Tag Archives: Rosary

Christmas–Is it Really a Time for Miracles?–I Believe It Is.

Miracles Do Happen                         huffingtonpost.uk.com

By Larry Peterson

During  Christmas season I  believe God’s loving hand sweeps down and touches many of us with a little extra something when we might need it most. Haven’t you ever, after having something unexpected and wonderful happen, blurted out, “I can’t believe it, it’s a miracle!”

Sometimes what happens to you or someone close to you is inexplicable, mystifying and mysterious and you just know in your heart that God had His hand in the mix. The following is true and it happened to my family during the Christmas season of 1960. I can remember it as if it happened today. There is no logical explanation save God intervened and gave us an unexpected Christmas gift.

Our Mom had just turned forty and suddenly was going back and forth to the hospital for two or three days at a time. I had just turned 16 and was more or less oblivious to most everything except Barbara McMahon, who lived around the corner. Every time Mom came home she looked worse. My sister, Carolyn, 13, told me the black and blue marks on Mom’s arms were from IV needles. I figured she knew what was up especially since she wanted to be a nurse.

Dad just kept telling us it was the “grippe” (today we call it the flu). “Don’t worry,” he’d say, “It’s just a really bad grippe.” Grandma, who lived with us, embraced that concept without question. Today, the psyche experts call that Denial. Grandma proved to be really good at it.

Mom was home for Thanksgiving but Grandma was doing most of the work using my poor sister as her trainee. I know that it was sometime after Thanksgiving that Mom went back into the hospital. Then came December 18. That was the day Dad, Grandma, Carolyn and myself, took the subway down to Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan for a simple Sunday visit with the woman who was the wife, mother, and daughter in our lives. Christmas was one week away and that visit turned out to be anything but simple.

Mom was on the third floor and when we got to her room several doctors and nurses were standing around her bed. Mom was on the bed, her head on the pillow and turned to one side. Her eyes were closed. I remember how still she was. I was instantly frightened. Carolyn and I looked at each other and she too was filled with fear. It is amazing how fast fear can embrace you.

Grandma placed her hand over her mouth and started to cry. One of the doctors pulled our dad to the side and quietly talked to him. I watched him shake his head ever so slightly. Then he came over to me and (this is a direct quote from him on that day), “Please take your sister and Grandma to the chapel and say a rosary together. Your Mom needs all the prayers she can get right now.”

Trying to grow into a man in a matter of seconds I put my arm around Grandma’s shoulder and said, “C’mon Grandma, let’s do what Dad asked.” She was so distraught she simply complied and followed my lead. As we headed to the inter-denominational chapel a priest hurried towards Mom’s room.

I have no idea how long we were in that little chapel but I do know we had prayed two rosaries when a nurse came in and asked us to come back to the room. We were a bit shocked because the nurse was smiling. Grandma, with her worn out arthritic knees, jumped up and broke into the funkiest sprint I have ever seen. She had erased thirty years just like that.

When we walked into that room we were confronted with a sight to behold. Mom was sitting up in bed, smiling. Dad was next to her with his arm around her shoulder. He was sporting a grin that spread across his entire face and tears were streaming down his cheeks. Standing on the other side of the bed was the priest we had seen in the hallway. He was standing there with his hands clasped together with a look on his face I cannot describe. For me, it was a moment etched indelibly in my mind and I can see it as clearly as I did back then.

Our Mom, who we thought was dead, extended her arms and said, “Well, don’t I get a hug from you two? C’mon, get over here.”

Mom was not only better, but she was also ALL better. Her arms were clear, her face had color and her eyes were bright and cheerful. Several doctors were outside huddled together in disbelief. They had no explanation for her sudden recovery. We finally learned that Mom had Leukemia and, in 1960, your chances with that disease were virtually non-existent. We also learned that Dad had asked us to go to the chapel because the doctor had told him she only had moments left. He did not want us to see her pass on.

My father and the priest believed they had witnessed a miracle. Grandma, Carolyn and I witnessed the results of that miracle. Mom came home the next afternoon.

Christmas of 1960 was spiritual and fabulous. What had happened filled us all with an awe-inspiring sense of what Christmas means….New Life.  As for Mom, she was fine until the end of January. She enjoyed Johnny’s second birthday and Danny’s eleventh birthday. In early February she was back in the hospital. She died on February 18, 1961. God gave her back to us for one last Christmas and it was the best Christmas ever.

So please, trust me when I tell you, Christmas is really a time for miracles.

©Copyright Larry Peterson 2016

Catholics and America; “Joined at the Hip” We must be; look at all the American cities named after a Catholic saint

Christianity & America–inseparable
Istockphoto

By Larry Peterson

One of our greatest Americans, George Washington, said of the United States Constitution: “The adoption of the Constitution will demonstrate as visibly the finger of Providence as any possible event in the course of human affairs can ever designate it.”

The United States Constitution was signed on September 17, 1787,

and on  December 15, 1791, the Bill of Rights went into effect after Virginia ratified it. The First Amendment assured us of these fundamental freedoms: Religion, Speech and Press, and the Right to peaceably assemble and petition grievances. Note how the very first freedom guaranteed we citizens is that of Religion.

In the United States, we are free to practice any religion we want, but there is one religion among the many that stands out across this great land. From our northern to the southern borders and from the Atlantic to the Pacific, these are cities named after Catholic saints. They say, loud and clear, Catholic!

The last I heard Catholicism is the only religion which honors so many people who have gone before us and have given them the title of Saint. This title, after exhaustive research and study into the person’s life,  is only bestowed on the “best of the best.” which means those who have sacrificed everything, sometimes including their lives, for the love of God.

Remarkably, many of these Catholics have been called upon to represent an American city when their prayerful intercession is invoked by folks settling a certain area. For example, San Francisco is named after St. Francis of Assisi. This city was founded in 1776 as the Mission of San Francisco de Asis. The monks and the people called on St. Francis to protect them and their new home.

California alone has many towns and cities named after saints. Many of these started as Spanish missions. San Bernardino is named after St. Bernard of Siena. San Clemente is named after St. Clement who was the fourth Pope. Then there is San Diego, a major U.S. city; San Juan Capistrano, founded by St. Junipero Serra and named in honor of St. John Capistrano. We must mention Sacramento, California. This city is named after Christ present in the Most Holy Eucharist. We cannot get more Catholic than that.

There are many across this land such as St. Anthony, Idaho named after St. Anthony of Padua; St. Paul, Oregon named after the apostle Paul; St. Mary’s, West Virginia named after Our Lady; St. Florian, Alabama, named after a Roman soldier who died for the faith; St. Joseph, Oregon; St. Edward, Nebraska; Santa Rosa, New Mexico named after St. Rose of Lima; and St. Ignatius, Montana. Let’s not forget, St. Cloud, Minnesota. There are so many more.

It may not have always been so, but today our nation is visibly and profoundly linked to the Catholic faith. We, as Catholics, are bound to our nation through the principles set in place by our non-Catholic Founders. Freedom of religion has allowed for streets, buildings, organizations, sports teams, rivers, lakes, and cities to be able to bear the name of Catholic saints.

There is not a shred of doubt that Catholicism and America are forever linked. Freedom of religion is the greatest freedom guaranteed to a people. We can love and worship God as we see fit and can do it on a daily basis.

Virtually every state in the union has a city or town named after a Catholic saint, people who are shining examples of all that is GOOD. The secular world can try as they may, but their quest to remove God from our lives will never succeed. How can it? We have an army of saints and the Rosary. Secularism may cause some grief but, in the end, it does not have a prayer.

copyright©Larry Peterson 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.

Truly an extraordinary ministry: I am an EMHC and I am honored to be one

EMHCs and Holy Communion           flickr/Utah Knights

By Larry Peterson

I wish to clarify something right away. I am NOT a Eucharistic Minister. I am an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion (EMHC). Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion is the proper term for the people involved in this ministry. The term, “Eucharist” is never to be in their title. That term is reserved for the priest alone. (see Redemptionis Sacramentum).

I have been involved in many ministries over the years and have been an EMHC for 23 years. For me, nothing can compare to being an EMHC. It is all about Jesus, the person receiving Jesus, and you being the one who has brought them together. It does not get any better than that.

I rarely miss a visit to my homebound friends. As of this writing, I visit nine (9) every Sunday. Five of them are in their nineties. Honestly, it makes my day. Ironically, it makes their day too, (and sometime their week)  because they hardly see anyone during the week except home-health aides and folks like that.  All I come with is a smile, a church bulletin, maybe a prayer card and, of course, their BEST FRIEND.

I have a journaling book, and in the back, I have compiled names of people I have brought Holy Communion to over the years. I want to share a few of these folks with you. These are Catholic people who have lived their Catholic lives to the best of their ability. Many of them were children during the Great Depression and lived through World War II and into the 21st century. Like my friend, George B.

George was in the U.S. Navy and stationed in London in 1940 during the Blitzkrieg. He survived that, came home and wound up at Pearl Harbor. He was there on December 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked. He and a Marine corporal manned a 50 caliber machine gun and shot down two Japanese Zeroes. The two of them then proceeded to pull men out of the burning water near the USS Arizona.

After the war, he was in the circus for over 20 years. George died several years ago at the age of 97. I loved his stories. He was a walking history book, and he would get all animated when he was telling you about his adventures. I brought him Communion every Sunday for more than two years. What an honor that was.

There was Anne S. She was 90 and would be dressed to the “T” every Sunday when I arrived. She would ask, “Why does God keep me here, Larry?”

“Anne,” I would say. “He needs Prayer Warriors. That’s what you are, and that’s why you are here. There are many souls in Purgatory. They need your help.”

She would always smile and point to her Rosary and her prayer books on the table next to her. She would point to them and say, “Yes, I know. I do keep busy.” Recruiting “prayer warriors” is an important part of what I do. Anne has been gone for five years.

And my little pal, Scotty Walker. He was a St. Jude baby because of a tumor on his brain stem. That was in 1977 when he was only two years old. He was now 25. Only 4 feet, 4 inches tall; he started his own lawn service when he was about 17.

Scotty wore a big straw hat, and his nose would be just above the lawn mower handle as he pushed it along. At the same time, he was studying for his GED. He worked his tail off until he could not any longer. I brought him Communion every Sunday during the last two years of his life. He died in 2002 when he was 27.

I have been blessed to be part of this ministry. I have seven people who received their Viaticum from me. It was not planned that way—it just happened. I pray to each of them all the time. I have on my list over 40 people who have passed on, including both my wives (one died in 2003 and the other in 2017).

I would suggest you look into being part of this ministry.  You get to leave the church with Jesus in your pocket and then, just you and He, get to go visiting His homebound or hospitalized people. It is a beautiful thing.

copyright©Larry Peterson 2018