (February 25, 2012)


In the list from Ivan, shared in his talk on January 31, 2012 in Kalamazoo, we have discussed the first two main messages: Peace and Conversion. Our Lady, in this new message, brings up the next main message on Ivan's list: Prayer of the Heart!


She must be reading our list! (Just kidding!)


Writing about prayer of the heart is a challenge. We know that Our Lady has asked for it, over and over. We know that it is essential for our relationship with God. But what can we say??


Our Lady's words may be our best resource in this matter. Here are a few of the things she has said about prayer with the heart:


"Pray with the heart and surrender yourselves to Jesus in prayer." (August 11, 1984)



Comment: Prayer with the heart happens when we surrender ourselves to Jesus, letting go of all our fears, concerns, ideas, and plans and seeking only Him.


"In prayer you shall perceive the greatest joy and the way out of every situation that has no exit." (March 28, 1985)


Comment: Prayer with the heart produces joy. We will know we are praying with our hearts when the fruit of that prayer is joy. And prayer with the heart means that we take all our practical, real life problems to God and receive answers to our problems through that prayer. These are two ways to look back and see if we are praying with the heart, joy and answers to our difficulties!


"Dear children! Today I call you to prayer with the heart, and not just from habit. Some are coming but do not wish to move ahead in prayer. Therefore, I wish to warn you like a Mother: pray that prayer prevails in your hearts in every moment. Thank you for having responded to my call." (May 2, 1985)


Comment: Prayer from habit is probably the kind of prayer in which our mind is completely elsewhere while we pray. It's the kind of prayer in which we don't even realize we are talking to God, but instead we are ruminating inside our heads about something or other, while we say the prayers with our lips. It is the kind of prayer that expects nothing, and is done because everyone else is doing it. On the contrary, prayer of the heart is a turning to God all day long, in every situation, in a private and precious conversation with Him. It is the moment by moment dialogue we have with the Lord, as we move through our daily duties. In this case, our work is habitual, but our prayer is anything but!


"Your hearts are turned toward the things of earth and they preoccupy you. Turn your hearts toward prayer and seek the Holy Spirit to be poured out on you." (May 9, 1985)


Comment: Prayer with the heart seeks the Holy Spirit and the things that are above - in the Spirit!



"Dear children! I call you again to prayer with the heart. Let prayer, dear children, be your every day food in a special way when your work in the fields is so wearing you out that you cannot pray with the heart. Pray, and then you shall overcome even every weariness. Prayer will be your joy and your rest. Thank you for having responded to my call." (May 30, 1985)


Comment: When prayer is our first recourse when we are tired or anxious, and prayer is what feeds our souls, then we will know we are living prayer with the heart.


"Dear children! I want to thank everyone for all you have done for me, especially the youth. I beseech you, dear children, come to prayer with awareness. In prayer you shall come to know the greatness of God. Thank you for having responded to my call." (November 28, 1985)


Comment: Awareness!   If we are not aware of the presence of God, of His power and majesty, of His Kingship and His love, our prayer will be empty and blind. Awareness happens when we look deep in our own hearts and discover there how very much we need God. Then we will begin to understand who He is. He is our Creator and Redeemer, the One who can heal all our wounds, solve all our problems and show us the way to life. Such an awareness will make prayer with the heart a reality.


Well, we have only gotten into 1985, and there are many, many messages yet to be examined to uncover the way to prayer with the heart! But this is a good start. We have some things with which to begin in our search for prayer with the heart!


In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

Cathy Nolan

©Mary TV 2012

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday, February 26

Follow the rainbow
The rare and beautiful event of a rainbow usually lasts only a short while, but its colors and soaring form make a lasting impression. It follows storms as if to show the incredible beauty and peace of creation after a demonstration of its awesome power. In Hebrew scripture the rainbow symbolizes God’s promise to Noah never to destroy the earth and all its creatures again with water, but just as important it was a sign of the wonderful re-creation of the world after the destruction of the biblical Flood. The season of Lent offers a unique opportunity to make a course correction on the path toward God. The goal is clear: the new life of Easter, fixed before your eyes like a glorious rainbow.
TODAY’S READINGS: Genesis 9:8-15; 1 Peter 3:18-22; Mark 1:12-15 (23)
“I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”


Alice Camille, Daniel Grippo, Caroline Hopkinson, Father Larry Janowski, O.F.M., Ann O’Connor, Joel Schorn, Patrice J. Tuohy, and Sister Julie Vieira, I.H.M.

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CMMB: Your Weekly Reflection in Prayer: First Sunday of Lent

Weekly prayer reflection for Winter
“The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and He remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to Him.”
Mark 1: 12-13
February 26, 2012
First Sunday of Lent

Recently, Pope Benedict XVI called for more silence in our lives. He explains: “Through silence, space is created for mutual listening, and deeper human relationships become possible…It is hardly surprising that different religious traditions consider solitude and silence as privileged states which help people to rediscover themselves and that Truth which gives meaning to all things… Silence is a precious commodity that enables us to exercise proper discernment in the face of the surcharge of stimuli and data that we receive.”
As Lent begins, most likely we will not be able, like Jesus, to withdraw to the desert for forty days, yet it is important that in our own way, our own time and space, we do find time for quiet, time for silence.


Lord Jesus Christ, You said to Your apostles, “Come aside to a desert place and rest awhile.” Grant that we, Your servants, may rest awhile with You. May we seek You and both find You and be found in You. Look with mercy on Your servants who seek in solitude and silence refreshment and guidance. Grant us Your abundant blessing in Your peace and love.

Rev. Peter Schineller, S.J., CMMB Board of Directors

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Our Lady's February 25th, 2012 Message

The following is Our Lady of Medjugorje's February 25, 2012 monthly message for the world:

"Dear children! At this time, in a special way I call you: 'pray with the heart'. Little children, you speak much and pray little. Read and meditate on Sacred Scripture, and may the words written in it be life for you. I encourage and love you, so that in God you may find your peace and the joy of living. Thank you for having responded to my call."

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Medjugorje, pronouncement by 2012: the committee has heard all seers at the Vatican


Still six or seven months of work, then by the end of this year the International Commission of Inquiry on the apparitions of Medjugorje, presided by Cardinal Camillo Ruin, will conclude its work with a pronouncement that will be submitted to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and then to Benedict XVI. This morning, the Cardinal was received in audience by the Pope to discuss the progress of the investigation.
When Ratzinger established this working group in early 2010, the director of the Vatican press office said that « the commission itself does not makes decisions, the final pronouncements, but it provides the results of its study, its vote - as they say in technical terms - to the Congregation, which then will make the appropriate decisions».

Read more here:

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The Lent of the Church: Either Supremacy or the Cross

A message, a catechesis, a twofold "lectio divina." These are the instructions of Benedict XVI for traversing the desert of the world and overcoming the temptations of power and success. Will he be heeded? 

by Sandro Magister

Continue reading here:

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TAKE FIVE FOR FAITH: Daily renewal for busy Catholics 2/25/2012

Saturday, February 25

Take the fast track to hunger awareness
Fasting is a spiritual discipline to which we are called during Lent. It not only helps us become more aware of our dependency on God but also aware of those who experience hunger on a regular basis. The U.S.D.A. estimates that tens of millions of Americans are in that very situation. “It is unacceptable,” says Catholic Charities USA, “in a nation as bountiful as ours that children, adults, and senior citizens experience food insecurity that puts their physical, mental, and developmental health at risk.” Contact your local office of Catholic Charities, Food for the Poor, or a food pantry or soup kitchen to see how you can be part of the solution. can help you get started.

TODAY’S READINGS: Isaiah 58:9b-14; Luke 5:27-32 (222)
“If you bestow your bread on the hungry . . . then light shall rise for you in the darkness.”


Alice Camille, Daniel Grippo, Caroline Hopkinson, Father Larry Janowski, O.F.M., Ann O’Connor, Joel Schorn, Patrice J. Tuohy, and Sister Julie Vieira, I.H.M.

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Please like us, follow us, and share your comments to our daily posts on our Facebook or Twitter pages. We welcome the feedback! 


Promote vocations

Religious priests, brothers, sisters, nuns, and others in consecrated life as well as diocesan priests and permanent deacons are vital to the life of the church. Please invite Catholic men and women to consider a church vocation, and make these FREE vocation resources available in your parish or places of ministry:



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[video] Sins of Omission