Disclaimer

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


Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Monthly Message from the Queen of Peace of Medjugorje: October 25th, 2021



   “Dear children!  Return to prayer because who prays is not afraid of the future; who prays is open to life and respects the life of others; who prays, little children, feels the freedom of the children of God and in joy of heart serves for the good for his brother-man.  Because God is love and freedom, therefore, little children, when they want to put you in bonds and to use you, it is not from God.  Because God loves and gives His peace to every creature; and that is why He sent me to you to help you to grow in holiness.  Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Saturday, October 16, 2021

America Needs Fatima Rosary Rally 2021


“Pray, pray much, and sacrifice for sinners,
for many souls go to hell because there is no
one to sacrifice and pray for them.”

- Our Lady of Fatima,
August 13, 1917

Today, groups of Faithful around the country gathered to participate in the America Needs Fatima (ANF) annual Rosary Crusade to offer needed prayer for our country that's spiraling out of control at breakneck speed.

Other chapters of the Needs Fatima organization from around the globe - Canada, Australia, etc. - also did the same for their respective countries.


Here in Kailua, Oahu, a small group of us organized by my dear friend - "Auntie Patty" - joined in on the ANF Crusade. After a one-year break in 2020 due to Covid-19, she decided to restart her long-running annual Rosary Rally, despite the pandemic.  Sure - this year's gathering wasn't as big as her pre-Covid ones, but it's OK.  The main thing is - Auntie Patty bravely said "Yes" to Our Lady and decided to hold a Rally.

So a small bunch of us came together - responsibly - to support the ANF organization and Auntie Patty to PRAY THE ROSARY.  We gathered in the Cobb-Adams Family's open-air garage where a beautiful makeshift altar was set up.

A strange occurrence that impressed us deeply was how, throughout our hour-long prayer, it was mostly quiet except for random street noise... but towards the end when we sang Marian hymns, a small group of birds in a tree suddenly began chirping loudly in chorus, as if to accompany us in honoring Our Lady!

My ministry's relics of the Fatima Seers graced
the makeshift altar as we prayed.

Afterwards, we enjoyed delicious Chinese lunch plates, courtesy of  Auntie Patty. 

All in all, what a blessed and meaningful event it was.  The Holy Virgin, in her many appearances throughout the world continues to plead that we PRAY... PRAY... PRAY!  Sinners are tragically falling into Hell because of a lack of prayer for them... so let's continue responding to our Blessed Mother's call to help save souls - today just goes to show that it's possible to still come together in prayer responsibly and safely.  May God bless us all!

Monday, October 11, 2021

The Wonders of the Theotokos of Iveron


Rejoice, inexhaustible wellspring of grace;
Rejoice, thou who in boundless purity didst
serve the Infinite One!

This ministry has already posted a few times concerning its positive impressions of the "Hawaiian" myrrh-streaming icon of the "Theotokos" ("God-bearer") of Iveron... but then it recently dawned on this author that I didn't really know the entire backstory of the original icon.  I only knew the streaming icon here is a copy of a streaming icon from Montreal, Canada, which in turn, was a contemporary rendition of an ancient icon of the Holy Virgin and Christ Child currently kept in an Orthodox Monastery on Mount Athos, Greece.  I decided to do research and what a spiritual treasure trove I discovered!

According to online accounts, the original Iveron Icon was said to have been painted by St. Luke the Evangelist, like a number of highly venerated miracle-working icons of the Madonna and Child (e.g. Our Lady of Perpetual Help and Our Lady of Czestochowa).  Because of its sacred provenance, this icon, too, was considered miraculous in nature.  Somehow, in the mid-800s, it ended up in the home-chapel of a devout widow who lived in Nicaea.  At the time the Byzantine Emperor Theophilus launched an iconoclasm (war against images) - a purge of religious images, including icons in the Eastern Church - because of a misguided belief that all were "graven".

The original wonder-working
Theotokos of Iveron Icon.

As a result of the emperor's edict, soldiers showed up at the widow's home to confiscate her icon.  One brazen soldier actually slashed at the Virgin's chin with a sword after which, to the horror of all present, blood dripped from the gash inflicted.  The soldiers immediately repented and left the home without destroying the image.

The widow then offered heartfelt prayers of reparation before her treasured icon and received a divine revelation to set it adrift in the nearby ocean to save it from further desecration.  The following morning the woman and her son obediently did as commanded and laid the wooden image upon the waves of the sea, where it set itself upright and began to mysteriously sail towards the West.

The Theotokos Icon is commended to the sea
by the pious widow of Nicaea.

Some time later, the monks of Mt. Athos in eastern Greece, were struck by the sight of a pillar of fire, approaching from the horizon, that rose from the sea into the sky.  The fiery column eventually reached the Grecian shoreline where the awaiting monks discovered the floating painting at the base of the luminary phenomenon.  Their attempts to retrieve the icon failed, though, as it drifted out of reach whenever it was approached.

In the meantime, a humble and holy monk named, Gabriel (St. Gabriel of Iveron in the Orthodox Tradition), from the Georgian Monastery of Iveron (one of several Eastern Orthodox monasteries on Mt. Athos) experienced an apparition of the Blessed Virgin, who directed him to fetch her sacred image from the sea.  Gabriel, without hesitation, went down to the shore and, walking upon the waves, as though on land, easily retrieved the painting.

The Montreal streaming Iveron
Icon with its custodian, the late
Bro. Jose Munoz.

The image was initially installed in a chapel within the Iveron Monastery but it disappeared only to be found hanging near the monastery's gate.  Repeated tries to move the icon only resulted in it inexplicably returning to the gate.  Our Lady reappeared to Gabriel and spoke the following words to him:

“Announce to the brothers that from this day
they should not carry me away.  For what I desire
is not to be protected by you; rather I will
overshadow you, both in this life and in the age
to come.  As long as you see my icon in the
monastery, the grace and mercy of my Son
shall never be lacking!”

As a result of this revelation, a new chapel was constructed at the gate where the icon was successfully enshrined, and where it remains to this very day.  Since then, the wonder-working image was affectionately nicknamed the "Portaitissa" (the "Portress"), as well as called the Theotokos of Iveron, after the monastery in which it's kept and venerated.

The monk, Gabriel of Iveron, miraculously
retrieved the icon from the sea by walking
on its surface.

Throughout the centuries copies have been painted of the original icon, which are amongst the most popular Orthodox representations of the Holy Mother and Child.  The rustic images show the Virgin as both the Theotokos and as the "Hodegetria" ("She who points the way") since she gestures with her right hand towards her Divine Son sitting beside her. 

Contemporary renditions of the Iveron Icon are more stylized, compared to the original, and show the Holy Mother in red robes, which are traditional in Eastern iconography.  The color denotes her sanctity and sorrows as the Mother of our Savior; the child Jesus seated on her left arm holds a scroll, which from this writer's understanding symbolizes wisdom and prophecy.

Hawaii's Iveron Icon, a 
slightly smaller
version of the Montreal icon, which went
missing in 1997 after the mysterious death
in Greece of Bro. Jose Munoz.

In closing, this ministry was pleasantly surprised to learn Hawaii's streaming icon is just one of several links in a chain of miracles started centuries ago by Our Lady; a blessing not just for her Orthodox children, but also a unifying bridge between the Eastern and Western (Catholic) Churches whose members all call her "Mother"; a hypothesis supported by the many graces and healings reportedly effected by the Iveron Icon and its fragrant myrrh that have transcended denominations.

For more information about the Hawaiian myrrh-streaming icon, and/or to support its worldwide healing mission, please click here.

Rejoice, thou who sheddest tears over us
from thine icons; Rejoice, thou who givest
us tears of repentance!  Rejoice, thou who
 healest us with the medicine of
bitter sorrow...

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Saints & Relics Presentation, 10/3/2021: St. John Vianney Church, Kailua


God works in mysterious ways, I tell you... and He did so again in this particular situation.  Allow me to explain...

About two months ago a brother-in-Christ had major surgery on his shoulder and needed a ride for a follow-up doctor appointment in a neighboring town because he couldn't drive.  He asked me for help so I took him.  At the same time, he had found a woman online who was selling hand-crafted wooden walking sticks and arranged to have her meet him in the parking lot of the doctor's building so he could buy one (she apparently lived in the area).

As I got to talking to the woman - her name is Joan - I learned she was a devout Catholic who taught catechism at St. John Vianney Church in Kailua where I happen to regularly attend Mass on Saturday mornings.  Our lively conversation eventually shifted to the topic of Saints so I told her about this ministry and the Saints & Relics Presentation I conduct.  Joan got excited because her CCD Team was actually looking for something new to teach their students about Saints in preparation for the upcoming Feast of All Saints... and now here we are today.

I conducted a Saints & Relics Presentation, especially featuring "young faces of holiness" such as Ven. Anne de Guigne, Bl. Carlo Acutis, the Fatima Seers, and St. Germaine Cousin for the CCD kids.  For their parents, I discussed Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin, and their ever-popular daughter - St. Therese the Little Flower.  I also brought St. Peregrine's relic because of the what seems to be an unusual prevalence of cancer cases in these times.

In between my talk I wove in short games to help entertain the kids, which always helps to keep them engaged... and no Guadalupe House presentation would be complete without Holy Relics so I brought several to expose the children to the concept of relics and relic veneration.

   

ABOVE: Relics of the Fatima Seers & St. Germaine Cousin 
BELOW: Relics of Sts. Louis & Zelie Martin, St. Therese,
& St. Peregrine

   

Of course the ongoing pandemic is still a concern, but the CCD Team at St. John Vianney's is diligent in practicing safety precautions - requiring masks, social distancing and temperature checks for everyone who attended, including myself.  Regardless, I personally feel it's all worthwhile for the sake of the children.  These youngsters are the future of the Church and they - and perhaps their parents, too - urgently need positive role models to guide their impressionable minds... and who better than our Saints?

Children and adults view and venerate the relics present,
which were spaced 6-feet apart.

Based on feedback received after the talk, the presentation was very well-received by both the kids and the adults... so I know the Lord had a hand in arranging this event through that providential meeting with Joan.  Again, God works in mysterious ways.  Amen.

+ + + + +

To read an article about this presentation
from the Hawaii Catholic Herald, click here.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

A Milestone and a Miracle Icon; a First Saturday to remember...


Today's first Saturday was extra-special for two reasons...


+ FIRST SATURDAY ROSARY FOR PEACE

First off, our Kailua parish's monthly First Saturday Rosary Devotion celebrated its 11th-year anniversary today - HOORAY!  I'm happy to report that, except for the brief period of time our island's churches were closed due to the pandemic, this devotion has never been interrupted since October 2010, when we first started it... and it's still going strong.  GOD IS GOOD!

So today we continued to pray for much-needed peace in our tumultuous world and, God willing, we will continue to do so for many more years.

The inside of St. Anthony of Padua Church, Kailua, during the first Saturday Rosary.
Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Divine Mercy are particularly invoked.


+ THE MYRRH-STREAMING IVERON ICON

Just a few months ago, the small Russian Orthodox Church housing the world-famous Hawaiian Iveron Icon relocated from Honolulu to - of all places - Kailua; in fact, just about two blocks away from my parish church!  The miraculous icon of the Holy Mother and Child has been streaming fragrant myrrh (a watery oil-like substance) since 2007.  In June 2008, after an investigation, the Russian Orthodox Church declared it a genuine miracle.  Since then, the icon has traveled the world bringing healing and consolation to many souls.

Today, I finally had a chance to stop by the church after our parish Rosary ended to venerate the icon, which just returned to Hawaii after touring the US east coast.  The aura of Our Lady's presence surrounding this sacred image is very tangible, as it continues to inexplicably seep oil (see below)... and its odor of fresh roses is just heavenly!


View the footage below, which I filmed of
the streaming icon.


Streaks of aromatic myrrh are visible on the
surface of the holy image.


This viewing of the Iveron Icon would be my 3rd time but, still - it never fails to amaze and touch me.  Two friends who came along with me for their very first visits, were themselves, very positively impressed by their experiences.  I'm sure we'll all be back soon.

Standing beside the miracle icon
with a copy of it.

This time around, I made a few new friends amongst our Orthodox brethren, plus obtained a beautiful copy of the icon for personal veneration in my home.  I was allowed to touch my icon to the original miracle image so I came home with a meaningful remembrance of this extra-special First Saturday.  GOD IS GOOD!

Saturday evening prayer service in the stunning
Russian Orthodox church, Kailua.


+ + +  To learn about the original miraculous Theotokos of Iveron icon, click here.  + + +

Friday, October 1, 2021

Saint of the Month - October 2021: Blessed Karl of Austria


Blessed Karl of Austria
Bl. Karl of Austria
Emperor, Husband, Father, & Holy Man
Memorial: October 21st

On August 17, 1887 a future king was born in the town of Persenbeug to Archduke Otto of Austria and Princess Maria Josepha of Saxony; they named him Karl and he was descended from the long-running royal line of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine, which ruled the powerful Austro-Hungarian Empire.

From his childhood, there were signs he was destined for greatness - not so much for any earthly feat, but more so, for his spiritual accomplishments.  In fact, while he was still a little boy, a mystic and stigmatic - Mother Vincentia Fauland of the Child Jesus from the Ursuline Convent of Sopron, Hungry - organized a group of pious Catholics to pray specifically for his well-being.  Mother Vincentia foresaw the Archduke would be exceptionally devout and would become Emperor one day (a highly unlikely scenario at the time); that his future would involve attacks from evil forces and great personal sufferings.  All that was prophesied of Karl, sadly, later proved true.

To start, Karl's mother was highly devout and rather than allowing her son to raised and taught by royal appointees, as was the custom, she personally took charge of his upbringing.  Thus, Princess Josepha was able to instill in her son her deep personal faith, which was the foundation of his exemplary conduct.  The young Archduke was notable for his piety and affable personality; a great love for the Eucharist, which he received daily; an intense devotion towards the Sacred Heart and Our Lady; and a kind, generous nature.  Despite the grandeur and worldliness that came with living in a royal court, Karl was not blinded by it all - preferring a life of simplicity and faith.

 ... I have always tried to know the will of God
and to carry it out in the most perfect way.

~ Words of Bl. Karl

At 16, Karl was conscripted into military service before attending the University of Prague.  He was highly intelligent and learned to speak several languages, while continuing to impress his peers with his natural goodness and open expressions of faith.

In early 1911, while visiting the court of Vienna, Karl met and feel in love with Princess Zita of Bourbon-Parma; they were soon engaged.  It proved to be a providential match because the beautiful Zita was also a devout Catholic who shared many of the Archduke's personal convictions.  They married on October 21, 1911, in the castle of Schwarzau, and immediately left for the Marian shrine of Mariazell to seek the Holy Virgin's guidance and benediction on their union.  Karl reportedly told her on the day after their wedding: "Now, we must help each other to get to Heaven."  Zita readily agreed and, it was evident based on their model lives, that the pair lived up to their agreement while parenting a succession of eight children in the next ten years.

Bl. Karl and Princess Zita
The Emperor Karl and the Empress Zita
with six of their eight children.

In June 1914, Karl was named heir apparent of the Emperor Franz Joseph (his grand uncle) - ruler of the Austro-Hungarian thrones - after a succession of untimely and unexpected deaths among the Habsburg heirs.  When the Emperor died on November 21, 2016, Karl ascended to the throne; he was also crowned the King of Hungary the following month.

At the time of Karl's coronation, World War I was in full swing.  The new monarch again went on pilgrimage to Mariazell to entrust his reign to Our Lady.  His relatively short period of rule was marked by his efforts to help restore peace in Europe, and the establishment of social programs to help the needy impacted by war.  He was also a staunch opponent of the growing movement of Communism in Russia.

Blessed Karl Coronation
Karl, during his coronation as the King of
Hungary in December 2016.

The end of WWI in November 1918 marked the beginning of the end of Karl's reign.  Turmoil between the various ethnic groups that comprised the Austro-Hungarian kingdom, coupled with the meddling of Allied countries, soon led to the splintering of his empire into smaller republics, despite concessions made by the Emperor to maintain a semblance of unity.  Eventually, to ensure peace in the face of civil unrest, Charles allowed himself to be exiled - he sought refuge in Switzerland in March 1919.

It should be noted that Karl never officially abdicated his throne.  He left the throne with the hope of somehow being reinstated to the Hungarian crown once the political climate in the region stabilized.  Two failed attempts in 1921 to restore the king to the throne resulted in him and Zita being taken prisoners by leaders of the new government.  This time around, the royal couple and their children were forcibly exiled to the small Portuguese island of Madeira, where Karl's only other consolation, besides his family, was the Eucharist enshrined in a small home chapel he was permitted to have.

In exile, the deposed ruler surrendered himself completely to the will of God, enduring poverty, hunger, and chronic illness with uncommon peace.  He offered his privations and sufferings for the good of his former subjects, and spent most of his time in deep prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.

Blessed Karl in repose
Bl. Karl of Austria in death, which occurred
on Madeira in 2022.

In March 1922, Karl came down with a cold that worsened into pneumonia.  The lack of proper medical care and provisions caused his health to quickly deteriorate.  His ever-faithful Empress Zita**, was his constant prayer partner until he breathed his last on April 1, 1922.  Also present near his deathbed was the Lord, through the Eucharist, which was exposed in the dying monarch's room - Karl never ceased to adore the Lord with humility, resignation, and gratitude.  Among his last recorded words are:

Jesus, I trust in You.  Jesus, in You I live; in You I die.
Jesus I am yours, in life and in death.  Everything, as you want.

Karl of Austria died at the age of 35; his difficult vocation, a total fulfillment of Mother Vincentia's prophecy.  As news of his personal sanctity began to slowly spread beyond Madeira, the association originally inspired by Mother Vincentia to pray for Karl evolved to become the Emperor Karl League of Prayer, which now promotes his Cause for Canonization.  The saintly monarch has since been Beatified by Pope John Paul II on October 3, 2004... but his Cause needs one more validated miracle for the Emperor to be declared a Saint.  This ministry spiritually unites itself with the League in praying for Bl. Karl's speedy Canonization.

Bl. Karl of Austria, pray for us!


** POSTSCRIPT:  The Empress Zita died in 1989, also with a reputation for sanctity!  As such, her Cause for Canonization was opened by the Diocese of Le Mans, France, in December 2009.