Category Archives: regular

Former Benedict XVI Student: All [Irish] Bishops Appointed Before 2003 Should Step Down

This suggestion by Father Vincent Twomey of Ireland comes in response to an investigative report on the sex abuse scandal in County Cloyne. Fr. Twomey is joined in similar sentiment by the Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of the Archdiocese of Dublin who recently expressed his disappointment in his fellow Church leaders:

What do you do when you’ve got systems in place and somebody ignores them? — I find myself asking today, can I be proud of the Church that I’m a leader of? I have to be ashamed of this…

The Archbishop also suggested that despite the Vatican’s encouragement and desire to discover, report and prevent these abuses there were still many within Ireland and the Vatican itself that did and continue to do much to undermine the situation.

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The Opening Credits Sum Up the 2011 Film Adaptation of The Rite – “Suggested by Matt Baglio”

The Rite (2011 Film) Theatrical Poster
The Rite (2011 Film) Theatrical Poster via Wikipeda

In 2010 journalist Matt Baglio brought to the consciousness of modern American Catholics and secular persons the true story of Father Gary Thomas: the making of an exorcist. The sober and unapologetic chronicling quickly grabbed the attention of the masses spawning a second edition and now a major motion picture complete with all the fixings, trappings and Hollywood movie-making that makes honest works into mere sugar-coated happy endings void of life but full of the promise of money for exploitation. These are the basic sentiments for this film.

The opening credits perhaps spoke the most truth when the attribution to Matt Baglio’s book, The Rite, appeared on the screen reading, “suggested by the book…” This “suggestion” already clued me in. There was going to be more liberty taken with the screen rights of this film than I have seen before with concern for a film adaptation of true life events.

That said, I cannot completely knock the film as Anthony Hopkins turned in a great performance as Father Lucas as did the remainder of the cast. Furthermore, it would seem that the director was sincere enough in his approach to show some details that others may overlook, such as the robes of Father Xavier, a Dominican. But the story still felt pressured for Hollywood showmanship rather than the truth of Rite.

These disappointments came primarily in two flavors:

  1. Changing all but the essence of the related primary characters of the book: Father Gary Thomas, Matt Baglio and Father Carmine in addition to altering the nature of their relationships.
  2. Although the film’s protagonist elects to follow his vocation to the priesthood after having “found and accepted” the grace of faith via the disturbing events of the film’s climax, it does not excuse the fact that the director choose ignore major facts concerning the priestly vocation. For example, Father Gary Thomas was already a priest when he began his specialized training to become an exorcist. Next, the director chooses color completely outside the lines for the benefit of the narrative, completely destroying what made the book a stirring work, that is the acknowledgement that the Church and the priests therein are fully and completely representatives of Jesus Christ – the latter sharing in the High Priesthood of Our Blessed Lord. An untrained seminarian would have no place in the events depicted either on film and especially in the book. Without the Sacrament of Holy Orders, the soul of Michael would be no different than any lay person and thus would be an ineffective witness at commanding any demon to do anything in the name of Christ. (The Church has always taught that by virtue of the baptism into the Body of Christ, the laity has the ability and efficacious power of prayer when it comes to minor deliverance but never when there is explicit demonic activity especially that of possession.)

The lapse in acknowledge the necessity and authority of the priesthood is one that ruined the experience of the film for me as it did not reproduce the impact that the book did. Again, that does not take away from the fact that this is one of the few instances where the Church, the priesthood and even the interpretation of the unseen world were represented with some care.

In this vein I would like to address a couple of issues that were alluded to in the trailers and ominous poster featuring Anthony Hopkins and state outright that The Rite is not a scary at all. No this does not mean that you can watch the film with the entire film (the subject matter is not for the faint of heart) but that there is no sense of fright like that of The Exorcist or other films that dig into the mind to evoke the real sense of fear. What is done properly here reminds of the another, more “realistic” film on the topic of possession and exorcism, that of The Exorcism of Emily Rose, also based on real events.

Like Rose, The Rite, is successful setting the ambiance of danger, dread and despair. The cinematography, sound and editing come together effectively to produce that sense of foreboding necessary to engage the viewer and bring them into the journey. Once more, loose depiction of the priesthood and Michael’s struggle does a disservice – how much so depends on the level of knowledge of the viewer. There are also great “BAM!” moments in the film; (You know, the ones where you are watching the movie and there is an air of silence and then all of a sudden BAM! something jumps out at you.) enough that if I were to have taken my mother to see this in the theaters she would have screamed enough for all watching with us. (I love you mom!)

So to recap:

  • The movie by itself is okay.
  • It is a very liberal adaptation of the book.
  • It plays fast and loose with the vocation of the priesthood and the necessity of the Sacrament of Holy Orders to truly combat the Enemy in such intimate confrontation.
  • Finally, rent it first and come back here to buy it, especially of you like Anthony Hopkins!
You can purchase this DVD here.

I wrote this review of The Rite ( 2011 ) for the Tiber River Blogger Review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods, your source for Baptism Gifts and First Communion Gifts. For more information and to purchase, please visit Aquinas and More Catholic Goods.

Tiber River is the first Catholic book review site, started in 2000 to help you make informed decisions about Catholic book purchases.

I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River.

Optional Memorial of St. Maria Goretti, virgin and martyr

St. Maria Goretti (painting 1929)

Oh Saint Maria Goretti who, strengthened by God’s grace, did not hesitate even at the age of twelve to shed your blood and sacrifice life itself to defend your virginal purity, look graciously on the unhappy human race which has strayed far from the path of eternal salvation. Teach us all, and especially youth,with what courage and promptitude we should flee for the love of Jesus anything that could offend Him or stain our souls with sin. Obtain for us from our Lord victory in temptation, comfort in the sorrows of life, and the grace which we earnestly beg of thee (here insert intention), and may we one day enjoy with thee the imperishable glory of Heaven. Amen.

— Prayer to St. Maria Goretti


Read the Bible at Mass

First Reading: Gn 41:55-57; 42:5-7a, 17-24a

When hunger came to be felt throughout the land of Egypt and the people cried to Pharaoh for bread, Pharaoh directed all the Egyptians to go to Joseph and do whatever he told them. When the famine had spread throughout the land, Joseph opened all the cities that had grain and rationed it to the Egyptians, since the famine had gripped the land of Egypt. In fact, all the world came to Joseph to obtain rations of grain, for famine had gripped the whole world.

The sons of Israel were among those who came to procure rations.

It was Joseph, as governor of the country, who dispensed the rations to all the people. When Joseph’s brothers came and knelt down before him with their faces to the ground, he recognized them as soon as he saw them. But Joseph concealed his own identity from them and spoke sternly to them.

With that, he locked them up in the guardhouse for three days.

On the third day Joseph said to his brothers:

“Do this, and you shall live; for I am a God-fearing man. If you have been honest, only one of your brothers need be confined in this prison, while the rest of you may go and take home provisions for your starving families. But you must come back to me with your youngest brother. Your words will thus be verified, and you will not die.”

To this they agreed. To one another, however, they said:

“Alas, we are being punished because of our brother. We saw the anguish of his heart when he pleaded with us, yet we paid no heed; that is why this anguish has now come upon us.”

Reuben broke in, “Did I not tell you not to do wrong to the boy? But you would not listen! Now comes the reckoning for his blood.” The brothers did not know, of course, that Joseph understood what they said, since he spoke with them through an interpreter. But turning away from them, he wept.

Responsorial Psalm33:2-3, 10-11, 18-19

R. (22) Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.

Give thanks to the LORD on the harp;
with the ten-stringed lyre chant his praises.
Sing to him a new song;
pluck the strings skillfully, with shouts of gladness.

R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.

The LORD brings to nought the plans of nations;
he foils the designs of peoples.
But the plan of the LORD stands forever;
the design of his heart, through all generations.

R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.

But see, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine.

R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.


Gospel Reading: Mt 10:1-7

Jesus summoned his Twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness. The names of the Twelve Apostles are these:

First, Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus; Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus.

Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus, “Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town. Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”


About St. Maria Goretti

St. Maria Goretti was born of a poor family in Corinaldi, Italy, in 1890. Near Nettuno she spent a difficult childhood assisting her mother in domestic duties. She was of a pious nature and often at prayer. In 1902 she was stabbed to death, preferring to die rather than be raped. (Office of Readings)

“It is well known how this young girl had to face a bitter struggle with no way to defend herself. Without warning a vicious stranger (actually Alessandro Serenelli who lived with his father in the same house as the Goretti’s.) burst upon her, bent on raping her and destroying her childlike purity. In that moment of crisis she could have spoken to her Redeemer in the words of that classic, The Imitation of Christ: “Though tested and plagued by a host of misfortunes, I have no fear so long as your grace is with me. It is my strength, stronger than any adversary; it helps me and gives me guidance.” With splendid courage she surrendered herself to God and his grace and so gave her life to protect her virginity.

“The life of this simple girl—I shall concern myself only with highlights—we can see as worthy of heaven. Even today people can look upon it with admiration and respect. Parents can learn from her story how to raise their God-given children in virtue, courage and holiness; they can learn to train them in the Catholic faith so that, when put to the test, God’s grace will support them and they will come through undefeated, unscathed and untarnished.

“From Maria’s story carefree children and young people with their zest for life can learn not to be led astray by attractive pleasures which are not only ephemeral and empty but also sinful. Instead they can fix their sights on achieving Christian moral perfection, however difficult and hazardous that course may prove. With determination and God’s help all of us can attain that goal by persistent effort and prayer.

“Not all of us are expected to die a martyr’s death, but we are all called to the pursuit of Christian virtue. This demands strength of character though it may not match that of this innocent girl. Still, a constant, persistent and relentless effort is asked of us right up to the moment of our death. This may be conceived as a slow steady martyrdom which Christ urged upon us when he said: The kingdom of heaven is set upon and laid waste by violent forces.

“So let us all, with God’s grace, strive to reach the goal that the example of the virgin martyr, Saint Maria Goretti, sets before us. Through her prayers to the Redeemer may all of us, each in his own way, joyfully try to follow the inspiring example of Maria Goretti who now enjoys eternal happiness in heaven.”

Excerpted from a homily at the canonization of Saint Maria Goretti by Pope Pius XII

Patron: Against impoverishment; against poverty; children; children of Mary; girls; loss of parents; martyrs; rape victims; young people in general.

Things to Do:

  • Please visit this site for a more detailed account of St. Maria Goretti’s life and Alessandro Serenelli’s conversion.
  • This saint’s feast day is a wonderful launching point to teach our children about purity, chastity and modesty. Sex education should be taught by the parents with a Catholic approach. Young girls can use St. Maria as a model.
  • A highly recommended book is St. Maria Goretti: In Garments All Red by Rev. Godfrey Poage. Young teens to adult will enjoy this account of her life.

via Catholic Culture

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Child Murder for Money: America’s Abortion Industry

BloodMoney: The Business of Abortion

BloodMoney is a documentary film that exposes the truth behind the holocaust of abortion by taking an all-encompassing look at the business of abortion from the Pro Life perspective.

BloodMoney DVD synopsis


If ever there were a documentary produced in recent years that provided a fair view of the subject despite the acknowledging its makers’ own impartiality on the matter, it would be BloodMoney.

In this feature documentary, the viewer is provided with facts, not mere propaganda seeking to cover the truth or play some slight-of-hand trick with the fact that in America today – it is legal to hire a hitman. Not to take out your enemies but to destroy the life of an innocent child while still in the womb. Sadly, it is their own mothers and fathers that often seek out to hire contract killers known as abortionists.

Narrator Aleveda King, the niece of civil rights hero Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., provides a tempered and gentle voice that details the history and roots of the abortion industry from the Nazi-tied and racist eugenicist and Planned Parenthood founder Margret Sanger to the questionable, devastating decision of 1973’s Roe vs. Wade all the way to the resurgence of the Pro Life movement supported and maintained more and more by today’s youth (particularly women) and as always – the Catholic Church.

BloodMoney is indeed a must-have for every parish, school, college and family video library with pre-teens on up at least. This is truly a heart-felt master work of truth that speaks for itself. No smoke. No mirrors. Just the facts on the tragedy that is the Business of Abortion.

I wrote this review of BloodMoney for the Tiber River Blogger Review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods, your source for Baptism Gifts and First Communion Gifts. For more information and to purchase, please visit Aquinas and More Catholic Goods.

Tiber River is the first Catholic book review site, started in 2000 to help you make informed decisions about Catholic book purchases.

I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River.

 

Prayer to Mary, Mother of Women Hurt by Abortion

La vierge aux raisins
Image via Wikipedia

Mary of Bethlehem and Nazareth,
  wife of Joseph,
Virgin mother of the Son of God made man,
  woman of sorrows, model of Faith,
You are our mother,
  living now in the joy of God’s presence.
You watch over each one of us
  with gentleness, compassion and tenderness.

We entrust all women hurt by abortion, and their
aborted children, to your motherly care.
May your unfailing love console our sisters,
  reassure them of their dignity, and be for them a
  source of healing, peace and joy. May they find
  comfort knowing their children are in your arms.

Protect and bless the work
  of women hurt by abortion.
Let it bring love and healing
  to your wounded daughters, and understanding
  to those who would help them.
May its members work with courage, dedication and
  perseverance to protect all women from the horror
  of aborting their children.

And may we all be united again with you in the
  presence of your Son, Jesus Christ, Our Lord.

Amen.

©1992 Human Life International

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Planned Parenthood responds to Live Action sting operation

Planned Parenthood responds to Live Action sting operation

BY KATHLEEN GILBERT

INDIANAPOLIS, June 30, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Undercover investigators who gave the lie to Planned Parenthood’s inflated claims of being a vital Medicaid provider in Indiana have ridiculed the abortion giant’s defensive response as “laughable.”

The Obama administration has threatened to hold Indiana’s entire Medicaid allotment hostage unless it reverses a law signed in May blocking Planned Parenthood’s $3 million share. Earlier this month, a federal judge granted Planned Parenthood of Indiana’s (PPIN) request to block implementation of the law on the basis that the administration’s retaliatory move, if carried out, would greatly harm the state’s Medicaid dependants.

In an effort to prove false PPIN’s posturing as a critical provider for low-income women, members of the pro-life group Live Action released audio recordings this week of investigators calling 16 of the state’s 28 Planned Parenthood clinics to ask for Medicaid services. According to the group, Planned Parenthood staffers at all 16 locations simply suggested that patients go to nearby health clinics or state-assigned primary care physicians.

The organization retaliated against the video this week, pointing to superior office hours and acceptance of new patients as evidence to back their original claims.

“We focused on helping our patients – even those posing as ‘patients’ – to find reproductive health care during the short period of time we were unable to provide services covered by Medicaid,” stated Planned Parenthood as quoted by local NBC affiliate WNDU.com.

“We maintain, as we’ve said all along, that just because there are other providers does not mean they offer the same patient-friendly hours, are accepting new Medicaid patients or offer the same services that PPIN offers.”

Live Action president Lila Rose shot back in her own statement, saying, “The basis of these rationalizations is false.”

“In a matter of minutes, Live Action easily found numerous Medicaid providers in Indiana ready and able to accept new patients; Planned Parenthood’s own lower level staffers repeatedly confirmed other providers ‘have the same services we have.’ And most laughable is their claim that ‘patient-friendly hours’ are what set Planned Parenthood apart from the other 800 Medicaid providers in the state,” said Rose.

“But what’s not funny is that Planned Parenthood continues to concoct more propaganda as they work to deceive the public and try to sweep this exposé under the rug,” she added. “Women don’t need this abortion-centered giant for their healthcare but Planned Parenthood needs women and taxpayer dollars to continue lining their pockets.”

On Wednesday, Live Action followed up on the video evidence with a breakdown of Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid presence in Indiana. The group points out that Planned Parenthood takes in less than one percent of the state’s Medicaid patients, while performing over half of all abortions there.

via LifeSiteNews

Planned Parenthood is in the business of killing babies. The most obvious reason is because this makes them a lot of money. Furthermore, to say that public funding will remain separate is disingenuous because I can almost assure you that if the Feds were to conduct audits on what and where these public funds are going, they would find a multitude of violations. This is part and parcel of combined provider models such as Planned Parenthood.

The only way to ensure that money is not dipped into from one place to another it to operate two distinct units. And even then, funding still flows through one stream whether up or down.

Believe me. Decision makers can say plenty but the reality remains that the issue of public finding going to Planned Parenthood violates the present law on the matter despite the fact that it may not do so openly. It’s a magic show for spending tax-payer dollars on ideological pork.

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Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

“I promise you in the excessive mercy of my Heart that my all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Fridays in nine consecutive months the grace of final perseverance; they shall not die in my disgrace, nor without receiving their sacraments. My divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment”

— Jesus to St. Margaret Mary

Some Background On Devotion to the Sacred Heart

Sixteenth century Calvinism and seventeenth century Jansenism preached a distorted Christianity that substituted for God’s love and sacrifice of His Son for all men the fearful idea that a whole section of humanity was inexorably damned.

The Church always countered this view with the infinite love of our Savior who died on the cross for all men. The institution of the feast of the Sacred Heart was soon to contribute to the creation among the faithful of a powerful current of devotion which since then has grown steadily stronger. The first Office and Mass of the Sacred Heart were composed by St. John Eudes, but the institution of the feast was a result of the appearances of our Lord to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in 1675. The celebration of the feast was extended to the general calendar of the Church by Pius IX in 1856.

via Catholic Culture | Litugical Year


Read the Bible at Mass

First Reading: Dt 7:6-11

Moses said to the people:

“You are a people sacred to the LORD, your God; he has chosen you from all the nations on the face of the earth to be a people peculiarly his own. It was not because you are the largest of all nations that the LORD set his heart on you and chose you, for you are really the smallest of all nations. It was because the LORD loved you and because of his fidelity to the oath he had sworn your fathers, that he brought you out with his strong hand from the place of slavery, and ransomed you from the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. Understand, then, that the LORD, your God, is God indeed, the faithful God who keeps his merciful covenant down to the thousandth generation toward those who love him and keep his commandments, but who repays with destruction a person who hates him; he does not dally with such a one, but makes them personally pay for it. You shall therefore carefully observe the commandments, the statutes and the decrees that I enjoin on you today.”

Responsorial Psalm103:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8, 10

R. (cf. 17) The Lord’s kindness is everlasting to those who fear him.

Bless the LORD, O my soul;
all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and forget not all his benefits.

R. The Lord’s kindness is everlasting to those who fear him.

He pardons all your iniquities,
heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
crowns you with kindness and compassion.

R. The Lord’s kindness is everlasting to those who fear him.

Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
nor does he requite us according to our crimes.

R. The Lord’s kindness is everlasting to those who fear him.

Second Reading: 1 Jn 4:7-16

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us.

This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us, that he has given us of his Spirit. Moreover, we have seen and testify that the Father sent his Son as savior of the world. Whoever acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in him and he in God. We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us.

God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.

Gospel Reading: Mt 11:25-30

At that time Jesus exclaimed:

“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to little ones. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”


Close to the Heart of the Son is the Heart of the Mother 

The Church, in this month of June, giving us the solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, wishes us to understand the consequential devotion to Our Lady traditionally lived in the Marian month par excellence: the month of May. The Heart of Jesus is the See and Throne of Divine Mercy, revealed to the world in the passion, death and resurrection of Christ.

The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI speaking of the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus two years ago said: “In biblical language, ‘heart’ indicates the centre of the person where his sentiments and intentions dwell. In the Heart of the Redeemer we adore God’s love for humanity, his will for universal salvation, his infinite mercy. Practising devotion to the Sacred Heart of Christ therefore means adoring that Heart which, after having loved us to the end, was pierced by a spear and from high on the Cross poured out blood and water, an inexhaustible source of new life” (Benedict XVI, Angelus 5 June 2005).

The call which comes from this important feast day is first of all a call to Eucharistic adoration, because in the Sacred Host the Lord Jesus is truly present and He offers each of us His Heart, His Merciful Love. To spend time in the Presence of the Eucharistic Lord, to adore Him, is the best expression of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus which, as we know, spread all over the world thanks to Jesus’ revelations to Saint Margherita M. Alacoque in the 17th century: “Behold the Heart which so loved mankind!”

As a prolongation and accomplishment of this message, the Lord appeared to another Sister in the 20th century revealing the abyss of His unfathomable mercy; she was Saint Faustina Kowalska who wrote in her Diary, now world famous, these words of Jesus: “I have opened my Heart as a living source of Mercy, from it all souls draw life, all approach with deep confidence this sea of Mercy. Sinners will obtain justification and the just will be strengthened in goodness. I will fill the souls of those who put their trust in My Mercy with My divine peace at the hour of their death. My daughter, continue to spread devotion to My Mercy, in doing so you will refresh My Heart which burns with the fire of compassion for sinners. Tell my priests that hardened sinners will be softened by their words if they speak of my boundless Mercy and of the compassion which My Heart feels for them. I will give priests who proclaim and exalt My Mercy wondrous power, unction to their words and I will move all the hearts to which they speak” (Book 5, 21 January 1938).

The deepest longing of Christ’s Heart is that we discover how much he loves us, the extent of his tender love for creatures who, cooled by their selfishness, look only inwards at themselves, as if they were afraid to let themselves be loved unconditionally by their Creator, who asks nothing and gives all!

How society, culture, economy, politics today need this Heart! It is really true, the more man distances himself from God-Love the more he becomes ‘heartless’, agitated about a thousand things because he has mislaid the principal one: to let oneself be loved by Christ and to respond to this Love with our love.

Many times during history the Supreme Pontiffs have reminded humanity that without the Lord Jesus life has no real meaning, man gropes in the dark to find himself! The Servant of God John Paul II introduced the Church into the Third Millennium with a mandate to become “Apostles of Divine Mercy.” The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI picked up where his Predecessor left off and never tires to remind us of the necessity to rediscover the merciful Heart, this infinite Love of God, who reveals Himself in our lives if we open to Him. “Open, open wide the doors to Christ” the voice of the Holy Spirit continues to say. By means of Eucharistic adoration we are “opened” from within by His invisible working in us. The Most Holy Eucharist, celebrated and adored, as the Church teaches us, is the greatest and most effective treasure of our salvation, an infinite treasure which must be safeguarded with profound respect and deepest devotion.

Close to the Heart of the Son is the Heart of the Mother whom the Church celebrates the day after the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Let it again be the Holy Father who illuminates us with regard to this mystery: “The heart that resembles that of Christ more than any other is without a doubt the Heart of Mary, his Immaculate Mother, and for this very reason the liturgy holds them up together for our veneration. Responding to the Virgin’s invitation at Fatima, let us entrust the whole world to her Immaculate Heart, which we contemplated yesterday in a special way, so that it may experience the merciful love of God and know true peace” (Benedict XVI, Angelus 5 June 2005).

— Rev. Luciano Alimandi, Agenzia Fides 13/6/2007

Things to Do:

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Optional Memorial of the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome

Martyrs of Rome

“It was through envy and jealousy that the greatest and most upright pillars of the Church were persecuted and struggled unto death…. First of all, Peter, who because of unreasonable jealousy suffered not merely once or twice but many times, and, having thus given his witness, went to the place of glory that he deserved. It was through jealousy and conflict that Paul showed the way to the prize for perseverance. He was put in chains seven times, sent into exile, and stoned; a herald both in the east and the west, he achieved a noble fame by his faith….”

“Around these men with their holy lives there are gathered a great throng of the elect, who, though victims of jealousy, gave us the finest example of endurance in the midst of many indignities and tortures. Through jealousy women were tormented, like Dirce or the daughters of Danaus, suffering terrible and unholy acts of violence. But they courageously finished the course of faith and despite their bodily weakness won a noble prize.”

— Pope Clement I, third successor of St. Peter


Read the Bible at Mass

First Reading: Gn 22:1b-19

God put Abraham to the test. He called to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. Then God said: “Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him up as a burnt offering on a height that I will point out to you.” Early the next morning Abraham saddled his donkey, took with him his son Isaac, and two of his servants as well, and with the wood that he had cut for the burnt offering, set out for the place of which God had told him.

On the third day Abraham got sight of the place from afar. Then he said to his servants: “Both of you stay here with the donkey, while the boy and I go on over yonder. We will worship and then come back to you.” Thereupon Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac’s shoulders, while he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two walked on together, Isaac spoke to his father Abraham: “Father!” he said. “Yes, son,” he replied. Isaac continued, “Here are the fire and the wood, but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?” “Son,” Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the sheep for the burnt offering.” Then the two continued going forward.

When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. Next he tied up his son Isaac, and put him on top of the wood on the altar. Then he reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the LORD’s messenger called to him from heaven, “Abraham, Abraham!” “Here I am,” he answered. “Do not lay your hand on the boy,” said the messenger. “Do not do the least thing to him. I know now how devoted you are to God, since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son.” As Abraham looked about, he spied a ram caught by its horns in the thicket. So he went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering in place of his son. Abraham named the site Yahweh-yireh; hence people now say, “On the mountain the LORD will see.” Again the LORD’s messenger called to Abraham from heaven and said: “I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you acted as you did in not withholding from me your beloved son, I will bless you abundantly and make your descendants as countless as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore; your descendants shall take possession of the gates of their enemies, and in your descendants all the nations of the earth shall find blessingBall this because you obeyed my command.”

Abraham then returned to his servants, and they set out together for Beer-sheba, where Abraham made his home.

Responsorial Psalm115:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9

R. (9) I will walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Not to us, O LORD, not to us
but to your name give glory
because of your kindness, because of your truth.
Why should the pagans say,
“Where is their God?”

R. I will walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Our God is in heaven;
whatever he wills, he does.
Their idols are silver and gold,
the handiwork of men.

R. I will walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living.
or:
R. Alleluia.

 They have mouths but speak not;
they have eyes but see not;
They have ears but hear not;
they have noses but smell not.

R. I will walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Their makers shall be like them,
everyone who trusts in them.
The house of Israel trusts in the LORD;
he is their help and their shield.

R. I will walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Gospel ReadingMt 9:1-8

After entering a boat, Jesus made the crossing, and came into his own town. And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.” At that, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said, ”Why do you harbor evil thoughts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”– he then said to the paralytic, “Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.” He rose and went home. When the crowds saw this they were struck with awe and glorified God who had given such authority to men.


First Martyrs of the Church of Rome

There were Christians in Rome within a dozen or so years after the death of Jesus, though they were not the converts of the “Apostle of the Gentiles” (see Romans 15:20). Paul had not yet visited them at the time he wrote his great letter in A.D. 57-58.

There was a large Jewish population in Rome. Probably as a result of controversy between Jews and Jewish Christians, the Emperor Claudius expelled all Jews from Rome in A.D. 49-50. Suetonius the historian says that the expulsion was due to disturbances in the city “caused by the certain Chrestus” [Christ]. Perhaps many came back after Claudius’s death in A.D. 54. Paul’s letter was addressed to a church with members from Jewish and gentile backgrounds.

In July of A.D. 64, more than half of Rome was destroyed by fire. Rumor blamed the tragedy on Nero, who wanted to enlarge his palace. He shifted the blame by accusing the Christians. According to the historian Tacitus, a “great multitude” of Christians were put to death because of their “hatred of the human race.” Peter and Paul were probably among the victims.

Threatened by an army revolt and condemned to death by the senate, Nero committed suicide in A.D. 68 at the age of thirty-one.

Wherever the Good News of Jesus was preached, it met the same opposition as Jesus did, and many of those who began to follow him shared his suffering and death. But no human force could stop the power of the Spirit unleashed upon the world. The blood of martyrs has always been, and will always be, the seed of Christians.

Excerpted from Saint of the Day, Leonard Foley, O.F.M.

Symbols: Red is the color for marytrs; red rose symbol of martyrdom; crown, symbolizing victory over death and sin; white horse with a white banner and cross and sword; fire or flames; palm, symbol of victory.

Things to Do:

  • St. Augustine gives us thoughts on why we celebrate the martyrs:

    Christians celebrate the memory of the martyrs with religious ceremony in order to arouse emulation and in order that they may be associated with their merits and helped by their prayers. But to none of the martyrs do we erect altars as we do to the God of martyrs; we erect altars at their shrines. For what bishop standing at the altars over the bodies of martyrs ever said: We offer to Peter or Paul or Cyprian? Mass is offered to God who crowned the martyrs, at the shrine of the martyrs, so that the very spot may remind us to arouse in ourselves a more fervent charity toward those whom we imitate and toward Him who gives us the power to do so.

  • Bake a special dessert, either some recipe originating from Rome, or the highlighted nameday cakes.
  • This feast was created with the reform of the General Calendar in 1969. Many Roman martyrs feasts were removed from the General Calendar, since there wasn’t too much historical information about them. This feast celebrates the nameless men and women who were martyred in Nero’s Circus in the year 64 AD.

via Catholic Culture | Liturgical Calendar

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The Credo: Profession of the Christian Faith

Icon depicting the First Council of Nicaea.
Wikipedia

THE CREDO

The Apostles Creed

I believe in God,
the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ,
his only Son, our Lord.

He was conceived by the
power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.

He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell.

On the third day he rose again.

He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge
the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.

Amen.

The Nicene Creed

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
Maker of all that is, seen and unseen. 

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.

Through him all things were made. 

For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried. 

On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end. 

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son. 

With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. 

He has spoken through the Prophets. 

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. 

We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the  of the world to come.

Amen.

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