Tag Archives: catholic

January 22—The Betrothal of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Joseph is tied to the Protection of the Unborn Children, Marriage and Family

Holy Family–they show us how to Respect Life

By Larry Peterson

January 22, is the day the Catholic Church in America sets aside all else and joins in prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children.  Traditionally, in the pre-1955 Church calendar, this day was set aside to honor the “Betrothal of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Joseph”. Today, this Mass is still celebrated by some religious orders using the Latin rite.

This is such a beautiful thing for the Church to do. By simultaneously, joining together the Day of Prayer for the Unborn with Roe vs. Wade and the Betrothal of Our Lady, it heralds the beauty of Motherhood, and it trumpets the profound, spiritual importance of marriage and family.

From the Gospel of Matthew 1: 18; “When Mary was engaged to Joseph, before their marriage, she was discovered to be pregnant—by the Holy Spirit. Joseph, her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly.”

From Matthew 1: 23: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name Him Emmanuel.”

In the old testament, Jewish marriages happened in stages. First came the betrothal. At this ceremony, the couple gave their consent. They were now considered truly married. However, before they would actually move in together as a husband and wife, there was a period of time where they spent time away from each other. This could be up to a year, and it was during this separation that the “newlyweds.” were to learn from older married couples how to be good, Jewish spouses.

In his1989 Apostolic Exhortation, Redemptoris Custos, Pope St. John Pual II, used the following words to describe the marriage ceremony of the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph: According to Jewish custom, marriage took place in two stages: first, the legal, or true marriage was celebrated, and then, only after a certain period of time, the husband brought the wife into his house. Thus, before he lived with Mary, Joseph was already her husband.”

When God does things, He sure is meticulous. Mary and Joseph were, according to the law, married. There are those who say that Jesus was born out of wedlock. If the betrothal had not taken place, that might be accurate. But under the law, they were married. There are some would have you believe that Mary was no different than an unwed mother. This is false. The Blessed Mother was a married woman at the time of the Annunciation. She even asked the Angel Gabriel, “How can this be since I know not man?” And she is told it will be by the Holy Spirit. The Angel also informs Joseph. Therefore, within the Holy Family,  the sanctity of marriage and family is fully protected.

Since Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs.Bolton on January 22, 1973, more than 60,000,000 lives have been eradicated. The number is incomprehensible. Yet there are so many who justify this by using the rare examples of teenage rape or incest, out of wedlock pregnancies, Downs Syndrome, deformities, lack of finances, etc. We could also say the Blessed Virgin Mary’s pregnancy was abnormal or irregular. Afterall, Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ total DNA comes from a woman. Biologically, Jesus is not the son of Joseph, the Nazarene carpenter. But this man define’s fatherhood, and his example screams out to all men;  Love and protect the child and his/her mom, no matter what. Be loyal and true.Give them your name if you must.

Fittingly, on the 45th Anniversary of the two most ignominious Supreme Court decisions ever handed down, as we pray for the protection of the unborn, we can look to the marriage of Joseph and Mary, a marriage established by God and made perfect by His Son.

Lastly, it is hard to even imagine a better husband or father than a simple carpenter named Joseph. He is an example for all mankind.

We ask the Most Holy Family to pray for all the unborn and children everywhere.

 

 

Francis Delalieu; A Good Samaritan–He saved a future Servant of God and her family from death and then he seemingly vanished.

The Good Samaritan en.wikipedia.org

By Larry Peterson

 

One of the most famous Gospel readings is from Luke, Ch 10: 29-37; we all know it as the Parable of the Good Samaritan. When Jesus is asked which of the three was a neighbor to the robber’s victim, Jesus said, “The one who treated him with mercy. Go and do likewise.”  What follows is about someone who may be one of the greatest of  Good Samaritans of all time, a man we know almost nothing about.

 

Servant of God and Stigmatist; Anna Louise Lateau, passed away at the age of thirty-three. What is extremely interesting is the fact that Anna Louise would never have lived into her fourth month of life if it wasn’t for a stranger whose name was Francis Delalieu.

 

The Lateau family was literally near death. The father, Gregory,  had died from smallpox just three months after Louise had been born. Adele, with three little children, was still bedridden after having a very rough time giving birth to Louise. Louise, still an infant, had also contracted smallpox. The oldest child, Rosina, was trying to be the in-house caregiver which included taking care of two-year-old Adelina.

 

The local doctor, overwhelmed with this smallpox epidemic, had stopped by about a week after Gregory’s death to check on the family. He did his best to show three-year-old Rosina what to do. He knew it was hopeless and was sure he would soon come by and find them all dead. He told his friend, Francis Delalieu, about the family.

 

Try to imagine how this newly widowed, mother of three babies with no money was feeling. The despair and hopelessness must have been unbearable as she watched her three children quietly dying before her eyes. Weakened to a point where she was unable to get out of her bed, she was probably just praying that she would not be the first to die, leaving them alone. And suddenly the front door opened and there was Francis Delalieu. God was listening after all.

 

Francis immediately took charge. First, he cleaned up the children. Then he reassured them and left to acquire food and necessities. This man, this stranger, surely had the love of Jesus in his heart. He was risking his own life by being in a smallpox-infected household. He was spitting into the eye of the storm as he cleaned, fed and cared for the little children. This was, after all, 1850 and not 2017. They did not even have running water.

 

I have been (as have many others) a primary caregiver to someone seriously ill. Some caregivers are helping to nurse their loved one back to health after a serious surgery or accident. The upside to this type of caregiving is that an end is in sight because a reachable goal is possible ie; recovering from open heart surgery.

 

Then there is the alternative of caring for someone who is terminally ill. The goal in these cases is to help your loved one live as peacefully and as comfortable as possible until God calls them home. And then you have a person like Francis Delalieu. The only possible motivation he might have had to step into this situation was that of a Good Samaritan. He simply LOVED his neighbor.

 

Who was this man? Who was this stranger who came into a household that was a breeding ground for smallpox and had three babies with a bedridden mom living there who were near death? Who does this kind of thing simply out of kindness and compassion? Who would stay for almost two and a half years until the mother and children were once again healthy? Francis Delalieu is that person. There are many like him but most are unheralded and unheard of.

 

All we can seem to find out about Francis Delalieu is that he was a farmhand or a laborer and that he lived in or around the small town of Bois d’ Haine, in Belgium. That is about it. It is known he took  Adele Lateau and her children under his care and nurtured them all until they were well. After that period of time Francis seems to have vanished. At least there is no record of him after that point in time which would be around 1853.

 

Anna Louise Lateau was gifted with the Stigmata in the year 1868. For the rest of her life, her nourishment was only the Holy Eucharist and a few glasses of water per day. She became one of the most famous stigmatists of the 19th century. Francis Delalieu was just an unknown man who stepped up and took care of his neighbor, just like the Good Samaritan in Jesus parable. I am sure his reward has been great in heaven. When God is involved, all things are possible.

 

Copyright©Larry Peterson 2017

Greeting the New Year—the Catholic Way

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR
courtesy updatepedia.com

 

By Larry Peterson

According to Georgetown University , as of October 2017, there are 1.28 billion Catholics in the world. 70.4 million of them are in the United States. The USA has a population of approximately 330,000,000 people. That works out to about 22% of the American population being Catholic.

From the Pope down to the vagrant, each of us is an individual creation made by God. We are all unique. Incredibly, we will all be judged individually. And, as Catholics, we will be held to a higher standard. After all, we proclaim to be part of the Mystical Body of Christ which is filled with the deposit of faith. No matter how we lived our lives, the common denominator for all of us will be; How much we loved each other and our neighbor.

Based on that, here are some points to consider if we focus on, before all else, pleasing God in the New Year, the Catholic Way:

Never forget that you are God’s individual creation and therefore a gift He has bestowed on the world. Be humbled by the fact that He does have you in the palm of His hand. Without Him you are nothing.

.Be happy with who and what you are. God made you and loves If you feel you need to change to please Him, you can do it. Just ask for His help.

.The choices you make are your responsibility. Sometimes our choices hurt us.

.Embrace them and learn from them and move on. Thank God for the experience.

.Sometimes NOT getting what you want or what you think you need is a If you trust God, you will thank Him. When “one door closes another opens.”

.Always count your blessings—not your troubles.

.Always do your best. The “best” is all God expects from each of us.

.You can make it through whatever comes along.

.Prayer is the most powerful of weapons and can be your greatest ally in all diversity.

.Do not take things too seriously—especially yourself.

.The key to happiness is to give of yourself, not to “get’ for yourself.

.Miracles happen; you are one—I am one—we all are one.

.Temptation is everywhere. It is okay to say “NO.”

.Finally, never fail to help a neighbor, whoever it may be—even a stranger.

We all will experience “highs and lows” during the coming year. As Catholics, we have the armor of the church to shield us and the angels and saints to help us fight our battles with the evil one.

St. Michael the Archangel will always ‘defend us in battle”. St. Anthony will help us find lost items. St. Jude will help us through seemingly impossible barricades. Good St. Joseph is ready to help all men be good fathers and husbands. St. Monica will help moms and St. Dymphna will help those with experiencing emotional difficulties or suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. And, of course, the Blessed Virgin Mary is always there for all of us.

Virtually every day of the calendar year honors a particular saint, and that saint has been assigned a special task; such as St. Padre Pio who is the patron of adolescents and volunteers or St. Maximilian Kolbe, martyred in the Holocaust, who is the patron of drug addicts. Help is always available when you are Catholic.

Lastly, we have in place for our salvation the most beautiful thing this side of heaven; the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We can actually be at the foot of the Cross and then witness the resurrection. It is there for all of us every day if we so CHOOSE. Then there are the sacraments, always available to build us up and restore us to where we should be.

Yes—being Catholic is very cool. We even have the Rosary.

HAPPY NEW YEAR, 2018 –“No Fear”

Hanukkah—We Catholic/Christians might give this sacred Jewish Holiday more respect.

By Larry Peterson

 

The great feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is celebrated on December 12th.  In 2017 there is also another great religious holiday that commences on that same day. We Catholic/Christians hardly ever notice this day even though it is the most widely celebrated Jewish holiday in the United States. I refer to Hanukkah (also spelled Chanukah). Hanukkah ends at sundown on Wednesday, December 20.

 

Virtually all of our faith is rooted in Judaism. Jesus was called “rabbi” and taught in the temple. St. Joseph was a “righteous Jew” who practiced his faith diligently abiding by the rules as best he could.  Our dear Blessed Mother was a Jewish girl given over to the temple hierarchy at the age of three. When the Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer #1) is used by the priest offering Mass, “Abraham, our father in faith” is mentioned right after the consecration. Yes, our Catholic faith is most definitely descended from Judaism (no need to mention the Apostles).

 

 

What follows is about Hanukkah and some of the history and customs behind it. It is also meant to question why so many of us Catholic/Christians do not appreciate the profound connection between Judaism and Catholicism. Let us begin with the Bible and John 10: 22-35. This begins with the Feast of the Dedication. This is known today as the Festival of Lights aka Hanukkah. The last verse has Jesus saying, “—and scripture cannot be set aside—.”  By saying this He ties the Old Testament to Himself.

 

In our Catholic Bible the Old Testament, 1 Maccabees 4:59,  reads; “Then Judas and his brothers and the entire congregation of Israel decreed that the days of dedication of the altar should be observed with joy and gladness on the anniversary every year for eight days from the 25th day of  the month of Chislev.” This is today’s Hanukkah. And John has Jesus referring to it in his gospel. Jesus was celebrating Hanukkah. It follows that if Jesus celebrated Hanukkah, we Catholic/Christians should honor it even if it is simply done in our own quiet way.

 

Here is some basic information about Hanukkah:

 

.Hanukkah is the Jewish eight-day, wintertime “festival of lights”. This holiday celebrates the rededication of the Temple after Judah Maccabee and his brothers liberated Judea from pagan domination.

 

.The Menorah is a candelabra with a new candle lit each day of the celebration. The Catholic connection to Hanukkah lies in the fact that this Holiday comes from 1 and 2 Maccabees. These books are not in the Hebrew Bible or the Protestant (King James) Bible. But they are in the Catholic and Orthodox Bible.

 

.“Gelt” is Yiddish for coins. Gelt  has been part of Hanukkah observances for centuries. Today, chocolate is often substituted for gold coins. There are those who say that chocolate gelt is similar to the European tradition of exchanging gold-covered chocolate coins in honor of the miracles of St. Nicholas. (Christmas and Hanukkah have been tied together).

 

.In 2013, the holidays of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah joined together on the same day, November 28. It was so unusual for this to happen they even had turkey-shaped menorahs in the Thanksgiving Day Parade. For many of today’s millennials, they may still be around when this clash of Holidays happens again. That will happen on November 27, 2070. As for me, I probably will miss that parade.

 

The following two (or three) blessings are said each night before the menorah is lit. Note the parallels to our Offertory prayers said over the bread and wine.

 

1) Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the Chanukah light.

 

2) Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our forefathers in those days, at this time.

 

3) Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion.

 

HAPPY HANUKKAH and MERRY CHRISTMAS to everyone.

 

Copyright©Larry Peterson 2017

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St. John Berchmans; A Remarkable Role Model for our Youth. He is the Patron Saint of Altar Servers

By Larry Peterson

St. John Berchman’s; Patron St. of Altar Servers…
en.wikipedia.org

This is about a young man who became a saint. He did not found any religious orders or have any miracles attributed to him. He did not commit ant great acts of heroism or adhere to a life of poverty. Rather, John Berchmans became a saint by being kind, courteous and incredibly loyal to the faith.

John was born on March 13, 1599, in a town called Diest,  located in the northeast part of Belgium. His father was shoemaker and John was one of five children. John became an altar boy at the age of seven and his parish priest, Father Emmerick, noticed his genuine piety and even commented to others that the Lord would work wonders in the boy’s soul.

When John was nine, his mom took ill and he spent hours at her side doing his best to comfort and care for her. She passed on when he was about thirteen and Father Emmerick allowed John to move in with him and some others boys he had living there.

He became fast friends with the others at the priest’s home and never failed to take on the most menial of tasks and complete them to the best of his ability. He was always kind and never would stray from doing what his conscience told him was right. His kindness and intelligence were a great example to the other students and the young man proved to be a profound influence on them.

John then read the biography of  St. Aloysius Gonzaga and decided he wanted to be a Jesuit. At the age of 17, he was able to enroll as a Jesuit novitiate at the Jesuit College at Malines, Belgium. He worked hard at his studies and, inspired by the life of St. Aloysius, had developed a desire to teach all the multi-lingual migrants that were in Europe. In 1618 he was sent to Rome for more education.

John Berchmans was very poor. His journey to Rome was not easy. He had to walk to Rome, a distance of 300 “leagues” or a distance of 900 miles. Carrying all his worldly goods in a  sack hung across his back, he made it to Rome. How long the journey took is unknown. He did arrive and began his studies.

In addition to studying rhetoric and philosophy, he managed to study different languages with his ultimate goal being to become a missionary in China. In his third year at the Roman College, John was selected to take part in a philosophy debate at the Greek College run by the Dominicans. John was brilliant in his arguments and carried the day. However, on the way home, he became very ill.

John Berchmans illness turned into a quick downward spiral. He seemed to have a cold which turned into other unknown maladies and he died within a week of becoming ill. The thought today is that it was dysentery that caused his death. The young man was only twenty-two-years-old and had not lived long enough to be ordained.

John Berchmans was known for his extreme piety and for being diligent in all matters, even involving the most trivial of tasks. When he died he was holding onto his rosary, a crucifix and the rules of his order. As he was dying he said: “These are my three treasures; with these, I shall gladly die.


There were many miracles attributed to John’s after his death and, as a result, the famous “altar boy” developed a huge following, especially in Belgium. In fact, over 24,000 portraits of him were given out within a few years of his death. He is known for his devotion the Blessed Sacrament and to Our Lady, to whom he composed a Chaplet in honor of the Immaculate Conception.

John Berchmans died on August 13, 1621. He was canonized a saint on January 15, 1888. He is the patron saint of altar servers and students. He is also a true role model for all youth of today.

St. John Berchmans, please pray for us all.

The First Apparition of the Blessed Mother took place while she was still Alive. The year was 40 A.D.

By Larry Peterson

Only seven years after Jesus death and Resurrection, on October 12, 40 A.D., an incredible event took place. That was the day the very first Marian apparition ever recorded took place. And yes, Our Lady was still alive at the time. This apparition occurred in Spain and it was Jesus’ apostle, St. James the Great, brother of St. John, who the Blessed Virgin appeared to. This apparition is known as Our Lady of Pillar.

 

During the very early days of Christianity, James had traveled to a pagan land called Zaragoza, in the Roman province of Hispania which today is better known as Spain or Espana. Zaragoza was a foreboding place and James was having a very difficult time evangelizing the people in the area. They just did not seem to care and they did not even like this strange man from a different country.

 

Legend has it that James, despondent and dejected had fallen into (what we call today), a terrible “funk”. No matter how much he tried he could not seem to lift his own spirits. One night, James was praying by the banks of the Ebro River. Suddenly a great light engulfed him. James knelt, staring into the light, and what he saw was beyond description. In the light was the Virgin Mary and she was surrounded by thousands of angels.

 

She told James that he should persevere because, ultimately, his work for Jesus would have great results and many would turn to the Faith. She asked that a church be built on the place where she appeared and left behind a pillar of “Jasper” to mark the spot where she had been.  The Virgin Mary also left a small statue of herself holding the infant Jesus in her arms. The statue was sitting atop the Jasper pillar. Since the Blessed Virgin was still alive and living in Jerusalem, her appearance is considered an act of bilocation.

 

James immediately gathered some of his new followers and began work on a chapel on the designated site. The chapel is the first church ever dedicated to Mary and today, after many renovations, is known as the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar. It is located in the exact place Our Lady appeared 2000 years ago.

 

James participated in the dedication of the small church and returned to Jerusalem. Ironically, he was the first apostle to die for the faith. In 44 A.D., Herod Agrippa, had James beheaded. The disciples of James took his body back to Spain for final burial. The statue and pillar were taken under the protection of the people of Zorogaza.

 

The many miracles surrounding the relic can attest to its heavenly origin. For example, it has been almost 2000 years and the statue has never needed dusting. In 1936, the Catholic-hating “Reds” bombed the shrine but the bombs that hit the church never exploded. No one is allowed to touch the statue except for the four priests assigned to its care and newborn infants can be lifted up to touch the image of their heavenly Mom.

 

Popes from the earliest times have attested to the authenticity of Our lady’s appearance at the shrine. Pope Calixtus III issued a Papal bull in 1456 encouraging people to make pilgrimages to Our Lady of Pillar. The miracle of the shrine’s foundation was even acknowledged.

 

The most prominent miracle occurred in the 17th century. A    beggar named Miguel Pellicer from the town of Calanda, could not work due to having an amputated leg. He was constantly praying at the shrine for the Blessed Mother’s help. She answered his prayers for sure because his leg was restored. When word of this spread, pilgrimages greatly increased to the shrine and it has been so ever since.

 

Over the centuries many controversial stories arose concerning the authenticity of this shrine. Pope Innocent III, answering an appeal from Spain, had twelve cardinals investigate all the data available. On August 7, 1723, the Sacred Congregation of Rites, affirmed the original. In 1730, Pope Clement XII, allowed the feat of Our Lady of Pillar to be celebrated throughout the Spanish empire. Eventually she was declared Patroness of the Hispanic World. Our Lady of Pillar’s feast day is October 12.

 

One final thought. As a young seminarian, St. Josemaria Escriva, made daily visits to the shrine of Our Lady of Pillar. He always prayed for guidance and eventually founded Opus Dei. The members honor her feast day each year.

 

Our Lady of Pillar, please pray for us.

Photo courtesy: commons wikimedia.org

I Watched in Awe as the Priest Stepped into the Sandals of Christ

By Larry Peterson

What follows is about a priest in a crowd, a famous poem, and a moment in time. The moment was like seeing a tiny flower growing out of a crack in a concrete sidewalk. That tiny flower is another example of God’s creative beauty that surrounds us yet is barely noticed by anyone. The fate of that tiny flower is ominous. Even though no person anywhere at any time could ever create that fragile, work of living beauty, it more than likely will be ignored, stepped upon or sprayed with weed killer to get rid of it. Ah well, we “smarties” have no time for such trivialities and petty annoyances.

 

The poem I refer to is, “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer. Written in 1913, it has a timely message. There is a line in the poem that reads, “A tree that looks at God all day, And lifts her leafy arms to pray: the tiny flower in the concrete is a smaller version, is it not? So what about the priest in the crowd?

 

I was at a parish event the other evening which featured as speakers our Bishop, an author, a radio station personality, and our pastor. The Knights of Columbus (which included me) were the ones who prepared and served the free dinner to over 300 guests. The parish center was packed and when the final speaker had finished we began to serve the dessert.  I sensed something special was going on nearby. I do not know if anyone else but me was paying attention but I was about to witness one of those special moments in time.

 

There were a number of local parish priests in attendance and one of them was the chaplain at the local VA hospital. I was working in the kitchen assisting getting the cake plates on trays and handing the trays to those serving the guests. Outside the kitchen and to my left against the wall was the drink table where coffee, tea, cold drinks etc were available. At any given time there were at least ten people standing in line. Five feet away from the drink table was the first row of dinner tables. Father was sitting at the end of the first table talking to a woman.

 

At this point, the chatter was quite loud and people were up and moving about visiting other tables saying “HI” to other folks they knew. I noticed Father looking at the young lady very intently and purposefully. I knew this priest had put his Jesus’ sandals on.

 

I kept working and watching the two of them. They were at least twenty feet away from me and, with all the activity and noise and people milling about and all around them, they had managed to be alone. The priest listened and listened and listened some more.  I watched as best I could because this was so awe-inspiring. I was witnessing Christ do His thing through His priest. This happens every time we attend Mass but how many of us think about what actually IS happening? We hear of this happening in other places but how often do we get to watch it happen? Hardly ever.

 

After a while, Father leaned his head to the right a bit and rested his chin on his upraised fist. He was not looking directly at the woman he was now sort of looking downward. He inconspicuously blessed her and, I assume, she was being given absolution. I was not positive because  I had heard nothing and never even saw her face. But it did not matter. Whatever was happening between them was spiritual and beautiful.

 

Like the tiny flower popping its little lavender petal through a crack in concrete or Kilmer’s magnificent tree looking at God all day lifting its “leafy arms to pray” this moment was those moments. Few people notice the stunning Oak tree standing majestically alongside a roadway or a blade of grass pushing its way through a hairline crack in a slab of cement. Sadly, more and more people are losing sight of Christ in our midst and the hand of the Creator smiling down on His creations. I was blessed. I caught a glimpse the other night.

 

Joyce Kilmer’s poem finishes up with the poignant words: “Poems are made by fools like me, But only God can make a tree.”  We need to remember that.

Artwork from SimpleMassingPriest.com