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


Friday, November 25, 2016

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


Our Lady, Queen of Peace, pray for us...


Our Lady's Monthly Message to the World on November 25th:
   "Dear children! Also today, I am calling you to return to prayer. In this time of grace, God has permitted me to lead you towards holiness and a simple life - that in little things you discover God the Creator; that you fall in love with Him; and that your life be a thanksgiving to the Most High for everything He is giving you. Little children, in love, may your life be a gift for others and God will bless you; but you, witness without interest - out of love for God.  I am with you and intercede before my Son for all of you.  Thank you for having responded to my call."

Our Lady's Special Message to Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo on November 2nd:
   "Dear children, to come to you and to make myself known to you is a great joy for my motherly heart. It is a gift from my Son for you and for others who are coming. As a mother I am calling you: love my Son above everything. In order to love Him with all your heart, you need to come to know Him. You will come to know Him through prayer. Pray with the heart and with your feelings. To pray means to think of His love and sacrifice. To pray means to love, to give, to suffer and to offer. I am calling you, my children, to be apostles of prayer and love. My children, it is a time of vigilance. In this vigil I am calling you to prayer, love and trust. As my Son will be looking in your hearts, my motherly heart desires for Him to see unconditional trust and love in them. The united love of my apostles will live, will conquer and will expose evil. My children, I was a chalice of the God-man; I was God’s instrument. That is why I am calling you, my apostles, to be a chalice of the true and pure love of my Son. I am calling you to be an instrument through which all those who have not come to know the love of God—who have never loved—may comprehend, accept and be saved.  Thank you, my children."

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Saturday, 11/19/2016: A full day for Mary...


Yesterday was a very busy day and I - am - tired. I spent the majority of my Saturday driving around and doing things for our dear mother - the Blessed Mother, that is - so I was fine with it all. Besides, what Our Lady gives back in return, far outweighs any effort we put into whatever we do on her behalf; trust me - she never fails us when it's our turn to ask her for something.

+ Speaking Presentation & Holy Relics Visitation: Mary, Star of the Sea Church

Saturday morning I had the privilege of speaking to 25+ members of the Third Order of Mary based in Kahala. I spoke to them in 2014 about the Saints, but this time around, their leader asked me to share about Marian apparitions with them. So the talk I put together for the group consisted of an overview of the Church's view on private revelations; examples of approved Marian apparitions around the world; and a synthesis of the Blessed Virgin's overall messages through her seers.

Being that this ministry is also known for sharing relics, I couldn't not include Saints and Relics in my presentation... so a segment on the lives of beatified/canonized Marian visionaries, whose relics are in my custody, was incorporated into my talk. Being that my audience was comprised of people who have made a personal commitment to Our Lady, I though it important to emphasize certain spiritual traits from each Saint/Blessed that we could imitate in our own faith journeys (e.g. child-like confidence in Mary).  After the presentation, the audience was given the opportunity to venerate the relics.

In the end, it appeared to have been a very successful presentation, despite a rocky start (my laptop repeatedly malfunctioned under strange circumstances). Based on the feedback and comments I received, I was satisfied that many of the people had found the presentation interesting and informative. I especially enjoy it when individuals introduce themselves and share their own personal stories of how Our Lady or a certain Saint had blessed or touched them. The stories are always intriguing and provide me with inspiration for my ministry. It wasn't any different yesterday and I left Mary, Star of the Sea Church feeling uplifted and having made several new friends.

     
The relics of St. Bernadette of Lourdes, St. Catherine Laboure, St. Padre Pio, St. Mother Teresa of
Calcutta and all three Fatima Seers were present during today's presentation.


+ Holy Relics Visitation: Our Lady of Fatima Prayer Group

Our Lady's statue with our group's
newly acquired image of St. Joseph
& the Christ Child.
After my presentation on Saturday morning, I rushed home to put the relics and my equipment away and took a short break before I had to head out to Mililani for my monthly meeting with Our Lady of Fatima Prayer Group. We, as a spiritual family, celebrated Thanksgiving early. Although we thank God each time we pray, giving special thanks to Jesus and Mary ended up being our main theme tonight.

In the past few months, Heaven has granted us what seems to be an escalation of extraordinary graces and confirmations of our Blessed Mother's presence, such as the unusual movements we've witnessed in our group's Rosa Mystica statue. We thanked God for all of it, but more importantly, we thanked Him for blessing us with each other; the genuine Christian fellowship, support, and love we've shared during the past four years are the biggest gifts we've received from Christ through the hands of Mary, our Heavenly Mother.  We consider ourselves very fortunate.

A few other highlights of the evening included hope-filled prayers for the good of our country and the veneration of St. Leopoldo Mandic. With the Year of Mercy closing today, this Saint's life was a reminder that God's mercy does not end with the Holy Year - it continues to be extended to us, especially in the confessional.  Then, of course, we feasted on an awesome potluck meal.

Our group's early Thanksgiving dinner was an untraditional menu that included diverse delicacies such as Chicken Curry, Chili with Hot Dogs, Lumpia, Macaroni Salad, Pork Adobo, & Pumpkin Crunch for dessert.  God is good, people - Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

ELECTION DAY: PRAY FOR AMERICA!


Our Lady of Guadalupe,
pray for us!


Regardless who wins the Presidential Election today, the United States of America and its newly elected leader will need a lot of prayer.  Running a country is a tough job!  So let us invoke the powerful help of our Heavenly Mother and patroness - Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Keep in mind - immediately after her apparitions on a hilltop outside of Mexico City, in December 1531, Mary's intercession brought nearly 9 million(!) unbelievers to her Divine Son; harmoniously united two diverse cultures under a Faith founded on the precepts of Love and Peace; and, almost immediately, put an end to the gruesome practice of human sacrifice (often children and the youth).  The same issues from 16th century pre-Christian Mexico have resurfaced today disguised under different names and forms... leading our country down a slippery slope of self-destruction. 


We - our country - urgently need Our Lady of Guadalupe's intercession again.  What Jesus Christ sent his mother to do almost 500 years ago, she can do again.  We just need to pray, pray, pray!


   “O Virgin of Guadalupe, your appearance in Mexico changed the course of human history.  Human sacrifice ceased and millions were converted to Jesus Christ.  Pray for our nation now.  Guide our elections through your gracious intercession.  Change hearts and minds to uphold the dignity of all human life.  Stem the tide of moral degeneration and defend the sanctity of marriage.  Protect our nation from terrorism, war and natural disaster.  May goodness triumph over evil.  May candidates committed to God’s truth be elected and re-elected and may our nation prosper, through Jesus Christ, Our Lord.  Amen.”

Saturday, November 5, 2016

First Saturday Parish Rosary at St. Anthony of Padua Church, 11/5/2016


Our Lady, Queen of All
Saints, pray for us!
We prayed for the deceased today. We had to - the Poor Souls need our prayers... and November gives us the special opportunity to practice this worthy, pious exercise in an exceptionally powerful way. Since the Church traditionally dedicates this month to remembering and praying for our dearly departed, countless Catholics around the world are spiritually focused to this end... and there's definitely a lot of power in that.

With that thought in mind, I introduced the prayer participants to Bl. Elizabeth Achler of Reute (d. 1420) - or "Good Betha", as her contemporaries affectionately called her - who was a German stigmatic and a dedicated benefactor of the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

As her story goes, Good Betha, participated in the Passion of Christ, via wounds from a mystical crown of thorns and nail marks in her hands and feet. She was also highly devoted to the Eucharist and was said to survive on just the Blessed Sacrament, alone, for the final twelve years of her life. Some biographies have made mention of Good Betha's direct contact with the Poor Souls whom she aided through voluntary penances; the suffering of the stigmata; and her frequent attendance at Mass, which entailed Holy Communion.

I emphasized with our group that, aside from the extraordinary graces and sufferings experienced by Bl. Elizabeth Achler, we too can help the Poor Souls, among other ways, by simply attending Mass on their behalf like how she did. In return, the gratitude and loyalty of these souls towards their benefactors run deep. Once completely sanctified and in Heaven, these souls intercede diligently for those who assisted them in getting there; praying that their helpers will one day join them in eternal bliss.

So let us follow the excellent faith-example of Good Betha and keep the Holy Souls in mind whenever we attend Mass and receive Holy Communion. Our dearly departed need our prayers.

The next First Saturday Rosary for Peace at St. Anthony of Padua Church will be prayed on Saturday, December 3rd. All are welcome.

The Holy Relics that were present at today's First Saturday Rosary - on the left, a relic of
Bl. Elizabeth Achler's ("Good Betha") clothing and, on the right, Our Lady's veil relic.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Saint of the Month - November, 2016: Blessed Maria Fortunata Viti


Blessed Maria Fortunata Viti
A Saint of Monotony ~ Memorial: November 20th

For some reason, this particular Beata gives me a cozy feeling whenever I reflect on her life... or look at a picture of her. I don't exactly know what it is about her that does it for me. Perhaps it's her appearance, which seems oddly familiar like a favorite aunt or a grandmother... or maybe it was her gentle nature, which attracted not just people to her, but also wild birds that fearlessly alighted on her hands at her bidding (I'm an animal lover, too).

Born Anna Felice Viti on February 10, 1827, in Veroli, Italy, she was the third eldest out of nine children. Sadly, when she was just 14-years-old, Anna's pious mother died, leaving her and her siblings to be cared for by their father, Luigi; a poor example of a man. Luigi was a compulsive gambler, as well as an alcoholic, who irresponsibly squandered his income on his vices rather than properly providing for his children. 

The Benedictine Convent of Veroli, Italy
Given their unfortunate circumstances, Anna stepped up to the plate by foregoing her elementary education (she remained illiterate all her life) to raise her younger siblings, and working as a domestic servant to make ends meet for her large household. During this same time, she also felt strongly drawn to religious life but postponed applying to a convent because of her loyalty and commitment to her family. It wasn't until ten years later, when Anna was 24, that she was finally able to pursue her desire of giving herself completely over to God. The Benedictine nuns in her hometown welcomed her as their sister and she happily remained with them for a little over 70 years, until her death at the ripe old age of 95.   

Sr. Maria Fortunata, as she was renamed in the convent, soon became notable for her strict observance of the Rule and her outstanding practice of obedience, humility, and prayer. Because of her simple nature, she was assigned the duties of spinning, sewing, and laundry for the convent, which she uncomplainingly fulfilled for the rest of her long life. But when she wasn't occupied with her chores, she could be found in the chapel rapt in deep prayer before our Eucharistic Lord, or lending a kind ear or hand to a nun in need or to visitors.  Needless to say, she endeared herself to many. 

In addition to being remembered for her goodness and piety, Sr. Maria Fortunata's life was also enriched with many spiritual gifts. Biographers report that she had the God-given ability to prophecy and, on one occasion, predicted that a certain priest would abandon his vocation, repent, and resume his priestly ministry with renewed vigor; everything happened as she said. Then there were the mysterious swoons that sometimes overtook her in the chapel, after which her arms and legs would be found covered with bleeding lash marks - the effects, apparently, of the Stigmata of the Scourging. And lastly, as already mentioned, she had a wonderful influence on animals, especially birds, which showed no fear in her presence but freely came to her and nestled in her hands whenever she called to them.

On the other hand, when a venomous snake once found its way into the convent's garden and threatened the safety of her fellow nuns, Sr. Maria Fortunata miraculously disposed of it by making the sign of the cross in the snake's direction after it slithered out of the shrub towards her.  It immediately writhed about before rolling over dead!  

Another painted likeness...
In her final years, Sr. Maria Fortunata patiently endured severe arthritis, which eventually left her bedridden... and then the trial of blindness followed. Unable to fulfill her physical duties, she resigned herself to God's will and simply prayed all the more, until she peacefully flew to Heaven on November 20, 1922. In the eyes of the world, her life would generally be considered mundane and monotonous, but through the eyes of faith, her life was made truly heroic and fruitful through constant prayer and the faithful acceptance of whatever God made her days to be.

After her passing, the memory of this hidden gem of a nun, at first appeared destined for obscurity, but then multiple reports of cures and favors occurring at her grave fueled her reputation for sanctity. The Church took notice and investigated, and the humble Benedictine sister was eventually beatified on October 8, 1967. One more authenticated miracle, worked through her intercession, is needed for Bl. Maria Fortunata Viti to be called a Saint.  Let us pray for that second miracle to soon be realized.

A Reflection:
"Short is the suffering, eternal the joy!" ~ Words of encouragement often spoken by Bl. Maria Fortunata to those who came to her burdened by life's difficulties.

A Short Prayer:

Lord, like your servant Bl. Maria Fortunata, help us to focus on the eternal reward awaiting us in your kingdom, rather than on the temporary trials that we face in this life.  In your name we pray.  Amen.