This College Kid Can Teach All of Us a Lesson*

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME 

By Larry Peterson

Celebrating the Founder of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, Blessed Frederick Ozanam:   

September 7 is his Feast Day   (First posted in 2016)

Most Catholics know of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. The Society has been helping people in need for over 180 years. What most Catholics do not know is that St. Vincent de Paul is not the founder of the society. It is simply named after him because of his lifelong example of Christian charity. So, if it was not founded by St. Vincent de Paul where did it come from? How did it begin? What does St. Vincent de Paul have to do with it?
 
This is the very first paragraph from the Mission Statement of the St. Vincent de Paul Society
 
Inspired by Gospel values, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, a Catholic lay organization, leads women and men to join together to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to those who are needy and suffering in the tradition of its founder, Blessed Frédéric Ozanam, and patron, St. Vincent de Paul.”
 

As you finish that paragraph you will notice the name of Frederick Ozanam. Please, take a moment to meet him here. He happens to be the founder of the oldest Catholic charity in the United States of America, The St. Vincent de Paul Society.

Bl. Frederick Ozanam (as young man) courtesy slideshare.net

Frederick Ozanam was born in Milan, Italy in 1813. He was the fifth of fourteen children of Jean and Marie Ozanam and only one of three who lived into adulthood. The family moved to Lyons, France and this was where Frederick grew up. As a teenager the young man was strongly influenced by the elitists of the day and his Catholic faith began to waiver. Frederick fought his doubts and overcame them. Vowing to consecrate himself to the defense of his faith he moved to Paris. He was 18 years old.

 
Frederick entered the University of Paris and took up journalism. He made friends with some other young Catholic men and soon he and a few of his new friends were involved in vigorous debates among secular students who challenged their preaching for lack of action.
 
The secularists told them that maybe ‘long ago’ the Catholic Church was a benefactor of humanity but those days were over. They were then asked what they were doing for people now? Frederick and his pals had no answer. They were laughed at and told they were hypocrites and basically did nothing but talk.
 
Frederick’s friend, Augustus Le Tailandier, asked Frederick if they might be able to put together a small group of Catholics to bring to action the Gospel message of “doing” instead of just ”talking”. Thus was born the “Conference of Charity”. This small group of Catholic/Christian young men who would not only devote themselves to helping the needy but would also advance Christian friendship.
 
Frederick had been submitting copy to Joseph Emmanuel Bailly who published the Tribune Catholique. He asked Mr. Bailly what he thought of their idea. He liked it so much that he joined Frederick and together they and four other young men held their very first meeting on April 23, 1833. Frederick Ozanam was 20 years old.
 
At that first meeting Emmanuel Bailly sent Frederick to see Sister Rosalie Rendu, a “Daughter of Charity”. Sister Rosalie became Frederick’s mentor and set him and his fledgling organization on its course by focusing them on doing “home visits” to those in need. This method of interaction was to become the primary way members would interact with those seeking their help. It remains that way to this day.
 
 In the spirit of St. Vincent de Paul, the founder of her order, she also taught Frederick and his followers the techniques of helping the poor and the sick by being compassionate and always treating people with their God given dignity. They invoked St. Vincent de Paul as their patron and named the group, in his honor, The St. Vincent de Paul Society.
 
Frederick Ozanam and his friends could never have dreamed of the way the Society would grow. Within 12 years from its inception it
had spread to Italy, England, Belgium, Scotland and the United States. The society chose St. Louis, Missouri as its headquarters in America and to this day the National Council of The St. Vincent de Paul Society USA is located there.
 
Today in the United States there are more than 160,000 trained volunteers who provide almost 12 million hours of volunteer service helping those in need. There are close to 750,000 members doing volunteer work all around the world. And all of it was started by a 20 year old kid responding to the graces showered down upon him and inspiring those around him to join in his quest to stop “talking and start doing”.
Frederick Ozanam was beatified on August 22, 1997 by Pope John Paul II. His mentor, Sister Rosalie, was beatified on November 9, 2003. We ask them both for their continued prayers for all of us, especially those in need.

*An edited version of this article appeared in Aleteia on August 15, 2016
 
                                 ©Larry Peterson 2016  All Rights Reserved

You cannot love the child’s home and then kill the child.

By Larry Peterson

A Person’s a Person : End of Story

A Person’s A Person No Matter How Small  (Dr. Seuss)

The drums of Climate Change are pounding harder and harder every day. School children are being indoctrinated about the cataclysm posed to destroy the Mother Planet. Purveyors of the “existential threat” about to waste us are in our face 24/7. We hear about the “science” of climate change and that we should embrace it. If you do not, you are labeled a “denier.” We have been told that Miami will be underwater in three years and the world will end in ten.  The projected Ice Age of the year 2000 never happened but trouble is still coming to get us. So say the “experts.”

In religion, if you deny a tenet of faith such as the Divinity of Jesus Christ, you would be classified as a “heretic.”  It seems we have finally advanced the theory of Climate Change into the Church of Climate Change. Yes, it is a theory, and a theory means MAYBE or POSSIBLY (Evolution is a theory—not a fact; Gravity is a Law—it is a fact).

In my opinion, the Climate Change hysteria reached new heights on September 18, 2019. That was the day that NBC, the National Broadcasting Company, presented the  Climate Change Confessional to the world. This was a place where Climate Change “deniers” could confess their Climate Change “sins.” Yes, they could now admit their sins anonymously, cleansing their consciences of harm they caused to the planet. God gave Moses the Ten Commandments about 3500 years ago.  Now, in the 21st century, NBC has given the world six Climactic Commandments: they are as follows:

  • Thou shalt not use plastic, including straws, bottles, etc.
  • thou shalt not eat meat (cows, pigs, turkey), etc.
  • thou shalt not use energy (natural resources such as oil, natural gas, coal), etc.
  • thou shalt not use transportation (cars, planes, all vehicles propelled by fossil fuels).
  • thou shalt not use paper (does that mean toilet paper?—must mean paper plates)
  • thou shalt not waste food (i.e., leftover kale must be eaten ).

Those are the first six commandments of Climate Change. The good news was there were “climate sins” posted anonymously by others for you to reference. Sort of an examination of your climate conscience. Yes, my friends, you can unburden yourself of your “Climate Sins” in the NBC “Climate Confessional” and do it anonymously. The concept is not new; we Catholics have been going to Confession for 2000 years. (The big difference is a priest will give his life rather than violate the Seal of Confession. I don’t know if an NBC employee would go that far).

The Democratic candidates running for president are all in favor of abortion. Most of them believe in abortion up to birth. Many, including myself (the father of a stillborn daughter who did not survive past the sixth month of pregnancy), consider that infanticide. The definition of infanticide is as follows:

Infanticide

[in-fan-tuh-sahyd]

noun

  • the act of killing an infant
  • the practice of killing newborn infants
  • a person who kills an infant

Many people proclaim that they believe in God. Many claim the Bible as God’s word. I am a Catholic, but this piece is non-denominational. It is for any and all who believe in a Creator. Many who proclaim God proclaim their fears about Climate Change and want to save the planet. Mother Earth is their home—it is my home. It is every living being’s home. So that makes sense—let us be kind to our home.

However, I believe that many of those who are pro-abortion also proclaim that they believe in God. It follows that they all believe in His creation, the Universe, wherein our planet resides. The following high-profile Democrats are all in when it comes to Climate Change. They are also all in when it comes to being pro-abortion. They are all hypocrites and include:

  •  Joe Biden—Catholic
  • Robert Beto O’Rourke—Catholic
  • Cory Booker—Baptist
  • Kamala Harris—Baptist
  • Amy Klobuchar—United Church of Christ
  • Bernie Sanders—Jewish
  • Elizabeth Warren—Methodist
  • John Delaney—Catholic
  • Andrew Yang—Christian Reformed Church
  • Pete Buttigieg—Episcopalian

Proclaiming your belief in God and His creation and wanting to protect it is a noble thing to do. But you cannot leave out the most essential part of God’s creation and make-believe it is NOTHING just to save your politics. It is not only hypocritical; it is downright shameful.

All the religions listed above proclaim and teach the Ten Commandments. They are the Law handed down by God himself to Moses on Mount Sinai. That is how it has been for over three thousand years. If you want to reject it and mock it, knock yourself out. But don’t stand there and proclaim your Godly ways when you willingly are ready to destroy God’s most precious creation, a newborn child. Yes—the most important and magnificent creation of the very God you proclaim.

The Bible says that God made the Universe out of nothing. It took Him six biblical days, and he began with light and then the heavens and the planets and the land and the oceans and the plants, followed by the living things. Then, on the sixth day, God created His masterpiece, the Human Being, both man and woman, and told them to be fruitful and multiply. God looked at what He had done and was pleased. Lastly, on day seven, He took a well-deserved rest.

So I ask; how can people of faith embrace the parts of creation that they can use for their advantage, i.e., Climate Change, and reject with a dogged determination the commandment that says “Thou shalt not kill.’ You cannot because doing so makes you all “DENIERS.” The science is in and according to all the experts, the science is fact—human life begins at the moment of Conception. So how can anyone embrace the child’s home and then kill the child? You can if you are the ultimate hypocrite.

Yes—all you promoters of infanticide, partial-birth, and third-trimester abortion are the real DENIERS of truth. You have compromised your integrity and character for a political agenda. NBC might consider referring those they have directed to Climate Confessionals to the pastors of their respective churches. They can ask their opinions on Climate Confessions when they get there. Somehow, I doubt they will give that referral.

Copyright©Larry Peterson 2022  (original version published 2019)


William “Billy” Peterson; I was honored to be his Dad

Billy Peterson                                      a genuine Good samaritan

Posted by Larry Peterson July 11, 2022

William “Billy” Peterson

December 12, 1971~July 06, 2022

This is about a guy who lived in Pinellas Park whose name was William “Billy” Peterson. Billy was a man filled with great empathy, intuition, faith, and love for family, friends, and humanity. He was a father figure to his fatherless niece and was like a son to a 90-year-old neighbor who lived alone and had no one. Her name was Mae and Billy looked after her virtually every day for almost five years until her passing. He took her for her doctor visits, cooked her dinner, did her food shopping, and ensured she had her meds. Ironically, Mae constantly complained, and Billy would laugh it off.

Throughout his life, Billy saved many, including strangers, loved ones, and anyone who crossed his path and was in need. Most of the time, the saving was accomplished by giving a helping hand and extending friendship. Powerful tools they were.

The morning of the last day of his life, Billy helped a young girl at a local convenient store. At about 11 a.m., he pulled in to grab a coffee. He noticed this girl sitting on the ground with her back against the brick wall. She was eating a sandwich. A man nearby kept talking to her, and she seemed to be shaking her head. Billy’s instincts erupted. He knew this was not right. The man walked into the store, and Billy stepped from his car and asked her, “Are you all right?” Tears dripped from her eyes, and she answered, “No, I’m not.” Billy said to her, “The passenger door to my car is unlocked. If you are not safe and want to leave, get in the car, and I will take you wherever you need to go.” She did, and Billy took her home to her house in Seminole. Her mom and sister came running out crying and yelling. They had not heard from her in two days and were frantic. The girl, 16 years old, had gotten mixed up with the wrong crowd. They took her phone, and she had become their prisoner. She did not even know it. She may never have been seen again if it was not for Billy

Billy was born in New York City on December 12, 1971, He was my son, and he died suddenly on July 6, 2022. He was 50 years old.

Billy passed from severe Chronic Cardiovascular Disease. A diabetic and lupus patient, doctors, never picked up on it. Go figure. The fact is that does not matter anymore.

Billy graduated from Gibbs High School in 1990.That year he was voted onto the Pinellas County All-Conference Baseball team as the third baseman. He also played college ball at Seminole Community up in Sanford. He became a security installation technician, but his career was cut short by a job accident.

 Billy was the son of Larry Peterson of Pinellas Park and had a brother, Larry Jr., and a sister, Mary. He was pre-deceased by his mom, Loretta, and a baby sister, Theresa. He had three nephews, three nieces and 23 cousins. His passing has left a gaping hole in many hearts.

One final thought about Billy Peterson: This past Sunday July 10, the Gospel reading was from St. Luke, and it was about the Good Samaritan. The question we are all asked is, “who is our neighbor?” Well, for Billy Peterson, everyone was his neighbor. If you needed help and he was there he would help. It did not matter who or where. Billy Peterson was truly a GOOD SAMARITAN.

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My Father Died Long Ago—but His Example Lives On

By Larry Peterson

Sometimes things happen that you never forget

I remember that Friday night long ago very well. The screaming started about midnight. It was September, and the windows were still open because it was hot, and the screaming seemed exceptionally chilling. Dad got up, and my brother, Danny, whispered from his bed, “I think he’s going down there.”

“Down there” was the apartment of Leo and Sophie Rabinowitz. We got up and followed him. We watched as, without hesitating, Dad walked up to Leo’s apartment door and began banging on it with his fist. We watched from the stairs as the door slowly opened. Leo poked his head out, and just like that, my father was embracing this little Jewish man who, crying unashamedly, had buried his head in Dad’s chest.

My brother and I had crouched down, and peeking from the landing above, were stunned. Leo was the landlord, and everyone seemed to be afraid of him. Not Dad. He disappeared into that apartment with Leo Rabinowitz and did not leave for several hours.

Nightmares created years before

Sophie Rabinowitz was a tormented woman who suffered from horrible nightmares. These nightmares were created years before, when her two boys, ages 12 and 9, were clubbed to death by the Nazis. As her children were brutally beaten, their killers made Sophie and Leo watch. They had begged their captors to kill them and spare their children, but the Nazis tortured the helpless parents further by laughing and allowing them to live.

Try as I may, I cannot imagine what those moments were like for them. Sophie and Leo  were loving parents, and soldiers were forcing them to stand there, defenseless and powerless, as they clubbed their children to death. And why did they do this?  Simply because they were Jewish. Such evil can only come into people and be accepted by them if Satan has successfully won them over.

My father has been dead for many years, but he is still teaching me about being Catholic today. How? Through the gospel reading from Matthew 5:1-12—aka The Sermon on the Mount. This is when Jesus, a Jewish man, gave the world The Beatitudes. The one that always grabs me is #2, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

They had never mourned their boys

As my memory travels back in time I remember how a Catholic man had gone to his Jewish neighbor and how they became friends. My father became their ‘comforter’ by reaching out with an impromptu embrace and initiating the grieving process for Leo and Sophie. They had never mourned their boys and tried to go on living. It was an effort in futility. But this proved to be the moment when they began confronting what had happened to them. Ironically, reliving the sadness and horror also released a sense of beauty that shone through it, for it united them in a renewed marital bond that had been missing for nearly twenty years. They now became each other’s strength.

We Catholics read and hear during the Mass from the Roman Canon (aka First Eucharistic Prayer). the following words said by the priest before the words of consecration: “In communion with those whose memory we venerate, especially the glorious ever-Virgin Mary, Mother of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ, and blessed Joseph, her Spouse, —–and all your saints—” 

I ask you, were not all of those mentioned Jewish? Yes, they were. There is no denying this fact. They are all canonized saints, and their Judaism was always part of who they were. It all extrapolated into who we Catholics/Christians are today. We Jews and Christians are joined forever by Spiritual DNA.

It is now 2022, and Judaism and Christianity are under attack all over the world, including in the United States of America. It is in our face. We here, in the USA,  have had the absolute luxury of practicing our religions and worshiping as we so chose for as long as most of us can remember. It is, in my opinion, the greatest freedom given us by the Founding Fathers. We must fight to protect this freedom no matter what the cost.

Of course, there have always been those who have hated someone for being either Jewish or Catholic/Christian. I just wish those folks could have met my dad.

HAPPY FATHER”S DAY  Pops;   Love you

 


Corpus Christi—Taking Jesus public all around the World

Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist

By Larry Peterson

This Day is for putting Jesus on Display

The Bishops of the United States have proclaimed that 2022 is the year for a National Eucharistic Revival. This revival will launch on June 19, 2022, on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. (The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ). It is only fitting that this is the day to launch this campaign.

Pew research has stated that 70 percent of those who say they are Catholic do not believe in the Real Presence. The high percentage is alarming because this is a doctrine of our faith. It states that Christ is truly present, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, under the appearances of bread and wine. During the Holy Mass, this change takes place when the ordained priest consecrates the bread and wine. He does this by saying the words of consecration over the bread and wine; “This is My Body; this is My Blood.” This is doctrinal teaching and the very focal point of our faith.

The sum and summary of our faith

We Catholics even have one day a year dedicated to celebrating the Holy Eucharist. That day is called The Solemnity of Corpus Christi (The Catechism of the Catholic Church #1327 says, this is the sum and summary of our faith). What do we do that is special on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi?  We have processions, and we have had them since the 13th century.

On the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, processions take place worldwide. Pope Francis leads the primary procession. The Holy Father traditionally processes  from the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the  Pope’s Cathedral,  to the Basilica of St. Mary Major.  This year he will be unable to do that. The Holy Father may follow in his wheel chair).  The Holy Eucharist , will be held aloft in the Monstance by the celebarnt for all to see. People will fall to their knees in Adoration. Processions will take place all over the world, including in the United States.

At the beginning of his pontificate, Pope St. John Paul II reinstituted this procession. That was  almost 45 years ago.  When he was Archbishop of Krakow, he had yearly confrontations with communist leaders about restoring Corpus Christi processions. He remembered the processions from when he was a child in Poland. He always wanted to start them again. Once he ascended to the Seat of Peter, he did just that.

Brief Historical background

Pope Urban IV had heard of a  young woman from Belgium named Juliana. Juliana had a deep devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and received private revelations. Along with the help of her confessor, John of Lausanne, she composed a book of prayers to honor the Blessed Sacrament. The local bishop approved the texts, and word of this reached the Pope. He had none other than Thomas Aquinas investigate.

Thomas Aquinas investigates and approves

St. Thomas Aquinas, the man who defined Transubstantiation (CCC #1376), advised the Holy Father that this devotion was heaven-sent. In 1264, the Pope declared the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. It was the first universal feast imposed obligatorily on the entire church by a pope. Aquinas composed many of the texts for Corpus Christi, including the hymns, Adoro te Devote, Pange Lingua (sung traditionally after Holy Thursday Mass, and Tantum Ergo, which is always sung at Benediction.

Ironically, Pope Urban and St. Thomas Aquinas passed away before adding Corpus Christi to the liturgical schedule; Pope Urban IV in 1264 and St. Thomas in 1274. It was not until 1317 that Pope John XXII added it to the church calendar. Since the laity was still not receiving frequent communion, this increased the practice of Adoration. Corpus Christi processions followed.

Soon the Holy Eucharist, contained in a monstrance, was being carried by the priest in procession. The procession began, led by the clergy and followed by the laity. It ended with a Benediction. By the 1600s, the church had put detailed instructions for holding Benediction in place. Eucharistic Adoration can now be traced to the 16th century, with updated guidelines added in 1973.

In his 1980 Holy Thursday letter to priests, Dominicae cenae, Pope John Paul II wrote, “Since the Eucharistic mystery was instituted out of love, and makes Christ sacramentally present, it is worthy of thanksgiving and worship.  And this worship must be prominent in all our encounters with the Blessed Sacrament.”

from St. John Paul II

In 2004, Pope John Paul II issued Mane Nobiscum Domine (Stay with us, Lord). In Number 18 of the document, the Holy Father wrote, “this year let us also celebrate with particular devotion the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, with its TRADITIONAL PROCESSION.  Our faith in the God who took flesh in order to become our companion along the way needs to be everywhere proclaimed, especially in our streets and homes, as an expression of our grateful love and as an inexhaustible source of blessings.

from Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI said, “Corpus Christi processions allow us to “immerse Christ in the daily routine of our lives, so that He may walk where we walk and live where we live.”

Interestingly, there are only five Solemnitys during the year when a bishop is required to remain in his diocese. They are; Christmas, Holy Week, Easter, Pentecost, and Corpus Christi. Maybe it is time to start paying more attention to this essential Solemn Feast.

The Knights of Columbus is spearheading efforts for the National Eucharistic Revival. This Revival will be launched on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi on June 19. Many dioceses and parishes around the country are planning celebrations and processions. You can seek information on preparing for this great feast day by contacting  www.kofc.org

from Pope Francis

Pope Francis says, “praising Him and singing in the streets of our city allows us to express our gratitude for nourishing us with His love through the Sacraments of His Body and Blood.”

 


What are the origins of Adoration and Benediction ?

Adoration awash in bright lite   no flash used

By Larry Peterson

Growing up and going to Catholic school, we had religion class every day. One thing we all learned about was the “Real Presence.”  There was no doubt in our minds that inside the church, Jesus was truly present “body and blood, soul and divinity. He was inside the tabernacle, and He was waiting for us to “visit” Him. The phrase, “I’m going to pay a visit,” needed no explanation. So when did “visiting Jesus” start and where did Adoration and Benediction come from?

Adoration is a centuries-old practice that evolved from the earliest Christian days when the faithful, upon leaving Mass, brought the leftover consecrated bread home so it could be distributed to the sick and those who were unable to get to Mass (as an EMHC I do something similar today, but I do not take it home).

However, there were times when some of the consecrated bread was saved to distribute to the faithful during the week. This was a time when there were no daily Masses. This leftover consecrated bread had to be kept somewhere worthy of the Son of God. The people would make special places in their homes to keep the consecrated host in repose.

It appears that after Emperor Constantine stopped the persecution of the Christians in 313 A.D., construction of churches began in earnest. It was during this time that the Holy Eucharist began being kept in the churches for distribution to the sick. The sacristy was the usual place for repose.

Over the next several centuries, the Eucharist was relocated to the sanctuary near or above the altar. An unexpected result of this was that the faithful were drawn to Christ present and began praying to Him privately.

The Middle Ages is when actual Adoration began to take hold. People were receiving Holy Communion less frequently so the church decreed that people only had to receive Holy Communion once a year. The changing customs and attitudes also saw a separation take place between the altars and the congregation. It seemed that the churches were trying to separate the priest from the people.

Being distanced from the actions on the altar during Mass and combining that with the infrequent reception of Holy Communion gave rise to a new phenomenon; the people began staring and/or gazing at the vessel holding the Blessed Sacrament. Since the people could not receive communion as frequently as they wanted to, they began what became known as “Adoration.” Seeing Christ in the elevated Host oftentimes replaced receiving Holy Communion.

People even started coming to Mass extra early so they could get a good spot to watch the elevation of the Host. This was also when the ringing of the bells at the consecration took hold to alert the people to what was happening. People even timed services so they could go from one church to another to witness the elevation again. It was during his time that the idea of the monstrance began to take hold.

In 1264, Pope Urban IV ordered that the Feast of Corpus Christi be enacted throughout the universal church. Pope Urban passed away before it was implemented, so it was not until 1317 that Pope John XXII, added it to the church calendar. Since the laity was still not receiving frequent communion, this added to the practice of Adoration. Corpus Christi processions followed.

Soon the Holy Eucharist, contained in a monstrance, was being carried by the priest in procession. The procession began led by the clergy and followed by the laity. It  ended with a Benediction. By the 1600s, detailed instructions for holding Benediction were put in place by the church. Eucharistic Adoration can now be traced to the 16th century.  Guidelines were put in place in 1973.

In his 1980 Holy Thursday letter to priests, Dominicae cenae, Pope John Paul II wrote, “Since the Eucharistic mystery was instituted out of love, and makes Christ sacramentally present, it is worthy of thanksgiving and worship.  And this worship must be prominent in all our encounters with the Blessed Sacrament…”

 


The Visit from St. Dymphna—What a Joy

Dymphna - Wikipedia

St. Dymphna                                            en.wikipedia.org

By Larry Peterson

Loretta and I were living in northern New Jersey and had two sons; Larry Jr was six, and Billy was two. We were hoping to have a girl, but Loretta had been told that she would never have any more children. We were disappointed but okay with the report. We had, after all,  been blessed with two healthy sons.

My mother-in-law had been visiting St. Benedict’s Abbey in Massachusetts. On the way home, she had planned to stop at our house and stay a few days. When she arrived, and while still walking into the house,  she said, “Wait until you see what I have.”

She reaches into her oversized purse and pulls out a beautiful gold container. “What is it?” I ask.

“Look inside the glass. It is a first-class relic of St. Dymphna. She is the patron saint of mental and emotional disorders. I asked the priest at St. Benedict if I could borrow this for Marion and Kelly (Marion was her granddaughter). I’m going to bring it to the hospital, touch it to both of them, and ask St. Dymphna to help them get better. They actually let me borrow it.”

Kelly was 16, and Marion was 14. Both suffered from Anorexia Nervosa. Kelly was down to about 45 pounds, and Marion, two years younger, was hovering around 65 pounds. My mother-in-law wanted desperately to help these girls who were slowly killing themselves.

My brother-in-law, Howard, came by later that afternoon, and he took his mom to visit the two girls. She held the relic next to each girl’s chest and prayed to St. Dymphna to intercede with God to help them get well. Time would tell how God would respond.

Doctors thought that Kelly would not survive, but both girls did miraculously recover. But the real surprise for me came about six weeks later. Loretta and I had the babysitter come over, and we headed to Luigi’s Italian restaurant. As we ate our lasagna, she said to me, “Oh, by the way, I’m pregnant.”

Holding a fork with lasagna stuck to it in front of my mouth, I stared at her. A moment or two passed, and as tears ran down her face, she said, “I used the relic.”

Unknown to me, she had taken the St. Dymphna relic and, holding it to her womb, prayed to the teenage saint. She asked her if she could help her with pregnancy issues. Seven and a half months later, our daughter was born. We named her Mary Dymphna.

The next day I was visiting Loretta, and, as she lay in her bed holding Mary Dymphna, an elderly lady poked her head into the room. She was delivering newspapers and nervously said, “I never speak to patients, but for some unknown reason, I felt I had to talk to you. Could you please tell me your baby’s name?”

We both looked at each other, and Loretta said, “Sure, its Mary Dymphna.”

So help me, this old lady started crying and said, “I knew it, I knew it. St. Dymphna saved my life a long time ago. I knew this baby had something to do with her.”

The lady came over, touched Mary’s face, and looked at her. She was seeing something we could not. It was an inexplicable spiritual moment that was born of faith. So, who was St. Dymphna, the teenage saint from 7th century Ireland who personally stepped into our lives so many years ago?

Dymphna was the daughter of a pagan king by the name of Damon. Her mom was Christian. When Dymphna was fourteen, she took a vow of chastity and dedicated her life to Jesus. Shortly after that, her mom passed away, and her father became very distraught. Under pressure to remarry, Damon insisted that any new wife would have to resemble his first wife. His aides searched far and wide but could find no one who resembled the dead queen, no one except the king’s daughter, Dymphna.

Damon, losing all sensibilities, demanded that Dymphna marry him. Horrified at such a demand, Dymphna and her confessor, Father Gerebernus, fled Ireland and landed in Belgium. After a while, King Damon tracked them down. He had Father Gerebernus killed and demanded that Dymphna return with him to Ireland. She refused. Her own father drew his sword and cut off her head. She was 15 years old.

When they discovered the remains of St. Dymphna, miracles began happening immediately. People with varied cases of mental illness were cured. In honor of the teenage saint, a church was built in Gheel, Belgium. To this very day, people in Gheel will always accept the mentally ill into their homes without question. Sociologists still study the success of this phenomenon.

The connection between me, my family, and St. Dymphna is a beautiful thing. So I will end with the following. The teenage saint is known as the “Lily of Eire” because of her virtue. My mom’s name was Lily. My daughter, Mary Dymphna, was baptized at St. Mary’s Church in Dumont, N.J. The US National Shrine of St. Dymphna is located at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Massilon, Ohio.

St. Dymphna is the patron saint of those suffering from; mental disorders, incest victims, victims of sexual assault, depression, sleep disorders, and of runaways.

St. Dymphna, please pray for us all (Feast Day is May 15)


Sickness, Drought, and Famine had decimated the Region—Our Lady came and Showered the People with Abundance

famine and drought                                            en.wikipedia.org

By Larry Peterson

“I have heard their prayers. Assure them that as of this day, their suffering has come to an end”.

There is a town located in Italy called Cursi. It is in the Apulia region of southeast Italy, and if you look at the map of the country, it is located on the heel of the boot. It is about as far southeast one can go before coming to the Adriatic Sea. It was in the seventeenth century when the Blessed Virgin came to this town and, reaching out with love and tenderness, saved all the people.

It had been three years since a drop of rain had fallen in the region. It was now 1641, and the summer heat was turned up full. The drought had led to famine, and the famine led to a lack of work. Sickness had erupted and began to spread among the people. Things had become genuinely desperate and even water to drink was getting scarce. The people had been praying every day to the Blessed Mother for help, but no relief appeared in sight.

It was in  April of 1641, (the actual date is unknown) that the son of a cattle farmer, Biagio Natali, was out herding some stray cattle back to the farm. Near the pasture was a chapel that had been dedicated to Our Lady.   Next to the chapel, near the edge of the road, was a barn. Inside the barn, on one of the walls, was a fresco someone had painted  (artist unknown) of the Madonna and Child.

As Biagio passed by the barn, he noticed a strange light coming from inside. He stopped and looked, and the light seemed to get brighter and brighter. Suddenly, the figure of the Mother and Child came from inside the light. Biagio fell to his knees and a beautiful voice said, “Don’t be afraid. I am the Queen of Heaven. Return to your village and try to placate your neighbors. I have heard their prayers. Assure them that as of this day, their suffering has come to an end. As a sign of my protection, you will have an abundant harvest.”

Realizing that the Madonna and Child were no longer there, Biagio got up and ran to Don Giovanni Domenico Coccioli, the parish priest. Don Giovanni was overjoyed to hear this message. He told Biagio that he had received a similar dream. The priest was so excited to hear Biagio’s story that he immediately ran out to announce the news to the people of the city. He organized them into a procession and all the townsfolk began marching while praying and singing in honor of Our Lady and Child. What an incredible faith the people had; nothing had yet to happen.

As the people processed toward the sight of the apparition, the clear, blue sky began to cloud over. The clouds grew darker, and the rains came down. The rain poured down for three days and nights with the fields soaking up every drop of the precious water. Since it was only April, the harvest that year was abundant. The famine ended, and the local granaries and cellars were filled with wheat and fruit.

The people of Cursi wanted to find a way to show their sincere gratitude to the Blessed Mother. They decided to enclose the small chapel and barn within a large church that would surround it. The fresco would be saved within the new church and hopefully become a place of pilgrimage. The church was finished in 1650 and, as hoped for, immediately became a popular place to visit. It was called the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Abundance. Biagio left his work as a farmer, donned the clothes of a hermit, and vowed to spend the rest of his life in prayer and fasting while looking after the shrine.

Some years after the new church was built, it was hit by lightning and it burned down. A bigger and more beautiful church was built with a magnificent sanctuary. In the sanctuary, above the high altar, is a Greco-Byzantine fresco of the Madonna of Abundance (sometimes called the Madonna of Prosperity). In it, the Blessed Virgin holds the Divine Infant and in their hands, they are holding sprigs of olives and ears of corn.

The Shrine is not only known for the “abundance” of rain but it is also a place for nursing mothers who lack the necessary milk to nurse their babies. Those who invoke her intercession are said to often develop an “abundance” of milk.

The shrine in Cursi is opened daily and Mass is offered at 5:00 p.m in the winter and at 6:00 p.m in the summer with the rosary preceding Mass.

 


Confession is the Soul’s Bath; St. Padre Pio

Bl. Fernando Olmeda Reguera                                                                              aleteia.org

By Larry Peterson

Defender of the Seal of Confession; Father Fernando Olmedo Reguera

On July 1, 2019, The Vatican issued the Note of the Apostolic Penitentiary  (a tribunal in the Roman Curia that deals with mercy and forgiveness) about the inviolability of the Sacramental Seal aka the Seal of Confession.

A Sacrament is of God—not man. “the sacramental seal is inviolable; therefore, it is a crime for a confessor in any way to betray a penitent by word or in any other manner or for any reason.”  CCC 2490

No human power has jurisdiction over the Seal of the Confessional

Fernando Olmeda Reguera was born in Santiago de Compostela (which is in the northwestern part of Spain) on January 10, 1873. Following his religious calling, he joined the Capuchin Order of Friars Minor and was ordained to the priesthood on July 31, 1904.

When the Spanish Civil War began on July 17, 1936, Father Reguera was serving as the provincial secretary for the Capuchin Order. As were many priests and religious, he was forced to go into hiding. He moved among different friends’ homes and tried his best to stay “under the radar.” He also carried on his priestly ministry as discreetly as possible. However, he was seen and apprehended during the first week of August 1936, when the Civil War was three weeks old.

The soldiers took Father Reguera to an old fortress outside of Madrid. The jails cells at the fort were filled with Catholic religious and laypersons alike. Father Reguera’s initial admission to the jail included a severe beating from the soldiers. It would not be his first.

Father Reguera was permitted to hear the cofessions of the condemned

Father was permitted to hear the confessions of the other prisoners, especially the ones who were about to be executed. He gladly heard the confessions. Ironically, since he was 63 years old,  many of the others imprisoned with him were much younger. So, besides being a priest, he presented a paternal quality that proved to be of extra comfort to the doomed prisoners. It may have been a small blessing, but it was still a blessing.

The Commandant demanded that Father Reguera reveal  what he had been told. He refused

Father Reguera quickly discovered that his captors wanted much more from him. He was brought into the commandant’s office and told he would have to write down all that he had heard in the confessional. The commandant told him his only other option was death. He adamantly refused and was severely beaten again. They gave him some time and asked him again to cooperate. He refused, and they beat him —again.

He was beaten and sentenced to death

They finally realized that Father Fernando Olmeda Reguera would never break his vow to protect the Seal of Confession and was of no  more use to them. A makeshift populist tribunal condemned father to death. His crime—”not revealing the secrets other prisoners had told him in confession.” He was taken outside the fort and executed by firing squad. The date was August 12, 1936.

Pope Francis beatified Father Fernando in Tarragona on October 13, 2013  His remains are entombed in the Basilica of Jesus of  Medinaceli in Madrid.

Blessed Fernando Olmeda Reguera, please pray for us.

 

These are the words of Pope Francis as quoted in the Apostolic Penitentiary:

“Reconciliation itself is a good that the wisdom of the Church has always safeguarded with all its moral and juridical strength with the sacramental seal. It, although not always understood by the modern mentality, is indispensable for the sanctity of the sacrament and for the penitent’s freedom of conscience; which must be certain, at any time, that the sacramental conversation will remain in the secret of confession, between one’s own conscience that opens to the grace of God, and the necessary mediation of the priest. The sacramental seal is indispensable and no human power has jurisdiction, nor can it claim it, on it.”

From St. Padre Pio:

“Confession is the soul’s bath. You must go at least once a week. I do not want souls to stay away from confession more than a week. Even a clean and unoccupied room gathers dust; return after a week and you will see that it needs dusting again!”

Copyright©Larry Peterson 2022 Originally posted with ©2019

 

 


Eucharistic Prayer I—from Daily use to Muted Gem.

Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist

By Larry Peterson

Before 1970, the only canon used during the Mass was the Roman Canon. Today’s standard missalettes carry six Canons; Eucharistic Prayers I thru IV and two Eucharistic Prayers for Reconciliation. The altar missal used by the priest has nine;  (the ones mentioned and there are three for children’s Masses). It seems the one most commonly used today is Eucharistic Prayer II.

Used every day for over 1300 years, it is rarely used today. 

The Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer I) was put in place by Pope St. Gregory the Great  in the seventh century. It remains virtually unchanged to this day. However, since the new versions of the Eucharistic Prayers were included in the Novus Ordo Mass, Eucharistic Prayer I is rarely used. I do not know why this is, but it certainly has withstood the test of time. (In fact, it remains the standard in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass aka the Latin Mass).

(Canon is the word used that refers to the fundamental part of the Mass that occurs between the Offertory and before Communion).

In the Roman Canon, a mystical beauty is portrayed by the words written. These words create visuals that can carry us to a different place. Focus, listen and read quietly along with the priest. You may actually get a tiny glimpse into heaven itself. Just let yourself feel the words grab you, and transport you to a different realm.

When you “arrive” you may be able to peel back the curtain and take a peek behind it. You might watch as the greatest love story ever told is taking place. It is the story of the perfect LOVE that exists within God and among the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who is God. This is about the most profound mystery of our faith and how this perfect LOVE is about to be shared with us. It is the greatest of gifts imaginable, and all of us who choose to accept it are about to receive it. But how does the Canon of the Mass take us there?

I have before me a copy of the Breaking Bread Missalette for 2018. I also have a copy of the St. Joseph Daily Missal from 1956. One is post-Vatican II; the other is pre-Vatican II. The Roman Canon is the same in both. So let me share just one of the visuals I have mentioned. First we should all be aware that all canons are directed to God the Father.

The great Mystery of faith is shared with us by God the Father

We believe that through the consecrated hands of the ordained priest, Jesus is going to sacrifice Himself to His Father for us. The Father will accept this Gift of His Son’s human life and return His Risen Son back to us in Holy Communion. This is the Great Mystery of our Faith.

I will only mention a few words from this magnificent, 7th-century document that I believe captures it all. After the words of consecration are said, and the Body and Blood of Jesus are on the altar, we all recite the mystery of faith. Then the priest continues with:

Therefore, O Lord  (referring to the Father) as we celebrate the memorial of the blessed Passion, and the glorious Ascension into heaven of Christ, your Son, our Lord, WE, your servants and your holy people, offer to your glorious majesty from the gifts that you have given us, this pure victim, this holy victim, this spotless victim,  the holy Bread of eternal life and the Chalice of everlasting salvation.

We move down and read of Abel the just, the sacrifice of Abraham, and the offering of the priest, Melchizedek. So try to picture what happens next when God the Father hears our prayer:

In humble prayer we ask you, Almighty God; Command that these gifts be borne by the hands of your holy Angel to your altar on high in the sight of your  divine majesty, so that all of us, who through this participation at the altar, receive the most holy Body and Blood of your Son, and may be filled with every grace and blessing

(Through Christ our Lord. Amen).

As we watch the angel take our gifts up to heaven and then return them to us from our Father, we finish with the following words (how many of us think about them) before the Communion Rite begins:

Through Him, and with Him, and in Him, O God, almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, forever and ever. AMEN.

All the Eucharistic Prayers are beautiful, but I must admit, I do love #1 the most.

There is a crisis in our treasured church consisting of a majority of people claiming to be Catholic not believing in the Real Presence. Ironically, many of these people will attend Mass on Easter, and most will receive Holy Communion. It may be the only Sunday they attend Mass all year. This is not shocking since many do not understand what they are doing or why they are even at Mass. Do they have any understanding of what the Mass is? I think not. Is it their fault?  Again, I think not.

Is it time for  the “old” Baltimore Catechism

There might be a simple solution. Has anyone ever thought of bringing back the “old” Baltimore Catechism? This little book has the core teachings of the Catholic faith written in terms for all to see and understand, from first graders on up. For example; from the St. Joseph First Communion Catechism; copyright 1963:

Lesson 1, First question: “Who made you?”  answer ;  “God made me.”

Lesson 2, First question: “Where is God?”  answer; “God is everywhere.”

Lesson 3, First question: “Is there only one God?” answer “Yes, there is only one God.”

Second question: “How many Persons are there in God.?

Answer: “In God, there are three Persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.”

Those simple phrases sum up the existence of God and the Blessed Trinity. Simplified explanations follow these questions. Parents could have these little paperbacks at home. Teachers could have them in the classroom. Even high school and college students could do ‘refreshers’ with these little books.

The First Communion Catechism finishes with lessons covering the Holy Eucharist and the Holy Mass. Remember, the lessons used here are for first and second graders. They can also be for adults, it does not matter.

Lesson 11: First question: “What is the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist?”

Answer: “The Holy Eucharist is the sacrament of the body and blood of Our Lord Jesus   Christ.”

From there, simple explanations are used to explain what this means. These are followed by a beautiful description of the Mass and how it is Jesus’ Act of Love for us.

Maybe it is time to reconsider using the ‘old” catechism or parts of it.

HAPPY EASTER everyone

 

Copyright©Larry Peterson 2022