Friday, July 29, 2016

July 29 - Feast of Martha

Remarkable Martha
Martha, sister of Lazarus and Mary, is mainly remembered because she wanted Mary to help her prepare and serve a meal for their guest, Jesus. But scripture also describes Martha as a strong woman who repeatedly speaks her mind: She tells the Lord he should have come earlier to prevent the death of Lazarus; she tries to tell Jesus what to do when he summons Lazarus from the tomb; and, perhaps most amazingly, she is a woman who admits to the Lord that she knows he is the Messiah. She could be the patron of women and men who yearn to speak the truth that is borne of faith and to trust in God’s power to do all things.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

July 26 - St. Joachim and Ann

Wow, Patron Saints for grandparents. We know what an important job grand parenting is, God worked especially hard to find this ideal set for Jesus.
Born to the tribe of Judah and the royal house of David, Saints Ann and Joachim were a devout, religious couple. They shared a wealthy, comfortable life in Nazareth with plans to be the world's best parents. Their deep faith and close knit family offered just the perfect environment to raise a child of God.
But, years slipped by and no babies arrived.
Petitions, Prayers and Promises followed!
Twenty long years!!

Finally, an angel appeared with God's special plan. Ann and Joachim had been selected to raise the beautiful baby girl, they called Mary, who was to be the Virgin Mother of the Christ Child.

They were overjoyed and with great love and gratitude devoted their lives to the preparation of their little girl for the greatest honor that could ever be. They fulfilled their promises to God.

When Mary was three years old, they made a pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem, the day we know as the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They taught and trained their young Mary until she was ready to fulfill her role in the Scriptures.

Ann and Joachim are hardly mentioned in Scripture, this private couple, parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, grandparents of Jesus Christ, simply fulfilled God's Plan to the best of their ability. How better could they have served Him?

Saints Ann and Joachim are celebrated on JuIy 25 as the Patron Saints of Grandparents, Mothers and Fathers and are often viewed in liturgical art as an elderly couple with a book instructing Mary.

Monday, July 25, 2016


Front and center
The scallop shell is the emblem of Saint James because, with grooves that radiate out to the edges, the shell symbolizes the journey of faith. James was with Jesus through thick and thin: He was one of the first disciples to be called at the Sea of Galilee and one of the few to witness the Transfiguration. His mission eventually took him to the ends of the earth, and he was the first of the apostles to be martyred. But remember, just as the grooves of the scallop shell lead out, they also point back to the center. On your own journey, like James, center yourself in Christ.

Saturday, July 23, 2016


Share from your abundance—and your poverty
When you read that 14th-century Bridget of Sweden married at the age of 14, it is easy to disregard her life because it is so different from your own. How could her life speak to yours? But the driving force in Bridget’s life was not marriage at 14 but her wish to give all she had to the poor. From her family home to the monastery she founded to the streets of Rome where she eventually lived, she was consumed by the desire to share the little she had with those in need. Her life reminds us that whether we are giving or receiving, Christ is present in our poverty. Look for an opportunity to be generous today.

Friday, July 22, 2016

July 22 - St. Mary Magdalene

St. Mary Magdalene is one of the greatest saints of the Bible and a legendary example of God's mercy and grace. The precise dates of her birth and death are unknown, but we do know she was present with Christ during his public ministry, death and resurrection. She is mentioned at least a dozen times in the Gospels.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

No arms, no legs, no problem

"I was eight years old, and I did want to end my life. I felt hopeless. Broken. Alone. It's like it was pointless. There was no point to my life."

That quote is from Nick Vujicic – a man with no arms and no legs. More importantly than what he doesn't have though, I'm interested in the thing he seems to have that eludes many of us: long term happiness.

With that in mind, let's consider this: If a eight year old boy who wanted to die – because he had no arms and no legs – could find happiness, is it possible that we could as well? If so, what would it take?

I thought long and hard about what I would write to you today. How could I begin to even answer that question? It would take pages, perhaps even a book or series of books. Then I realized... some questions are better answered in a different way. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so what might a video be worth?

I am sure you will be touched just as I have been... by this incredibly inspiring 5-minute video of Nick sharing a bit about his life, as well as showing off a few things he can do.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


Keep the stories alive
Apollinaris lived in the first century, was the first bishop of Ravenna, Italy, and was a martyr as well. That’s all we really know for sure. So how to celebrate so obscure a person, and why? Some say that as long as someone remembers your name, you are not really gone. Perhaps that is why we put names on gravestones. Pray for your dearly departed and visit their graves—and take children along if you can. Pass on the stories of your ancestors, especially stories of their faith. If you don’t know any stories, is there still someone alive you may ask?

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Thought for the Day

Live dangerously; make friends
Saint Francis de Sales wrote that “friendship is the most dangerous of all love.” Why? “Because other loves can exist without communication, exchange, closeness.” Not friendship, though. To love a friend is to open yourself to them—warts and all—to communicate and to be a better person because of it. As the Book of Sirach says, “Faithful friends are a sturdy shelter; whoever finds one finds a treasure.” A good friend is priceless, deepening your faith, calling you to see Christ in the world, and allowing you to be your best self. Martha, Mary, and their brother Lazarus had this kind of friendship with Jesus. Choose to live dangerously: Make friendships that matter.

Monday, July 18, 2016

July 18 - St. Camillus de Lellis

Saint Camillus de Lellis (1550-1614) was an Italian priest who founded the Camillians, a religious order dedicated to the care of the sick. But that's not where this story begins. Let's listen in to Fr. Dan Cambra, MIC.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

July 16 - Our Lady of Mount Carmel

In the year 1251, St. Simon Stock had the apparition of Our Lady of Mt Carmel. Our Lady gave to St. Simon Stock the Brown Scapular as a Sign of Salvation.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

July 14 - St. Kateri Tekakwitha

St. Kateri Tekakwitha is the first Native American to be recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church. She was born in 1656, in the Mohawk village of Ossernenon. Her mother was an Algonquin, who was captured by the Mohawks and who took a Mohawk chief for her husband.

She contracted smallpox as a four-year-old child which scarred her skin. The scars were a source of humiliation in her youth. She was commonly seen wearing a blanket to hide her face. Worse, her entire family died during the outbreak. Kateri Tekakwitha was subsequently raised by her uncle, who was the chief of a Mohawk clan.

Kateri was known as a skilled worker, who was diligent and patient. However, she refused to marry. When her adoptive parents proposed a suitor to her, she refused to entertain the proposal. They punished her by giving her more work to do, but she did not give in. Instead, she remained quiet and diligent. Eventually they were forced to relent and accept that she had no interest in marriage.

At age 19, Kateri Tekakwitha converted to Catholicism, taking a vow of chastity and pledging to marry only Jesus Christ. Her decision was very unpopular with her adoptive parents and their neighbors. Some of her neighbors started rumors of sorcery. To avoid persecution, she traveled to a Christian native community south of Montreal.

According to legend, Kateri was very devout and would put thorns on her sleeping mat. She often prayed for the conversion of her fellow Mohawks. According to the Jesuit missionaries that served the community where Kateri lived, she often fasted and when she would eat, she would taint her food to diminish its flavor. On at least one occasion, she burned herself. Such self-mortification was common among the Mohawk.

Kateri was very devout and was known for her steadfast devotion. She was also very sickly. Her practices of self-mortification and denial may not have helped her health. Sadly, just five years after her conversion to Catholicism, she became ill and passed away at age 24, on April 17, 1680.

Her name, Kateri, is the Mohawk form of Catherine, which she took from St. Catherine of Siena.

St. Kateri Tekakwitha was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on Oct. 21, 2012. She is the patroness of ecology and the environment, people in exile and Native Americans.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

July 6 - St. Maria Goretti

Born on October 16 1890 in Corinaldo, in the Ancona Province in Italy, her farmworker father moved his family to Ferrier di Conca, near Anzio. When he died of malaria, Maria's mother had to struggle to feed her children.

Maria's mother, brothers, and sisters worked in the fields while she cooked, sewed, kept the house clean, and watched her youngest sister Teresa. Though the family's circumstances were extremely difficult, they were very close and loved God.

On July 5, 1902, Maria was sitting outside the steps of her home sewing her 18-year-old brother or neighbor -it is unclear which - Alessandro's shirt while he threshed beans in the barnyard. As she concentrated on her sewing, Alessandro surprised her and grabbed her from her steps. When he tried to rape her, Maria cried that it was a mortal sin and warned he would go to hell.

When Alessandro persisted, she fought him and screamed, "No! It is a sin! God does not want it!" At her words, Alessandro began to choke her and she said she would rather die than submit. Upon hearing her words, Alexander pulled out a knife and stabbed her eleven times. When she attempted to reach the door, he stabbed her three more times then fled.

Teresa woke to the sounds of her sister's cries and began to cry. Maria's family returned home and found her bleeding on the floor. They quickly took her to the nearest hospital in Nettuno, where she underwent surgery without anesthesia.

Unfortunately, her wounds were beyond the surgeon's ability to help. Halfway through the surgery, the man asked her, "Maria, think of me in Paradise."

As she lay on the table, she looked up at him and said, "Well, who knows which of us is going to be there first?"

She did not realize how terrible her situation was, and the surgeon replied, "You, Maria."

She said, "Then I will think gladly of you." She also mentioned concerns for her mother. The next day, Maria forgave Alessandro and said she wanted to see him in Heaven with her. She died that day while looking upon an image of the Virgin Mary and holding a cross to her chest.

Shortly after Maria's family discovered her, Alexander was captured and questioned. He admitted Maria was a physical virgin as he was unable to assault her and he was sentenced to thirty years. He also admitted he had attempted to persuade her to accompany him to bed on several occasions in the past and had attempted to rape her before.

Alessandro remained unrepentant for his actions until he had a dream that he was in a garden. Maria was there and gave him lilies, which immediately burned in his hands. When he woke, he was a changed man. He repented his crime and living a reformed life. When he was released 27-years-later, he went directly to Maria's mother and begged her forgiveness, which she gave, saying, "If my daughter can forgive him, who am I to withhold forgiveness?"

Maria Goretti was beatified by Pope Pius XII in a ceremony at Saint Peter's Basilica on April 27, 1947.

Three years later, on June 24, 1950, Maria was declared a saint and Alessandro was present in the St. Peter's crowd to celebrate her canonization. He later became a laybrother of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, where he lived in a monastery and worked as its receptionist and gardener until his death.

Saint Maria is called a martyr because she fought against Alessandro's attempts at sexual sin; however, the most important aspects of her story are how she forgave her attacker - her concern for her enemy extending even beyond death - and the miracle her forgiveness produced in his life.

Saint Maria's body can be found in the crypt of the Basilica of Nostra Signora delle Grazie e Santa Maria Goretti in Nettuno. Though several claim her body is incorrupt, she has been proven to be corrupt. Her body is kept in a statue which lies beneath the altar and has been mistaken to be all of her remains.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Miracle at Lourdes

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Divine Healer is with thee! Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, JESUS! Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us suffering sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.