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, July 25, 2016

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


Dear Children...

Our Lady's Monthly Message to the World on July 25th:
   "Dear children! I am looking at you and I see you lost; and you do not have prayer or joy in your heart. Return to prayer, little children, and put God in the first place and not man. Do not lose the hope which I am carrying to you. May this time, little children, every day, be a greater seeking of God in the silence of your heart; and pray, pray, pray until prayer becomes joy for you.  Thank you for having responded to my call."

Our Lady's Special Message to Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo on July 2nd:
    "Dear children, my real, living presence among you should make you happy because this is the great love of my Son. He is sending me among you so that, with a motherly love, I may grant you safety; that you may comprehend that pain and joy, suffering and love, make your soul live intensely; that I may call you anew to glorify the Heart of Jesus, the heart of faith, the Eucharist. From day to day through the centuries, my Son, alive, returns among you - He returns to you, though He has never left you. When one of you, my children, returns to Him, my motherly heart leaps with joy. Therefore, my children, return to the Eucharist, to my Son. The way to my Son is difficult, full of renunciations, but at the end, there is always the light. I understand your pains and sufferings, and with motherly love I wipe your tears. Trust in my Son, because He will do for you what you would not even know how to ask for. You, my children, you should be concerned only for your soul, because it is the only thing on earth that belongs to you. You will bring it, dirty or clean, before the Heavenly Father. Remember, faith in the love of my Son will always be rewarded. I implore you, in a special way, to pray for those whom my Son called to live according to Him and to love their flock.  Thank you."

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

St. Junipero Serra's Relic comes to Hawaii...

"Always forward, never back!"

~ St. Junipero Serra


The official flyer for this event
[click on the photo to view a larger image]
This evening, Honolulu's Co-Cathedral of St. Theresa had the privilege of hosting a genuine relic from St. Junipero Serra (not in the custody of this ministry); the famed Franciscan priest from Spain who founded 9 missions in California, and because of it, is popularly acclaimed as the "Apostle of California". He was recently canonized by Pope Francis last year in September 2015.

The veneration event, which was sponsored jointly by the Diocese of Honolulu and the local Serra Club, coincided with a Eucharistic Holy Hour, and was presided over by Bishop Larry Silva for the specific purpose of praying for religious vocations in Hawaii and throughout the world.

In addition to the public veneration of St. Junipero's 1st Class Relic, the event included the exposition and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the recitation of the Holy Rosary. It was nice to see the big turnout of people who came to this special prayer service to welcome the visiting relic and to fervently pray for such a worthy cause. It also just goes to show that there are still Catholics around who are interested in our spiritual heroes - the Saints - and enthusiastic over making a personal connection with them through their blessed remains.

May St. Junipero Serra, from his place in Heaven, bless us and intercede for us; obtaining for the Universal Catholic Church abundant holy vocations.

Our Hawaii Faithful, gathered in the Co-Cathedral of St. Theresa (the Little Flower) to spiritually unite
with St. Junipero Serra in praying for increased religious vocations before our Eucharistic Lord.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

First Saturday Parish Rosary at St. Anthony of Padua Church, 7/2/2016


Today, at the First Saturday Rosary for Peace in my parish, I presented the life of an obscure Carmelite Saint for our parishioners to reflect on - St. Teresa of the Andes (little-known, at least, here in Hawaii).  When I held up her photograph from my tablet (bottom-right photo) to the gathered participants, most appeared immediately intrigued, as is usually the case when I show actual photos of our modern Saints... but today, for whatever the reason, the interest in our meeting's Monthly Saint seemed much greater... and I was glad.

   
A relic from the bones of St. Teresa of the Andes was displayed for public veneration
at this month's First Saturday Rosary at St. Anthony of Padua Church, Kailua.

For those not familiar with St. Teresa of the Andes, a brief biography can be viewed here...but basically, she was an aristocratic young woman from Chile, who from an early age was favored with locutions [the mystical charism of hearing divine communications] from Jesus and Mary.  Growing up, she was guided by her mystical experiences to overcome her character faults, including a tendency to be self-centered. Her personal devotion to St. Therese the Little Flower also filled her with a strong desire to join the Discalced Carmelites, and by the time she finally entered Carmel, she was already well-advanced in sanctity due to her consistent effort in following the words and inspirations she received from God.  The Saint died at the tender age of 19 after offering herself as a victim soul to Christ.

For me, I think one of the lessons learned from reflecting on St. Teresa's life is the need to listen and abide by the "words" of the Holy Spirit within our own hearts. I understand that not all people are privileged to hear the audible voices of Jesus and Mary, like how St. Teresa did, but I do believe that every person of faith has the capacity to be directly inspired by the Holy Spirit in varying degrees; either by distinctly clear thoughts - that "small voice" within - or positive sentiments that encourage us to strive for greater faith-lives and/or to do good things. I shared my idea with the group and suggested that, perhaps by paying closer attention to our own personal inspirations from God and being obedient to it, we too, in some way, could end up attaining holiness like St. Teresa of the Andes. Again, intrigue was noted in the faces of the people, along with serious reflection.

Prayer meeting participants lined up to venerate
the relic of St. Teresa of the Andes.

After our Rosary Prayer finished, many people approached the display altar to venerate a 1st Class Relic of St. Teresa that I had brought for this occasion.  I can usually tell how impressed people are by a Saint or Blessed based on the number of people who stay to venerate a relic before heading out to the Mass next door... and this time, there was a larger group than normal so I think many deeply connected with St. Teresa's faith-message today.

The next opportunity to make a connection with a Saint/Blessed at our parish will be on Saturday, August 6th, beginning at 4:25pm in our Day Chapel.  All are welcome.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Saint of the Month - July, 2016: Blessed Angelina of Marsciano

Blessed Angelina of Marsciano
A Woman on Fire with Divine Love ~ Memorial: July 14th

This month, I'd like to introduce readers to a remarkable, but little-known miracle-worker from Italy.  Her name was Bl. Angelina of Marsciano and, in her lifetime, she fulfilled the roles of wealthy socialite; wife; widow; and founder of a religious congregation. Born in Marsciano, Italy, circa 1357, her father was Giacomo, a duke, and her mother was Alessandra, a highly pious noblewoman.  Through her mother's worthy influence, early on Angelina was exposed to a home environment of exceptional faith and her very first words were said to have been the holy names of "Jesus" and "Mary"; a prophetic indication of the life of devotion that she was destined for.

Despite the loving atmosphere that she was surrounded with during her early years, there was also sadness present. Her father died from the plague a year after her birth, and at about age 6, her mother was also taken from her.  In the years that followed, her three older brothers also died, leaving behind Angelina and her married older sister, Francesca, in their immediate family. Losing her earthy support, Angelina turned directly to Our Lady and our Lord for spiritual guidance and also vowed her virginity to Christ.  At 15 her family began making plans for an advantageous marriage for her with another duke, which the young maiden protested. Despite her resistance, the wedding arrangement proceeded, prompting the young duchess to again address her concerns to the Blessed Virgin. In response, she received a revelation directing her to go through with the marriage as all would go in her favor.

On the night of the wedding, Angelina confided her situation concerning her private vow to her now-husband - Giovanni di Terni, the Duke of Civitella - who, as it turned out, was also a highly devout man. Moved by grace, he agreed to live with his bride as brother and sister. This, they did, until the duke unexpectedly passed away two years later, leaving Angelina a young widow with no earthly obligations.  She therefore dedicated herself to prayer and good works, caring for the sick and the poor of Marsciano; funding her charitable endeavors with her inheritance.

Bl. Angelina's miracle of the coals
In due time, the efforts of the charismatic duchess attracted a number of followers to her cause and surprisingly, many were young women from other distinguished families.  Angelina loosely organized her group into a pious association, which put her in direct conflict with the noble families whose daughters had left to follow Angelina. They accused the budding founder before the King of Naples, as encouraging their daughters to spurn marriage in favor of religious life... and worse yet, as having the power to bewitch other women so as to gain followers for her movement. As a result of all the misinformation, the King summoned Angelina to his court with the intent of having her tried as a heretic or witch, then burned at the stake.

Angelina, in the meantime, was forewarned by God about the King's secretive plan for her... so she presented herself at his court in dramatic fashion - hand-carrying within the folds of her mantle, a small pile of burning coals, as a not-so-subtle rebuke to the King's plan to get rid of her with fire (illustrated to the right). Seeing the maiden and her clothing miraculously unharmed by the flames, the dumbfounded King dismissed Angelina without incident, as well as with a newfound respect for her.

To add to her increasing spiritual clout, a few days later the Blessed reportedly raised a dead man to life a youth from one of the noble families - through her fervent prayer. As a result, there was an influx of women wanting to join her and, along with it, more uproar from the families affected. To assuage them, the King of Naples banished Angelina and her followers, who took up residence in Foligno, where they were welcomed.  There, in collaboration with the Franciscans, Angelina was able to establish a monastery for her group, which quickly grew into a new congregation - the Franciscan Sisters of the Third Order Regular, which was comprised of vowed tertiaries living in community, but uncloistered, so as to be able to actively minister to the sick and the poor within the local area. The innovative spiritual concept spread and soon the young founder was establishing other monasteries of her congregation throughout Italy. Pope Martin V officially approved Angelina's group in 1428 and from that year, until her death, she served as the congregation's general superior.

The urn of Bl. Angelina of Marsciano, as seen in the church of St. Francis
in Foligno, Italy.  A wax mask covers the face of the Blessed's incorrupt body.

For most of her life, Angelina served in Foligno and traveled throughout Italy in support of her work until she died on July 14, 1435; she was 61. Reportedly, shortly before her death, she summoned her spiritual daughters to her bedside to encourage them in their vocation and ministry. She then slipped into a profound ecstasy before peacefully passing away. In 1492, the founder's body was found completely intact, inspiring greater devotion to her memory among the Franciscans and the citizens of Foligno, who already referred to her as "Blessed". Angelina's cultus was eventually confirmed by the Church in March 1825, which made the title and public devotion to her official. Her incorrupt body now lies in the Church of St. Francis in Foligno not too far from the remains of another great mystic - St. Angela of Foligno.

A Reflection:
"You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love."  ~ Galatians 5:13

A Short Prayer:
Father in Heaven, not our will but Yours, be accomplished in our lives.  May we serve You by lovingly serving others, as Blessed Angelina exemplified.  Amen.