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

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

In the Presence of a Miracle: The Myrrh-Streaming Icon of Hawaii

I’ve been fortunate to witness several wonderful things in my life that I've considered to be special signs from God and/or the Blessed Virgin Mary… and today, I was in the presence of another such event that ranked way up there in my personal experiences.

The myrrh-streaming icon of the Blessed
Virgin in a small Russian Orthodox church
in Honolulu.  The icon was displayed in the
center of the church, covered in blue cloth.
The photo to the right shows it's outer
case opened.

A friend of mine - Eva - invited me to participate in an exclusive visit to venerate a supposed myrrh-streaming icon of the Madonna and Childlocated right in the very heart of Honolulu (of all places, it’s in an industrial area of downtown just a few blocks away from my place of work!).  I had actually heard rumors of this mysterious event a few months back but I never pursued it because the image wasn’t housed in a Catholic church or home, but rather, in a Russian Orthodox Church.

In fact, the icon - referred to as the "Holy Theotokos of Iveron" ("Theotokos" is Greek for "God-Bearer" and "Iveron" is derived from a monastery on Mt. Athos in Greece inhabited by monks from the country of Georgia) - has been exuding fragrant myrrh (blessed oil traditionally used in religious rituals) intermittently since October 2007... and in June 2008, authorities of this branch of the Orthodox Church officially recognized the weeping icon of Hawaii as a genuine miracle.  In addition, cures have been reported through the devotional use of the watery oil that drips from it.  Still, despite the official approval from its church, I remained cautious and really didn’t think much of it.

So last week, when my friend emailed the invitation to join her and a group of parishioners from St. George Catholic Church in Waimanalo in making a pilgrimage to the icon, I prayed about it for several hours, versus just excitedly jumping at the opportunity to see it.  In the end, I felt very strongly that it was God’s will that I go.  Plus Eva, who had previously visited the icon, assured me that it wasn’t a hoax and I trusted her judgement.  

Who knows, I thought to myself?  Perhaps the invitation from my friend was really Jesus’ manner of indicating that it was time for me to see and venerate this particular image of His Mother; to perhaps receive a special grace; all the while expressing ecumenical solidarity with our Orthodox brethren, who we have a lot in common with in regards to beliefs, including a deep reverence towards the Holy Mother of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  So tonight I went... and I am very glad I did.

Me, standing next to a crucifix-icon in the
church that also dripped myrrh, although
not as frequently and abundantly as the
icon of Mary.

I met the group of about 25 Waimanalo parishioners at the church on 845 Queen Street (appropriate location, given that we were there to see an image of the Queen of Heaven).  The first thing that struck me was the fact that if one was driving on that street, one could easily pass the small church; it looked like any other old office building on the street, if not for some metal letters that spelled-out the name of the church on the wall: Holy Theotokos of Iveron Orthodox Church... plus there was nothing posted on its exterior that indicated something miraculous was occurring within its walls.  I have to admit – I was somewhat surprised, but impressed, at the same time, by the lack of fanfare.  To me, it lent credence towards the probable authenticity of the weeping icon since there didn’t appear to be any outright attempts to attract attention or sensationalize the phenomena.

Inside the church, it seemed larger than what it looked like from the outside. I’ve never been in an Orthodox church but it was beautiful and tastefully decorated with wooden panels and many icons of Jesus, Our Lady, and Orthodox Saints in varying sizes all over its walls; different from the interior of a Catholic Church, but the "vibe" felt familiar and comforting.  

My friend led me to the center of the church where the icon was kept on a stand.  The image was smaller than what I expected - according to church literature only 7" x 9" - and it appeared to be protected in a slightly larger, glass-faced outer case over which was a fitted covering of padded blue cloth.  Streaks of clear oily moisture were evident on the smooth surface of the image and emanating from the frame was a beautiful scent of roses mixed with the pungent, but pleasing, aroma of incense and olive oil.  I prayed quietly while paying my respect to Our Lady's image, before taking a spot near the door to await the start of the prayers.

The interior of the small Russian Orthodox
church on Queen Street, Honolulu... and
people lined up to receive a blessing of holy
myrrh from the Subdeacon.

The Holy Rosary was soon started while the atmosphere was charged with quiet anticipation.  As we prayed the scent of roses got stronger and stronger and there was an overwhelming sense of peace, too.  I honestly felt the Lord and our Blessed Mother with us… and I felt in my heart that we were in the presence of something profoundly sacred; a genuine sign from God.  

After our prayers ended, the guardian of the icon - Subdeacon Nectarios - provided us with a brief history of the streaming icon, as well as gave us an impromptu sermon about what he believed this miraculous occurrence meant. In essence, the he expressed that the icon was a rare sign from Our Lady to lead us all closer to her Divine Son, Jesus Christ.  And to add just a bit more about Subdeacon Nectarios, I sensed this soft-spoken man to be sincerely humble and completely dedicated to his role as the protector of the icon; the patience he displayed towards us and our many inquiries was also admirable.

A small copy of the miracle
icon and a piece of myrrh-
soaked cotton.
Before leaving that little Queen Street church, the Subdeacon gave us all a simple anointing with myrrh from the icon, then he proceeded to open the outer box of the icon-shrine to reveal bunches of cotton balls soaked with the oily substance below the image. We were then treated to small copies of the icon and pieces of the moist cotton, which were placed in plastic packets before being distributed to all present (left photo).  During the entire time this was taking place, I observed the icon closely and noted how the oil appeared to have increased from when we first arrived, especially on the face of the Madonna (yet there was no container of oil near it).  In fact, there was so much scented myrrh, even the outer frame had traces of the clear moisture clinging to it.

After the blessing and distribution of myrrh, Subdeacon Nectarios carefully lifted the icon out of its box to place our written prayer intentions under it (we were encouraged to write them down on small slips of paper).  He took the opportunity to show the few of us, who were closely gathered around, the back of the image before replacing it in the larger case.  The icon's reverse side was dry and free of holes or any type of mechanism that could cause the oil-weeping phenomena.  Again, I was very impressed.  I left that little church feeling renewed and strengthened in my faith in God... and in the miraculous; plus a deeper respect for our Orthodox brethren.  I think the other pilgrims who were there, too, left with the same positive sentiments.

A short video I shot of the myrrh streaming
icon of Hawaii.  The dripping oil can be seen
in the streaks near the Virgin's face.

Not sure about everyone else out there, but in my personal walk with Jesus Christ, my faith sometimes wanes during periods of spiritual dryness or very difficult personal challenges, despite my best efforts.  But it’s always at my lowest points that God sometimes surprises me with a little “boost” to help me pick myself up again.  Tonight’s visit with the streaming Holy Theotokos of Iveron was my latest spiritual boost, and boy did I really need it.  Even as I sit here in my living room, finishing-up on this recent post, I am still enjoying the scent of roses all around me.  It's simply amazing.  Our God is truly a God of wonders!

Thank you, Jesus and Mary!

+  To learn more about the miraculous streaming icon in Hawaii, click here.  +

+ +  To learn about the original miraculous Theotokos of Iveron icon, click here.  +

Saturday, June 27, 2015

St. Anthony of Padua; God's Wonder Worker Supreme!

St. Anthony of Padua,
pray for us!

This brief bio of St. Anthony of Padua is long overdue for my blog. After all, the man is my personal Patron Saint and I picked his name many years ago for my Confirmation Name (to especially thank St. Anthony for the many graces he obtained for me up to that point in my life). But still… although I often mentioned him on this blog, I never featured him in my monthly “Saint of the Month” postings. The truth is - I was actually intimidated by St. Anthony’s life. His life, his work, and his countless miracles are too rich to summarize in a few short paragraphs… and I just didn’t think I could do it.

However, a recent grace I obtained through him prompted me to do something... and with this month being his month, I couldn’t let another June pass by without honoring my favorite Saint in some special way. So here’s to St. Anthony of Padua... may all who read this post grow in devotion to him - the Saint of Miracles!

The Life of St. Anthony of Padua

Many would be surprised to learn that St. Anthony was Portuguese in descent; not Italian. He was born to an affluent noble family in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1195, as Fernando Bulhoes. Early biographers described him as being above-average in height but slight of build; having a narrow face with high cheek bones and a strong aquiline profile, typical of the southern European Latin races.

Young Fernando was educated at a local cathedral school where faith undoubtedly took root in his soul because, at age 15, he entered the Augustinian Monastery in Lisbon. But being close to home made it easy for his doting family and friends to still visit him, which proved too much of a spiritual distraction for Fernando. In 1212, he transferred to his order’s Monastery of the Holy Cross in Coimbra where, after completing 9 years of studies in Latin and Theology, he was ordained a priest.

Two contrasting images of St. Anthony
that claim to represent his true features;
both were modeled after his skull.  The
bust on the left was commissioned by the
Shrine/Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua,
while the digital image on the right was
[The eyes and the nose look somewhat
similar, but the jawlines differ]

While in Coimbra, Fernando experienced a major turning point in his life.  Members of the recently founded Franciscan Order took up residence outside of the city and five of them went off to Morocco to preach the Gospel to the Mohammedans, which greatly impressed Fernando.  Soon, word was received that the five missionaries had been martyred and when their bodies were returned to Coimbra a few months later for burial, Fernando was so deeply inspired by their courageous example that he obtained permission to leave the Augustinians to join the Franciscans; the year was 1220.

After his admittance into the new order, Fernando changed his name to Anthony (after St. Anthony the Abbot, d. 356) and took up residence in the town of Olivais where the Franciscans lived in a small hermitage. His eventual goal was to end up in Morocco like his martyred brethren to preach the Word of God to the inhabitants... and earn the glorious crown of martyrdom, himself.

During the same year of his entrance into the Franciscans, Anthony set sail for Morocco but things did not pan out the way he wanted.  Shortly upon his arrival the hopeful missionary became so ill it was decided by his superiors to send him home to Portugal to regain his health. Divine Providence put another kink in Anthony’s path when a storm forced the returning ship he was on to make an emergency landing in Sicily, Italy.

The sick man recuperated in the city of Messina before making his way north where he stayed for a period in Tuscany, before settling in the Franciscan monastery at Forli. His stay in Forli was marked with obscurity; prayer, study, and menial work were part of his daily routine. Anthony would have been more than content to live this hidden life but, again, God had other plans for him.

"Christians must lean on the Cross
of Christ just as travelers lean on a staff
when they begin a long journey. They
must have the Passion of Christ deeply
embedded in their minds and hearts,
because only from it can they derive
peace, grace, and truth."

~ Words of St. Anthony of Padua

In 1222, an large ordination event was held in Forli, which was attended by both the Franciscans and a visiting delegation of Dominican Friars. In the excitement that preceded, confusion arose as to which group would be delivering the sermon. In the end, the task fell on the hosting Franciscans, who being unprepared, quickly decided on having Anthony deliver the homily despite his protests. As it turned out, when our Saint mounted the pulpit and spoke, the theme of his sermon; his expert knowledge of Scriptures; his eloquent delivery and rich, deep voice; all came together in a manner that mesmerized the congregation… and the rest is basically history.

Soon after his preaching debut, Anthony’s talent as a gifted speaker and teacher became widespread. News even reached the ears of the founder of his Order, St. Francis of Assisi (d. 1226), and in 1224 Francis charged Anthony with the theological training of the rest of the friars. From that time onwards, Anthony’s career as a Franciscan lasted for only 7 more years.

In a relatively short timeframe he also taught in two universities in France and rose to the position of a Franciscan Provincial Superior for northern Italy, and was based in Padua. He also began traversing Italy and southern France as part of a preaching campaign to encourage the faith of his fellow Catholics, and to win back those who had fallen away to join the Albigensians, a growing heretical sect from his time. Among this cult's erroneous beliefs, they taught that everything that was physical/material was evil, while only that which was spiritual in nature was from God, which lead to grave distortions of basic Christian Truths.

Illustrated scenes of a couple of miracles
worked by St. Anthony:  the Saint preached
to fishes in Rimini, Italy... and he raised a
 dead man to testify in favor of his
father's court case.

Truly, it was his innate ability to profoundly touch hearts through his inspired and simple-style of preaching that was Anthony’s main claim to fame. In addition, he earned the nickname the "Wonder Worker" because his missionary efforts were often punctuated by a multitude of signs worked through the power of his intercession and sanctity: Healing, Bilocation, Prophecy, and astounding Miracles of all sorts (including a few occasions of raising the dead back to life). He was also favored with heavenly visitations with the most notable being a private apparition of the Christ Child during an overnight stay in the home of a benefactor.

Anthony's immense popularity preceded him so wherever he stopped to mission, people flocked to see and hear him either out of faith or curiosity. Sometimes the crowds were so big, he needed an escort of friars to help shield him from overzealous individuals who wanted to touch him or clip pieces of his habit for relics.

In the end, worn out by his demanding schedule and suffering from ergotism, Anthony was forced to retire in a secluded hermitage at Camposampiero. Even here, people sought him out. While attempting to make his way back to Padua, the Saint took a turn for the worse and was taken to the Poor Clare monastery in Arcella at the outskirts of Padua. He died there on June 13, 1231, being only 36-years-old... and last words he was heard to say were, "I see my Lord..."

According to one report, at the moment of Anthony's passing the church bells of Padua rang of their own accord while the little children of the city spontaneously cried out, "The Saint is dead… the Saint is dead!"

Sacred Relics of St. Anthony, preserved
in the Basilica of Padua (from left to right):
the Saint's incorrupt tongue, his religious
habit, and his jawbone.

When the sad news of Anthony's death spread throughout the vicinity, the response of the faithful was overwhelming. Mobs came to pay their respects to his mortal remains and many, many cures were reported at his funeral. His reputation for heroic sanctity was so concrete, the Church canonized him less than a year later on May 30, 1232.  It was the second fastest Canonization Cause in the history of the Catholic Church (the first place honor belongs to St. Peter of Verona, d. 1252).

As further recognition, in January 1946, St. Anthony was accorded the rare honor of being declared a "Doctor of the Church".  His holy relics - skull and bones, clothing, and miraculously incorrupt tongue - are preserved in the Basilica dedicated to him in Padua, Italy, and June 13th is his designated Feast Day.

Today, familiar images depicting St. Anthony with the Christ Child are found in countless Catholic churches and homes throughout the world; visible testimonies of his unfading popularity and his efficacious intercession.  So thank you, Lord, for granting us this great Saint as a light to shine against the darkness in the world.  May St. Anthony continue to intercede for our personal needs and for the general needs of our Church, which he dearly loved and defended.

"The life of the body is the soul;
the life of the soul is God."

~ Words of St. Anthony of Padua

A Prayer to St. Anthony of Padua

O Holy St. Anthony, gentlest of Saints, your love for God and charity for His creatures, made you worthy, when on earth, to possess miraculous powers. Encouraged by this thought, I implore you to obtain for me [mention your request].  O gentle and loving St. Anthony, whose heart was ever full of human sympathy, whisper my petition into the ears of the sweet Infant Jesus, who loved to be enfolded in your arms; and the gratitude of my heart will ever be yours.  Amen.

[End by offering an Our Father, a
Hail Maryand a Glory Be in honor
of St. Anthony.  May be recited as
a 9-day novena.]

St. Anthony's Hawaiian Shrine

The reliquary-shrine of St. Anthony
of Padua in Kailua.

My home-parish of St. Anthony of Padua Church in Kailua (Oahu) has a beautiful shrine dedicated to our Patron Saint, situated in the Lanikai wing of our main church building. A votive candle stand fronts a large marble statue of the Saint and a wood/glass display case enshrining an authenticated 1st Class [bone] Relic of St. Anthony (as far as this writer knows, it's the only relic of St. Anthony available for public veneration in Hawaii). So if you're ever in the windward side of Oahu, feel free to worship with our faith community and/or to seek the special intercession of St. Anthony for your personal needs. For more information about St. Anthony of Padua Church in Kailua, please click here.

Make a "Virtual" Pilgrimage to Padua, Italy

Visit St. Anthony's hallowed tomb in the Basilica dedicated to him in Padua, via the Basilica's official webcam. Pray and reflect on the remarkable life of this great Saint while viewing his tomb-shrine, along with pilgrims from all over Italy and the rest of the world. Click here to make your virtual pilgrimage.

+ + + NOTE:  If you're a devotee of St. Anthony of Padua, I'd be interested and happy to learn about any of your personal experiences related to our dear Saint.  Feel free to share about it in the Comments Section below.  Mahalo.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Monthly Messages from the Queen of Peace of Medjugorje: June 2015

Dear Children...

Our Lady's Monthly Message to the World on June 25th:
   "Dear children!  Also today the Most High gives me the grace to be able to love you and to call you to conversion.  Little children, may God be your tomorrow and not war and lack of peace; not sorrow but joy and peace must begin to reign in the heart of every person - but without God you will never find peace.  Therefore, little children, return to God and to prayer so that your heart may sing with joy.  I am with you and I love you with immeasurable love.  Thank you for having responded to my call."

Our Lady's Special Message to Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo on June 2nd:
   "Dear children, I desire to work through you, my children, my apostles, so that, in the end, I may gather all my children there where everything is prepared for your happiness.  I am praying for you, that through works you can convert others, because the time has come for acts of truth, for my Son. My love will work in you - I will make use of you. Have trust in me, because everything that I desire, I desire for your good, the eternal good created by the Heavenly Father.  You, my children, my apostles, are living an earthly life in union with my children who have not come to know the love of my Son, who do not call me 'mother' - but do not be afraid to witness Truth.  If you are not afraid and witness courageously, the truth will miraculously win, but remember, strength is in love.  My children, love is repentance, forgiveness, prayer, sacrifice and mercy.  If you will know how to love, by your works you will convert others, you will enable the light of my Son to penetrate into souls.  Thank you.  Pray for your shepherds.  They belong to my Son.  He called them.  Pray that they may always have the strength and the courage to shine with the light of my Son."

Saturday, June 13, 2015

June 13, 2015: Fiesta Time in Kailua!

This evening, June 13th, my Kailua parish held our annual feast day celebration in honor of our church's illustrious Patron, St. Anthony of Padua (d. 1231).  The festivities started with a meaningful Mass, which was immediately followed by a potluck dinner in our church hall.  Again, the turnout was big and there was lots of lighthearted fun as parishioners mingled, ate, and were entertained with live music.

The celebration was also somewhat bittersweet.  We fondly bid farewell to Fr. Rico, our associate pastor, who is being transferred to another parish... but at the same time, we welcomed our new associate pastor - Fr. Nick Brown - who was recently ordained to the priesthood just about a month ago.  I have a sense that both men will work out just fine in their respective new assignments.

Parishioners enjoying our great
Feast Day potluck dinner.

All in all, it was another great annual celebration at St. Anthony of Padua Church.  Earlier in the day I actually wasn't feeling all that well due to some joint pains and thought of sitting this year's party out... but then I reflected on the many favors I obtained from Heaven throughout the years, via St. Anthony's intercession, and I knew I had to participate.  I'm glad I did.  I paid my respects to my personal Patron Saint, and had an awesome time, too.

Entertainment by our own Fr. Exsequel and his
backup singers - the "PP" (Pinoy Priests)

Posing with my friends - Donna and Cecelia -
and with our parish priests, Fr. Exsequel and
Fr. Nick... and their visiting priest-friends.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

First Saturday Parish Rosary at St. Anthony of Padua Church, 6/6/2015

My pilgrim statue on display in the Day
Chapel of St. Anthony of Padua Church,
Kailua... and parishioners venerating the
statue and the relics after the prayers.

My Rosa Mystica statue looked glorious at today's gathering for the First Saturday Rosary for Peace! The statue's plaster features softened, it's complexion became dewy and rosy, and there was even a subtle glow that seemed to surround it.  I see this statue every day so I immediately knew it wasn't the norm.

A large group participated this month and there were several new faces in our Day Chapel.  The prayer gathering proceeded, as usual, with me sharing about a Saint before we began the Holy Rosary.  It was St. Marcellin Champagnat (d. 1840, right photo) - the founder of the Little Brothers of Mary, a.k.a. the "Marists" - who we honored this month, along with a 1st Class Relic from his body.  This particular Saint was a French priest who was once called upon to minister to a dying 17-year-old boy who knew nothing about the Lord, or the Faith.  It broke St. Marcellin's heart and he resolved to do all that he could to teach people, especially the youth, about both.  Hence, his congregation was founded for this specific and worthy purpose.

In our own way, we can all imitate St. Marcellin in his charism of teaching the Faith to others.  If you're reading this blog, chances are you are more knowledgeable about the Faith and traditional Catholic Devotions than the average Catholic.  We all have the capacity to share our spiritual knowledge with others who are ignorant of God, beginning with our own families, and especially with our children.

At the end of our prayer meeting, at least four of our regular participants commented to me about the exceptional appearance of the statue; the visible transformation in the image was apparently noticed by others, too.  In addition, there was something else that came to our attention after we finished - a single chair in the front row of the Day Chapel was discovered to be mysteriously covered with sparkles.  We knew for sure it was Escarchas when the substance began multiplying right before our eyes.  The few of us who witnessed it were in awe... and we speculated that perhaps our Blessed Mother had actually "sat" in the chair during our prayer meeting (I stress the word "speculated").

The Escarchas also manifested on the palm of my right hand, and on the hands and arms of another participant (see the video below).  It was mystifying, to say the least... but we took it as another small confirmation (along with the changes in the Rosa Mystica statue) that Our Lady's spiritual presence was with us today in a very special way.  Thank you, Blessed Mother!

Escarchas appeared on a participant's hands
and forearm after the prayer meeting ended.

The next First Saturday Rosary will be prayed on Saturday, July 4th, beginning at 4:25pm.  All are welcomed to participate, as we intercede for World Peace and our personal needs.  Directions to St. Anthony of Padua Church in Kailua may be found here.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Saint of the Month - June 2015: Matthew Talbot

The Venerable
Matthew ("Matt") Talbot
Reformed Alcoholic; a new creation in Christ

Although not officially canonized a Saint by the Catholic Church, or even declared a Blessed yet, I am personally convinced that this holy person lived a life of solid virtue… and I sure hope, that sometime soon, the Church will raise him to the Glory of the Altars, as an exemplary role model for our modern society.

Born on May 2, 1856, in Dublin, Ireland, Matthew “Matt” Talbot was the second of 13 children born to a working class family.  His mother was relatively pious, but his father was an alcoholic… and sadly, the father’s condition was inherited by Matt and his brothers, except for the eldest.  From the age of 12 when he began working odd jobs for a liquor merchant, Matt also started taking to the bottle, which led to him becoming an alcoholic very early in his life. He was, what would be known today, as a “sloppy drunk” - a person who became obnoxious and ill-tempered while under the influence of alcohol - and he would often use foul language, get into violent fights, and even spend every cent he had just to satisfy his need for an alcohol fix.  Consequently, Matt was often in debt and, on at least one occasion, resorted to stealing in order to support his addiction.  All the while he was on the path to self-destruction, his mother pleaded with him to mend his ways but her words kept falling on deaf ears.

The only existing photo of Matt Talbot
(man in the center)
One day in 1884, when Matt was 28-years-old, he hit the bottom of the barrel and was completely broke.  He was loitering near his job worksite (he was a manual laborer) hoping that one of his partying buddies would invite him for a drink at a nearby pub, but to his dismay, not one of his so-called “friends” extended an invitation.  Disgusted, Matt went home to his mother and resolved to take the pledge.”  His mother replied, “Go in God's name, but don't take it unless you are going to keep it… May God give you strength to keep it."  Matt then went to confession at a nearby church and vowed not to drink for the next three months.  The next day he went to Mass and received Holy Communion, which marked his transformation into a “new creation.

Although it wasn’t easy, Matt successfully fulfilled his initial 3-month pledge, after which he solemnly vowed not to ever drink again.  He even gave up tobacco, which he once admitted to a friend, was even worse than giving up drinking… but Matt persevered through the grace of God.  To help strengthen his resolve, he attended daily Mass (often more than one a day) and took on a rigid program of prayer, fasting, spiritual reading, and self-mortification. In particular, he had special recourse to the Blessed Mother’s intercession and prayed the rosary conscientiously.  He also secretly wore iron chains around his waist and a leg, which without a doubt, caused him a measure of pain and discomfort; it was Matt's way of making up for his past misdeeds and reminding himself of the saving Passion of Christ.

On the exterior, the new and improved Matt became good humored and personable, and the use of profanity was a thing of the past.  Since he no longer drank and smoked, he used his wages to repay his many debts, and once that was accomplished, most of his earnings went towards charitable purposes: giving to the poor and  donating to local religious institutions. His family and peers who at one time loathed him, came to deeply respect (and even venerate) the man he had become. 

The present tomb (center) of Matt Talbot in the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, Dublin (Ireland).

Matthew Talbot died on June 7, 1925, at the age of 69.  His former years of drinking had taken a toll on his health, which led to a heart attack while he was on his daily walk to attend Mass.  His life of addiction and eventual healing in body, mind, and soul inspired profound hope in all who knew him, and in others who came to know about him… and Matt's life was not forgotten; people continued to regard him as a Saint.  The local Church opened his Cause in 1947 and Matt was declared Venerable in 1975.  A verified miracle is still needed to advance his Cause - please pray for his speedy Canonization.

A Reflection
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.  ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17

A Short Prayer
Lord, as you did with Ven. Matt Talbot, help us to overcome all earthly attachments and self-destructive addictions.  Make us a new creation.  Amen.