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

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Monthly Messages from the Queen of Peace of Medjugorje: August 2016

Dear Children...

Our Lady's Monthly Message to the World on August 25th:
   "Dear children! Today I desire to share Heavenly joy with you. You, little children, open the door of your heart so that hope, peace and love, which only God gives, may grow in your heart. Little children, you are too bound to the earth and earthly things, that is why, Satan is rolling you like the wind rolls the waves of the sea. Therefore, may the chain of your life be prayer with the heart and Adoration of my Son Jesus. Give over your future to Him so that, in Him, you may be joy and an example with your lives to others.  Thank you for having responded to my call." 

Our Lady's Special Message to Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo on August 2nd:
   "Dear children, I have come to you - among you - for you to give me your concerns so that I may offer them to my Son; that I may intercede for you before Him for your good. I know that each of you has his concerns, his trials. Therefore I am inviting you in a motherly way: come to the table of my Son. He is breaking bread for you; He is giving Himself to you; He is giving you hope; He is asking for more faith, hope and serenity from you. He is seeking of you to battle within against egoism, judgement and human weaknesses. Therefore, as a mother, I am saying: pray; because prayer gives you strength for the interior battle. My Son, when He was little, often said to me that there will be many who will love me and call me 'mother'. Among you, I feel love. Thank you. For the sake of that love I am imploring my Son that none of you, my children, will return home the same as he came; that you may take with you all the more hope, mercy and love; that you may be my apostles of love who will witness with their lives that the Heavenly Father is the source of life and not of death. Dear children, anew, in a motherly way I am imploring you, pray for the chosen ones of my Son, for their blessed hands - for your shepherds - that they may preach my Son with all the more love and in this way bring about conversions.  Thank you."

Monday, August 15, 2016

On the Feast of Our Lady's Assumption, St. Joseph responds to a prayer?

Today is the hallowed Feast of Our Lady's Assumption - Congratulations, Blessed Mother!

Although this particular feast isn't considered a holy day of obligation in the Diocese of Honolulu, I couldn't let the day go by without paying the Queen of Heaven special honor by going to Mass today.  It's the least I can do in lieu of the countless graces she has generously obtained for me throughout my life... so off I went to Mary, Star of the Sea Church in nearby Kahala to attend the 7:00am Mass.

A statue of St. Joseph in
Mary, Star of the Sea Church.
The priests at that parish - Filipino members of the Blessed Sacrament Fathers - are not only dedicated to the Eucharist, but they also appear to have a sincere and strong devotion to Our Lady, as well, and it's evident when you listen to their homilies.  The priests often relay interesting and personal testimonies pertaining to "Mama Mary" (that's what they call her) during their homilies, which I find refreshing and edifying; today's Mass was no exception.  The priest who presided gave a powerful homily that was a fitting tribute to the Blessed Virgin.  Awesome.

Anyhow, after the Mass ended in the small chapel, I decided to make an impromptu visit to the parish's life-sized statue of St. Joseph (husband of Mary) kept in the main church building.  I did so to offer my daily St. Joseph Prayer (see below), to ask the Saint's help for a few prayer intentions... and to ask him and Jesus for some sort of confirmation regarding a matter I was discerning, as it relates to my personal devotion to St. Joseph.  I then left the church and proceeded to the parking lot.

As I walked to my car it began to drizzle and I looked up at the sky.  I was immediately captivated by the morning skyscape, and being a nature lover, I took out my cellphone and snapped a few photos to capture the scene before getting into my car.

Later, after getting home, I reviewed the photos I took and was surprised to discover an unexpected blessing in one of them - in the upper-right of the picture (right), I was drawn to an image of a man's bearded face, formed in a cloud. The face looked to me to be of an older man and, given my earlier prayer before the statue in the church, right away I interpreted it as representing St. Joseph. Was it a direct response from Christ to the concerns I had laid before him and his earthly father?  I'd like to think so.

Again, the unusual photo was a surprise... but I'm not so surprised that I received a response from the Lord when it concerned St. Joseph.  After all, I don't believe things like this happen by chance, plus "Papa Joe" (my name for him) has answered me before. As many Saints have testified, St. Joseph is truly a great Saint, highly beloved by all Heaven... and it gives Jesus immense pleasure to see him also honored by earthly members of the Church.  We can all rest assured that, next to Our Lady, no other human being was as dear to Christ's heart as St. Joseph, the man whom he chose and deigned to call "daddy" while He lived among men.  St. Joseph, pray for us.

A Prayer to St. Joseph:

   O St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God. I place in you all my interests and desires. O St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.  So that, having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of fathers.

   O St. Joseph, I never weary of contemplating you, and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press him in my name and kiss his fine head for me and ask him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls, pray for me.  Amen.

Left:  A closer view of the face in the cloud.  A sign from St. Joseph?
Right:  A quick sketch I did of the bearded face I discerned in the cloud.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

7/30 to 8/6/2016: A Week of Prayer with Saints

What a fruitful week of prayer it has been, thanks to our friends from Heaven - the Saints; praying with them and through their intercession; being encouraged by rich spiritual lessons from their lives...

Our Lady of Fatima Prayer Group, 7/30

The August meeting of Our Lady of Fatima Prayer Group.

It all started last week Saturday with the monthly meeting of the prayer group that gathers at the Gruber Home in Mililani.  Our close-knit prayer ohana got together again for the Holy Rosary, general prayer intercessions, and Christian fellowship.  The holy person we reflected on - Bl. Angelina of Marsciano - lived an extraordinary life of faith that consisted of trustful surrender to God in all things.  It really appeared that she dealt with her personal moments of adversity by first commending herself to God, through prayer, before "going with the flow" and simply trusting in God's plan for her.  Things worked out.  So the lesson for us was clear - pray and trust in God.  You can read a little bit more about Bl. Angelina here.

First Saturday Rosary for Peace, 8/6

Today's First Saturday Rosary for Peace at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Kailua was again well-attended.  The weather was somewhat bad, which had me worried a bit in regards to this month's attendance, but shortly before the meeting was to begin, the regulars began streaming in and taking their usual spots in the Day Chapel.

The Saint we venerated and contemplated this month was none other than the illustrious Cure of Ars, St. John-Marie Vianney, who exemplified the ideal for parish priests; dedicating himself completely to his vocation and flock, most notably through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  This holy man was known to sit in the confessional for up to 16 hours a day(!), for nearly 40 years, reconciling sinners to Christ.  Thus, countless souls were lead to a life of Sanctifying Grace with its accompanying positive fruits of Peace, Joy, Love, Healing, etc.  Because of his huge success in converting souls, St. John-Marie drew upon himself the wrath of the devil, who often physically assaulted him during the night when he attempted to take some rest.  Learn a little more about the Cure of Ars here.

After meditating on the life of this tireless modern apostle, I was reminded of the sublime role of priests in our Catholic faith-lives and the urgent need to spiritually support them with prayer, as all priests throughout the world are subjected to Satan's malice in one form or another.  That was St. John-Marie's message to me.  Consequently, I was prompted to dedicate this month's Rosary Meeting for the sanctification of our local priests and I asked the participants to spiritually "carry" our Bishop Larry and all our Hawaii priests within their hearts, as we offered our Rosary for their sanctification and protection against the snares of the devil.

Parishioners venerating St. John-Marie Vianney's relic and
discussing his life.  One person had even gone to Ars on pilgrimage.

So who knows?  Perhaps one day, our Hawaiian islands, too, will be blessed with its own version of the town of Ars; complete with a long line of penitents waiting for their turn to confess to a "super-priest"; another St. John-Marie Vianney.  It seems far-fetched, but hey - with prayer, anything is possible, right?

The next First Saturday Rosary for Peace at St. Anthony of Padua Church, Kailua, will be offered on Saturday, 9/3.  All are welcome to participate.

Visit of the Hawaii Pilgrim Relic of St. Junipero Serra, 8/6

A group selfie with the St. Junipero Serra reliquary (center).

Lastly, the 1st Class [bone] Relic of St. Junipero Serra, that was brought by the Serra Club to Hawaii to promote prayers for religious vocations, is visiting St. Anthony of Padua Church over this weekend.  It was exposed in our Day Chapel for public veneration and prayer immediately after today's 5:00pm evening Mass... and will be exposed for veneration after every Mass tomorrow (Sunday, 8/7).

It just so happened that the Serra Club member who is the acting custodian for the relic during its visit in Kailua is also a parishioner and friend of mine so several of us regulars from the First Saturday Rosary meeting were treated to a personal visit with St. Junipero's relic... and were allowed to hold the reliquary, bless ourselves with it, and take photos.

Kailua Parishioners paying their respect to the relic of St. Junipero Serra.

What was extra-special about today was the fact that without any prior knowledge and coordination between myself and the Serra Club, we had two relics of two great priest-saints present in our Day Chapel, at the same time - a special privilege!  With St. John-Marie, we were inspired and called to pray for the sanctification and protection of priests; through St. Junipero, we were reminded about the urgent need of praying for increased vocations, which was the final lesson from the Saints this week.  I really believe today was providentially arranged by our Lord and Our Lady for the good of priests - truly, with our prayers, we help them.