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, August 27, 2022

Saints & Relics Presentation: Boys & Girls Scouts Youth Retreat, 8/27/2022

The Boys & Girls Scouts Youth Retreat
at the Convent of the Sacred Heart
Sisters in Kalihi.

Normally, it's a bit of a challenge for me to conduct speaking presentations for the youth.  The truth is, more often than not, it's harder to hold their attention for a long period of time, and there are always a few in the audience who seem downright uninterested; it's just how it is.  But I welcome the challenge and it's why I pray extra hard before a presentation and, ask others to pray too, if young children and teens are involved.

Saints/Relics featured by this ministry
at the retreat (L to R): St. Bernadette of
Lourdes, Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassatti, St.
Damien of Molokai, St. Maria Goretti, Sts.
Louis & Zelie Martin, and their daughter
St. Therese the Little Flower.

So the many prayers offered for today must've been heard because this group of young people was very different from others - most of them seemed really engaged and highly interested in what they heard about our Saints and the relics I featured.  In fact, during the Q&A segment of the presentation, they had a lot of great questions for me; more than I usually get even from adults.  I was pleasantly surprised that these kids were apparently paying attention during the talk!

Devotional items made freely available to
the Scouts... and the young people lined up
after to venerate the Saints and Relics.

Furthermore, most of the young men approached me after the presentation to personally say "thanks", and to let me know they enjoyed themselves and learned a lot; one boy was even in tears - gently sobbing - as he said to me, "We have a beautiful Faith."  It was an unusually mature remark, coming from a teenager, and it deeply affected me.  My response was, "AMEN!  Please let the people you come across every day, who don't know that, know." to which he firmly replied, "I will."  In hindsight, only the Holy Spirit could have inspired this young man's remarkable reaction.

So, based on the feedback I received, it's evident the Saints again did their part for the presentation by planting faith-seeds and touching hearts - young hearts that urgently need their example and intervention.  God bless our youth.

A Message from the Scouts...

Thursday, August 25, 2022

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

  “Dear Children!  God permits me to be with you and to lead you on the way of peace so that, through personal peace, you build peace in the world.  I am with you and intercede for you before my Son, Jesus, that He may give you a strong faith and hope in a better future, which I desire to build up with you.  You be courageous and do not be afraid because God is with you.  Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Jesse Romero in Hawaii: August 2022...

This August 2022, Hawaii was blessed by a visit from lay-evangelist, Jesse Romero.   I was able to attend Jesse's talk on 8/23 at Blessed Sacrament Church in Honolulu... and what a great presentation!  The man knows his stuff, but most importantly, he is sincere and passionate about our Catholic Faith. He loves Jesus and the one true Church He founded.

Thankfully, many people were present to listen, to learn, and to be inspired.  I know I was and I left the church affirmed in my personal walk with Christ.

May God continue to bless Jesse Romero and his anointed ministry!

Monday, August 1, 2022

Saint of the Month - August 2022: Maria von Morl

The Servant of God
Maria von Morl
The Ecstatica of Caldaro

During the 19th century, for some mysterious reason a profusion of mystical phenomena cropped up in the South Tyrol region of northern Italy.  In particular, they were associated with several women-stigmatics providentially living at the same time in the area, amongst whom was this month's featured holy person - the Servant of God, Maria von Morl (or Moerl).  This is her amazing story.

Maria was born in the picturesque hamlet of Caldaro (then called Kaltern) on October 16, 1812.  She was the second child (of eleven) to grace a moderately wealthy family descended from a line of Tyrolean aristocracy.  She was an attractive girl but delicate in health.  When her mother died after giving birth to her last child, Maria who was then 15-year-old, assisted her father, Joseph, in caring for her younger siblings and doing the housework.

Joseph, on his part, was a poor father to his family.  He was as an outdoorsman and alcoholic who sometimes physically abused his children.  In particular, Maria was the frequent target of his violent outbursts whenever he returned home drunk after a night at the tavern.  Thus, the poor child was accustomed early on to suffering, which she would patiently endure in one form or another until the end of her life.

A fabric relic from Maria's clothing
in this ministry's custody

Biographers of Maria are consistent in describing her as a pious girl, imbued with a childlike innocence that she retained all her life.  Despite the cruelty she endured at the hands of her father, she loved him; never complaining about his bad behavior.  Instead, she was kind, obedient, prayerful, and self-sacrificing; placing herself under the mentorship of a confessor - Fr. Johannes Kapistran Soyer - beginning at age 17.  Thus, Fr. Johannes became privy to the secrets of Maria's soul and wisely monitored her spiritual exercises, which included the use of a flagrum (a penitential scourging instrument).  Thanks to this priest and the documentation he kept we know many key details about this Servant of God's life.

As stated earlier, Maria was sickly from her early childhood and, perhaps due to the extreme stress of her day-to-day existence... or maybe due to the intensity of her penitential practices... or more likely a combination of both, her health collapsed to the point of her becoming almost completely bedridden.  It was then her mundane life took a remarkable turn.

On the Feast of Corpus Christi in 1832, Maria was suddenly raised in ecstatic levitation above her bed, as the procession with the Blessed Sacrament approached the narrow street in front of the Morl home.  Being that her open bedroom window faced the street, her body suspended in midair, in the form of a cross, was seen by everyone in the street and caused a sensation.  The event quickly thrust the young mystic into the limelight, making her a local celebrity.

Following that initial ecstasy, Maria started experiencing daily ecstatic raptures with her posture always being the same - she knelt silent and motionless near the foot of the bed; her hands often joined in prayer; her torso leaning forward (without her ever falling); her head and gaze looking upwards; and her countenance lovely and serene, as she was enamored by heavenly visions that only she could see.

Remarkably, the ecstatic maintained her immobile position for hours at a time without any sign of fatigue or discomfort, and while insensible to external stimuli.  Only Fr. Johannes could wake her from this trance-like state simply by commanding her through holy obedience, usually when he brought her Holy Communion and/or when he needed to speak with her.  Maria would immediately "return" to herself and lay back on the bed without any fanfare... only to slide back into ecstasy and rise to her usual upright position once her communications with the priest concluded.

Two prints of Maria, depicting her in
her usual state of ecstatic contemplation

Not surprisingly, news of the miracle maiden's ecstasies attracted crowds to the Morl home; devout pilgrims and curiosity-seekers, alike, who wanted to gaze on the "Ecstatica of Caldaro", as she came to be known.  At the peak of her fame and, when access to her room was unrestricted, over 40,000 visitors were counted in a single year. Among them were prelates from all over Europe and members of the Italian and Austrian royal families.  The famous German poet and writer, Clemens Brentano, who was the confidante of another mystic, Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich (d. 1824), was among Maria's visitors and admirers.

On February 4, 1834, Maria's life took another dramatic turn.  That morning Fr. Johannes came upon her in an agitated and confused state, wiping her hands vigorously with cloth.  When asked what she was doing, the mystic replied that she had somehow cut herself without knowing exactly how.  The priest then ordered her to show him her hands, upon which he discovered bleeding wounds on both the backs of them and in the palms.  Open lesions were also present on her feet.  It was obvious to him that Maria had been stigmatized although the maiden, in her naivete, had no clue as to the tremendous significance of what was occuring to her; that she was carrying the actual wounds of Christ on her limbs.  Later, another wound opened on her chest, which was attested to by the women in her family who cared for her.

In addition to the reparational suffering of the stigmata that Maria regularly underwent (they bled weekly between Thursday evening and Friday), another trial was added to her - diabolic harassment.  These episodes of attack were sometimes so severe, they verged on total possession with the demons causing her to vomit foreign objects such as hair and needles, or they would throw her off the bed (once nearly out the window!).  Her confessor resorted to exorcism to assist her when the spiritual battles between Maria and the dark forces were especially violent.  The mystic, on her part, maintained an otherworldly peace and patience, as she offered all her sufferings on behalf of sinners.  The ecstasies and consoling visions that were still ongoing provided her with much-needed relief in between these painful trials.

Other charisms Maria received from God were prophecy and discernment, which she used with discretion in service of pilgrims and prelates who sought her counsel.

Bishop Francis Xavier Luschin, who had jurisdiction over Caldaro, had a special investigation conducted on his unique parishioner to ascertain the truth of her experiences.  The result was favorable, but the bishop wisely concluded that it would be in Maria's best interest to limit access to her to keep her humble and unaffected.  Henceforth, the number of pilgrims coming to Caldaro were significantly decreased since special permission was now required to see her.

An actual photo of Maria von Morl in
death (note the smile on her face)

When her father died in 1841, Maria, who was already a Third Order Franciscan, applied for admission with a local community of Teritiary Franciscans.  The group welcomed her amongst them and, to her joy, she lived in relative obscurity - unbothered by most pilgrims - until her blessed death on January 11, 1868.  She was 56-years-old at her passing and her last recorded words were: "Oh, how beautiful!"  Hundreds again descended on Caldaro to attend her funeral.

Apparently, the ecstasies and the weekly stigmatic bleedings had continued inside the convent walls.  Maria prayed many times that her visible wounds would disappear (not the pain) but they only started to do so three days prior to her death.  No trace of the stigmatic lesions were observed on her limbs as she lay in state in her coffin.

Maria von Morl, the Ecstatica of Caldaro, is today a Servant of God in the Church.  Her memory is still very much alive in South Tyrol and her Cause for Canonization has been opened.  Her supporters are eagerly awaiting the identification and verification of two miracles required by the Church for her to be declared a Saint.  Let us pray for the speedy and successful conclusion of Maria's Cause.

Maria von Morl, pray for us!