Tag Archives: catholic

Can People who do not Believe in Jesus Christ get into Heaven; Dad said, “Absolutely.”

My Dad, Emil Peterson 1912–1965

By Larry Peterson

There are 2.2 billion Christians in the world of which 1.2 billion are Catholic. That is almost one-third of the world’s population. Obviously, there are many Christians in our world so, to the question: Can all those who call themselves Christians, be saved?

The answer is YES! Not only Catholics but  Presbyterians, Lutherans, Baptists, Evangelicals, etc., can be saved and get to heaven. The fact is, any one of God’s human creations can be saved. If a person truly seeks God and demonstrates by living their life “loving his neighbor as himself,” how can they not?

There are those in the Catholic Church who might insist that ”outside of the Church there is no salvation.”  The Catechism of the Catholic Church is clear on this topic; it reads, “all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body” (CCC 846). Well, what about our Jewish brethren? What about Buddhists and Hindus and others?

The Catechism follows with; “this is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church”  Indeed, if these people seek God with a sincere heart, and try, in their actions to do his will as they know it, they may also attain heaven (CCC 847).

My dad died 54 years ago, and memories of him are faded at best. (we were all very young).  It was Christmas day and, as was the custom in our five-story walk-up, everyone traveled from apartment to apartment on Christmas sharing food and drink and laughter and conversation.

A group of neighbors, including dad, my brother Bobby and I, were gathered in the apartment below ours. Suddenly, a man’s voice, much louder than any of the others speaking, blurted out, “Sorry Emil, (my father’s name) that’s what the church teaches. I did not make it up.”

There are few vivid memories of my dad that I still have. But this is one that stuck like glue. As the people all grew quiet and turned to listen in, my father leaned forward in his chair and slowly and purposely said, “ Listen, Walter, let me tell you something. Any human being God ever created can get to heaven. All they have to do is love their neighbor. It doesn’t matter where they come from or even if they have a religion. We all are born knowing what is right and wrong. Heaven is every person’s choice.”

I never forgot those moments.  My young head knew he had it right. What he also had right was when he said, “we are all born knowing what is right and wrong.” He did not realize he was validating and defending the Natural Law; I do not even know if he had ever heard of it. It just means that each of us instinctively knows what “right” is and what “wrong” is. We all have the ability to choose.

Many years later, inside my much older head, I still know dad had it right. We are, in fact, ALL God’s children. He was a man who never finished high school no less attend a catechism class. But he had it right, and this was way before the Catholic Church clarified the question of who can obtain salvation.

The Natural Law predicated our behavior. The Founding Fathers used it as a basis for the Declaration of Independence. Whatever happened to common courtesy among people and the common respect we gave each other? Heck, recently I was reprimanded by a woman because I held a door open for her.

It was never a perfect world but the concept of  “love your neighbor” seems to have been devoured by a secular society that tolerates no opinions that might disagree with another’s life choices. The primary result of secularism seems to be “As Long as I’m Happy that is all that Matters. Too bad if you don’t like it.”

My dad was a man of faith, and because of his faith he got it right. When he said, “Heaven is every person’s choice,” he was spot on.

copyright©Larry Peterson

My Dad, Emil Peterson 1912–1965

2018

A Beautiful Devotion—The Rosary for the Holy Souls in Purgatory

Rosary for the Holy Souls
—catholic.org

By Larry Peterson

The Souls in Purgatory hold a place of high esteem within the Catholic faith. These are our relatives and friends and fellow Catholics who have gone before us and prior to entering heaven must spend a period of purification in a place called Purgatory

What follows will help us learn how to help our family and friends and fellow Catholics gain release from Purgatory.

There is a prayer that St. Gertrude received from Our Lord. We are taught that every time we say it, 1000 souls are released from Purgatory. St. Gertrude’s Prayer is below:

“Eternal Father, I offer You the most precious blood of thy Divine Son, Jesus,
in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, 
for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal Church, for those in my own home, and in my family. Amen.”

Besides St. Gertrude’s Prayer for the Souls in Purgatory there are two other distinct methods of reaching out to help the Faithful Departed. The first is the Chaplet of the Holy Souls as profiled in Aleteia last year. The other is the Rosary for the Holy Souls  which is a bit more detailed and offers prayers that everyone from our parents, grandparents, children, down to those who suffered heart attacks, died suddenly in car accidents and even those who died without receiving the Last Rites of the Church. It even mentions every one of us when we face our particular judgment day.

How to Pray the Rosary for the Holy Souls:

 We Begin:

Let us pray:
May the prayer of Your suppliant people, we beseech You, O Lord, benefit the souls of Your departed servants and handmaids, that You both deliver them from all their sins and make them partakers of Your redemption. Amen.

Sign of the Cross +

  1. O Lord, open my lips.
  2. And I shall praise your name.
    V. O God, come to my aid.
    R. O Lord, make haste to help me.
    V. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
    R. As it was in the beginning…

Now We Pray for Specific Souls in Purgatory:

O Jesus, You suffered and died that all mankind might be saved and brought to eternal happiness. Hear our pleas for further mercy on the souls of:

Choose all those you wish to pray for:  parents, grandparents and spouse, brothers and sisters and other near relatives, teachers, priests, convicts, cancer patients, and on and on, including those who have wronged you and those that were your enemies.

Response to each special intention: Jesus, have mercy!

Using your Rosary, Begin with the Crucifix and then Pray on each Bead as Noted

 Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty…

For the intentions of our Holy Father, the Pope:
Our Father, Hail Mary (x 3), Glory be..

Pray the Decades As Follows:

  • Our Father…
  • Hail Mary…(x 10)
  • Glory be…
  • Fatima Prayer…(Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins etc.)

Use the Sorrowful Mysteries:

  • The Agony in the Garden
  • The Scourging at the Pillar
  •  The Crowning with Thorns
  • The Carrying of the Cross
  • The Crucifixion

After the fifth decade we pray:
Lord, Jesus Christ, through Your five Holy Wounds and through all of Your Sacred Blood that You shed, we ask You to have mercy on the Holy Souls in Purgatory, and in particular on our parents, spouses, relatives, spiritual guides and benefactors. Complete the healing of their purification and let them enjoy and participate fully in Your Salvation. Amen.

Hail Holy Queen…etc.

  • Let us pray
    O God, Whose only begotten Son, by His life, death and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life, grant, we beseech Thee, that meditating upon these mysteries in the most holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
  • The Memorare…Remember oh most compassionate Virgin Mary etc…
  • St Michael Archangel, defend us in battle…etc.

Finish:

Grant them eternal rest, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them with your Saints forever more because You are gracious.

May the divine assistance remain always with us.  And may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

This nun had visions of heaven and the Holy Family

Venerable Marie-Martha Chabon and the Holy Face of Jesus   (public domain)

By Larry Peterson

It was Good Friday in 1850 when Francoise Chambon reported her first vision of Jesus. She was with her godmother at Good Friday services when the vision occurred. She reported that she saw Jesus, on the cross, covered in blood and His body having many wounds. She was nine years old.  Later on during the year, upon receiving her First Holy Communion, she saw Jesus again, who told her, “My child, so it will be every time you go to Holy Communion.”

Francoise Chambon was born in Davoy, France on March 6, 1841. Her parents were poor farmers, and life was not easy. Francoise, for the most part, kept her experiences to herself. She bided her time and when she was 20 years old, she entered the Monastery of the Visitation Order in nearby Chambery. This was when she was given the name, Marie-Martha.

Marie-Martha was favored with many supernatural visions during her life. One of these was actually of heaven. While on a retreat in 1870, during a recreation break the Sisters would pray the Rosary. Marie-Martha said to them: “The Sisters who endeavor to be present and attend the Rosary give me much delight; those who say it with much fervor will one day be in my entourage.” Marie-Martha then witnessed the graces and many blessings which Jesus poured out on the families of these sisters because of their prayers in honor of His Mother.

There were times when Marie-Martha was allowed to see the Holy Family. After a long vision, she told Mother Superior: “My Mother, I return from Paradise! I cannot say that which I saw! I can only say that I prostrated myself in front of the Holy Family and I said to Saint Joseph: My good Father, I thank you that while you were on the earth, you took care of my sweet Mother Mary.”

She said that St. Joseph was very happy and told her to say this short prayer often, “Jesus, Joseph and Mary, I give you my heart and my soul.”

Marie-Martha began to have more visions of Jesus when He would ask her to contemplate the Holy Wounds. Jesus would teach her specific prayers and meditations. Her Mother Superior began to chronicle Marie’s life, and this was published in 1923 and sold worldwide. The following year the Vatican granted an indulgence to those who said the following prayer which was based on her reported visions:  “Eternal Father I offer the wounds of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to heal those of our souls.”

Jesus wanted her to unite her sufferings with His in the Rosary of the Holy Wounds. This would be done as an act of reparation for the sins of the world and the souls in purgatory. He told Marie-Marthe that the Holy Wounds were a true treasure for the souls in Purgatory.

Marie-Martha foresaw the death of Pope Pius IX whose soul appeared to her. He thanked her for her prayers which helped open the doors of paradise to him. She had a clear vision of her twenty-five-year-old sister’s death. Her younger brother passed away in 1878, and he appeared to his big sister to tell her he was in Paradise.

On March 21, 1907,  Marie-Martha Chambon passed away. She was sixty-six years old. Her cause for beatification began in 1937.

Venerable Servant of God, Marie-Martha Chambon, please pray for us.

Our Lady of Sion—aka The Queen of the Jews–The Unbreakable Bridge between Catholicism and Judaism

courtesy (fair deal)
Our Lady of Sion & the Jewish man, Alphonse Ratisboone     (his brother, Theodore was not present)

By Larry Peterson

The roots of Our Lady of Sion go back to the fourth or fifth century. Sion (or Zion) is a place in the Diocese of Toul in France where Christianity in the future nation took root. Writings from a Christian named Nicetius were found there, and it is recorded that a church dedicated to Our Lady was the center of a very large Catholic community. The Basilica of Our Lady of Sion is built over the ruins of a temple that had been dedicated to an unknown Roman goddess.

But we must leap forward to the 19th century to grab hold of what this all means today. The Congregation of Our Lady of Sion was actually two Catholic religious congregations founded in Paris. Two brothers, Theodore Ratisboone and Alphonse Ratisboone (some spell it Regensburg) founded the order for Religious Sisters in 1843 and the order for Catholic Priests and Brothers in 1852.

What intrigued me so much was their mission statement—“to witness in the Church and in the world that God continues to be faithful in his love for the Jewish people and to hasten the fulfillment of the promises concerning the Jews and the Gentiles.” (Constitution, article 2).

 I must admit that as a cradle Catholic who is the maternal grandson of a Hebrew man, and a descendant of  family members killed in the Holocaust, I was stunned to learn of The Congregation of Our Lady of Sion. Imagine, a Catholic organization dedicated to Jewish people. I had no idea.

God sure “writes straight with crooked lines” doesn’t he? The Ratisboone brothers and founders of the order, were Jews.  They were continually being drawn to the faith but Theodore converted first. Seeing some of his friends embrace Catholicism and after studying and reading about the faith, he was baptized in 1826. He was not done with his conversion. He was ordained a priest in 1830.

Alphonse was much more reluctant to embrace and believe in Jesus Christ. But on January 20, 1842, while on a trip to Rome before getting married, he happened to visit the Church of Sant’Andrea delle Fratte. It was here that the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to him. He hurriedly contacted Theodore and told him. Both brothers believed that God was calling them especially since Alphonse had been personally converted by none other than Our Lady. They both strongly felt that they had been called to bring their fellow Jews to Christianity.

Alphonse was baptized and entered the Society of Jesus where he spent several years. In 1843 Theodore founded a small community of women who wanted to join him in his ministry of teaching the faith to Jewish children.  In 1850, Alphonse, with permission from  Pope Pius IX  and the Superior General of the Jesuit Order, left the Jesuits and joined with his brother to work together. Side by side, in 1852, they founded the Congregation of the Fathers of Our Lady of Sion.

Eventually, Theodore Ratisboone wanted to continue his work of converting fellow Jews to Christianity. In 1842 while visiting Rome, Pope Gregory XVI, blessed Theodore’s ministry. He immediately formed a school for Jewish children in a Christian setting. As God will provide, two Jewish sisters came to him for spiritual advice. They converted to Christianity and became the starting point for the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion, found in 1847.

Alphonse moved to the Holy Land and in 1858 and, on the sight of the ruins of an old church, built and orphanage and vocational school which the Sisters ran. These schools were open to all children regardless of creed. In 1874, Alphonse began construction on the Ratisboone Monastery on the outskirts of Jerusalem.  It was a school for boys and today is a branch of the Salesian Pontifical University.

Today the Congregations of Our Lady of Sion are spread around the world from Australia to England, to Istanbul, Costa Rica, Rio de Janeiro and even Kansas City, Missouri.

Not bad for a couple of Jewish converts. Not bad at all.

At this time there is no cause pending for either of the Ratisboone brothers to have their causes for sainthood begun. But there are those who are diligently trying to get the process started.

The Martyrs of La Rioja; They died “In Odium Fidei” Two died on July 18; one was born on July 18.

 

The Martyrs of La Rioja; They died "In Odium Fidei" Two died on July 18; one was born on July 18.

 

By Larry Peterson

It is estimated that in Argentina during the years 1976 thru 1983, between 10,000 and 30,000 people died by torture and execution. They called it The Dirty War, and it was one of the darkest periods in the nation’s history.

Enrique Angelelli was born in Cordoba, Argentina on July 18, 1923. His parents were Italian immigrants and devout Catholics. Their influence certainly contributed to Enrique’s entrance into the Seminary of Our Lady of Loreto when he was only 15 years of age. He studied hard, was sent to Rome to finish his studies and was ordained to the priesthood in 1949.

Father Enrique Angelelli was a “man of the people.”  He was very devoted to the poor and needy and would visit the slums frequently, mixing with his “poor friends.”  He even founded youth movements among the street kids. On December 12, 1960, Pope St. John XXIII, appointed him Auxiliary Bishop of Cordoba. He and his close friend, Father Jorge Bergoglio, (who would one day become Pope Francis), were very much alike. The future Pope also loved the poor and marginalized and tried to help the workers.

Carlos de Dios Murias was born in Cordoba in 1945. His father was a wealthy real-estate man and also a well known radical politician in Cordoba. He wanted his son to be a military man, but Carlos had different desires. He had met Bishop Angelelli and the man’s spirituality and love of the poor inspired Carlos. He felt a religious calling and, in 1965, he became part of the Orders of Friars Minor. He made his “simple profession.” in 1966. On December 17, 1972, he was ordained to the priesthood. The Bishop who ordained him was Enrique Angelelli. Carlos de Dios Murias had specifically asked if he might ordain him.

Gabriel Longueville was born on March 18, 1931, in Ardeche, France. He was ordained to the priesthood by the Bishop of Viviers, Alfred Couderc, on June 29, 1957. He had asked to be assigned to areas where he could work with the poor.  In 1969 Father Longueville was transferred to Argentina by Bishop Jean Hermil.  He was assigned to La Rioja Diocese along with Carlos de Dios Murias. They were both under the authority of Bishop Enrique Angelelli.

Bishop Angelilli, Father Carlos Murias, and Father Gabriel Longueville could never have imagined how they and one other man, a layperson by the name of Wenceslao Pedernera, would soon be linked together in heavenly perpetuity. The evil politics of the day was rapidly turning into what seemed to be an unstoppable force.

In 1968, Pope Paul VI appointed Bishop Angelelli bishop of the Diocese of La Rioja. He quickly became involved with labor union disputes, encouraged domestic workers to form unions, and tried to form cooperatives for the people that manufactured bricks, clocks, bread, and knitted products. It did not take long for him to be arrested. He was an activist bishop, but he was doing what he thought best for his church and his people.

By 1969 Bishop Angelelli had been campaigning by both the printed word and radio broadcast about the plight of the farmers and the workers. He denounced the drugs, gambling, and prostitution that was supported by the wealthy.  He condemned human rights abuses by the governors and pushed for unionization of the workers.  Conservative Catholic organizations turned against him, and his radio programs were banned.

In 1973, political unrest saw the expulsion of nuns and priests from the town of Annilaco and the people began calling the Church of La Rioja, “communist.” In 1974 Bishop Angelelli visited Rome and was advised to stay there because of the danger to him back in Argentina. He was being threatened by the “Three A Group” made up of police officers and the Anti-Communist Alliance of Argentina. The bishop did not heed the warnings and returned home.

On July 18, 1976, Father Carlos de Dios Murias, 33,  and Father Gabriel Longueville, 44, were having dinner together when two men with federal police identification entered there home and questioned them for about ten minutes. Then they were told they had to go to La Rioja to identify some prisoners. The next day their bodies were found near some railroad tracks. The two priests had been tortured and shot to death.

One week later, on July 25, two hooded men went to look for the parish priest of Sanogasta, but because he had been warned by Bishop Angelelli, he had already fled the area. The men went to a nearby house to ask where the priest might be. Wenceslao Pedernera, a layperson, was there with his three young daughters. Terrified at the men wearing hoods, the girls cowered next to their father.  When Senor Pedernara told the men the priest was not there, they promptly shot him multiple times. His girls fell to the ground holding their dad’s body. They were physically unharmed. What psychological damage was done to them, we can only imagine.

Bishop Angelelli knew he was targeted and had told a close friend, “It’s my turn next.” On August 4, 1976, he was driving a truck with a priest friend, Father Arturo Pinto. He was on his way back from offering a memorial Mass for Father Gabriel and Father Carlos. Father Pinto said that a car was following them and at the right moments forced them off the road. The truck flipped over and when Father Pinto regained consciousness, he found Bishop Angelilli dead in the road. The back of his head had been smashed in with a blunt instrument. He had been beaten to death.

These four men were murdered “In Odium Fidei”; (In hatred of the faith). On June 8, 2018, Pope Francis approved the decree that Bishop Angelelli, Carlos  de Dios Murias, Gabriel Longueville, and Wenceslao Pedernara, will be beatified sometime in 2018. No date has been set.

We ask these four martyrs to please pray for us all.

 

 

 

Venerable Maria Guadalupe Ortiz is a laywoman who will be beatified this year. Here’s her incredible story.

VENERABLE,MARIA GUADALUPE ORTIZ

Servant of God; Father Varghese Payyappilly Palakkappilly (Kathanar)

Venerable Payyappilly Varghese Kathanar

By Larry Peterson

On April 14, 2018, Pope Francis met with Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. He presented the cardinal with the names of eight Catholics who have attained the designation of Servants of God. This designation is awarded to those who have attained the first pedestal on their road to canonization. Among those named was Servant of God, Father Varghese Payyapilly Palakkappilly (yes, that is a definite tongue-twister so we will keep it at Father Varghese).

Cardinal Amato was authorized by the Holy Father to place those named worthy of receiving a promulgation of “the Heroic Virtues.” Pope Benedict XIV, 1740 to 1758, who is considered the defining authority on these virtues, wrote five volumes about them. They are still used in determining if a Servant of God meets the criteria of demonstrating ‘heroic virtue.’

A simple way to think of  ‘heroic virtue’  might be as a virtue that has become a second nature.  It becomes a habit of good behavior that can only be attained through the love of God and a closeness to Him, a closeness that most of us never reach. Heroic Virtue must be a part of those who would be advanced to the level of Venerable from Servant of God.

Father Varghese was born in India, in the province of Kerala, on August 8, 1876. He attended St. Albert’s School in Ernakulam which is on the southeast coast of India. From St. Albert’s he moved onto the Central Seminary in Sri Lank (formerly Ceylon) an island off the coast of India. From there he attended the Papal Seminary, also in Sri Lanka, where he was ordained a priest on December 21, 1907.

Father Verghase was assigned as a parish priest and served as such in various parishes from 1909 thru 1922. While serving at the parish in Arakuzha, he began St. Mary’s Higher Secondary School. His presence and efforts at the school and church helped reunite many estranged families and succeeded in making the church self-sufficient through land purchases.

Father Verghase also managed to acquire land for the construction of St. Joseph’s Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. He remained there until 1929. It was reported that during Father Varghese’s tenure there, vocations to the priesthood exploded.

Father Verghases’s reputation as a kind and loving priest continued to grow. He became a member of the Diocesan Council and the Director of Apostolic Union as well as the Priests’ Provident Fund. People from all over came to him because they wanted his counsel to help them with their problems. He managed to bring many families back together using the wisdom he received from the Holy Spirit.

The simple priest was held in high esteem both by church officials and government officers. His empathy for the poor and suffering and his reputation spread far and wide after he helped many victims of the great flood of 1924. He even turned St. Mary’sHigh School into a shelter and delivered food himself by boat.

On March 19, 1927, Father Verghese founded the Sisters of the Destitute. His intention was to continue what he saw as Christ’s saving message among the poor. He found abandoned people, brought them to the shelter of the Home for the Aged and nursed them.

Today the Sisters of the Destitute, have over 1500 nuns and also include among its ranks doctors, nurses, teachers and social workers. They are located in Asia, Europe, Africa and across the United States.  The operate such institutions as homes for the sick and needy, health centers, libraries, nursing homes, schools, hospitals and cancer centers.

Payyappilly Palakkappilly Varghese Kathnar (that is Father Verghese’s full name) died from typhoid fever on October 5, 1929. He was buried at St. St John Nepumsian Syrian Catholic Church in Kornthurthy, India. On August 25, 2009, Father Verghese was declared a Servant of God by the Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar CatholicChurch.

When Pope Francis authorized Father Verghese as worthy of having “the heroic virtue” he (aswell as the seven others) were elevated to the rank of Venerable. A miracle attributed to Father Verghase is under review for Father Verghese and if validated, Venerable Verghase Payyappilly may become beatified.

Venerable Verghase Payyappilly, please pray for us.