Sunday, May 24, 2020


Sister M. Grace Thul, O.P.

As we end the month of May, dedicated to Our Mother Mary, Queen of the Rosary, I give a few more images of her, all from recent times.  We also continue to pray for all still suffering from the coronavirus, either physically, monetarily, emotionally or spiritually.

Holy Virgin of Guadalupe, Queen of the Angels and Mother of the Americas.
We fly to you today as your beloved children.
We ask you to intercede for us with your Son, as you did at the wedding in Cana.
Pray for us, loving Mother,
and gain for our nation and world,
and for all our families and loved ones,
the protection of your holy angels,
that we may be spared the worst of this illness.

For those already afflicted,
we ask you to obtain the grace of healing and deliverance.
Hear the cries of those who are vulnerable and fearful,
wipe away their tears and help them to trust.

Stephen Whatley- England

In this time of trial and testing,
teach all of us in the Church to love one another and to be patient and kind.
Help us to bring the peace of Jesus to our land and to our hearts.
We come to you with confidence,
knowing that you truly are our compassionate mother,
health of the sick and cause of our joy.

Shelter us under the mantle of your protection,
keep us in the embrace of your arms,
help us always to know the love of your Son, Jesus. Amen.
                                 Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles

Beloved Mother, help us realize that we are all members of one great family and to recognize the bond that unites us, so that, in a spirit of fraternity and solidarity, we can help to alleviate countless situations of poverty and need. Make us strong in faith, persevering in service, constant in prayer.

Mary, Consolation of the afflicted, embrace all your children in distress and pray that God will stretch out his all-powerful hand and free us from this terrible pandemic, so that life can serenely resume its normal course.
                                                                                                               Pope Francis

Friday, May 22, 2020


1600- Italian

We are almost through the month of May and many still experiencing either self -imposed or mandated quarantine. So still more time to pray?  Why should we pray the Rosary? 
The Rosary unites our hearts to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who is, aside from Jesus Himself, God’s greatest gift to the human race. In Mary, we have the most perfect creature, the best example of sainthood, and the most caring mother. We cannot go wrong when we choose to imitate Mary as  she exemplifies all the Christian virtues.
The Rosary gives us a sort of “guided tour” of Jesus’ life, through the eyes of the one person who knew Him the best - His own mother. At each mystery, we can contemplate what it must have been like for Mary to be there - at the Annunciation, at Christmas, at the Crucifixion - and we can ask Mary to obtain for us the graces we need to live a life that is conducive to our salvation, and the salvation of our family and friends.
Murillo- 17th C- Spain
Numerous Popes have spoken often and forcefully about the benefits of the Rosary, and Marian devotion. In the encyclical Rosarium Virginis Mariae, Pope St. John Paul II said, “The Rosary belongs among the finest and most praiseworthy traditions of Christian contemplation.”
In October 2016, Pope Francis said, “the Rosary is the prayer that always accompanies my life: it is also the prayer of simple people and is the prayer of my heart.” If the Rosary has been given the approval of so many Popes, what reason should we have for not making it a regular part of our prayer lives?
After Peru, the country which has the most images for Our Lady of the Rosary is Italy, followed by Spain. And not many of these are modern, but rather 16-18th centuries.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020


Macha Chmakoff- French

Once more, as in these past two months, we come to another great feast, the ASCENSION of Jesus into Heaven.  Once more, most of the churches will be locked. Once more Catholics will need to rely on their own resources (and there are many on line) to celebrate. 

Once more, as happens every day in the lives of most people across the globe, we ask what does the future hold?  For me, for my family and loved ones, for friends, for the sick, for the dying, for all who are working tirelessly to keep life afloat.  

Once more we know we face an uncertain future in all aspects of our lives. What do we do in this new situation? How do we grow spiritually when we might not even be able to go to Mass?

In this great feast, we find HOPE, that our Savior goes to the Father, that we may one day follow Him. We need to know that He wants to meet us in our uncertainties, our fears, our disappointments.  He will help us carry the crosses we are facing, and they are not trivial. 

"The aftermath has already begun to be revealed as tragic and painful, which is why we must be thinking about it now. . . . I’m living this as a time of great uncertainty. It’s a time for inventing, for creativity. . . . What we are living now is a place of metanoia (conversion), and we have the chance to begin. So, let’s not let it slip from us, and let’s move ahead."  Pope Francis

A Prayer to Combat the Coronavirus Pandemic

Most merciful and Triune God,
We come to You in our weakness.
We come to You in our fear.
We come to You with trust.
For You alone are our hope.

We place before You the disease present in our world.
We turn to You in our time of need.

Bring wisdom to doctors.
Give understanding to scientists.
Endow caregivers with compassion and generosity.
Bring healing to those who are ill.
Protect those who are most at risk.
Give comfort to those who have lost a loved one.
Welcome those who have died into Your eternal home.

Stabilize our communities.
Unite us in our compassion.
Remove all fear from our hearts.
Fill us with confidence in Your care.

Jesus, I trust in You.
Jesus, I trust in You.
Jesus, I trust in You.

The author of this prayer is unknown.

Monday, May 18, 2020


 Pope Francis has decreed that ST. FAUSTINA KOWALSKA’S feast day be added to the Roman Calendar as an optional memorial to be celebrated by all on October 5.
The Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship issued the decree May 18, the 100th anniversary of the birth of St. John Paul II, who canonized St. Faustina on April 13, 2000, making her the first saint of the new millennium.
William Hart McNichols

The decree said that Pope Francis had taken the step in response to petitions from pastors, religious men and women and associations of the faithful, and “having considered the influence exercised by the spirituality of St. Faustina in different parts of the world.”
The decree continued: “Canonized in the year 2000 by St. John Paul II, the name of Faustina quickly became known around the world, thereby promoting in all the parts of the People of God, Pastors and lay faithful alike, the invocation of Divine Mercy and its credible witness in the conduct of the lives of believers.”
On April 19, Pope Francis celebrated Divine Mercy Sunday at Santo Spirito in Sassia, a church a short walk from St. Peter’s Basilica. The Mass marked the 20th liturgical anniversary of St. Faustina Kowalska’s canonization and the official institution of the feast of Divine Mercy Sunday by St. John Paul II.
St. John Paul II’s life was intimately connected to the Divine Mercy devotion. He died April 2, 2005, the vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday. He was beatified on Divine Mercy Sunday in 2011 and canonized on Divine Mercy Sunday in 2014.

Sunday, May 17, 2020


 Those of you who have followed past Blogs know how much I love Hawaii, esp. the Big Island, which I did not get to this year, due to new puppies. But  our faithful Oblate, Karen, sent this to me.  At least one Bishop “gets it!”

Sunset at Puako

Good Morning,
Please see below Bishop Larry Silva’s response to Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s “CITY AND COUNTY OF HONOLULU EMERGENCY ORDER NO. 2020-11 (COVID-19 [Novel Coronavirus])” issued on May 13,2020. 

We have been working with government officials to see that we can reopen our churches as soon as possible, with social distancing, controlled numbers of attendees, masks, and sanitizing protocols.  While I know Mayor Caldwell is trying to be diligent about the health of our community, and am happy to see restrictions for gatherings for worship are going to be eased, the “in vehicle” services, especially with the prohibition of distributing anything, simply is not what is needed for Catholic worship.  At the heart of our service, the Eucharist, is receiving Holy Communion, and people have been longing for this communion with the Lord.  Having people “attend” a service from their vehicles when they are prohibited from receiving Communion is of little value to us.  People would be much more comfortable viewing a live-stream from home if they could not receive Communion.  We are working toward responsibly getting people back into church, so that they can receive Communion during the celebration of the Eucharist.  I hope that, just as restaurants are soon to be open with proper protocols, we will be able to open our churches VERY SOON to celebrate in a way that respects our own religious practices.”  By Most Rev. Larry Silva, Bishop of Honolulu

Saturday, May 16, 2020


Anyone who knows anything about TRUFFLES knows that pigs used to be the main “digger’s for this much sought after fungus.  Evidently this fungus smells like testosterone, so the females were used.  But pigs like to root, often disturbing natural habitats and also grow pretty big- who wants to wrestle a 2-300 pound pig, especially when the pig decides she wants to eat that truffle? 

In 1985 pigs were outlawed to hunt truffles  because they damaged truffle beds while trying to get at them, hence dogs were brought into the picture. While many breeds have been tested for this work the undisputed truffle hunting breed is the Lagotto Romagnolo.

Years of selective breeding made this once water-retrieving breed into one with an uncanny talent for scenting, but with the hunting instinct suppressed so that a Lagotto isn’t distracted by the smell of game while working.

So we are often asked by anyone in the know of truffles, "do your Lagotti hunt truffles?"   Not yet, we answer but….  There is no reason why they can’t be trained and it is thought we have truffles on Shaw, as we have the right habitat and trees.

People have had some success cultivating truffles in Oregon, and black and white truffles have been discovered in the wild in British Columbia, California, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, mostly near the roots of Douglas fir trees. These North American varieties don’t share the intense aroma of their European cousins found in Italy, France, and Spain—but then again, they don’t have the value of thousands of dollars a pound.

The four species of native truffles are cousins of the celebrated truffles of France and Italy. In the Pacific Northwest region of North America, three of the commercial culinary varieties of truffles grow in association with Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) in coastal forests and timber stands. The main growing season for commercial culinary species in the Pacific Northwest is winter through spring. Different species of truffles, such as some of those in Europe will be ripe at different times of the year.

What are these strange, much sought after edibles that look like misshapen clods of earth? Truffles are not eaten in quantity like other highly esteemed mushrooms such as porcini, morels or chanterelles; truffles are all about their rich aroma ... Just a few thin shavings of a mature truffle will infuse a dish sufficiently with its savory aroma, turning a good meal into a culinary sensation. Also, truffles are commonly used to infuse oil rich foods like cheese, pâté, butter or high end oils. The infusion happens by osmosis, one need only place a mature truffle next to the food within a sealed container. In the case of oils one should not put the truffle into the oil. That would suffocate the truffle and not transfer its taste. Just let them sit next to each other for a few days and the oil smells like truffles. 

Truffle orchards have been planted in the Pacific Northwest since the late 90s, and the very first ones produced Pacific Northwest Périgord truffles for the first time in 2012. Most orchards are still too young, however. It takes at least 5 years for the first truffles to mature. Like good wines or cheese, cultivating truffles is its own art and science. 

The reason for the low supply is that a truffle never pops its head above ground, so finding one can be a bit of a treasure hunt. But merely locating a truffle isn’t enough. It has to be extracted at peak ripeness; otherwise, it is essentially worthless. Unlike other crops that continue to ripen after being picked, an unripe truffle has no odor and no flavor—and never will after it is removed from the ground.

So by end of summer we hope to have two very good truffle hunters, since digging is their passion!

Friday, May 15, 2020


Daniel Thomas Paulos
Sister Mary Jean Dorcy

There are not many examples of the theme of Our Lady of the Rosary in American art (USA), but here are some of my favorites. 

In May of 2014, I did two Blogs of the art of silhouettes by Sister Mary Jean Dorcy  and Daniel Thomas Paulos. Sister Mary Jean died in 1988, but her artwork has inspired many other artists, including Dan Paulos, who collaborated with her on her last book, “Spring Comes to the Hill Country” (1989).

Our dear friend, Brother Arturo Olivas, OFS, who died November 2017  (see Blog 11/21/17)  did several retablos of our Lady of the Rosary. Arturo was not only an accomplished retablo artist, but he was a Third Order Franciscan, an elementary school teacher, and a gardener, who left a remarkable legacy of loving, learning, teaching, faith and art.

Ellen Chavez de Leitner lives in Chimayo, NM, where she and her family have been producing traditional Hispanic art since 1986, continuing the tradition of their ancestors. She uses traditional materials – hand carved pinewood, homemade gesso, and water based paints made with natural pigments and dyes, and piñon sap varnish. Her main influence is the simple devotional expressiveness of the master santeros of the 18th and 19th centuries, but she also finds inspiration in 11th - 12th century Romanesque art, illuminated manuscripts, and Baroque and Renaissance religious art. 

The Museum of New Mexico and the Spanish Colonial Arts Society, as well as private collectors worldwide have collected works by Ellen and each of her six children.