NOTICE: I am a practicing Catholic, active and in good-standing with my local diocese, who professes faith and loyalty to the Church. This ministry - my "little work" - is strictly a personal expression of that faith and loyalty, and not an officially recognized ministry in the Diocese of Honolulu.

~ Peter, Ministry Administrator

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Monthly Messages from the Queen of Peace of Medjugorje: May 2013

Our Lady, Queen of Peace, pray for us.

Our Lady’s Monthly Message on May 25th:
"Dear children! Today I call you to be strong and resolute in faith and prayer, until your prayers are so strong so as to open the Heart of my beloved Son Jesus. Pray little children, pray without ceasing until your heart opens to God’s love. I am with you and I intercede for all of you and I pray for your conversion.  Thank you for having responded to my call."
Our Lady’s Special Message to Mirjana on May 2nd:
"Dear children; Anew, I am calling you to love and not to judge. My Son, according to the will of the Heavenly Father, was among you to show you the way of salvation, to save you and not to judge you. If you desire to follow my Son, you will not judge but love like your Heavenly Father loves you. And when it is the most difficult for you, when you are falling under the weight of the cross do not despair, do not judge, instead remember that you are loved and praise the Heavenly Father because of His love. My children, do not deviate from the way on which I am leading you. Do not recklessly walk into perdition. May prayer and fasting strengthen you so that you can live as the Heavenly Father would desire; that you may be my apostles of faith and love; that your life may bless those whom you meet; that you may be one with the Heavenly Father and my Son. My children, that is the only truth, the truth that leads to your conversion, and then to the conversion of all those whom you meet - those who have not come to know my Son - all those who do not know what it means to love. My children, my Son gave you a gift of the shepherds. Take good care of them.  Pray for them.  Thank you."

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Holy Relics Visitation: Our Lady of Fatima Prayer Group, 5/18/2013

Our prayer meeting at the Gruber residence was rescheduled to a week earlier this month... but, really, none of us minded.  I, myself, was actually glad it came early as I was looking forward to the prayers and close fellowship that our group members shared every month.  Given the distance between Kailua and Mililani, where the Gruber's live, this is the only time some of us prayer participants get to see each other so I was looking forward to catching up with dear friends I hadn't seen in a while.
So at tonight's gathering we celebrated our Blessed Mother in a special way since the month of May is especially dedicated to her... and along with Our Lady, we also honored St. Peregrine Laziosi (d. 1345) - the well-renowned Patron Saint of Cancer Patients - who had become somewhat of an unofficial patron for the group given the numerous cancer patients who have been recommended to our monthly prayers during the past year.  Both St. Peregrine and Our Lady were represented at the meeting through their respective relics, which were displayed on the host family's home-shrine for us to venerate while we prayed.

Sacred Relics of Our Lady's garment (Ex Camisia, left) and St. Peregrine Laziosi
(Ex Ossibus) were displayed on the Gruber's home-shrine during the meeting.
Again, the meeting was meaningful. At the start I sensed the weariness in our spirits, which was probably due to some of the built-up day-to-day stress that many of us have acquired since last month's prayer meeting. Heartfelt prayers flowed freely and by the end of the prayers, our burdens were lifted... even if just for the night.  The presence of the Holy Spirit was quite tangible and was visibly manifested later in the evening when a couple of us were powerfully overwhelmed by the Lord's presence... and unexpectedly fell over, one after the other; apparently after being "slain in the Spirit" during a final prayer for the night.  It was a first for our prayer group to witness such a remarkable sight.
Our customary mealtime was filled with lighthearted conversation, laughter, and testimonies of prayers answered, which we always find encouraging.  After having prayed with this special group of people for a year now,  the  tight spiritual bond that we've  come to  share has strengthened and become a mighty blessing; we're really family now with God as our Father and Mary as our Mother.  So after the meeting ended, and as I drove home with a couple of friends from Kailua, we talked about the night's events and were already looking forward to June's meeting, and the blessings that it promised.  We were grateful...

Thanks be to Jesus Christ and our dearest Blessed Mother Mary!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Speaking Presentation & Pilgrim Visitations, 5/4 & 5/5/2013: St. Anthony of Padua Church, Kailua

What a busy and productive weekend this turned out to be.  This little ministry was involved with two events at my parish church... and the common theme for both was definitely FATIMA and the Holy Rosary.
May 4th: First Saturday Rosary
My Fatima Pilgrim Virgin Statue
and relics of the Fatima child-seers
were the focal points of this month's
Rosary for Peace at St. Anthony
of Padua Church.

The first event was our parish's monthly Rosary for Peace, which we offer on the First Saturday of every month in our Day Chapel.  Being that it was May - the month in which Our Lady began her celebrated series of six apparitions at Fatima, Portugal - I decided to give my Rosa Mystica statue a break and brought my Fatima pilgrim statue, instead, to the Rosary Meeting.  In addition, I also brought along relics of the Fatima seers - Blessed Francisco & Jacinta Marto - along with two recently acquired statuettes of them.
We welcomed back a couple of friends who we hadn't seen in a long while and also a new participant - a young man who recently moved to Kailua.  With the Fatima statue and the relics of the child-seers in our midst, our focus yesterday was naturally on the urgent and timeless message that Our Lady delivered at Fatima in 1917:  Conversion & Praying the Holy Rosary for World Peace.
I spoke about the Fatima Message and its continuing relevance in our present times... and emphasized the lives of the Blessed Fatima children as examples of how to apply the message in our own personal lives.  Our Lady of Fatima also bears a special significance for our regular participants since it was this particular devotion that inspired the start of our parish's First Saturday Rosary devotion almost three years ago.
May 5th:  Pilgrim Statue & Holy Relics Visitation & Presentation
Sharing about Our Lady of Fatima
and the Holy Rosary with our children
(click on the photos to see larger images)
This morning, I was invited to participate in a May Celebration for our CCD children in honor of our Blessed Mother.  I gave a brief talk to the kids - tailored to their young ages - about the events in Fatima, with special emphasis on the lives of Blesseds Francisco & Jacinta who the children could relate to.  They seemed especially tuned-in, given that there were statues of Our Lady and the seers present during the celebration.
Praying the rosary with our children, along
with our parish's Scriptural Rosary DVD.
After my talk, the CCD teachers passed out Rosaries to their respective students and together we prayed a few decades of the prayer while viewing and listening to our parish's very own Scriptural Rosary DVD.  The children were then served refreshments and given the opportunity to venerate the statues and the holy relics of the Fatima seers.  The figurines of Blessed Francisco and Jacinta were of special interest, as many of the children seemed fascinated and charmed by their appearance.
Children venerating the statues and
relics of two of their own: Blds. Francisco
Jacinta Marto of Fatima
All in all, I felt both events made for a spiritually fruitful weekend, thanks to Our Lady of Fatima and her little messengers. Many hearts - young and old - were touched for the greater glory of Jesus.  Ad Jesum per Mariam!
"Say the Rosary every day,
to bring peace to the world and
the end of the war."

~ Words of Our Lady at Fatima, 6/13/1917

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Saint of the Month - May 2013: Saint Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi

St. Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi
The Passion Flower of the Eucharist ~ Feast: May 25th

Born into a life of privilege on April 2, 1566, this extraordinary Italian Saint was baptized Caterina and was the only daughter in her family's branch of the aristocratic Pazzi clan of Florence.  Her biographers report that she was an attractive child with a precocious attitude, and from her earliest years she displayed an unusual attraction and sensitivity towards the presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament… so much so, that she delighted in being near individuals who had recently received the Eucharist.

Shortly after Caterina made her own First Communion at the age of ten, she made a private vow of perpetual virginity and consecrated herself to the service of the Lord, whom she aspired to spiritually wed.  In an effort to master her passionate character, she also began a program of intense self-mortification - prayer, strict fasting, and self-flagellation - the likes of which would shock the average Christian... but extraordinary graces soon followed, beginning with Caterina's first ecstatic trance at the age of twelve, which was witnessed by her mother.

Not surprisingly, soon after, the young maiden informed her family that she intended to become a religious, which they attempted to dissuade her from doing but to no avail.  In December of 1582, at the tender age of fourteen, Caterina was permitted to enter the Carmelite Monastery of St. Mary of the Angels in Florence where she was given the religious name Sr. Maria Maddalena (or simply Sr. Maddalena).  She specifically chose this monastery because it had a special dispensation to receive Holy Communion, daily, which was rare in her time.

A true-to-life portrait of the
Saint in her early years.
The first ten years of Maddalena's religious life were marked with a mysterious illness that left her incapacitated, to which can be added severe temptations against purity and her vocation. On May 29, 1584, her condition was so critical, she was allowed to profess vows earlier than normal, and shortly after was miraculously healed.  Although she regained a measure of health, the temptations and physical diabolic attacks continued, and to these were added another trial: spiritual dryness.

Sr. Maddalena continued her efforts at prayer and voluntary penances, meriting almost-daily ecstasies and sublime visions of the world beyond, including visits with souls in Purgatory who begged her for prayers. During this time her body was also marked with the Sacred Stigmata, but in her humility she asked the Lord to make the wounds invisible, which he willingly granted.  Levitation was also among her special charisms, along with working other miracles (e.g. she once multiplied flour when the monastery was short of food).

The Saint's trials only served to refine her soul and to exercise the love she had for her Divine Spouse; inflaming her heart.  In fact, the love she bore for God reached such a supernatural level of intensity, it manifested as a tangible heat that burned within her - the fire of Divine Love!  At times the heat was so great she would resort to placing her hands into basins of water... or splashing water on her chest in order to cool herself.

Despite the depth of Maddalena’s mystical life, in no way did it interfere with her daily chores in the monastery. It has even been related that she sometimes carried out her assigned tasks while in a state of ecstasy. The nun was so adept in all she did and so highly regarded by her peers, she was appointed to various offices, including Mistress of Novices and finally as Superior of the monastery; her special gifts of Prophecy and Reading Hearts made her the ideal spiritual counselor to her peers and charges, as well as, to pilgrims who visited the monastery to seek her prayers and advice.

The ornate urn and the incorrupt body of St. Maria Maddalena 
de' Pazzi, as venerated in Florence, Italy. 

Towards the end of her life, Sr. Maddalena’s final illness left her bedridden for almost three years and severe gum disease left her toothless and barely able to eat... but she willingly embraced her crosses for the love of God and the conversion of sinners - she died on May 25, 1607, surrounded by a mysterious floral aroma and restored in youthful beauty that filled all who saw her with admiration and awe.

Canonized on April 28, 1669, St. Maria Maddalena's body has remained miraculously incorrupt throughout the centuries. It can still be viewed in its ornate glass casket-reliquary in the chapel of the Carmelite monastery where she lived and died; a smile still adorns the Saint's features.

A Reflection
"O Love, you are neither known nor loved."  ~ Words of St. Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi

A Short Prayer
Lord, with the help of St. Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi, help us to love you and to lead others to love you.  Amen.