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, July 27, 2014

Holy Relic Visitation: Our Lady of Fatima Prayer Group, 7/26/2014


A holy relic of Bl. Francis Xavier Seelos was the focus on the shrine
in the Gruber/Lee Residence.

Last night's meeting  of Our Lady of Fatima Prayer Group made me more conscious about the importance of Christian Fellowship; how truly satisfying and comforting it is to be part of a good group of people who come together in the same spirit of faith and love for God.  One doesn't feel so "alone" in this world that is becoming increasingly hostile towards matters of Christian belief.  We encourage each other and give each other strength to move forward along life's uneven path.

So at our prayer meeting there were several people who participated that we hadn't prayed with in quite a long while... but despite the time that has passed since we last saw each other, there is still that special bond that keeps us feeling closer than ever... and I know it's because of the Lord, who acts as our spiritual "glue".

Our July meeting progressed in the usual manner... we did our Bible scripture reading and reflection; read a message from Our Lady of Medjugorje; venerated the memory and 1st Class Relic of our Saint of the month (Bl. Francis Xavier Seelos, d. 1867 - left photo); and prayed the Holy Rosary before enjoying a potluck dinner while having an impromptu catch-up session, which I think we all look forward to as an important social aspect of our monthly gathering.

Our conversation flowed smoothly and centered around one of the married couples present.  They recently returned from making the "El Camino de Santiago" - the almost 500 mile walking pilgrimage route from southern France to the shrine of St. James the Apostle in Galicia, Spain - and they shared interesting stories about their personal adventures along their journey.
  
A traditional map of the "El Camino de Santiago", the Way of St. James.

Needless to say, the night ended with everything being simply gratifying; the prayers, the food, and the company.  I left for home feeling highly blessed [again] for having such great friends in Jesus Christ.

"For where two or three are gathered in my name,
there am I among them.”
~ Words of Our Lord, Matthew 18:20

Friday, July 25, 2014

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


O Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us...

Our Lady's Monthly Message to the World on July 25th:
   "Dear children! You are not aware of the graces that you are living at this time in which the Most High is giving you signs for you to open and convert. Return to God and to prayer, and may prayer begin to reign in your hearts, families and communities, so that the Holy Spirit may lead and inspire you to every day be more open to God's will and to His plan for each of you. I am with you and with the saints and angels intercede for you. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Our Ladys' Special Message to Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo on July 2nd:
   "Dear children, I, the mother of all of you gathered here and the mother of the entire world, am blessing you with a motherly blessing and call you to set out on the way of humility. That way leads to the coming to know the love of my Son. My Son is almighty, He is in everything. If you, my children, do not become cognizant of this, then darkness/blindness rule in your soul. Only humility can heal you. My children, I always lived humbly, courageously and in hope. I knew, I became cognizant that God is in us and we are in God. I am asking the same of you. I desire for all of you to be with me in eternity, because you are a part of me. I will help you on your way. My love will envelop you like a mantle and make of you apostles of my light - of God's light. With the love that comes forth from humility you will bring light to where darkness/blindness rule. You will be bringing my Son who is the light of the world. I am always alongside your shepherds and I pray that they may always be an example of humility for you. Thank you."

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Saints & Holy Relics Presentation/Visitation: St. George Church, 7/23/2014


Some of the Saints & Blesseds whose lives I shared about, and whose Sacred Relics were
presented during this particular speaking presentation, hosted by St. George Church.

Tonight I was re-invited to St. George Church in Waimanalo to conduct my speaking presentation about Saints and Holy Relics.  It was exceptionally meaningful for me for two reasons - first off, I was raised in beautiful Waimanalo and had lived there for nearly 15 years after my family emigrated from the Philippines to the United States.  During that time, St. George Church was my parish before I moved to neighboring Kailua Town.  I also recognized many of the people in the audience and it kinda felt like I had come "home"; very comforting and special for me.

Secondly, this was the parish, which back in January 2010, had enough confidence in my personal ministry to invite me to conduct my very first Saints/Holy Relics Presentation.  That presentation, over four years ago, was really the "official" launch of my public speaking ministry.  

 
Adult and youthful audience members, viewing and venerating the Saints... and reading
my "Bio-Notes" on the lives of each Saint/Blessed who was represented by a relic.

The presentation, itself, was a success, judging by the reaction and feedback of several audience members.  What I was very pleased to see was the diversity of the people who came to learn about the Church's teachings and devotion pertaining to our Saints.  There were seniors in the group, as well as entire families - parents with their teen/young children - which is always a welcomed sight.  I especially like seeing the youth in my audience because I think they're the ones who stand most in need of positive role-models like our Saints/Blesseds... and tonight, even the teens seemed genuinely interested as they patiently sat through almost 90 minutes of my teaching and story-telling, without showing any signs of boredom or annoyance!  Now that was a miracle in itself.

More Saints & Blesseds whose lives and relics were discussed.

When the presentation ended, many participants gathered around the makeshift display altar to view the Holy Relics of the Saints and Blesseds I shared about. Their faces were a mixture of varying emotions: excitement, joy, awe, reverence... and quiet prayer and reflection.  I knew the Saints had done their special job and had touched many hearts for Jesus.  Mission accomplished.


* * *  A beautiful testimony received from a friend who attended * * *

"My granddaughters wanted me to thank u for your wonderful presentation.
They can't stop talking about it. They are still here. The oldest one said she smelt a wonderful scent that she couldn't describe. She kept asking her cousin next to her if she smelt it too. And her sister kept thanking me for taking her and that she finally believes in our Church and the Saints. She won't make excuses for not going to church. Thank u again for that wonderful presentation. God bless you always.

~ From a Text Message received from Diane C., St. George Church parishioner
(included here with her permission)

Monday, July 7, 2014

First Saturday Parish Rosary at St. Anthony of Padua Church, 7/5/2014


Bl. Maria Crocifissa Curcio
The Saint of the Month at our First Saturday Rosary served as a reminder of something very important - that we need be JOYOUS in the practice of our Faith.  Sure, it's sometimes tough being a Christian, but it doesn't mean we have to be discouraged or even "sour" about it, which we can easily be... but the Holy Bible, itself, is filled with many passages encouraging all Believers to be joyful - one example shown below is particularly exuberant, almost commanding:

"Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to
God with cries of joy."

~ Psalm 47:1

A participant venerating a relic
of Bl. Maria Crocifissa
The holy woman I shared about for our July gathering - Bl. Maria Crocifissa Curcio (d. 1957), the Italian founder of the Carmelite Missionary Sisters of St. Therese of the Child Jesus - was a great example of a Christian who fully lived and radiated the Joy of God.  A joy that no adversity, illness, or suffering could extinguish (Bl. Maria Crocifissa suffered from diabetes)... and it shown so brightly on her features that it impressed many people profoundly.  Just look at the photo of the Blessed to the upper-left and see it for yourself.

So prior to beginning our Rosary Prayer for Peace, I encouraged the people present to also imitate Bl. Maria Crocifissa in practicing and radiating the same positive, holy energy as "missionaries" of God's Joy.

Hopefully, others who can't seem to find lasting happiness in their own lives will see and recognize in each of us what has eluded them... and then who knows after that?  They may just want to know more about the cause of our joy and we can then give vibrant testimony to another passage found in Scriptures:

"The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy."

~ Psalm 126:3

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Saint of the Month: July 2014



Blessed Eugenie Joubert
Another "Little Soul" ~ Memorial: July 2nd


Amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children,
you shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

~ Words of Jesus, Matthew 18:3


Bl. Eugenie as a child
The life of Bl. Eugenie Joubert is summed up in the scripture passage referenced above.  She practiced a form of spirituality known as the way of “spiritual childhood”, which she lived with conviction and consistency.  It should also be noted that spiritual childhood doesn't imply immaturity in any way, but rather this form of spirituality consists of relating to God, as a child relates to its father - with simplicity, intimacy, confidence, and love.  The concept was further popularized by the illustrious St. Therese of Lisieux (d. 1897) who expounded on it in her diary, “The Story of a Soul”.

Born on February 11, 1876, in the French town of Yssingeaux, Eugenie was a lovely child who was reported to be joyful and exuberant.  In her youth, she and a sister were boarding students at a school run by Ursuline nuns, and she impressed the sisters with her piety and her fervent devotion to the Blessed Mother, which she maintained throughout her lifetime.  Eugenie was a natural leader and her close friends remarked that her expression took on a “heavenly” look whenever she spoke to them about the Virgin Mary.  Her emotion was sometimes so strong little exclamations escaped her lips such as, "To love Mary, to love her always more and more!"

At the age of 19, Eugenie was drawn to the Sisters of the Holy Family and entered their postulancy in October 1895.  She resolved to become a faithful bride of Christ, commending herself with sincere gratitude to Our Lady; she was professed less than two years later on September 8, 1897.  The young sister speedily ascended the ladder of holiness through her habitual practice of spiritual childhood. Once, for example, she was reprimanded for a piece of clothing that was poorly mended, which was actually not her handiwork. However, in her desire to be little and humble like our Jesus, Sr. Eugenie maintained silence in imitation of Christ, who Himself was wrongly accused.  Her life was filled with many such instances.  

Bl. Eugenie as a Holy Family Sister 
At one point, Sr. Eugenie was assigned to her congregation’s house in Aubervilliers where she became a teacher to the young children of poor workers.  The students naturally gravitated to their youthful mentor because of her apparent innocence and simplicity, which was so much like themselves. Later as adults, many of them testified that her pious influence had helped them to live better Christian lives.

In the summer of 1902, the first signs of tuberculosis were diagnosed in Sr. Eugenie.  Over the course of two years, her superiors made every effort to have her cured but the frail sister's condition slowly worsened. As it did so, Sr. Eugenie made a conscious effort to smile more despite her severe pains, so as not to betray the gravity of her condition.  She had reached such a high degree of union with Christ, not even her suffering could stifle the faith and the peace that infused her soul; she abandoned herself like a little girl into the arms of its loving father.

On July 2, 1904, Sr. Eugenie passed away exclaiming, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus…” Witnesses recorded that a beautiful smile lit up her face when she died, firmly convincing all who were present that she was now enjoying Heaven with our Lord, who she often referred to as her "everything".


"I will pray for you all in heaven."

~ Words of Bl. Eugenie from her deathbed

Sr. Eugenie Joubert was raised among the ranks of the Blessed on November 24, 1994.  Please pray for her speedy Canonization.


A Reflection:
“Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, he is the greater in the Kingdom of Heaven .”  ~ Words of Our Lord, Matthew 18:3-4

A Short Prayer:
Dear Jesus, we acknowledge you as Lord and Savior.  At the same time, we recognize you as friend, brother, and even father.  Help us to have the simplicity and faith of little children.  Amen.