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, March 25, 2017

Monthly Messages from the Queen of Peace of Medjugorje: March 2017


Image result for Medjugorje
Our Lady, Queen of Peace, pray for us...

Our Lady's Monthly Message to the World on March 25th:
   "Dear children! In this time of grace, I am calling all of you to open your hearts to God’s mercy, to begin a new life through prayer, penance and a decision for holiness. This time of spring moves you to a new life, to a renewal, in your thoughts and hearts. Therefore, little children, I am with you to help you to say 'yes' to God and to God’s commandments with resoluteness. You are not alone; I am with you through the grace which the Most High gives me for you and your descendants.  Thank you for having responded to my call."

Our Lady's Special Message to Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo on March 2nd:
   "Dear children! My motherly desire is for your hearts to be filled with peace, and for your souls to be pure so that in the presence of my Son you could see His face. Because, my children, as a mother I know that you thirst for consolation, hope and protection. You, my children, consciously and unconsciously are seeking my Son. I also, as I passed the time on earth, rejoiced, suffered and patiently endured pains, until my Son, in all His glory, removed them. And that is why I am saying to my Son: help them always. You, my children, with true love, illuminate the darkness of selfishness which all the more envelopes my children. Be generous. May both your hands and heart always be open. Do not be afraid. Abandon yourselves to my Son with trust and hope. As you look towards Him, live life with love. To love means to give oneself, to endure, and never to judge. To love means to live the words of my Son. My children, as a mother I am speaking to you: only true love leads to eternal happiness.  Thank you."

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Holy Theotokos of Iveron: Visit #2 with the Myrrh-Streaming Icon of Hawaii



"All your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made you glad."

~ Psalm 45:8

Tonight, I was invited to participate in a joint-pilgrimage with St. George parishioners (Waimanalo) and Our Lady of Good Counsel (Pearl City) to venerate Hawaii's very own myrrh-streaming "Holy Theotokos of Iveron". It was my second visit with the alleged miracle-working icon... and like the first time I saw it in June 2015, this evening's events proved to be an unforgettable encounter with the supernatural.

The altar in the Eastern
Catholic Church.
From what I was told by a friend, the icon had recently been away from Hawaii touring the US mainland, and just returned this week. Its custodian, the Russian Orthodox Subdeacon, named Nectarios, was invited to bring the blessed image to St. Michael the Archangel Eastern Catholic Church near Mililani Town where tonight's veneration service was held.

The program started with the prayer of the Rosary, followed by a short talk given by the Subdeacon, who narrated to us his personal view on why the Iveron Icon drips myrrh. He basically reiterated that Our Lady is indeed our loving mother and she is manifesting this grace of oil to get our attention; to point the way to her Divine Son, as depicted in the icon. He also testified to a few remarkable cures recently attributed to the icon, which is renowned in Orthodox Church circles for the curative properties of the myrrh that frequently oozes and drips from its surface.

Immediately after the talk, a healing service followed during which the audience was given the opportunity to view and touch the icon's protective frame, as well as receive an anointing from the Subdeacon using some of the blessed myrrh-oil. We were told earlier in the evening that the icon was currently not streaming because of the Easter Season, however, when my turn came up to venerate the image, I found the icon's case slightly tacky to the touch due to a thin layer of oily, rose-scented myrrh.

The Iveron Icon's custodian, Subdeacon Nectarios, testifying about his many miraculous
experiences with the holy image.  The icon is displayed on the center podium.

Besides the delightful aroma that surrounded the image and its immediate vicinity, many silver escarchas appeared on the carpet leading up to the podium where the icon was displayed. While waiting in line, me and co-members from our Mililani Lady of Fatima Prayer Group noticed them manifesting on the carpet, and we may have inadvertently peaked some peoples' curiosity the way we kept staring at the floor and taking pictures. 'don't blame them if they thought us crazy... but the silver sparkles just kept appearing and appearing like many tiny stars against the blue color of the carpet - so beautiful!

video
The healing prayer service - pilgrims venerating the
icon and receiving an anointing with holy myrrh.

In spite of these clear signs that were being granted us in that tiny chapel, for me, what stood out the most about this evening was not the oil, the scent of roses, or the escarchas... but rather, it was the powerful presence of the Divine - it literally slammed into me! I'll just leave it at that because my experience with the icon was deeply personal... and the truth is - I'm still trying to absorb it all.

A small copy of the Iveron Icon with a piece of cotton soaked
in the miraculous myrrh that were distributed at the event.

I'll close this post by affirming once again that I believe in God; that I believe in Our Lady's role as intercessor and prophetess for the People of God; that I believe in the truth of the Iveron Icon and agree with the Subdeacon's assessment of it - Heaven is trying to point our way back to God and, in these times of extraordinarily flagrant wickedness, Jesus is resorting to extraordinary means to reach us - sending his own mother to anoint us with blessed myrrh; a scented oil, which in Sacred Scripture, denotes elements needed to resist evil: Healing, Strength, and Consecration to God's Work.  Our Lady of Iveron, pray for us!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Novena Prayer in Honor of St. Joseph, the Chaste Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary


"Would that I could persuade all men to be devoted to this glorious Saint [St. Joseph],
for I know by long experience what blessings he can obtain for us from God."

~ Words of St. Teresa of Avila

St. Joseph, pray for us!

Here we go again... every year, in March, I like to pay special honor to St. Joseph, the foster-father of our Lord by praying a 9-day novena leading up to his Feast Day on March 19th... and I'd also like to invite readers to join me in this special prayer-exercise beginning tomorrow, March 11th, and ending on St. Joseph's Feast.

Trust me - St. Joseph's intercession is awesome before the throne of his Divine Son... so I am re-posting a Novena Prayer to him that I've posted for the last three years (see below)My hope is that on the Feast Day, many others will have a deeper admiration for this illustrious Saint and perhaps an answered prayer request, too.

I will be praying it diligently, not just for my personal needs, but also for the needs of family; friends; and the readers of this blog (you).  Feel free to post prayer intentions in the Comment Section below.  I will pray for them and I ask others who make this novena to also pray in spiritual union with the others praying it, too; for other peoples' needs and intentions.  It will be powerful!**

** TIP:  For this novena - any prayer - to be successful, there must be a measure of faith; a belief that God, in his infinite goodness, can answer our prayer.  Without faith, prayer has no power.


The Memorare to St. Joseph

Remember, O St. Joseph, loving and powerful protector, that
according to the testimony of your faithful servant, St. Teresa of Avila,
no one who is truly devoted to you has seen his petition rejected.
Filled with confidence and hope I come to you, O worthy
Spouse of Mary Immaculate. 

[mention your personal intention here]

Do not close your ears to my prayers, you who have the
glorious title of Father of Jesus, but hear it and present it for me to
Him who has vouchsafed to be called your son.  Amen.

[pray an Our Father, a Hail Mary, and a Glory Be]

St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, pray for us!


"The children of the world are ignorant regarding the privileges and rights, 
which the Most High has conferred on my holy spouse, and the power of his intercession
with the Divine Majesty and with me...  In all trials seek his intercession, because the
Heavenly Father will grant whatever my spouse asks."

~ Words of Our Lady to Ven. Mary of Agreda

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Marian Apparitions & Saints Speaking Presentation, 3/7/2017: Sacred Heart Church, Waianae

The beautiful shrine to Our Lady of Fatima at the
Sacred Heart Church in Waianae, Oahu.

Once again, I had the privilege of speaking before parishioners of the Sacred Heart Church in the Oahu Leeward town of Waianae. I had spoke at this parish before, in September 2016, giving them my Saints & Holy Relics Presentation... but this time around I was reinvited to faith-share about Marian apparitions that have occurred throughout the world, and the important message Our Lady has been delivering to earth on behalf of her Divine Son. The presentation, in general, consists of the following:

  • Overview of Marian apparitions & Our Lady's messages
  • Sharing on several church-approved Marian Apparitions (e.g. Akita, Betania, Champion, Cuapa, Fatima, Lourdes, San Nicholas, etc.)
  • Saintly visionaries & their relics (e.g. St. Bernadette, St. Catherine Laboure, the 3 Fatima Seers, St. Padre Pio, & St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta)

For the past 35+ years I've studied dozens and dozens of the Blessed Virgin's alleged appearances throughout history, and I can testify that I've been blessed in countless ways because of what I've learned from the mother of Christ. In particular, Our Lady's messages have helped me to strengthen my own faith in God, and has deepened my faith-relationship with Jesus, and I am beyond grateful for it. If there's any way I can help others to experience our Heavenly Mother in the same way I have and make them aware of her urgent words of love and warning, I'll do it. Hence, I developed this specific presentation for that purpose, and so far it's been good - my audiences have responded positively, including this latest group at the Sacred Heart Church.

 
The display altar with my ministry's pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima
and several relics of various Marian Saints. The Waianae parishioners were
given the opportunity to venerate the relics after the talk.

And what never fails to amaze me is when strange things happen during the presentations, such as a mysterious floral fragrance when there aren't any flowers around and/or the appearance of heavenly dust - escarchas. Tonight, escarchas manifested, to all of our surprise - gold, silver, red, and green - on a table and on the display altar around my Fatima pilgrim statue, the relics, and other statues on display. I directed the people to collect them and they enthusiastically did so using tape someone fetched from the parish office. One lady stuck her piece of tape with the escarchas to the brown scapular around her neck so she could keep it close to her, as a reminder of how Our Lady blessed us all tonight. What a great idea!

I am well-aware the escarchas appeared not because I'm worthy of these manifestations in any way... but rather, I firmly believe it's because Jesus and Mary are trying harder than ever to get people to commit to the message; granting special signs to affirm the truth of our Blessed Mother's words.

So needless to say, tonight's talk was a success. Based on feedback received, most of the people found the presentation enlightening and, of course, the escarchas brought much joy and excitement; the icing on the cake. My hope and prayer, now, is that this evening will be the awakening of deeper faith in the Waianae community. May Our Lady pray for them... and may Jesus bless them abundantly.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

First Saturday Parish Rosary at St. Anthony of Padua Church, 3/4/2017


Our Lady, pray for us!
Today I introduced our First Saturday Rosary prayer participants to St. Colette of Corbie. Although my ministry has had custody of a 1st Class Relic of this holy woman for a while, I've never fully appreciated her life until I started to do in-depth research on her for the Saint of the Month blog I posted on March 1st. She's amazing.. and not just for the incredible miracles she worked in her lifetime, but also for her accomplishments in reforming the Poor Clares and her efforts in healing the Church of her time, which was fragmented into three factions, at one point, due to the great Western Schism. St. Colette personally inspires me so I'm definitely a big fan.

With the above being said, I couldn't wait to introduce the people gathered in our Day Chapel to St. Colette and to present to them her relic for public veneration. I wanted them to be inspired by the Saint's example to move forward with whatever personal missions God has been calling them to do in their own lives, whether it be something as simple as cleaning the church once a week or becoming a catechism teacher... or something more challenging such as opening a soup kitchen or starting up a new ministry in our church.

St. Colette of Corbie,
pray for us!
St. Colette, for a while, was held back from fulfilling her own awesome mission from the Lord because she thought herself unworthy and was probably a bit fearful (a positive sign of her humility). But, at the same time, the Lord obviously saw in her a tremendous potential that she didn't recognize, herself. But once the Saint finally gave her assent to God, that was all He needed to accomplish great things through her. The same applies to all of us. If we're being called to fulfill a work for Him, we just need to trust that God isn't making a mistake by choosing us (he never makes mistakes!); say "OK, Lord - I'll do it."; pray (a lot); then move forward. God will open the doors and provide us with all that we need to see the job through.

I saw a few smiles and head-nodding going on among the audience members when I shared my personal takeaways from St. Colette's life so I'm hopeful the message I shared got some wheels turning in some of the peoples' heads. Who knows? Perhaps it means we'll see new "St. Colettes" running around in Hawaii doing lots of good things for our parish church and for the world in general.

Our next First Saturday Rosary for Peace will be offered on Saturday, April 1st (not a joke). The prayer meeting begins at 4:25 in the Day Chapel of St. Anthony of Padua Church, Kailua. Come and be inspired by Our Lady and the Saints!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Saint of the Month - March 2017: St. Colette of Corbie

Saint Colette of Corbie
Fruitful Tree of Gold ~ Feast: March 6th

She was born Nicolette Boylet, on January 13, 1381, but was affectionately nicknamed "Colette" by her parents and the name stuck. Her father was a skilled carpenter from Corbie who, along with her mother, were worthy examples of piety. According to several biographies, her parents were childless well into their advanced years, but they prayed consistently to St. Nicholas of Myra/Bari, the Patron Saint of Children, to one day be graced with a child; Colette was the fruit of their patient prayers and she came into their lives when her mother was nearly 60-years-old! Nicolette, in fact, is a diminutive of the name, Nicholas.

Colette, like her godly parents, was a model of goodness from a young age. She was precocious and charitable, yet prone to solitude in her desire to guard her baptismal innocence. Hardworking and prayerful, she was an immense joy to her parents, who allowed their daughter free reign in the expression of her faith. By age 17, Colette was left an orphan and, after giving away what little inheritance she had to the poor, she set about trying to enter a convent.

Our Saint explored consecrated life among the Beguines and the Benedictines but was disappointed that their manner of living was not as stringent, as she hoped for... so for a time Colette continued to live a quasi-solitary life in a small shack near the parish church of Corbie, until age 21, when she become an anchoress within the same church. She was voluntarily walled-up in a cell with a barred window that opened into the church interior where she could see the altar and participate in the Mass. Food and water was provided to her by the priest and other charitable souls through the window... and here she spent her days in constant prayer and voluntary penances.

One of St. Colette's reported miracles - the raising
of a dead nun to life.
Colette's time during her self-imposed imprisonment was both a period of painful trial and spiritual growth. The devil, not surprisingly, was enraged with her blossoming sanctity and he subjected her to severe temptations, and both visible and physical harassment. On her part, the anchoress responded to the enemy with more prayer and mortification, and was often consoled and encouraged by Heaven with extraordinary favors. Colette expected to live out the rest of her years hidden in her humble cell, but God had a different plan for her.

After three years of what now seemed to be a spiritual preparation for a greater purpose, Colette experienced a series of visions through which the Lord and St. Francis of Assisi (d. 1226) tasked her with returning the Poor Clares to a strict observance of their original Rule. Colette, in her humility, felt herself inadequate to the call and resisted the mission that was offered to her. Jesus responded by showing her another vision - a large golden tree upon which other trees were sprouting from its wide-spreading branches. The anchoress intuitively understood that she was to be this golden tree, and the future convents she was to found were the other trees... but, still, she hesitated due to fear and self-doubt.

Finally, in order to move her to action, the Lord struck Colette deaf and dumb for three days, followed by another three days of blindness. Recognizing in these mysterious afflictions that it was indeed God's will that she obey, the reluctant maiden finally gave in to the unique mission assigned to her. She obtained permission from her confessor to leave her enclosure and walked to the court of Pope Benedict XIII in Nice (an Anti-Pope, who at the time, was considered the legitimate Pope by France) to obtain official sanction for her reform. The French Pope, reportedly an ascetic, himself, was deeply impressed by Colette's passion and sincerity, and he professed her as a Poor Clare before empowering her with the authority to reform the Order.

Armed with a Papal Bull, Colette moved forward in fulfilling the commission given her by Jesus and St. Francis. Her reform insisted that the original rule of the Order's Foundress - St. Clare of Assisi (d. 1253) - be reinstituted among the Poor Clares, with its emphasis on poverty; perpetual fasting and abstinence; and that the sisters go barefoot. She traveled extensively throughout France, Belgium, and Spain and was initially met with violent opposition from many of the laxed convents she visited. Because of her unwavering adherence to the Rule, she was viewed as a mad woman and a fanatic by the very women who should have been living the Rule to begin with.

Another miracle of St. Colette - walking across
a river in Neublan, France, with her retinue.
Colette accepted all insults and obstacles with calm and peace, but was indomitable in her work of reformation. Heaven clearly affirmed the new abbess's efforts, as her biography is filled with many stories of wonders that she publicly performed, as she journeyed from one city to another to establish convents of "Colettine" Poor Clares. There were several resurrections she reportedly performed, including that of a stillborn baby in Besancon and a nun in Poligny who was brought to life while already lying in a wooden casket.

In the town of Verey, Colette was once a guest of the local Dominican nuns and she cured one of their members of leprosy by giving her a compassionate embrace... and still more remarkable, in October 1421, during one of her many missionary travels through France, Colette was witnessed miraculously crossing a river on foot in Neublan (Jura), along with her entourage of priests and nuns!

In addition to being gifted with the ability to work miracles, Colette's other spiritual gifts included frequent ecstasies, visions, bilocation, the mystical marriage (she received a visible gold ring from Heaven), prophecy, and the Stigmata of the Lord. On Fridays, especially during the Lenten Season, the abbess fasted and, after receiving Holy Communion in the early morning, fell into a prolonged ecstatic trance during which she participated in the sufferings of Christ. She did not bear the stigmata in the usual manner by having nail marks on her hands and feet, but rather, bruises and wounds appeared on her face and body as she envisioned and meditated on the different scenes of the Passion; visible signs of her deep, mystic union with her Crucified Spouse. 

All in all, Colette founded 18 Poor Clare convents under her reform beginning with her first foundation in Besancon, France. She died of natural causes in her convent in Ghent, Belgium, on the date she prophesied - March 6, 1447; she was 66-years-old. Even before the end of her illustrious life, she was widely venerated as a Saint not only by her spiritual daughters, but also by the many people whose lives she touched, including another great Franciscan apostle, St. John of Capistrano (d. 1456). Shortly after her holy death, Colette's emaciated body took on a heavenly beauty, and she appeared in glory to several of her close collaborators in the various convents she founded.

Lastly, it's important to note that although Colette initially believed Pope Benedict XIII to be the legitimate Pope, she later rallied to the cause of ending the great Western Schism that was ravaging the Church in her lifetime (at one point there were three Popes!). She corresponded with St. Vincent Ferrer (d. 1419), another friend of hers, concerning his support of the Anti-Pope and once bilocated to him to personally encourage Vincent to turn his efforts towards the healing of the fractured Church. Colette had the satisfaction of seeing the schism ended with the election of Pope Martin V in 1417.

The ornate tomb of St. Colette of Corbie in the Colettine Poor Clare Convent in Poligny.

The Church celebrated St. Colette's canonization on May 24th, 1807. Today, the Colettine Poor Clares are still thriving with foundations throughout Europe, the United States and in South America. Her relics, however, are enshrined in the convent she founded in Poligny, France.  May St. Colette intercede for the Universal Church and for all our personal needs.

A Reflection
We need to trust in God's personal mission for each of us, although we may not feel worthy of it. God will fill the gaps that we cannot fill through our own humble efforts.

A Short Prayer
Lord, help us to surrender to your will and plan for us with faith and trust; whatever work you desire to complete through us, help us to fulfill it in its entirety.  Amen.