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

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Messages from the Queen of Peace of Medjugorje: June 2023

42 years of heavenly visits from
the Queen of Peace!

Special Message received by Ivan on Apparition Hill, 6/23/2023:
  “Dear Children, also today I desire to call you to peace.  I have introduced myself here as the Queen of Peace and I also call you to be my carriers of peace in this tired world.  Carry peace.  Pray for peace.  Pray for my plans which I desire to realize.  I desire to repeat to you; my Son permits me to remain this long together with you, because I desire to teach you, educate you and lead all of you to Him, that in Him you may find true and real peace.  Thank you, dear children, for also today having responded to my call.”

Monthly Message received by Marija, 6/25/2023:
  “Dear Children, the Most High permits me to be among you — to pray for you, to be a Mother to you and to be your refuge.  Little children, I am calling you: return to God and to prayer and God will bless you abundantly.  Thank you for having responded to my call.” 

Special Message received by Ivanka during her annual apparition, 6/25/2023:
  “Little Children, I am in need of your prayers.  Pray, pray, pray.” 

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Saint of the Month - June 2023: Blessed Anna Rosa Gattorno Custo

Bl. Anna Rosa Gattorno Custo
She fulfilled God's Will
Memorial ~ May 6th

June's featured Saint was born in Genoa on October 14, 1841.  Baptized with the name Rosa Maria Benedetta, her family - the Gattornos - was extremely wealthy and apparently, deeply pious, as well ... so the young Rosa Maria was afforded the finest home-tutoring in an atmosphere of both comfort and living faith, along with her 5 siblings; her personality was described as being affable and generous, yet she could also be headstrong at times.

In November 1852, at the age of 21, Rosa Maria's parents married her to a Gerolamo Custo, and they relocated to Marseilles, France, to pursue her husband's business ventures.  Together, the couple soon had three children - a girl and two boys - after which, a series of heavy crosses fell upon the family:

  • First off, Gerolamo's business failed, which forced the return of the family to Genoa due to their ruined financial state.
  • Next came a serious illness for Rosa Maria's young daughter, Carlotta, which resulted in the child's loss of hearing and impaired speech.
  • Gerolamo, in an effort to recoup his financial losses, traveled abroad to pursue another business opportunity but fell victim to a fatal illness on March 8, 1858.
  • Not long after losing her husband, Rosa Maria's infant son also became sick and died just a few months after Gerolamo.

So, within a short span of 6 years, Rosa Maria went from being a wealthy socialite, wife, and mother of three ... to a poor widow with two young children to care for.  Rather than allowing her personal misfortunes to get the best of her, Rosa Maria relied heavily on her loving family and their shared faith to see her through this time of trial.  She had always been relatively pious but her sufferings served to prompt her into a more intimate union with Christ Crucified, and also awakened in her a keen awareness of the plight of others who were undergoing pain in their own lives.  Rosa Maria referred to this period in her life as her "conversion".

Committing herself to a more devout manner of living, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception 1858, the young widow pronounced private vows of chastity and obedience to a Fr. Giuseppe Firpo, who had become her personal confessor.  Not long after, in 1861, she added a vow of voluntary poverty when she became a Franciscan Tertiary, and delved more into ministry work among the less fortunate.  While tending to the needs of her children, Rosa Maria exercised works of charity by volunteering her spare time in hospitals and visiting the homebound sick ... and, in due time, she felt herself called by the Lord to devote herself more and more completely to His service.

In 1862, something extraordinary happened that served to seal Rosa Maria's bond of intimacy with Jesus - she received the Stigmata.  Rather than being marked with visible wounds, she prayed for them to be hidden, which the Lord granted - she felt the pain of the wounds constantly, but each Friday, the sufferings in her hands, feet, and chest were intensified.

As Rosa Maria became more well-known in Genoa for her charitable efforts, she gained the confidence of the local Bishop who appointed her the president of the Pious Union of the New Ursulines Daughters of St. Mary Immaculate, founded by Ven. Giuseppe Paolo Frassinetti (the saintly brother of St. Paola Frassinetti).  In this leadership role, she was inspired to found a new congregation of her own to address the needs of the poor, but was also troubled and hesitant, since she was still a mother of two young children.  Rosa Maria sought counsel from her confessor, and two solid holy figures to help her discern God's will for her life:

  • St. Francis Maria of Camporosso was a holy Franciscan friar who was ministering in Genoa at the time.  He strongly encouraged Rosa Maria to follow through with the founding of a new congregation.
  • Bl. Pope Pius IX met Rosa Maria during a papal audience in January 1866 during which she confided to him her dreams and doubts about founding a new congregation.  In response, the Pontiff encouraged her to dedicate herself immediately and completely to the Lord's work, and further assured her with the following prophecy: “This institute will spread rapidly like the flight of the dove to all parts of the world.  God will take care of your children; you must think of God's work.”

The Pope's words were enough to dispel Rosa Maria's doubts and she responded, “Yes, Holy Father, I want to do God's will”.  Returning to Genoa, she resigned from the presidency of the Pius Union and set into motion the founding of the new institute despite her family and bishop's reluctance to let her go.  Regardless, she took her two surviving children and 12 members of the Pius Union with her to neighboring Piacenza where, on December 8, 1866, Rosa Maria officially began her life's mission.

Initially, the new congregation was supposed to be dedicated and named after the Immaculate Conception, as the founder had a strong devotion to our Blessed Mother, but all that changed one night while Rosa Maria was at prayer in the community's chapel - she was surprised by a grand apparition of the Holy Virgin, accompanied by St. Anne (Mary's own mother and the Lord's grandmother), along with St. Francis of Assisi.  Our Lady, in reference to the institute, spoke the following words to Rosa Maria while tenderly looking at St. Anne:

"I want the title to be that of 'Daughters
of St. Anne', after my mother.  I give you
this work.  What you do for it, I will
consider as done to me."

The heavenly figures then disappeared, leaving the founder in a state of ecstatic joy.  From henceforth, the congregation received the name it carries to this day - the Daughters of St. Anne, Mother of Mary Immaculate ... and Rosa Maria took the religious name of Madre Anna Rosa after donning the religious habit in July 1867, and professing final vows in April 1870.  To the people, however, they simply referred to her affectionately, as Madre Rosa.

Bl. Anna Rosa experienced a visit
from Our Lady and St. Anne

In its humble beginnings, the new congregation established a community center in Piacenza to meet the needs of the poor and the sick.  Relying on Divine Providence, the Daughters of St. Anne collected donations, which they used to provide charitable services and material goods to the less fortunate ... but as demand for their services grew, their ministry evolved to become multi-faceted - the sisters took in orphans, abandoned children, and the elderly; established free schools; opened clinics; and provided shelter to homeless women and former prostitutes.  And, as Pope Pius IX predicted, their work spread swiftly around the globe.  Even before the congregation received formal Church approval in 1879, Madre Anna Rosa had already sent her spiritual daughters to Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Eritrea, France, and Spain to open houses of charity ... and more were still to follow!  Her directive to her companions was consistent: to serve humbly, and "evangelizing first, and foremost, with our lives."

It should be noted that while the founder was hard at work running her congregation and spreading its work, she also cared for her children until they became adults; it was an uncommon situation ... and, on top of everything, Madre Anna Rosa was also a mystic soul who experienced extraordinary phenomena (e.g., ecstasies, visions, and even physical demonic attacks).  She continued to suffer the pain of the hidden Stigmata, which she offered for the conversion of sinners and for the spiritual benefit of the priesthood.  In her personal writings, one can find the following entries that shed some light on the inner workings of her soul: "I generously made an offering to God and repeated to him Abraham's words: 'Here I am to fulfill your Divine Will' ... Offering myself as a victim for His work, I had very great consolations…” and these words she addressed to Jesus, "My Love, how can I make everyone love you?  Make use of this miserable instrument of yours once more to revive the faith and conversion of sinners."

In 1900, Madre Anna Rosa contracted the flu in Rome, where she had traveled to establish a new motherhouse for the Daughters of St. Anne; quickly undermining her health, she died from flu complications there on May 6, 1900.  The solid reputation for sanctity she was known for in life and in death was confirmed by the Church during her Beatification on April 9, 2000.  Her body was reportedly found incorrupt during the ritual examination of her relics.

Today, the Daughters of St. Anne continue their founder's legacy of charitable service, via 200+ houses spread across Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Africa.  May God see fit to grant the Faithful the speedy Canonization of this truly great apostle of our time!

Bl. Anna Rosa Gattorno,
pray for us!

Sunday, June 4, 2023

Young Faces of Holiness Presentation, 6/4/2023: Sts. Peter & Paul Church, Honolulu

Today, this ministry shared about our Catholic Heroes and Saints with the CCD children of Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Honolulu.  Several parents attended, as well, which I think is always fantastic because I believe some parents could use some evangelizing, too!

As things transpired, the presentation was one of the more enjoyable ones I've done in long while, as far as speaking to youngsters is concerned; the main reason being that these kids seemed particularly engaged and excitedly participated in the games I prepared... and readily answered my many questions to them.

A closer view of the relics on display from
(L to R):  St. Francis of Assisi, St. Therese
the Little Flower, Sts. Louis & Zelie Martin,
Bl. Carlo Acutis, St. Damien of Molokai,
and Ven. Anne de Guigne.

And their responses - oh, Lord - some seemed genuinely inspired by the Holy Spirit and I was amazed!  For example - when I asked the children how old they needed to be to start becoming a Saint, a girl blurted out:

"We can start right now!"

What a brilliant answer!

As for the parents in the room, they asked many great questions and some shared their own wonderful Saint Stories (one woman met St. Teresa of Calcutta in person), which showed just how interested in the presentation they were.

Children crowd around the relics
after the talk.

At the end of the talk, the children immediately rushed the relic display-altar to get a closer view... while several adults continued to ask me questions and expressed their desire to sit-in for the full-version of this ministry's Saints and Holy Relics Presentation.

So what a great audience!  They made today's presentation an easy one... plus, I left the parish sensing that I'll be returning to Sts. Peter and Paul in the very near future.

A shrine inside of Sts. Peter & Paul Church, dedicated to holy relics of St. Marianne, St.
Damien, and Sts. Peter & Paul.