NOTICE: I am a practicing Catholic, active and in good-standing with my local parish, who professes faith and loyalty to the Church and our Holy Father. This "little work" is purely a personal expression of that faith and loyalty, and not an officially recognized ministry in the Diocese of Honolulu. ~ Peter

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Saint of the Month - July 2018: Blessed Francis Solanus Casey

Bl. Francis Solanus Casey 
An American Prophet ~ Memorial: July 30th

Fr. Solanus Casey - Priest, Mystic,
Prophet & Healer
Hooray - God has recently favored American Catholics with yet another Blessed! This time around it's a Franciscan priest from Wisconsin... and I couldn't help but fall for his spiritual charm after having read his biography - I had to share about his life.  Born Bernard Casey to a large family of immigrant [Irish] farmers, he grew up in a lively atmosphere of love and faith, along with 9 brothers and 6 sisters! "Barney", as he was nicknamed, was the 6th child born on November 25, 1870.

Early on, the pious example of the Casey couple, instilled in their children a routine life of hard work, prayer, and a devotion to the Holy Virgin. Barney, in particular, was deeply impressed by his family's devout home life and he was inspired from early childhood to pray the holy rosary every day.  As early as aged 13, he thought of becoming a priest, but it wasn't until he was 21 that he finally sought admission into a seminary in Milwaukee.  However, the fact that the lessons were taught in German was an obstacle that the young seminarian could not overcome.  Barney did poorly in his studies and was eventually advised to leave and join a religious order, instead, if he wanted to pursue a consecrated vocation. 

"What does it matter where we go?  Wherever we go,
won’t we be serving God there?"

~ Words of Bl. Solanus

A bit discouraged but not defeated, Barney continued to pray for guidance. On December 8, 1896 - the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and the last day of a novena he was praying - he heard the voice of the Blessed Virgin say to him, "Go to Detroit" where the Capuchin Order was headquartered in America. Without any hesitation, he set out for the Michigan city and reached Detroit on Christmas Eve where he attended Midnight Mass. Not long after in January 1897, he officially joined the Capuchins and was given the religious name of Bro. Francis Solanus (after a Franciscan Saint of the same name) or simply "Solanus".

Fr. Solanus was highly
devoted to Our Lady
As a member of the Capuchins, he studied for the priesthood but learning difficulties again resurfaced. On July 24, 1904, he managed to be ordained as a "simplex priest" - able to offer Mass, but not allowed to preach or hear confessions. Despite the seeming humiliation, Fr. Solanus showed no resentment towards his superiors but accepted their decision as the will of God for him.  He celebrated his first Mass on July 31, 1904.

The next two decades were spent in houses of his order in New York, Harlem, and Yonkers where he fulfilled the tasks of sacristan and porter. In particular, it was his humble role as doorkeeper that proved providential, as it put him in direct contact with the people. The ever-patient Fr. Solanus always took the time to hear-out the concerns of the many visitors; he counseled them; encouraged them to have faith in the Mass; prayed with them. Soon, he became immensely popular and people began flocking to him. More so, as reports of healing and other spiritual favors began circulating about the diminutive priest.

Fr. Solanus (center) serving in a monastery soup kitchen

Other characteristics that marked the remarkable life of Fr. Solanus was his devotion to the Eucharist and to the Blessed Mother; his unwavering confidence and gratitude for God's goodness and power; generosity towards the sick and the poor; his spirit of self-sacrifice; his contagious spirit of joy; and his love for music (he played the violin).  In summary, he was a model priest.

"Thank God ahead of time."

~ Words of Bl. Solanus

Later in life this American holy man suffered from ill health and a severe form of eczema. He returned to St. Bonaventure Monastery in Detroit to receive medical care and died on July 31, 1957.  Even during his stay in the city's St. John Hospital, he was sought after by people requesting his prayer and blessing, effecting miraculous cures while he, himself, was broken by infirmities.  After his death, his body was found incorrupt during the ritual exhumation conducted as a normal process during the canonization investigation.

Relics of Bl. Solanus Casey preserved in Detroit, Michigan

Fr. Solanus Casey's Cause for Canonization was initiated in 1983 and his beatification was celebrated on November 18, 2017 after a healing attributed to his intercession was officially recognized as a miracle.  Please pray for his speedy Canonization.

For more information concerning Fr. Solanus Casey and his Cause for Canonization,
visit the Solanus Center website by clicking here.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Monthly Messages from the Queen of Peace of Medjugorje: June 2018

Our Lady's Monthly Message to the World on June 25th:
   "Dear children! This is the day that the Lord gave me to give Him thanks for each of you, for those who have converted and have accepted my messages and have set out on the way of conversion and holiness. Rejoice, little children, because God is merciful and loves you all with His immeasurable love and leads you to the way of salvation through my coming here.  I love you all and give you my Son that He may give you peace.  Thank you for having responded to my call."

Our Lady's Special Message to Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo on June 2nd:
   “Dear children, I am calling you to accept my words which I am speaking to you as a mother, with a simplicity of heart, so that you may set out on the way of complete light and purity, of the singular love of my Son, man and God. A joy — a light indescribable in human words — will penetrate your soul and the peace and love of my Son will take hold of you. I desire this for all of my children. Therefore, you, apostles of my love, you who know how to love and forgive, you who do not judge, you whom I encourage, you be an example to all those who are not going on the way of light and love or who have diverted from it. By your life show them the truth. Show them love because love overcomes all difficulties, and all of my children thirst for love. Your unity in love is a gift to my Son and me. But, my children, remember that to love also means to desire the good for your neighbor and to desire conversion of your neighbor’s soul. As I am looking at you gathered around me, my heart is sad, because I see so little brotherly love, merciful love. My children, the Eucharist — my Son alive among you — His words will help you comprehend, because His word is life, His word makes the soul breathe, His word brings about cognition of love. Dear children, anew, I am imploring you as a mother who desires the good for her children: love your shepherds, pray for them.  Thank you.”

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Feast Day Celebrations: St. Anthony of Padua Church in Kailua, 6/13/2018

Today is the Feast of St. Anthony of Padua and, this evening, it was all about this Saint... and at where else?  Of course, at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Kailua!  For the most part it was the usual festivities - Mass and parish potluck celebration.  But I also sensed something a little different this year - something really good - and it was largely due to our priests.  This time around, it seemed they were more vocal about St. Anthony in their homilies and announcements leading up to today's Feast... and in a manner that one could feel heartfelt appreciation for the Saint's patronage of our parish.  Plus, they seemed to be more personally involved in the various events, which was a pleasant surprise.  'not trying to imply that our priests take St. Anthony and his Feast for granted... but it just seemed different this year.  At least I thought so.

Parishioners during our Feast Day Potluck Celebration.

So our evening celebration was kicked off in our parish hall with many parishioners coming together to pray the Holy Rosary, lead by my friend, Monica, whose large Portuguese family holds a monthly Rosary/potluck dinner every 13th of the month in honor of Our Lady of Fatima.  Their meetings are usually held in their various homes, but every June 13th, they pray the Rosary at the church in order to participate in the Feast Day events.

Parishioners lined-up, waiting to kiss our relic of St. Anthony.

After the prayer, I did a repeat of the "All About St. Anthony of Padua" speaking presentation that I first conducted on June 3rd, which was immediately followed by another opportunity for the people to invoke the intercession of our Saint and to venerate his bone relic guarded by our parish.  I was moved watching the people approach and kiss the reliquary, as I also sensed in many a newfound appreciation for St. Anthony; more reverence towards his memory, which our Saint certainly deserves to receive from us.

Me, with our parish priest - Fr. Exsequel - and other St. Anthony of Padua Church parishioners.

Everyone then proceeded to Mass before returning to the parish hall for our celebratory potluck, which was simply FUN; good food and great company!  What made it extra-enjoyable for me was hearing from people who attended my talk about their own little miracles worked by St. Anthony on their behalf.  These stories ranged from the expected finding of lost items... to an entertaining testimony of how the Saint never fails to provide a parking stall - a convenient one - for an elderly parishioner whenever she drives to a certain medical building in town where the parking lot is always full.  It all just goes to show how deeply ingrained devotion to St. Anthony is in the hearts of our Kailua parishioners.  More than what I initially realized.

Thank you, St. Anthony, for watching out for all of us; for interceding with Jesus on our behalf - Happy Feast Day, my friend and brother!