Disclaimer

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, August 31, 2013

Holy Relics Visitation: Our Lady of Fatima Prayer Group, 8/31/2013


The August prayer meeting at the Gruber Residence got off to a rough start this month.  An accidental concrete gravel spill on the freeway leading out to Mililani Town closed down 4 out of the 5 lanes, causing a major traffic jam.  A drive that normally took me about 30 minutes, took me an hour and a half instead.  The traffic just crawled... plus it was miserably hot on that side of the island!  I was almost tempted to turn my car around on some side street and head us back to cool and breezy Kailua but we decided to keep going.
 
I thought our small Kailua group was going miss most of the meeting, but as it turned out, all the other participants turned up late, too, due to other reasons and we all ended up arriving at about the same time!  I guess that's the Holy Spirit for you - He always arranges things for the children of God so that everything ends up working out just fine.
 
So as we always do, we started the meeting by reading the Gospel of the day, which inspired a lively and meaningful discussion on evangelization.  Next we read one of the older monthly messages from Our Lady of Medjugorje, which tied in very closely with our Bible reading... and then I shared about St. Rose of Lima (right photo), who I picked for the Saint of the Month.  The group was a little intimidated by the extreme penances practiced by this Saint, but I did my best to explain that it was all because of St. Rose's immense desire to emulate Christ Crucified, to sacrifice for sinners, and to fully put into practice the Lord's maxim:
 
"If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up
his cross, and follow me." ~ Matthew 16:24
 
The Rosary and the other personal prayers that followed were all very powerful and most of it was centered on praying for PEACE in the world, especially with the turmoil in Syria.  I felt very tangibly the presence of the Holy Spirit moving around us - through us - as we openly lifted up our petitions to God in union with the prayers of Our Lady and the Saints.
 
A holy relic of St. Rose of Lima, on display in the Gruber home for the
prayer meeting, along with a portrait and statue of Bl. Alexandrina of Balasar,
the group's special patroness.
 
It was beautiful evening spent with a beautiful group of people... and I'm glad I didn't lose patience and give in to the temptation to turn around in the traffic jam.  If I had given up, me and my Kailua friends would have really missed out on the wonderful graces God poured forth tonight... plus the loving fellowship and an exceptionally delicious potluck dinner!  What a shame that would've been.  So thank you, Holy Spirit, for being with us even in the midst of traffic and inspiring us to keep on going.  God is indeed AWESOME!
 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Monthly Messages from the Queen of Peace of Medjugorje: August 2013


Our Lady, Queen of Peace, pray for us!

Our Lady’s Monthly Message on August 25th:
   "Dear children!  Also today, the Most High is giving me the grace to be with you and to lead you towards conversion.  Every day I am sowing and am calling you to conversion, that you may be prayer, peace, love - the grain that by dying will give birth a hundredfold.  I do not desire for you, dear children, to have to repent for everything that you could have done but did not want to.  Therefore, little children, again, with enthusiasm say: ‘I want to be a sign to others.’  Thank you for having responded to my call."
 
Our Lady’s Special Message to Mirjana on August 2nd:
   "Dear children; If only you would open your hearts to me with complete trust, you would comprehend everything.  You would comprehend with how much love I am calling you; with how much love I desire to change you, to make you happy; with how much love I desire to make you followers of my Son and give you peace in the fullness of my Son.  You would comprehend the immeasurable greatness of my motherly love.  That is why, my children, pray because through prayer your faith grows and love is born, the love along which even the cross is not unendurable because you do not carry it alone.  In union with my Son you glorify the name of the Heavenly Father.  Pray, pray for the gift of love, because love is the only truth: it forgives everything, it serves everyone and it sees a brother in everyone.  My children, my apostles, great is the trust that the Heavenly Father has given you through me, His handmaid, to help those who do not know Him, that they may reconcile with Him and follow Him.  That is why I am teaching you love, because only if you have love will you be able to respond to Him.  Again I am calling you to love your shepherds and to pray that, at this difficult time, the name of my Son may be glorified under their guidance.  Thank you."
 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

First Saturday Parish Rosary at St. Anthony's Church, 8/3/2013


           
Our featured holy person for this month was Bl. Euphrasia of the Sacred Heart,
who in her lifetime, displayed a special love for Our Lady and the Holy Rosary.

On a few occasions, I've been tempted to take our First Saturday Rosary gatherings at St. Anthony of Padua Church for granted.  Don't get me wrong - it's a wonderful devotion in our parish and I will continue to facilitate it for as long as I'm allowed to by our priest.  I simply love it and I continue to encourage our parishioners (and even non-parishioners) to come pray the Holy Rosary with us on these consecrated days.

But there are times when everything else going on in life seem to drain me and I have to make just a tiny bit of an effort to get myself going to the church to get things ready for the Rosary Meeting. I often find that it's during these times God often surprises us with something wonderful to encourage us... and then I feel uplifted and refreshed again.  That's exactly how it was  for me at today's Rosary for Peace.

The gathering, as a whole, was again very nice.  The holy person I shared about was an indigenous Indian woman - Bl. Euphrasia Eluvathingal of the Sacred Heart (d. 1952) - and the people gathered were especially interested in learning about her since I'm usually sharing about Saints/Blesseds from European countries, but have never about anyone from India... so it was something new for all of us.

After the prayer ended, several people, including a visiting participant from the mainland, came up to the display altar to get a closer view of the bodily relic of Bl. Euphrasia and to ask questions about her life.  We also passed around the veil-relic of the Blessed Mother for the people to venerate.  What happened next was completely unexpected... and really strange, but in a good way.

The Blessed Mother's veil-relic (left) and the relic of Bl. Euphrasia of the
Sacred Heart, as displayed during this month's Rosary for Peace.

I noticed that one of our regular participants - "Roxy" (not her complete name) - seemed particularly reflective while she held the Virgin's relic in her hands.  After she replaced the reliquary on the altar, she stepped back a little and we heard a grinding noise under her foot, which sounded as though she had stepped on a rock.  Sure enough, when Roxy stooped down to pick it up, it was a small pebble, which she suddenly dropped into my palm.  Without thinking, I blurted out, "Oh, it looks like a baby!" since it had an uncanny resemblance to a human fetus.

Roxy gasped with surprise and she leaned in to take a closer look at the pebble.  She then confided to us that the reason why she was a little emotional a few moments before, while holding Our Lady's relic, was because she had been praying for the Blessed Mother's help to overcome a medical issue so she could conceive a baby!  Our jaws dropped and we all looked at each other, and then at the pebble, with bewilderment; it really looked like a tiny baby curled up like how they would normally be at that size... plus, to top it all off, fine silver escarchas were also seen sprinkled in both her palm and mine!  Wow, I thought to myself... God had "surprised" us... yet again.

A participant, holding a pebble resembling a human fetus (compare to inset),
which she found under her foot, after she prayed to the Blessed Mother for the grace
to conceive a baby of her own. 

I put the pebble in Roxy's palm and told her to keep it... and that she should have confidence in Our Lady's intercession and in the goodness of God.  Whether or not the pebble is a definite sign that she'll conceive a baby, is still to be seen, but after all the extraordinary graces - "little signs" - I've witnessed and/or experienced in connection with praying the Holy Rosary, I wouldn't be surprised at all if in a couple of months we get word that Roxy is expecting.  Mary's intercession through the Rosary is that powerful... and I'll be sure to post an update if Roxy happens to get pregnant.

Anyhow, the next Rosary for Peace at St. Anthony of Padua Church, Kailua, will be prayed on Saturday, September 7th - the eve of the Feast of Our Lady's Nativity.  All are welcomed to participate in our prayer, beginning at 4:25pm, as we venerate the Blessed Virgin Mary and wish her a very Happy Birthday!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Saint of the Month: August 2013


Blessed Frederic Janssoone
The "Good Priest" ~ Memorial: August 4th
 
Affectionately referred to as the “Bon Pere” (the “Good Father/Priest”) during his lifetime, Fr. Frederic Janssoone’s nickname was highly appropriate for this gentle missionary who lovingly ministered to the people of his adopted country of Canada.  Originally born in Ghyvelde, France, on November 19, 1838, he joined the Franciscans in Amiens in 1864 and was ordained a priest in 1870.  He worked in Paris until the year 1876, when he was assigned to work among his spiritual brethren in the Holy Land.
 
In 1881 Fr. Frederic returned to France only to sail, shortly after, to Canada on a fund-raising trip for the Franciscan Holy Land missions.  During this initial Canadian visit, he not only promoted his Order’s work in the Middle East, but he also preached several missions and conducted spiritual retreats that were all very popular.  He then returned to the Holy Land for a brief stay but then permanently returned to Canada towards the latter part of 1881.  Assigned in Quebec, good Fr. Frederic continued the work that he started during his earlier Canadian visit and became a well-respected preacher and spiritual director.  He endeared himself to many through his amiable nature and the excellent example he set through his evident life of simplicity and holiness.
 
Among Fr. Frederic’s accomplishments would be his exceptional success in promoting the Secular Franciscan Order, which through his personal effort and influence, experienced a record number of vocations in Canada.  His name also became synonymous with the now-famous Marian sanctuary of Cap de la Madeleine, which he helped to establish near Trois Rivieres, Quebec – it was in the shrine’s chapel in 1888, that Fr. Frederic and two others were privileged to witness a statue of the Blessed Virgin (left) miraculously move its eyes.  Today, the shrine in Cap de la Madeleine remains one of the most visited Marian sanctuaries in North America.
 
The “Good Priest” died in Montreal on August 4th, 1916, after succumbing to stomach cancer.  His passing left many devotees convinced that a Saint had just left them for Heaven and today his hallowed remains are venerated at the Sanctuary of Trois Rivieres.  Fr. Frederic Janssoone was declared a Blessed by the late Pope John Paul II on the 25th of September, 1988.
 
 
A Reflection:
The Gospel Message of Christ takes root in our hearts and bears fruit in our souls... then best shared through our actions.
 
A Short Prayer:
Lord, wherever your Divine Will leads us in this world, may we, like Bl. Frederic be messengers of the Good News to all our neighbors who are living in darkness.  Amen.