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

Thursday, May 26, 2022

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

  “Dear children!  I am looking at you and thanking God for each of you, because He permits me to still be with you, to encourage you to holiness.  Little children, peace is disturbed and Satan wants peacelessness.  That is why, may your prayer be even stronger so that every unclean spirit of division and war may be stilled.  Be builders of peace and carriers of joy of the Risen One in you and around you, for the good to win in every man.  Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Celebrating St. Rita... and some other Saints too!

Today, this ministry conducted a presentation - another one for the RCIA Group at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Kailua.  Being that it's May 22nd, the Saint this administrator spent the most time speaking about was St. Rita of Cascia, whose Feast Day is today.

When conducting talks about Saints, I always try to tie in a lesson when sharing the bio of each featured holy person, and St. Rita's life-message was easy: when life gets tough, PRAY... and do it with confidence!  St. Rita exemplified this lesson beautifully since her biography is filled with lots of examples of how she overcame many challenges through persistent prayer and trust in God (click here to read more about her)... and I further emphasized her life by also bringing a relic - "ex habitu" (clothing) - of the Saint for the audience to see and venerate.

Other holy persons I spoke about this morning included St. Bernadette of LourdesVen. Carla RonciSt. Damien of MolokaiBro. Joseph Dutton of Molokai, and Bl. Lorenzo Maria Salvi; diverse, yet all inspirational examples of holiness in our Church!

Holy Relics present at this morning's
presentation included (from Left to Right):
Our Lady's veil, St. Bernadette (1st Class),
St. Damien (2nd Class), Bl. Lorenzo (1st
Class), and St. Rita (2nd Class).

.... and what particularly pleased me was this year's group of RCIA candidates was comprised primarily of young adults, and several seemed genuinely enthusiastic about what they heard, even staying after the presentation to view/venerate the relics and to ask more questions.  These people are the next generation of Catholics and to see their interest in our spiritual heroes gave me a sense of excitement and hope about the future of the local Church.

It was a Saint (St. Bernadette) who first led me years ago to fall in love with the Catholic Faith... so, may the Saints I shared about this morning intercede for each of my listeners so that they, too, may receive the same grace I did.

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Thank you, St. Philomena!

This a little embarrassing for this author but I made a promise to God and St. Philomena that I'd do this if the Saint helped me with a certain health issue.  Well, she did... so here we are today - I'm publicly testifying to St. Philomena's powerful intercession.

To make a long story short, several months ago I noticed a dime-sized reddish rash on my lower right leg.  In the weeks that followed it grew bigger and bigger, and it started to burn and itch.   I had no idea what it was but figured it was some sort of dermatitis.

Reluctant to visit a doctor, I tried various over-the-counter medicated creams (e.g. hydrocortisone) and moisturizing lotions for several weeks but nothing helped.  Instead, the rash grew, got darker, and it was still itching badly; the skin on the rash also turned crusty.

A bottle of blessed oil from the Shrine
of St. Philomena in Mugnano, Italy.

In frustration I decided to turn to Heaven for help and in my heart I felt strongly inspired to do a novena to the Virgin-Martyr.  I prayed a 9-day cycle of the same prayer, while also applying blessed oil a friend brought back for me from the Saint’s Sanctuary in Mugnano, Italy.  At the end of the novena there was no noticeable change to my leg, but rather than giving up, I decided to start a second novena.  When that was all over, I noticed a slight improvement but the rash was still present.

Hopeful, I started a third novena with the daily application of the blessed oil and sometimes using a little hydrocortisone when the itch was bad.  This time around the rash began quickly clearing up until it eventually went away on its own after the prayers finished - see the photos below.

I have to reiterate that prior to praying the novenas, none of the treatments I tried for a couple of months worked.  So, thank you very much to our dear St. Philomena.  I firmly believe she helped me once again... and I am grateful.

For those in need of help, I encourage you to turn to this little Saint with trust.  The prayer I used can be accessed by clicking here; the blessed oil and other St. Philomena devotional items can be ordered from here.

May Jesus bless us all through the intercession of his glorious spouse - St. Philomena, Powerful with God!

Saint of the Month - May 2022: St. Rita of Cascia

St. Rita of Cascia
Patron of Impossible Cases
Feast: May 22nd

Born sometime in 1381 as Margherita Lotti, today's Saint of the Month is now widely venerated as St. Rita of Cascia; one of the most popular and endearing Saints in Church history. She is often referred to as the "Patron Saint of Impossible Cases" - a prestigious honor she shares with St. Jude Thaddeus - and for good reason, given certain specific miracles recorded of her.

As most biographies narrate, St. Rita was the only child of poor but pious farmers from the mountainous hamlet of Roccaporena, Italy.   Reknowned as a miracle-worker in her lifetime, the wonders surrounding St. Rita actually started when she was a mere infant.  Her parents, while working in the fields, often left their baby sleeping in a basket under a tree.  On at least one occasion, upon checking on her, they were stunned to find strange white bees buzzing around her face, going in and out of her little mouth, as if feeding her with their honey.   It was apparent that Rita was not being harmed by the bees so her parents got accustomed to them.

As the child grew, Rita matured into a lovely and virtuous maiden.   She loved climbing to the top of the steep jagged peaks surrounding her town to prayerfully commune in silence with the Creator, while also dreaming of entering a convent some day.  However, when she caught the eye of Paolo Mancini, a young man from a prominent local family, her parents entreated her to accept his hand in marriage; Rita gave in to their repeated requests.

Unfortunately for her, Rita's marriage was a rocky one.  Once the honeymoon wore off, Paolo's true colors began to show - he was said to be physically abusive and unfaithful to his devout wife and, while this description of him is disputed by a few biographers, he was certainly a man who was caught up in the shady dealings and feuds that his large family was involved in.

On her part, Rita loved her husband despite his failings, and she repaid his bad behavior with patience, goodness, and diligent prayers for his conversion.  She gave her husband two sons and, over time, Paolo began to see and appreciate the immense blessing he had in the person of his pious wife.  He eventually did convert and repented of his wayward life so, for a time, the Mancini household was one of happiness.

After 18 years of married life, with the last few years being relatively peaceful, things changed abruptly for Rita.  Paolo was murdered, with the suspects being a rival family, with whom the Mancini's were in a longstanding argument with.  His relatives encouraged the dead man's adolescent sons to seek vendetta against their father's killer but Rita would have none of it.  She urged her boys to forgive and move on, as she, herself, had forgiven, but her sons proved to be impressionable and wanted to pursue revenge.  Deeply concerned for their souls, Rita did something uncommon, but heroic - she asked the Lord to take her sons rather than allow them to risk losing their souls for all eternity through the taking of life.  Within a short time both young men contracted an illness (some report it was plague) and died reconciled to God through the loving influence of their holy mother.

Rita was now free to follow-through with her desire to become a nun - she applied twice with the nuns at the Augustinian Convent of St. Mary Magdalen in the neighboring town of Cascia but was refused each time.  The reason provided was because she had been married with children, but it was likely also due to the notoriety of the Mancini name and the circumstances surrounding Paolo's violent death; the nuns did not want to be entangled in any way with the family's drama.

Rita with her three Patron Saints who
miraculously assisted her in entering the
Augustinian Convent of Cascia.

Rita was undaunted and bided her time in the former home of her now-deceased parents in Roccaporena; practicing self-mortification and charitable works. One night, while in prayer, she heard herself called by a voice coming from outside.  Upon investigating she was surprised to discover the luminous apparitions of her three favorite Saints - Augustine of Hippo, John the Baptist, and Nicholas of Tolentino.  They bid her to follow them and, without any hesitation, she set off.  The trio led her quietly through the streets of Roccaporena to the walls of the Augustinian convent in Cascia where they suddenly vanished, and Rita mysteriously found herself in the chapel.  The next morning, when the nuns came in for Mass, they were shocked to find her waiting and, upon hearing the story of how she got there, they reluctantly allowed her to stay.  Rita was then a 36-year-old widow.

Her start in the convent was not easy - the nuns initially had suspicions when it came to Rita, and they tested her virtues and resolve.  For example, the superior gave her the most difficult chores to do but she fulfilled them without complaint.  What probably was a turning point for the nuns was when Rita was given a piece of dried grape vine, and ordered to plant and water it to see if she'd obey.  She did as she was told although it was obvious the shriveled branch was dead... but, behold - one of her most notable miracles occurred: after a while the plant came to life and became a thriving vine that still produces grapes to this very day. (NOTE: The Augustinian Sisters take dried leaves from this vine and grind it into powder for general distribution to the Faithful; many sick have been healed by consuming it.)

Although she would have preferred to be undisturbed, Rita's fame of sanctity blossomed within the convent, before spreading beyond its gates.  It wasn't long before her prayers and advice were sought after by others, including prominent citizens of the Umbria region.  She even managed to broker peace between feuding individuals and families.  Hence, earning her the nickname of the "Peace Maker".

St. Rita was a Stigmatic who bore a single
wound on her forehead for over 15 years.

Perhaps the most famous miracle connected to Rita was the appearance of a singular wound on her forehead.  When she was about 60, she had heard a sermon on the Passion of Christ that so moved her, she hastened to a large painted crucifix mural in the convent.  There, the nun begged the Lord to grant her a share of what he suffered, even if it was just a single thorn from his crown.  No sooner had she uttered her request when a bleeding wound opened on her forehead - it was the Stigmata.  This mystical thorn-wound was not only very painful but it also appeared to fester and gave off a foul odor that repulsed the other nuns.   Rita was isolated from the rest of the community, which actually benefited her since she preferred to be alone, anyway, so as to pray and suffer in more intimate union with her Divine Spouse.

Rita carried the stigmata for the rest of her life, except for a brief period in 1450.  That year, Pope Nicholas IV proclaimed a Jubilee Year and when several of the Augustinian nuns decided to go on pilgrimage to Rome to gain a Plenary Indulgence, Rita asked her superiors for leave to go too... but, alas, permission was denied citing her horrid wound.  So, what did the Saint do next?  She again prayed!  The Saint beseeched Jesus to heal the wound for the period of time it would take for her to make the pilgrimage, and within a day or two, it was completely gone; her superiors, recognizing it as a sign, allowed her to go... but no sooner had she stepped into the convent upon her return, then the wound reopened!  Rita resumed her mode of life as a voluntary recluse.

Despite her seemingly lonely existence, Rita was at bliss - she experienced frequent visits from our Lord, Our Lady, and the Saints, which brought her immense consolation and joy.  In fact, during her final illness she saw a glorious vision of the Lord and the Blessed Virgin beckoning to her from the top of a brilliant staircase of light.  Rita understood that she would shortly be in Heaven and began preparing her soul for departure.

A female relative came to visit Rita in her last days and when she asked if there was any favor she could render her, the Saint replied that she wanted a rose from the garden of her former home in Roccaporena. It was January and still winter, and those gathered around wondered if Rita had gone delirious.  None the less, the relative decided to visit the garden and, lo and behold - there was a single red rose blooming in the midst of a snow-covered bush!  She plucked the rose and hurried back to Cascia to deliver it to the dying Saint.  All marveled at the beauty and fragrance of the miraculous rose and, to this day, this flower is still closely associated with Rita.

St. Rita died peacefully on May 22, 1457.  She was 76-years-old and had been a religious for 40 years.  Immediately after she breathed her last, her aged features were transfigured by heavenly beauty.  The wound on her head that was unsightly to look at, began sparkling like a ruby and its stench was replaced by a delightful floral scent that quickly spread throughout the entire convent.  The chapel bells then mysteriously tolled as if operated by invisible hands, drawing the locals to the convent.

Thousands attended the funeral of the humble nun who was marked with a thorn-wound from the very Crown of Christ.  The clamor to see her body delayed the funeral, yet Rita's corpse showed no signs of disintegration.  Instead, it remained inexplicably preserved while continuing to diffuse the scent of flowers.  Interestingly, the nuns seeing no change to its condition, never properly buried the body and, instead, they simply kept it in an ornate, painted wooden coffin.

During feast days or special dates commemorating events in Rita's life, the nuns would open the coffin and expose the Saint's relic to the faithful, during which unusual phenomena were sometimes observed.  For example, during one such exposition, a lively argument broke out between several families present.  The Saint opened her eyes, as if to show the congregation her displeasure... and that she was keeping an eye on their bad behavior; the miracle was enough to immediately stop the fight.  So, even in death, Rita was still the peoples' peace maker.

The body of St. Rita, venerated in Cascia.

Despite her local reputation as a Saint and wonder-worker, Rita of Cascia was not Canonized by the Church until 1900... but her fame has only grown since then.  Devotion to her endures as graces continue to be reported through her intercession.   Her body, still incorrupt, is now venerated in the basilica dedicated to her honor in Cascia.  St. Rita, Patron Saint of the Impossible, pray for us!

A Prayer to St. Rita

O Powerful St. Rita,
rightly called Saint of the Impossible,
I come to you with confidence in my great
need.  You know well my trials, for you
yourself were many times burdened in this
life.  Come to my help, speak for me, pray
with me, intercede on my behalf before the
Father. I know that God has a most
generous heart and that he is a most
loving Father.  Join your prayers to mine
and obtain for me the grace I desire:

[mention your request]

You who were so very pleasing
to God on earth and are so much more
now in heaven, I promise to use this
favour, when granted, to better my life,
to proclaim God’s mercy, and to make
you more widely known and loved.