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


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Holy Relics Visitation: Our Lady of Fatima Prayer Group, 9/28/2013

 
A relic of St. Catherine of Genoa, our September Saint, is prominently displayed on the
Gruber's home altar with a statue of our patroness, Bl. Alexandrina of Balasar.

It's always amazing how the different parts of the Gruber Family's prayer meeting program start of as random decisions... yet they, more often than not, seem to somehow "mesh" together as a cohesive message from God.  Last night's meeting was a good example of that.
 
Whenever we come together to pray the Holy Rosary, our host always begins the night with a personally written opening prayer, then we follow it up with a Scripture reading.  Saturday's passage was from John 12:24-26, which started with the sentence:
 
"... Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies,
it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit..."
 
And soon afterwards we read a message from Our Lady of Medjugorje - the one she had recently given this past September 2nd - and it included the words:
 
"... I need humble apostles who, with an open heart, will accept the Word of God and help others to comprehend the meaning of their life along side God's word.  To be able to do this my children, through prayer and fasting, you must learn to listen with the heart and to learn to keep submitting yourselves..."
 
Immediately following the reading of Our Lady's message, it was my turn to share about a Saint of the Month, who so happened to be St. Catherine of Genoa (d. 1510, right photo), a valiant woman who dedicated a great portion of her life to evangelizing and selflessly caring for the sick in a hospital she ran in Genoa.  St. Catherine fasted rigorously on behalf of herself and the people she ministered to yet was sustained by a profound prayer life and her burning love for God. 
 
So it was clear to us, as we pondered and discussed all of the above, that there was a common theme to all three - that the Holy Spirit was again inviting us to reach out and minister to our neighbors out in the world (evangelize), as well as to humbly offer voluntary penances - much needed sacrifices - to draw down God's blessing for the success of our personal efforts, as well as the efforts of others who are also working in the Lord's vineyard.  And we all know how the Church is always in need of laborers to gather in the harvest.  It was a powerful message.  At least I felt it was.
 
So with that said, it was again another blessed event... and it made all the more special when we closed the night with a "Filipino Fiesta"; enjoying various delectable dishes from my homeland of the Philippines (Lechon, Menudo, Pancit, Pinakbet, etc.).  Me and my Kailua friends left the Gruber home very, very satisfied both in spirit and in our tummies.  As always, thanks be to God!
 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

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


Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us.

Our Lady’s Monthly Message on September 25th:
   "Dear children!  Also today I call you to prayer.  May your relationship with prayer be a daily one.  Prayer works miracles in you and through you, therefore, little children, may prayer be a joy for you.  Then your relationship with life will be deeper and more open and you will comprehend that life is a gift for each of you.  Thank you for having responded to my call."
 
Our Lady’s Special Message to Mirjana on September 2nd:
   "Dear children, I love you all.  All of you, all of my children, all of you are in my heart.  All of you have my motherly love, and I desire to lead all of you to come to know God's joy.  This is why I am calling you.  I need humble apostles who, with an open heart, will accept the Word of God and help others to comprehend the meaning of their life along side God's word.  To be able to do this my children, through prayer and fasting, you must learn to listen with the heart and to learn to keep submitting yourselves.  You must learn to keep rejecting everything that distances you from God's word and to yearn only for that which draws you closer to it.  Do not be afraid.  I am here.  You are not alone.  I am imploring the Holy Spirit to renew and strengthen you.  I am imploring the Holy Spirit that, as you help others, you too may be healed.  I am imploring Him that, through Him, you may be God's children and my apostles..."
 
Our Lady then reportedly finished the rest of the message with particular concern:
 
   "... For the sake of Jesus, for the sake of my Son, love those whom He has called and long for the blessing only from the hands which He has consecrated.  Do not permit evil to come to reign.  Anew, I repeat – only along side your shepherds will my heart triumph.  Do not permit evil to separate you from your shepherds.  Thank you."
 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

First Saturday Rosary for Peace at St. Anthony of Padua Church, 9/7/2013

 
  
The Holy Face Devotion took center stage at this month's First Saturday Rosary:
A copy of Veronica's Veil was prominently displayed along with a relic of Bl. Maria
Pierina de Micheli and Holy Face Medals for distribution. 

This month I did something a little different.  Rather than just picking a September Saint/Blessed to present to the prayer participants, I felt strongly inspired to share all about the Holy Face Devotion, as well: about it's significance... about the Holy Face Medal... and about one of it major proponents - Bl. Maria Pierina de Micheli, the Apostle of the Holy Face.  So my Rosa Mystica pilgrim statue took a break this month and instead I brought a framed image of the Holy Face of Jesus - a copy of the "Veil of Veronica" relic venerated in St. Peter's Basilica, Rome - and my smaller statue of Our Lady of Grace, a replica of the weeping statue in Naju, Korea.
 
During our Rosary Prayer, our intentions were offered for peace in the world, especially in Syria, in solidarity with our dear Pope Francis, who had requested a "day of prayer" for the war-ravaged country to be held on September 7th.  May the Lord hear our prayers and grant that country peace... and the rest of the world, too.
 
Parishioners and guests to our parish paying their respects to Bl. Marie Pierina's
relic and helping themselves to Holy Face Medals, which were freely shared.
 
After the prayer ended, I invited the people present to help themselves to blessed Holy Face Medals that I had left near the sacred relic of Bl. Maria Pierina on the display altar.  Being an enthusiastic promoter of the devotion, I was pleasantly surprised when many people came forward to take some of the medals home for themselves and loved ones at home.  Since their initial distribution in the 1940s the medals have gained a solid reputation for being a source of immense grace and spiritual protection, and I have no doubt those who took them will be blessed in a special way by Our Lord.
 
Our next First Saturday Rosary for Peace will be offered on October 5th.  All are invited to participate and partake of the signal graces being granted by Our Lady to her children who practice the Rosary Devotion.
 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Saints & Holy Relics Presentation/Visitation: St. Anthony of Padua Church, 9/3/2013


  
 
     
A "company of witnesses" - Saints and Blesseds who were featured and honored at tonight's
learning session at St. Anthony of Padua Church, Kailua (from Top & Bottom, Left to Right): St. Edith Stein,
St. Katherine Drexel, Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, Bl. Teresa of Calcutta, and St. Therese of Lisieux
 
For the past seven weeks, my parish of St. Anthony of Padua Church has been conducting weekly informative presentations using the Catholicism - The New Evangelization DVD series.  The series includes 10 episodes, each hosted by the excellent Fr. Robert Barron, who discusses various topics on Catholic Church teachings.  This week's episode happened to be called, "A Vast Company of Witnesses: The Communion of Saints".
 
Given the subject matter of the episode, I was invited by our parish office to facilitate tonight's learning session, which I gladly accepted.  I was permitted free reign to tailor the evening session to include a brief lesson on Holy Relics and to also bring actual relics for the participants to view.

As it turned out, the episode featured the biographies of four woman-Saints for whom I had the privilege of being a custodian of their precious relics: St. Edith Stein, St. Katherine Drexel, Bl. Teresa of Calcutta, and St. Therese of Lisieux.  I also ended up adding my own mini-biography about Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati so that the audience would have an example of sanctity, as exemplified in the life of a lay-person.  It was a good move because it seemed the audience really enjoyed learning about him, too (he's not very well-known in Hawaii).
 
The holy individuals pictured above were represented at our learning session about Saints, via a couple of statuettes, a 1st Class Relic, and four 2nd Class Relics.
 
So we started the evening with a prayer, followed by an introduction to the Church's teachings on Holy Relics... then proceeded with the DVD video presentation and a group discussion about the contents of the showing.  All of us present, including our parish priest - Fr. Clarence - found the episode highly interesting and inspirational, and it was made all the more meaningful by the presence of the hallowed remains of the very Saints whose images we had just viewed on the TV screen.  After concluding the lively discussion period, we ended the week's learning session with a wonderful prayer for the "New Evangelization" that came included with the Catholicism DVD set:
 
The beautiful prayer we recited at the conclusion of our evening learning session.

Many "faith-seeds" were definitely planted tonight by the Holy Spirit, thanks to the lessons given by Fr. Barron through his easy, practical style of teaching.  I would definitely give the Catholicism DVD series an enthusiastic two thumbs-up rating  and recommend it to all Catholics (and non-Catholics, too!) for its immense value as a learning tool.  Watch the series yourself and become a living light for the new evangelization!

"The prayer of a just man availeth much."
~ James 5:16
 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Saint of the Month: September 2013

 
The Blessed Claretian Martyrs
of Barbastro, Spain
Courageous Witnesses to the Word of God ~ Memorial: August 13th
 
On Monday, July 20, 1936, sixty religious from a house run by the Claretian Congregation at Barbastro, Spain, were rounded up by armed soldiers during the height of the anti-religious ferver of the Spanish Revolution. The majority of them were just young men - novices and seminarians - who had recently entered into consecrated life. Between August 2nd and August 18th, fifty-one of them were systematically gunned down - without any fair trial - for holding firm to their Catholic Faith, thus earning the glorious Crown of Martyrdom.

Prior to being executed by firing squad, the seminarians were hoarded into a makeshift jail where for three weeks they were confined with no beds, no change of clothes, and no running water. The conditions rapidly became unsanitary, and almost unbearable by normal standards, but the religious men maintained a prayerful spirit that sustained them during their imprisonment. Adding to their cramped and inadequate jail, their were also subjected to threats and tauntings by their captors, and by a hostile crowd that gathered to gawk at them through their prison windows. On a few occasions prostitutes were even ushered into the room in an effort to sway the men from their vows of chastity, but all remained steadfast against the threats and temptations that were directed towards them.

Knowing that their death was eminent, the group of captives spent their remaining time on earth praying together, confessing their sins, and also receiving Holy Communion when the opportunity arose. Many of the novices and seminarians left behind short written messages using whatever scraps of paper they could get their hands on, as well as on the walls and on the floorboards. Some of the recorded messages, read as follows: "We die happy""Lord, forgive them""Father, save them, for they know not what they do"… and "Workers, we martyrs die loving and forgiving you. Many of us have offered our lives that you may be saved."
 
The Claretian Martyrs of Barbastro were Beatified on October 25, 1992, by Pope John Paul II.   Their names were, as follows:
 
  Philip of Jesus Munárriz, Joseph Amorós, Joseph Badía, John Baixeras, Xavier L. Bandrés, Joseph Blasco, Joseph Brengaret, Raphael Briega, Manuel Buil, Antolín Calvo, Sebastian Calvo, Thomas Capdevila, Stephen Casadeval, Francis Castán, Wenceslao Claris, Eusebio Codina, John Codinach, Peter Cunill, Gregory Chirivas, Antony Dalmau, John Díaz, John Echarri, Louis Escalé, Joseph Falgarona, Joseph Figuero, Peter Gar-cía, Raymond Illa, Louis Lladó, Hilary Llorente, Manuel Martínez, Louis Masferrer, Michael Masip, Alphonse Miquel, Raymond Novich, Joseph Ormo, Secundino Ortega, Joseph Pavón, Faustino Pérez, Leoncio Pérez, Salvador Pigem, Sebastian Riera, Edward Ripoll, Joseph Ros, Francis Roura, Theodore Ruiz de Larrinaga, John Sánchez, Nicasio Sierra, Alphonse Sorribes, Manuel Torras, Atanasio Viadaurreta, & Agustín Viela.
 
A Reflection:
"…with the blood they shed they inspire us all to live and die for the Word of God we have been called to proclaim.”   ~ words of Pope John Paul II during the Beatification Homily
 
A Short Prayer:
Lord, help us to proclaim the Word of God through the way we live our lives and in the manner through which we will die.  Amen.