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, June 28, 2014

Holy Relic Visitation: Our Lady of Fatima Prayer Group, 6/28/2014


A 2nd Class Relic of St. Clelia Barbieri
My day started at 4:30 AM this morning so when it came time for me to leave home - twelve hours later - for our Fatima Prayer Group, I was feeling a little drained... but I'm glad I mustered up enough energy to go because, as usual, it was another great night of prayer, fellowship, and signal graces at the Gruber Home.  Despite my fatigue, I found myself invigorated during our Rosary Prayer by an inexplicable scent of roses that intermittently surrounded us.  Our co-host - "Auntie Monique" (Dre's mom) - remarked that it was the Blessed Mother letting us know that she was praying with us, which I believed, too.

Our Saint this month was St. Clelia Barbieri (d. 1870), the youngest founder of a congregation in the history of the Church.  The faith-lesson I tried to impart to our group from her life was all about living the principles of TRUTH and INTEGRITY in our Christian lives, which Clelia did with unflinching compromise.  For example, the Saint once politely refused a donation of apples to her congregation after she was mysteriously enlightened to the fact that they were acquired illicitly (read more about the incident here).  It's an interesting anecdote from the life of St. Clelia, which is often overlooked in her English biographies but, nonetheless, it bears a lesson for all of us.

After all our prayers ended, we spent a couple more hours in lively fellowship, especially since Auntie Monique was present due to a rare Saturday night off from work.  We talked and laughed over our potluck dinner of mixed ethnic dishes, which included black bean chicken, friend chicken, grilled pork ribs, tossed salad, and Puerto Rican Gandule Rice.  A glass of wine and Custard Pie, topped with Haupia (Hawaiian coconut pudding) ice cream, was the perfect ending to our meal.

I am now totally exhausted - stuffed full from the dinner; spiritually full from God's abundant grace.  I will definitely sleep very, very content tonight thanks to Dre and her family, and to Jesus and Mary.  Amen.

 
My mixed plate of food (yes, it was as good as it looked)... and a selfie with Auntie Monique.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Monthly Messages from the Queen of Peace of Medjugorje: June 2014


Dear Children...

Our Lady's Monthly Message to the World on June 25th:
   "Dear children!  The Most High is giving me the grace that I can still be with you and to lead you in prayer towards the way of peace.  Your heart and soul thirst for peace and love, for God and His joy.  Therefore, little children, pray, pray, pray and in prayer you will discover the wisdom of living.  I bless you all and intercede for each of you before my Son Jesus.  Thank you for having responded to my call."

Our Lady's Special Message to Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo on June 2nd:
   "Dear children, I call you all and accept you as my children.  I am praying that you may accept me and love me as a mother.  I have united all of you in my heart, I have descended among you and I bless you.  I know that you desire consolation and hope from me because I love you and intercede for you.  I ask of you to unite with me in my Son and to be my apostles.  For you to be able to do so, I am calling you, anew, to love.  There is no love without prayer - there is no prayer without forgiveness because love is prayer - forgiveness is love.  My children, God created you to love and you love so as to forgive.  Every prayer that comes out of love unites you with my Son and the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit illuminates you and makes you my apostles - apostles who will do everything they do in the name of the Lord.  They will pray with their works and not just with words, because they love my Son and comprehend the way of truth which leads to eternal life.  Pray for your shepherds that they may always lead you with a pure heart on the way of truth and love - the way of my Son.  Thank you."

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Rosa Mystica Speaking Presentation2: Perez Residence, 6/23/2014


"Where I stop as Pilgrim Madonna; where I am invoked; where many prayers are said... my Divine Son
Jesus Christ, in every such place, cause special graces to flow down from Heaven into souls."

~ Words of Mary, the Rosa Mystica, to Pierina Gilli (8/31/1975)

Last night I was given the opportunity to faith-share about the Rosa Mystica Devotion with another Basic Christian Community (BCC) cell group.  This time around the presentation was conducted in the Perez Residence, in Kapolei Town, on the other side of the island from where I live.  A dear friend who attends the group invited me because the BCC's Rosa Mystica pilgrim statue (pictured below) was currently staying in the home.

I always feel nervous when I speak in public, but the thought of going to the home of complete strangers made me extra anxious... that is, until I spotted a large framed picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe (my "mom") hanging in the Perez Home.  After that I felt a sudden sense of peace and a spiritual kinship with my hosts; I recognized they were also fellow children of our dear Blessed Mother.

The presentation, itself, was received positively. As with the one I conducted with the Kailua cell group, I shared about the history of the Rosa Mystica devotion and apparitions of Montichiari-Fontanelle; the relevance of Our Lady's messages directed towards consecrated souls; and my own personal experiences involving my large Rosa Mystica pilgrim statue.

After my talk, the group held their "closest moments" part of their weekly meeting during which its members were invited to share about their recent, closest moments with the Lord.  I guess because of the presentation topic, most of the sharing that ensued were about people's personal experiences with Our Lady.  I was deeply impressed and could totally relate to most of the testimonies.

One lady in particular stood out for me... she sat at the very back of the room and was quiet and reserved.  As I was leaving, she was leaving, too, and it was then that I finally heard her speak.  The woman confided with me that she was normally talkative, but she couldn't find her voice because she was feeling very emotional and teary throughout the night.  The reason was because of a strong fragrance of roses that she kept smelling during the Rosa Mystica presentation (there were no roses in the room).  She was wondering if others had sensed the aroma, too... and I admitted that I had also smelled the perfume of roses although I didn't mention it at the time.  I thanked the woman for speaking up because it confirmed to the both of us that we hadn't imagined it; that Our Lady had actually paid us a special visit.

So that was how my night ended at the Perez's.  Despite my earlier apprehensions, I left feeling completely at peace... and happy that I made a whole new set of friends; new spiritual brethren with whom I am united under the mantle of our Heavenly Mother, the Mystical Rose.  Much MAHALO to the Kapolei BCC Cell Group!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Miracles of the Eucharist in the Lives of the Saints

"For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.  Whoever eats
my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him."

~ Words of Jesus Christ, John 6:55-56


TRUTH:  The Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.  Through the Eucharist, Christ fulfills his promise that he will be with us through the end of time (Matthew 28:20), not just in spirit... but physically, in flesh and blood. And on this day in 2014, the Universal Catholic Church celebrated this fact through the solemn Feast of Corpus Christi.

Yes, it's a hard teaching to wrap one's head around - the fact that our Lord can be truly present to us in the form of bread and wine... but at the same time, for those of us who accept it wholeheartedly, it makes sense, too. Through the Eucharist, Jesus desires to establish an intimate, personal relationship with us... and how much more personal can he get by becoming our very food? Divine sustenance that serves to nourish our souls and bodies, too... and in his characteristic simplicity, God chose bread and wine, the basic food staples of the common people of his time.

My little ministry and this blog is especially dedicated to promoting devotion to Our Lady and the Saints so I thought I'd share about some of the Eucharistic Miracles that occurred in the lives of our holy mystics; signs and wonders that confirm the true presence of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.  Before we continue any further, let me just state that I've read hundreds of biographies of Servants of God, Blesseds, and Saints... and one thing I know with all certainty - there is not one of them who did not have a deep devotion to the Lord in the Eucharist.  So with that said, below are just a few examples of Eucharistic signs in the lives of our spiritual heroes...


+ PERPETUAL FASTS

    
Three mystic-souls who lived without the need for earthly nourishment; they lived on the
Eucharist alone.  From left to right: Bl. Alexandrina Da Costa, Marthe Robin, & Viktoria Hecht.

The gift of foregoing food and drink and subsisting on just the Eucharist alone was noted in the lives of the following saintly souls: Bl. Mary of Oignies (d. 1213), St. Angela of Foligno (d. 1309), Bl. Elizabeth the Good of Waldsee (d. 1420), St. Lydwina of Schiedam (d. 1433), St. Catherine of Siena (d. 1380), St. Nicholas von Flue (d. 1487), St. Rose of Lima (d. 1617), St. Marianna de Jesus Paredes Flores (d. 1645), Domenica Lazzeri (d. 1848), Juliana Engelbrecht (d. 1853), Louise Lateau (d. 1883), Viktoria Hecht (d. 1890), Magdalena Gornik (d. 1896), Rosalie Put (d. 1919), Marie Julie Jahenny (d. 1941), Berthe Petit (d. 1943), Luisa Piccarreta (d. 1947), Bl. Alexandrina Da Costa (d. 1955), and Marthe Robin (d. 1981).

Another example that stands out for me was the modern case of Therese Neumann (d. 1962), a peasant-farmer from the town of Konnersreuth, Germany.  Therese was seriously injured while assisting in putting out a neighbor's fire. She was subsequently bedridden and blinded for a time until she was miraculously cured through the intercession of another Therese - St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower (d. 1897).

The Servant of God, Therese Neumann, receiving Holy Communion from her priest.
In place of the priest, she often saw the Lord, himself, approaching her with the Host.

From 1923 until her death in 1962, Therese stopped eating altogether and began living on the Eucharist alone.  At about the same time - in Lent of 1926 - she was also stigmatized during a series of visions, which left her bearing the complete set of wounds of our Lord's Passion on her body.  The veracity of her miraculous fasting was verified medically by a doctor and a team of four nuns, who were commissioned by the local bishop to observe Therese for a two week period.  She successfully passed the medical examination to the satisfaction of her observers and with no ill effects to her health.

Significantly, when Therese Neumann was questioned about her ability to live without the need for food, except for the Eucharist, she replied simply, "I live on my Savior."  How appropriate (refer to John 6:35).  Therese's Cause for Canonization has been initiated by her local Diocese.  


+ MYSTICAL COMMUNIONS

    
Three women who on at least one occasion in their lives, received Holy Communion miraculously.
From left to right: St. Catherine of Siena, St. Juliana Falconieri, & Bl. Margaret Ebner.

The following mystics, according to their biographers, on at least one occasion received Holy Communion at the hands of Jesus, himself, or through the agency of Holy Angels and/or other Saints:  St. Agnes of Montepulciano, St. Juliana Falconieri (d. 1341), Bl. Margaret Ebner (d. 1351), St. Catherine of Siena (d. 1380), St. Stanislaus Kostka (d. 1568), St. Paschal Baylon (d. 1592), St. Mary Magdalen de' Pazzi (d. 1607), Magdalena Gornik (d. 1896), Teresa Helena Higginson (d. 1905), Marie Julie Jahenny (d. 1941), Edvige Carboni (d. 1952), Katarzyna Szymon (d. 1986) and the three young Fatima Seers - Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta - who received Holy Communion from the hands of an angel in 1916.

Bl. Imelda Lambertini
In this second group of privileged individuals, among them stands out a child who died at the very tender age of 11.  Her name was Imelda Lambertini (right image), who was Beatified by the Church in 1826.  Bl. Imelda was of a noble family from Bologna, Italy, and was precocious and unusually pious from her earliest years.  At the age of 9, she was allowed to board with the local Dominican nuns, among whom she yearned to receive the Lord in Holy Communion, but was denied because of her young age.

On May 12, 1333, Imelda was assisting at a Mass during which she poured out her sorrow unto the Lord for not being able to receive the Eucharist along with the nuns.  She remained praying after the Mass and was later witnessed by the Sacristan in ecstasy, with a luminous Host floating above her head.  The priest and the nuns were recalled to the chapel, where the decision was made to give Imelda the miraculous Host as her First Holy Communion.  She fervently received her beloved Jesus and collapsed soon after, apparently dying from sheer joy. Imelda's story may seem a bit too fantastic to believe, except for one thing - her little body exists, reverently enshrined in Bologna... and still incorrupt despite the passing centuries.  Not surprisingly, the Catholic Church has designated Bl. Imelda as the Patroness of First Communicants.

The incorrupt body of Bl. Imelda Lambertini, as venerated in Bologna, Italy.


+ MIRACULOUS MASSES

    
Three holy priests, who were witnessed to levitate while celebrating Mass, especially
during the consecration when the bread/wine is transformed into the body/blood of Christ.
From left to right: St. Dominic de Guzman, St. Paul of the Cross, & Fr. Paul of Moll.

One may have noticed that, all but two of the names listed so far in this particular blog have been women... but the miraculous power of the Eucharist has also been manifested in the lives of holy men - mainly priests whose words have the God-given power to transform mere bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus Christ.  The following are names of priests who, at the prayer of consecration during the Mass, were witnessed rising above the ground - levitating - in contradiction to the laws of nature.  It was as though their prayers, the very act of changing the bread/wine into the Lord, had lifted them closer to Heaven.  Among these exceptional priests were: St. Dominic de Guzman (d. 1221), St. Philip Neri (d. 1595), St. Joseph of Cupertino (d. 1663), St. Francis of Posadas (d. 1713), St. Thomas of Cori (d. 1729), St. Paul of the Cross (d. 1775), and the modern, wonder-working Benedictine, Fr. Paul of Moll (d. 1896).


+ OTHER EUCHARISTIC SIGNS

  
Portraits of the illustrious St. Teresa of Avila & St. Benedict Joseph Labre, who were
both witnessed to levitate, especially during the celebration of the Mass.

In the section above, I shared about the gift of enraptured flight that was granted to certain worthy priests during the Holy Mass, while they were in the process of bringing Christ down to us on our altars.  On the receiving end, there were mystics who were raised up in the air after having received the Blessed Sacrament from the hands of priests. In the biography of St. Teresa of Avila (d. 1582), it was reported that the reception of the Eucharist would sometimes trigger ecstasies that were accompanied by sublime levitation. The rapture would come upon her in full view of others and, because of their apparent frequency, the Saint trained her nuns to surround her with their cloaks raised so as to conceal the miracle from curious eyes.

The same grace of flight was granted to other individuals after their Holy Communions, among them: St. Benedict Joseph Labre (d. 1783) and Bl. Maria of the Passion (d. 1912).  In St. Benedict's case, it was a common sight in the Basilicas of Rome to find him kneeling, suspended in mid-air in ecstatic prayer after Mass.  The sacristans - who referred to Benedict Joseph as "the saint" - had gotten so used to the sight, they would just ignore him and continue on with their chores.

St. Clare saving Assisi from invaders
through the power of the Host.
St. Clare of Assisi (d. 1253) is popularly depicted carrying the Host in a monstrance (left image).  This iconography was due to a stupendous miracle that occurred in 1244 involving the Saint and the Blessed Sacrament.  In that year, Saracens invaded Assisi and began to overrun the convent of the Poor Clares in which St. Clare resided. Although she was gravely ill, she was carried outside of the convent bearing the Body of Christ in a monstrance.  After offering a prayer of protection for her nuns and the city, the invaders suddenly and inexplicably scattered without harming any of the inhabitants of the convent or city.  The miraculous protection was attributed not just to Clare's prayers, but more so to the power of the Lord in the Eucharist.

In the life of the lay-mystic, Bl. Anna Maria Taigi (d. 1837), I read that at times, after receiving Communion, she would become overwhelmed by Divine Love and fall unconscious on her way back to her pew (slain/resting in the spirit?). At other times, her face would blush red and tears would flow copiously from her eyes, while in a state of ecstasy after having received the Host.

Lastly, many stigmatized individuals, in particular, had a special sensitivity to the sacredness of the Blessed Sacrament and were able to discern the presence of the Lord whenever a consecrated Host was in near proximity.  The presence of Christ in the Eucharist elicited from these mystics excitement and joy, even when the Blessed Sacrament was secretly brought into their presence.  Among the Stigmatics who had this ability were Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich (d. 1824), Maria Von Morl (d. 1868), Rosalie Put (d. 1919), Marie Julie Jahenny (d. 1941), and Therese Neumann, who was already mentioned above.

A notable example of this supernatural recognition was exemplified in the life of Louise Lateau (d. 1883) who, when the Host was brought into her presence during her weekly Passion Ecstasies, would immediately fall to her knees facing the priest who carried the Body of Christ. Louise performed this act of adoration although she was in an altered state and oblivious to her surroundings, and even when the Blessed Sacrament was concealed from view.

A painting of the Stigmatist, Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich.  From early childhood
she was drawn to the Eucharist and could recognize the presence of Christ in the Host
by the sense of reverence, exaltation, and joy that it caused in her soul.

I could relay much, much more Eucharistic miracles in the lives of our Saints, Blesseds, and Servants of God... but the above is sufficient to confirm the divine and miraculous nature of the Blessed Sacrament.  The Host is indeed the Bread of Life, spoken about so clearly in Sacred Scriptures... and rightfully, Jesus in the Eucharist, is cause for us to rejoice and celebrate - Hallelujah!

"And Jesus said to them: I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall
not hunger: and he that believeth in me shall never thirst."

~ Words of Jesus Christ, John 6:35


+  +  +  To read about other approved Eucharistic Miracles in the Catholic Church, click here.  +  +  +

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Friend's Testimony: Blessings & Signs from Mary, the Mystical Rose

A few days ago, a viewer named "Veronica" from Arizona, USA, emailed me a wonderful and inspiring testimonial in regards to her personal devotion to the Blessed Virgin, under the title of the "Mystical Rose" (a.k.a. the "Rosa Mystica" - click here to learn more). Veronica also included a remarkable video (seen below), capturing one of many recent manifestations of escarchas - glitter-like flakes of manna - in her home that occurred in connection to this most beautiful and sublime title of our dear Holy Mother.

A large Rosa Mystica Pilgrim Virgin statue, as venerated by Marian devotees in
Arizona, USA.  The smaller image is Veronica's personal Rosa Mystica statue.

Being an enthusiastic promoter of our shared devotion to the Mystical Rose, I asked Veronica's permission to reproduce her email on my blog and to post the above-photo of a large Mystical Rose pilgrim statue that visited in her home, as well as the video of the escarchas.  She graciously consented in the hopes that it will inspire more awareness and devotion to Our Lady.

Veronica's Testimony:


A Manifestation of Escarchas in Arizona, USA:

video
A short video of a recent manifestation of shimmering
escarchas in Veronica's Arizona home.

I'd like to thank my new friend, Veronica, for sharing her special experiences with me and for allowing me to post them for others to read, too.  I ask all who view this blog to please kindly remember her daughter in prayer.  May we - who venerate Mother Mary, as the Mystical Rose - be united in prayer for each other and for the salvation and common good of all mankind.

O Mary, the Mystical Rose; Mother of Christ
& Mother of the Church, pray for us!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Putting a face to the name - is this what St. Anthony of Padua looked like?


The skull and bone relics of St. Anthony of Padua, as conserved in
the Basilica dedicated to his honor in Padua, Italy.

This past Friday, June 13th, several secular and Catholic new sites around the world reported on a story that immediately caught my attention... A team of forensic scientists were provided with a 3-D digital image of a human skull and were tasked to recreate the facial features of the 36-year-old man to whom it belonged to.  The Brazilian expert who worked on the computer reconstruction was not initially informed about the identity of the famous individual... but after the digital reconstruction was completed, he was made aware of the man's true identity - it was none other than St. Anthony of Padua (d. 1231), one of the most popular and best-loved Saints in the history of the Catholic Church.

Through the centuries, St. Anthony has been consistently depicted as a young man holding the Holy Bible
and/or a stalk of lilies in one hand... and carrying the Christ-Child in the other.

St. Anthony has always been one of my favorite Saints and, during my teen years, I chose him for my personal Patron Saint because of his zeal for the Faith, and for the remarkable miracles he performed during his lifetime. He has since obtained countless favors for me. So when the news came out that a forensic team had reconstructed his actual face in 3-D format, I was excited and happy... and thought to myself, "Well it's about time - what took so long?"

   
Is this the actual face of St. Anthony of Padua?  A team of forensic experts
who reconstructed the features from the Saint's skull, believe it is.

Anyhow, above is a photo of the completed image, which is said to now be the most accurate likeness of the Patron Saint of Lost Articles.  Nothing against the popular representations of St. Anthony currently in circulation but I actually like the computer-generated image better. Unlike all the other depictions that look too stylized and/or "pretty", the new forensics-based likeness gives me a better sense of reality of the man who I've often asked for help from whenever I was in a rough patch in my personal life; my "best friend" in Heaven, as I'd like to think of him.

Now... me, and countless other St. Anthony enthusiasts throughout the world, can finally put a face to the name whenever we say, "St. Anthony, pray for us."


+ + +  To learn more about the life of St. Anthony of Padua, click here.  + + +

Friday, June 13, 2014

A Week of Saints in Kailua, 6/7 - 6/13/2014

It’s been a busy week for me trying to juggle my day-job, home chores, and my ministry work.   However, the Lord is ever kind and solicitous, granting me just enough energy to somehow get through these past few days... and everything came together for a very spiritually fruitful and eventful week.

Today, June 13th, is the Feast of St. Anthony of Padua (d. 1231), the Patron Saint of my parish church… so there was obviously a lot of planning and activities going on in our church during the past couple of months.  We held our Feast Day celebrations this evening and leading up to it was our monthly Rosary for Peace on the first Saturday of June, followed by a special Saints & Holy Relics Presentation that especially featured St. Anthony.  I'm happy to report that the Saints definitely took center stage in our Kailua parish during this week and we were all very blessed for it.

+ First Saturday Rosary for Peace, June 7th

         
Our Saint/Relic of the Month for our First Saturday Rosary was Bl. Joseph-Marie
Cassant, whose personal motto was, "All for Jesus, all through Mary."

Our Rosary for Peace was offered in the presence and intercession of Bl. Joseph-Marie Cassant (d. 1903), via a 1st Class [bone] Relic of the holy Trappist Monk that I brought into our Day Chapel this month.  I shared with the people in attendance how this youthful Blessed continually surrendered himself to God, through the intercession of Our Lady; how despite living in obscurity, and with intellectual shortcomings, his generous practice of faith made a deep, positive impact on his spiritual brethren around him (and in the world, too)... eventually leading to Joseph-Marie's Beatification in October 2004.

+ Saints & Holy Relics Presentation, June 12th


19 Sacred Relics from various Saints & Blesseds were on display during my 6/12 presentation at St. Anthony
of Padua Church in Kailua.  Among the Saints represented were St. Benedict of NursiaSt. Christopher, St. Dymphna, St. Francis of Assisi, St. John Paul II, St. Rita of CasciaSt. Lucy of Syracuse, & St. Therese of Lisieux.

The organizers for the Feast Day thought it would be a great idea to showcase the life of St. Anthony of Padua for our parishioners, as part of the planned schedule of events. So I was invited to faith-share about our Patron Saint, but rather than just speaking about him, alone, I took the opportunity to conduct my standard Saints/Relics presentation so I could speak about the Church's teachings on Saints, in general. Plus, I was able to share about the lives of many other holy souls but featured the life of St. Anthony more prominently towards the end of my talk.

        
A closer view of the 1st & 2nd Class Relics on display during the presentation/exhibit.

In attendance at the presentation were 19 Sacred Relics of various Saints and Blesseds, which I exhibited for the education and veneration of the audience. The turn-out was great with about 40 people attending – almost half were parishioners from other parishes, some from as far away as the other side of our island, which pleasantly surprised me. We were happy to welcome them.

        
Our parish members and guests from other parishes viewing & venerating the relics on exhibit.

The presentation was again well-received, judging by the positive feedback I received from many of the attendees, including invitations to speak at another parish and to a women's group. In addition, there were two separate testimonies concerning a mysterious fragrance of flowers and a spice-like aroma (incense?) that were noted during the presentation. I simply believe the fragrances were tangible signs of the spiritual presence of our Blessed Mother and Our Lord, coming to be with us for spiritual encouragement.

+ The Feast of Saint Anthony of Padua, June 13th

          
The shrine-reliquary of St. Anthony of Padua in our church (center)... and photos from our potluck dinner
in honor of our Saint, that was held in the church/school courtyard after Mass.

And finally, this evening we celebrated our illustrious Patron Saint with an evening Mass in his honor, followed by a potluck celebration of various ethnic foods.  Hawaii is a melting pot of many differing racial backgrounds so there wasn't a shortage of differing food items, which ranged from American Fried Chicken to Vinha D'Alhos, a Portuguese dish of vinegar-marinated pork with onions and potatoes.   

 
Local comedian, Frank Delima, performing in our parish's gathering hall after our dinner.

During the dinner we were entertained with lovely Hawaiian music, but the highlight of the evening was Frank DeLima, a local comedian/celebrity who is best known for light-heartedly poking fun at Hawaii's many different ethnic traditions. It was all in the spirit of fun, though, and his comedic program was hilarious and had the crowd howling with laughter.  It was a fun way to end an evening of festivities.

So with that shared, our annual Feast Day Celebration just keeps getting bigger and better... 'can't wait to see what next year's event organizers have in store for us!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Saint of the Month: June 2014


Saint Paola Frassinetti
A Holy Founder from a Holy Family ~ Feast:  June 11th

This particular Saint holds a sentimental place in my heart. In September 2005, I had the joy of venerating her incorrupt body during a trip to Italy.  It was a deeply moving experience for me, as I recognized at the time that I was in the presence of an ongoing miracle; a truly holy relic that had been touched by the hand of God in a special way. I will remember the occasion for the rest of my life. 

St. Paola's brother,
Ven. Giuseppe Paolo
Paola Frassinetti was born on March 3, 1809, to a devout family from Genoa, Italy. Her parents were certainly excellent Christians, as not only did Paola choose to enter into consecrated life, but her four brothers were also ordained as Catholic priests!  One of them - Venerable Fr. Giuseppe Paolo Frassinetti (d. 1868, right photo) - was also a founder of a religious congregation and is even a candidate for Sainthood.  What a worthy family!

From the tender age of 9, Paola was no stranger to heartache – she lost her pious mother whom she loved very much.  An aunt moved in to help in the Frassinetti home, but she also died three years later, leaving the 12-year-old Paola with the heavy responsibility of running her household.  The child dropped out of school to manage the family affairs but she made the time for daily Mass and devotional prayer, which sustained her through the seemingly endless chores that made up her day-to-day existence.  The Blessed Virgin, to whom she turned to as a substitute mother, was also a source of life-long comfort and support during times of personal hardship.

When Paola was 20, she went to live with her brother, Fr. Giuseppe Paolo (the Venerable), who resided in the nearby town of Quinto. A respiratory illness necessitated a climate change for her, and her brother was more than willing to have her stay with him. After her complete recovery, Paola helped him with various charitable projects within his parish and it was then that she was exposed to the plight of poor girls who were growing up without any type of formal education and solid spiritual guidance.  In response, she and a small group of like-minded women formed a pious association that aimed to teach, which eventually evolved into the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Dorothy founded in 1835.

St. Paola, as a religious founder, depicted here among the children
and young women her congregation ministered to.

Paola’s zeal was untiring, and her faith in God’s Divine Providence, even greater. Her work spread across the Italian border to other countries such as Portugal, Spain, the United States, Mexico and Brazil… and her congregation’s charism of Christian Education also expanded to include the care of the sick.  Towards the end of her long life of fruitful ministry, the foundress suffered a series of strokes, which incapacitated her before she succumbed to the effects of pneumonia on June 11, 1882; her reputation for sanctity was popularly acclaimed, even in her lifetime... and it appeared to be further confirmed when, in 1906, her body was discovered in a state of perfect preservation, despite the lack of embalming.

This holy woman was recognized as a Saint on March 11, 1984.  Her sacred remains are enshrined and venerated in the chapel of the mother-house of the Sisters of St. Dorothy in Rome, Italy.  It was in this chapel, before the Saint's silver and glass casket, that I knelt in 2005, praising the Lord for His endless wonders and for the noble work He accomplished through his servant, St. Paola Frassinetti.  St. Paola, pray for us.

The miraculously preserved body of St. Paola, as displayed
and venerated in the chapel of her congregation.

A Reflection:
"Be burning flames that ignite with God's love all those with whom you come into contact."  ~ Words of St. Paola Frassinetti

A Short Prayer:
Lord, ignite in us the Fire of Divine Love… so that we, like St. Paola, may generously become every-day missionaries of the Gospel Message to the people we encounter on life's difficult path.  Amen.