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


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Saints & Holy Relics Speaking Presentation, 8/29/2017: Sacred Heart Church, Waianae


The Sacred Heart Church in Waianae (Oahu) once again welcomed my Guadalupe House Lay-Ministry and the hallowed pilgrim visit of various Saints and Blesseds. I was re-invited by the parish’s RCIA group to conduct another presentation about Saints and Relics for their faith community, particularly for a group of teens and adults preparing for their Sacraments of Initiation.  This was my third presentation at this church and despite being a weeknight, an unexpected heavy downpour, and even a flash flood warning, the turnout for the presentation was fantastic.

The Holy Relics of various Saints & Blesseds displayed during my ministry's
Saints & Relics Presentation at Sacred Heart Church, Waianae.

This time around the Saints/Blesseds I featured in my presentation and, whose sacred relics were present, were, as follows: St. Bernadette Soubirous (bone), St. Benedict Joseph Labre (bone), St. Joseph (cloak), Bl. Maria Repetto (bone), Our Lady (veil), Bl. Peter To Rot (leather belt), Bl. Rolando Rivi (hair), Ven. Solanus Casey (clothing) [soon to be beatified in November 2017], St. Teresa of Calcutta (clothing), St. Therese of Lisieux (bone) and her parents – Sts. Louis & Zelie Martin (bones).

As usual with my Saints & Relics Presentations, I emphasized to my audience members the diverse paths of holiness and/or corresponding charisms of each holy role model… and how ALL of us are more than capable of following in their footsteps to attain a degree of personal sanctity… and, eventually, our very own salvation.  I think the group got the message and the response appeared enthusiastic.

Waianae parishioners venerating the relics.
After the talk ended I was pleasantly surprised that most of the feedback I received was from the youth in attendance. Several teens approached me to express how much they enjoyed learning about the Sainthood Process… as well as the individual lives of the various Saints/Blesseds I spoke about. One girl seemed almost choked-up (in a good way) as she spoke to me, while another person - a young man still pending baptism – declared that he was eager to be baptized and become a Catholic!  I later saw them at the display altar viewing and praying before the relics I brought. It was evident the Saints/Blesseds had again succeeded in touching hearts for Jesus in Waianae… and they even left us with a tangible sign of their presence – Escarchas!

Fine shiny flakes of gold, red, and sky-blue appeared on a table, on and around my electronic equipment, which the RCIA members excitedly collected with clear tape.  I also saw Escarchas on the floor around the altar.  For me it was visible confirmation that the gate of Heaven had opened and members of the "Celestial Court” had come through to bless us in a special way this evening -  the icing on the cake for all of us... and we were grateful and awed.

... and I am also grateful to the RCIA family of the Sacred Heart Parish for their endearing warmth and generosity. May Our Lady and the Saints/Blesseds always guide and bless each of us for the good of our souls and the good of our Church… and above all - for the greater glory of God!  Amen.

Friday, August 25, 2017

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


"Dear Children!  Today I am calling you..."

Our Lady's Monthly Message to the World on August 25th: 
   "Dear children! Today I am calling you to be people of prayer.  Pray until prayer becomes a joy for you and a meeting with the Most High.  He will transform your hearts and you will become people of love and peace.  Do not forget, little children, that Satan is strong and wants to draw you away from prayer.  You, do not forget that prayer is the secret key of meeting with God.  That is why I am with you to lead you.  Do not give up on prayer. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Our Lady's Special Message to Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo on August 2nd:
   "Dear children, according to the will of the Heavenly Father, as the mother of Him who loves you, I am here with you to help you to come to know Him and to follow Him.  My Son has left you His foot-prints to make it easier for you to follow Him.  Do not be afraid. Do not be uncertain, I am with you.  Do not permit yourselves to be discouraged because much prayer and sacrifice are necessary for those who do not pray, do not love and do not know my Son.  You help, by seeing your brothers in them.  Apostles of my love, hearken to my voice within you, feel my motherly love.  Therefore pray, pray by doing, pray by giving, pray with love, pray in work and thoughts, in the name of my Son.  All the more love that you give, so much more of it you will also receive.  Love which emanates from love illuminates the world.  Redemption is love, and love has no end.  When my Son comes to the earth anew, He will look for love in your hearts.  My children, many are the acts of love which He has done for you.  I am teaching you to see them, to comprehend them and to thank Him by loving Him and always anew forgiving your neighbors.  Because to love my Son means to forgive.  My Son is not loved if the neighbor cannot be forgiven, if there is not an effort to comprehend the neighbor, if he is judged.  My children, of what use is your prayer if you do not love and forgive?  Thank you."

Saturday, August 5, 2017

First Saturday Parish Rosary at St. Anthony of Padua Church, 8/5/2017


Turn your lemons into lemonade through faith in God and prayerful cooperation with Divine Grace. This was the lesson I relayed to our participants at today's First Saturday Rosary for Peace. It was a message inspired by the life of the Saint of the Month I talked about - Bl. Maria Pilar Izquierdo Albero, an obscure Spanish Founder.

              
From Left to Right:  Bl. Maria Pilar Izquierdo Albero, today's display altar,
& a bone relic of the beatified Spanish foundress.

For readers not familiar with her, this Blessed's life reads as one seeming misfortune after another - early in her life she fell from a tram and broke her pelvis, which led to her being bedridden for 12 long years; along with the immobility came ulcers all over her body (bedsores?); complete blindness and partial deafness reportedly followed. The invalid was miraculously, and instantaneously, healed on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, 1939, and set about founding a charitable group of nuns.  

All went well for two years until misunderstanding, slander, and discord set in among her community members, which forced the founder out of her own fledgling congregation. Things then went from bad to worse - Bl. Maria Pilar soon broke a leg in another accident, and was also diagnosed with stomach cancer! She died from the disease at only 39-years-old. As already mentioned, her life, it seemed, was one episode of bad luck after another... but it was the manner in which she consistently responded to these setbacks that made her an inspiration... and eventually raised her to the glory of the altar.

You see, rather than wallowing in misery and/or self-pity, or falling into despondency, as most people may easily have been prone to do, Bl. Maria Pilar instead heroically resigned herself to the Lord's will; accepting her physical and moral suffering, as a way of attaining closer union with Christ, and as a sacrifice for the success of her mission. In essence, she transformed her pain into active prayer, and by doing so, effectively turned her life's "lemons" into lemonade.

Various photos of some of the escarchas that
appeared on both my hands and wrists.
Incidentally, the Blessed's efforts did not go unrewarded from God - she was eventually favored with many extraordinary gifts: Bilocation; Ecstasies and Visions of Jesus, Mary, and Saints; Prophecy; and the Stigmata. And in the end, her life's work also experienced a revival, as a completely new congregation - the Missionary Work of Jesus and Mary - that was carried on by a small group of the Blessed's loyal nuns. The congregation still flourishes in Spain and other parts of the world.

So today's lesson from our saintly bio was highly encouraging, I feel, and relevant to just about everyone. We all have lemons that sometimes sour our personal lives; some people have more than others (many participants chuckled when I mentioned the fact)... but it's all the more opportunities to make sweet spiritual lemonade, if we can just follow Bl. Maria Pilar's lead!

On a side note, escarchas made a return appearance today. They were manifested as beautiful sky-blue, green, pink, and gold flakes, as we prayed our Rosary. I sensed the Holy Spirit's powerful presence in the chapel and I'd like to think the escarchas were symbolic of divine "sugar" being sprinkled from above to encourage us to start transforming our own sourness into sweet "heavenly lemonade".  God is good.

Our next First Saturday Rosary will be prayed on September 2nd, beginning at 4:25pm in the Day Chapel of St. Anthony of Padua Church, Kailua.  All are welcome to participate.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

It's true - GOD IS PRESENT EVERYWHERE!


"The Lord is near to all who call upon Him; to all who call upon Him in truth."

- Psalm 145:18

Our God is ever-good... ever-loving... omnipresent... even in the midst of rush hour traffic! If you're reading this, you probably already know it and agree with most of the statement, if not all of it. I believe it wholeheartedly... and I am blown away by how the Lord sometimes wills to reveal His presence to us through little surprises I like to describe as "spiritual serendipity".  Today I had another one of those delightful episodes.

To make a long story short, I was driving to work this morning and praying my Rosary at the same time. While stopped by a red light at a busy intersection and, as I contemplated the Rosary Mystery I was on, my glance wandered to a wall across the road. There, on the distant wall, formed by light and shadows, was a familiar image. Talk about coincidental and uncanny!  Right away I smiled in amusement and even managed to take a photo of it, which is shown below.

The photo I took of an uncanny image (circled)
that I spotted on a wall.

I later texted the photo to a devout Christian friend of mine and his immediate reply to me was perfect: "... God's presence is everywhere."

I won't elaborate on the rustic image I recognize, but will leave it to the viewer's personal discernment.  If one happens to see what I believe I saw then please allow me to address these words of benediction to you: May you always recognize the face and presence of Christ in the people you come across, each and every day... and in every circumstance of your life.  God bless you!

"You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart."

- Jeremiah 29:13

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Saint of the Month, August 2017: Rose Prince


Rose Prince
A Heavenly Blossom of the Carrier Nation

[Adapted from several online sources]

It's more than plausible that there are many, many Saints in Heaven who are not known to us.  In life their holiness was hidden from our eyes and known only to God.  They drew no attention to themselves but lived quiet and humble lives of prayer and service to others.  Yet, sometimes, God in his mysterious wisdom reveals a glimpse of greatness that was in our midst unrecognized.  Such is the hidden life of Rose Prince of the Carrier Nation from Lejac in British Columbia, Canada.  Signs of her sanctity first came to dramatic light in 1951. 

During that year a decision was made to relocate several graves from near the Lejac Indian Residential School to a much larger cemetery nearby. During the transfer process the cemetery caretaker opened the coffins to examine the physical condition of the deceased when he was awestruck by what he found in the casket of a native woman named Rose Prince.  She had been buried two years earlier.

The worker was amazed to find both Rose's body and clothing perfectly preserved while all the other bodies were in different stages of disintegration, including those who had passed after Rose. The caretaker immediately notified the resident priest and nuns who had personally known the Carrier maiden in life, and they all noted the body to be in perfect condition. She seemed to be only peacefully asleep and there was even a hint of a smile on her lips. It was widely hailed as a case of saintly "incorruptibility", as the sight of Rose lying in such a remarkable state reminded the witnesses of the deep piety she exhibited during life.  So who was this enigmatic woman?

Rose Prince was born in 1915 in a small house behind the convent at Fort St. James.  She was the third of nine children born to Jean-Marie and Agathe Prince. Both her parents were devout Catholics. Rose's father was descended from a line of chiefs who ruled the Carrier Nation that was centered around Stuart Lake.  Jean-Marie often translated for the priest during services and led the prayers and singing.  He also helped to look after the church building.

Another photo of Rose Prince
Rose's mother was raised by the Sisters of the Child Jesus in Williams Lake because her own mother died when she was very young. Along with her beautiful auburn hair, Agathe passed on to her daughter the quiet serenity that characterized her life.  She was known to be a gentle woman of strong faith. Jean-Marie and Agathe went to school together in Williams Lake where they fell in love, married, and returned to live in Fort St. James. Their children first attended the little school in Stuart Lake.  Then in 1922 the government built a larger school at Lejac where their children were then sent.

Sr. Bridie Dollard, who taught Rose, described her as "a hard worker and a brilliant student, kind, lovely, gentle and compassionate." Some of her fellow students remember her as a happy child. Her goodness and understanding drew her peers to her, one of whom recalled, "Sometimes I would feel resentment towards the Sisters or the other girls, or someone who said something to me, and then she would talk to me about it and say to pray for the person instead of feeling resentment.  She was full of advice like that." 

Although she came from a loving home, Rose's life was not easy.  She developed a curvature of the spine that resulted in a hump on one side of her back (one account I read blamed it on an incident during which a heavy bench was accidentally dropped on her causing a spinal injury).  The pain made it awkward for her to get around and very difficult to kneel.  Yet all those who gave testimony about Rose agree that never once was she heard to complain about her condition.

In 1931, while Rose was at school in Lejac, her mother died during an influenza outbreak.  Her death was extremely painful for the child.  Soon after she also lost her two younger sisters.  From that time on, although her brothers and sisters went home each summer, Rose chose to stay behind at the convent.

At this time Rose also began to develop a deep life of prayer and seemed to have an abiding sense of the love and presence of Jesus.  An indication of this comes from her cousin Celina John, who related, "Rose lived only for the glory of God. She didn't live for anything else. One time I was curious so I asked her why it is that she never goes home with her brothers and sisters. She kept silently going on with her work, then finally she looked up, she smiled and said, 'I've got my parents in here'. I didn't understand what she meant. I thought she meant the Sisters. Then I finally said, 'Who are they?' She answered, 'Our Blessed Mother and her Son, Jesus, they are my parents. I feel so close to them here, I just don't want to go out and I have no intention of going anywhere.' That is what she told me." 

After she graduated Rose asked to stay on at the school because she felt loved and respected there, and was accepted as part of the staff.  To a friend she confided that it was the best choice for her.  Here she could be herself, enjoy quiet and privacy, and practice her faith.  Her spiritual life continued to bloom and she had a particular devotion to the Eucharist.  In spite of the difficulty that her deformity caused her when kneeling, she spent hours at prayer in the chapel before our hidden Lord.

Rose's current grave in Lejac,
now the site of pilgrimages.
As an adult, religious practices were optional, yet Rose faithfully received Jesus at daily Mass.  She fulfilled many jobs at the school: secretarial work, mending, cleaning, embroidering and sewing.  Books were a favorite pastime and she often helped the younger children learn how to read.  No one ever heard a cross word from her and she did her tasks with great cheerfulness, often singing or humming while doing her chores. She was also a gifted artist who loved collecting and examining flowers before painting them in great detail on altar cloths and tabernacle veils.

Rose eventually contracted tuberculosis and by 1949 had grown so weak that she was confined to bed. She was admitted to the hospital on August 19th and quietly passed away that evening while Mass was being offered for her.  She was 34-years-old.

The Sisters prepared Rose's body for burial and were amazed that rigor mortis had not set in. Her body lay in an awkward position because of her spinal deformity so a pillow was placed under her head to position it better.  Dressed in white, one of the nuns remarked that Rose looked like an angel lying in her coffin, and this was how she was discovered on that fateful day two years later.

Soon after the discovery of Rose's incorrupt body, a spontaneous devotion sprung up around her grave, which has now become the site of an annual pilgrimage each Summer.  Cures have been reported with many being effected through the devotional use of the soil from her grave.

As of this writing, the Cause for Canonization for Rose Prince has yet to be officially opened in the Diocese of Prince George, British Colombia.  However, the parish priest of Fraser Lake has personally informed me that there are definite plans underway to do so; the annual pilgrimage grows larger each year, as graces continue to be reported. Let us pray for Rose's Cause to be speedily opened for the greater glory of Jesus Christ and His Church.


A Prayer to Invoke the Intercession of Rose Prince (for private use only)

   Heavenly Father, you shared so deeply with Rose Prince of the Carrier Nation, your gift of serenity and your love for creation; grant through her intercession that we may share your serenity and your peace of soul, and may we too rejoice in the beauty of creation that surrounds us on every side.  And finally, through her intercession we plead for this favor (mention your prayer intention here), which we ask with confidence. In your loving kindness, grant this through Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.