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, November 25, 2014

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


O Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us who have recourse to thee!

Our Lady's Monthly Message to the World on November 25th:
  "Dear children! In a special way, today I am calling you to prayer. Pray, little children, so that you may comprehend who you are and where you need to go. Be carriers of the good news and be people of hope. Be love for all those who are without love. Little children, you will be everything and will achieve everything only if you pray and are open to God's will - to God who desires to lead you towards eternal life. I am with you and intercede for you from day to day before my Son Jesus.  Thank you for having responded to my call."

Our Ladys' Special Message to Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo on November 2nd:
  "Dear children, I am with you with the blessing of my Son, with you who love me and who strive to follow me. I also desire to be with you who do not accept me. To all of you I am opening my heart full of love and I am blessing you with my motherly hands. I am a mother who understands you. I lived your life and lived through your sufferings and joys. You who are living in pain understand my pain and suffering because of those of my children who do not permit the light of my Son to illuminate them; those of my children who are living in darkness. This is why I need you - you who have been illuminated by the light and have comprehended the truth. I am calling you to adore my Son so that your soul may grow and reach true spirituality. My apostles, it is then that you will be able to help me. To help me means to pray for those who have not come to know the love of my Son. In praying for them you are showing to my Son that you love Him and follow Him. My Son promised me that evil will never win, because you, the souls of the just, are here; you who strive to say your prayers with the heart; you who offer your pain and suffering to my Son; you who comprehend that life is only a blink; you who yearn for the Kingdom of Heaven. All of this makes you my apostles and leads you towards the victory of my heart. Therefore, my children, purify your hearts and adore my Son.  Thank you."

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Holy Relic Visitation: Our Lady of Fatima Prayer Group, 11/22/2014


"Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?"

~ Words of St. Paul, 1 Corinthians 3:16


   
Hair relics from Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity (left) helped us to deeply connect with
her earthly life at tonight's gathering of Our Lady of Fatima Prayer Group.

GOD DWELLS IN US.  This was the message - the reminder - we received tonight, as we reflected on the life of Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity, our featured Saint of the Month. God isn't distant in some far away dimension, where He watches over us, via a supernatural TV screen... or listens to our prayers using some sort of cosmic intercom, but rather God abides in our very souls - his living temples - when we are in his grace.  Just imagine - the Omnipotent Creator, who made the entire universe, living and breathing within us in union with every beat of our hearts and every breath we take.  It's enigmatic, yet at the same time deeply personal and very, very empowering... and Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity lived this truth with firm conviction.

Some of our pray group members in discussion &
reflection around the table where we pray.

So tonight, as I narrated the biography and legacy of Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity - a holy Carmelite nun - to our prayer group, we were filled with gladness by her life message and were encouraged by it to live more proactive and productive Christian lives, knowing that the Holy Trinity - our omnipotent God, himself - was working and spreading blessings through us.

"It seems to me that I have found my Heaven on earth, because my Heaven is you,
my God, and you are in my soul.  You in me, and I in you."

~ Words of Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity

So with that said, the night turned-out to be another meaningful and uplifting prayer meeting at the Gruber/Lee Home.  After all our prayers were offered and concluded, we enjoyed a mix of Filipino and other Asian dishes for our monthly potluck dinner... and spent the rest of our fellowship-time discussing current events and laughing over humorous family stories. Our Lord, who dwells within us, gifted us with abundant JOY this evening, among other blessings we certainly received.  Thanks and praises be to HIM!

   
On our menu this evening: Pancit (Filipino Noodles), Pork Guisantes (Pork & Peas),
Crab/Bacon Potato Salad, Asian-style Fried Chicken, & for dessert - Banana Lumpia!

"There, in the depths of my heart, in the Heaven of my soul,
I love to find Him, since He never leaves me."

~ Words of Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Saints & Holy Relics Visitation & Speaking Presentation: St. Anthony of Padua Church, 11/16/2014


Sunday School Students and their parents fill the Day Chapel of St. Anthony of Padua Church
to learn about the spiritual heroes of our Catholic Faith.

After conducting a Saints & Holy Relics presentation just yesterday, I was a little drained going into this second one. This presentation was requested by friends - Catechists for St. Anthony of Padua Parish - for their students and their parents, who were required to participate in some of the religious classes.  So I felt this presentation was going to be significant because the message and lives of the Saints/Blesseds I chose for the audience had to somehow touch entire families.  To add to my challenges, during the Mass that preceded the scheduled presentation, I suddenly came down with a bout of dizziness, nausea, and weakness throughout my body.  It was so mysterious, to say the least, but thankfully, it all began going away after I received Holy Communion… and through the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, I was able to proceed with this important presentation.

The display altar
My best estimate is that over 50 people attended today’s talk in the Kailua parish’s Day Chapel - a mix of parents and lots of children!  Among the saintly individuals who I shared about, and whose sacred relics were present, were St. Bernadette Soubirous, Blesseds Francisco & Jacinta Marto, and St. Pope John Paul II… but the brightest stars in today’s presentation were a holy married couple and their equally holy daughter.  They were the Blesseds Louis & Zelie Martin and the great St. Therese Martin of Lisieux (aka the “Little Flower”).

I used the lives of the Martin Family as an example for the audience of how completely normal families can successfully walk together on the narrow path to Sanctity.  I also emphasized that "church" actually begins at home in our families… and it also doesn’t take a break for a week after we leave Sunday Mass, but rather we should take the faith-lessons learned in church and apply them daily at home.  Despite the little obstacles I had leading up to this morning’s event, the presentation turned out to be spiritually fruitful.  People connected with the lives of the Saints/Blesseds and faith-seeds were definitely planted.

The Martin Family... a perfect example of a family rooted in Faith: Blesseds Zelie
& Louis Martin and their daughter, St. Therese the Little Flower.

After the talk, parents and children went up to the display altar to say prayers and venerate the relics, and several adults approached me and the Catechist Team to express their gratitude and interest about the information that was shared with them.  One mother commented that she was glad she attended because she had a devotion to the Little Flower, and was happy to learn about her blessed parents, too.  The woman further explained that she doesn’t have the means to make a visit to holy shrines in Europe but today she had the unique opportunity to pray not just in the physical presence of St. Therese, but also with the sacred remains of other Blesseds/Saints, as well… and she didn’t even have to leave Kailua!  The woman’s eyes watered up as she spoke and I understood the lady's sentiments.

Me, with the great team of CCD Teachers from
St. Anthony of Padua Church in Kailua.

Lastly, after each speaking presentation I conduct about our dear Saints, there is one particular question that I especially enjoy hearing from my audience... and that question is: "Where can I learn more about the lives of the Saints?"or "Where can I find good books about the lives of the Saints?"  Today I heard that question more than once, which indicated to me that people had paid attention and the "message" was going home with the families.  What a blessing - thank you, Jesus!


* * * * * * * * * * TESTIMONY * * * * * * * * * *

Peter, we want to thank you again for the awesome presentation!!! After your talk one of the parents came up to Kim and told her that "they really enjoyed it and learned so much". I bet more positive feedback will come at our next CCD Class... God bless you and keep you safe, Peter! Thank you again!

- Kim, Joanne, and Monica (the Catechists)


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Saints & Holy Relics Visitation & Speaking Presentation: Star of the Sea Church, 11/15/2014


Star of the Sea Church in Kahala, Honolulu

Earlier this week, I received a call from a woman who was referred to my ministry by someone who had attended one of my recent presentations.  As it turned out, she was the leader of the Third Order of Mary, a diocese-approved Association of the Faithful, based at Star of the Sea Church in nearby Kahala.  She asked if I would be willing to give a presentation, today, about Saints and Holy Relics to her group, despite the short notice she was giving me. Knowing that it was a dedicated devotee of the Blessed Virgin who was inquiring, there was no way I could decline the request.

So I found myself this morning in the midst of about 20 women who I did not know and with Fr. Frankie, the parish priest.  I must admit that I felt awkward at first and I'm sure they did, too... but as the presentation moved forward the mood quickly changed.  I started to feel a sense of warmth in the meeting room and a growing bond with these devout women; they were truly my spiritual sisters and I felt united to them by our shared love for Mary, our Heavenly Mama.

A photo of the Sacred Relics of several Marian Blesseds and Saints that
were displayed during my presentation at Star of the Sea Church.

I tailored the presentation to suit the nature of the group by featuring several Blesseds and Saints who had a strong Marian devotion; the line-up of holy persons included the following:  Bl. Bartolo Longo, St. Bernadette Soubirous, Bl. Euphrasia [Eluvathingal] of the Sacred Heart, Bl. Francisco & Bl. Jacinta Marto, Pope St. John Paul II, and St. Padre Pio.  The women welcomed the message of the Saints with enthusiasm and genuine interest... and each time I mentioned that a relic of a holy individual was present, I saw excitement light up on many of their faces.

At the end of the talk, all of them came forward to venerate the relics present, as well as my Fatima Pilgrim Virgin Statue.  Several of the ladies actually got teary-eyed as they prayed and expressed their devotion to Our Lady and the Saints.  I knew they were deeply touched and I was, too.  Judging by the reactions I witnessed, this presentation was another successful one.

Members of the Third Order of Mary before and after the presentation.
[click on each photo on this blog to view larger images]

My special thanks and prayers go out to the Third Order of Mary in Kahala... as well as to my behind the scenes team of "prayer warriors" who assist me by praying hard for each presentation.  And of course, above all things... glory and praises be to God Almighty for all the signal graces received today!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The International Fatima Pilgrim Virgin Statue comes to Hawaii!


  
The International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Fatima, as displayed for public veneration in
the church of St. John the Apostle & Evangelist in Mililani (Oahu), Hawaii.
[click on each photo on this blog to view larger images]

At this writing, Hawaii is being graced by the presence of the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima.  This is the world-renowned image, carved by the Portuguese sculptor, Jose Thedim, in 1947... and which miraculously wept human tears on several occasions, most notably in Las Vegas and in New Orleans (see the photo below).  In addition to the tears, other signs associated with the statue include changes to its facial expression and posture, the fragrance of roses, and healings.

The hallowed statue will be touring Hawaiian parishes from November 1st until November 21st, 2014.  Tonight it was present at St. John the Apostle & Evangelist Catholic Church in Mililani Town from 8:00pm to Midnight, where I had the joyful opportunity to venerate it and pray a Rosary in front of it.

I arrived at the Mililani parish at about 10:00pm and it wasn't crowded at all although there was a steady stream of people coming and going while I was at the church.  Right when I walked in I immediately sensed the peoples' devotion and love pouring out towards the Blessed Mother.  I was moved.

The statue, itself, was magnificent; almost life-like in appearance.  The presence of Our Lady emanating from the image was also quite tangible; just looking at it gave me goosebumps and the impression that I was in the presence of something that was touched by the hand of God.  I was awed.

For readers out there who have never heard of the Fatima Events, it all began on May 13, 1917, when the Blessed Virgin appeared to three shepherd children in the Portuguese hamlet of Fatima.  Our Lady went on to appear five more times in the consecutive months to deliver an urgent message for all mankind, which was primarily a call for sinners to convert;request for atonement of the sins of the world; and to pray the Rosary, especially for Peace.

The child-seers of Fatima (L to R): Lucia dos Santos and
her cousins, Blesseds Francisco & Jacinta Marto.

Adding credence to the apparitions was a great solar miracle that occurred on October 13, 1917, which was witnessed by 70,000+ pilgrims.  Furthermore, several predictions uttered by the Virgin - e.g. the end of World War I, the start of World War II, and the fall of Communist Russia - were all accurately fulfilled.  The apparitions were approved by the local Bishop in October 1930, and the International Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima was commissioned with the intent that it be a traveling  "ambassador" of the legacy and message of the Fatima apparitions.  The sacred image has since traveled extensively, but now mainly in the USA.

  
Local pilgrims gathered around the world-famous representation of Our Lady of Fatima.

As tired as I was from a long day, my distant drive to see the miracle statue was well worth it.  I offered my Rosary for family, friends, and also for the Poor Souls whose Feast was celebrated today.  I am going to sleep tonight very grateful to God and Our Lady for yet another special blessing in my life.

For Hawaii locals interested in seeing the Pilgrim Virgin Statue, please click here to access/download the tour schedule from the official website of the Honolulu Diocese.  May Our Lady of Fatima pray and intercede for our island home.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

First Saturday Parish Rosary at St. Anthony of Padua Church, 11/1/2014


The sacred relics of the Blessed Mother's veil... and those of four Saints and a Blessed
were venerated in our parish's Day Chapel during the First Saturday Rosary.

Happy Feast of All Saints!  Today's First Saturday Rosary gathering at St. Anthony of Padua Church was all about the Saints - five well-known and very loved Saints, spanning from the early years of Christianity to modern times, were represented in our Day Chapel by their respective relics: St. John Paul II (clothing relic), St. Peregrine Laziosi (bone relic), St. Philomena (clothing relic), St. Padre Pio Forgione (stigmata bandage relic), Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta (clothing relic)... and, of course... Our Lady, the Queen of All Saints (veil relic).

Prior to our Rosary Prayer beginning, I briefly introduced the prayer participants to the different Saints whose Holy Relics were present... and emphasized to them that, through the lives of the Saints/Blesseds, God invites us to:

    A)  Be HOLY; sanctity is attainable for all people regardless of age, race, or vocation.  (Hebrews 12:15)

    B)  Live with HOPE and JOY anticipating that, if we persevere in following in the footsteps of Christ, we can
          also look forward to enjoying Heaven with the Saints/Blesseds who have gone before us.  (James 1:12)

After our prayer ended, many of us walked over to the main church for the Saturday evening Vigil Mass.  As I participated - praying and singing along with the rest of the congregation - I tried to imagine what Heaven was like today; all its inhabitants must be feasting, singing, and rejoicing exceedingly while the Church on earth paid them special honor.  I wished I could be there to witness the major party that was going in Heaven.

After each Mass, many parishioners stop to say a prayer and/or light a
candle at the shrine-reliquary of our Patron, St. Anthony of Padua

Personally, I have been helped countless times through the intercession of Our Lady and such Saints, as St. Anthony of Padua and St. Gemma Galgani (my Patron Saints); St. Joseph; and St. Philomena... so today's Feast holds special meaning for me.  It was with deep gratitude that I thanked our Lord, in an extra-special way, for his abundant blessings manifested through the lives and good works of Our Lady and the Saints.  Click here to learn more about the lives of various Saints/Blesseds and allow yourselves to be inspired.  Grace and benediction will follow!  

The next First Saturday Rosary at St. Anthony of Padua Church will be prayed on December 6th.  Join us as we pray for World Peace in the spiritual company of the Blessed Virgin Mary and a featured Saint/Relic of the Month. 

"Love God, serve God; everything is in that." 

~ St. Clare of Assisi

Saint of the Month: November 2014


Blessed Grimoaldo Santamaria
Youthful Disciple of the Passion ~ Memorial: November 18th

Fernando Santamaria was born on May 4, 1883 in Pontecorvo, Italy; the oldest child of five siblings born to a middle class family.  From a very early age, he stood out from other children through his love of prayer and his attraction to spiritual matters.  He was highly regarded by his townsmen for his religious example and his gentle, personable demeanor.  It was also during his childhood, that the Lord confirmed his favor with Fernando through a miracle witnessed by his family.

It’s recorded that on one occasion, while the boy was absorbed in prayer, Fernando was suddenly surrounded by a radiance then levitated about a foot off the ground!  Following this remarkable event, it wasn’t a surprise to his family when the 15-year-old Fernando left home to enter the Passionist Congregation in their novitiate at Paliano.  There, he took the religious name of Bro. Grimoaldo of the Purification of the Virgin Mary in honor of the Blessed Mother to whom he was deeply devoted. 

The young novice rapidly progressed in sanctity by conscientiously doing all things - big and small - as perfectly as he could for the love of God.  He was professed a member of the Passionists in March 1900, at the age of 17. Grimoaldo then went on to train for the priesthood in the Passionist Seminary at Ceccano, but it wasn’t God’s will that he become a priest.  In 1902, the seminarian contracted acute meningitis, which quickly undermined the normally healthy young man.  Although every effort was being made to save him, Grimoaldo announced that he would die from the illness on November 18th of the same year.  Sadly, his prediction proved to be true - Grimoaldo was only 19-years-old when entered into his Eternal Reward.

Given his reputation for heroic virtue, the Passionists promoted Grimoaldo’s Cause for Sainthood with the enthusiastic support of his religious brethren and his family members.  After authenticating a miraculous cure attributed to his intercession, the Church proclaimed him Blessed on January 29, 1995.  

A Reflection:
True devotion to Mary leads to JESUS CHRIST.

A Short Prayer:
Dearest Blessed Mother, in the same way by which you led Bl. Grimoaldo Santamaria, lead us, too, on the surest and quickest path to your Divine Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.