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

Sunday, November 25, 2018

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

Our Lady, Queen of Peace, pray for us...

Our Lady's Monthly Message to the World on November 25th:
   "Dear children! This is a time of grace and prayer, a time of waiting and giving. God is giving Himself to you that we may love Him above everything. Therefore, little children, open your hearts and families, so that this waiting may become prayer and love and, especially, giving. I am with you, little children, and encourage you not to give up from what is good, because the fruits are seen and heard of afar. That is why the enemy is angry and uses everything to lead you away from prayer.  Thank you for having responded to my call."

Our Lady's Special Message to Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo on November 2nd:
   "Dear children, My motherly heart suffers as I am looking at my children who do not love the truth, those who are hiding it - as I look at my children who do not pray with their feelings and actions. I am sad as I am saying to my Son that many of my children no longer have faith, that they do not know Him - my Son. That is why I call you, apostles of my love: you strive to look to the very depth in human hearts and there you are certain to find the little hidden treasure. To look in this way is mercy from the Heavenly Father. To seek the good even where there is the greatest evil - to strive to comprehend each other and not to judge - that is what my Son is asking of you. And I, as a mother, am calling you to listen to Him. My children, the spirit is mightier than the flesh, and, carried by love and actions, it overcomes all obstacles. Do not forget: my Son has loved you and loves you. His love is with you and in you when you are one with Him. He is the light of the world and no one and nothing will be able to stop Him in the final glory. Therefore, apostles of my love, do not be afraid to witness the truth. Witness it with enthusiasm, with works, with love, with your sacrifice, and, above all, in humility. Witness the truth to all those who have not come to know my Son. I will be alongside you. I will encourage you. Witness the love which never ends because it comes from the Heavenly Father who is eternal and who offers eternity to all of my children. The spirit of my Son will be alongside you. Anew I am calling you, my children: pray for your shepherds, pray that the love of my Son may lead them.  Thank you."

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Saint of the Month - November 2018: Saint Catherine of Alexandria

St. Catherine of Alexandria
Virgin & Martyr
Feast: November 25th

The Fourteen Holy Helpers
Once upon a time, this youthful Virgin-Martyr was held in great esteem in the Church and was counted among the "Fourteen Holy Helpers".**  This was a select group of men and women Saints who were popularly invoked by the Faithful during the Middle Ages for a variety of problems (e.g. healing of specific illnesses such as epilepsy). However, in modern times, the veneration of St. Catherine of Alexandria waned... and it's mostly due to the fact that her biography had obviously been embellished in the early centuries by fantastic legends that eventually obscured historical facts about her life; in short, people began doubting her existence.  Still, many scholars agree that this Saint's hagiography is rooted in truth; that she, indeed, was an actual person who died in witness of Jesus Christ, which I can believe too... and because this ministry is in custody of a rare 1st Class Relic of this Saint, I thought I'd pay St. Catherine some homage and feature her life on this blog.

... so who was this enigmatic Saint who once garnered so much devotion?

According to a blend of facts and pious tradition, Catherine was a noblewoman who lived in the fourth century in Alexandria, Egypt.  Born circa 287, her home city was renowned at the time as a premier center for learning and, in keeping with her status, she was provided with an education... but her level of learning appears to have exceeded the normal standard for the women of her time because she was reputedly a gifted intellectual and scholar. 

At age 14, Catherine was said to have experienced a vision of the Blessed Virgin and Christ-child, which prompted her fervent conversion to Christianity, which in those days was undergoing a persecution under the Roman Emperor Maxentius.  After a few years of maintaining secrecy about her new found faith and while seeing the terrible fate of those who professed belief in Jesus, she couldn't stand it any longer and publicly confronted the reigning governor of Alexandria over his cruel treatment of her fellow Christians.

Impressed by Catherine's boldness, the governor summoned a team of pagan scholars to convince the maiden to turn away from Christianity, but she successfully defended her belief to the dismay of her opponents.  The next course of action followed by the governor was bribery and intimidation, which both failed... then a round of torture - he ordered her scourged but the Saint still refused to budge.  Afterwards, she was thrown into prison where she was reportedly invigorated by an apparition of Christ, himself, and healed of her life-threatening wounds.

The martyrdom of St. Catherine
Also, while imprisoned, she encouraged the other Christians who were locked away to persevere, as well as, converted many other [pagan] prisoners and guards to the Faith (including the governor's own wife) through her convincing arguments for Christianity. Eventually, Catherine was sentenced to a brutal death on a spiked wheel but on the day of her very public execution, the wheel was miraculously shattered by a mysterious force... so the governor resorted to having the Saint beheaded to finally dispatch of her.  Instead of blood, milk (or something resembling it) supposedly flowed from her neck, which was interpreted to symbolize Catherine's spiritual nurturing of the faith of the Christian community in Alexandria; hundreds were converted to Christ upon witnessing her martyrdom.  The year was 305.

Today, the Martyr's relics are reported to have made their way to an ancient monastery named after her on Mt. Sinai in Egypt.  A relic of particular interest kept there is an incorrupt hand that is said to be hers - see below.

While some may doubt that St. Catherine actually lived, it's significant to mention that there is at least one other Saint who firmly believed in her and practiced a strong devotion to the martyr - it was none other than St. Joan of Arc, the famous French heroine who claimed many apparitions of St. Catherine of Alexandria, St. Margaret of Antioch (another Holy Helper Saint), and St. Michael the Archangel.  St. Joan attributed her remarkable military successes against the invading English forces to the supernatural communications she received from these Saints, and they consoled her during the sham-trial leading up to her own martyrdom in 1431.

The hand of St. Catherine, as venerated in
the Monastery of St. Catherine of Sinai.

The fact is - if one reads the biography of the young French Saint (I did), one will find it full of astounding incidences that confirm the validity of her heavenly visitations and refute the unfounded notion that Joan was merely suffering from mental illness.  For example, at the start of her military career, the soldier-saint was offered a new sword for her use, which she refused.  Instead, she explained the Saints had directed her to use a certain ancient sword, engraved with five crosses on its blade.  Her spiritual guides further specified that this special weapon would be found buried behind the main altar of the church of St. Catherine in Fierbois (a place unfamiliar to Joan).  Soldiers were dispatched to the church where the sword was found in the exact location divinely revealed to Joan.  It was supposed this sword had been left as a votive offering by a noble knight from the distant past and was mysteriously chosen by God to liberate France.  This unusual occurrence in Joan's life and the many others like it, in my personal opinion, speaks volumes to the truth of St. Catherine's existence among the Saints in Heaven.

St. Catherine of Alexandria,
pray for us!

A depiction of St. Joan with her 3 patrons:
St. Catherine of Alexandria, St. Margaret of
Antioch, and St. Michael the Archangel. 

**  In addition to St. Catherine of Alexandria, who is invoked against lawsuits, the other members of the Fourteen Holy Helpers "team" are:  St. Acatius, Soldier & Martyr (invoked against headaches); St. Barbara, Virgin & Martyr (invoked against lightning); St. Blaise, Bishop & Martyr (invoked against throat ailments); St. Christopher, Martyr (Patron of Travelers); St. Cyriacus, Deacon & Martyr (invoked against eye disorders); St. Denis, Bishop & Martyr (invoked against demonic attacks); St. Erasmus, Bishop (Patron of Sailors); St. Eustace, Soldier & Martyr (invoked against fires); St. George, Soldier & Martyr (invoked against skin disorders); St. Giles, Monk (invoked against crippling diseases); St. Margaret of Antioch, Virgin & Martyr (invoked against kidney disorders); St. Pantaleon, Doctor & Martyr (invoked against lung disorders); and St. Vitus, Martyr (invoked against epilepsy and nervous disorders).