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


Sunday, November 26, 2023

A Blessing from Christ, our King ...


Today is the Feast of Christ the King of the Universe and, last night, this author experienced another little sign; one relating to today's feast - take a look at this photo:


I had just returned home from serving at my parish's Saturday evening Vigil Mass, when I was drawn to the sight of the full moon.  It was so big and beautiful, and brilliant gold, I wanted a keepsake of it so snapped three photos with my cellphone.  Upon viewing the images, the photo above immediately stood out as special.

What do you see?

I shared the pic with a few close friends and we all came to the same conclusion - instead of the moon, a brilliant heart appears - the Sacred Heart of Jesus!  It was a blessed surprise for which we thanked the Lord.

Note the uncanny resemblance of the heart
of light to a Sacred Heart painting.

... and being aware of today's solemn feast, I wondered if the Sacred Heart's appearance was somehow linked to the Kingship of Christ.  I did some Googling and providentially found this quote from a website promoting the Home Enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus:

"I WILL REIGN THROUGH MY HEART,
DESPITE SATAN AND HIS AGENTS."

- Words of Jesus to St. Margaret
Mary Alacoque

That powerful statement made by our Lord to St. Mary Margaret was enough to convince me that the photo wasn't just a random coincidence.  Rather, I personally think our Lord was really trying to communicate something through the symbolism of His loving heart ... because how appropriate is that quote?  It's relevant not just in regards to its imagery and its connection to today's Feast of Christ's Kingship, but also for our present, turbulent times!

The Sacred Heart of Jesus, depicted as a
King, in this stained-glass window in the
Sanctuary of  the Cathedral Basilica of 
Our Lady of Peace in Honolulu, HI.

My spirit is filled with joy, gratitude, and a sense of peace and security, being affirmed in the truth that Jesus reigns supreme and Divine Love shines continously upon us from above.  It's an uplifting notion for all Christians to draw strength and comfort from.

VIVAT CHRISTUS REX!

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Monthly Message from the Queen of Peace of Medjugorje: November 2023



Message given to Marija on November 25th, 2023:

  "Dear Children!  May this time be interwoven with prayer for peace and good deeds, so that the joy of the expectation of the King of Peace may be felt in your hearts, families and in the world which does not have hope.  Thank you for having responded to my call."

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Let us give Thanks and Praises to GOD!


Happy Blessed Thanksgiving to All!

On this day when we especially express our gratitude for all that we have in this life, let us first, and foremost, give thanks and praises to God, from whom every blessing proceeds!

"Enter His gates with thanksgiving
and His courts with praise; give thanks
to Him and praise His name."

- Psalm 100:4

So this blogger went to a special Thanksgiving Mass this morning.  After I exited my car and was crossing the parking lot to head into church, I glanced up at the sky and had another one of those remarkable and unexpected episodes of "spiritual serendipity" - there, above the parish's Day Chapel, was a bright "cloud‐figure" resembling a woman, all in white with a blue sash around her waist like Our Lady of Lourdes!

I may have blocked traffic for bit while contemplating the holy image and hastily taking out my cellphone to snap a couple of photos (sorry to those I may have inconvenienced), but I couldn't help it - the sight was beautiful and amazing ... but the resulting photos don't do justice to what I saw; the blue sash, too, didn't translate into the pics.  At least the luminous silhouette of the Virgin Mary is evident, as seen below:


Given the occasion, I discerned
and decided to interpret this image of
Mary as "Our Lady of Gratitude"


I went through the Mass very moved, excited, and affirmed that we have a God and a Heavenly Mother who are so very, very close to us ... and generous in dispensing graces.

"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; 
His love endures forever."

‐ Psalm 136:1

In his homily, exhorting us to be grateful to our Lord, one phrase that my pastor spoke really impressed me: "The more gratitude you have, the more miracles you'll experience."  As soon as I heard it, I knew he was right.  My priest went on to recommend that we try writing a list of 10 personal blessings just so we can better realize God's goodness in our lives - what excellent advice!

"And now we thank you, our God,
and praise Your glorious name."

- 1 Chronicles 29:13

I left that church more grateful than when I first walked in - grateful for the inspiring homily ... grateful for Jesus united to me through the Eucharist ... and, of course, grateful to our Blessed Mother, who I personally believe descended this morning in order to participate and encourage us in our thankgiving to God.  Why?  I don't know ... but who else could be a better role-model of Thanksgiving and Praise than Our Lady?  Her own words from Sacred Scriptures eloquently bear witness to the immensity of her gratitude and joy over what God was doing in her life:

"My soul doth magnify the Lord,
and my spirit hath rejoiced in God
my Saviour!"

‐ The Magnificat (Canticle of Mary),
Luke 1:46-47

So, taking a cue from the Holy Virgin, let us joyfully give thanks to God, as well - "magnifying" Him before the world - not just today, but every day!

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Saint of the Month - November 2023: Saint Cecilia of Rome


St. Cecilia, Virgin & Martyr
Her Love was a Hymn to Jesus
Feast: November 22nd

This Saint has the distinction of not just being one of the most famous of the Virgin Martyrs from the early Church, but she is also the very first confirmed case of "Incorruptibility" in the history of our Faith.  What we know of her life is from an ancient, historical document called the Passio Sanctae Caeciliae.  According to the Passio, St. Cecilia was a Roman noblewoman martyred circa 230AD.

Educated in the Christian Faith as a child, the Saint was reported to have been divinely inspired to consecrate her life and virginity to Jesus; living a spiritual routine of prayer, charitable works, and voluntary penances.  Despite these worthy practices, Cecilia was given in marriage - against her will, by her father - to a wealthy pagan Patrician named Valerian.  As her story goes, during their wedding ceremony, the Saint sang improvised hymns in her heart to her Divine Spouse to reassure herself.

Later, that same evening of the nuptials, Cecilia confessed to Valerian that she was a Christian who had vowed herself completely to our Lord.  She also warned him that she was specially protected by her guardian angel against any carnal advances and/or physical harm that he may attempt against her.  When her husband asked to see the angel, the Saint challenged him to first convert and be baptized to which he surprisingly agreed.

Valerian received instructions in the Faith and was baptized by Pope Urban I ... and subsequently witnessed an apparition of his wife's angel, which had the effect of invigorating his blossoming faith.  The new convert went on to lead several others, including his brother - Tiburtius - into Christianity.

Valerian and Tiburtius were later apprehended by Roman officials for their evangelization work in Rome, and sentenced to death by the Prefect Almachius when they flatly refused to offer sacrifices to heathen deities.  Instead, the brothers passionately admonished and preached to the spectators who had gathered to watch them die.  Many were converted, including the executioner, Maximus, who professed belief in Christ and heroically chose to die with the brothers - all three were beheaded together and buried by Cecilia; it was a pious act that drew the attention of the Prefect.

Not long after the martyrdoms of Valerian, Tiburtius, and Maximus, Cecilia was also arrested for being a suspected Christian.  As with her late husband, Prefect Almachius offered her freedom if she would only pay homage to the Roman gods.  Cecilia refused and rebuked her judge, after which Almachius sentenced her to a unique death - she was taken to and locked in her villa's private bath, which was then heated to such a high degree so as to suffocate her with steam ... but inexplicably, the woman was unharmed and heard singing hymns inside the bath, which contributed to her designation as the Patron Saint of Musicians.

Upon hearing of her survival, the infuriated Prefect ordered Cecilia's beheading, but instead of immediately killing her, the swordsman botched the execution and failed to decapitate her even after three blows!  The soldiers fled, leaving our Saint with a half-severed neck on the floor of her bath, where she was soon discovered by other Christians.  Still conscious and in terrible agony, the Saint managed to briefly speak only to bequeath her remaining wealth to the poor and to the Church.  She then turned her face to the floor and spoke no more; on her left hand she extended a single finger, while on the right hand she extended three.  It was her silent and final profession of faith in the Holy Trinity - one God in three Divine Persons - and those around her were effectively edified.

The martyrdom of St. Cecilia.

Incredibly, Cecilia lingered for three painful days before finally expiring.  The Christians covered the Saint's remains with a veil before placing it in a cypress wood coffin, in the exact position in which she died.  Pope Urban I then had her body buried in a place of honor in the Catacombs of St. Callixtus, and had the Saint's home converted into a chapel, which eventually became a large basilica.

In 822, Pope Pascal I commissioned a restoration of the Basilica of St. Cecilia, and desired that the relics of the Martyr be transferred into it from the catacombs ... but the location of her grave had been forgotten over time.  The Saint solved this problem by appearing to the Pontiff to disclose the exact place of her burial.  Subsequently, Cecilia's original coffin was retrieved, along with those of Valerian, Tiburtius, and Maximus (now honored as Saints, too) ... and all were reinterred in the renovated Basilica.

Another renovation of the Saint's basilica was undertaken in 1599 by a Cardinal Paolo Sfrondati.  At that time, the Cardinal wished to rediscover Cecilia's relics, which had again been lost.  The prelate enlisted the aid of a reputable mystic - a stigmatic Dominican nun named, Ven. Caterina Paluzzi of Morlupo (d. 1645) - who through her mystical gift of prophetic insight, provided the location of the tomb under the main altar of the Basilica ... while also predicting that the Saint's body would be found intact.  Excavations revealed two marble sarcaphogi, which contained Cecilia's orginal wooden coffin and another for the three other Roman Martyrs associated with her.  

As described by Sr. Caterina, when the lid of the coffin was lifted, the remains of the Saint were discovered perfectly incorrupt and wearing a silk dress stained at the neck/chest with her blood; she lay on her right side with arms extended towards the legs, which were somewhat bent at the knees.  At her feet were bundles of cloth that were used by the early Christians to collect her precious blood.  Witnesses also reported a wonderful fragrance of roses and lillies emanating from the sacred body.  All who witnessed the scene were profoundly moved and amazed at the miraculous state of the relic.


ABOVE:  An eye-witness account & drawing
of the Saint's incorrupt body.
BELOW:  The statue in the Basilica of St. Cecilia
representing her in death.


Today, St. Cecilia remains entombed in a crypt-chapel in her Basilica in Trastavere, Rome, over which is a marble statue carved by the artist, Stefano Maderno, who personally saw her body in 1599.  The famous sculpture depicts Cecilia in the position in which her corpse was discovered ... with her fingers forever professing her faith in our triune God for whom she heroically gave up her life.

St. Cecilia, pray for us!

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Saints & Relics Presentation: Our Lady of Good Counsel School, 11/1/2023



Happy All Saints Day!  This morning, this ministry was invited by the Diocesan Evangelization Task Force and the Faculty of Our Lady of Good Counsel (OLGC) School to share about Saints and Relics with their students.  Of course, this ministry accepted, and it turned out to be a beautiful and fitting way to celebrate our incredible Saints in Heaven!

Mass with the students, prior to the
Saints & Relics presentations.

First off - a very big shout out to the school's faculty and the Pastor of the adjoining Church, as I found the children, including the younger groups, well-exposed to the Saints and the Eucharist!  In fact, today, many students and teachers dressed up as their favorite Saints - I saw several Blessed Mothers, St. Michaels, St. Damiens, St. Thereses, St. Padre Pios, St. Patricks, etc.   It was a joy and amusing for me to see so many "saints" walking around in one place!


ABOVE:  Relics displayed at the school.
BELOW:  The older students crowding
around the relics after the talk.


During two separate presentations, this ministry emphasized various holy persons going through the Sainthood Process, as "Faith-Heroes" for the children to look up to and imitate ... as well as, to relate to as heavenly "best friends" to ask help from in times of need.

The younger children standing in line to
view the relics they just learned about.

The Relics presented for the students to see were from Our Lady, Ven. Anne de Guigne, Bl. Carlo Acutis, St. Margaret of Castello, Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, St. Joseph the foster-father of Jesus, and St. Therese the Little Flower.  In addition, there was a relic of a fragment from our Lord’s manger to complete the set of relics from the Holy Family, who represent the Domestic Church.

The younger group of students watch as
older students begin a thanksgiving hula
dance for this ministry.  Priceless.

All in all, the students were engaged and responsive, as I shared stories and played interactive games relating to our Church's Heroes whose lives and relics were featured.

Youngsters personally encountering
Saints and other holy persons through
various relics in their school hall.

This author is firm in my belief that exposing our children to our beautiful traditions and devotions - including Saints & Relics - are key factors that help keep them in the Church as adults.  Trust me - our kids are paying attention!  Just look at some of the homemade, illustrated Thank You Cards they made for me.  Priceless!

Love the drawing of St. Margaret of
Castello to the upper-right!

These kids from OLGC can draw!

Clearly, the Saints and their Relics were
big hit with the kids!

So, again, kudos to the teachers of OLGC School for what they're teaching!  God bless them and especially the students ... may Our Lady and the Saints continually guide and protect them all.