Wednesday, March 22, 2017

ADORATION in LENT



When I was in Hawaii, I was fortunate to have many hours free for adoration in the small chapel in Waimea.  Every Friday there were 5 hours of adoration with the Blessed Sacrament exposed.  The day before I left Hawaii, father decided to have 24 hour adoration, and my friend and I were blessed to go the hour from 9-10 P.M. This was the last thing I did before I left the island. How blessed!

"The Church and the world have a great need of Eucharistic adoration… Jesus waits for us in this sacrament of love." (St. Pope John Paul II, Dominicae Cenae)

Eucharistic adoration may be performed both when the Eucharist is exposed for viewing and when it is not. In Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, the Eucharist is displayed in a monstrance, typically placed on an altar, at times with a light focused on it, or with candles flanking it. Most days I was alone in the chapel, and while father offered to expose the Eucharist for me anytime I asked, I was just as happy to be quiet with the Lord.


"Christ is reserved in our churches as the spiritual center of the heart of the community, the universal Church and all humanity, since within the veil of the species, Christ is contained, the invisible heart of the Church, the Redeemer of the world, the center of all hearts, by him all things are and of whom we exist." (Bl. Pope Paul IV, Mysterium Fidei)

Just as you can’t be exposed to the sun without receiving its rays, neither can you come to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament without receiving the divine rays of his grace, his love, his peace.

When I as growing up, Catholic churches were always open for a visit to the Blessed Sacrament.  Today, (they claim for safety reasons) churches for the most part are closed except for Masses. When in Hawaii, I noted that many of the churches in the small towns were open for visits.  Almost weekly, one reads of the Blessed Sacrament being attacked- or one of the priests in the church- the latest in Argentina, where a man came in during Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and stole the monstrance.  In such cases, the Bishop of the city, says a Mass in reparation. My feeling is, yes, it is a sacrilege, but the Lord can take care of Himself! Meanwhile, His people are being prevented from time with Him. "Christ is truly the Emmanuel, that is,God with us, day and night, he is in our midst. He dwells with us full of grace and truth. He restores morality, nourishes virtue, consoles the afflicted, strengthens the weak." (Bl.Pope Paul VI, Mysterium Fidei)


More and more places are introducing daily or weekly 24 hour adoration.  Father told me in Hawaii, that where there is perpetual adoration, the increase of priestly vocations rises dramatically. "The Blessed Sacrament is the ‘Living Heart’ of each of our churches and it is our very sweet duty to honor and adore the Blessed Host, which our eyes see, the Incarnate Word, whom they cannot see." (Bl. Pope Paul VI, Credo of the People of God)






Monday, March 20, 2017

MORAL CHOICES


 


 BLESSED MARCEL CALLO was born on December 6, 1921, in Rennes, France, into a family of farmers. He was one of nine children. After completing his primary studies, he became an apprentice to a printer around age 13. He did not like associating with fellow workers who swore and told many improper stories. He preferred accompanying good Catholic friends who belonged to the Young Christian Workers. He had a good sense of humor and liked to wrestle, play football, ping pong, cards and bridge.

When Marcel was 20 he fell in love with Marguerite Derniaux. He once said: “One must master his heart before he can give it to the one that is chosen for him by Christ." After being engaged, they imposed a strict spiritual rule of life which included praying the same prayers and going to Mass and receiving the Eucharist as often as they could.

On March 8, 1943, the war had gripped their city of Rennes. That day his sister, Madeleine was killed by one of the bombs that leveled her building. When the Germans later occupied France, Marcel was ordered and deported to Zella-Mehlis,Germany to Service of Obligatory Work. Knowing if he did not comply, his family would be arrested.

 Once there, he worked in a factory that produced bombs that would be used against his own countrymen. After three months or so of missing his family and missing Mass (there was no Catholic church in that town), Marcel became seriously depressed. He later found a room where Mass was offered on Sunday. This helped change his disposition. He reported that, "Finally Christ reacted. He made me to understand that the depression was not good. I had to keep busy with my friends and then joy and relief would come back to me."


With his morale and hope restored, he cared for his deported friends. He organized a group of Christian workers who did activities together. He also organized a theatrical group. He galvanized his friends despite him suffering from painful boils, headaches and infected teeth. For his French friends, he arranged a Mass to be celebrated in their native tongue. Eventually, his religious activities attracted unwanted attention from the German officials.

The Germans arrested Marcel on April 19, 1944 saying that, "Monsieur is too much of a Catholic." They interrogated Marcel, who admitting his Catholic activities, was imprisoned in Gotha. He secretly received the Eucharist while in prison and continued to pray and help his companions. He was considered dangerous to the Germans and was moved to a different prison at Mathausen.


He suffered from various ailments such as bronchitis, malnutrition, dysentery, fever, swelling, and generalized weakness. He never complained. Despite his suffering, he encouraged his companions by saying, "It is in prayer that we find our strength."

He died on the feast of St. Joseph, March 19, 1945. Pope John Paul II beautified Marcel Callo on October 4, 1987 along with two Italian martyrs, Antonio Mesina and Pierina Morosini.   In his native country he is often compared to St. Maximilian Kolbe. He made similar choices, for which. like the latter, he paid with his life.

While in prison in Gotha, Marcel wrote a letter to his brother, who had just been ordained to the priesthood. * “Fortunately, He is a Friend, who never deserts me for an instant. He supports and consoles me. With Him, you can bear everything, even those terrible hours so filled with torment. How grateful I am to Christ. He has marked out the path for me, and now I am walking in it.”




Wednesday, March 15, 2017

FIRST USA BORN MARTYR



FATHER STANLEY ROTHER, a native of Oklahoma who was killed while serving as a missionary in Guatemala in 1981, will be beatified in September.

Father Rother’s martyrdom was formally recognized by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints last December. His beatification has now been scheduled for September 23, to take place in Oklahoma City.

While serving in a parish in Guatemala, Father Rother acknowledged that the nation’s civil war made his post dangerous. “But if it is my destiny that I should give my life here, then so be it,” he wrote. “I don’t want to desert these people.” He was gunned down on July 28, 1981.

Stanley Rother was born on March 27, 1935, the son of Franz and Gertrude Rother, who had a farm near OkarcheOklahoma. He grew up to be a strong, young man, adept at the many tasks required on the farm. Nonetheless, after completing high school, he declared his calling to the priesthood. To prepare for this, he was sent to Assumption Seminary in San Antonio, Texas. His talents gained working on the farm, however, left him with so many duties at the seminary that his studies suffered. After nearly six years, the seminary staff advised him to withdraw.

After consultation with his bishopVictor Reed, Stanley then attended Mount St. Mary's Seminary in EmmitsburgMaryland, from which he graduated in 1963. He was ordained by Reed as a priest of the Diocese of Oklahoma City-Tulsa (now the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City) on May 25 of that same year. He then served as an associate pastor in various parishes around Oklahoma. In 1968, at his own request, he was assigned to the mission of the archdiocese to the Tz'utujil people located in Santiago Atitlán, in the rural highlands of southwest Guatemala.

So that he could be in closer touch with his congregation, Father Stanley worked to learn Spanish and the Tzutuhil language, an unwritten, indigenous language previously recorded by an earlier missionary, Ramón Carlín. He went to live with a native family for a while to get a better grasp of practical conversation, and worked with the locals to show them how to read and write. He supported a radio station located on the mission property which transmitted daily lessons in language and mathematics. He served in Santiago Atitlán for 13 years. During that time, in addition to his pastoral duties, he translated the New Testament into Tz'utujil and began the regular celebration of the Mass in that same tongue.
He also founded a small hospital to serve the community, which was located in Panabaj. The "Hospitalito" and the neighborhood of Panabaj were buried in the mudslides that followed Hurricane Stan in October 2005. While residing in a temporary building, construction of a permanent facility began on November 10, 2008. The "Hospitalito" re-opened during the dedication of the first floor on November 19, 2010, and now plays a vital role in the healthcare of the Lake Atitlán community.
Within the last year of his life, Father Stanley saw the radio station smashed and its director murdered. His catechists and parishioners would disappear and later be found dead, their bodies showing signs of having been beaten and tortured.


In early 1981 he was warned that his name was on a death list and that he should leave Guatemala.  He returned to Oklahoma in January 1981, but asked for permission to return. He returned to Santiago Atitlán in April. On the morning of July 28, gunmen broke into the rectory of his church and shot him twice in the head after a brief struggle. The killers forced a gardener to lead them to the bedroom of the "red-bearded Oklahoma-born missionary". He was one of 10 priests murdered in Guatemala that year.
Father Stanley’s body was flown back to Oklahoma City and was buried in his home town of Okarche, Oklahoma. At the request of his former Tzutuhil parishioners, his heart was removed and buried under the altar of the church where he had served.

In the room where Father Stanley Rother was murdered, the following poem was placed:

Unbroken
For Padre A'plas from his people
Your days clasped to our days, one by one,
had chained you tight. You wouldn't cut and run.
Bound by your affection, and our trust,
you had no other world but here with us.
Long days, hard days, tight-linked down the years,
nights sharing plans and other people's tears.
Hosts lifted high against a rusting roof,
you fed us God.
How could we set you loose?
Torn from flesh, your shackled heart remains.
Compelled we sent your bones.
We kept the chain.

R.P.G

Sunday, March 12, 2017

MIRACLE IN TENNESSEE?



Did a miracle occur in Knoxville, Tennessee?”  This is the question at the heart of an inquiry just initiated by Bishop Richard Stika of the Diocese of Knoxville.  Bishop Stika has established an inquiry board headed by Cardinal Justin Rigali (now in residence in Knoxville) to investigate the recent claim of a possible medical miracle which has been attributed to the intercession of Servant of God Isaac Hecker. 

SERVANT of GOD ISAAC HECKER (1819-1888) was an American Roman Catholic priest born in New York City. He was originally ordained for the Redemptorist Order in 1849.  After a strong desire to establish a Redemptorist novitiate in the United States and conflict with his superiors, Father Hecker was expelled from the Order.  He persevered and, in 1858, was given permission by Pope Pius IX to found the Missionary Society of St. Paul the Apostle (the Paulists). 



His thought and life’s work was to establish a robust dialogue between the Catholic faith and American culture.   Father Hecker sought to evangelize Americans using the popular means of his day, primarily preaching, the public lecture circuit and the printing press. He founded the monthly publication, “The Catholic World,” in 1865.

Father Hecker’s spirituality centered largely on cultivating the action of the Holy Spirit within the soul as well as the necessity of being attuned to how it is prompting one in great and small moments in life. He believed that the Catholic faith and American culture were not opposed, but could be reconciled. The ideas of individual freedom, community, service, and authority were fundamental to him when conceiving of how the Paulists were to be governed and administered.



His work was likened to that of Cardinal John Henry Newman, by the Cardinal himself. In a letter written to Father Augustine Hewit on the occasion of Father Hecker's death, Newman wrote: "I have ever felt that there was a sort of unity in our lives, that we had both begun a work of the same kind, he in America and I in England".

 Father Father Hecker’s cause for Sainthood was opened January 25, 2008, in the mother Church of the Paulist Fathers on 59th St, New York City.
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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

MENTOR TO A MODERN SAINT

Jan Guides a Young Karol in the Rosary

VENERABLE JAN TYRANOWSKI (1900-470) was a Catholic layman, student of Discalced Carmelite spirituality, and central figure in the spiritual formation of the young Karol Wojtyla, who became  (St.)Pope John Paul II. He was the youth leader and student mentor of Karol Wojtyla's university parish, St. Stanislaus Kostka, in the 1940s. He trained as an accountant, but.supported himself and his mother by working as a tailor.

He was a man with an extraordinary prayer life, devoting four hours every morning to meditation as well as other prayer periods through the day. Karol began attending weekly meetings which Jan entitled the Living Rosary. At these gatherings he introduced his new band of disciples to a brand of religion that was deeply mystical, and encouraged them to apply it to every area of their lives. He called them to a strict discipline and recommended that they keep a diary with a view to bringing God directly into every moment of their day.

Karol, initially, found the man almost unbearably intense, but gradually came to see something of profound import in Jan. Later in life Karol Wojtyla stated that "What he tried to teach us was new. He wanted to pull new listeners to this new life. Young people think they know everything … At the beginning they just couldn’t understand him – the truth about a … wholly internal life that was part of Jan and, for them, completely unknown.”

The young Karol Wojtyla was introduced to the writings of   St. John of the Cross who would come to be one of the great inspirations in the life of Karol. "From St. John he would learn that union with God requires a person to give up everything – everything they know as well as all that they own. Looking back he would feel that in Jan Tyranowski he had a living example of that quest for union with God before his very eyes.


Mieczyslaw Malinski, a friend of Karol’s and member of Jan 's group who later became a priest, was also skeptical at first about this religious eccentric, but eventually came to accept Jan's teaching. In later years Fr. Malinski stated that "Jan’s influence with Karol was gigantic. I can safely say that if it wasn’t for him neither Wojtyla nor I would have become priests.”


In May 1949, Karol Wojtyla wrote:
This man was not a fiction or a symbol, but a real living person. It is worth noting that Jan’s demeanor, for example, the way he wore his watch, his expressions, all of the many details that reflect the social environment, were totally consistent with that environment. The entire difference was hidden within, and it was from within that all his external habits obtained their particular character. Jan guided his inner life according to the book "Mistyka" by Fr. Semenenko. Later, however, St. John of the Cross and St. Theresa of the Child Jesus became his chief spiritual masters. They were not only his masters, they led him to discover himself, they explained and justified his own life.
"Jan’s death was indeed a form of self-sacrifice. Jan approached it consciously; he wished it and prayed for it…"

Jan Tyranowski died in 1947 at 47 years of age.



Wednesday, March 1, 2017

JOY IN LENT- LAST WEEK IN IN HAWAII

St. Andrew's Episcopal Cathedral- Honolulu


Our Holy Father, Pope Francis encouraged the Catholic faithful to welcome the season of Lent, to “begin our journey of hope with joy.”

Lent is a season of hope, the Pontiff explained, because we look forward to the Resurrection, confident that with God’s help we can share in Christ’s victory. However, while Jesus has paid the price of our redemption, “that doesn’t mean that He did everything and we don’t have to do anything,” the Holy Father cautioned. He rejected the notion that since Jesus died on the Cross, “we will go to heaven in a carriage.”

The penitential season of Lent, the Pope said, is like the 40 years that the Hebrew people spent in the desert after their exodus from Egypt. Each day, with its particular obstacles, presents a challenge to grow closer to God.

The Scriptures tell of a tormented journey that symbolically lasted forty years, the time span of a generation, and that difficulties and obstacles represented continuous temptations to regret Egypt and to turn back. But, he said, the Lord stayed close to the people who finally arrived in the Promised Land guided by Moses.
Their journey, he explained, was undertaken ‘in hope’, and in this sense “it is an ‘exodus’ out of slavery and into freedom.

Every step, every effort, every test, every fall and every recovery has a sense within God’s design for salvation, as He wants life – not death – and joy – not pain – for His people” he said.
The Pope said Easter is Jesus’ own exodus, his passover from death to life, in which we participate through our rebirth in Baptism. 

He said that by following Christ along the way of the Cross, we share in his victory over sin and death;  he explained that in order to open this passage for us, Jesus had to cast off his glory, he had to humble himself, he had to be obedient until death on the cross.




This doesn’t mean that he did everything and we don’t have to do anything” he said.
The Pope went on to highlight that it doesn’t mean “he went through the cross and we will go to heaven in a carriage.” That is not how it works.

He explained that our salvation is Jesus’ gift, but it is part of a love story and requires our ‘yes’ and our participation.


With a heart open to this horizon, the Pope concluded, let us enter into Lent feeling that we belong to the holy people of God: “may we begin our journey of hope with joy.