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

Friday, October 26, 2018

Young Faces of Holiness Saints & Relics Speaking Presentation, 10/26/2018: Sts. Peter & Paul Church, Honolulu

Relics on display at the parish of Sts.
Peter & Paul Church, Honolulu.

This evening my ministry was invited to speak about Saints to a youth group at Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Honolulu... and what an exceptionally enthusiastic group my audience turned out to be!  About 11 kids of various ages showed up along with their adult team leaders and invited guests, including a lovely sister from St. Marianne of Molokai's very own Franciscan congregation.

I featured 4 youthful holy individuals for the young people to learn about: Sts. Francisco & Jacinta Marto of Fatima, Bl. Imelda Lambertini, Bl. Rolando Rivi, and St. Rose of Viterbo... and what made this presentation very memorable for me was the reaction of the kids to the stories and the slideshow photos.  For example, when I spoke of a levitation miracle St. Rose had performed during her short lifetime, exclamations of "Wow" and "Cool" were heard... or when I showed a photo of Bl. Imelda's incorrupt body, the group let out a collective gasp of awe and surprise.  But it was when I told the audience that I also had bodily relics from some of these Saints and Blesseds present for them to see that the excitement in the room went up several notches.  Even the adults were excited.

Youth and adult participants viewing
the relic display up close.

As an added surprise for the group, I also brought relics from certain adult Saints who were namesakes for some of the children's confirmation names: St. Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Padre Pio, St. Therese the Little Flower, and the Blessed Virgin Mary.  The facial expression of the kids who chose these saint-names was just priceless when they learned these relics were present too. 

After the talk finished, several of the kids and adults seemed moved - a few even to tears - when they were invited to approach the display altar to view and venerate the relics.  Some laid their hands on the reliquaries and frames as they quietly prayed.  And there were others who pressed whatever religious articles they had with them to the reliquaries.  It was all very touching to watch the people - youth and adults - freely expressing their faith and emotions.

Some of the children's online feedback posted
on their youth group's menti.com site. 

Lastly, the team leaders invited the youngsters to post feedback on their group's menti.com account from their cellphones, and the messages that immediately came through were encouraging.  It showed the kids were indeed paying attention during the presentation and learned valuable faith-lessons from the lives of our Saints.

May these precious young souls from Sts. Peter & Paul Parish continue to grow in their Catholic Faith.  God bless them... today and always!

"You don't got to do big things
to become a Saint."

- one child's comment; a solid lesson
learned from tonight's presentation 

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Monthly Messages from the Queen of Peace of Medjugorje: October 2018

Our Lady's Monthly Message to the World on October 25th:
   "Dear children! You have a great grace of being called to a new life through the messages which I am giving you. This, little children, is a time of grace, a time and a call to conversion for you and the future generations. Therefore, I am calling you, little children, pray more and open your heart to my Son Jesus. I am with you and love you all and bless you with my motherly blessing.  Thank you for having responded to my call."

Our Lady's Special Message to Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo on October 2nd:
   "Dear children, I am calling you to be courageous and to not grow weary, because even the smallest good - the smallest sign of love - conquers evil which is all the more visible. My children, listen to me so that good may overcome, so that you may come to know the love of my Son. This is the greatest happiness - the hands of my Son that embrace, of Him who loves the soul, of Him who has given Himself for you and is always giving Himself anew in the Eucharist, of Him who has the words of eternal life. To come to know His love, to follow in His footsteps, means to have a wealth of spirituality. This is the wealth which gives good feelings and sees love and goodness everywhere. Apostles of my love, my children, be like the rays of the sun which with the warmth of my Son's love warm everyone around them. My children, the world needs apostles of love; the world needs much prayer, but prayer spoken with the heart and the soul and not only pronounced with the lips. My children, long for holiness but in humility, in the humility which permits my Son to do that which He desires through you. My children, your prayers, your words, thoughts and actions - all of this either opens or closes the doors to the Kingdom of Heaven for you. My Son showed you the way and gave you hope, and I am consoling and encouraging you because, my children, I had come to know pain, but I had faith and hope. Now I have the reward of life in the Kingdom of my Son.  Therefore, listen to me, have courage and do not grow weary.  Thank you."

Sunday, October 14, 2018

October 13th & 14th: Mary, Saints, & Escarchas too...

October, the month of the Holy Rosary!  As I kinda anticipated, this ministry was gonna be very active... there was the First Saturday Rosary on the 6th; the official launch of the parish's FIAT prayer meetings on the 10th; a Rosary Rally yesterday; and a Saints and Relics Presentation earlier today... and it's not even mid-month yet!  For now I'd like to just share about the last two recent events.

+ America Needs Fatima Rosary Rally, 10/13/2018

Our Day Chapel was beautifully decorated
by the Vargas Family for the Rosary Rally.

It was that time again - Auntie Patty and her family held their annual Rosary Rally, which many look forward to every year.  This year, though, there was a change in the venue.  Rather than hosting the rally at their Kailua home, it was held in the Day Chapel of our parish church; a big departure from the norm for the family... but it all worked out for the best.

New and familiar faces gathered at the church where there was ample parking and several ceiling fans to keep us cool in the muggy Hawaiian weather.  Despite the change in location, the rosary was prayed with the same faith and fervor by all those who have been attending the Vargas Family Rosary Rally throughout the past years.  There was even an appearance of beautiful golden escarchas, which began manifesting on my program sheet when the Litany of the Blessed Virgin commenced; no doubt a blessing and a sign of Our Lady's spiritual presence in the chapel during our prayer time.

Above/Below: Videos showing escarchas
appearing and spreading during the Rosary
Rally (pay attention to the area around the
word "rejoice" at the bottom-center).  View
at full screen to see the sparkles better.

At the end of the rally, I spoke briefly about the importance of the Rosary Devotion and reminded the participants about how the Rosary is truly a powerful weapon against every form of evil, as our Blessed Mother has repeatedly said through her apparitions around the world... and as echoed by Saints such as Padre Pio, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and Pope John Paul II.

Rally participants gathering for the
fellowship luncheon.

The fellowship meal that followed was also something I looked forward to.  As always, it was a pleasure catching up with fellow parishioners while feasting on delicious local food.  Much MAHALO to Auntie Patty and the Vargas Ohana!

+ Saints & Relics Presentation, 10/14/2018

Relics on display in the Honolulu
Cathedral's Kamiano Center.

The day following the Rosary Rally, I had the privilege of bringing the lives and relics of several Saints and Blesseds to the Faithful at the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace in Honolulu. I had been invited to speak by a friend, Easter, from the Adult Faith Formation Office of our diocese.  With the upcoming November stop of the St. Padre Pio 2018 American Relic Tour in our cathedral, she thought it would be a great way of helping the local Catholic community to brush up on the significance of Saints and Relics.

Through the presentation, I was able to acquaint a good number of attendees - youth and adults - with 9 authenticated 1st and 2nd Class Relics from  St. Bernadette of Lourdes, Bl. Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, St. Damien of Molokai, St. Gianna Beretta Molla, Bl. Pauline von Mallinckrodt, St. Peregrine Laziosi, St. Padre Pio, Bl. Rolando Rivi, and my ministry's veil-relic of the Blessed Virgin.

Parishioners waiting in line for their
turn to get a closer view of the relics.

I sensed that many of the attendees were impressed, if not very moved, by their "close encounter" with our faith heroes.  Most lined up after the talk to view the relics, to pray, and to touch prayer cards and pieces of cloth provided by myself and a fellow St. Anthony of Padua Church parishioner named Chuck, who also shared two cancelled checks in his possession, that were hand-signed by St. Padre Pio, himself, during his lifetime.  The back story was a great anecdote about the much-loved Saint!

I left the venue hopeful that many faith-seeds were planted this afternoon, as well as, happy to have made new friends among the participants.  Thank you, Lord, for every blessing granted to all of us this weekend... and for those yet to blossom!

Monday, October 1, 2018

Saint of the Month - October 2018: Blessed Agnes of Jesus

Bl. Agnes [Galand] of Jesus
A Victim Soul for Priests
Memorial: October 19th

Agnes Galand, the future Bl. Agnes of Jesus, was born in Puy-en-Velay, France, on November 17, 1602.  She was the third child of seven born to a humble but highly pious couple.  According to one biography, Agnes was precocious as a little girl and God's extraordinary designs were manifested very early on with her - she shied away from the presence of men and avoided frivolity in the playmates she engaged with.  Rather, she was drawn to frequent prayer; maintained modesty in dress and demeanor; practiced voluntary penances (she wore a penitential belt and fasted); and exercised charitable acts towards the less fortunate, which elicited respect not just from her parents but also from their neighbors.

It was reported that, at the age of seven, Agnes pronounced a private vow of virginity and experienced her first of many attacks from demons under the form of menacing black dogs that charged at her.  Agnes firmly rebuked the evil spirits, who immediately dispersed.  What followed after this pivotal event was the quick blossoming of virtue and heavenly consolations that included familiar interactions with the Christ Child and her guardian angel.

In 1621, after overcoming her father's initial resistance, Agnes entered a Dominican monastery as a tertiary under the name Sr. Agnes of Jesus.  When a new monastery was planned in Langeac she was dispatched with a small group of companions to found the establishment and was professed there in 1623.  The Lord appeared to Agnes after her profession and presented her with a ring as a token of their espousal; it was a signal grace that was only visible to the nun.  On the same day, the demons that had intermittently harassed her were no longer able to physically touch her, but they continued to appear on occasion in their vain attempts to intimidate Agnes.

The Servant of God, Fr. Jean-Jacques
Olier who founded the Sulpicians.
In the monastery, Sr. Agnes was the cause of both admiration and controversy among her fellow nuns.  It was evident to the others that she was sincerely fervent, but the mystical phenomena surrounding her made some uneasy.  There were now also frequent ecstasies that sometimes lasted for hours at a time.  After one such rapture, small painful red marks in the shape of crosses appeared on her hands and feet - the Stigmata - which Agnes begged the Lord to take away any visible signs of.  The prayer was soon heard and the wounds vanished leaving only the sensation of pain. In particular, her mystical sufferings were most intense on Fridays.

After being subjected to various tests and humiliations by her superiors, Sr. Agnes won the community over with her unfailing obedience and docility.  She was eventually elected to the post of prioress in 1627 at the age of 25.

In 1631, there was another significant event in Sr. Agnes' life, which her biographies all cite - Our Lady appeared to the prioress and spoke the following: "Pray for the abbot of Pebrac" who was a young priest named Fr. Jean-Jacques Olier.  The prioress had never met or heard of the man, but she naturally did as she was told and began offering prayers and sacrifices for him.  Two years later, while Fr. Jean-Jacques was at prayer, he had a clear vision of a nun who approached him from the midst of a bright light.  The mysterious woman spoke to him saying, "I am praying for you."

It wasn't until two years later that Fr. Jean-Jacques  learned the identity of his spiritual benefactor - hearing rumors of a holy nun living in Langeac, he felt an urge to meet her.  During their very first meeting he was surprised to recognize the nun from his vision and Agnes confirmed it before proceeding to accurately predict the course of his life.  They became life-long friends ever since; meeting a few times more to offer each other guidance whenever each needed it.

Fr. Jean-Jacques went on to found a seminary and the Society of St. Sulpice, an organization dedicated to the strict training of priests in their pastoral work and in their personal spiritual life.  Having died in 1657, after living an exemplary life, he is now a candidate for sainthood, himself.

A portrait of Bl. Agnes with a
leather pouch enclosing a piece of
her original burial shroud.
Sr. Agnes lived out the rest of her days in continual sacrifice for the work of Fr. Jean-Jacques, for the sanctification of priests, and in reparation for the sins of her times.  If her spiritual sufferings were not enough, she was also subjected to moral trials.  For a short while she was deposed as prioress by a small group of nuns who were motivated by jealousy over her quick ascent to the office of superior.  Agnes was slandered to the bishop who ordered the election of a new prioress... but she was eventually vindicated and reelected.

All throughout her difficult moments of crisis, Sr. Agnes maintained humility and a profound tranquility, as only a true bride of Christ could possess.  Jesus, on his part, sustained her with remarkable consolations that included miraculous communions brought to her either by himself, or through the agency of her angel.

The saintly prioress died in the odor of sanctity on October 19, 1634; she was only 31-years-old.  Before her death she instilled in her nuns the legacy of praying for the sanctification of priests; a worthy practice that we should all strive to emulate.

Bl. Agnes of Jesus was Beatified on November 20, 1994.  Her sacred relics still rest in the Dominican Monastery of St. Catherine in Langeac.

A Short Prayer:
Lord, in imitation of your saintly bride - Bl. Agnes of Jesus - we intercede for the sanctification of our priests.  Grant the Universal Church worthy and holy vocations in abundance.  Bl. Agnes, pray for us.  Amen.