Disclaimer

NOTICE: I am a practicing Catholic, active and in good-standing with my local parish, 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 & Blog Administrator


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

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



Our Lady's Monthly Message to the World on October 25th:
   “Dear children!  I am calling you to be prayer in this time of grace.  You all have problems, afflictions, sufferings and lack of peace.  May saints be models to you and an encouragement for holiness; God will be near you and you will be renewed in seeking through your personal conversion.  Faith will be hope to you and joy will begin to reign in your hearts.  Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Our Lady's Special Message to Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo on October 2nd:
   “Dear children, I am speaking to you as a mother – with simple words, but words filled with much love and concern for my children who, through my Son, are entrusted to me.  And my Son, who is of the eternal now, He is speaking to you with words of life and is sowing love in open hearts.  Therefore, I am imploring you, apostles of my love, have open hearts always ready for mercy and forgiveness.  According to my Son, always forgive your neighbors, because in that way peace will be in you.  My children, care for your soul, because it alone is what truly belongs to you.  You are forgetting the importance of family.  A family does not need to be a place of suffering and pain, but a place of understanding and tenderness.  Families who strive to live according to my Son live in mutual love.  While He was still little, my Son would say to me that all people are His brothers.  Therefore, remember, apostles of my love, that all people whom you meet are family to you – brothers according to my Son.  My children, do not waste time thinking about the future, worrying.  May your only concern be how to live well every moment according to my Son.  And there it is – peace for you!  My children, do not ever forget to pray for your shepherds.  Pray that they can accept all people as their children; that, according to my Son, they may be spiritual fathers to them.  Thank you!”

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Saints & Holy Relics Speaking Presentation, 10/21/2017: Damien & Marianne Catholic Conference


An occasion of special grace for the Catholic Church in Hawaii!
It's been a busy October so far for this little ministry and there's still a few more things to come before the month ends... but I expected it to be an exceptionally active month since this time of the year is closely associated with Our Lady, the Saints, and the Holy Rosary; devotions I strive to promote.

The latest event I've been involved with - and the biggest so far for me - was the Damien & Marianne Catholic Conference.  The inaugural conference was held this weekend at the Hawaii Convention Center and I was invited to conduct two back-to-back presentations as part of the conference's Saturday lineup of breakout sessions. Several fantastic speakers were gathered to present on a variety of spiritual and social topics, and I considered it an honor for my personal ministry to be included... but at the same time how humbling and terrifying!   

On my part I had the privilege of faith-sharing to a couple of smaller audiences, which made for informal and intimate settings that I enjoyed.  My presentation was called Our Saints - God's Many Faces of Love & Mercy but it was basically the same content and format that I've done in past Saints & Relics presentations - a photo-filled slideshow summarizing the Sainthood Process; explaining what Holy Relics are; and featuring several biographies/genuine relics of mostly modern Blesseds/Saints.  The only thing that changes from presentation to presentation is the lineup of the holy individuals I speak about, which I tailor to suit my general audiences.  

Several 1st & 2nd Class Relics in my ministry's custody were displayed for public veneration
during my two presentations at the Damien & Marianne Catholic Conference. 

So for the Damien & Marianne Catholic Conference I prayerfully chose the following holy persons to feature and speak about, and also brought their respective relics to be publicly venerated by my audiences: St. Anthony of Padua (bone relic); St. Bernadette of Lourdes (bone relic); St. Damien de Veuster (coffin wood relic); Bl. Francis Xavier Seelos (bone relic); St. Gianna Beretta Molla (clothing relic); Sts. Louis & Zelie Martin (bone relics); Bl. Margaret of Citta-di-Castello (bone relic); St. Peregrine Laziosi (bone relic); St. Padre Pio (stigmata bandage relic); Bl. Rolando Rivi (hair relic); St. Therese the Little Flower (bone relic)... and no talk of mine about Saints would be complete if I didn't include my ministry's veil relic of the Queen of All Saints - the Blessed Virgin Mary!

Based on conversations I managed to have with several attendees after each presentation, it appears both talks were well-received by their respective audiences. People described the presentation as generally "interesting" and the stories of the Blesseds/Saints as "inspiring".  Many stayed to venerate the relics and a few even left teary-eyed, obviously touched by their personal contact with the hallowed remains of our spiritual heroes.  I was also deeply moved seeing the peoples' reaction to the Blesseds/Saints and I understood what they were going through.

Audience members venerating the relics after the presentations.

As already stated above, this event was a privilege for my ministry.  It's difficult for me to describe in a few words just how personally blessed I feel each time I am able to share with audiences the exemplary lives of the Blesseds/Saints... to be able to give them a "voice" so that their encouraging message can be heard once more... to be able to have them venerated through their relics... and to be able to bring a measure of inspiration and hope to the people in my audiences who may be looking for it.  I can only say that I love this "job" and I thank Jesus that I am given opportunities to do it.  May Glory and Praises be to Him always!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Pilgrim Statue & Holy Relics Visitation: Vargas Residence, 10/14/2017


It was that time again - the America Needs Fatima Rosary Rally at the Vargas Home in Kailua!  For sure, it's become an anticipated annual tradition for many of us - their family and friends - and this year's rally was bigger than ever.  I'm not surprised, though; it had an air of "extra-special-ness" leading up to it because the 1917 Fatima Apparitions commemorated its Centennial Anniversary this year!  Truly a significant time for the Church, especially for devotees of Our Lady of Fatima... and for everyone else, too, as a matter of fact, because the Blessed Virgin's warnings at Fatima impact the entire world whether people realize it or not!

       
The group of family and friends who came together this year at the Vargas Home in Kailua
to respond to Our Lady of Fatima's urgent call for Conversion, Prayer, & Penance.

As with prior prayer rallies at the Vargas Home the presence of my ministry's lovely Fatima Pilgrim Virgin statue was requested, along with the sacred relics of the three Fatima Seers (Sts. Francisco & Jacinta Marto and Sr. Lucia).  I also took the liberty of including a relic of the Portuguese mystic, Bl. Alexandrina Maria Da Costa, since she is often acclaimed as the "fourth Seer of Fatima" due to her close association with the Fatima Message, and her extraordinary efforts to promote consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  The makeshift altar with the statues and relics was a comforting sight, providing us with a devotional focal point and a visible reminder that Our Lady and the Saints pray for us... as well as with us for all the world's problems.

My ministry's 30" Fatima pilgrim statue
I was also asked to say a few words before the prayer began so I took the opportunity to share with those present the little-known fact that Sr. Lucia had reported having additional apparitions of Our Lady and Jesus in the 1920s. During one such encounter the Lord allegedly lamented to the seer that the message was not being heeded as it should be, which is a cause for big concern. Jesus, himself, from back then, seemed to confirm the world's general indifference to Heaven's appeals and look at the results today - we're living in a world that's growing in turmoil and violence (just turn on your TV and watch the news, if you don't understand what I'm saying).  

I further reminded the people that if praying for the entire world was too overwhelming because of how bad things seem now, all over creation, we can start by applying Our Lady's message to our own "little" worlds - pray the Rosary to convert sinners in our small communities and to bring about peace between fighting neighbors; for sinners in our homes and for peace in family disputes; and for our own souls, if we are lacking conversion and peace.  Now, more than ever, we simply can't afford to ignore the Fatima Message - we need the grace that a daily Rosary has to offer.  There is power in the prayer!

With the above being said, we then did our group-prayer in public view, as directed by the America Needs Fatima organization, and it was awesome... again.  And the luncheon that followed was a great way to close-out the event. Spending quality time with co-parishioners outside of the church setting and meeting new friends, while enjoying a delicious fellowship meal together, is always an effective way to build up the kingdom of God on earth.

Another view of the altar that was set up on the street outside the Vargas Home for today's Rosary Rally.
Statues of Sts. Francisco & Jacinta Marto and Bl. Alexandrina Maria Da Costa flank my Fatima Pilgrim Statue and relics of the four seers in my ministry's custody.

So thank you, Blessed Mother, for 100 years of graces and blessings through your Fatima apparitions.  Pray for all the Faithful throughout the world and protect us from every evil.  We love you!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

First Saturday Parish Rosary at St. Anthony of Padua Church, 10/7/2017


Seven years of monthly prayers for peace... uninterrupted.  Today's First Saturday Rosary marked the 7th Anniversary of the start of our parish's special monthly devotion to the Blessed Mother and her favored prayer - the Holy Rosary.  And what an appropriate day, too - on the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary!

As such, I was a bit sentimental this afternoon as I reflected on the past years that we've been holding these prayer meetings; seeing how the regulars keep faithfully coming back month after month; seeing how many of them have grown in their personal devotion to Our Lady and the Saints, and became active in various parish ministries indicates to me how this devotion has made a positive impact in our lives.  I hope we can at least continue this for another year, God willing.

So following our usual program, we began with me introducing the participants to October 2017's Saint of the Month - St. Angelo of Acri. Before launching into his life story, I first asked the people to raise a hand if they had a devotion to St. Padre Pio. Immediately, many hands went up and with obvious enthusiasm! I then prefaced my brief account of St. Angelo's life by telling everyone that he was the Padre Pio of his time. I knew I had the audience's attention at that point because it seemed that people's ears suddenly perked up. You can read about St. Angelo's incredible life by clicking here... so I'll just fast-forward to the faith-lesson he inspired me to share this month, which was - to be Angels of Peace.

You see - St. Angelo of Acri was nicknamed the "Angel of Peace" during his lifetime and it's probably due to the immense good and the reconciliation he effected wherever he went. Hence, I challenged those present to strive, themselves, to be Angels of Peace like St. Angelo, within their own little worlds outside of the church - at home; at work; in their neighborhoods, etc. And in these times so full of hatred and violence, lately, we need more people to be Angels of Peace... to combat the influence of the angels of darkness that are lurking among us.  Simple message... and do-able, I think, if we just seriously choose to side with the Light.

A 1st Class [bone] Relic of St. Angelo of Acri in my ministry's custody that we
venerated at this month's First Saturday Rosary.

After the rosary prayer ended, I felt completely refreshed as I usually do after each First Saturday Rosary. In fact, a small group of us stuck a round for a while discussing the wonderful sense of Peace we felt... and how the traffic noise from outside the chapel seems to slowly melt away once the prayers get rolling. It happens each month - the soothing rhythm of our prayer never fails to cancel out the chaotic noise of the outside world. It's amazing and I think it's a big part of the reason why these meetings have been going on for seven years now - we all crave PEACE in our lives and the Rosary channels it into our hearts from the hearts of Jesus and Mary.

For those interested in joining us in our prayer for personal and World Peace, the next First Saturday Rosary at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Kailua will be held on November 4th.  All are welcome!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Saint of the Month - October 2017: Saint Angelo [Falcone] of Acri


St. Angelo of Acri
An Angel of Peace ~ Feast: October 30th

Arguably, St. Padre Pio (d. 1968) is the most celebrated Saint of the Franciscan Capuchin Order. However, without trying to detract in anyway from popular devotion to him (I love Padre Pio!), I hope people are aware that the sainted stigmatic was not the only great holy, miracle-working priest to come out of his illustrious Order. There were several other gifted Capuchin men who are equally worthy of our admiration and, this month, I feature the soon-to-be canonized Angelo of Acri. His life was filled with accounts of wonders that were quite similar to Padre Pio's charisms: Bilocation, Ecstasies, Healing Abilities, Prophecy, Reading of Hearts, and Visions.  On several occasions, he was even reported to have suffered the terrible pains of Christ's wounds in his body and spirit, but in a manner that did not manifest in visible Stigmatic wounds.

As of this writing, Angelo of Acri is only still a Blessed, however his canonization is literally just around the corner so I'll be referring to him as "St. Angelo" going forward...

St. Angelo was born Luca (Luke) Antonio Falcone on October 19, 1669, to a humble peasant family in the town of Acri, Italy.  According to several biographies I consulted, his family was deeply pious (an uncle was a priest) and the child was raised by his parents in a worthy Christian manner.  Luca, himself, aspired to religious life and in his early youth he joined the Capuchins - twice - but each time, due to an overwhelming sense of fear and unworthiness, he returned home. He even considered marrying at one point but had a change of heart and decided to give religious life one more try.

St. Angelo had a great love for Christ
Crucified and often carried a crucifix.
During his third and final attempt to become a Franciscan in 1690 (I’m surprised the Capuchins readmitted him), he was again on the verge of leaving when he dropped to his knees before a crucifix and pleaded with Jesus for his divine help: “Lord, I cannot trust myself.  You know my weakness.  Help me with your grace!” It must have did the trick because Luca – now renamed Angelo - managed to complete his novitiate and professed vows as a Capuchin in November 1691; he was eventually ordained a priest on April 10, 1700.

In 1702, Padre Angelo’s superiors commissioned him to preach the Lenten mission in nearby Carigliano. The priest prepared himself by studying scriptures and rehearsing his sermon in the stylized form of speech that was popular in his day. When the time came to deliver his sermon, he mounted the pulpit to speak but mysteriously forgot the words he planned to say. The poor Padre was so flustered, he left the pulpit in humiliation and retreated to his cell where he again begged the Lord’s guidance. In reply, God spoke to him with the following instruction, “Fear nothing, I will grant you the gift of preaching… In the future you will preach in a familiar and simple style so that all may understand your words.”

Padre Angelo understood the Lord's point and revamped his preaching style to better suit his general audience, which mainly consisted of simple folk from the small rural towns of southern Italy.  Rather than wracking his brain over-thinking his sermons, he trusted in the God's promise of help and prepared himself through diligent prayer before each speaking engagement. He would then preach on a level that the common people could easily grasp and, as a result, his efforts met with much success as he conducted missions from one town to another. Wherever Padre Angelo spoke he touched hearts and moved countless sinners through his inspired words; he was even nicknamed the "Angel of Peace" (a play on his name Angelo) and soon signs and miracles began manifesting around him.  This is where his mystical gifts make him more and more comparable to his famous spiritual brother, St. Padre Pio.

Accounts of the saintly preacher's ability to heal began circulating, as well as his uncanny ability to read hearts in the confessional and to correctly predict future events.  In addition, Padre Angelo was at times seen preaching at a certain venue while at the same instant witnessed to be somewhere else ministering to the sick and needy. And frequently during his Masses, he spontaneously fell into sublime ecstasies, which edified those in attendance.

Relics of St. Angelo's sandals and Franciscan cord-belt.
Lastly, during one particular incident, Padre Angelo was invited to Naples to speak where he was interrupted by a small group of people who loudly heckled his sermon. The Saint stopped his speech to publicly announce that someone in the congregation would soon meet his demise and that prayers were needed for the unfortunate soul. After the service ended and the crowd began to exit the church, a certain man - the main instigator of the noisy disruption - suddenly dropped dead to the terror of all present.  The people then realized that they had a true Saint in their midst and the good Padre's subsequent sermons in Naples were met with enthusiasm and serious reflection. 

In his final years of life, increasing illness forced Padre Angelo to retire to the Capuchin Monastery of Cosenza.  He eventually went blind six months prior to his death, but through a unique favor from God, he miraculously regained his eyesight each day for the amount of time needed to offer Mass and recite the Divine Office (incredible!). He died on October 30, 1739, at the ripe old age of 70, and after having served the Lord in religious life for 47 years!


The incorrupt body of St. Angelo, enshrined in the Basilica dedicated to him in Acri, Italy
(a wax mask covers the relic's face).

Pope Leo XII beatified Angelo of Acri on December 1825 after recognizing three miraculous cures attributed to his intercession. I am pleased to share that a fourth miracle was officially approved for his Cause this past March 2017, which paved the way for his upcoming Canonization on October 15th, 2017. The bodily remains of this Saint - reportedly incorrupt - is enshrined in the Basilica of Acri dedicated to his honor. May he intercede for our personal needs and the needs of the Universal Church, especially for all priests to be worthy servants of God and the Church!


A Reflection
"... preach in a familiar and simple style so that all may understand your words.”  ~ Words of our Lord to St. Angelo of Acri

A Short Prayer
Lord, as you did with your servant Angelo of Acri, grant our priests of today the gift to effectively preach in a manner that will touch souls and lead them to You.  Amen.