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


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Saints & Holy Relics Visitation & Speaking Presentation: St. Anthony of Padua School, 10/28/2014

The students of St. Anthony of Padua School coming together in their gathering hall to
learn about the Saints and the Holy Rosary.

This morning I had the privilege and the joy of sharing about the Saints and the Holy Rosary with the students and teachers of St. Anthony of Padua School in Kailua.  I have to confess that a few days prior, I was filled with much anxiety due to a mental block about how I was going to structure the two presentations I committed myself to.  My apprehension was so bad, I was tempted to cancel the presentation... but then I seemed to sense the Lord's "voice" speaking to my spirit and He rebuked me for my lack of faith, and for wanting to turn my back on the children.

So feeling ashamed of myself, I put aside my worries and just forged through it.  After much prayer, last night and this morning my planned presentation suddenly began taking shape after a week of no direction.  It felt like a dark cloud that had been hovering over me had finally lifted and I saw the light.  

Pictured above are the Saints and holy children whose lives were featured
at today's presentation.

Now I regret having even considered cancelling because I believe most of the children got something worthwhile out of the presentations.  I spoke about several Saints to the kids - St. Damien of Molokai, St. Anthony of Padua, and St. Dominic de Guzman - but then I also shared heavily about modern-day holy children whose lives are being investigated for possible Sainthood.  These youngsters included: Ven. Galileo Nicolini, the Servant of God Alexia Gonzales y Barros, and the Fatima Seers, Blesseds Francisco and Jacinta Marto.  I wanted the students to have a firm grasp of the fact that they, too, could lead exceptionally good lives, as exemplified by the ordinary (yet holy) lives of the youngsters I shared with them.

Students gathering around the display altar to view the clothing-relics of the
Fatima Seers... along with pieces of clothing from Ven. Galileo Nicolini and the
Servant of God, Alexia Gonzales y Barros.

Additionally, the students seemed to really enjoy the Boys Team vs. Girls Team Puzzle Assembly Contest we held at the beginning of the presentation... and there was also a lot of positive feedback from both students and teachers about the relic-display that included four pieces of clothing relics from the holy children I mentioned above.  The kids were thoroughly captivated by the notion that they could actually view genuine mementos of these future Saints in their school's gathering hall; it made the lives of the holy children more real for the students.

video
The students cheer on the Girls Team, who are striving to beat
the Boys Team during a friendly puzzle-assembly contest.

My special thanks go out to the teachers and students of St. Anthony of Padua School... and also to my supportive circle of prayer warriors who generously lend their prayers and advice for the spiritual success of each presentation my ministry conducts.  Our prayers were definitely answered again.  Thanks be to Jesus, our Blessed Mother, and the Saints!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Holy Relic Visitation: Our Lady of Fatima Prayer Group, 10/25/2014


Our Saint of the Month for the October meeting of Our Lady of Fatima Prayer Group was the illustrious St. Gerard Majella (d. 1755), the Patron Saint of Expectant Mothers. It was appropriate, as we had recently received glad tidings from our host, Dre', that she and her hubby are expecting a new bundle of joy!   Our prayer group was very happy for the couple, as this coming child is truly an answer to a prayer that we've been offering together for several months now.

Members of our group, talking story and catching up,
before the start of the October prayer meeting.

... so the story of how St. Gerard came to be celebrated as the intercessor for mothers-to-be (his handkerchief once miraculously saved a woman's life during a difficult delivery) was of particular interest to the group... and at the same time, we also gleaned other life lessons while discussing his biography among us.

For example, Gerard was once falsely accused of having impregnated a woman in his small town, but after a period of time, the Saint was vindicated when the woman finally confessed the truth.  The Saint not only showed admirable patience during his ordeal, but he also forgave the poor woman and all the others who mistreated him because they believed the slander.  The story made us all reflect on how many times we were wronged by others... and then reacted in a less than Christian manner. May St. Gerard, inspire us to be more confident in the Lord's plan for us, and to be more patient and forgiving of others.

   
A relic from the bones of St. Gerard Majella watches over a sonogram image of the newest
member of our prayer group... and some of the dishes we enjoyed after our prayer.

The Rosary and other prayers proceeded with an "aura" of heavenly presence - perhaps a little more tangible than perceived in the past - that left us elated when the prayers ended.  Several of us remarked on how extra-wonderful this month's meeting was... and then our fellowship dinner was, again, comprised of a variety of savory ethnic dishes - pork adobo, teriyaki chicken, chinese noodles, etc. - and topped off by Dre's awesome bread pudding.

Thanks be to God, for His gift of Life and generous provisions from His Bounty.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

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


O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us
who have recourse to thee.

Our Lady's Monthly Message to the World on October 25th:
   "Dear children! Pray in this time of grace and seek the intercession of all the saints who are already in the light. From day to day may they be an example and encouragement to you on the way of your conversion. Little children, be aware that your life is short and passing. Therefore, yearn for eternity and keep preparing your hearts in prayer. I am with you and intercede before my Son for each of you, especially for those who have consecrated themselves to me and to my Son. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Our Ladys' Special Message to Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo on October 2nd:
   "Dear children, With motherly love I implore you, love one another. May there be in your hearts, as my Son desired from the very beginning, love for the Heavenly Father and for your neighbor in the first place - above everything of this world. My dear children, do you not recognize the signs of the times? Do you not recognize that all of this that is around you, all that is happening, is because there is no love? Comprehend that salvation is in true values. Accept the might of the Heavenly Father, love Him and honor Him. Walk in the footsteps of my Son. You, my children, my dear apostles, you are always gathering around me anew, because you are thirsty. You thirst for peace, love and happiness. Drink out of my hands. My hands are offering to you my Son who is the spring of clear water. He will bring your faith back to life and purify your hearts, because my Son loves pure hearts and pure hearts love my Son. Only pure hearts are humble and have firm faith. I ask for such hearts of you, my children. My Son told me that I am the mother of the entire world. I ask of those of you who accept me as such to help me, with your life, prayer and sacrifice, for all of my children to accept me as a mother - so that I may lead them to the spring of the clear water. Thank you. My dear children, as your shepherds offer you the Body of my Son with their blessed hands, always in your hearts give thanks to my Son for the sacrifice and for the shepherds that He always gives you anew."

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Pilgrim Statue & Holy Relics Visitation: Vargas Residence, 10/11/2014


Because October is the month of the Holy Rosary, my Guadalupe House personal ministry is always particularly busy given that I am an enthusiastic promoter towards devotion to the Blessed Virgin and her special prayer.  One event I always look forward to each year is the annual America Needs Fatima Rosary Rally at the Vargas Residence in Kailua... and today was the date for scheduled rallies throughout the United States.

The Rosary Rally at the Vargas Home always takes places on the driveway, facing the main road
so passers-by can see the large America Needs Fatima sign and perhaps get the message.
[click on each photo to view larger images]

Each year on the Saturday on, or before October 13th, one of our St. Anthony of Padua Church parishioners - Mrs. Patti Vargas (aka "Auntie Patti") - generously opens her home to family, friends, or anyone who is generally interested... for an afternoon of prayer and hymns, followed by a luncheon. This was my fourth year-in-a-row attending and it was a wonderful event.

My ministry's Fatima
pilgrim statue
With this particular family, I feel especially close to them... so for them my beautiful Fatima statue (left) made a rare pilgrim visit, along with relics from the three seers of the Fatima (Portugal) apparitions: Blesseds Francisco (d. 1919) and Jacinta Marto (d. 1920), and the Servant of God, Sr. Lucia dos Santos (d. 2005).

I was also asked to speak about the 1917 Fatima Events and the relevance of the Rosary Devotion... so I briefly emphasized to the attendees how the Rosary is truly a powerful "weapon" gifted to us by God to combat the enemies of our Faith; I referenced the story of the Battle of Lepanto in October 1571 and how, today, our troubled world is facing a similar crisis of violence... and is more in need of the Rosary Prayer than ever.  I ended the talk by reminding the people of our Blessed Mother's basic requests that she delivered at Fatima: Conversion, Prayer, and Sacrifice.

The luncheon that followed in the home was delicious and it was a great time to get reacquainted with the rest of the Vargas Family, and friends who I only see once a year at this event.  My ALOHA again goes out to Auntie Patti and her family for their hospitality and for sharing their faith with the rest of us.

Food, fun, and fellowship in the Vargas Home.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

St. Anthony of Padua Church - Rosary for Peace & Life Candlelight Procession, 10/7/2014


[Click on each photo on this blog to view larger images]


This past Tuesday, October 7th, was the annual Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, which celebrates not only a very rich title of the Blessed Virgin Mary, but the date also commemorates a stupendous event attributed to the power of the Holy Rosary - the historically significant Battle of Lepanto on October 7th, 1571, in which Christian Europe was victorious over the advancing naval forces of the Ottoman Turkish Empire.

So my parish of St. Anthony of Padua Church in Kailua chose to observe the feast by holding another rosary candlelight procession... and because October is also Respect Life Month, we prayed and marched not just for World Peace, but also for the protection of all pre-born babies throughout the world.

         
The procession began in our main church with our parish's Knights of Columbus carrying the statue.
Note the unusual bluish ball of light over the statue (left photo) - look for it in the other photos on this page,
as it can be seen either leading the procession or hovering over the statue platform.

... and back by popular demand were our "Living Mystery" Stations, which were strategically located along our procession route around the church and parochial school campus.  We enlisted our 5th Grade students to be the performing "cast" for the different scenes of the Joyful Rosary Mysteries and the kids did not disappoint!  Their innate innocence and enthusiasm for their Biblical roles again touched many participants; some even to tears.


+  The First Joyful Mystery:  The Annunciation

 Reflection:  Let us reflect on the humility of the Blessed Virgin and imitate her complete
trust and surrender to the Holy Will of God.


+  The Second Joyful Mystery:  The Visitation

Reflection:  Let us reflect on the charity of the Blessed Virgin and imitate her generosity
and concern for those in need of help and loving support.


+  The Third Joyful Mystery:  The Nativity

Reflection:  Let us reflect on the immensity of God's love for us; He who gave us Jesus,
His only begotten Son, so that we may be saved and have everlasting life.


+  The Fourth Joyful Mystery:  The Presentation

Reflection:  Let us reflect on the joy of Simeon and imitate his unwavering hope and
faith in the Word of God... and its promise of salvation through Jesus Christ.

+  The Fifth Joyful Mystery:  The Finding of Jesus

        

Reflection:  Let us reflect on the Blessed Virgin's attentiveness to her Divine Son, Jesus...
and imitate the manner in which she took His words to heart.

The procession ended back in the main church, after which we all proceeded into our gathering hall for a potluck dinner and fellowship amongst our parishioners and guests from other parishes.  What started off as a gloomy, rainy day... was wondrously transformed by the Lord into a clear evening that was perfect for our procession and celebratory meal.  But that's the awesome power of prayer - it dispels the gloom in our lives and brings the Lord's clarity and joy.  GOD IS GOOD!

video
Above: Footage filmed during the Candlelight Procession


Above: A group photo with friends & the Knights of Columbus
Below: Parishioners & guests enjoying a potluck dinner + me with our Pastor, Fr. Exsequel

     

Sunday, October 5, 2014

First Saturday Parish Rosary at St. Anthony of Padua Church, 10/4/2014


Beautiful leis, shared by our parishioners, adorn and surround my pilgrim statue... and the Sacred Relics
of Our Lady's veil and Bl. Francis Xavier Seelos, the featured Saint of the Month.

Yesterday's First Saturday Rosary for Peace at St. Anthony of Padua Church was surprisingly well-attended despite bad, rainy weather. Perhaps it's because October is the special month of the Holy Rosary that people made a special effort to attend... and I was very pleased to see many new faces among our regular participants.

In particular, there was a large family that impressed me - a husband and wife with their six children, ranging from kindergarten-age to early teens.  All of them had just come from the confessional and they stayed to pray the Rosary with us; the kids even knew how to follow along and pray the Rosary.  Awesome and inspirational!  I couldn't help but recall to mind the popular Christian adage:

"A family that prays together, stays together."

At the meeting I introduced the participants to the life and [bone] relic of Bl. Francis Xavier Seelos (d. 1867), a German-born priest who ministered and died in New Orleans, Louisiana.  This Blessed was not only a dedicated and caring priest, but he was also a gifted mystic who foresaw future events, read souls, and miraculously cured illnesses.  As I expected, most of the people were not even aware of Bl. Francis Xavier, which made them all the more eager to learn that there was another future Saint buried in American soil.  This is the reason why my Guadalupe House personal ministry exists - to make the Saints and Blesseds more known and loved, especially the little-known ones.  Incidentally, today - October 5th - is the Memorial of Bl. Francis Xavier Seelos.  May he pray and intercede for America, especially for his brother-priests.

One of the many bright silver escarchas captured in
a photo after our prayer meeting
So our prayers for peace proceeded beautifully and I knew we were all graced in a very special way last night.  Before and during the Rosary, I saw fine flakes of silver escarchas slowly appearing - twinkle by twinkle - on the chairs around where I was kneeling.  I was excited because I don't see them appearing as often as before, but I didn't draw attention to what I was witnessing so as to not disrupt the meeting.  I just continued on as I watched the escarchas appear and disappear.  I took it as a sign that we were being joined in our prayer by invisible inhabitants from Heaven, who were "taking seats" among us.

And speaking of inhabitants from Heaven, the next First Saturday Rosary for Peace will be prayed on Saturday, November 1st - the Feast of All Saints!  In keeping with my ministry's aims, I plan on having several popular Saints - St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina; St. Francis of Assisi; St. Rita of Cascia (Patron of "Impossible Cases"); St. Peregrine Laziosi (Patron of Cancer Patients); etc. - represented at the next prayer gathering by their Holy Relics.  All are welcomed to participate and pray with us, while paying special honor to Our Lady and the Saints!

"Go to Mass with deepest devotion... Say the rosary every day."

~ Words of advice from Bl. Francis Xavier Seelos

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Saint of the Month: October 2014


Saint Ursula, Virgin & Martyr
Feast: October 21st **

This relatively obscure Saint is one of those exotic female virgin-martyrs whose biography became so embellished by legend that it eventually became a fantastic tale of improbable proportions.  According to one popular version of her life story, St. Ursula was a devout Christian of royal blood who was betrothed against her will to a pagan prince by her unsympathetic father.  Prior to her scheduled marriage, she obtained permission from her father to make a pilgrimage to Rome and embarked on a sea voyage with 11,000(!) virginal handmaids.

During the ocean crossing, Ursula and her entourage were marooned by a storm near Cologne, Germany, which at the time was being ravaged by the Huns.  One of the Hun chieftains was smitten by the lovely maiden but she refused his advances while professing her faith in our Lord, Jesus Christ.  In retaliation, Ursula and her handmaidens were murdered by their captors, via a shower of arrows, which thus earned for each of them the glorious palm of martyrdom.  According to one source, the mass-killing of St. Ursula and her companions occurred sometime in the year 451.

A historical, and more probable account, relates that circa the fourth century, a small church was erected over the tomb of a group of women martyrs in Cologne, Germany. The exact number of martyrs are not known, but apparently, the manner in which they died for our Faith impressed the local Christians and merited the building of a church over their mass grave.

An engraved stone plaque found near the tomb of the women was interpreted as identifying the leader of the group as “Ursula”, but confusion over some of the Roman texts may have led to the legend of the 11,000 virgins.  A Roman senator named Clematius was later inspired to renovate and enlarge the little church, which further popularized the cult of St. Ursula and her companions.

A Reflection:
Who we associate with is a good indication of the person we most likely are, or may become.  As an old adage says, "Birds of a feather, flock together."


A Short Prayer:
O St. Ursula, you surrounded yourself with godly companions, help me to choose my friends and associates wisely.  May I, too, be surrounded with good and holy people who will encourage and journey with me in my own walk towards Christ.  Amen.

** Note:  Although her Feast Day was removed from the Universal Roman Calendar in 1969 (due to the lack of historical data about her), there are still many Catholic communities throughout the world who observe St. Ursula's feast and venerate her memory.