Evangelizing—What is it, and how can we, as individuals, Evangelize?

Holy Spirit, Pentecost, Evangelize

By Larry Peterson

What is Evangelization?

We Catholic/Christians are asked to ‘evangelize.” But for me, the word, Evangelize, has always been intimidating. And what does that word actually mean?  The Merriam-Webster Dictionary says that the word, evangelize, is a verb that means “to preach the gospel to” or “to convert to Christianity.” St. Pope Paul VI said, “Evangelizing means to bring the Good News into all the strata of humanity, and through its influence transforming humanity from within and making it new.”

Are we called to Evangelize?

Does the Bible call on us to Evangelize? It sure does, and here are two short examples. Matthew 4:19 says, He said to them, come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Another is in John 20:21, it says, Jesus said to them, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”

Evangelli Gaudium—the new evangelization summons us all

Lastly, I will call upon Pope Francis and his Evangelii Gaudium. In his apostolic exhortation,  published in 2013, the Holy Father “reaffirmed that the new evangelization is a summons  to all the faithful, and is to be carried out in three principal settings.” The three settings are 1) ordinary pastoral ministry (to inflame the hearts of the faithful), 2) outreach to “the baptized whose lives do not reflect the demands of Baptism” and 3) “evangelization to those who do not know Jesus Christ or who have always rejected him.

First of all, when I think of Evangelizers, I envision people such as Billy Graham speaking to a stadium filled with thousands of people or Venerable Fulton Sheen teaching class on television so many years ago. I have even thought of Burt Lancaster playing the character of Elmer Gantry, reigning down words of “fire and brimstone” inside a tent filled with a captive audience. To this very day, we have street preachers praising Jesus and doing their best to convert the unbelievers. As for me, I have never been able to do that.

Do not get me wrong. I have never backed away from a discussion about my faith. If I was in a group or among friends and my Catholic faith was challenged or ridiculed, I would not be quiet. On the contrary, I would defend it the best I could. But I was never one to initiate a conversation. I can still remember my dad telling me, “Never get into a discussion about religion or politics. You can never win.” Well, my dad was wrong. I finally found a way to evangelize.  And, I want to share it with you, the reader.

Evangelizing is not complicated—You just have to be ready for the moment

The first thing I have come to understand is that the ‘evangelizing” business  can simply begin as a “one on one” interaction.  Since we are all called to evangelize, we have to be ready for the “moment. “Okay, what does that mean?

First of all, the “moment” to evangelize is hard to plan. The fact is, the moment can spring up at the most unexpected times or in the strangest of places. You just have to be ready. Here is an example. The following happened to me while in line at a supermarket.

There was a young lady in front of me, and she had a child sitting in her cart. The cashier was shaking her head and returning the woman’s debit card to her. The lady slid it back into the scanner. Again it was rejected. A tear ran down the woman’s face. Her child, sensing her mom’s distress, also began to cry. Can you seize this unexpected moment and “evangelize?” Why not?

The first thing you have to do to be an effective evangelist is smile at people you do not know. Since you are an evangelizer, you have already smiled at both the woman and her child. Okay, she did not want to make new friends but trust me, she saw your smile. You have also noticed that her grocery cart has about thirty dollars worth of groceries in it. Your moment to begin evangelizing has arrived.

You take your debit card and ask the cashier to put the woman’s charge on your card (I do not do this very often). What do you think might happen? Here are a few examples from personal experience; a) The lady tells you, “Please mind your own business.” b) The lady tells you, “No, thank you,” She lifts the child from the cart and leaves the store.  c) The lady gives you a dirty look and says, “That’s not necessary  I have the cash right here.” d) The lady says, “Thank you,” and accepts your offer. e) You might have a few expletives thrown your way. You never know.

Paying it Forward

In this case, I am dealing with the d). You help her save face by saying, “Look, I’m paying it forward.” One of these days, you do something for someone else. That’s all there is to it.”

The lady gives you a final “thank you” and begins to leave. I call after her, “Maam, can you wait one second. I have something for you.”

She stops and waits while you check out.. My moment has arrived. I walk over to her and say, “I was wondering. Do you have Jesus in your life?”

I have thrown it out there, and now I wait. She sighs and looks at me. I sense her nervousness, so I quickly say, “No problem, it’s okay. I just wanted to give you this.”

Evangelizers must choose a primary tool

I have discovered that evangelists need a primary tool in their evangelizing kit. Most evangelists seem to have a Bible in their hand. Not me. I have a cross, a small cross. You cannot see it because it is in my pocket. It is 1.5 X 2.5 inches in size. It is made of  Olive Wood from the Holy Land and is blessed by a priest. I did not invent this idea, I found these crosses online. They are called Comfort Crosses or Caring Crosses. They have turned me into a quiet evangelizer. I love them. (If you want, you can find them online too).

I reach into my pocket, and I pull out the Comfort Cross. I hold it up between my thumb and forefinger and begin to explain to her what it is. She is just looking at me, but I cannot get a feel for what is going on inside her. I tell her, “Jesus loves you, and this Cross will keep you close to Him.”

She is pursing her lips, and I know it is time to finish what I started. I say to her, “Carry it with you in your pocket or purse. Take it to bed with you. Just always keep it close to you. Squeeze it and tell Jesus you love Him. Trust me, you will feel His love returning to you.”

This turned out to be a GOOD moment. A tear rolls down her cheek, and she blurts out, “You have no idea what this means to me. Thank you, thank you.”

The lady takes the Cross and, through her tears, smiles. She leaves the store, and I never expect to see her again.

I certainly am no Billy Graham or Venerable Fulton Sheen. But the moments for me to be a one on one evangelizer pop up in the strangest places. Supermarkets, gas stations, convenient stores,  auto repair shops, doctor’s offices, hospital lobbies, McDonald’s, and Walmart. I have handed out my comfort crosses in all of those places. And, of course, many of my attempts are not appreciated. It is okay. At least I gave it a shot. I figure they threw rocks at Jesus and look what He did for me; the least I  can do is try.

I will finish by mentioning the woman I profiled. Almost a year later, I was in the same supermarket. A lady comes up to me and says, “Oh my God, it’s you. I can’t believe it. Remember me?”

I was almost sure I did, but I was not positive. She says, I’m the person you gave the Comfort Cross to, and you “paid it forward for me. Remember?”

I sure did remember. “Yes, of course. How are you?”

She says, “I have been back to this store four or five times hoping to see you. And finally, here you are. I cannot believe I found you.”

I’m thinking, what does she want? I say, “Wow, I can’t believe it either. So why were you looking for me?”

“Well, I loved the Cross you gave me and carried it everywhere. And then I lost it, and I miss it so much.  I wanted to find you to see if I could get another one.”

Suddenly I teared up. I reached in my pocket and pulled out two crosses. “Here you go. You now have a spare.”

She gave me the biggest hug I could imagine and thanked me again. It was an evangelizing bonus. You never know what to expect when you evangelize.

One final thought. If you want to evangelize you have to be willing to talk to strangers. Once in a grocery store or a doctor’s office, or a lab for bloodwork, or wherever you may be, the opportunity is usually there. Take a chance—say “Hi” to someone nearby, talk about the weather, or even mention the cold pizza delivered to you. You never know if an “evengelizing moment” is coming your way.

Copyright Larry Peterson 2021


They desired to help the poor and their lives connected across the ages–Today they are all saints

   St. Vincent de Paul; Bl. Frederick Ozanam; St. Jeanne Jugan                      public domain

By Larry Peterson

Saint-Servan, France,1839:  On a bitterly cold winter night,  Jeanne Jugan, 47, looked out from her bedroom window and saw a person huddled outside. She went out and somehow managed to carry the shivering woman into her own home and place her in her own bed.

The woman’s name was Anne Chauvin and she was blind, paralyzed and quite old. She was also close to freezing to death. And so it began, for on that very night Jeanne Jugan turned her life to serving God by caring for the elderly poor.

Word spread quickly throughout the small town and before long more elderly sick and poor were being brought to Jeanne. Other women, younger and healthier, were coming to her also. But they were coming to join her in her work. The small group of women grew and became known as The Little Sisters of the Poor.

Forty years, in 1879, there were over 2400 Little Sisters of the Poor in nine countries. That year was also the year that Pope Leo XIII approved the by-laws of the order. Ironically, it was also the same year Jeanne Jugan died at the age of 86. She was canonized a saint on October 11, 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI.

Saint Jeanne Jugan never knew that when she was founding the Little Sisters of the Poor a young countryman of hers in Paris was responding to God’s flowing graces. Frederick Ozanam was a 20 year old student at the University of Paris. Challenged by his “enlightened” college peers, he embraced their taunts “to practice what you preach”.  So he went out and gave his coat to a beggar.  Then he and his four pals founded the St. Vincent de Paul Society. That was in May of 1833.  They named the  society after St.Vincent because he was known for his work with the poor.

Vincent de Paul never knew that 170 years after his death an organization named after him would take up the mantle of helping the poor all over the world. Fred Ozanam died at the age of 40 and was beatified and declared ‘Blessed’ by Pope John Paul II in 1997. Fred would never know that the organization he had founded would one day work side by side with the Little Sisters of the Poor in their mission of charity toward the elderly poor.

St. Jeanne Jugan could never have known that from the moment she carried Anne Chauvin into her home she would change the world for thousands upon thousands of the sick and disabled elderly. She could never have imagined that in the 21st century her order would be serving the poorest of the elderly in cities all over the United States and in 31 countries around the world.

Blessed Fred would never have imagined that his Society of St. Vincent de Paul would become a worldwide organization with close to a million members helping the needy all over the world. The grand irony is that over the course of several centuries the paths of these three saints have been interwoven dramatically as their followers help the poor, homeless and downtrodden no matter where they may be.

The three saints mentioned here never knew what their simple acts of kindness would lead to. The difference with them was that, unlike most folks, they responded to God’s grace. Jeanne took care of that sickly woman and Fred gave away his coat. Vincent worked with poor tenant farmers and founded the Daughters of Charity.

These three unpretentious, God loving people had two things in common.  First, they embraced God’s grace and followed His call. Secondly, they asked for NOTHING for themselves and welcomed whatever came their way, including poverty. Their legacies live on in the thousands upon thousands of their followers and in all those millions who have been helped by their simple acts of faith. This is a beautiful thing.

As a Catholic I love all of these people and I am proud to consider myself part of their extended family. They set examples for us that we are supposed to emulate. They are our Catholic heroes and therefore members of our Catholic Hall of Fame. They asked for nothing and gave everything. I love being able to talk to them. What I love best is when they talk back. And they do, sooner or later and one way or another.

St. Vincent de Paul, St. Jeanne Jugan and Blessed Frederick Ozanam, please keep praying for all of us. And —THANK YOU.

copyright© Larry Peterson 2021


We learned Latin and were known as Altar “Boys.”

mass, processional, dress like a man for mass, altar boys

By Larry Peterson

Recently I found an old picture from my grade school days. It was taken inside the church in the parish where I grew up (circa the late 50s to early 60s).  Just like that, it escorted me back in time.

In the picture, the church was filled with all the kids from the school and many parishioners. The photo was taken from the church balcony, but what the occasion was, I do not know.  As I stared at that picture, however, my memory jumped into overdrive.

They called us Altar Boys

 Back then, I was part of a unique group of young men called “altar boys.”  Boys historically served at the altar during Mass to encourage priestly vocations.  Traditionally boys became acolytes (altar servers) as the first step in the “minor orders” of a seminarian’s training for the priesthood. This changed in 1972 when St. Pope Paul VI issued the motu proprio Ministeria Quaedam.  (Also, see here for more information.)

In 1994 the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments (CDWDS) issued a ruling saying that the correct interpretation of Canon 230.2 allows for girls to be altar servers.  The CDWDS further clarified the ruling in 2001 saying “that diocesan bishops could not oblige priests to implement a diocesan policy allowing for female altar servers.”  (See here for more information.)

I began my tenure as an altar boy in fifth grade. We were around ten or eleven years old. This was the earliest age Father Hyland would allow us to enter “service to the Lord.”  Recruiting and training altar boys was serious business to Father Hyland. If you wanted to become an altar boy you had to let your teacher know.  Your teacher would then inform Father and he would personally interview you.

We were youngsters, and Father Hyland, in his wrinkle-free, black cassock and shiny black shoes, was an intimidating figure. His white, cellulose priest collar seemed so tight that you thought he might choke at any moment. And the aftershave lotion he wore was so intense that it took several seconds to get used to the powerful fragrance.

The “Interview”

We stayed after school for the “interview.” Father was in a classroom, and the “wannabe” candidates would stand out in the hall. Father called us in one at a time.I can still remember how terrified I was when my turn came. After all these years, I only remember the first question, “Well, son, tell me, why do you want to be an altar boy?”

I do not remember how I answered or what I said. All I can recall is being handed a small booklet with the Latin responses printed out phonetically. This was so we could learn to pronounce every syllable correctly.  Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meum and underneath was printed  Ad Deum qwee lay tif ee cot yu ven tu tem mayhem (or something like that). The last thing I remember of that meeting was him saying, “Be here tomorrow after school.”

 Learning to speak Latin

Learning to speak in Latin and when to respond was a challenge. When you got to the Suscipiat Dominus sacrificium etc., at the end of the offertory prayers, there was a tongue-twister that gave all of us trouble.

Today, in the Novus Ordo Mass at the end of the Offertory, the priest, facing us, says: Pray, brethren, (brothers and sisters), that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father.”  The congregation responds, “May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands for the praise and glory of his name, for our good and the good of all His holy Church.”

I included the above in English to give you an idea what we fifth graders had to learn in Latin way back when.   In Latin the priest says, “Orate Fratres, ut meum ac vestrum sacrificium acceptabile fiat apud deum Patrem omnipotentum.” The altar boys would promptly respond, “Suscipiat Dominus sacrificium de manibus tuis, ad laudem et gloriam nominis sui, ad utilitatem quoque nostrum, totiusque, ecclesiae suae sanctae.”

The part of the response highlighted above gave us all fits. A few of us got through it somewhat unscathed, but for some reason, most of us suddenly had marbles in our mouths and what would come out was a language of unknown origin. It took a year or two for most of us to get it “almost” right.  We were lucky because Father Hyland, demanding as he was, knew us.  He knew we would never pass the Latin test we had to take before being officially presented with our Surplice (the white puffy shirt with the over-sized sleeves we wore over our cassocks).

The Altar Boy Exam

The final exam required before being elevated to “Altar Boy” status was verbal.  Father brought us into church one at a time and began saying a “rehearsal” Mass. He would start at the beginning of the Mass and keep going. We needed to respond at the proper time. If we did not make the correct Latin response, we would have to write the Confiteor 10 times for extra homework.

That night, besides doing Mother Mary Gabriel’s fractions, I had to write the Confiteor in Latin 10 times. I remember wanting to watch “Captain Video and His Video Rangers” so bad, but I couldn’t. I had to write the Confiteor. You had to really want to be an altar boy to stick it out.

All of us passed our exam, however, and received our Surplus. Years later, I realized that Father knew we would never get it right, so we all “graduated.”  After all, we were 5th graders, and he knew we were afraid of him.

Father Hyland may have been a demanding taskmaster, but we were the best altar boys in the south Bronx. At least, that is what Mother Mary Augustine told us.

The Masses

I served as an altar boy into my first year in high school. Back then, we had the regular Low Mass, celebrated by one priest and two altar boys without music.  There was also the Missa Cantata Mass, which was the Mass done in song. It had one priest, and a master server plus two servers called acolytes.

The Solemn High Mass was, and still is, the most beautiful presentation of the Mass. This holy offering of the Mass includes three priests; the celebrant, the deacon, and the sub-deacon, usually all priests. There is the master altar boy, the crème de la crème of all the other altar boys. That position Eddie O’Reilly and I ascended to in eighth grade. Two other acolytes were responsible for the censer and boat (the incense and charcoal guys).When the occasion called for it (Christmas, Holy Week, etc.) there were also Torchbearers and a Cross Bearer. Yup—there would be altar boys all over the place. A Solemn High Tridentine Mass is still something to behold.

Much was expected of us

Much was expected of us. We wore black cassocks during the week and red on Sundays and Holy Days. We also wore those stiff, celluloid collars with the big red or black bows tied in front of them. I hated them, especially in the summer.I also did not like serving at funerals. The only upside was that we would get called out of class to serve. The fact is, there were many funerals and, even as a kid, I would rather have stayed in class. And every Monday night was a Novena and Benediction at 7 p.m. We all took turns serving at those devotions.

There was one great perk in being an altar boy.  It was when you were assigned to serve at a wedding. You always received an envelope with money. Sometimes one dollar. Sometimes two dollars or five. Once, Ronnie Murray and I got $10 each, but Father Quirk made us give it back. He said it was too much. He let us keep two dollars each. We were really ticked of and said a lot of grumbly things. But we made things right – we went to confession the following Saturday.

You know, it is a funny thing, but I am quite happy I found that old picture. I had a lot of wonderful memories hidden away that came back to life. Sometimes an unexpected journey back in time can be a beautiful thing.

copyright©LarryPeterson 2021


He Loved God, family, and Country. He became a priest, went to war, and laid down his life for his friends

Joseph Verbis LaFleur: The Priest Who Laid Down His Life For His Friends

By Larry Peterson

Joseph Verbis Lafleur was born in Villa Platte, Louisiana, on January 24, 1912.  He was the fourth child born to Agatha Dupre and Valentine Lafleur.  When Joe was a young boy, he began telling his mom that he would grow up and be a priest. He was so sure of his calling that he became an altar boy at the age of seven.

“I want to be a priest. Can you help me?”

During the early 1920s, the family came upon hard times and were forced to move to Opelousas, about 20 miles from Ville Platte. Their new parish would be St. Landry Catholic Church. The pastor was Father A. B. Colliard. The priest quickly sensed something special about young Joe and paid close attention to him. When Joe was 14, he nervously approached Father Colliard and said to him, “Father, I want to become a priest. Can you help me?”

Father Colliard happily agreed to help young Joseph. First, he met with Joe and his mom. After receiving her approval, the priest made arrangements for her son to enter St. Joseph’s Minor Seminary in St. Benedict. From there, Joe moved on to attend Notre Dame Major Seminary in New Orleans.

Joseph Lafleur never doubted for a moment his calling to serve as a priest. He received the Sacrament of Holy Orders from Archbishop Joseph Rummel of New Orleans. On April 5,1938, Father Lafleur celebrated his first Solemn High Mass at St. Landry’s, his home parish.  He was then assigned to St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church in Abbeville as an assistant pastor.

Joines the Army Air Corp as a Chaplain

While still an assistant pastor at St. Mary Magdalene church, he joined the Army Air Corps. The year was 1941, and the United States was months away from the attack on Pearl Harbor.

In July of 1941, Father Lafleur was sent to Albuquerque, New Mexico. His unit was the 19th Bombardment Group. Four months later, the 19th arrived at Clark Field in the Philippines. This was about 60 miles from Manila. Father Joe had told his mom before leaving that he “volunteered because all those other men being drafted had no choice.”

Just as it was at St. Mary Magdalene’s parish, Father Joe went about trying to organize the men on base into different activities. He would organize baseball games for the men who wanted to play baseball. He wanted to start a Holy Name Society for the men. He organized discussion groups so the guys could share their feelings of loneliness being away from home and family. His mind was always focused on helping the men, mentally and spiritually. He wrote his sister, Edna, that “once I get back to Louisiana, I will never leave again. But I am not sorry I came here.”

Last Letter Home

That was the last letter the family ever received from him. On December 7, Pearl Harbor was attacked. Clark Field in the Philippines was struck shortly after. Life was forever changed for Father Joseph Lafleur and many others on December 8, 1941. In May of 1942,  the Japanese conquered Mindanao, and the last of the American soldiers on the island were taken, prisoner. Among them was Father Joseph Lafleur.

POW

From May of 1942 until September of 1944, Father Joe never ceased ministering to his fellow POWs. He contracted Malaria several times and refused medicine because he believed others needed it more than him. He sold his watch and eyeglasses to the locals to procure more food for his brother prisoners. He even managed to build a small chapel called—St. Peter in Chains, where Catholic and non-Catholics alike could attend daily Mass. The ongoing, upbeat love and care he showed others, influenced many.

A POW named Bill Lowe had abandoned his Baptist faith. He watched how Father Joe never gave in and never despaired. He was always upbeat, loving Jesus, and doing his best to spread the Good News. When Lowe returned home, he became Catholic, and his son grew up to become a Catholic priest and Air Force Chaplain. Lowe reported that many became Catholic because of Father Joe’s example.

Gives his own life to save 83 men

On September 7, 1944, while being transported on a Japanese ship to Japan with 750 other Americans, the ship was struck by torpedoes fired by an American submarine. The sub’s captain and crew had no idea Americans were on board. Father Joe could have gotten off but refused until as many were saved as possible. He was credited with saving at least 83 men by helping them get out and swim to shore.

Father Joseph Verbis Lafleur leaves behind an unbridled legacy of love and compassion for others, including the Catholic faith he loved so much. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (twice), The Bronze Star, and the Purple Heart.

On September 5, 2020, he was declared a Servant of God when Bishop John Douglas Deshotel opened his cause for Beatification in the Diocese of Louisiana.

copyright©Larry Peterson2021


Did You Know that a Founder of Modern Europe might be Canonized?

SCHUMAN

Europeana Collections (CC BY-SA 4.0)

He was the Prime Minister of France and a Founding Father of Modern Europe. He is now climbing the ladder to Sainthood

By Larry Peterson

Robert Schuman was born on June 29, 1886, in Luxembourg. His father, Jean-Pierre Schuman, was a native of Lorraine. When his country was annexed by Germany in 1871, he was made a German citizen. Always French, his father left for Luxembourg, and his German citizenship was inherited by Robert. Robert’s mom, Evange Duren, also came from Luxembourg.

Robert’s secondary schooling took place from 1896 until 1903 at Athenee de Luxembourg. From there, he would move on to study law, economics, theology, philosophy, politics, and statistics at the University of Berlin. He received a law degree with the highest honors from Strasbourg University.

Begins Law practice

In 1912, Robert set up a law practice in Metz. When war broke out in 1914, he was called up by the German army but was excused from service because of poor health. From 1915 to 1918, he served in an administrative capacity for the German government. After the war ended, Alsace-Lorraine was returned to France, and in 1919, Robert became a French citizen.

Robert Schuman quickly became involved in politics. In 1919 he was elected as a member of the Chamber of Deputies. He was instrumental in drafting the reintroduction of French Civil and Commercial codes in Alsace-Lorraine, formerly under German control. Schuman also began investigations into the corrupt steel and railroads industries.

At the beginning of World War II, Robert, who possessed keen insight into the methods of the Germans, was asked to become a member of the French government as the man in charge of the refugees. The Nazis took control of France in May of 1940. As a member of French National Assembly since 1919, Schuman was immediately high up on their radar.

Arrested by the Gestapo

Robert was arrested by the Gestapo on September 14, 1940. The charges were “resistance and protest against Nazi methods.”  He was about to be shipped to Dachau when a German lawyer, who knew him well, intervened. His efforts kept Robert in prison in France. Robert managed to escape in 1942 and immediately joined the resistance. He worked with them until France was liberated in 1944.

After the war, Robert Schuman was a busy man. He was a founder of the Popular Republican Movement (MRP).  He served as Minister of Finance in 1946, Premier (Prime Minister) from November 1947-July 1948, and Foreign Minister from July 1948 to December 1952. In 1950, while Foreign Minister, he developed the Schuman Plan. This plan led to economic and military unity between Germany and France.

In 1958, the initiatives put in place by Schuman would eventually lead to the European Economic Community, better known as the European Common Market. Robert would serve as President of the Common Assembly (the consulting arm of the Common Market) until 1960.  He also served as Minister of Justice from 1955 to 1956.

“Father of Europe”

Besides participating in all of the aforementioned capacities, Robert Schuman was instrumental as one of the founders of the European Union and NATO. From 1958 to 1960, he was the first President of the European Parliament. At the end of his term, they awarded him the title of “Father of Europe.” In addition, the 1964-1965 academic year at the College of Europe was named in his honor.

Bible scholar and devout Catholic

Robert Schuman was a devout Catholic and a Bible scholar. His role in trying to break the seemingly never-ending cycle of wars in Europe has been praised by several popes. He was a proponent of the writings of Pope Pius XII, who despised fascism and communism. He was made a Knight of the Order of Pius IX. He was an expert in medieval philosophy, specializing in the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas. His quest for peace among people and nations was always rooted in his Catholic faith.

On Saturday, June 19, 2021, Pope Francis placed Robert Schuman on the road to sainthood by recognizing him as a man of “heroic virtue.” This means that Robert Schuman now holds the title of Venerable Robert Schuman.

Venerable Robert Schuman, please pray for us.

copyright©Larry Peterson 2021


Can a Toddler who Inspired a Sainted Pope Inspire Catholic politicians?

The Real Presence         Holy Eucharist

By Larry Peterson 

On June 18, 2021, the Government Media Center issued a press release signed by 60 Catholic Democrats who are all members of the House of Representatives.  The release was called a “Statement of Principles.” It can be found all over the internet.

But the press release is not the primary subject here. The Holy Eucharist is.  It is the “source and summit” of our Catholic faith.  People are free to accept church teaching on the Eucharist or not. But you cannot twist it to justify your actions or serve your own purpose. This applies to all of us.

Catholic Teaching

The Holy Eucharist is also known as the Real Presence. The respect and honor due this most sacred gift God has given to us Catholics is no small matter. To demonstrate the importance of the Holy Eucharist within the Catholic faith, we can reference the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1373 Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us, is present in many ways to His church: in His word, in His Church’s prayer, “where two or three are gathered in my name,” in the poor, the sick, and the imprisoned, in the sacraments of which He is the author, in the Sacrifice of the Mass, and in the person of the minister. But “He is present most especially in the Eucharistic species.”

We also know that taking and/or destroying life is against the Fifth Commandment. “You shall not kill.”

As the Catechism also says:

2258 Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God, and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being.

Science

During the pandemic, we often heard that we should “go to the science.”  Therefore, let us go to the science and ask the question, When does Life begin? Princeton University says, “Life Begins at Fertilization.”

If a person has the power and authority to pass laws that allow for the destruction of human life, and they do that very thing, there will be a point in time where that will be on them. There is no escaping it.

Psalm 139:13 says “You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb.”  We are all God’s individual creations and none of us have the right to end another’s life whether directly or indirectly.

The Democrats who signed the press release do not seem to understand the extent of their hypocrisy.  They might do well to become familiar with the story of one little girl who loved the Holy Eucharist with all of her heart. The honor and devotion she gave to “Holy God” was so profound that it caused Pope St. Pius X to lower the age for children to receive Holy Communion from 12 to 7. Hopefully, some folks might reconsider the heavenly wonder of this great gift we know as the Holy Eucharist after reading this. It should NEVER be politicized.

Meet Little Nellie Organ

a child wearing a white first communion dress

On August 24, 1903, Ellen Organ was born in what was known as the “married quarters” of the Royal Infantry Barracks in Waterford, Ireland. Her father, William, was a soldier in the British army. Shortly after Ellen’s birth, she was baptized into the faith at the Church of the Trinity. No one knows why, but from that point on, Ellen Organ was called “Nellie.”

By the age of two, Nellie displayed a deep holiness rarely seen in a child, especially one so young. While walking to Mass holding her father’s hand, she would constantly talk about seeing “Holy God.” This was something she began saying without ever having heard such an expression. Even years later, her dad still admitted he had no idea why his daughter started saying “Holy God.”

Nellie was hugging her mom when she passed

Little Nellie had two brothers and one sister; she was the youngest.  In 1906, a great sadness entered their lives. Their mother, Mary Organ, became very ill with tuberculosis. Nellie stayed by her mom’s side day after day, but her mom died after a short time. Nellie, who was only three, was hugging her mom when she passed on.

Since he was in the army, Nellie’s dad could not provide proper care for his children. Consequently, he turned to his parish priest for help. Thomas, the oldest at age nine, was sent to the Christian Brothers while David was sent to the Sisters of Mercy. Mary and Nellie were taken in by the Good Shepherd Sisters in Cork City. They arrived there on May 11, 1907. The sisters treated them kindly and were very good to the girls. Nellie was happy to call all of the sisters “Mother.”

Nellie was three years and nine months old when she arrived at the Good Shepherd Sisters’ home. A young girl named Mary Long slept next to Nellie. Nellie never complained, but Mary heard her crying and coughing during the night. She told the sisters, and Nellie was moved to the school infirmary.

Upon examination, it was discovered that Nellie had a crooked spine (the result of a severe fall) that required special care.  Sitting up was very painful for the child, and sitting still for any length of time caused her great pain. Her hip and her back were out of joint. She was only three, yet she tried to hide her pain. But she could not “fake” feeling well. All the sisters could do was make the child as comfortable as possible.

“Holy God’s Lockdown”

Nellie astonished the nuns with her insight and knowledge of the Catholic faith. The sisters and others that cared for Nellie Organ believed without reservation that the child was spiritually gifted. Nellie loved to visit the chapel, which she called “the House of Holy God.” She referred to the tabernacle as “Holy God’s lockdown.”  And she embraced the Stations of the Cross. Upon being carried to each station, she would burst into tears seeing how Holy God suffered for us. She also developed an acute perception of the Blessed Sacrament.

Nellie loved the Holy Eucharist so deeply that she would ask the sisters to kiss her when they were coming back from Communion so she could share their Holy Communion. She desperately wanted to receive her First Communion. But the rule of the Church was a minimum age of 12. Nellie was only three.

One day Nellie was given a box of beads and some string. Being a three-year-old, she put some in her mouth and inadvertently swallowed them. People saw her gagging and choking and rushed her into the infirmary. The doctor present was able to remove the beads from Nellie’s throat.

They were all amazed how brave the little girl remained as the doctor probed into her throat, removing the objects. She never made a sound. At this time, it was discovered that, just like her mom, she had advanced tuberculosis. The doctor told the sisters there was no hope for recovery and gave Nellie only a few months to live.

The Child loved the Holy Eucharist deeply

Nellie told of visions she was having of “Holy God” as a child and the Blessed Mother standing nearby. Her faith was so pronounced that the Bishop agreed (since she was close to death) to confirm her. She received her Confirmation on October 8, 1907. Then, on December 6, 1907, after considering all the facts, the local bishop, in consultation with the priests, allowed Nellie Organ to receive her First Holy Communion. Nellie Organ died on February 2, 1908.

Nellie Organ’s story spread throughout Europe and reached the Vatican. It was presented to Pope Pius X by his Secretary of State, Cardinal Merry del Val. It was providential because the Holy Father had been looking for a reason to lower the age of receiving First Communion to the age of seven but was not sure about doing it.

When Pius X read the documents about “Little Nellie of Holy God,” he immediately took this as a sign to lower the age. On August 8, 1910 The Pope issued Quam Singulari changing the age of receiving First Holy Communion from 12 years old to age 7.

A couple years later, Pope Pius X, who would become St. Pius X, took up his pen and wrote, “May God enrich with every blessing . . . all those who recommend frequent Communion to little boys and girls, proposing Nellie as their model.” — Pope Pius X, June 4, 1912

Maybe it is time for many of us Catholics to reevaluate our relationship with Christ truly present in the Holy Eucharist. It is REAL and our greatest GIFT. If a three-year-old can understand it, why can’t we.

copyright©LarryPeterson 2021


Our Leaders take Oaths on the Bible to Defend Life

By Larry Peterson

Certain things are joined together in perpetuity. This is demonstrated when a president, or any public official, lays a hand upon a Bible and swears an oath to uphold the Constitution and defend life.

The Presidential Oath is administered by the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. The 35 words of the oath and the words in the Bible are forever embraced by the person who has just taken the Oath.  Think about that.

I base my thoughts here on the second sentence of the Declaration of Independence. It reads, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Notice that the very first right is Life.

I would like to explore two separate cases that have to do with the very question of Life itself.

Alfie Evans

The first case is about Alfie Evans, the little boy from Liverpool, England.  Alfie was denied the right to live by the courts in Great Britain because the doctors did not believe the child could survive his illness.

Alfie suffered from a neurodegenerative disorder that would cause his lungs to fail. The medical experts at the Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool decided that ventilator support was unkind and inhumane and not in Alfie’s best interests.

Supported by Pope Francis

Thomas Evans and Kate James, Alfie’s parents, fought as best they could to keep their son alive. They even had the support of Pope Francis. The Holy Father actively helped Alfie obtain Italian citizenship in hopes that he might be brought to Italy to receive care there. It did not happen.

On April 23, 2018, strangers wearing medical garb disconnected Alfie from his ventilator. He lived five days gasping for breath and died at 2:30 a.m. on April 28, 2018. Alfie was two weeks shy of his second birthday.

On one side was the medical and government community.  The two are intrinsically linked because the government in Great Britain provides healthcare.  This is known as socialized medicine.

On the other side were the mother, father, and people of faith. God had no place in the former. People of prayer, including the Pope, were fighting to keep Alfie alive, praying that something miraculous and/or life-saving would enter Alfie’s shrinking world.  The secularists could not wait for such Pollyanna wishes to come to pass. Good-bye, little Alfie.

My Wife

The second case is deals with my wife, Loretta.  My wife was on life-support, but unlike Tom and Kate Evans, her family (led by me) could decide when to allow the machines to be turned off.  It was not a judge or a doctor or the courts or anything like that. The woman’s immediate family made the decisions.

The end result in my wife’s case was different than in Alfie’s. In our case, God had a prominent role in how we would proceed.  And the ending we received was completely unexpected.

Loretta, had been ill for a long time, and on April 6, 2002, she fell into a coma. By that evening, she was on life support. There was a Catholic living will on file for each of us.  As long as I was present, I had complete control over life-ending processes.

Although Loretta was a middle-aged adult and Alfie was a baby, the parallels in each case are quite similar.

At the age of seven months, Alfie developed seizures, which caused him to go into a “semi-vegetative state.” Alfie did have brain function, but most doctors agreed that his condition (which they were not sure of) was incurable. Most importantly, his parent’s rights to try to save him were stripped from them by the courts.

The primary difference between Loretta and Alfie was age and size. The similarities were that they each were both God’s individual and unique creations.

Weaning from the Ventilator

Two weeks passed by, and we began attempting to wean Loretta off the ventilator. Each time her breathing would stop in less than a minute. Six doctors told us it was “no-use.” On the third day, my grown children and I gathered together in the small hospital chapel to pray a Rosary. We asked Our Lady and Jesus for their help. My kids then took turns going to their mom’s bedside to say their “good-byes.”

One at a time, they came from that room sobbing like babies. I was last and sat by her side, looking at her, holding her hand, and saying whatever it was I said. Those words I do not remember. I was too busy watching a cascade of memories that suddenly were exploding in my head. It was not a happy time. The bottom line was, we had “Let go and Let God.” We had given it all over to Him.

Unlike Alfie’s parents, I had control over the machine doing her breathing. Three of the doctors were there and the chief-of-staff. I asked them to pray with us. Guess what? They all did.

As my children watched, I gave the order to disconnect the power. The machine was switched off. A minute passed by, and Loretta kept breathing. Then two minutes passed by, and then five, and then ten, and then one hour. The cardiologist said, “Don’t be fooled; she’s not going to make it.”

Three days later, she was up in a room, and three weeks later, she came home. Hospital staffers were calling her “The Miracle Woman of Northside.” Her recovery was not only baffling; it was unexplainable. God gave her back to us for one more year. Cancer killed her on April 4, 2003.

Our “Fortress of Solitude” — God

In Alfie’s case, his parents had no choice, even though they were invoking God along with countless others around the world.  The Pope had even secured citizenship for Alfie, and the Italians were ready to transport him to Italy to be cared for.

Unfortunately, in the world of the “nones,” secularists, and atheists, God is not part of the equation. We have been given free will and God shows us alternatives. But we make our choices and He does not interfere. He was not allowed to enter Alfie’s world. In our world – mine, Loretta’s and our kids – however, He was our “fortress of solitude.”

Virtually every court in the U.K. ruled against the parent’s rights. The government and their “experts” knew best. Alfie was doomed to die.

I cannot imagine how Thomas and Kate felt as their child’s Life was taken from them by court order. Thomas and Kate, the man and woman God had given Alfie to, his parents, were dismissed by those in power who “knew best.”

Trust not in Princes

The state took away the parent’s right to protect their child. They subjugated Natural Law and ignored the very nucleus of any thriving civilization – the family.  They pulled Alfie’s tube.  He lived for five days, struggling to breath on his own. Was that a message from above that those in charge should have tried harder?

Unfortunately for Alfie, his “quality of life” was not deemed worthy of moving forward. Loretta, on the other hand, kept breathing and did use oxygen intermittently. If the doctors were in charge of her breathing apparatus, they might have simply left it off when her breathing failed on the first day.

Unlike the Evans, we were able to make the decision remove the ventilator.  And on the third day, she kept on breathing on her own and came out of the coma.

Doctors do NOT know everything. They are definitely not equal to the God who created each and every one of them. They were wrong about Loretta. She lived.

Bible Passages About the Beginnings of Life

Presidents of the United States and many others across the country, from the federal to the local levels, have placed their hands on Bibles and sworn under oath to defend many different things. In so doing, they have joined together both the religious and civil sides of the equation. This is why the United States shouts to the world that we are “One Nation Under God.”  The two are inseparable. God’s greatest gift to us all is Life itself. Yet many oath takers become hypocrites by ignoring it.

And so it was on an April day in 2018, Tom and Kate Evans went home and closed the door behind them. They surely realized that little Alfie was gone—permanently. This is the lonely heartache they will forever live with. You cannot understand that unless you, too, have lived it. Their child was taken from them by strangers who permitted Alfie’s life to fade away. That choice should have been left to the parents.

The Bible contains a number of passages that show when life begins. Here are a few:

  • Psalm 139:13-14, You formed my inmost being, you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you, because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works! My very self you know.”
  • Jeremiah 1:4-5, ”The word of the LORD came to me: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you . . . “
  • Isaiah 44:2, “Thus says the Lord who made you, who formed you from the womb.”

And lastly, from Wisdom 14:27, “For the worship of infamous idols [power and money] is the reason and source and extreme of all evil.”


These Three Nurses accepted Martyrdom rather than Deny their Catholic Faith

By Larry Peterson

This is about three young women. They were all Red Cross nurses but had been mistaken for Catholic nuns. The year was 1936, and the Civil War in Spain was raging. The Catholic clergy was a prime target for the government militia. The three nurses were taken prisoner by the rebel soldiers.

The innocent women, who were Catholic,  had come to help and treat the sick and dying no matter what side they were on. It was all about taking care of those in need. Inspired by their love for Jesus, they were simply following His way, demonstrating love and kindness the way Jesus taught. Even though they were not nuns, they loved their faith deeply and were not about to denounce it.

The three ladies were beaten, tortured, and treated in the most degrading and heinous ways imaginable. This cruel treatment continued all through the night and then, for the grand finale, they were shot to death. Their names were Maria Pilar Gullon Yturriaga, age 25;  Octavia, Iglesias Blanco, age 42; and Olga Perez-Monteserin Nunez, age 23.  

After inflicting their degrading and painful acts upon the women, their torturers demanded that they renounce their Catholic faith. Exhibiting unbelievable courage and saying over and over, “Viva Cristo Rey” (“Long live Christ the King”), they died “in odium Fidei” (“in hatred of the Faith”).

  • Nurse Maria Pilar Gullon was born on May 29, 1911, in Madrid, Spain. Her mom and dad were devout Catholics, and Maria became a member of Catholic Action and the Daughters of Mary in Astorga, Spain.  She taught catechism and worked with the poor and the sick. But her calling was to nursing, and she became a Red Cross Nurse and wound up at the front during the Spanish Civil War. She was captured by the militia and (as mentioned) died a martyr’s death on October 28, 1936.
  • Nurse Octavia Iglesias Blanco was born on November 30, 1894, in Astorga, Leon, Spain. At age 42, she was the oldest of the three women and tried her best to be the “big sister” as they were beaten and violated. They apparently all stuck together as best they could because they all died the same way, “in odium fidei” never giving  up to the evil being showered upon them.
  • Nurse Olga Perez-Monteserin Nunez was born on March 16, 1913, in Paris, France. At the age of seven, she moved to  Astorga, Spain with her parents. At the age of 23, she was the “baby” of the group but just as determined and dedicated to helping the sick, wounded, and dying as her older nursing sisters. When she reported for duty at the Red Cross headquarters she was assigned to the front, the same as Nurse Maria and Nurse Octavia.

Prior to their Beatification Ceremony on May 29, 2021, Bishop Jesus Fernandez Gonzalez of Astorga said, “These martyrs were not linked to either side—the Red Cross went wherever it was summoned, regardless of who was in control. Nor did they carry weapons or even use words to attack anyone. They were simply moved by human compassion and Christian charity, knowing the risks and dangers when signing up as volunteers.”

Bishop Fernando Gonzalez also said that the three women had clung to their crosses and forgiven their executioners, offering a “model of the Christian lay vocation.”

The Bishop continued by saying, “Although they were given the opportunity to apostatize, they did not do so. They were people with their whole lives ahead—only a great hope could have enabled them to renounce it, and only a great love could have sustained such hope. The testimony of martyrs offers a lifeline, keeping us afloat in the truth that liberates,”

The Beatification ceremony took place on Saturday, May 29, 2021, at Santa Maria  Cathedral in Astorga.  The celebrant representing Pope Francis was Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Saint’s Causes. The newly Beatified women were originally buried in a mass grave at their execution site. They were re-interred at the Cathedral in Astorga in 1948.


She was executed for loving too much: Meet Sr. Aguchita

Sister Aguchita–                                               she loved too much

By Larry Peterson

Maria Agustina Rivas Lopez was born on June 13, 1920, in Coracora, Peru. She was the oldest of eleven children born to Modesta Lopez de Rivera and Damaso Rivas. They gave their daughter the name of Antonia Luzmilla. Antonia and her siblings had loving and caring parents who taught their children the Catholic faith and its virtues.

Antonia developed a deep love for the poor and, as she grew older, always did her best to help and protect them. She loved harvest time because she could give the poor much more than usual. The country atmosphere was well suited to Antonia as she loved nature with its abundance of plants and farm animals. She also liked helping her mom taking care of the house; no simple task with thirteen people living under one roof.

Antonia’s mom did her best to take her children to Mass every day. It was not always possible, but she sure tried. Her children attended Catechism class in the Parish. Her brother, Caesar, answered the call to become a priest, eventually being ordained a Redemptorist.

In 1938 Antonia was in Lima, visiting her brother, and was already feeling the call to service in the Church. It was during this time she had her first encounter with the Sisters of the Good Shepherd. Antonia began a vocational discernment with them, which ultimately led her to enter the Congregation  Antonia received her habit and, with it, a new name. From then on, she was known as Maria Agustina, but the sisters would call her Aguchita.

While she was still in her novitiate, her father passed away. Deeply saddened, she continued to move forward with her calling and, on February 8, 1945, professed her first vows. She prayed that she could always work with the poorest of the poor. She was steadfast in her commitment to serve Jesus by serving the poor, and in 1949, she made her Perpetual Profession of Vows. Aguchita had a dream and in it she was in the jungle working with the peasants in the “emergency zone” She was not sure what that meant, but it was real for her.

Aguchita lived for many years in Barrios Altos in Lima. During this time, her mom died. Aguchita worked in many different places, which included learning various jobs. This diversity put her organizational skills on display. leading to varied leadership levels within the Community. This included working with the poor and putting Aguchita in constant contact with young women who needed help.

Aguchita happily lived the charism of Mercy in her community life, always displaying her love and consideration for her Superiors. She always seemed to step in when a sister was ill or on vacation, tend to the sick whenever extra help was needed, assist in setting up meetings and assist wherever else help might be required. She truly loved being Sister Aguchita.

In 1987 Sister Aguchita remembered her dream of being sent to the “emergency zone” in La Florida. The Sisters had been working in the area for eleven years. La Florida had been among the most violent in Peru, and it was home to the poorest of the poor. This area saw constant skirmishes and bloodshed between the Peruvian Armed forces and the guerilla organization known as Shining Light, a Maoist group that hated Christians.

The Sisters knew the risks. They had a saying, “Leave the town or give your life for it.” After prayer and reflection, they choose to “give life” and stay there. Sister Aguchita had, from the moment she arrived in La Florida, devoted herself to the natives extending to them the same love she would give to anyone. She had written, “I was never a respecter of persons,  I loved everyone. To love the poor is to love life. Is to love the God of Life.

Sister Aguchita worked with the Ashaninka tribe, a people who had been almost wiped out in the early twentieth century. Rubber exporters destroyed the forests and brought disease to the natives. .Sister Aguchita spent most of her time working with the young women of the tribe.

On September 27, 1990, members of the guerilla band, Shining Path entered the village. Sister Aguchita was taken outside and stood in front of the villagers. Six of the local natives were also taken out to make examples of. A 17-year-old girl executed Sister by firing seven shots into her with a rifle. Sister Aguchita died “in odium fidei” (in hatred of the faith).

On May 21, 2021, Pope Francis confirmed the martyrdom of Sister Maria Agustina Rivas Lopez, fondly known as “Aguchita” and a member of the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd. The date for her Beatification has not been determined.


Don Ruggero M. Caputo –Apostle of the Eucharist–Recognized for “Heroic Virtue

Adoration Monstarnce no Flash                                                public domain

By Larry Peterson

He now bears the title of Venerable

Ruggero (Roger) Maria Caputo was born on May 1, 1907, in Barletta, Italy, located in the Italian peninsula’s southeastern section. He was born into a humble family with strong moral and religious principles. During his childhood and into his adolescence, he was fortunate to come under the guidance of Don Angelo Dimiccoli, a priest who loved his faith deeply.  Don Angelo had the ability to instill in his young students a strong desire to follow Jesus.. (Father Angelo would become Servant of God Archbishop Angelo Dimiccoli).

Father Angelo’s influence on Ruggero was quite powerful. When Ruggero was nineteen, he felt the call to the priesthood pulling at him. But he had left school in third grade to work in the fields. He now wanted to enter the seminary, but his education was almost non-existent. So he left his work behind him and found himself attending school sitting among third graders. He was determined to do what was necessary to become a priest. He wanted nothing less than to serve his Lord.

He studied hard to qualify for the Pontifical Regional Seminary so he could receive his high school education and move on to his theological studies. He worked intently and even had to squeeze in a year of military service for the province of Chieti. Ruggero never wavered in his quest, and on July 25, 1937, he was ordained a priest in the Cathedral of Barletta.

He was a simple and humble man content with being a shepherd

Don (Father) Caputo began his ministry serving an ongoing role as assistant pastor at many parishes. He was a simple and humble man and never aspired to high office. He was content with doing his work as a shepherd spreading devotion and love for God, and continually working to save souls.

During Don Ruggero’s lifetime, his deep love for God spread out to inspire at least a dozen vocations to the priesthood and over 150 women religious vocations. At the same time, he organized several lay apostolates for teens and young adults. His influence and success in fostering vocations came from his daily devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. Next to his love for offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, he loved Eucharistic Adoration. He spent as much time as he could in front of Jesus.

“He was a soul in love with the Blessed Sacrament.”

One of the women inspired by Don Ruggero to become a nun was quoted as saying, “Don Ruggero was a soul in love with the Blessed sacrament. We girls, if we needed his help, went to church to find him behind the column on his knees, on the ground, in front of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, absorbed in deep, silent, and mystical Eucharistic conversation. Here was the strength, the energy that he gave to us. This is what he put in our veins; to be all for Jesus.”

On July 1,1951, Don Ruggero Caputo was transferred as an assistant pastor to the Holy Spirit parish. This was the beginning of his moving from parish to parish because his superiors were alarmed at the notoriety Don Ruggero was receiving. The youth loved him and flocked to him, and his success with conversions had lit a fire of jealousy among the higher-ups. They were hoping to quiet the unexpected phenomenon.

“He forgave and consoled more than your own father—”

However, the more he was seen and the more women that heard him speak, the more his following increased. Sister Maria  Antonina said, “as soon as you approached him, you realized that he really loved Jesus and you.” Sister Antonia Distaso said, “He forgave and consoled more than your own father, even when he encountered opposition.”

Towards the end of his life, he was hospitalized with a painful illness that kept him bedridden. One of the nuns who was caring for him quoted Don Ruggero as saying, “Now I have to do my part. As St. Paul says, “I complete in my flesh what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ, in favor of His body which is the Church.”

Before dying, he said, “You will bury me underground among the people. Because even after I die, I want to stay a priest to the people.” Don Ruggero Caputo passed away on June 15, 1980.

On January 21, 2021, Pope Francis confirmed the “heroic virtues” of Servant of God Ruggero Maria Caputo. He now bears the title of Venerable, and his cause for beatification is moving forward.

copyright©LarryPeterson 2021