Thursday, December 12, 2019

Happy Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe!

When the Spanish conquistadors came to Mexico in the 1500’s, they found primarily indigenous peoples who worshiped their own gods, even to the extent of human sacrifice. The Franciscan and Dominican missionaries had great difficulty winning souls to Jesus, partially because of the poor example of the Spanish soldiers.

 Juan Diego was an Aztec Catholic living near Mexico City. Juan’s birth name was Cuauhtlatoatzin-the Talking Eagle. As he walked the seven miles to Mass on the morning of December 9th, he heard a voice calling to him. He looked up to see a beautiful young maiden dressed as an Aztec Princess appearing in a golden beam of light. The beautiful lady said she was the Virgin Mary, Mother of God. She requested Juan to have the bishop build a church on the hill of Tepeyac, so she could show God’s compassion through her to his people.

      Juan related the request to Bishop Juan de Zumárraga. Somewhat skeptical, the bishop asked for a sign. The next morning, Juan took a different route, trying to avoid the lady until he could get a priest to administer the last rites to his dying uncle. Suddenly the Virgin Mary appeared, asking him, “Juanito, why are you walking this strange way?”

        With tears streaming down his face, Juan told the beautiful lady of his dying uncle. She smiled at him and tenderly told him he had nothing to fear, as God would cure him. She then directed Juan to pick lovely red Castilian roses which miraculously bloomed that cold December day on the hillside. Amazed, Juan picked the roses. The beautiful lady then kindly arranged them in his tilma, and told him to show them to no one but Bishop Zumárraga.

         The Bishop’s staff tried to discourage Juan from his mission, even attempting to see what he guarded so carefully in his tilma. However, he courageously stood his ground and insisted he must see the bishop. Finally the bishop himself came out to see what was the matter. When he saw the bishop, Juan knelt humbly before him.

         “Here is the sign you requested,” Juan said, letting the roses fall from his tilma.

           But the bishop and his shocked attendants looked beyond the roses. To their surprise and wonder, the image of a beautiful Aztec Lady was imprinted on the tilma! Falling to his knees, Bishop Zumárraga accepted the sign and fulfilled Mary’s wish by building a church in her honor, where her image was enshrined.  

 In the next decade, eight million Indians converted to Jesus because of this lovely lady who looked like them. They realized that God, who is not a respecter of persons, loved them as much as the European Spaniards, and that His Son had died for them as well. And from then on Our Lady of Guadalupe, “La Alma de la Gente,”  took her rightful place in the souls of her children.

        In 2002 at the canonization of Saint Juan Diego, Pope John Paul II declared Our Lady of Guadalupe the Patroness of both continents of the one America.
Submitted by guest blogger - Bart Tesoriero

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Saint Pope John Paul II Feast Day

Today the Church celebrates the feast of Saint John Paul II.

Saint John Paul II

Karol Wojtyla was born in 1920, in Poland. He loved to ski, hike, swim, and play soccer. He was an actor and he could speak 11 languages!
In 1939, the German army invaded Poland and tyrannically ruled that country for the next few years. After World War II, the Communists took over. Meanwhile, Karol studied secretly to become a priest, and he was soon ordained a bishop at the age of 38. He was elected as the first Polish pope ever, Pope John Paul II, in 1978. His first words were, “Be not afraid!” Pope John Paul had a very deep love for the Mother of Jesus, and his motto was: “Totus Tuus,” which means, “I am all yours, Jesus and Mary!”

Pope John Paul II traveled to more countries and spoke to more people than any other pope in history.  He helped to defeat Communism and worked very hard to promote a culture of life. After suffering for some years from a debilitating case of Parkinson’s disease, Pope John Paul II died on April 2nd, 2005—the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday. Pope Francis canonized him along with Pope John XXIII on Divine Mercy Sunday, 2014.
~Pope John Paul II
A Final Prayer

 “Abide in Me, and I in you…

for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5)


I leave you now with this prayer:

that the Lord Jesus will reveal Himself to each one of you,

that He will give you the strength to go out and profess that you are Christian,

that He will show you that He alone can fill your hearts.


Accept His freedom and embrace His truth,

and be messengers of the certainty

that you have been truly liberated through the death and resurrection

of the Lord Jesus.

This will be the new experience, the powerful experience,

that will generate, through you, a more just society and a better world.

God bless you and may the joy of Jesus be always with you!

 ~Pope John Paul II
Submitted by guest blogger Bart Tesoriero

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

A Brave Little French Girl

Today the Church celebrates the feast of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, also known as the "Little Flower". Here is her simple yet courageous story.
Patroness of the Missions


Marie Frances Thérèse Martin was born in France in 1873, the youngest of five daughters. She was a happy child who loved Jesus. Her beloved mother died of breast cancer when Therese was still a young child. A few months later, Therese became so ill with a fever that people thought she was dying. She asked the Virgin Mary, whose statue was in her room, to join her in praying to God for a cure. Thérèse saw Mary smile at her and suddenly she was healed. Later in life, Thérèse would say of Mary that she was “more Mother than Queen.”


When Thérèse was fifteen, she longed to join the Carmelite Order as two of her sisters had done before. However, she was too young. Thérèse made a pilgrimage with her beloved Papa to Rome, where she broke ranks to kneel before the Pope and boldly ask him to let her be a Carmelite nun. The Pope liked her at once, but said she must obey the bishop, who gave his permission a few months later, and Thérèse entered the convent.


Thérèse spent her life praying, sacrificing, and suffering to save souls and help priests. Her hidden sacrifice did indeed convert souls. Loving and trusting in God as a child was her “little way”. Her favorite saying was from Saint John of the Cross who said, “Love is repaid by love alone.”  


Thérèse suffered the beginnings of tuberculosis during Holy Week of 1896. After months of suffering, she died September 30, 1897 at the age of 24, whispering, "My God, I love You!" Shortly before she died, Thérèse had written, I will return. I want to spend my heaven doing good on earth.


Her autobiography, The Story of a Soul, has been read and loved throughout the world. On October 17, 1997, St. Thérèse of Lisieux was named a Doctor of the Church by Pope John Paul II.


As an interesting side note, Thérèse’s parents, Louis and Zelie Martin, were beatified—declared “Blessed”— by Pope Benedict at Lisieux, France, and were canonized by Pope Francis in 2015.


Submitted by guest blogger - Bart Tesoriero


Thursday, August 15, 2019

Happy Feast of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven!


The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary


Dear friends,

 Today, August 15, is the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

What does this mean? The Church teaches that “the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed (taken up) body and soul to heavenly glory.” In other words, after her life was finished on this earth, God raised Mary up, body and soul, to be with Him in heaven forever.

Pope Pius XII pointed to the first book of the Bible, the Book of Genesis (3:15) as scriptural support for this teaching in terms of Mary’s victory over sin and death, as also reflected in 1 Corinthians 15:54: “then shall come to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.”

Interestingly, the last book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation, also speaks, in the 12th chapter, of a woman, clothed with the sun, who is caught up in the battle between good and evil. Many see this woman as a symbol both of Mary and of all God’s people. Since Mary best embodies the people of both Old and New Testament, her Assumption can be seen as an exemplification of the woman’s victory.

What does this mean for us? Mary is understood as “the first among the disciples of the Lord.” Thus, she is a sign of what God wants to do for us, and will do for us, if we follow her direction given to the servants at the wedding of Cana when she told Jesus that they had run out of wine: “Do whatever He tells you.” The servants did what Jesus told them, and He turned 150 gallons of water into wine. I’d say that wedding ended pretty well! J
Submitted by guest blogger Bart Tesoriero

Thursday, July 11, 2019

The Feast of Saint Benedict

St. Benedict was born in Nursia, Italy, in 480 A.D. Educated at Rome, Benedict was repulsed by the city’s vice and degeneration, and fled to Subiaco. There he met Romanus, a monk who brought him to a secret mountain cave, where he lived as a hermit for three years. Disciples gathered around Benedict, attracted by his holiness and miraculous gifts. Some monks asked Benedict to lead them, but grew angry at his strict rule, and gave him poisoned wine. Benedict blessed the cup, which shattered before their eyes, and he returned to Subiaco.
Benedict then settled at Monte Cassino, a mountain top overlooking the beautiful southern Italian farmland. He destroyed a pagan temple, brought the inhabitants back to Christianity, and around AD 530 founded the monastery that was to be the birthplace of Western monasticism.

Disciples again flocked to Benedict as his reputation for holiness, wisdom, and miracles spread across the countryside. Benedict organized the monks into a single monastic community and wrote his famous Rule, prescribing common sense, moderate asceticism, prayer, study, work, and community life under one superior; it was to affect spiritual and monastic life in the West for centuries to come, as monks kept alive the light of faith and learning through the Dark Ages.

Benedict could read consciences, prophesy, and rebuff the attacks of the devil. His holiness and charisms remind us that God continues to send holy ones in our midst to help us all follow His universal call to union with Himself in true joy, peace, and service. Benedict died at Monte Cassino in 547 and was buried with his twin sister, Saint Scholastica. In 1964, Pope Paul IV named St. Benedict, the Father of Western Monasticism, as Patron Protector of Europe.


Saint Benedict, pray for us!



Thursday, April 18, 2019

Happy Easter!

Heavenly Father, You delivered your Son

to the death of the Cross to save us from

evil. Grant us the grace of the Resurrection.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.



Thursday, November 1, 2018

The Feast of All Saints

Today the Church honors all the Saints who live now in heaven with Jesus, His Father and the Holy Spirit.


The earliest observance of this day was a commemoration of “all the Martyrs” in the fourth century. Later, when Christians were free to worship according to their conscience, the Church acknowledged other paths to sanctity besides dying for the Faith. In the early centuries the only criterion for sainthood was popular acclaim, even when the bishop's approval became the final step in placing a commemoration on the calendar. The first papal canonization occurred in 993 AD; the lengthy process now required to prove extraordinary sanctity took shape over the past 500 years. Today's feast honors the obscure as well as the famous—the saints each of us have known and are invited to imitate. Pope Francis said today, “The saints are not distant, but love and understand us. They are happy and want to help us to be happy with them in Paradise.”


“After this I had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue.

They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands....

One of the elders said to me, ‘These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress;

they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.’”

-Revelation 7:9, 14