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


Monday, October 26, 2015

Come Celebrate the Feast of All Saints... with Saints!



For more information, please contact the parish office of
St. Anthony of Padua Church at phone# 266-2222.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

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


Dear Children...

Our Lady's Monthly Message to the World on October 25th:
   "Dear children! Also today, my prayer is for all of you, especially for all those who have become hard of heart to my call.  You are living in the days of grace and are not conscious of the gifts which God is giving to you through my presence.  Little children, decide also today for holiness and take the example of the saints of this time and you will see that holiness is a reality for all of you.  Rejoice in the love, little children, that in the eyes of God you are unrepeatable and irreplaceable, because you are God’s joy in this world.  Witness peace, prayer and love.  Thank you for having responded to my call."

Our Lady's Special Message to Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo on October 2nd:
   "Dear children, I am here among you to encourage you, to fill you with my love and to call you anew to be witnesses of the love of my Son.  Many of my children do not have hope, they do not have peace, they do not have love.  They are seeking my Son, but do not know how and where to find Him.  My Son is opening wide His arms to them, and you are to help them to come to His embrace.  My children, that is why you must pray for love. You must pray very, very much to have all the more love, because love conquers death and makes life last.  Apostles of my love, my children, with an honest and simple heart unite in prayer regardless of how far you are from each other.  Encourage each other in spiritual growth as I am encouraging you.  I am watching over you and am with you whenever you think of me.  Pray also for your shepherds, for those who renounced everything for the sake of my Son and for your sake.  Love them and pray for them.  The Heavenly Father is listening to your prayers. Thank you."

Saturday, October 17, 2015

St. Anthony of Padua Church - Rosary for Peace Candlelight Procession, 10/17/2015


It was another awesome evening of prayer and Marian Devotion at my beautiful parish of St. Anthony of Padua Church in Kailua (Oahu), Hawaii.  Our priest wanted to celebrate October - the Month of the Rosary - in a special way... so we did some quick planning and put together another one of our candlelight rosary processions with the popular "Living Mysteries" performed by a group of youngsters from our parochial school. 


Above: The First & Second Joyful Mysteries enacted by our school students
Below: The Third, Fourth, & Fifth Mysteries


We weren't as organized as the previous processions, but still - it was a great exercise in Faith and the turnout was decent considering the lack of publicity... and the gloomy, rainy weather throughout the day.  In fact, thanks to Divine Providence, the weather cooperated and not a drop of rain fell during the procession.

video

Above: A short video of some of our parishioners marching in procession
behind our Blessed Mother statue carried by Knights of Columbus
Below:  Parishioners praying at a couple of the Rosary Mystery "Stations"


Our devotional event, after a shaky start, proceeded smoothly... as our prayer participants prayed and walked from one Mystery Station to another.  Designated Prayer Leaders lead us in the Rosary Prayer and in reading reflections based on the scenes of the lives of Jesus, Mary, and St. Joseph from the Joyful Mysteries.  The children performed their parts earnestly and we, the audience, enjoyed watching their reenactments of the biblical scenes.

video
A video showing flakes of escarchas manifesting on the arm
of my friend, Donna, the primary procession organizer.  You can
hear witnesses referring to the escarchas as "Mary's dust".

Heaven, itself, must have been pleased with our parish's efforts, as "little signs" were manifested during tonight's event as with, again, the previous processions.  Escarchas were witnessed appearing on both arms of our primary event organizer - gold, green, and beautiful sky blue-colored flakes in various sizes.  There were so many of them, but I'm not surprised, given how hard my dear friend had worked to bring this event to completion despite a hectic schedule.

And speaking of "sky blue"... during the prayers at the final Mystery Station - The Finding of Jesus in the Temple - I walked several feet away to snap a few photos of the scene and was surprised to see multiple shafts of sky blue-colored rays of light rapidly beam down from the dark sky upon the praying crowd.  I was bewildered and dismissed it as my imagination... until I got home and discovered that a couple of the photos I took actually captured the luminous blue rays!  The only explanation I could think of was the light was a tangible sign of God's blessing descending on us through the intercession of our dear Blessed Mother; signal graces of the Holy Rosary!  Awesome!

Mysterious rays of sky blue-colored light can be seen coming down on the
crowd to the left, center, & right of this photo.  Graces from Heaven? 

So you see... the Holy Rosary prayer is indeed a powerful channel of grace.  Escarchas; rays of unusual light; I don't need any of these to convince me, otherwise... but how generous is our God in manifesting his loving presence with us in such a tangible and wondrous manner.  HE is good... and so is our beloved Heavenly Mother, the mediatrix of all grace!

Monday, October 12, 2015

More Faces of Holiness: The Saintly Men of Peru


This post is actually a follow-up to one I did at the beginning of September 2015.  Back then I shared that a team of South American forensic experts were able to reconstruct the probable facial features of St. Rose of Lima (d. 1617) and it was recently unveiled for the world to see (click here to view it).  What I didn't share was the fact that along with the reconstruction of St. Rose's face, the same team of experts also reconstructed the faces of two other Peruvian Saints: St. Martin de Porres and St. Juan Macias.

Holy card depictions (from left to right):  St. Rose of Lima, St. Martin de Porres, & St. Juan Macias.

You see... all three of these 17th Century Saints lived and ministered in Lima, Peru, where their memories continue to be revered to this present day.  St. Martin was a personal friend to both his fellow Saints, but St. Rose died about five years before St. Juan entered the Dominican Friary in Lima in 1622.  After each of them passed on to their eternal rewards, their sacred remains all ended up enshrined in the Basilica and Monastery of St. Dominic in Lima.  It was their skulls that the experts used to reconstruct what they probably may have looked like in life.

St. Rose's face was revealed first... and now, the faces of her two male counterparts have also been recently unveiled. Below are the results of the research work completed by the forensic team:


St. Martin de Porres

The Patron Saint of Social Justice, St. Martin was the illegitimate, bi-racial son of a Spanish nobleman and a former black slave from Panama.  In his youth, St. Martin was apprenticed as a barber/medical practitioner, but he abandoned that vocation in favor of joining the Dominicans of Lima, first as a servant, then as a professed lay-brother in 1603. 

A portrait of St. Martin de Porres (Left), reported to have been painted from life... and the face
that the experts came up with (Right).  The likeness is striking!

At first, the other friars were condescending towards their mulatto companion, but they came to deeply respect him after Martin won them over with his genuine humility and piety; with his charitable service towards the friars and the sick/poor of Lima; and with his apparent God-given miraculous gifts, which included the astounding abilities of healing, levitation, and bilocation.  St. Martin died in 1639 and was declared a Saint in 1962.


St. Juan Macias

A contemporary of St. Martin, and his spiritual brother in the Dominican Friary, this Saint had a slightly different charism of service in the Church.  While St. Martin ministered primarily to the living citizens of Lima, St. Juan had a special ministry directed towards the deceased, the Holy Souls of Purgatory.  Because of his immense devotion to the Poor Souls, and the extraordinary efforts he made to help release them from their purification, he is often referred to as the "Patron Saint of the Poor Souls".  I won't go into detail about his life in this post, but you can read a little more about him by clicking here.  St. Juan was Canonized by the Catholic Church in 1975.

An old print of St. Juan Macias (Left)... and the face that the experts came up with (Right).
Again, very close.  The Saint was from Spain and the European features are evident.

Again, I commend the scientists who worked to reveal these faces of holiness to us.  It's always a joy and a cause for personal excitement for me to see the reconstructed faces of our "pre-photography period" Saints; faces based on solid scientific data and not all dolled-up the way most holy cards represent them.  Now when their names are prayerfully invoked, we can also recall and contemplate their actual faces, bringing us closer to them in the union of prayer.  St. Rose... St. Martin... and St. Juan, pray for us!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Pilgrim Statue & Holy Relics Visitation: Vargas Residence, 10/10/2015



October - the month of the Holy Rosary - is always an exciting time for me!  This month entails a lot of activity for my personal Pilgrim Statue/Holy Relic ministry.  It starts with the annual anniversary of our First Saturday Rosary Devotion at St. Anthony of Padua Church (Kailua)... and then there's the Vargas Family's annual Rosary Rally, held every year in October in the front of their home.

Our gracious host, Mrs. Patti Vargas, is a local organizer for the America Needs Fatima public rosary campaign, which is held annually to promote the urgent message of Our Lady of Fatima, and to pray for the spiritual and temporal needs of the United States of America.  Auntie Patti, as we like to call her, has made this rally at her home a solid tradition in her family during the past several years... and it's become a tradition with her extended family members, too, including myself!  I actually look forward to it each year, as it's not just meaningful, but it's also quite fun, too.  The luncheon that follows is always a great time to reconnect with acquaintances that I hardly see at any other times of the year.

Family and friends, gathered at the Vargas Residence, for the family's annual Rosary Rally.

As with previous rallies, I was invited to bring my Sacred Relics of the Fatima Seers - Jacinta, Francisco, and Lucia - as well as my pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima.  However, this year, I did something a little different - I didn't bring my large Fatima statue, but rather, I was inspired to bring my Divine Mercy statue.  I thought to myself, why not?  After all... the message of Fatima has its roots in the Divine Love and Mercy of God.  Our Lady, in her many apparitions throughout the world, comes to us on behalf of Jesus, her son, to call the entire world back to Him by asking us to convert ourselves... to make reparation for our past wrongdoings... and to trust and open our hearts to God's Infinite Mercy.  I set-up a different display-altar this year, but some people were actually touched by the presence of the Jesus statue.   

A photo with our lovely host, Auntie Patti Vargas... and another photo of the rally
participants enjoying a luncheon hosted by the Vargas Family.  

So the prayers and hymns were again beautiful during our rally... and the fellowship luncheon that followed was a delicious feast.  Everyone always has a good time at the Vargas Home!  May the good Lord and our Blessed Mother continue to bless this family for their generosity and for their powerful witnessing of the heavenly message of Fatima.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

First Saturday Parish Rosary at St. Anthony of Padua Church, 10/3/2015


   
Two photos spanning five years: Left, the very first First Saturday Rosary from
October 2010... and, Right, a photo taken at this afternoon's monthly prayer meeting.
(Our Lady hasn't aged a bit!)

I was looking forward to this month.  October is very, very special to me.  Not only is this the month of the Holy Rosary, which I have a tremendous devotion for, and which this ministry strives to promote... but this month's prayer meeting also marked the 5th Anniversary of our First Saturday Rosary Devotion at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Kailua.  Yes, five years have quickly gone by and I am happy to report that our monthly devotion is still going strong!  Our Blessed Mother continues to bless our participants, along with the dozens of Saints/Blesseds whose inspiring lives have been featured during our prayer meeting.  Praises be to God!

The captivating smile of a holy woman.
... and speaking of the Saints, this month I shared about the Martyr, Bl. Maria Restituta Kafka (d. 1943, Left Photo).  This valiant, holy woman was a nursing nun who ministered to the sick with an infectious joy that lit up her features.  Her life of service was cut short by the Nazis when she was executed by them because of her vocal opposition to Hitler and his regime, and her refusal to betray her sacred vocation as a Bride of Christ.  The example of Bl. Maria Restituta's heroism is truly an inspiration for our times; encouragement for each of us to face the opponents of our Christian Faith with courage, joy, and forgiveness.  You can read more about this blessed female Martyr here.

Lastly, our Blessed Mother, herself, must have considered today's prayer meeting anniversary as something to be celebrated, too - fine flakes of silver escarchas appeared on the base and right foot of my Rosa Mystica statue that was displayed in the front of the Day Chapel; perhaps meant as a small sign of her spiritual presence during our prayer meeting.  I wasn't expecting it, but what an extra-special gift from Our Lady for an extra-special prayer meeting!

The next First Saturday Rosary for Peace will be prayed on November 7th, beginning at 4:25pm, in the Day Chapel of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Kailua.  As always, all are welcomed to participate...

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Saint of the Month - October, 2015: Saint Gaetano Errico

Saint Gaetano Errico
A Missionary of the Sacred Hearts ~ Feast: October 29th


A representative portrait of St. Gaetano
On October 19, 1871, the little town of Secondigliano, Italy, was privileged to witness in its midst a tremendous spiritual light - the birth of a future priest and Saint.  He was the second of nine children born to a pasta maker and a rug weaver; Gaetano Errico was his name and he was deeply pious from his childhood.  In fact, at the age of 14, he sought admission into two illustrious, hallowed institutions - the Franciscans and the Redemptorists - but they politely declined him due to his youth.  However, the persistent young man was not to be deterred.  Two years later he applied with the Diocese of Naples and was accepted as a candidate for the priesthood.  He was ordained on September 23, 1815, in the Cathedral of Naples.

Following his ordination, the young priest was assigned as a teacher, as well as, the pastor of the parish church of St. Damian and Cosmas.  He was highly successful in both roles, imparting solid knowledge and faith to his students and parishioners.  This was Fr. Gaetano's life for twenty years until the year 1818, when his life took a dramatic turn.

While on his annual spiritual retreat with the Redemptorists in Salerno, in 1818, Fr. Gaetano experienced a life-changing vision of St. Alphonsus Liguori (d. 1787), the founder of the Redemptorist Congregation.  The Saint informed him that it was God's will for him to found a new congregation of priests and to also erect a new sanctuary dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows in his hometown of Secondigliano. Fr. Gaetano immediately set about fulfilling the mission entrusted to him, but he was met with resistance from some of his fellow townsmen.  Encouraged by several visions of the Blessed Virgin, he forged through with his goal and the church was eventually completed and inaugurated in December 1830.  To this day, the sanctuary continues to draw devotees from all over Italy, who come to the shrine to venerate the lovely statue of the Sorrowful Virgin, which was carved according to the description of Fr. Gaetano's visions of Mary (see below).

St. Gaetano receiving his life-changing vision of St. Alphonsus Liguori.

Fr. Gaetano took up residence in an adjoining cell built next to the new church and from there began his establishment of the congregation asked of him by God.  He received further revelations instructing him to dedicate his work to the hearts of Jesus and Mary, which he did; the new congregation would be called, the Missionaries of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and its emblem incorporates the dual-hearts, side-by-side.  What started with just eight novices in October 1836 quickly grew and spread throughout southern Italy; the new congregation received final, official approval from Rome on August 7, 1846, and Fr. Gaetano served as the Superior General for the rest of his life.

The founder died on October 29, 1860, at the age of 69-years-old.  Fr. Gaetano had spent his life conscientiously fulfilling the requests Heaven had made of him, all the while exercising his priestly ministries among the Faithful, with special solicitude towards the poor and the sick.  In regards to his spiritual life, which wasn't widely disclosed during his lifetime, it was reported that the priest was secretly an ascetic who practiced voluntary mortification on behalf of sinners - daily prayer, extended bread/water fasts, and self-flagellation.  Fr. Gaetano's mystical gifts were not limited to visions of St. Alphonsus and the Blessed Virgin, but he was frequently witnessed in ecstasy; experienced the gift of tears, which he shed abundantly for sinners; and was said to have bilocated on several occasions in order to minister in distance places.

     
A statue of the Virgin of Sorrows, carved under the direction of St. Gaetano... and the reliquary that
encloses his remains.  Both are located in the Sanctuary built by St. Gaetano in Secondigliano, Italy.

The Church Beatified Fr. Gaetano Errico in April 2002, and declared him a Saint on October 12, 2008.  His relics are enshrined in a chapel within the church he built to Our Lady in Secondigliano.  From his place in Heaven, may St. Gaetano pray for our personal needs and the needs of the entire Church.

A Reflection:
Let us kindle the love of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in the hearts of all people.  
~ Words of St. Gaetano Errico

A Short Prayer:
Most Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, we love you.  Be our strength, hope, and our help as we walk our paths in life.  Lead us to salvation.  Amen.