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, September 25, 2019

Monthly Messages from the Queen of Peace of Medjugorje: September 2019



Our Lady's Monthly Message to the World on September 25th:
   "Dear children! Today I am calling you to pray for my intentions so that I may help you. Little children, pray the Rosary and meditate the mysteries of the Rosary because, in your life, you are also passing through joys and sorrows. In this way, you are transforming the mysteries into your life, because life is a mystery until you place it into God’s hands. In this way, you will have the experience of faith like Peter who met Jesus and the Holy Spirit filled his heart. Little children, you are also called to witness by living the love with which, day by day, God wraps you with my presence. Therefore, little children, be open and pray with the heart in faith.  Thank you for having responded to my call."

Our Lady's Special Message to Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo on September 2nd:
   "Dear children, pray! Pray the Rosary every day - that wreath of flowers which, as a mother, directly connects me with your pains, sufferings, desires, and hopes. Apostles of my love, I am with you through the grace and the love of my Son, and I am asking for prayers of you. The world is in such need of your prayers for souls to be converted. With complete trust, open your hearts to my Son, and in them He will inscribe the summary of His words - which is love. Live in an unbreakable connection with the Most Sacred Heart of my Son. My children, as a mother, I am telling you that it is high time for you to kneel before my Son to acknowledge Him as your God, the center of your life. Offer gifts to Him - that which He most loves - which is love towards neighbor, mercy, and pure hearts. Apostles of my love, many of my children still do not acknowledge my Son as their God; they have not yet come to know His love. But you, with your prayer pronounced from a pure and open heart, by the gifts which you offer to my Son, will make even the hardest hearts open. Apostles of my love, the strength of prayer pronounced from the heart - a powerful prayer full of love - changes the world. Therefore, my children: pray, pray, pray. I am with you.  Thank you."

Sunday, September 22, 2019

We are not alone: a sign in nature?


God and our Heavenly Mother never cease to amaze.  I snapped this enigmatic photo just after Mass, as I drove away from the church. It was a another "spiritual serendipity" moment for me, since for clear reasons, it reminded me of Our Lady's maternal presence; that we don't walk our faith-journey alone.  It left me smiling and feeling big-time gratitude.  GOD IS GOOD.


Medjugorje Message, August 25, 2003

"Dear children!
Also today I call you to give thanks to God
in your heart for all the graces which He gives you,
also through the signs and colors that are in nature.
God wants to draw you closer to Himself and moves
you to give Him glory and thanks.  Therefore, little
children, I call you anew to pray, pray, pray and do
not forget that I am with you.  I intercede before God
for each of you until your joy in Him is complete.
Thank you for having responded to my call."

Thursday, September 19, 2019

2019 Annual St. Lorenzo Ruiz Novena


Happening now - the annual St. Lorenzo Ruiz Novena at my home parish of St. Anthony of Padua Church, Kailua...

 

Please join our Kailua Filipino community in celebrating and honoring the first native Saint of the Philippines through the Holy Rosary, and prayers of petition and healing.  There is also an opportunity to venerate a special "relic-stone" from the actual site of the torture pit in Nagasaki, Japan, where St. Lorenzo suffered martyrdom in 1637 (shown above-right).

The novena's schedule of events is, as follows:

    9-DAY NOVENA
   
   +  Dates:  9/19 (Thursday) to 9/27 (Friday)
   +  Place:  St. Anthony of Padua Parish Day Chapel 
   +  Time:  7:00 PM (refreshments provided after)

   FEAST DAY POTLUCK CELEBRATION
   
   +  Date:  9/28 (Saturday)
   +  Place:  St. Anthony of Padua Parish Hall
   +  Time:  6:00 PM (after the 5:00 PM Vigil Mass)


Some of the parishioners and guests
present on Day 7 of the novena.

Come join us - all are welcome!

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The Eucharist Speaking Presentation, 9/10/2019: Sacred Heart Church, Waianae



Last night I had the privilege of witnessing about the truth of the Eucharist to parishioners at Sacred Heart Church in Waianae.  I call the presentation I did "The Eucharist: Heart of the Church" and I was eager and excited to do it for good reason.  Let me explain why...

A few weeks ago I read an article somewhere that stated there was a large percentage of Catholics who did not believe in the true presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.  If I recall correctly, the percentage mentioned was greater than 50%, which left me deeply disturbed and wondering how could this happen?  After all, our teaching on the Eucharist is one of the Church's most important; a foundation of our Holy Faith.  One cannot profess him/herself a Roman Catholic and not believe in the True Presence.  It just doesn't work that way.

Relics on display for the presentation.

So when the RCIA Group at Sacred Heart Church invited me to share about the Eucharist, I jumped on it as an opportunity to make a dent in the percentage, no matter how small a dent.  I was determined to end the night ensuring the majority, if not all of my audience, left the presentation with a deeper faith and appreciation in the Eucharist.  I cited scriptural references; writings of the early Church Fathers; writings and sayings of popular Saints; and shared numerous stories and photos of several Eucharistic wonders in the lives of our Saints and of approved miracles from around the world.


... and, of course, a Guadalupe House presentation would not be a Guadalupe House presentation without relics, which always have the effect of impressing people with the message better than any way I can... so I brought relics of the following Saints and Blesseds who I had referenced in my talk: Bl. Alexandrina of BalasarSt. Anthony of Padua, Bl. Imelda Lambertini, St. Padre Pio, St. Rose of Lima, St. Teresa of Calcutta, and St. Therese the Little Flower.

  
 Photos with my Sacred Heart Parish Ohana.

All in all, it was a successful presentation thanks largely to the wide open hearts of this small, but faith-filled, community. Feedback and comments received were immensely positive, which filled me with hope and encouragement that there are people in the Church who love our Eucharistic Lord; people who will be light for those in the dark.


*  *  *  TESTIMONIES  *  *  *

"Good Afternoon Peter,
Last night was such a great experience for me
to learn more about the Eucharist and all the Saints.
Thank you for sharing your relics and giving
us the [Holy Face] medals."

 - Dee Dee


"We were talking and sharing about your
presentation long after it was over!  Both of our
candidates were inspired and excited by what
they had learned. Our younger candidate is
only 18 years old, and he was so moved by your
testimony that he couldn't wait to go home and
share what he had learned with his parents."

‐ Lilia 

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Saint of the Month - September 2019: Sr. Chiara Isabella Fornari


The Servant of God
Sr. Chiara Isabella Fornari
Spouse of Christ's Sorrow

In honor of Our Lady's birthday feast today, I am featuring the life of an obscure Poor Clare mystic, whose life is very much connected to the popular devotion of Mary's birth and infancy, which the reader will understand further down in this blog.  Her secular name was Anna Felice Fornari and she was born on June 25, 1697.

Based on data I pieced together from various online sources, Anna's family was from Rome, Italy, where they were distinguished and affluent.  Similar to other mystic souls, Anna was inspired to spirituality from her earliest years and, in particular, was conscientious in observing chastity and purity.

At age 13, Anna boarded in the Franciscan Monastery of St. Francis in Todi, where she was taken to be tutored by the Poor Clares.  The stay with the nuns turned out to be permanent, since it resulted in a religious vocation for the young student.  Anna entered the novitiate at 15 and was professed the following year - July 1713 - under the name Sr. Chiara Isabella.   

An early depiction of Sr. Chiara Isabella Fornari,
Mystic & Poor Clare Abbess of Todi.

Chiara's early life as a nun was marked by the virtues she displayed, as well as by extreme forms of self-mortification and remarkable spiritual experiences - not only did she wholly embrace the austere life of a Franciscan nun, but she also added her own penitential practices such as the regular use of the discipline even onto blood. Her extraordinary efforts at sanctity attracted the attention of the devil who sent demons to terrorize the young nun. Their diabolic attacks at first took the form of seductive temptations and frightening apparitions, but when these failed, Chiara was subjected to physical assaults that nearly drove her to despair had she not been sustained by faith and God's grace. All served to purify her soul and to prepare her for still-greater graces and deeper union with Jesus.

... and, as if to compensate for the trials she was undergoing, Chiara's moments of suffering were interspersed with heavenly consolation and divine charisms. She experienced ecstasies accompanied by encouraging visits from Our Lady and saints such as St. Clare of Assisi (d. 1253)St. Catherine of Siena (d. 1380), and St. Maria Maddalena de Pazzi (d. 1607); was given the Sacred Stigmata in her hands, feet, side, and brow, which were mostly invisible although at times they were seen bleeding (relics of her blood-stained clothing reportedly emanated a floral fragrance). Chiara's spiritual gifts reached a pinnacle when she underwent the Mystical Marriage with Christ, who espoused her soul through a wedding band he placed on her finger.  The Lord then referred to her as his "Spouse of Sorrow'.

The other nuns were initially skeptical of the supernatural phenomena surrounding Chiara - they judged her a fraud, deluded, or even possessed, and some of them went so far as to berate and humiliate her. In response to this added trial, the mystic displayed unwavering humility, charity, and patience... and, in due time, she won the community over with her genuine goodness and sanctity.  In fact, she was later elected Abbess, leading the monastery in an exemplary manner. Chiara died on December 9, 1744, leaving behind a solid reputation for sanctity not just within the monastery walls but throughout the Umbria region of Italy.

Although she attained great fame of holiness even in her lifetime, most people today know very little about Sr. Chiara Isabella Fornari's life, virtues, and miracles. Her name, when researched, is often mentioned in narratives relating to two popular Marian images/devotions, which she is closely linked with:

+ Our Lady of Confidence


This beautiful and familiar image of Mother and Divine Child was painted by an artist named Carlo Maratta (d. 1713). He gifted the original to Chiara and, not long after, the Abbess had an apparition of the Madonna, who expressed her pleasure at the depiction. Mary went on to promise signal graces for those who would venerate it along with a short invocation, "My Mother, my confidence!", hence the Marian title of the image.

The painting became a channel of grace and copies were distributed throughout Italy. A copy now hanging in the Lateran Basilica, Rome, is particularly venerated for its reported miraculous properties, further spreading devotion to Our Lady of Confidence around the world.

+ The Maria Bambina


This miraculous image is of the baby Mary; one of a few such sculptures molded from wax by Chiara, herself, as an expression of her intense devotion to the Mother of Christ. The surving image that is world-famous today was gifted to another Poor Clare monastery by the abbess before it eventually found its way to the Sisters of Charity in Milan.  There, worn and discolored by the passing of time, a seriously ill sister was instantaneously healed while venerating it, after which it miraculously took on life-like features; it's been associated with cures and signal graces ever since.

The Maria Bambina is especially honored on September 8th, the day the Church celebrates the Feast of Our Lady's Nativity, which is why I decided to post about Sr. Chiara today - read more about the devotion to the Maria Bambina here.

Lastly, another detail of Chiara's prolific mystical life is the immense help she was to the Holy Souls in Purgatory. She had profound compassion for them and, like many mystics who bore the Stigmata, part of her expiatory suffering was apparently allotted for the benefit of souls still undergoing purification. Through God's design, many were permitted to appear to the nun to request prayer and sacrifices, which she generously offered on their behalf. On at least two occasions, proof of Chiara's mysterious encounters with Poor Souls were left behind, via scorch marks of hand prints on her clothing and on a wooden table she used. These relics survive to this day and are displayed in the "Purgatory Museum" in Rome (see below).

A scorched hand print and cross left on Sr. Chiara's
desk by a deceased priest asking for prayer.

The Cause for Sainthood of Sr. Chiara has been opened but is presently stalled for some reason. Because of my personal devotion to Our Lady and the Poor Souls in Purgatory, I feel a special affinity towards this humble Franciscan and would like to see her officially ranked among the Saints, or at least beatified! Please join me in seeking Sr. Chiara's intercession to obtain favors for her Canonization:

Lord, through the intercession of Sr. Chiara
Isabella Fornari, your Spouse of Sorrow, grant me
the grace I now pray for [describe here].  May it
help to bring about her canonization.  Amen.

(Report any graces received to this ministry)