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, April 30, 2016

Holy Relic Visitation: Our Lady of Fatima Prayer Group, 4/30/2016


Our group's Rosa
Mystica statue.
This evening was a night of extraordinary signs at the Gruber Home.  We've seen escarchas appear on several occasions during past prayer meetings, but on this particular night, not only was there a manifestation of escarchas, but several of us also witnessed an extraordinary transformation in our host's Rosa Mystica statue (right); its lovely face suddenly took on a striking, life-like appearance with soft features and a dewy complexion... and what's more is, at the same time the statue was exhibiting changes, a scent of flowers mysteriously surrounded us in the garage where we were gathered in prayer (there were no flowers around); the fragrance was sweet and delicate and intermittently came and went.

We also celebrated a
new member's birthday!
When I first realized what was happening to the statue and the floral scent, I kept silent about it, thinking that it was perhaps my imagination... but, shortly after, other members of the group began remarking about the statue's face, as well as the fragrance!  It goes without saying that we were all impressed and excited as we collectively realized that we were experiencing the presence of the Blessed Virgin in a special way.  Furthermore, I also noticed that there were escarchas scattered on the floor, which was an added confirmation that Heaven's door had opened in our midst!

Our prayers continued with deeper fervor and meaning as we basked in Mary's motherly presence.  At the end of the prayer segment of our meeting, the wondrous signs abruptly ended and our members began comparing personal impressions of what we had just experienced.  Then with joy we celebrated the rest of the night with our potluck dinner.  The menu was Chinese cuisine this evening and, as it turned out, we also had a buffet of several delectable desserts - Almond Float, Mochi Rice Cakes, Blueberry Coconut Crumble, and Ambrosia Fruit Salad!

Celebrating our night of special graces from our Blessed Mother.

Every meeting is wonderful but this evening will definitely go down for our group as one of the more memorable meetings in the 3+ years we've been getting together each month.  God never ceases to surprise us with His goodness and unexpected wonders.  Thank you, Jesus and our dearest Blessed Mother!

Monday, April 25, 2016

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


Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us!

Our Lady's Monthly Message to the World on April 25th:
   "Dear children! My Immaculate Heart bleeds as I look at you in sin and sinful habits. I am calling you: return to God and to prayer that it may be good for you on earth. God is calling you through me for your hearts to be hope and joy for all those who are far away. May my call be for you a balm for the soul and heart so that you may glorify God, the Creator, who loves you and is calling you to eternity. Little children, life is short; you, make good use of this time and do what is good.  Thank you for having responded to my call."

Our Lady's Special Message to Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo on April 2nd:
   "Dear children, do not have hearts that are hard, closed and filled with fear. Permit my motherly love to illuminate them and fill them with love and hope; so that, as a mother, I may soothe your pains because I know them, I experienced them. Pain elevates and is the greatest prayer. My Son, in a special way, loves those who suffer pains. He sent me to soothe them for you and bring hope. Trust in Him. I know that it is difficult for you because you see more and more darkness around you. My children, it is necessary to break it by prayer and love. The one who prays and loves is not afraid, he has hope and a merciful love, he sees the light and sees my Son. As my apostles, I call you to keep trying to be an example of merciful love and hope. Always pray anew for all the more love because merciful love brings light which breaks every darkness - it brings my Son. Do not be afraid, you are not alone, I am with you. I implore you to pray for your shepherds that at every moment they may have love, that they may work for my Son with love - through Him and in memory of Him.  Thank you."

Saturday, April 2, 2016

First Saturday Parish Rosary at St. Anthony of Padua Church, 4/2/2016


Today, on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday, the line into our parish's confessional was exceptionally long again.  Perhaps partly due to people trying to gain the Lord's promised indulgence for tomorrow's feast.  But for some reason, it seems to have been that way for a few months now... and, as I mentioned before, I've never seen our confessional like this in all the years I've been at my parish.  I like this recent development.  I view the upsurge as an indication that more people, at least in Kailua, are trying to make a fresh start in life - a life with God involved; that the Holy Spirit is powerfully working in the parish.

On a smaller scale, I know with certainty that the Holy Spirit was definitely present in our Day Chapel during our First Saturday Rosary for Peace.  I recognized and felt his presence.

You see... today had actually started off for me in a rather hectic manner - I had to work (on my day off), and in my rush to get ready this morning, I inadvertently forgot the two relics at home - pieces of clothing from both St. John Paul II (d. 2005) and the Blessed Mother - that I planned to display at the church.  By the time I realized it, when I was done at the office, it was already too late for me to return home to pick them up.  I was upset with myself for the oversight, but I knew it was all due to the work-related stress I've been dealing with lately.

So at the start of tonight's meeting I apologetically explained what happened to the group gathered in our Day Chapel.  There was a bit of disappointment among the people, but there was also understanding. I began the prayers still irritated with myself, but as the Holy Rosary steadily progressed, it was soon water under the bridge.  That familiar sense of the "divine" filled the Day Chapel and I was able to let go of the concerns that had burdened me throughout the past few weeks.  It was deep, deep PEACE; a sign of the Holy Spirit's presence among us... and a fruit of prayer.  I thanked the Lord and our Blessed Mother for unyoking me from the world's "worldliness" even if just for today.

... and I know I wasn't the only one who experienced God today.  In fact, after our meeting ended, two of our regular participants approached me - one did so to reassure me that it was OK that I forgot to bring relics this month and then he sincerely thanked me for my ministry work in the parish.  He looked unusually content as he headed out to Mass in the main church. The other person (a woman) had a more dramatic testimony - she showed me her forearm sprinkled with escarchas and told me they appeared during the Hail Holy Queen prayer.  She, too, left looking quite content; at peace.  God is good.

The next First Saturday Rosary for Peace will be offered for the world on Saturday, May 7th, beginning at 4:25 pm. All are welcome to participate.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Saint of the Month - April, 2016: Blessed Elena Guerra

Blessed Elena Guerra
An Apostle of the Holy Spirit ~ Memorial: April 11th

"Pentecost is not over. In fact it is continually going on in every time and in every place,
because the Holy Spirit desired to give Himself to all men... and all who want Him can always
receive Him, so we do not have to envy the Apostles and the first believers; we only have
to dispose ourselves like them to receive Him well... and He will come to us as He did to them."

~ Words of Bl. Elena Guerra


An accurate portrait
of Bl. Elena Guerra's
facial features.
Not widely known outside of Italy, I hope to somehow change that fact because the life-message this foundress of a teaching congregation has to offer us is important and relevant for our times - it concerns devotion to the Holy Spirit, whose Divine Light the world needs now more than ever.

Elena Guerra was born on June 23, 1835. She was one of six children born of a wealthy family in the city of Lucca, Italy. Growing up she was afforded many privileges not allotted to many - she was educated in the best schools; trained in music and fine art; and studied French and Latin. As an added blessing, she was fortunate to have parents who were spiritually inclined, a trait which Elena inherited. At the age of 10, after her Confirmation, her spirituality was particularly manifested, via a profound devotion to the Holy Spirit and outward acts of charity.

In her youth, Elena actively volunteered with the Vincentians in Lucca and cooperated with them in assisting the poor and caring for the sick. She did this until she herself fell seriously ill at age 22, which left her bedridden for eight years (one source stated the illness as cholera). During this period of trial, Elena kept herself occupied with continued prayer and spiritual reading, especially studying Sacred Scriptures and the writings of early Church Fathers.

After Elena sufficiently recovered from her long malady, almost immediately she applied her deep faith experience and extensive spiritual knowledge to establishing a catechism association called the Society of Mary, Daughters of Saint Agnes. Its membership grew quickly and in 1866 the work evolved to become the Sisters of St. Zita, a female congregation which had the charism of providing solid Christian education to girls and young women. In fact, one of the girls to benefit from Mother Elena's work was none other than the mystic and stigmatist, St. Gemma Galgani (d. 1903). In 1887, the future Saint became a pupil of the school run by the Sisters of St. Zita and she was deeply impressed by its founder's influence.  Truly, holiness begets holiness!

St. Gemma Galgani (left)
was a student of Bl. Elena.
In 1870, Mother Elena traveled to Rome to attend a session of the First Vatican Council convened by Pope Pius IX. The event made an impact on her and it further fueled her tremendous love for the Catholic Faith. She was later inspired by mystical locutions to write a series of letters to the succeeding Pontiff - Pope Leo XIII - requesting that he address a growing problem of their time - anti-clericalism - by rekindling the power and devotion to the Holy Spirit within the Church. 

The Pope, on his part, was moved by Mother Elena's faith and persistence, and he subsequently acted upon her requests by issuing three papal documents - Provida Matris Caritate (an Apostolic Letter), Divinum Illud Munus (an Encyclical), and a letter to the episcopate - between 1895 and 1902. Furthermore, in 1897, after meeting with her personally, Pope Leo XIII made the unusual move of authoring a name change to Mother Elena's congregation to the Oblates of the Holy Spirit; a clear deference for the foundress and her dedication to the Holy Paraclete.

In her final years, Mother Elena was subjected to an unjust humiliation - some of her nuns opposed her changing vision for her congregation and managed to obtain her forced resignation from her position as Mother General of the Oblates. As typical of genuinely saintly souls, the foundress accepted the demotion with humility and continued to serve her daughters in whatever capacity she was ordered to. She also persevered in promoting devotion to the Holy Spirit through many written works, which are considered some of the best on the subject of the Holy Spirit and his charisms. The illustrious St. John Bosco once referred to Mother Elena as a "golden pen" in reference to the quality of her spiritual writings.

The shrine of Bl. Elena Guerra in Lucca, Italy, enclosing a wax figure and the relics of the Blessed.

Mother Elena died on Holy Saturday, April 11, 1914, at the age of 78. After her death, the foundress' memory was vindicated within the congregation and her sanctity was confirmed by the Church when her Beatification occurred on April 26, 1959. Today, the Oblates of the Holy Spirit continue to work and flourish, bringing the light of the Holy Spirit to such places as Italy, Brazil, Canada, Philippines, Lebanon, and Iran.

A Reflection
  "... the world is bad, the spirit of Satan triumphs in perverted society and a multitude of souls move away from the heart of God. In these sad conditions, Christians don't think to direct unanimous supplications to the One who can 'renew the face of the earth'."  ~ from a letter of Blessed Elena Guerra to Pope Leo XIII

A Short Prayer
  Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.  Amen.