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

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

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

Mary, Queen of Peace,
pray for us...

Our Lady's Monthly Message to the World on May 25th:
   "Dear children! My presence is a gift from God for all of you and an encouragement for conversion. Satan is strong and wants to put disorder and unrest in your hearts and thoughts. Therefore, you, little children, pray so that the Holy Spirit may lead you on the real way of joy and peace. I am with you and intercede before my Son for you.  Thank you for having responded to my call."

Our Lady's Special Message to Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo on May 2nd:
   "Dear children, my motherly heart desires your true conversion and a firm faith so that you may be able to spread love and peace to all those who surround you. But, my children, do not forget: each of you is a unique world before the Heavenly Father. Therefore, permit the continuous working of the Holy Spirit to work on you. Be my spiritually pure children. In spirituality is beauty. Everything that is spiritual is alive and very beautiful. Do not forget that in the Eucharist, which is the heart of faith, my Son is always with you. He comes to you and breaks bread with you; because, my children, for your sake He died, He resurrected and is coming anew. These words of mine are familiar to you because they are the truth, and the truth does not change. It is only that many of my children have forgotten it. My children, my words are neither old nor new, they are eternal. Therefore, I invite you, my children, to observe well the signs of the times, to 'gather the shattered crosses' and to be apostles of the revelation.  Thank you."

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Saint of the Month - May 2016: Saint Leopoldo Mandic

St. Leopoldo Mandic
Apostle of the Confessional
Feast: May 12th 

Originally from an obscure town in Croatia, Bogdan Mandic was born on May 12, 1866, to a large family of pious disposition.  From his earliest childhood, he was sickly and small in stature.  In fact, in adulthood, he never grew to more than 4 feet, 5 inches tall – a small man who later would prove to be a GIANT, as far as faith and sanctity are concerned.  At 16 he left his homeland for Italy, where he studied at a Franciscan-run school in Udine.  In April 1884, in Bassano del Grappa, he was accepted as a novice with the Capuchin Order and professed religious vows the following year, changing his name to Leopoldo.  He then went on to study for the priesthood and was ordained in Venice on September 20, 1890.

From the start, Fr. Leopoldo’s intent was to become a missionary in Eastern Europe where religious unrest was severely prevalent but his superiors felt it imprudent for him to pursue that course given chronic health issues (the young Capuchin suffered from a life-long digestive disorder) and a stutter that impeded his effectiveness as a preacher.  Instead, from 1890 to 1906 he was assigned to various houses of his order in northern Italy, until he was permanently assigned to a monastery in Padua just a few blocks away from the heavily-visited Basilica of St Anthony, the city's famed patron.  It was in this city that Fr. Leopoldo’s true mission as a fisher of souls became manifest, although not in the manner in which he had originally anticipated.

Slowly, but surely, Fr. Leopoldo endeared himself to the inhabitants of Padua. His unusually small stature made him an odd stand-out among his brethren, but once people got past his appearance, they found him to be naturally gentle, humorous, and quite simply - likeable.  He also had a special way of putting people at ease, even while in the confessional, so people started coming to him regularly for absolution and spiritual guidance… and that’s when little by little, his regular penitents began noticing the uncanny way in which he would remind them of forgotten sins, or accurately advise them about situations that had yet to occur in their lives.

The incorrupt right hand
of St. Leopoldo, with which
he blessed and absolved
countless sinners.
His reported mystical gifts of reading hearts and foreseeing the future added to Fr. Leopoldo’s popularity and soon the increasing demand for him to hear confessions resulted in crowds flocking to the monastery to speak with him.  So for nearly forty years, his daily routine consisted of him sitting in his cramped little cell welcoming penitents, hearing their confessions, and dispensing spiritual counsel for up to 14 hours each day!*** As he grew older the routine became a real sacrifice for him as he suffered terribly from arthritis and a curvature of the spine… yet the diminutive priest continued this daily ministry out of his burning desire to reconcile sinners with their merciful God. 

When Fr. Leopoldo’s death occurred on July 30, 1942, the entire city of Padua and beyond paid their respects to the beloved confessor. Pope Paul VI had the honor of declaring him a Blessed on May 2, 1976, and Pope John Paul II declared him a Saint on October 16, 1983.  Appropriately, because of his devoted ministry with penitent sinners, St. Leopoldo Mandic is today popularly acclaimed as the “Apostle of the Confessional”.  

*** NOTE:  In his lifetime, St. Leopoldo often predicted that bombs would fall upon Padua after his death.  He stated that the monastery would be directly hit but with no casualties... and that the only part of the monastery that would survive completely intact was his cell (right photo), where God had generously dispensed his Divine Mercy through countless confessions.

The Saint's words were accurately fulfilled when during air strike bombings on Padua during World War II, the monastery and the adjoining church were severely damaged. The Saint's humble cell was indeed miraculously spared from destruction, along with a statue of Mary, the Immaculate Conception, that was found unscathed among the wreckage of the church.  St. Leopoldo had a particular devotion to this statue of the Blessed Mother.

A Reflection
"God's mercy is beyond all expectation.

~ Words of St. Leopoldo Mandic

A Short Prayer
Lord, take away our natural tendency to be intimidated by the confessional… but rather, draw our souls to it with the realization that it is truly a source of mercy, grace, and healing for our minds, bodies, and souls.  Amen.

Speaking Presentation: May Statue-Crowning at St. Anthony of Padua Church, 5/1/2016

The month of May in Hawaii is traditionally the month of leis (Hawaii's world-famous version of the floral garland). The 1st of May, in particular, is celebrated as "Lei Day" in Hawaii, with locals wearing the flowery adornments to church, restaurants, and other celebratory events.  With this year's Lei Day falling on a Sunday - today - my Kailua parish of St. Anthony of Padua Church jumped at the opportunity to plan a May Crowning ceremony for Our Lady in conjunction with the popular Hawaiian custom.

Left: Parishioners gathering in the Parish Hall for the May Crowning ceremony.
Middle: My parish's Madonna & Child statue awaiting its crown.  Right: The crowning of the statue.
(click on each photo to view larger images)

So we honored Our Lady this morning with a May Crowning event that was held in our parish's gathering hall.  The ceremony was attended by parishioners; RCIA candidates; and many children and their parents from our C.C.D. [catechism] classes.  The program started with a brief presentation that I conducted about Mary’s unique role in Salvation History and in the Church, after which I also spoke about the Rosary Devotion and its immense benefit to our personal spiritual lives.

Immediately after the talk, our team of catechists led the audience in the recitation of the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary, which we prayed while viewing a slideshow of biblical passages and images depicting the life-events of Jesus and Mary that we were reflecting on.

VIDEO:  After the installment of the statue in the main church,
our children presented Our Lady with leis and flowers.

Following the Rosary, a family chosen for the occasion, crowned our parish statue of the Madonna and Child with a Haku Lei (head wreath) while the rest of us serenaded Our Lady with a Marian hymn.  After the coronation, four men proceeded to carry the statue on its portable platform, leading us in a short procession into the main church where it was installed in the sanctuary near the altar.  Our C.C.D. children then offered the Virgin loads of fragrant leis and small bouquets of flowers to top off our May Crowning event… and they all looked genuinely happy and excited to be doing it.

At the end of it all, the statue looked simply beautiful, covered almost to the top of its head with a variety of leis.  In fact, there were so many leis donated for the occasion, some of the leis had to be draped on the wooden platform so as not to bury Mary and the Holy Child’s faces under all the flowers... but that's Hawaii's Aloha Spirit for you - we love to add our local flair and go overboard when it comes to this sort of thing!

Our Lady's statue crowned and draped with many fragrant leis.
She will remain in the main church, near the altar, for the entire month.

... and lastly, I was deeply touched by the entire scene; watching the tender devotion expressed towards Our Lady by my fellow parishioners, especially the enthusiastic youngsters. I couldn’t help but think to myself that this is how the Holy Virgin should be honored during her special month of the year... and how children should be positively exposed to the rich traditions of our Church.  It’s just the right thing to do.

So Happy Lei Day, Blessed Mother - we love you!