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 30, 2016

Holy Relic Visitation: Our Lady of Fatima Prayer Group, 1/30/2016


Carrying my Godson
after prayer time.
Tonight's prayer group meeting - our first for 2016 - was a night of answered prayers and signal graces; a testimony to the power of prayer, especially the Holy Rosary.  On this very day a mother and daughter were reconciled after several months of estrangement; a married couple received a much-needed financial windfall from an unexpected source; a non-Catholic friend going through personal turmoil finally consented to join us after years of unanswered invitations; and, finally, our host's little baby boy (my Godson, right photo) was apparently blessed by Heaven in special way when we found his face and head sprinkled with golden escarchas after our prayer finished.  God is good!

In addition, our group found inspiration in the life and relic of the Blessed who I shared about at the start of our meeting.  It was Bl. Marguerite Bays (d. 1879), the Swiss lay-mystic and stigmatist, whose immense faith in God led her to trust that the illness (cancer) that she endured would draw her into a deeper union with Christ and save sinners, too.

Gold escarchas on the tip of my finger
that came from my Godson's head.
The simple truth is... no one living on this planet is exempt from trials and suffering - the people in our prayer group know this very well - but the attitude we choose to adopt in the face of them goes a long way towards how much impact they make on us.  In Bl. Marguerite's case, her sufferings, prayerfully accepted with faith, gave her life meaningful purpose... and even transformed her occasions of pain into JOY.  We, too, could be happy and at peace in the midst of our own trials.  The key is to TRUST in God, as Bl. Marguerite Bays exemplified through her holy life.

After prayers ended, the night continued with a soup dinner and conversation about various lighthearted topics.  As usual, there was a lot of laughter and fun, as our souls were unburdened during the prayer time.  There was also a sense of deep gratitude as we sat in the dining area, listening to testimonies... or just looking at the people present around the table and recognizing in each person's circumstances, the signal graces God had granted him or her today; graces received through the intercession of the Virgin Mary and her Rosary.  Thank you, Jesus and Blessed Mother - we trust in you!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Monthly Messages from the Queen of Peace of Medjugorje: January 2016


Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us!

Our Lady's Monthly Message to the World on January 25th:
   "Dear children! Also today I am calling all of you to prayer. You cannot live without prayer, because prayer is a chain which brings you closer to God. Therefore, little children, in humility of heart return to God and to His commandments so that with all of your heart you are able to say: as it is in Heaven so may it be on earth. You, little children, are free to in freedom decide for God or against Him. See where Satan wants to pull you into sin and slavery. Therefore, little children, return to my heart so that I can lead you to my Son Jesus who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  Thank you for having responded to my call."

Our Lady's Special Message to Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo on January 2nd:
   "Dear children, as a mother, I am joyful to be among you because I desire to speak anew about the words of my Son and of His love. I hope that you will accept me with the heart, because the words of my Son and His love are the only light and hope in the darkness of today. This is the only truth and you who will accept and live it will have pure and humble hearts. My Son loves those who are pure and humble. Pure and humble hearts bring to life the words of my Son, they live them, they spread them and they make it possible for everyone to hear them. The words of my Son bring back life to those who listen to them. The words of my Son bring back love and hope. Therefore, my beloved apostles, my children, live the words of my Son. Love each other as He loved you. Love each other in His name, in memory of Him. The Church is advancing and growing because of those who listen to the words of my Son; because of those who love; because of those who suffer and endure in silence and in the hope of final redemption. Therefore, my beloved children, may the words of my Son and His love be the first and the last thought of your day.  Thank you."

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Joseph Dutton: A Third Saint for Hawaii?


A photo of Bro. Joseph Dutton,
the third Apostle to the Molokai Lepers
Having spent almost my entire life in Hawaii, it's easy for me to say that there are a lot of great things about the 50th State that fill us islanders with immense pride - the spectacular scenic beauty of our tropical islands; our rich heritage and multicultural society; the welcoming Aloha Spirit of our people... and for us local Catholics, Hawaii is also blessed to have two resident Saints: St. Damien de Veuster (d. 1889) and St. Marianne Cope (d. 1918), the dual Apostles of Mercy & Charity of Molokai.  But most people are unaware of the fact that there was actually a third apostle to the lepers of Kalaupapa.  Indeed, there was... and his name was Joseph Dutton.

Admittedly, I heard a little about Bro. Joseph before, but I didn't pay much attention to his life until a couple of years ago, when I heard rumors of him possibly being considered for Sainthood because of his exemplary faith and ministry to our lepers. That's when I really started brushing up on Dutton's life and history.  Then, mid-last year, the Diocese of Honolulu officially initiated the opening of his Cause for Canonization, which means that, if things go well, and if God so wills it, Joseph may just end up being Hawaii's next Saint.  That also means we'd be the only State in the US to have three Saints!  Definitely another thing all the people of Hawaii can be proud of.

A Brief Biography of the Servant of God

So who exactly was Mr. Joseph Dutton?  According to various online sources, Joseph Dutton was actually born as Ira Dutton in Stowe, Vermont, on April 27, 1843.  His parents Ezra and Abigail were strong Protestants - Baptists - and instilled in their son a measure of their Christian Faith.  In his youth, Ira lived for a time in Wisconsin where he worked at a bookstore and also taught Sunday School.  When the American Civil War erupted in 1860s, he enlisted in the Union Army and served with distinction until the end of the war.

Joseph Dutton sitting in the midst of some of the young
male leper patients of Kalaupapa, Molokai
Sometime during his military tenure Ira married, but his wife (he never did name her) was habitually unfaithful, resulting in the couple's divorce in 1881. To add to his personal issues, he was also addicted to alcohol.  He drank heavily, until, finally coming to his senses, Ira made a personal promise in 1876 to never drink again; a vow he kept for life.

At the same time he quit drinking, the Christian Faith Ira nearly lost during his war years, was rekindled... but this time around, he didn't return to Protestantism, but rather he was drawn to Catholicism. He studied Catholic teaching diligently for a month, before he was baptized into the Church in April 1883.  Ira was 40-years-old at the time he converted.

Seeking a way to atone for his checkered past, Dutton entered the Trappist Monastery of Our Lady of Gethsemani in Kentucky and changed his name to Bro. Joseph (after St. Joseph, his favorite Saint).  He stayed in the monastery for two years before realizing that it truly wasn't what God had planned for him so he received permission to leave. Some time after, Joseph somehow learned of Fr. Damien's work with the Molokai lepers and, almost immediately, discerned God's call to serve alongside the heroic priest, who incidentally, was also named Joseph.  So the former monk sold all his belongings, boarded a ship, and landed on Molokai in July 1886.

For the next 44 years, Bro. Joseph, as he was affectionally called, served the lepers selflessly and tirelessly. He worked, side-by-side, with Saints Damien and Marianne until their deaths, nursing the sick and serving as their trusted helper in many important matters.  In fact, shortly before he died, St. Damien reportedly remarked, "I can die now.  Bro. Joseph will take care of my orphans."  Such was the confidence the Saint had in his friend.

Bro. Joseph's holy death occurred on March 26, 1931 and the patients of Kalaupapa mourned his passing deeply. They buried their beloved Brother next to St. Damien's grave in the churchyard of St. Philomena Church in Kalawao, near Kalaupapa.  His remains are still there, awaiting further advancement of his Cause for Canonization.

"I would not leave my lepers for all the money the world might have."

~ Words of Bro. Joseph

Bro. Joseph, standing beside the original grave of St. Damien de Veuster on Molokai

Brother Joseph Dutton's Cause

In June 2015, Bishop Larry Silva of Honolulu approved the establishment of the Joseph Dutton Guild to help promote knowledge of, and devotion to, Bro. Joseph. The guild is also raising funds to further the Cause for Canonization. For anyone interested in obtaining more information about this new Servant of God, and/or donating to the Cause, the Joseph Dutton Guild may be contacted at the following addresses:

       Mailing Address:  1184 Bishop Street - Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
       E-mail Address:  josephdutton@rcchawaii.org

The guild has also published a special prayer to obtain favors through the intercession of Bro. Joseph Dutton, which I included below.  Please kindly join us, Hawaii Catholics, in praying for the speedy Canonization of our third Apostle of Charity.  Mahalo and God bless us all!


Bro. Joseph Dutton, pray for us!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

First Saturday Parish Rosary at St. Anthony of Padua Church, 1/2/2016


Blessed Mother, bless our new year!
I often heard it said that it's always good to pray, before and after, the start of something important.  I completely agree.  Our parish group closed-out last year with the Holy Rosary and the Mass - two of the most powerful and efficacious prayers in the Church - and we began 2016 in the same way.  So I think it's fair to say that our group is off to a good start this year.

As always, the people that gathered today in our parish's Day Chapel did so to intercede with God for World Peace, as well as to ask for it in our own lives.  It never ceases to amaze me how an incredible sense of Peace tangibly descends into the chapel once our prayer gets underway and, which seems to gradually increase, to the point where the atmosphere is thick with it.  It's as though the Day Chapel, for the 30 minutes that we're praying, becomes a refreshing oasis of Divine Peace through which God fills us; enough to last us until the next prayer meeting and enough to pass on to the rest of the outside world that is clearly thirsting for it.  It's a signal grace we can't keep to ourselves - it must be made known and shared.

And the Saint we honored this month was St. John Neumann (d. 1860), an immigrant from Europe who was ordained a priest in New York and became a Bishop of Philadelphia in 1852.  This ministry made 1st and 2nd Class Relics of this Saint available today for us to venerate (left photo) and my audience was also delighted to learn that he has somewhat of a loose tie to Hawaii.  You see... St. John Neumann founded the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, which in turn, spawned the Franciscan Sisters of the Neumann Communities of which our very own Saint - St. Marianne Cope - was a member.  As a result, our parishioners gave St. John an extra-enthusiastic welcome to our prayer gathering.

The next First Saturday Rosary for Peace will be prayed on February 6th in the Day Chapel of St. Anthony of Padua Church in Kailua, Oahu.  As part of our parish's First Saturday monthly devotion one can go to Confession; pray the Rosary; learn about a Saint or Blessed; venerate genuine relics of the Blessed Virgin and a featured Saint of the Month; and finally, attend Mass to receive the most precious gift from God - the Eucharist.  All are welcome to participate!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Saint of the Month - January, 2016: Blessed Maria Repetto

Blessed Maria Repetto
A Model of Charity ~ Memorial: January 5th

This month's featured holy person is a humble nun from Genoa, Italy.  In many ways, her life closely mirrored that of St. Andre Bessette of Montreal, Canada - like him, she was the doorkeeper for her convent; she had an intense devotion to St. Joseph, the foster-father of our Lord; and she was a miracle-working healer.  But, alas, unlike St. Andre, she is not very well-known outside of her home country, but I hope to spread devotion to her in some small way, via this blog... 

Maria Repetto was the oldest child of a very large and pious family from Voltaggio, Italy. She was born on November 1, 1807.  Out of the eleven children in her family, one son entered the priesthood and four daughters, including Maria, became nuns.  Maria entered the convent of the Daughters of Our Lady of Refuge in Genoa on May 7, 1829, and professed final vows in 1831.  She was employed by her superiors in various positions such as washerwoman, infirmarian, and as a seamstress/embroiderer.  In the latter position, she was tasked with making table clothes to sell, as well as the sacred linens and vestments used for liturgical celebrations.  Sr. Maria took pride in creating beautiful things for the Lord.


In addition to being a hardworking member of her community, Sr. Maria also practiced a very deep prayer life, a trait that obviously originated from her excellent upbringing.  She had a special love for the Blessed Sacrament and spent much of her free time praying before the Tabernacle. Sometimes she spent entire nights praying in the chapel, but it never interfered with her duties in the convent.

Bl. Maria Repetto was deeply
devoted to St. Joseph
When Sr. Maria's poor eyesight began to effect her sewing, she was assigned the role of portress (doorkeeper).  It was then that the public aspect of her personal mission began.  Little by little this simple nun began making an big impression in the Genoese community through the genuine love and charity she displayed to all who came to the convent.  Sometimes it was through the simple act of lending a patient and caring ear to the peoples' concerns... or saying a few words of comfort or wisdom... or offering a short prayer on their behalf; little gestures that eventually added up to a lasting legacy of holiness. In addition, news of miracles - especially healings and remarkable conversions - began circulating about Sr. Maria.  These, the nun attributed not to herself but to the intercession of her personal Patron Saint - St. Joseph.  Her devotion to him was so great, she distributed medals and small images of St. Joseph to all who came to her for help, encouraging all to prayerfully use them with confidence.

There was a amusing story that related how a certain woman came to Sr. Maria, asking help for her husband who had gone blind.  The woman was extremely distressed because the husband was the sole-support of their family.  Sr. Maria promised her prayers and later went to her cell where she prayed for the blind man before a small painting of St. Joseph hanging on the wall.  The nun reportedly turned the painting around so it faced the wall and innocently complained to St. Joseph that this was the sad ordeal the blind man had to endure; to live in darkness.  The very next day the woman returned with news that her husband had suddenly regained his eyesight, after which Sr. Maria returned to her cell to turn St. Joseph's portrait facing forward again.  She did so with the words,  "Thank you, St. Joseph.  I knew you would see it my way."  Such was the simple faith of Sr. Maria and the immense confidence she had in St. Joseph's solicitous intercession.

Despite the high regard the people of Genoa had for their resident miracle-worker, Sr. Maria's life was not without trials and controversy.  As the number of people coming to the convent significantly increased, some of the other sisters complained that the portress was causing a serious disruption to their community life.  As a result, the superiors removed Sr. Maria as portress and assigned her to another position within the community.  It was a humiliation the nun accepted without complaint.  Of course the public uproar that arose caused the superiors to reconsider their decision and Sr. Maria was eventually restored to her post at the door.

Pope John Paul II praying
before the remains of Bl. Maria
Sr. Maria lived the majority of her long life enclosed within the convent walls, assisting the poor and needy from the gate... but when cholera outbreaks occurred in Genoa in 1835 and 1854, she courageously volunteered to temporarily leave the convent to help nurse those afflicted by the epidemic. Again, the holy nun deeply impressed many by her selfless dedication to the sick and the dying.

In the last years of her life, she was encouraged in her personal work and consoled in her final illness by divine revelations of the afterlife.  Sr. Maria died peacefully of natural causes at the age of 82 on January 6, 1890.  She had been a nun for sixty years and the people of her city mourned her passing.

The Church Beatified Sr. Maria Repetto on October 4, 1981, and her relics are enshrined in her convent in Genoa (right photo).  One more verified miracle is needed for her to be declared a Saint.  May God grant the Church that grace.

A Reflection
A small, simple act of kindness can sometimes make a big difference in the recipient's life.

A Short Prayer
Lord, after the example of Bl. Maria Repetto, help us to practice conscious acts of kindness and love; recognizing you in the people most in need of our charity.