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, November 30, 2013

Holy Relics Visitation: Our Lady of Fatima Prayer Group, 11/30/2013


   
Our host, Andrea (in blue), stands with Auntie Feliza in front of her family's home shrine to the Rosa Mystica.
A relic and statue of St. Martin de Porres, our Saint of the Month, is displayed for veneration.
 
I love the Thanksgiving Holiday!  It's such a beautiful "American" tradition, during which we get to hang out with family... eat... talk... eat... drink... eat... laugh... and finally, eat some more.  And this year I had the joy of celebrating Thanksgiving twice - one with my family, this past November 28th... and again, today, with my spiritual family.
 
Although I enjoyed both celebrations... today's event at the Our Lady of Fatima Prayer Group meeting was a lot more meaningful because the focus was very different.  Family gossip wasn't shared...  "Black Friday" wasn't a hot topic... nor did we discuss "Cyber Monday"... or other stuff related to the hustle and bustle of the Holiday Season that brings us stress and burn-out.  We simply focused on God... and boy was it was refreshing!
 
      
Our potluck theme was ingenius - a lite "Sandwich Bar" - especially after having just gone through the
Thanksgiving Holiday and all the eating that it entailed. 
 
So first we read from Scriptures, then reflected on a message from Our Lady of Medjugorje... before venerating the memory and 1st Class Relic of St. Martin de Porres (d. 1639), the Peruvian wonder-worker; his generous service of the less fortunate and the sick, exemplified God's immense love and care for all people.  The Saint's life was also a timely reminder to find joy in giving and serving, especially during the upcoming Advent Season.  We then offered intercessory prayers for wholesome values - Love, Faith, Charity, and Peace - to once again become priorities in the family unit and also gave thanks and praises to God for granting us these values in our own lives; in our prayer group family and not to overlook all the prayers that have been answered in the months since this group started.
 
The meeting ended with sandwiches, chips, veggies, and even a couple of Blue Moons.  It was a perfect meal - lite, yet tasty - especially when all of us were still trying to "recover" from our official Thanksgiving dinners just a couple of nights ago.  I'm a strong believer that the spirit of Thanksgiving shouldn't end with the Holiday... but rather, every day should be an occasion to be grateful to God for his gifts and blessings.  So I left for home truly thankful for the people, the food... but most especially, for the friendship and love we share in Jesus Christ and our dearest Blessed Mother, Mary; gifts you simply can't buy at any holiday sale.


* * * * * * UPDATE: 12/1/2013 * * * * * *

People are going to think this is silly and it's absolutely fine with me, but I just had to share this update because I think it's amusing...

Shortly after returning home from the prayer meeting, I prepared for bed since I was tired from fighting a cold. I was brushing my teeth and casually glanced down and noticed a small piece of ripped tissue (about same-sized as in the photo) lying near the sink.  I did a double-take and chuckled because the shape of the crumpled paper was oddly appropriate, given the events of the day.  I'll let the viewer decide if he/she sees the distinct white silhouette of the Virgin Mary that I seeIt was probably a corner of a Kleenex left behind from earlier, but I didn't shape it in any way to form the tiny figure.  Too uncanny!

And just to make things clear - I'm not claiming that it's a miracle or a "sign" of some sort, but let me just testify that God sure has perfect timing!  I went to bed last night with a smile on my face and feeling highly contented; just another thing to be grateful to the Lord for.
 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

"Let processions come hither..."

 
With the above words, Our Lady invited pilgrims to go to Lourdes so as to seek her maternal and healing intercession.  In the same spirit of Faith, my parish invites  all other Hawaii parishes to join us in celebrating and invoking the intercession of the Immaculate Conception in praying for World Peace.
 
 
 
For directions to St. Anthony of Padua Church in Kailua,
please click here.
 

Monday, November 25, 2013

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


Our Lady, Queen of Peace, pray for us.
 
 
Our Lady’s Monthly Message on November 25th:
   "Dear children!  Today I call all of you to prayer.  Open the doors of your heart profoundly to prayer, little children, to prayer with the heart; and then the Most High will be able to act upon your freedom and conversion will begin.  Your faith will become firm so that you will be able to say with all your heart: 'My God, my all.'  You will comprehend, little children, that here on earth everything is passing.  Thank you for having responded to my call."
 
Our Lady’s Special Message to Mirjana on November 2nd:
   "Dear children, anew, in a motherly way, I am calling you to love, to continually pray for the gift of love, to love the Heavenly Father above everything.  When you love Him you will love yourself and your neighbor.  This cannot be separated.  The Heavenly Father is in each person.  He loves each person and calls each person by name.  Therefore, my children, through prayer hearken to the will of the Heavenly Father.  Converse with Him.  Have a personal relationship with the Father, which will deepen even more your relationship as a community of my children - my apostles.  As a mother I desire that, through the love for the Heavenly Father, you may be raised above earthly vanities and may help others to gradually come to know and come closer to the Heavenly Father.  My children, pray, pray, pray for the gift of love because 'love' is my Son.  Pray for your shepherds that they may always have love for you as my Son had, and showed by giving His life for your salvation.  Thank you."
 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Pilgrim Virgin & Holy Relic Visitation: Gallardo Residence, 11/19/2013

Maria Rosa Mystica, ora pro nobis!
 
My Rosa Mystica statue and a Holy Relic from Our Lady on display
during a pilgrim visit to a home in Waimanalo, Hawaii.

Tonight, my Rosa Mystica pilgrim statue and the Sacred Relic of Our Lady's dress were invited to visit the Waimanalo home of the Gallardo Family, a lively group of devout Hispanics.  The lady of the house, Luisa, is a frequent participant of our First Saturday Rosary for Peace at my Kailua parish of St. Anthony of Padua Church and we have since become friends.
 
Since coming to my parish for the Rosary for Peace, Luisa had felt herself inspired to also start a monthly Rosary Prayer Meeting in her home - with her family - and she asked my assistance in establishing a program for them, which I drafted and printed into large Spanish-language prayer cards.  So tonight was the first night the Gallardo Family and their friends - about 15 of them - got together to pray the Holy Rosary and other prayers I gathered and printed for them.
 
The family, being Mexican in ancestry, chose to pray under the patronage of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which gave me great joy, given my affinity with the Guadalupe Devotion.  We began the meeting with an opening prayer, a Scripture Reading, and a message from Our Lady of Medjugorje before going into the Rosary, itself.  It was a rocky start but I encouraged the normally shy Luisa to take control of the situation and to lead us firmly through the program.  Soon everyone got into the soothing rhythm of the Rosary Prayer and things smoothed over quickly.  Before we knew it, all the prayers were over...
 
  
Shiny flakes of golden escarchas (circled in red) manifesting on the face of my host, Luisa.
 
... and it was then we discovered that Our Lady had granted us a special blessing: Escarchas, in the form of fine gold flakes began appearing on  the face of our host.  The Escarchas were seen on Luisa's forehead and under her eyes although there was nothing glittery around us, and she was clearly not wearing any make-up.  I knew with conviction that I was seeing another manifestation of Escarchas in connection with the Rosa Mystica Devotion.  All of us saw the beautiful flakes of gold and I managed to photograph a couple of the shiny sparkles using my cellphone.

I later left the Gallardo home excited, edified, and deeply grateful to God and to Our Lady for having witnessed their tangible graces being poured down upon this kind and generous family, who opened their home to them through prayer.  God bless them and may their new prayer group  prosper and be spiritually fruitful!  Amen.
 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

First Saturday Parish Rosary at St. Anthony of Padua Church, 11/2/2013

 
The "Table of Remembrance" at the main altar of St. Anthony of Padua Church.
Dozens of photos of our departed parishioners cover the table to be remembered in our prayers.
 
I absolutely love the Church.  Among the many reasons why is because I think it's awesome that we have a special day - the Feast of All Souls - set aside to commemorate ALL our deceased brethren, especially those who are still in the process of purification.  Whether you believe in the concept of an afterlife purgation, or not, it's just a beautiful and comforting tradition... and I look forward to it every year, along with the Feast of All Saints that precedes it.
 
It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead,
that they may be loosed from sins.”
 
~ 2 Maccabees, 12:46
 
So today the Church throughout the world is not just remembering our deceased... but it's also united as one in praying for the peaceful repose of its dearly departed (very, very powerful!) . In observance of the feast, and in solidarity with other Catholics, our parish's First Saturday Rosary for Peace was offered for the blessed souls in Purgatory.  It was very meaningful and moving...
 
Parishioners and visitors to our Kailua church, awaiting the start
of the Holy Rosary in our Day Chapel.
 
Before we started the Rosary, I shared about the life of Bl. Marie of Providence (d. 1871) - a French founder of a religious institute - who dedicated her life's work and merits  exclusively towards the relief of the Poor Souls.  Bl. Marie mystically shared in their suffering so she had firsthand knowledge of the painful purification the Holy Souls endured.  She was definitely the right holy person to share about today and I think our prayer participants appreciated learning about her saintly life.
 
  
The display altar with the Holy Relics of the Blessed Mother and Bl. Marie of Providence.
People often stop to view the relics and pray before heading to the main church next door for Mass.
 
Afterwards, I gave the participants a few moments to bring to mind family and friends who have since passed away, towards whom they could apply our Rosary Prayer.  There was a "presence" as we began to pray - something otherworldly, yet good - and at least two people reported to me that they had mysteriously experienced the strong fragrance of fresh roses in our Day Chapel (there were no roses in the chapel), which I smelled, too.  It was just another small confirmation that there was more going on during our prayer time than what is perceived with the eyes.
 
"The [holy] souls are in prison, a fire, but the Good God asks us only
for a prayer to let them out and we don't say it."
 
~ words of Bl. Marie of Providence,
Founder of the Society of the Helpers of the Holy Souls
 
So ended another First Saturday Rosary at St. Anthony of Padua Church.  Our next Rosary Prayer gathering will be on December 7th, the eve of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.  It won't be like our normal monthly Rosary Meetings, but rather we will honor our dear Blessed Mother with a special candlelight procession while praying the Rosary, and a potluck celebration afterwards.  I can't wait - I know it'll be another awesome prayer event in our Kailua community!
 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Saint of the Month: November 2013

 
Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity
The Praise of Glory ~ Memorial: November 8th
 
Definitely one of my favorite Beatas... Elizabeth Catez came into the world on July 8, 1880. She was born in Bourges, France, to Captain Joseph Catez and his young bride, Marie.  Being a spoiled child, in her early years Elizabeth was both stubborn and given to temper tantrums when she didn't get her way.  Her father's untimely death when she was only 7-years-old marked the start of a positive change in her personality.  She became reflective and calm, and grew into a popular teen who played very well on the piano.  At the same time, she became aware of a growing attraction to spirituality and prayer, which blossomed into her entrance as a nun in the Discalced Carmelite Monastery of Dijon, France; Elizabeth was 21-years-old when she gave herself completely to our Lord.
 
"Elizabeth of the Trinity", as she requested to be called, spent only five years in her beloved monastery - she died at aged 26 on November 9, 1906, after a painful fight with Addison's Disease.  Although her life as a nun was relatively short and uneventful from a secular point of view, her rapid ascent to the heights of holiness deeply impressed her fellow  Carmelites. In particular, Elizabeth was thoroughly convinced that the Holy Trinity - God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit - truly lived in the souls of individuals who were in a state of grace.
 
Towards the end of her life, Elizabeth began referring to herself  by the beautiful Latin phrase, "Laudem Gloriae", which in English means "Praise of Glory".  It summarized her  spirituality, perfectly, as  her entire being overflowed with love and praise for the triune God, who dwelt within her.  Elizabeth's firm conviction of this animated her (and those around her) with a tangible sense of Peace, Joy, and Sanctity; Heaven had already began in her soul!  Of this, she testified in her writings, among which we find:
 
"I leave you my faith in the presence of God, of the God who is all Love dwelling in our souls.
I confide to you: it is this intimacy with Him 'within',
which  has been the beautiful sun illuminating
my life, making it already an anticipated Heaven."
 
After her death, the Carmelites of Dijon released Elizabeth's personal journals and her other writings, revealing to the world the depth of her spiritual relationship with the Holy Trinity.  After careful study of her virtues and written work, and the subsequent approval of a miraculous cure attributed to her intercession, the Church recognized Sr. Elizabeth of the Trinity as "Blessed" on November 25, 1984 - one more verified miracle will open the door to her being declared a Saint.  Let us continue to pray for that.

A Reflection:
God is truly alive and present in the souls of those who strive for holiness.
 
A Short Prayer:
Dear Bl. Elizabeth, help us to do our best to love and
serve the Lord with grace-filled hearts... so that we, too, may experience the joy of having Him dwell within our souls.  Amen.
 
 
"I think, that in Heaven my mission will be to draw souls by helping them go out of
themselves to cling to God by a wholly simple and loving movement, and to keep them in
this great silence within that will allow God to communicate Himself to them
and transform them into Himself".
 
~ words of Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity