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

Saturday, April 7, 2012

First Saturday Parish Rosary at St. Anthony's Church, 4/7/2012

The Day Chapel of St. Anthony of Padua Church in Kailua;
decorated for Lenten observances and for our monthly Rosary for Peace 

On this afternoon of Holy Saturday, I along with several prayer participants, had the joy of offering our monthly Rosary for Peace in the physical presence of Our Lord. Our parish's portable Tabernacle was present in the Day Chapel and the Holy Eucharist was conserved within it as we offered prayers for world peace and for the conversion of sinners. What a great privilege to be able to pray the Holy Rosary in this special manner!

Our Lady's statue flanked by
smaller statues and Holy Relics
Also present for the public veneration of the Faithful was my familiar Rosa Mystica pilgrim statue flanked by the 1st Class Relics of St. Gemma Galgani, whose incredible life I shared with the prayer participants... and a small sliver of wood from the True Cross of Jesus, whose Sacred Passion and Death we just commemorated yesterday during Good Friday observances.

Two new faces were also seen among the regular participants in the pews, which is always a welcomed sight... and as always, it was a very meaningful and Holy Spirit-filled prayer gathering. Our parish's next First Saturday Rosary for Peace will be prayed on May 5th at 4:30pm.

In honor of the Month of Mary, the Blessed Mother's veil-relic - Ex Velo Beatae Mariae Virginis - will again be displayed during the Rosary Prayer.  All are welcomed to participate.

Participants who drove all the way from Pearl City & Kapolei
coming forward after the Rosary to venerate the True Cross relic

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Stations of the Cross: Following the Path of Love

In the Middle Ages, it was a common practice for devout Christians to identify themselves with Christ's Passion by making the long journey to the Holy Land to walk in the hallowed footsteps of the Lord’s final hours. Pilgrims prayerfully followed a set route through the streets of Jerusalem known as the ‘Via Dolorosa’ (the Way of Sorrows)… the traditional path Jesus reportedly took when he painfully carried his Holy Cross to Golgotha.

After the Turks captured Jerusalem in 1291, Christian pilgrimages to the sites ceased for many years. To compensate, the Franciscan Friars who were the former custodians of many of the Holy Land shrines, originated replica Via Dolorosa shrines throughout Europe, as substitute pilgrimages. Parish churches adopted and modified the devotion, which then evolved into the tableau-like versions used in our churches today.

Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us
Interestingly, the visionary-mystic, Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich, offered another explanation of the origin of the Stations of the Cross devotion. According to her private revelations, the tradition was originated by none other than the Blessed Mother, herself... who after the death of her Divine Son, caused to be erected a set of crosses on a hillside near her now-famous house at Ephesus. According to Bl. Anne Catherine, Our Lady would often ascend the hill to pray with her entourage of holy women, stopping at each cross to meditate on a particular stage of Our Lord's Passion. Her companions preserved and passed down the devotion to other Christians, which later evolved into stations we now pray.

Regardless which story you'd prefer to believe, the purpose of the Stations of the Cross is to provide us with visual references of what Jesus endured at the original site of the Via Dolorosa so we can better spiritually empathize with his sufferings and death. Although the devotion is practiced throughout the year, it takes on special significance during Lent when we commemorate the Lord’s death in a special way. To pray the devotion, one simply needs to recite the prayer below at each station:

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you,
because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world

After briefly reflecting on the events of a particular station, recite an Our Father, a Hail Mary, and a Glory Be before proceeding to the next station. Repeat the set of prayers with each successive station. If prayed in a church, it’s also customary to move from one station to the next.  Below is a list of the 14 Stations of the Cross with sample meditations... 

+ 1st Station: Jesus is condemned to death
(Reflection: Forgiving those who hurt and offend us)

+ 2nd Station: Jesus takes up his Cross
(Reflection: Patience in bearing our personal trials)

+ 3rd Station: Jesus falls for the first time
(Reflection: Repentance and turning away from sin)

+ 4th Station: Jesus encounters his sorrowing mother
(Reflection: Filial devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary)

+ 5th Station: Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry his Cross
(Reflection: Reaching out to a person in need)

+ 6th Station: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
(Reflection: Compassion for the infirm and dying)

+ 7th Station: Jesus falls for the second time
(Reflection: Progressing in our personal spiritual conversion)

+ 8th Station: Jesus consoles the women of Jerusalem
(Reflection: Speaking words of Wisdom, Love, and Charity)

+ 9th Station: Jesus falls for the third time
(Reflection: Fortitude in leading a good life)

+ 10th Station: Jesus is stripped of his garments
(Reflection: Letting go of our pride and selfishness)

+ 11th Station: Jesus is nailed to the Cross
(Reflection: Devotion to the Precious Blood of Christ)

+ 12th Station: Jesus dies on the Cross
(Reflection: Dying a holy death)

+ 13th Station: Jesus is taken down from the Cross
(Reflection: Sympathy for the grieving)

+ 14th Station: Jesus is laid in the tomb

(Reflection: Praying for the Poor Souls in Purgatory)

"Next to the Mass, the Way of the Cross is the most beneficial of all
devotions for the Holy Souls in Purgatory."
~ Revelation of a Poor Soul from Purgatory to a privileged nun

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Saint of the Month - April 2012: Blessed Pierina Morosini

Bl. Pierina Morosini
Another Maria Goretti ~ Memorial: April 6th

Blessed Pierina Morosini was born on January 7th, 1931, in Albino, Italy; one of eight children born into a poor family. From an early age she aspired to become a nun, but postponed her religious vocation to help her parents in raising her younger siblings. So the meantime she strengthened her spiritual life with daily Mass and diligent prayers, and moved by her deep love of God, she made a private vow of virginity with her confessor’s permission.

While attending to her duties at home, Pierina also found time to serve her parish as a catechist and she organized charitable collections for the poor and in support of local seminarians. In 1947, she attended the Beatification of Maria Goretti, the young Martyr of Purity who is now a Saint of the Church. Pierina was so impressed by the young martyr’s sacrifice that she told her companions, “It would be a great happiness for me to die like Maria Goretti.” To which her friends responded with, “If you die as she did, we promise to come to your Beatification.” It was a promise made in jest that later turned out to be highly prophetic.

As the pressing financial needs of the Morosini family grew, it became necessary for Pierina to seek employment in a nearby textile factory. Her supreme personal test of faith came on April 4th, 1957, while she was walking home from work. She was assaulted by a would-be rapist, and in her determination to preserve her virtue, she fought back and was severely beaten by her assailant. She was found by one of her brothers who came looking for her after she failed to arrive home. He asked her about the attacker, but Pierina could only point to her head, disfigured by deep wounds; next to her was the apparent attack weapon - a large bloody stone. The innocent victim slipped into unconsciousness and lingered for two days before dying from her injuries; Pierina never identified her killer.

A shrine-memorial at the
site of Pierina's attack
When news broke of Pierina’s tragic death, her neighbors immediately acclaimed her a “new” Maria Goretti; another virginal soul who had sacrificed her life to preserve her innocence. The community already had deep respect for Pierina because of her sincere piety, and now their admiration for her increased and the place of her attack (right photo) quickly becoming a place of pilgrimage after miraculous cures and other graces were reported by those who prayed at the site. Growing popular devotion prompted the Church to open her Cause for Canonization, which reached the Beatification stage in October 1987. As seeming confirmation of her holiness, Pierina’s body was unearthed – mysteriously incorrupt – during the ritual examination of her relics; they are now venerated in the parish Church of Albino.

A Reflection
“Go on your way. Behold, I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.” ~ Words of Our Lord (Luke 10:3)

A Short Prayer
Lord, guide our steps away from evil and protect us from those who seek to lead us astray from your grace.  Amen.