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, January 31, 2015

Holy Relic Visitation: Our Lady of Fatima Prayer Group, 1/31/2015


My ministry's veil-relic of
Our Lady makes a hospital visit
to comfort a sick relative.
Today was one of those days, which felt "ultra-productive" - I cleaned my small apartment (a.k.a. "Guadalupe House"); finished some important chores I had been putting off for a while; exercised; made a hospital visit to pray with a sick relative; then ended the day with an uplifting Rosary Prayer Meeting. Right now I'm tired but, at the same time, I feel highly contented with a sense of accomplishment.

So today was the first meeting of 2015 for Our Lady of Fatima Prayer Group at the Gruber/Lee home in Mililani.  Only a small group of us managed to make the meeting tonight, but it was fine - we had a wonderful time, as always.

Our Saint of the Month was St. Charles of Sezze (d. 1670), a stigmatized Franciscan Friar who in his life was considered too simple and uneducated to become a priest, and was assigned the lowliest tasks in his friary.  Yet through his deep, personal relationship with the Lord, he was blessed with a gift greater than earthly wisdom; he was granted the grace of understanding the most sublime truths of God and the Catholic Faith.  St. Charles received 'infused knowledge' from the Holy Spirit, which came with it a wisdom that enabled him to counsel not just common folk, but even the most learned of men came to him for guidance.  Through the life of this humble Francsican, we were reminded to also pray for this special wisdom that only the Holy Spirit can give us.

              
Our prayer group members enjoying our fellowship meal. On the menu tonight were Fried 
and Roasted Chicken, Pork Adobo, Somen Salad, and Mango Chiffon Cake.

Of course the dinner that followed was great, too.  This time around the funny stories we shared with each other from our past personal experiences had us all howling with laughter.  By the time I left the meeting, my cheeks and stomach were a little sore from laughing so hard.  But it was fine with me - it just goes to show that the Holy Spirit was truly present in the Gruber/Lee home, as JOY is one of the fruits of his presence.  Thank you, Jesus, for blessing us abundantly with gifts that truly matter: Peace, Joy, Faith, Love, Hope, Health... and Friendship!  God is Good!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Monthly Messages from the Queen of Peace of Medjugorje: January 2015


Dear Children...

Our Lady's Monthly Message to the World on January 25th:
   "Dear children!  Also today I call you: live your vocation in prayer.  Now, as never before, Satan wants to suffocate man and his soul by his contagious wind of hatred and unrest.  In many hearts there is no joy because there is no God or prayer.  Hatred and war are growing from day to day.  I am calling you, little children, begin anew, with enthusiasm, the walk of holiness and love; since I have come among you because of this.  Together let us be love and forgiveness for all those who know and want to love only with a human love and not with that immeasurable love of God to which God calls you.  Little children, may hope in a better tomorrow always be in your heart.  Thank you for having responded to my call."

Our Ladys' Special Message to Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo on January 2nd:
   "Dear children, I am here among you as a mother who desires to help you to come to know the truth.  While I lived your life on earth I had knowledge of the truth, and by this alone, a piece of Heaven on earth.  That is why I desire the same for you, my children.  The Heavenly Father desires pure hearts filled with the knowledge of the truth.  He desires for you to love all those whom you meet, because I also love my Son in all of you.  This is the beginning of coming to know the truth.  Many false truths are being offered to you.  You will overcome them with a heart cleansed by fasting, prayer, penance and the Gospel.  This is the only truth and it is the truth which my Son left you.  You do not need to examine it much.  What is asked of you, as I also have done, is to love and to give.  My children, if you love, your heart will be a home for my Son and me, and the words of my Son will be the guiding light in your life.  My children, I will make use of you, apostles of love, to help all of my children to come to know the truth.  My children, I have always prayed for the Church of my Son, and so I also ask the same of you.  Pray that your shepherds may come to shine forth with the love of my Son.  Thank you."

Rosa Mystica Speaking Presentation: St. Anthony Retreat Center, 1/25/2014


Today I conducted my first speaking presentation for 2015.  I had the privilege of sharing about the Rosa Mystica Devotion with a group of military housewives at a women's retreat in the heart of beautiful Kalihi Valley, Honolulu. These were the women I had been praying for, which occasioned a remarkable appearance of the Holy Face this past Thursday, 1/22.

  
The beautiful, lush grounds of the St. Anthony Retreat Center in Kalihi Valley, Honolulu.
The on-site Lourdes-style grotto is a great place to connect with God and Our Lady.
[click on each photo to view larger images]

The site of the retreat - the St. Anthony Retreat Center - is owned and operated by the Sisters of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and the grounds are simply spectacular!  Isolated, lush, and green - the place is conducive to connecting deeply with God and his creation.  There's even a beautiful Lourdes-style grotto at the site and I've heard rumors that Our Lady had made impromptu, private appearances there to a handful of people during past retreats... so the place is truly holy ground; it has that "vibe" and it was with excitement that I drove to the retreat center to speak to the women.

My Rosa Mystica pilgrim statue is displayed prominently, while the women-participants 
begin to gather and wait for the start of the Rosa Mystica presentation.

In the small conference room, right from the start I sensed I was in the midst of people who were open to the Lord's call; daughters of Mary.  And judging by the intelligent questions and comments I received throughout the talk, I was right - the ladies listened with genuine interest and seemed to take the message of the Rosa Mystica to heart.  In fact, after the presentation, we prayed the Holy Rosary together in the chapel and the group offered the prayer for the sanctification of all priests; other religious men and women; and for an increase in vocations.  The request I shared with the ladies, on behalf of our Blessed Mother, was already being put into practice.

I have no doubt that Mary, the Rosa Mystica, has found new helpers and messengers in the women I spoke to, and good spiritual fruit is in store for them.  All thanks and praises be to God!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Two Powerful Devotions; One Luminous Sign...


Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us.
Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Holy Face of Jesus; two devotions that have enriched my spiritual life beyond what I can adequately put into words. It's obvious from the name of my ministry - "Guadalupe House" - that I have a very deep, personal devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe... but you'll have to delve just a little deeper into this blog to know that I also wholeheartedly subscribe to, and promote, the Holy Face Devotion; in particular, the Holy Face Medal (click here to learn more about the medal).  A day ago, these two longstanding devotions of mine came together in a most remarkable and unexpected way for me, via a luminous sign that manifested in my home.

It all started when I received a call this past Wednesday evening from an acquaintance named Michelle, who extended an invitation for me to speak about the Mystical Rose Devotion (another one of my favorites!) at a women's retreat this upcoming Sunday, 1/25.  The audience will be a Catholic association of military housewives.  I ended up accepting the invitation and made a pact with Michelle to jointly pray for the women-attendees; that Our Lady would touch their hearts on behalf of her Divine Son.

On the following day - Thursday (yesterday) - I offered my early morning Rosary for the women's retreat, invoking the Blessed Virgin's help for the spiritual good of the ladies who would be participating in it.  After finishing my prayer, I began readying for work when something wonderful occurred - I happened to glance over at a large banner of Our Lady of Guadalupe hanging in my bedroom when I noticed an image of what I perceived to be the Holy Face reflected on it.  It resembled the bearded face of our Lord, as seen on the world-famous Shroud of Turin, as well as on the Holy Face Medal.  I immediately whispered a prayer of thanksgiving then excitedly reached for my cellphone and began taking photos and video, which I included in this post.


One of the things that really struck me about the entire scenario was the positioning of the Holy Face; how the image of Our Lady appeared to gaze lovingly at it, and with her hands folded, she seemed to be in prayer before the image of her Son's countenance.  I knew in my heart that Our Lady was responding to my prayer for the military women... and she was talking - interceding - with Jesus about it.  It was all so beautiful... so uplifting... and I was awed and humbled by the sight of the Holy Face-image and the spiritual presence of the Divine in my home.

In my 40+ years of life, I've have had quite a few unusual spiritual experiences - "signs", I dare say - but this latest manifestation has got to be one of the most meaningful.  Our Lady of Guadalupe, my dear Heavenly Mama... and the Holy Face of Jesus, my inspiration and strength; together in one awesome, luminous sign.  It was a message of Hope, Affirmation, and most importantly - the Love and Solicitude of Jesus and Mary for all of us.

video
A video I shot of the Guadalupe banner in my bedroom
with the image of the Holy Face appearing on it.

I have no doubt the women at this weekend's retreat will be touched in a powerful way by the Holy Spirit.  In fact, given this heavenly confirmation, I am already thanking God in advance for the abundant blessings he has in store for all the people involved in the retreat.  GOD IS GOOD.  Alleluia!

"O Lord, God of Hosts, restore us; cause your face to shine upon us, and we will be saved."

~ Psalm 80:19

Saturday, January 3, 2015

First Saturday Parish Rosary at St. Anthony of Padua Church, 1/3/2015


  
The Day Chapel at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Kailua, where a monthly Rosary for Peace
is offered for the world.  My Rosa Mystica pilgrim statue is displayed during our prayer.

The P-shaped cloud at top-right
seen through my car window.
With the start of a new year I was excited about our very first Rosary for Peace in 2015. My excitement and anticipation was made all the more greater by a large cloud - clearly shaped like a letter "P" - that hovered in the sky ahead of my car, as I drove the freeway on my way to Kailua Town (right photo). I knew it was most likely a random formation, but I still viewed the cloud as a beneficial coincidence because the letter P starts the words, "Prayer" and "Peace", which are the two main themes for our ongoing monthly First Saturday Devotion at St. Anthony of Padua Church; it felt like a special encouragement from the Lord to continue praying for world peace throughout this new year.

The Rosary Prayer gathering in the Day Chapel was, itself, well-attended with several new faces in the pews.  I shared about St. Charles Houben of Mt. Argus - a priest-healer from Ireland - and presented his 1st Class [bone] Relic for public veneration. What really impressed me the most about the life of St. Charles was not so much his power to heal, but simply the way he generously made himself available each day to the countless people who were searching for God. I reminded our prayer participants that we, too, could make ourselves available to those who need a kind word... a hug... or just a sympathetic ear... and by doing so, perhaps touch a person's heart for the Lord.

The veil-relic of the Blessed Virgin, which is displayed every month, is
seen at left; a relic of St. Charles Houben is seen to the right.

Our group Rosary Prayer, as always, was beautiful and powerful. The presence of the Divine was tangible in the chapel and golden flakes of Escarchas were witnessed manifesting on the forehead and cheeks of at least two people who participated; one even claimed she smelled the fragrance of roses even before the Rosary began (I couldn't smell it)... so this was how our first Rosary for Peace in 2015 began and ended; a positive start to the new year and I am already looking forward to February's prayer meeting.

For anyone living on Oahu, Hawaii, who may be interested in attending our next First Saturday Rosary for Peace, it will be prayed on February 7th, beginning at 4:25 PM.  The Vigil Mass follows at 5:00 PM in the main church.  All are welcomed!  Just look for the Welcome Sign (left) that points to our Day Chapel door and come right in.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Saint of the Month - January 2015: St. Charles Houben

Saint Charles Houben of Mount Argus
Consoler of the Afflicted ~ Feast: January 5th

Originally from Holland, St. Charles Houben was born to the very large family of Peter and Elizabeth Jane Houben on December 11, 1821; the fourth child out of eleven children. His biographers reported that he was not a very bright student in his childhood, as well as extremely shy, but what Charles lacked in intelligence, he made up for with his diligence and eagerness to learn.  Also noted for his budding piety in his youth, he made his First Holy Communion when he reached the age of 13.

Another photo of St. Charles Houben
In 1840, Charles joined the military and served for five years, after which he went to work as a miller with one of his uncles. Feeling quite unfulfilled and searching for deeper meaning in his life, he joined the Passionist Congregation at Ere, Belgium, in November, 1845; he took the name of “Charles of St. Andrew”. Despite his slow mental abilities, he managed to pass his studies and was ordained a priest on December 21st, 1850. His superiors at first assigned him to England where he worked for about five years, before transferring him to a place called Mount Argus near Dublin, Ireland, in 1857. Except for a short return to England in 1866, Fr. Charles spent his remaining years ministering to rural communities in the Emerald Isle.

As a chaplain at Mount Argus, Fr. Charles was noted for his utmost dedication to his priestly duties, his parishioners, and for the apparent gift of healing he mysteriously acquired. When news of his spiritual gift became public knowledge, masses of visitors began converging at the Passionist Monastery to request his healing blessing and/or his counsel. Daily, Fr. Charles was allowed to conduct prayer services during which he used a relic of the Passionist founder - St. Paul of the Cross (d. 1775) - while he prayed over the sick. Patiently, and lovingly, the simple-minded priest did his best to comfort all those who came to him for help, encouraging his visitors to have a devotion to Our Lady and his congregation's sainted founder. In the evenings, Fr. Charles's time was often occupied by those who fetched him to the homes of the seriously ill and the dying. His presence either brought about astounding cures, or comfort and hope to those who were destined for eternity.  His Christ-like example brought many to a deeper faith and love for God.

The tomb of St. Charles Houben at Mount Argus in Dublin, Ireland

Fr. Charles died in 1893, after enduring for many years a stubborn and worsening leg wound that he suffered from a carriage accident. His passing was mourned by many of the Faithful from Ireland and beyond, including non-Catholics, who also revered him as a holy man in his lifetime. A person who knew Fr. Charles once recalled about him, "When you spoke to him, you had the impression that you were talking to someone who was an intimate friend of God."  This was the essence of his sanctity - he was indeed a "friend of God".

The Church Beatified Fr. Charles of St. Andrew in 1988, and he was later Canonized on June 3rd, 2007.  May St. Charles Houben pray for us and for the needs of the Universal Church.

A Reflection:
“Our happiness in this life and in the life to come lies in carrying out God’s will…”  ~ Words of St. Charles Houben

A Short Prayer:
Dear Lord, in imitation of the life of your faithful servant, St. Charles Houben, help us to be a source of peace, hope, and consolation for our sick and dying brethren.  Amen.