The Queen of All Saints: All Saints Day, Sunday, November 1, 2015

J.M.J. Everyone in Heaven loves Our Lady. She is the Mother and the Queen of the Saints. They achieved victory over sin and death by way of the Grace of Jesus Christ and the Prayers of Mary.

Our imagination need not stretch far to conceive of those in Paradise who surround the throne of Almighty God looking upon Our Lady with tender love and undying gratitude.

We can do the same here in this "valley of tears."

May our affection for the Queen of Saints imitate that which the Saints already possess.

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Sanctity is possible. Please see this video, courtesy of "Rome Reports."

One Rosary Leads to Another: Saturday, October 31, 2015

J.M.J. The last day of the month of October reminds us of the focus that we had at the beginning of the month: Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary. 

And the attention that we give to Mary and her Rosary need not dissipate now as we enter November. 

No matter what the calendar says, we always give thanks to God for Our Blessed Mother as well as for the treasure that we know as the Rosary.

Is there some way that we can encourage others to pray the Holy Rosary?

What if, during this new month, each of us were to encourage someone to recite the Rosary?

If you contact me, I would provide a Rosary and a pamphlet that explains how to recite this prayer that Saint John Paul II (1978-2005) called his "favorite."

Our Lady, the Rose of Nazareth: Friday, October 30, 2015

 J.M.J. "The late, revered Mariologist, Father Theodore A. Koehler, S.M., summarized the universal symbolism of the rose in Christian practice in this brief prayer: 

May God look with favor upon our world, 
the rose He created, that it may more expand 
its petals and so glorify Him, our Creator and Father, 
in imitation of the rose of Nazareth, Mary, 
the servant of the Lord."

--The Reverend Brother John M. Samaha, S.M., "The Rose: A Marian Symbol" in Missio Immaculatae International (September/October 2015), 35.

How May I Sincerely Pray the Most Holy Rosary?--Thursday, October 29, 2015

J.M.J. "We can never sufficiently recommend the saying of the Rosary, not simply with the lips, but with the attention of the soul to the divine truths, with a heart filled with love and gratitude."

--Saint John XXIII (1958-1963)


Is Mary's Perpetual Virginity a Mere Theological Opinion?: Wednesday, October 28, 2015

J.M.J. The same author whose volume we considered yesterday wrote that "the arguments against historicity (of virginal conception) are also strong." 

In other words, this scholar's opinion is that Our Lady's virginity before the Birth of her Divine Son Jesus Christ may not really be true.

How unfortunate.

The Perpetual Virginity of Mary is not open to debate. Rather, the Church, based on Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, unerringly teaches this Dogma: Our Lady was a virgin before the Birth of Jesus, during His Birth and after His Birth.

Instead of denying Magisterial Teaching, let us seek to understand and embrace it.

V. Mother inviolate, 

R. Pray for us.

Our Blessed Lady Did Not Believe in and Support Her Divine Son?: Tuesday, October 27, 2015

J.M.J. Yesterday, I read this statement in a book that presents the Catholic Faith to adults.

Thus, in the Synoptic depiction of Mary during Jesus' ministry there is a development from the negative estimation of Mark to the positive one of Luke, with Matthew representing the middle ground.

The author was referring to the story in Saint Mark's Gospel when Jesus was considered to be "out of His mind" (3:21) by His family. It seems that the author wished to state that Our Lady, too, thought that Jesus was "crazy." 

This opinion is contrary to the longstanding Magisterial teaching that Mary fully believed in and cooperated with her Divine Son in His work of our Redemption.

Neither do I understand how Saint Mark can be said to depict Our Lady in a "negative" light nor comprehend how Saint Matthew chose "the middle ground."

We pray for the author, who is deceased, and we pray that we may be protected from all error.

V. Mary, Seat of Wisdom,

R. Pray for us.

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Your will appreciate this report, courtesy of "40 Days for Life":

Invoking the Holy Family of Nazareth: Monday, October 26, 2015

J.M.J. A beautiful prayer to the Holy Family concludes the Final Report, dated October 24, 2015, of the Synod of Bishops to Pope Francis.

Prayer to the Holy Family

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
in You we contemplate the splendor of true love,
with confidence we turn to You.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
make also our families into 
places of communion and cenacles of prayer,
authentic schools of the Gospel
and little domestic Churches.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
never again may violence, separation and division
be experienced in families:
may anyone wounded or scandalized
soon know consolation and healing.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
reawaken in all the knowledge of the
sacred and inviolable character of the family,
its beauty in the plan of God.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
hear and grant our prayer.


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Please thank Almighty God through Our Lady for the nine years of service rendered by the Most Reverend Paul Joseph Swain, D.D., in the Diocese of Sioux Falls.

The Spiritual Mother of All of Us: Sunday, October 25, 2015

J.M.J. The Most Reverend Jaime Fuentes, the Bishop of Minas (Uruguay), proposed during the Synod on the Family that concluded yesterday that the Holy Father begin a consultation about the advisability of declaring as a Dogma the Doctrine of the Spiritual Maternity of Our Lady.

Bishop Fuentes said in part during his Intervention:

"Pope Francis wrote, 'every time we look upon Mary, we once again believe in the revolutionary aspect of tenderness and caring'. She 'is the Mother of the evangelizing Church; (…) and without her we will never fully comprehend the spirit of the New Evangelization' (Enc. Evangelii gaudium, ns. 288 and 284).

"During the memorable Marian Year from 1987-1988, St. John Paul II foresaw a task which, given the current context, acquires a singular importance: the Church should prepare (…) boldly facing the future, the ways of cooperating with Mary (cf. Enc. Redemptoris Mater, n. 49). To put it a different way: in the mind of the Holy Pontiff, the Church would have to discover how to 'make it easy' for the Virgin to exercise her Maternity, which in her Immaculate Heart reaches all women and men on earth.

"In this way, the Catechism of the Catholic Church picks up a splendid possibility: 'the dogmas--as it reads in number 89--are lights along the path of faith; they illuminate it, and make it secure'. Venturing into the 'New Evangelization' and thinking in the 'ways' in which the Blessed Mother’s maternal love can effectively reach her daughters and sons, without exclusion wherever they may be, we should ask ourselves: 'Wouldn’t the surest way be iter para tutum! ("Make a safe way for us")--the solemn and definitive proclamation of the dogma of her spiritual Maternity, a joyous reality, believed, experienced and loved by the Christian people? And wouldn't this act also be the great momentum of holiness and apostolic purpose needed by the Church?'

"The answer to this double question should be given by the entire Church body. This was clearly taught by Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman: 'the body of the faithful', he wrote, 'is one of the witnesses of the traditional nature of revealed doctrine, and (…) said consensus throughout Christianity, is the voice of the Infallible Church'. He taught that, in preparing for a dogmatic definition, 'the laity had their testimony to offer; but if there is ever a case where the laity should be consulted, it is in regards to doctrines concerning directly on the devotional. (…) The faithful have a special function in regards to those doctrinal truths related to culture (…) and the Blessed Virgin is the preeminent object of devotion' (J.H. Newman, The Faithful and Tradition [Los Fieles y la Tradición], Buenos Aires, pp. 63 and 110).

"To sum up, for these theological reasons, from which we can obtain very rich consequences of a pastoral nature, and considering the teaching of Pope Francis, that the 'sensus fidei' of the holy people of God, in its unity is never mistaken (Homily, January 1, 2014), I want to propose to the Holy Father to bring about a consultation directed to the entire Church, Pastors and faithful, regarding the prudence of defining as a truth of the faith, the doctrine of the Spiritual Maternity of Mary Most Holy. Thank you very much."

Please see the following, courtesy of "Rome Reports."

Let us thank and continue to plead with Almighty God through Our Lady of Guadalupe for the continuing preservation of Mexico from the frightful Hurricane Patricia.

Promoter of Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary: Saturday, October 24, 2015

J.M.J. Saint Anthony Mary Claret (1807-1870) promoted devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Who could seriously argue that Our Lady did not play a decisive role in the following story, whose author is unknown?

"In December of 1850, St. Anthony Claret was saying good-bye to friends in Spain before leaving to take charge of the Archdiocese of Santiago, Cuba.  At dawn one day he took a stagecoach to go to visit the Archbishop of Tarragona. When the coach drew into Villafranca del Panades, about seven A.M., all the priests of the town were there to meet it and begged Archbishop Claret to interrupt his journey and come to their aid. As soon as he heard their story he dismounted and sent word to his host that he had met with a delay.

"Four criminals were to be executed there that morning--three boys in their late teens and a man of forty--and all four had absolutely refused to confess and receive Communion. 

"The pastor of the town pressed Archbishop Claret to have a quick cup of hot chocolate and hurry over to the prison. No, said the Archbishop, they must first go to the church and place the affair in God's hands. When they had done this, they went to the prison, and the missionary was at once admitted to see the condemned men.

"St. Anthony Claret's warm, fatherly pleas soon conquered the three younger criminals. They made their Confessions, and the chaplain prepared to administer them Viaticum, the last Communion. He asked the young men, according to the custom, if they forgave all who had injured them. Two replied yes. The third said 'yes,' he forgave everyone except his mother. Archbishop Claret prostrated himself and kissed the boy's feet. 'My son,' he said, 'if you do not pardon your mother you will be damned.  For God's sake and for my sake I beg you to forgive her.' 'No,' the young man said, 'it is on her account that I am in this trouble. If she had punished me in time I would not be here. I do not forgive her.' The four prisoners were covered with execution robes, mounted on mules, and led to the scaffold. The moment before his sentence of death was carried out, the unforgiving youth shouted, 'I forgive my mother from my heart. Pray for me!'  Then the older man, the toughest of the four, held up his arms and asked to confess. Seated on the bench, with his head covered, he confessed and was absolved. Then the four men were put to death. Some time after, God revealed to Anthony Claret the judgment the four had received. In a public conference he emphatically stated: 'The four criminals of Villafranca were saved.'

Our Lady, Undoer of Knots: Friday, October 23, 2015

J.M.J. "Virgin Mary, Mother of fair love, Mother who never refuses to come to the aid of a child in need, Mother whose hands never cease to serve your beloved children because they are moved by the divine love and immense mercy that exists in your Heart, cast your compassionate eyes upon me and see the snarl of knots that exist in my life. 

"You know very well how desperate I am, my pain and how I am bound by these knots. 

"Mary, Mother to whom God entrusted the undoing of the knots in the lives of His children, I entrust into your hands the ribbon of my life. 

"No one, not even the evil one himself, can take it away from your precious care. In your hands there is no knot that cannot be undone. 

"Powerful Mother, by your grace and intercessory power with Your Son and My Liberator, Jesus, take into your hands today this knot . . . I beg you to undo it for the glory of God, once for all, You are my hope.

"O my Lady, you are the only consolation God gives me, the fortification of my feeble strength, the enrichment of my destitution and with Christ the freedom from my chains. 

"Hear my plea. 

"Keep me, guide me, protect me, o safe refuge!

"Mary, Undoer of Knots, pray for me."

Imprimatur: The Cardinal-Archbishop of Paris

The Grateful Mary: Monday, October 19, 2015

J.M.J. Do you try to be grateful?

Each of us should be an exemplar of thanksgiving. Why? Because God has enriched us and our lives in multiple ways.

Are we thankful?

"For He Who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His Name." (Saint Luke 1:49)

May the words from Our Lady in her Magnificat ring out without ceasing in our hearts and from our lips.

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God willing, postings will resume on Friday, October 23rd.

Saint Luke Told Us about Mary: Sunday, October 18, 2015

J.M.J. If today were not Sunday, the Sacred Liturgy would commemorate Saint Luke, Evangelist.

We can never forget his contribution to our knowledge of Our Lady, especially by way of his Infancy Narratives in his Holy Gospel (Chapter 1-2) and his reference to Mary joining the Apostles in prayer before Pentecost Sunday (Acts of the Apostles 1:14).

Let us thank God for this great Evangelist who has painted a picture (figuratively in his writings and, according to tradition, literally in his artistic rendition of the Son and His Virgin Mother--Our Lady of Good Counsel) of Mary Most Holy.

Consecration to the Two Hearts: Saturday, October 17, 2015

J.M.J. "After the letters of Mother Mary of the Divine Heart (1863-1899) requesting, in the name of Christ Himself, that Pope Leo XIII to consecrate the world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Holy Father commissions a group of theologians to examine the petition on the basis of revelation and sacred tradition. This investigation was positive. And so in the encyclical letter Annum Sacrum (May 25, 1899 A. D.) this same pope decreed that the consecration of the entire human race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus should take place on June 11, 1899 A. D. Later Pope Leo XIII encouraged the entire Roman Catholic episcopate to promote the devotion of the Nine First Fridays and he established June as the Month of the Sacred Heart. Pope St. Pius X decreed that the consecration of the human race, performed by Pope Leo XIII be renewed each year. Pope Pius XI in his encyclical letter Miserentissimus (May 8, 1928 A. D.) reaffirmed the importance of consecration and reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Finally Venerable Pope Pius XII, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Pope Pius IX's institution of the Feast, instructed the entire Catholic Church at length on the devotion to the Sacred Heart in his encyclical letter Haurietis aquas (May 15, 1956 A. D.)

"It was Venerable Pope Pius XII who first consecrated the Church and the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on October 31 and again, solemnly on December 8, 1942 A. D. In recent times, moved by millions of petitions and by the occasion of the attempted assassination of his own person on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, May 13, 1981, Pope John Paul II consecrated the world and every nation to the Immaculate Heart in 1982, and repeated this act in union with all the Catholic Bishops again in 1983 A.D."

--The Apostolate Alliance of the Two Hearts & Immaculate Mediatrix

A Popular Devotion that Honors Our Lady: Friday, October 16, 2015

J.M.J. Thirteen years ago today, Saint John Paul II bequeathed to the Church the Luminous Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary.

"39. What has been said so far makes abundantly clear the richness of this traditional prayer (the Holy Rosary), which has the simplicity of a popular devotion but also the theological depth of a prayer suited to those who feel the need for deeper contemplation.

"The Church has always attributed particular efficacy to this prayer, entrusting to the Rosary, to its choral recitation and to its constant practice, the most difficult problems. At times when Christianity itself seemed under threat, its deliverance was attributed to the power of this prayer, and Our Lady of the Rosary was acclaimed as the one whose intercession brought salvation.

"Today I willingly entrust to the power of this prayer--as I mentioned at the beginning--the cause of peace in the world and the cause of the family."

--Saint John Paul II, Rosarium Virginis Mariae (October 16, 2002).

Our Blessed Lady and Saint Teresa of Avila: Thursday, October 15, 2015

J.M.J. "St. Teresa's whole Marian experience is found scattered throughout her writings, from which we can put together a lovely mosaic of Mary. ( . . . . ) From the first page of Teresa's writings the Virgin Mary appears among the most important memories of her childhood. She recalls the devotion taught her by her mother Beatriz, which found expression in the recitation of the Rosary. The episode of her prayer to Our Lady after the loss of her mother at the age of 13 is very moving: 'in my affliction I went to an image of our Lady and begged her with many tears to be a mother to me. It seems to me that though I did this in simplicity, it has been of much help to me; for I know that I have always found favor with this sovereign Lady when I have commended myself to her and in the end, she has drawn me to herself.' Teresa then attributes to the Virgin the grace of a constant protection and in a special way the grace of her conversion: 'She has drawn me to herself.' Other texts from the autobiography reveal to us the permanence of the devotion to Mary: when she turns to the Virgin in her sufferings, when she remembers her feasts of the Assumption and the Immaculate Conception or the Holy Family or her devotion to the Rosary. 

--Helen Carlin, O.C.D.S., "Saint Teresa of Jesus and the Virgin Mary."

Our Lady's Closeness to the Dying: Wednesday, October 14, 2015

J.M.J. As "The Little Flower," Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face was on her deathbed, she fixed her gaze on a nearby Statue of Our Lady and said

"Oh with what fervor I have prayed to her. And yet it has been sheer agony, without a ray of consolation. Earth's air is failing me, when shall I breathe the air of Heaven? I could never have believed it possible to suffer so intensely. I can explain it only by my great longing to save souls." 

May we never forget The Little Flower's words as we commend our dying brothers and sisters to Our Lady!

Our Lady's Miracle on 10/13/17: Tuesday, October 13, 2015

J.M.J. On this the 98th Anniversary of Our Lady's Sixth Apparition of 1917 in Fatima, Portugal, we ask for the heavenly intercession of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary.

I do not believe that I have ever seen in an English translation the article about the Miracle of the Sun that appeared in O Seculo, the Portuguese daily newspaper that was published in Lisbon. (That newspaper ceased to be published in 1977.)

Our Lady had promised a miracle. It occurred.

The most recent issue (September/October 2015) of Missio Immaculatae International offers this riveting account (pages 12-15), with pictures.

Should you like a copy of it, then please let me know.

Here is the last paragraph of the article, which was penned by Avelino de Almeida.

It remains to be seen what competent people 
will say about the macabre dancing of the sun 
in Fatima today that caused Hosannas to explode 
from the hearts of the faithful and left a deep 
impression on them--not leaving indifferent, either, 
the free thinkers and others not moved by 
any particular religious impulse, who went to 
the now-famous heath.

Our Lady's Presence: Monday, October 12, 2015

J.M.J. "And there is also Mary, Mother of God and of the Church. She accompanies our song of hope as she suffers with us. It is her presence, above all near the Cross, and our presence to her which enables us never to lose hope."

--The Reverend Peter Damian M. Felhner, F.I., "On the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary" in Missio Immaculatae International (September/October 2015), 7.

Mary Taught Us the Fatima Prayer: Sunday, October 11, 2015

J.M.J. A faith-filled, young lady who frequently comments on one of the most popular Blogs operated by a priest, in recently responding to a poll question about whether one adds the Fatima Prayer ("O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell; lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy") to the end of each Decade of the Most Holy Rosary, wrote: "I don't like the Fatima prayer. I use it if I am praying aloud with others and they expect it. Otherwise I do not use it."

The remark of this lady, who is an exemplary Catholic, has publicly committed herself to the practice of the Virtue of Chastity and has often defended the Holy Father as well as the Church's Social Teaching on the Blog in question, urged me to reflect on why I use the Fatima Prayer at the end of each Decade.

On July 13, 1917, about four thousand persons were gathered in Fatima, Portugal for the apparition of Our Lady, who informed the children that they should specifically recite the Most Holy Rosary in honor of “Our Lady of the Rosary.” Before the trio saw a very frightening vision of Hell, Our Blessed Mother encouraged them:

Sacrifice yourselves for sinners, and say 
many times, especially whenever you make 
any sacrifice: "O Jesus, it is for love of You, 
for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation 
for the sins committed against the 
Immaculate Heart of Mary."

After the vision of Hell, Our Lady said: 

When you recite the beads (that is, pray the Rosary), 
say after each mystery: 
"O my Jesus, forgive us, 
save us from the fire of Hell. 
Lead all souls to Heaven, 
especially those who are most in need."

(The "Fatima Prayer" most often recited today is substantially the same but slightly different in words: "O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell; lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.")

The reason why I use the Fatima Prayer after the end of each Decade is because Our Blessed Mother asked the three little shepherds of Fatima to recite it. 

True, the Church does not command us to use it; however, for me the Fatima Prayer is a reminder of my connection to Our Lady, to her request made nearly a century ago and to Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta.

And the sentiments expressed in the Fatima Prayer are so valuable and relevant to our era.

Finally, based on my years in Rome and the fact, as reported to me just yesterday by persons from India and the Philippines, that many of the Faithful throughout the world use the Fatima Prayer after each Decade, I am convinced that Our Lady's request resonates and is embraced around the globe. 

Thus, we have another inspiring indication that we as members of the Universal Church are united under Our Father in Heaven, in Christ Jesus Our Risen Lord, through the Holy Spirit the Paraclete, with Mary Our Ever-Virgin Mother, Saint Joseph Our Patron, the Holy Angels and the Saints.

Mary, The Mother of God: Saturday, October 10, 2015

J.M.J. On the previous Liturgical Calendar before the one that is currently in use (but is still used in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass), tomorrow is the Feast of the Divine Maternity of Mary. (January 1st is the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God for the Ordinary Form of the Mass.)

The Reverend Gabriele Maria Roschini, O.S.M., the great Italian Mariologist, wrote in Summula Mariologiae: Scholis Theologicis accommodata (Rome: Angelus Belardetti, 1952): "Mary, therefore, since she is truly the Mother of Jesus, Who is the true God, is truly and properly the Mother of God." (page 69)

How did the Church come to this awareness?

Again, Father Roschini: "The Divine Maternity of Mary was solemnly defined, against Nestorius, in the Council of Ephesus in the year 431, special joy of all the Faithful. The true nature and foundations of the Divine Maternity were fully explained by Pius XI in the Encyclical Lux veritatis." (ibid.)

"Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen."

Satan's Intelligence is No Match for that of the Son and His Mother: Friday, October 9, 2015

J.M.J. "Christ chose to be born of a Virgin . . . (so) that the devil should not be aware that salvation had been born for the human race, and through the obscurity of that spiritual conception, when he saw Him no different than others, should believe Him born in no different way than others. For when he observed that His nature was like that of all others, he thought that He had the same origin as all (others) had. And he dd not understand that He was free from the bonds of transgression, because he did not find Him a stranger to the weakness of morality."

--Pope Saint Leo the Great (440-461), Sermon 22, II (in PL54, 193B-199A), as quoted by the Reverend Luca M. Genovese, "The Significance of the Virgin Birth in Saint Leo the Great" in Missio Immaculatae International (September/October 2015), 5.

The Birth of Christ Proved No Detriment to the Virginity of Mary: Thursday, October 8, 2015

J.M.J. "By a new nativity He was begotten, conceived by a Virgin, born of a Virgin, without paternal desire, without injury to the Mother's chastity; because such a birth as knew no taint of human flesh, became One Who was to be the Savior of men, while it possessed in itself the nature of human substance."

--Pope Saint Leo the Great (440-461), Sermon 22, II (in PL 54, 193B-199A), as quoted by the Reverend Luca M. Genovese, "The Significance of the Virgin Birth in Saint Leo the Great" in Missio Immaculatae International (September/October 2015), 4-5.

Thank You, Mary, for Your Most Holy Rosary!--Wednesday, October 7, 2015

J.M.J. Happy Feast of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary!

The Saints explained things very simply:

"The Holy Rosary is a powerful weapon. Use it with confidence, and you will be amazed at the results."

--Saint Josemaria Escriva (1902-1975)

Sweet Mother Mary, Please be with Me at the Hour of My Death: Tuesday, October 6, 2015

J.M.J. Many thanks to the Reverend Jeff Norfolk for sharing this Prayer authored by Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890). 

Oh, my Lord and Savior, support me in that hour 
in the strong arms 
of Your Sacraments, and by the fresh fragrance 
of Your consolations. 
Let the absolving words be said over me, 
and the holy Oil sign and seal me, 
and Your own Body be my food, 
and Your Blood my sprinkling; 
and let my sweet Mother, Mary, 
breathe on me, and my Angel 
whisper peace to me, and my glorious Saints (NN.) 
smile upon me; 
that in them all, and through them all, 
I may receive the gift of perseverance, 
and die, as I desire to live, in Your faith, in Your Church, 
in Your service, and in Your love. Amen.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, Watch Over Us!: Monday, October 5, 2015

J.M.J. On this the Feast of Saint Mary Faustina, I gladly share with you the Prayer from the recently-concluded World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.

Although that joyful, inspiring event is over, the Prayer remains very applicable!

Our Homeland, Mary's Land: Sunday, October 4, 2015

J.M.J. On Wednesday, September 30th, Pope Francis offered, during his General Audience, the following summary of his visit to the United States of America. We present the following, courtesy of the Website of the Holy See (

"In the United States I made three stops: Washington, New York and Philadelphia.

"In Washington I met with the political authorities, the public, bishops, priests and consecrated men and women, the very poor and the marginalized. I reminded them that the greatest wealth of that land and of its people lies in its spiritual and ethical heritage. And thus I sought to encourage them to pursue the building of society in fidelity to their fundamental principle, namely, that all men were created equal by God and endowed with the inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These values, shared by all, find their fulfillment in the Gospel, as was clearly shown at the Canonization of Franciscan Fr. Junípero Serra, the great evangelizer of California. St. Junípero shows us the path of joy: to go forward and share with others the love of Christ. This is the way of the Christian, as well as of every man or woman who has known love: not to keep it to oneself but to share it with others. It was on this religious and moral foundation that the United States of America was born and grew, and it is on this foundation that it can continue to be a land of liberty and welcome and that it can work towards a more just and fraternal world.

"In New York I was able to visit the Central Headquarters of the United Nations and to greet the personnel who work there. I conversed with the Secretary-General and the Presidents of recent General Assemblies and of the Security Council. Speaking to Representatives of the Nations, following in the footsteps of my Predecessors, I renewed the Catholic Church’s encouragement for that Institution and for its role in the promotion of development and peace, reminding them in particular of the necessity of unanimous and effective commitment to the care of creation. I repeated my appeal to stop and to prevent violence against ethnic and religious minorities and against civilian populations.

"It was for peace and brotherhood that we prayed at the Ground Zero Memorial, together with religious leaders, relatives of the many victims and the people of New York, which is so rich in cultural variety. And it was for peace and justice that I celebrated the Eucharist in Madison Square Garden.

"Both in Washington and in New York I was able to encounter representatives of charitable and educational outreaches, emblematic of the enormous service that the Catholic community — priests, religious, lay people — offer in these fields.

"The journey culminated in the Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, where the horizon expanded to the whole world, through the 'prism', so to speak, of the family. The family, the fruitful covenant between man and woman, is the answer to the great challenge of our world. That challenge is two-fold: fragmentation and standardization, two extremes that coexist and foster each other, and together they support the economic model of consumerism. The family is the answer because it is the cell of a society that balances the personal and the communal dimensions, and that at the same time can be the model for the sustainable management of the goods and resources of creation. The family is the principal agent of an integral ecology, because it is the primary social agent, which contains within it the two foundational principles of human civilization on the earth: the principle of communion and the principle of fruitfulness. The humanism of the Bible presents this icon: the human couple, united and fruitful, placed by God in the garden of world, to cultivate it and to guard it.

"I would like to address a warm and brotherly ‘thank you’ to Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia, for his commitment, his piety, his enthusiasm and his great love for the family in the organization of this event. Clearly, it is not accidental but providential that the message, indeed the testimony of the World Meeting of Families came at this time to the United States of America, that is, to the country that in the past century has reached the heights of economic and technological development without denying its religious roots. Now these same roots ask to spring anew from the family in order to re-conceive and to change the model of development, for the good of the entire human family."

O Immaculate Heart of Mary, Please Give to Us the Freedom of Your Holy Son: First Saturday, October 3, 2015

J.M.J. "Sound the Bell of Holy Freedom" was the official hymn of the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. A beautiful meditation today on this First Saturday!

Sound the bell of holy freedom; call all nations of the earth.
Sons and daughters of one Father, sent to spread God’s saving Word.
Come, and gather, as one fam’ly at the table of the Lord.

David branch from root of Jesse, Mary that vine’s flow’ring rose.
She brought forth for us the Savior as the angel did propose;
Overshadowed by the Spirit, by her “yes” new life arose.

Blessed Joseph, spouse of Mary, teacher of your God and Lord,
You did shelter and provide for wondrous Child by kings adored.
Open to God’s Word in dreaming saved your Child from Herod’s sword.

Jesus, Youth in low’ly Naz’reth, faithful Son, and loving Child,
Guest and Host at Cana’s Wedding, finest wine You did provide.
You, our Rock and You our Shelter, keep us ever by Your Side.

At the cross a grieving Mother, on the cross, her only Son,
With all mothers and their children, Blessed Mary, you are one.
In our joys, and in our sorrows may we do as you have done.

Sound the bell of holy freedom; call all fam’lies of the world
To be fed by Love Incarnate; to proclaim God’s holy Word;
Through the love of Christ our Brother, in the Spirit make us one.

Text: Andrew D. Ciferni, O., Praem, b. 1942
Tune: PHILADELPHIA, 8 7 8 7 8 7:Normand Gouin, b. 1970

We Ask the Hearts of Jesus and Mary to Help Us to Forgive: First Friday, October 2, 2015

J.M.J. Here is a response from Pope Francis during the in-flight press conference on the papal flight from Philadelphia to Rome on Sunday, September 27, 2015.

"If a person has done wrong, and is conscious of what he has done, but does not beg forgiveness, I ask God to take this into account. I forgive him, but he does not accept forgiveness, he is closed to forgiveness. It is one thing to forgive--we are bound to forgive, because we have all been forgiven--but it is another thing to accept forgiveness. If that priest is closed to forgiveness, he will not receive it, because he has locked the door from the inside; all that remains is to pray that the Lord will open that door. We must be ready to forgive, but not all can receive it or are able or willing to receive it. What I’m saying is harsh. But this explains why some people finish their lives badly, without receiving God’s tender mercy."

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On Thursday, September 24th (the Feasts of Our Lady of Mercy and Our Lady of Ransom), when I was in PhiIadelphia for the World Meeting of Families and the subsequent visit of Pope Francis, I received an unexpected request to appear the following morning on Fox Business. I did not know the subject of the discussion. It turned out to be about Pope Francis and capitalism.