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


Saturday, December 31, 2022

In Memoriam...



This author has a warm spot for the late Pope Emeritus.  Back in September 2005, during a trip to Rome, I was privileged to attend a Papal Audience presided over by Pope Benedict XVI.  I'll never forget the experience.

I can still clearly recall the moment he appeared in St. Peter's Square in the Pope Mobile - I was filled with sudden excitement and tears of joy fell from my eyes.  Noticing my emotion, an elderly Italian woman standing next to me smiled and asked, "Molto contento (very happy)?"... and I replied, "Si.  Molto contento."

Receiving Pope Benedict's blessing in 2005.

Since then, that Papal Audience has been a major highlight in my life, and I have affectionately accompanied ”Papa Benedict" in prayer, even after his retirement.  His solid example of Catholic Faith remains a personal inspiration and I am forever grateful, as are countless others who are also mourning his passing.

Rest in peace, Pope Benedict XVI!

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Monthly Message from the Queen of Peace of Medjugorje: December 25th, 2022



The Blessed Virgin gave us two messages
on this Christmas Day 2022...

Monthly Message received by Marija:
  “Dear Children!  Today I am carrying my Son Jesus to you, that you may be His peace and a reflection of the clarity and joy of Heaven.  Pray, little children, to be open to receive peace because many hearts are closed to the call of the light which changes hearts.  I am with you and am praying for you to open yourselves to receive the King of peace, Who fills your hearts with warmth and blessing.  Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Special Message received by Jacov during his annual apparition:
  “Dear Children!  Today, when the light of Jesus' birth is illuminating the entire world, in a special way, with Jesus in my arms, I am praying that every heart becomes a stable of Bethlehem, in which my Son will be born, so that your lives become a light of His birth.  Little children, you live in peacelessness and fear.  That is why, little children, today, on this day of grace, implore Jesus to strengthen your faith and to become the ruler of your lives; because, my children, only with Jesus in your lives will you not be looking at peacelessness but praying for peace and will live in peace; and you will not be looking at fear but at Jesus Who frees us of all fears.  I am your Mother who ceaselessly keeps vigil over you and I am blessing you with my motherly blessing.”

Monday, December 12, 2022

Marian Apparitions Presentation: Women's Group at St. Ann Parish, 12/12/2022



Tonight this author had the joy of celebrating the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe with a wonderful group of women from different parts of Oahu Island.   They came together in prayer and fellowship at St. Ann Church in Kaneohe to honor our Blessed Mother, and this ministry was privileged to be invited to faith-share about Marian apparitions, particularly the Mexican Apparitions of 1531.

I'm addition, I was asked by the organizers to bring relics, which I gladly did.  For this specific presentation on apparitions, the standard relics I bring are from premier Marian Visionaries: St. Bernadette of Lourdes, St. Catherine Laboure of the Miraculous Medal, and Sts. Francisco and Jacinta of Fatima... along with a relic of their cousin, Sr. Lucia dos Santos.


ABOVE: The makeshift display altar
at tonight's event.
BELOW: A closer view of the relics.


During the course of the talk, I summarized the Holy Virgin's recurring message from her various approved apparitions in Mexico, France, and Portugal, which is essentially PRAYER, CONVERSION, and PENANCE.

After the presentation ended it was personally inspiring to see many of the ladies approach the makeshift altar to venerate the relics; some even on their knees, while in profound prayer.  Special spiritual bonds were definitely made with the Saints, or strengthened, this evening.


The women paying their respect
to Our Lady and the Saints.


Judging by the feedback and actions of the audience members, it was another successful presentation; a fitting way to honor the Virgin of Guadalupe, patroness of this ministry.

May the faith-seeds planted this night blossom into an abundance of positive spiritual fruits in the lives of the audience members - Thanks be to God!  

Our Lady of Guadalupe,
pray for us.

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Saint of the Month - December 2022: Saint Barbara


St. Barbara, Virgin & Martyr
Towering in Faith
Feast: December 4th

Most frequently, this blog features modern Saints, but this month I felt inspired to write about an ancient one - a Virgin-Martyr, who today, has fallen into obscurity, but was, at one point in time, widely invoked by Catholics.  Her name is St. Barbara and during the Middle Ages she was very popular being that she was ranked amongst the "14 Holy Helpers"; Patron Saints who were frequently called upon by the Faithful against the various challenges and ills of daily life because of their efficacious intercession.  Besides St. Barbara, the list of Helpers included familiar names such as St. Blaise, St. Catherine of Alexandria, St. Christopher, and St. George the Dragon Slayer.

Like many other Virgin-Martyrs of the early Church, Barbara's biography is a tangled mix of facts and legend... but it is none the less fascinating and edifying, with slight variances depending on the source of the story.  This is the gist of her life, based on what I was able to gather from different online sources.

Barbara was the only child of a widower named Dioscorus, a wealthy pagan merchant, who was subject to the Roman Empire during the reign of the Emperor Maximinus.  After her mother died when she was still a young girl, her over-protective father put her in the care of slaves who were secretly Christians.  In raising her, these servants planted the seeds of Faith in Barbara, which under their careful guidance, inspired the girl to fall deeply in love with Christ; leading her to consecrate herself solely to Him, unbeknownest to Dioscorus.

At some point, her father decided to add a tower to his existing villa and had plans drawn up for its construction before leaving for an extended business trip.  Upon his return, Dioscorus was surprised to see the builders had deviated from the blueprint by including a ring of three windows in the tower rather than just the two he originally indicated.  When he angrily demanded an explanation, the workers replied that it was Barbara who had ordered them to do so.  The merchant then confronted his daughter about her meddling and it was then she confessed that she had done so to commemorate and honor the Holy Trinity, which effectively outed her as a Christian.

Infuriated by Barbara's conversion, Dioscorus had her imprisoned in the newly built tower in an effort to force her to abandon Christianity... but Barbara staunchly refused and, with the help of the servants, she managed to escape.  Her father quickly found her, though, after which he denounced her to the local prefect.  The official offered Barbara her freedom if only she would make sacrifices to the Roman gods but the pious maiden rebuked him instead.  What followed next was a round of unsuccessful bribes and intimidations, followed by a public flogging, which Barbara courageously endured to the edification of the crowd, including the hidden Christians.  The terrible ordeal would've killed Barbara, if not for Jesus, who cured her during a miraculous apparition in her prison cell.

When Barbara was next brought before the prefect, all were astounded to see her restored to health and beauty, which prompted many conversions among the pagans.  After bravely rebuking her oppressors, including Dioscorus, Barbara was sentenced to death by beheading.  Her own father reportedly carried out the sentence, likely to save face with his peers, but he was then struck and killed by lighting shortly after the wicked deed.

And so ended the life of Barbara, who was immediately venerated as a Martyr by early Christians.  As mentioned earlier, her once-popular cultus has waned amongst Catholics in these present times... but strong devotion to her endures in the Eastern/Orthodox churches where she is celebrated under the grand title of the "Great Martyr Barbara".  St. Barbara's Feast in the Catholic Church is observed on December 4th.

St. Barbara, Virgin & Martyr,
pray for us!

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Saints & Relics Presentation: Mary Star of the Sea Youth Group, 12/2/2022



This author firmly believes that early faith formation of children is absolutely crucial to raising up godly adults.  So it was a privilege for me to speak last night to the youth group and parents of Mary Star of the Sea (MSOS) Parish.

During this particular talk I featured the lives and Sacred Relics of such Saints as St. Angelo of Acri, St. Bernadette of Lourdes, St. Damien of Molokai, St. Dominic SavioSt. John Paul IISt. Maria Domenica Mantovani, St. Peregrine LaziosiBl. Rolando Rivi, St. Therese the Little Flower... and I included my ministry's True Cross Relic, as well.


Several Relics on display at the presentation.

 

What made this presentation extra-special was the presence of one of the parish's priests, who showed genuine enthusiasm and interest in the presentation and the relics.  It then lead to an invitation to return and speak to the entire parish in early 2023, which is exciting.

The same priest had also agreed to expose the Eucharist for 30 minutes in the nearby chapel after the presentation, and it was awesome to see ALL the children and parents participate in the Adoration.  It was the perfect way to end the evening - spending quality time with Jesus.  Thanks be to God!

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
topped off the night's events.

So, God willing, tonight's message will take root in the children's heart; helping them to later become fruitful apostles in our troubled world.  We pray for them.


* * T E S T I M O N I E S * *


Thank you so much Peter for another wonderful presentation!  ... Thank u for your prayers. We greatly appreciate all that you do!  Mahalo nui!

- Karen, Coordinator


Aloha Mr. Cruz. Thoroughly enjoyed tonight's presentation at Mary Star of the Sea.  Thank you kindly.

- Eric, MSOS Sacristan

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Monthly Message from the Queen of Peace of Medjugorje: November 25th, 2012



  "Dear Children!  The Most High has sent me to you to teach you prayer.  Prayer opens hearts and gives hope, and faith is born and strengthened.  Little children, with love I am calling you: return to God, because God is love and your hope.  You do not have a future if you do not decide for God; and that is why I am with you to guide you to decide for conversion and life, and not for death.  Thank you for having responded to my call."

Monday, November 21, 2022

The "real" face of St. Catherine of Genoa?


Here is yet another example, I just discovered, of a forensic reconstruction of a Saint's face using the relic of a skull - this time the subject is St. Catherine of Genoa, a great lay-mystic and advocate of the Poor Souls (click here to read her biography).


Above: An old portrait of St. Catherine
Below: The facial reconstruction


When comparing the forensic results with the painting done of her, it's pretty close in my opinion... and it's nice to see what our Saints may have actually looked like in life compared to their popular, stylized depictions in works of art and holy cards; one can better see the humanity of Saints which reminds us that we, too, have a chance at holiness.  At least that's how I personally see it.

To view startling forensic reconstructions of other faces of Saints, click here.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Marian Apparitions & Saints Presentation: Medeiros Residence, 11-11-2022


Last night's presentation could not have gone any better - EVERYTHING fell into place, as only God could arrange it.

Relics of the Marian Visionaries discussed
at tonight's event: St. Bernadette of Lourdes,
the Fatima Seers, & St. Catherine Laboure.

About 40 people ‐ including a priest, young adults, and a few non-Catholics - came to the Medeiros home from within Kailua and other parts of Oahu... and many left inspired!  One lady even grabbed this author by the hand, as she was leaving, and told me she was going to start praying the rosary daily - praises be to God!

Guests arriving at the event.

And the escarchas!  It's been a while since I last saw them... but tonight fine flakes of gold were observed scattered on the floor to the joy and excitement of "Auntie Gloria" (our host), her family, and guests.

I can't help but feel that this particular story isn't over yet - Auntie Gloria had shared that she felt strongly and personally urged by the Blessed Virgin to host this event and I believe her.  God has a plan here and I sense a ripple effect of grace has just begun, which I can’t wait to see play out.

This author with some of the young
adults who attended.

So thanks be to God and to Our Lady for tonight's event... and for the blessings that are coming!  Amen, Amen!

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Saint of the Month - November 2022: Blessed Carmen of the Child Jesus


Bl. Carmen of the Child Jesus
Wife, Widow, & Foundress
Memorial: November 9th

Born in Antequera, Malaga (Spain), on June 30, 1834, this Beata was baptized the following day with the name Maria Carmela Gonzalez Ramos... but she was simply called Carmen by her large and deeply religious family.

From her earliest childhood, Carmen displayed a mature intelligence along with a generous and compassionate disposition; admirable traits that were nurtured in a household that actively exercised devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and the Holy Virgin... and which motivated the young Carmen's frequent visits to the poor and the sick.

At 22-years-old, believing that she was inspired to do so by the Lord, Carmen accepted a marriage proposal - against her parent's advice - from a Joaquim Munoz del CaƱo.  The union was a disaster or a great blessing, depending on one's perception.  This author believes the Beata was correct in her discernment of God’s will for her, given the abundant positive fruits that eventually resulted.

As it turned out, Joaquim was a violent and unfaithful spouse.  He not only verbally and physically abused his wife but he also engaged in extramarital affairs.  It was, however, Carmen's heroic and virtuous response to this wretched man that actually propelled her to a high level of personal sanctity - rather than allowing anger, bitterness, or resentment to get the best of her, she instead consciously chose to be a good wife and repeatedly forgave her husband's deplorable behavior despite her personal anguish.

Carmen consistently offered her situation to God for Joaquim's conversion and prayed diligently for him to come to his senses.  In addition, her husband's lack of attention gave her leave to continue her works of mercy with the needy, which increased her virtue and brought her a measure of joy and fulfillment that her childless marriage was lacking.

After 20 years of patiently enduring cruel treatment and indifference, along with offering countless prayers and sacrifices, Joaquim fell ill and was cared for by the only person who was willing to put up with him - Carmen.  Perhaps because he was faced with his own mortality, the sick man finally saw the error of his ways, leading him to repent and sincerely apologize to his wife, which Carmen accepted.

For the next 4 years the couple lived in peace until Joaquim passed away, leaving Carmen a widow at age 47.  Her husband had died a changed man to the credit of his wife's persistent prayer and excellent example.

Now free of any obligations, Carmen threw herself headlong into full-time public ministry.  With the encouragement of her spiritual director, she converted her home into a much-needed school/clinic in service of the poor.  Needless to say the work quickly grew and thrived, attracting other women who also wanted to be of service to God and neighbor.  In due time the group became a formal religious congregation affiliated with the Franciscan Order called the Franciscan Tertiary Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.  As its foundress Carmen took the religious name, Carmen of the Child Jesus.

Madre Carmen (standing) with an
early group of her nuns

Religious life was not without its own struggles, though, as biographies recount that Mother Carmen still had to contend with challenges such as misunderstandings and slander, sometimes from within her own congregation.  But the foundress expertly weathered them all having been well-prepared against adversity through the difficulties of her marriage.

Furthermore, Mother Carmen's constant example of Faith, Love, Humility, Forgiveness and holy tenacity resulted in a productive ministry that saw the establishment of 11 houses from where her congregation taught children and adults; nursed the sick; and took in orphans.

The foundress died in Antequera at 65-years-old on November 9, 1899, after succumbing to typhus.  Her enduring legacy of Christ-like love and service prompted a spontaneous, local devotion to her, and favors were reported at her tomb.

The tomb-chapel of Bl. Carmen

A miraculous healing of a nun in her own congregation from a deadly tumor - through the direct intercession of Mother Carmen - culminated in her Beatification on May 7, 2007.  May the Lord see fit to grant the Church her speedy Canonization!

Blessed Carmen of the Child Jesus,
pray for us!

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Saints & Relics Presentation: Mary Star of the Sea Parish, 10/29/2022


Our Lady, Queen of All Saints,
pray for us!

The Honolulu parish of Mary Star of the Sea held a "Holy-ween Party" last night to celebrate All Saints Eve... and invited this ministry to be a presenter at their event.  Not one to pass up any festivities, this author gladly accepted and brought along 9 relics of the following holy individuals to faith-share about:  Bl. Bartolo Longo, ex-Satanic Priest; St. Benedict of Nursia, founder of the Benedictine Order; St. Bernadette, Marian visionary of Lourdes, France; the 3 Blessed Carmelite Martyrs of Guadalajara, Spain; St. Peregrine Laziosi, Patron Saint of Cancer Patients; St. Padre Pio, the Stigmatic Priest; St. Teresa of CalcuttaSt. Therese Martin, the Little Flower; and finally, a veil-relic from Our Lady.


Several genuine relics on display at
the Mary Star of  Sea parish event.


During the presentation, it was apparent the participants - mainly young adults - were fully engaged, based on the many great questions they asked... and after the talk ended, all of them came up to the three display altars to pray and touch various devotional items to the relics.

   
A couple of snapshots of some of the participants expressing respect and devotion to our faith heroes.

It goes without saying that our Blessed Mother, the Saints, and their respective holy relics deeply impressed the people, and contributed greatly to the spiritual success of the event; one young lady even commented, "I won't ever forget this."

The food was great too!

And kudos to the team who coordinated the Holy-ween Party - the saint-themed decorations and games were clever and fun, and the Chinese food they served was delicious!  Prayers and blessings go out to the team and all the parishioners who attended!


* * * T E S T I M O N Y * * *

Thank you Peter for everything! That was such a powerful presentation. I feel so humbled & blessed & I learned so much... Mahalo nui loa.

- Karen, Coordinator

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Monthly Message from the Queen of Peace of Medjugorje: October 25th, 2022



  “Dear Children! The Most High permits me to be with you, and to be joy for you and the way in hope, because mankind has decided for death. That is why He sent me to keep instructing you that without God you do not have a future. Little children, be instruments of love for all those who have not come to know the God of love. Witness joyfully your faith and do not lose hope in a change of the human heart. I am with you and am blessing you with my motherly blessing. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Saints & Relics Presentation: St. Anthony of Padua Church CCD Families, 10/23/2022


I've often heard it mentioned that CHURCH BEGINS AT HOME.  What a true statement.  This is why this ministry is always pleased to support my Kailua parish's initiative (or any other parish's) to not just educate our children about different aspects of our Catholic Faith, but also their parents. A family that prays together stays together, as another popular saying goes.

Families were given the opportunity to learn
about Saints and to venerate actual relics.

So this morning this author spoke about the relevance of our Saints, as our Church's very own SUPER HEROES; our extended spiritual family who are cheering us on and praying for us so we can one day be with them in Heaven. If only more households took advantage of their helpful intercession we'd have a much better world! 

A list of Patron Saints for the children
and even their parents to consider.

The Saints/Relics who were featured at today's talk were St. Germaine CousinSt. Martin de Porres, Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati... and Our Lady, the Queen of All Saints; all are fantastic role models of sanctity for youngsters and adults.

How immensely fortunate we are to be members of the Catholic Church!

Saturday, October 15, 2022

America Needs Fatima Rosary Rally: October 15, 2022


"I am the Lady of the Rosary.
Continue to pray the rosary every day..."

- Fatima, October 13, 1917


Auntie Patty and her Kailua family did it again - today they hosted another one of their great prayer gatherings on behalf of the America Needs Fatima (ANF) annual Rosary Rally Campaign.  Unlike the prior two years, more people attended this time around; a hopeful and welcomed sign of continuing re-emergence from the Covid-19 pandemic.  Praise the Lord!

This ministry's Fatima pilgrim statue
and relics of the 3 Fatima Seers on public display for veneration.

It goes without saying, it was a meaningful time of prayer, inspiration, and Christian fellowship; something this author personally looks forward to each year... along with the delicious Chinese plate lunches, courtesy of our hosts!

   
Good food and great fellowship are always
to be expected at Auntie Patty's rallies!

May the prayers offered today at all the ANF Rosary Rallies around the world bring about PEACE and an abundance of conversions.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

Friday, October 7, 2022

Saint of the Month - October 2022: Blessed Bartolo Longo


It's October 7th, the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary... so it's the perfect day to post this featured Saint of the Month: Bl. Bartolo Longo.  He was a great promoter of the Rosary Devotion and his biography makes for a fascinating and edifying read, partly because he didn’t start off as a person inclined to sanctity like many other Saints, but rather he was just the opposite – Bartolo, in his young adult years, was actually a Satanist; a "priest" in a diabolic cult, which shows just how deeply involved he was in the dark arts.  His life, therefore, is a particularly awesome testimony to the Divine Mercy of God, to the power of Our Lady’s maternal intercession… and to the demonic deceptions of occult practices.

Born on February 10, 1841, in Latiano, Italy, Bartolo’s family was wealthy but highly pious.  His parents - Dr. Bartolomeo Longo and Antonina Luparelli – were devoted to the Blessed Virgin and the couple made it a point to have their family pray the daily Rosary together.

Bl. Bartolo Longo
An Apostle of the Rosary
Memorial: October 5th

When Bartolo’s beloved mother passed away in 1851 it marked a downhill slide for him away from the Church. What made matters worse was when he left home for the University of Naples to study law, he was befriended by members of a sect that was heavily into devil-worship.  Through these peoples’ company, Bartolo was introduced to the practice of divination, necromancy, magick, and other occult rites, including perverse sexual rituals.

Drawn in by the sense of empowerment and belonging that the cult and its practices afforded him, our protagonist sunk deeper into Satanism.  As his knowledge and preternatural skills in the occult grew, he also developed an increasing disdain for the Catholic Faith; openly mocking it and doing all he could to undermine its influence amongst his peers in the university, even convincing several to leave the Church in favor of occult practices.  His efforts at being blatantly wicked impressed his companions so they chose him to be a leader – a priest – in their sect.

Bartolo’s brief stint as a satanic priest marked another turning point in his life - this time around it was unexpectedly positive.  During the ceremony to install him as priest, extraordinary demonic phenomena manifested that was a rude awakening for the young man – accounts state that the room shook, while terrifying disembodied growls and guttural voices emanated from the walls, followed by an apparition of the devil, himself, which thoroughly terrified Bartolo.  As a result of the experience, he developed a digestive issue that lasted for the rest of his life.

In the months following his “ordination”, Bartolo’s world quickly spiraled out of control.  Diabolic visions and specters haunted him and, because of them, he suffered from bouts of depression, anxiety, and paranoia.  The unfortunate man was devoid of peace and consolation, leading to poor health and an eventual mental collapse.

The 22-year-old Bartolo (note his hardened
expression compared to the top photo)

It was during this period of profound darkness and chaos that a ray of hope shown in Bartolo’s life.  His family, despite Bartolo’s behavior and self-imposed distance from them and the Church, never gave up on him – they prayed diligently for his return.  When he hit rock-bottom, Bartolo mysteriously heard his deceased father's voice admonishing him from beyond the grave, crying out several times: “Return to God!”  It was both a loving call, as well as, a dire warning that prompted the young man to finally come to his senses.

Overcoming the opposition and threats of the other members, Bartolo broke away from his cult and sought guidance from a Professor Vincenzo Pepe, a devout Catholic who befriended him.  The professor, in turn, connected him with a saintly Dominican priest named, Fr. Alberto Radente, who administered confession and patiently guided Bartolo in his reintegration back into the Church.

As a penance for his past life, Bartolo volunteered with a charitable association in Pompeii that served the poor and the sick.  One day, in October 1872, while he was walking alone in a field in Pompeii, he was assailed by an overwhelming sense of despair and Bartolo’s mind was also flooded with doubt as to his salvation, along with thoughts of suicide (in this writer’s personal opinion, it was undoubtedly a retaliatory attack by the demons he once invoked).  It was in the midst of this intense spiritual struggle that he had another mystical experience – he again heard a voice, but this time around it was his confessor, Fr. Alberto, saying to him:

“If you seek salvation, promote the
Rosary.  This is Mary's own promise.”

Bartolo later wrote that the words “illumined” his soul and he fell to his knees and cried out to the Blessed Virgin: “If it is true ... I will not leave this valley until I have propagated your Rosary!”  It was all that was needed to restore peace to his soul; a heartfelt plea to Our Lady that finally drove his personal demons away.

Almost immediately, Bartolo set about fulfilling the commitment he made to the Holy Mother.  He organized rosary prayer groups, which met with minimal success, but after a couple of years he was inspired to look for an image of the Madonna to use as a dedicated focal point for his lay-apostolate.  He eventually acquired an old, damaged painting from a nun – Madre Concetta de Litala – who Fr. Alberto referred him to.  However, upon first seeing the image, Bartolo was disappointed by the homely features of the holy figures depicted… but Madre Concetta convinced him to accept it by stating, “Take it with you; you will see that the Blessed Mother will use this painting to work many miracles."  Intended for the tiny old church of San Salvatore in Pompeii, the large painting arrived in a cart, wrapped in a bedsheet and atop a heap of manure, of all things!  The date was November 13, 1875.

The world-famous miraculous image of
Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompeii

Once the image was mounted in a little chapel, Bartolo invited local priests, along with the inhabitants of Pompeii to participate in a Rosary mission for the spiritual revival of the region.  Not long after, in January 1876, Bartolo had the painting repaired and commissioned another artist to enhance the figures to make them more attractive.  Another restoration followed in 1879 during which the kneeling female Saint representing St. Rose of Lima was changed to depict St. Catherine of Siena, so as to correspond with St. Dominic de Guzman (the other kneeling figure) since the two are key pillars in the Dominican Order to which Our Lady revealed the Rosary (a third restoration was completed in 1965).

Almost immediately after the painting's first restoration, astounding cures were reported through its public veneration, fulfilling Madre Concetta's words.  It came to be called Our Lady of the Rosary, and it quickly became an object of pilgrimage.  The positive spiritual fruits and remarkable graces were so evident, the local bishop authorized Bartolo to build a larger church to enshrine the miraculous image.  So between May 1876 and May 1891 that's exactly what the lawyer did - he funded the construction of a new sanctuary, using his own earnings and donations received from grateful clients of the Blessed Mother.  Bartolo later turned the shrine over to the Holy See in 1906 to avoid any perception of self-gain related to the donations that continued to come in.  After his death, the church was enlarged in 1939 and officially consecrated as the Basilica of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of Pompeii.  Today, over 3 millions pilgrims visit the shrine annually.

   
Bartolo with his wife, Countess Mariana de
Fusco, and the sanctuary they co-founded

Bartolo's mission did not end with the completion of the Pompeii shrine.  In April 1885 he had married a close friend - the highly pious widow and countess named Mariana de Fusco - who was his generous collaborator in establishing the shrine; a Rosary confraternity; an orphanage; and a trade school to educate and train the children of the poor and prisoners.  Furthermore, Bartolo founded the Daughters of the Holy Rosary of Pompeii to administer his various charitable works, and was a Dominican Tertiary since 1871... and lastly, as if the above-list of accomplishments was not enough, he was an active public speaker when it came to exposing the diabolic nature of occult practices.

Until his death on October 5, 1926, at the age of 75, Bartolo never stopped promoting devotion to his beloved Virgin of Pompeii and her Rosary.  He kept his promise to her.. and, of course, Our Lady kept hers too - Bartolo, a former Satanist and enemy of the Faith, was surely saved!  The Catholic Church officially affirmed the matter by Beatifying him on October 26, 1980.  Pope St. John Paul II referred to this holy man as the "Apostle of the Rosary" and rightfully so.

The bodily relics of Bl. Bartolo in Pompeii

Please join this ministry in praying for the speedy canonization of Bartolo Longo.

Blessed Bartolo Longo,
pray for us!

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Monthly Message from the Queen of Peace of Medjugorje: September 25th, 2022



   “Dear children!  Pray that the Holy Spirit may enlighten you that you be joyful seekers of God and witnesses of love without bounds.  I am with you, little children, and, anew, I am calling all of you: take courage and bear witness to the good works that God is doing in and through you.  Be joyful in God.  Do good to your neighbor so that it will be good for you on earth and pray for peace, which is threatened because satan wants war and peacelessness.  Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Saint of the Month - September 2022: Saint Sperandia of Cingoli


St. Sperandia
Fragrant Lily of Cingoli
Feast: September 11th

St. Sperandia is the beloved Patron Saint of the town of Cingoli in Italy.  Today, we highlight her extraordinary life as September’s Saint of the Month.

Descended from a noble family from the town of Gubbio, she was born in 1216.  Fortunately for her, Sperandia’s parents were devout Christians who diligently raised their daughter in the tenets of our Catholic Church; instilling in her their faith in God, devotion to Our Lady, and their inclination to routine prayer.

Despite their piety, though, and given their lofty status in society, her parents desired for their child an advantageous marriage to a suitor from another aristocratic family.  The young Sperandia, however, had already set her heart on Jesus for a spouse after being invited by a vision of him, at the age of 9, to live a life of consecration and self-sacrifice.  Prompted by this pivotal experience, she firmly resisted her family’s plan to marry her off until they finally gave up on the notion.

So, rather than living a life of privilege that her birthright entailed, Sperandia donned a sack cloth habit and fled her father’s villa to live a hermitical existence of prayer, poverty, and self-imposed mortification in the wilderness surrounding Gubbio.  There, she meditated on the Passion of Christ and was afforded profound visions of heavenly mysteries, as well as, frequent states of ecstatic rapture.

 
The Saint’s grotto on Mount Acuto remains
a popular pilgrimage destination

The hermitess immerged from seclusion a few years later to spend the next 10 years wandering as a pilgrim to the many sacred sites in the Holy Land, and then to famous shrines across Italy.

During her frequent stops in various towns and cities, she took it upon herself to be a street-preacher, exhorting people to repentance and conversion, while also working astounding miracles and cures through the sign of the cross.

One amusing story goes that when she visited Rome, Sperandia was somehow granted an audience with the reigning Pope, who being impressed by her air of sanctity, gave her a pair of new boots seeing that she was barefoot in his presence; the boots are still preserved as relics.

The Saint then went on to retire near the town of Cingoli, this time making her home in a grotto on Mount Acuto.  There, she resumed a solitary life, observing strict privations in an effort to conform herself ever closer to Christ Crucified… but her isolation was not to last.  Despite the remote location of her cave, people eventually discovered her hiding place.

The Saint's famous "Miracle of the Cherries"

Attracted by rumors of her sanctity and miracles, pilgrims climbed the mountain to seek her and ask her intercession for their many troubles.  On her part, Sperandia compassionately dispensed advice; mediated peace between disputing parties; healed the sick; and shared whatever was gifted to her with the poor and needy.

After several years of living on Mount Acuto, the holy recluse descended from her grotto and headed to Cingoli where she requested admission at the local Benedictine Monastery of St. Michael.  The nuns welcomed Sperandia and her presence reinvigorated their community.  In fact, the Saint was elected Abbess and she reformed the community’s laxed rules while also expanding their living facilities to accommodate the influx of new candidates she attracted.  To her companions, Sperandia proved herself a tender spiritual mother, guiding her nuns by word and example to a deeper love of their Divine Spouse.

Not surprisingly, Sperandia’s reputation attracted visitors to the monastery, too, and she ministered to her clients, as needed.  Miracles continued to occur, among which is the charming story of how after feeding a group of hungry stone workers in the monastery during a cold January day, a few of them jokingly asked for cherries for a dessert (the fruit was out of season).  The Saint excused herself, offered a spontaneous prayer, after which an angel suddenly appeared with a bowl of fresh cherries, which she promptly served to the surprised laborers.

St. Sperandia passed to her eternal reward on September 11, 1276.   After taking her last breath, a delightful floral scent emitted from her corpse, which permeated the entire convent and its surroundings.   Needless to say, all the populace of Cingoli attended her funeral to pay respects to their beloved wonder-worker.  From day one, the deceased nun’s tomb became a place of pilgrimage, as numerous cures were reported through her intercession.

The miraculous body of St. Sperandia,
as venerated in Cingoli 

During an exhumation two years after her death, the nun’s body was discovered to be perfectly preserved, as if she was merely sleeping.  The sweet aroma reported at her death was again noted.  Seven subsequent exhumations resulted in the same findings – Sperandia’s body was incorrupt and fragrant.

Unlike most Saints, St. Sperandia was never formally canonized.  She had been popularly acclaimed a Saint by the town officials and the local church in Cingoli, and the Vatican later approved her existing cultus after careful consideration of her virtues and ongoing wonders.

And speaking of wonders - to this day St. Sperandia’s body continues to defy the laws of nature by remaining intact for the past 700+ years without the aid of chemical preservatives!  It is enshrined in the church of the Benedictine Monastery of St. Sperandia in Cingoli (renamed after her), where she lived for a time and died.

St. Sperandia, pray for us!