What We Believe About Mary, Part II: Tuesday, July 5, 2016 (The Holy Year of Mercy)


Our response to Mary

Woman Clothed with the Sun
Mary is often viewed as the woman mentioned in Chapter 12 of the Book of Revelation (Apocalypse). She is the model of the Church: virginity (keeping the Faith intact from error), and maternity (while simultaneously bringing forth new members through the preaching of God’s Holy Word and the administration of the Seven Sacraments). “In the most holy Virgin the Church has already reached that perfection whereby she exists without spot or wrinkle” (Lumen Gentium, #65). Our Lady is also a sign, a realization of what the Church will become. Mary is the icon—“the sacred image”—of what the Church will be in Heaven.

Assumed into Heaven and Crowned
On November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII defined that the Blessed Virgin Mary, upon the completion of her earthly existence, was assumed body and soul by the Almighty
into Paradise. Our Blessed Mother was rewarded by God for her fidelity to His will; she already shares—soul and body—in the glory of her Son’s Resurrection. Her Assumption anticipates our resurrection from the dead. Crowned as Queen of Heaven and earth, Our Lady prays for us near her Divine Son. Neither has forgotten us. Rather, Christ and His Mother await our entrance into celestial glory. The Solemnity of the Assumption occurs on August 15.

Grounded in the Church’s teaching about the Blessed Virgin Mary, we express, by our devotion, our love for this kind Mother. Venerating Mary is reasonable because of her involvement in the sacred mysteries of Jesus. She has been honored since the earliest days of the Church. True devotion to Our Lady leads to greater love for Jesus Christ.

Sacred Liturgy
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the greatest prayer of the Church. The Mother of Christ is mentioned several times during the Mass: the “I Confess” (Confiteor), the Creed (Credo), and the Eucharistic Prayer. Her name is often used in the hymns, orations, homily and General Intercessions. We may suppose that Mary attended Mass, especially when she was under the care of Saint John the Evangelist (+c. 100). What reverence she must have displayed when this “Beloved Apostle” offered the Mass! An excellent spiritual practice is to “invite” Mary with us to Mass. She knows from Calvary what is needed to participate well in her Son’s Sacrifice and will teach us. Since Christ is present at each Mass, Mary, Mother of the Most Blessed Sacrament, cannot be far removed.

Other Sacraments
Our Lady, model of the spiritual life, has a natural connection to the Sacraments. Each of the other six Sacraments was instituted by Jesus her Son in order to confer the grace that it signifies. Again, because of her affinity to Jesus, she is supportive of the Sacraments as treasures granted by the Master to His friends here on earth for their spiritual growth.

Liturgy of the Hours
The Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours (Divine Office) form the Church’s “official prayer.” As in the Mass, frequent reference is made in the Liturgy of the Hours to Our Blessed Mother. Evening Prayer (Vespers), for example, includes the chanting or reciting of the Magnificat—the Gospel Canticle of Mary. This prayer of thanksgiving may be used at other times by Christians. Father Jean Gerson (1363-1429), the Chancellor of the University of Paris, indicated that based upon his research, Mary herself repeated the Magnificat in a spirit of deep gratitude daily immediately after receiving her Son in Holy Communion (Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, The Secret of Mary).

Sacred Scripture
Seven of the twenty-seven New Testament writings refer to Mary: the four Holy Gospels; the Acts of the Apostles; the Letter of Saint Paul to the Galatians; the Book of Revelation. Reading these passages will afford the reader fresh insights into the place of the Madonna in the early Church and her meaning in our contemporary era.

Apostolic Tradition and Writings of the Church Fathers
The Apostles—inspired by the Holy Spirit—pondered the role of the Ever-Virgin and inherited from that Holy Spirit a wealth of revelation concerning the Mother of God. Furthermore, many Fathers of the Church treated Our Lady and her mission. The teachings of the Fathers are important because they trace the development of the Church’s understanding of the Madonna. Studying these works, which are not always complex, offers numerous rewards.

The Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, acclaimed by Pope John Paul II as his “favorite prayer,” is well known and very valuable. The “Hail, Mary” is the simple but forceful salutation found in part in Sacred Scripture. Some other prayers referring to Our Lady that may be recited privately or communally are the “Remember” (Memorare), the Stations of the Cross, the “Hail, Holy Queen” (Salve, Regina) and the Litany of Loreto. Prayer through the intercession of Our Blessed Mother has been cherished for years as a special aid for the living out of the virtue of chastity according to one’s state in life.

Spiritual Reading
Both classical and modern authors have produced scores of volumes concerning Mary. It would be difficult to give a sufficient overview. But, certainly Saint Louis
Marie Grignion de Montfort, Saint Alphonsus Mary Liguori (1696-1787), and Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe (1894-1941) rank among the very best.

Sacred Times
The General Roman Calendar, which lists the various Solemnities, Feasts and Memorials of the
Liturgical Year, includes several days on which Mary is particularly honored. Furthermore, the Season of Advent, the

months of May and October, Saturdays and especially the First Saturdays—thanks in large measure to the request of Our Lady of Fatima—are dedicated to the Mother of God. Attending Mass, receiving the Sacrament of Penance,
fasting, abstaining from meat, lighting a candle, and making a donation to the poor are appropriate ways to adore Jesus and revere His heavenly Mother.

Sacred Places
Churches, Chapels and Shrines often have a unique Marian focus. The National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., and the Shrines in Guadalupe (Mexico), Lourdes (France) and Fatima (Portugal)
deserve particular mention. In our Diocese we are blessed to have many parish churches named for Mary as well as the House of Mary Shrine in Yankton and the Fatima Family Shrine in Alexandria. Making a pilgrimage to a holy site dedicated to Our Lady is an ancient and venerable custom that is especially valuable for young adults
and children.

Exterior Signs
The Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the Green Scapular and the Miraculous Medal are perhaps the most popular external signs of devotion to Mary. These sacramentals are richly endowed by the Church
with indulgences; each has been highly recommended by both Saints and Popes. Wearing these with sincerity demonstrates a genuine love and veneration of the Madonna. The devout practice of displaying and adorning
with flowers statues and pictures of the Ever-Virgin in our churches (according to authoritative liturgical norms) and our houses is laudable and to be encouraged. The tradition of a new bride during her Nuptial Mass placing flowers by an image of Mary and consecrating herself to the Blessed Virgin is exemplary, as is the consecration to Mary of a newly baptized baby. The wearing of blue to honor Mary is another excellent exterior sign of devotion.

Interior Signs
The education of our intellects and the formation of our wills in the spirit of Mary is testimony to our affection for her. The aforementioned Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort propagated the devotion known as “To Jesus Through Mary” (Ad Iesum Per Mariam). This practice is really a way of life in which a disciple of Jesus entrusts himself to and imitates Our Blessed Mother, who is the sure path to her Son.

(Text adapted from God’s Echo, Queenship Publishing Company, 2002.)

The Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of God and our Mother, too. We
are called to venerate her as her own Son did and does now in Heaven.

(The oldest known prayer in honor of Mary, dating back to the second or third century)
We fly to thy patronage, O holy Mother of God; despise not our prayers in our necessities,
but ever deliver us, O holy and glorious Virgin.

Our Lady of America, Please Intercede for Us and Give Peace to Us!: Monday, July 4, 2016 (The Holy Year of Mercy")

J.M.J. Our 240th birthday as a country demands thanks to God through our beautiful Patroness. Despite our nation's shortcomings, may we be filled with love for all and zeal to make things right in the sight of the Almighty.

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From the Argus Leader, May 21, 2016

Along with tips about cooking, exercise and weight loss, advice concerning how to obtain “inner peace” is one of the most searched for items on the Internet. The desire for tranquility of mind is on the minds of many.

And given our restless age, that is understandable. Many pine for quieter, happier days due to the intense and increasing rancor and chaos around us.

There is a host of ideas about how to achieve inner peace. The recommendations given by a Franciscan three hundred years ago strike me as wise and still relevant.

1. To be attached only to God. Status and wealth may be beneficial in some cases, but to be overly concerned about them is to invite inner havoc. The soul’s primary need is communication with its Creator. We need to view objects and persons in reference to God and His will if peace is to reign within our hearts.

2. To surrender to Divine Providence. Sanctity and inner peace are attained only when God’s will holds sway. The Lord knows best. Humbly accepting His will is vastly different from reluctantly putting up with it. When we yield to the divine plan, we demonstrate a belief that God will sustain us—come what may.

3. To accept suffering and hardship. Human nature tends to resist difficulties. Yet, inner peace entails coming to grips with the inevitable obstacles that confront all of us. Spiritual growth—and inner peace—hail from and lead to an admirable, necessary composure of soul.

4. To undertake that which our situation in life demands. Often we take upon ourselves too many or too few activities at once. “The more, the better” does not necessarily apply in the realm of good works. Prudence dictates what we can accomplish. Inner turmoil may spring from a plethora or a dearth of enterprises, even when they are morally good. Prayer and counsel will determine what we should undertake and what we should forgo.

Charity covers a multitude of sins, and gratitude opens us to a fresh outlook on what God is doing for us, despite our problems. Thankful hearts resonate with the Virgin Mary’s declaration: “The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is His Name.”

Inner peace derives from conformity to the Father’s will and gratitude for it. Only then may we experience, as Jesus said, the peace which the world cannot give.

Our Lady's Efficacy Via Her Miraculous Medal: Sunday, July 3, 2016 (The Holy Year of Mercy)

J.M.J. Have You Heard of These Miraculous Medal Miracles?

Three year old Claire was found by her dad lying underneath the dual back wheels, pinned to the ground under a 22 seat bus. She suffered little more than grazes and minor bruising. Claire’s mothers said, “I had put a Miraculous Medal on her just an hour before.” Medical specialists are astounded.
Clair Hill, Sydney Australia

The Servant of God Father John Hardon, S.J. (1914-2000), once shared this story about the efficacy of the Miraculous Medal in the life of a young boy.

“He had been in a coma for ten days . . . no speech, no voluntary movements of the body. His condition was such that the only question was whether he would live. There was no question of recovering from what was diagnosed as permanent and inoperable brain damage.

“What I found out was that you don’t just bless the Miraculous Medal, you have to put it around a person’s neck. No sooner did I finish the prayer of enrolling the boy in the Confraternity than he opened his eyes for the first time in two weeks. He saw his mother and said, ‘Ma, I want some ice cream.’ After three days, when all examinations showed there was complete restoration to health, the boy was released from the hospital.”

O Immaculate Heart of Mary, Please Protect Us From Evil!: First Saturday, July 2, 2016 (The Holy Year of Mercy)

J.M.J. With so much evil swirling around us, we must pray for protection. The Two Hearts are just the answer! 

A short but helpful explanation of why membership in the Masons is incompatible with being a Catholic is offered by "Catholic Answers."

This brief presentation restates the well-known incident of the intervention of then Cardinal Ratzinger on November 26, 1983, one day before the promulgation of the revised Code of Canon Law. 

Some had mistakenly thought that since the "new" 1983 Code of Canon Law did not specifically prohibit membership in the Masons as did the 1917 Code of Canon Law, now there was no longer any official ban; however, the future Pontiff declared that the censure was still in effect.

The pertinent paragraph from that Declaration on Masonic Associations concerning membership in it by Catholics and reception of the Most Blessed Eucharist: 

     Therefore the Church’s negative judgment in regard to Masonic association remains unchanged since their principles have always been considered irreconcilable with the doctrine of the Church and therefore membership in them (Masonic associations) remains forbidden. The faithful who enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion.

Addressing Ourselves to the Son and His Holy Mother: First Friday, July 1, 2016 (The Holy Year of Mercy)


"Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner."

"We fly to Thy Patronage, O Holy Mother of God, despise not our prayers in our necessities, but ever deliver us from all danger, O Glorious and Blessed Virgin."

"O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee."

"O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Most Holy Trinity, Immaculate Virgin Mary, Angels, Archangels, and Saints of Heaven, descend upon me.

"Please purify me, Lord, mold me, fill me with Yourself, use me.

"Banish from me all the forces of evil, destroy them, vanquish them, so that I can be healthy and do good deeds."

"She shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for Her Heel.”

What We Believe About Mary, Part I: Thursday, June 30, 2016 (The Holy Year of Mercy)


“And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, 
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.’”

What We Believe about Our Blessed Mother

Chosen by God
The Lord Himself selected Mary, a Jewish handmaiden, to become the Mother of God. Both Pope Pius IX (1846-1878) and Pope Pius XII (1939-1958) wrote that the Almighty, in one and the same act from all eternity, “predestined” the Son of God to become man, and Mary—a fully human person, a true daughter of Adam—to be His Mother.

Foretold in the Old Testament
Many Sacred Scripture passages written prior to the time of Jesus refer to Mary. Genesis 3:15, sometimes called the “First Gospel” (Protoevangelium), acknowledges the sin of Adam and Eve and declares the future coming of the Redeemer Who will be born of Mary. Isaiah 7:14 predicts that a virgin will conceive and, while remaining a virgin, bring forth Emmanuel—“God-with-us.” Several women mentioned in the Old Testament—Eve, Hannah, Deborah, Ruth, Judith and Esther—especially prepared the way for Mary and her mission.

Mother of God
During the Church’s Third General Council held in 431 at Ephesus (located in present-day Turkey) with the help of Saint Cyril of Alexandria (370-444), the Church solemnly declared Mary to be the Theotokos (“Mother of God”). The Second Person (Jesus Christ) of the Most Blessed Trinity, Who is known as the Word (Logos), became man when He was conceived by the Holy Spirit in Mary’s virginal womb. Jesus Christ is one Divine Person Who possesses two natures—one is a divine nature, while the other is a human nature. In His Divine Person and nature, He already existed before His conception in Mary’s womb. What Our Lady did at the moment of the Incarnation—especially remembered on March 25, the Solemnity of the Annunciation—was to supply Him with human flesh. Jesus is true God and true man, and Mary is His Mother. This dogma is the Divine Maternity (Divine Motherhood). We emphasize this belief especially during the Mass on January 1, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.

Mother of Angels
How can Mary be honored as the Mother of the Angels—those spirits without bodies which were created by God? She did not bring forth the angels from her womb as she did Jesus; however, in view of her cooperating with Jesus in giving grace to souls she is their Mother.

Mother of Human Beings
There are two “levels” on which we live: the natural (“earthly”); the supernatural (“spiritual”). When we received the Sacrament of Baptism, we became unique children of God and members of His Church. Our mother in the “order of nature” is the woman who conceived us with the assistance of our father and bore us. Our mother in the “order of grace” is Mary because she has communicated to us, due to her

divinely-given role as Mother and partner in the Redemption wrought by Christ her Son, the grace which makes us holy sons and daughters of God the Father, brothers and sisters of Jesus the Son of the Father, temples of the Holy Spirit, and sons and daughters of Mary. Our Lady’s Spiritual Maternity means that she is our Spiritual Mother.

Intimate Participant on Calvary with Christ in His Sacrifice and Mediatrix
Mary’s offering of her Son dying on the Cross was secondary and subordinate to His but was real nonetheless. As the Mother of the Redeemer, she cooperated with Jesus as He sacrificed Himself to His Beloved Father for us! Mary lovingly consented to her Son’s Death. The Church honors Mary as the Co-Redemptrix because she took part with Jesus in our Redemption, and the Mediatrix because it is through her, now in Heaven, that grace comes to us. The events of the Annunciation, Cana and Calvary prepared Mary to distribute God’s grace to His sons and daughters.

Sinless Disciple of the Lord
The dogma of the Immaculate Conception maintains that Mary never contracted Original Sin. Furthermore, she never committed any “actual” sins, whether mortal or venial. She was exempt from concupiscence (“the tendency to sin”) and the slightest moral imperfection or willful transgression of God’s law. Yet, she remained free to choose between good and evil. That Mary was full of grace means that she obediently heeded and pursued His every command.

Perpetual Virgin
The Church has taught for centuries that Mary was a virgin before, during and after the Birth of the Savior. Both Sacred Scripture (Isaiah 7:14) and the Apostolic Tradition express this unchangeable truth. The title “Ever-Virgin” is used in Eucharistic Prayer I (The Roman Canon) of the Mass. Our Lady is the only woman venerated as both “Virgin” and “Mother.”

New Eve
Eve, the first woman, lived with Adam in the Garden of Eden. She and Adam lost the divine inheritance of sanctifying grace by their sin; Mary received the long-expected inheritance—Jesus Christ, the New Adam—by her acceptance of God’s wise plan for her life. The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), quoting Saint Irenaeus (c. 130-c. 200), affirmed: “The knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by Mary’s obedience. What the virgin Eve bound through her unbelief, Mary loosed by her faith.” Saint Jerome (c. 342-420) exclaimed: “Death through Eve. Life through Mary.” Our Blessed Mother is the “New Eve”—the “Second Eve” who, moved by the Holy Spirit, particularly represents all women in her commitment to the Lord.

Wife of Saint Joseph
Mary and Joseph were really married in the sight of God. That Mary and Joseph never participated in the marital embrace does not mean that their union was invalid. They freely renounced the exercise of this right. The true marriage of Mary and Joseph never witnessed the birth of any children except for the Child, Who was miraculously conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and miraculously born of Mary, who retained her Virginity in the process of giving birth to Jesus.

Pattern and Exemplar
Mary, the Daughter of Sion who waited with all the poor and lowly children of the Lord in anticipation of the Messiah, provides the exalted pattern of sanctity. Full of faith, hope, obedience and charity, she is our fellow companion on the
challenging pilgrimage to the Father’s House in Heaven. Our Lady is the Morning Star who unfailingly points to the Son of Justice, Christ her Son.

Daughter of the Father and Temple of the Holy Spirit
As the Mother of the Redeemer, Mary is the Mother of Jesus, the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity. She is the Favorite Daughter of the Father Who created her from nothing, making her a worthy tabernacle in order to house for
nine months His Beloved Son. Our Lady is the Temple of the Holy Spirit Who sanctified her by filling her with His life.

Mother of the Church
Pope Paul VI (1963-1978), on November 21, 1964 in his concluding address to the Bishops gathered in Saint Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City at the third session of the Second Vatican Council, proclaimed Our Lady to be the Mother of the Church with these words: “. . for the glory of the Blessed Virgin and our consolation, we declare most holy Mary Mother of the Church, that is of the whole Christian people, both faithful and pastors, who call her a most loving Mother.” Jesus is the Head of His Mystical Body, of which we are the members united to Mary, His Mother and ours. She is the Mother of the Church and a member of the Church; Mary assists the faithful—as she did in the days before the first Pentecost Sunday—with her fervent prayers.

Heart Pure and Immaculate
The human heart represents the center of the human person where decisions are first made. In her Heart, Mary sought after and served God; this choice blossomed into her cooperation on Calvary with our Redemption. She has a pure and sinless Heart because she was preserved from Original Sin and avoided actual sin in all its forms. The Immaculate Heart of Mary is explicitly referred to twice in the Holy Gospel according to Saint Luke (2:19; 2:51). The liturgical Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is celebrated on the Saturday following the Second Sunday after Pentecost.

Unifier Among Christians
Jesus prayed during the Last Supper on the first Holy Thursday evening “that all may be one” (Saint John 17:21). Some may think the Mother of God to be an obstacle to unity among Christians. Yet, she is, along with her Son, the unifying factor. Her proximity to Christ is unparalleled. That Jesus Christ is the Word made flesh finds tangible expression in Mary. It is impossible to understand the Sacred Humanity of Jesus without appreciating His Mother. Authentic comprehension of Our Lady will eventually result in Christian unity.

Two Apostles, Aided by Our Lady, and Some Canonical Thoughts (The Holy Year of Mercy)

J.M.J. On this great Solemnity, we ask the Ever-Virgin Mother of Our Blessed Lord to help us to imitate Saints Peter and Paul in their charity, service and sacrifice. She will, because she wants nothing other from us than what these two Apostles offered: free, wholehearted abandonment to her Son, Jesus Christ!

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I have been asked to list the four canonical delicts regarding which Pope Francis has given to the Missionaries of Mercy, for the duration of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy (The Solemnity of Christ the King, November 20th), the faculty to remit the penalty for each, which is automatic excommunication, reserved to the Holy See. (The references to the Code of Canon Law are in parentheses.)

1. Profaning the Most Blessed Sacrament by taking It or retaining It for a sacrilegious purpose (1367). 2. Use of physical force against the Roman Pontiff (1370, §1). 3. Absolution of an accomplice in a sin against the Sixth Commandment (1378, §1). 4. Direct violation against the sacramental seal by a confessor (1388, §1).


There are two canonical delicts regarding which the faculty to remit the penalty for each, which is automatic excommunication, remains reserved to the Holy See.

1. Episcopal Consecration without the Pontifical Mandate (1382). 2. Attempted ordination of a woman to the Priesthood (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Decretum generaleDe delicto attentatae sacrae ordinationis mulieris, December 19, 2007).


There are two canonical delicts regarding which the Bishop of Sioux Falls has given to the priests via the Pagellae for Priests the faculty to remit the penalty for each, which is automatic excommunication, reserved to the Diocesan Bishop.

1. Apostasy, Heresy, Schism (1364, §1). 2. Abortion (1398), “provided that it is the first instance.” (Diocese of Sioux Falls, Pagellae for Priests, page two, 2007)


There is one canonical delict regarding which the faculty to remit the penalty, which is automatic excommunication, remains reserved to the Diocesan Bishop.

1. Recording, by means of any technical device, what the priest or the penitent says in a Sacramental Confession (either real or simulated) by oneself or by another person, or who divulges it through the means of social communication (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Decretum de sacramenti Paenitentiae dignitate tuenda, September 23, 1988).


While every canonical delict is a sin, not every sin is a canonical delict to which a penalty is attached. A confessor listens carefully to the penitent to determine if a canonical delict is present.

Begging the Virgin's Aid: Tuesday, June 28, 2016 (The Holy Year of Mercy)

J.M.J. We ask Our Blessed Lady to help us to gain the Plenary Indulgence during this Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy

Indulgences (From the Gift of the Indulgences)

1. “An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church.” (Code of Canon Law; Catechism of the Catholic Church)
2. The gaining of Indulgences requires certain prescribed conditions and the performance of certain prescribed works.
3. To gain indulgences, whether plenary or partial, it is necessary that a Catholic be in the State of Grace (meaning that he or she has no Mortal Sins) at the time that the indulgenced work is completed. 
4. A Plenary Indulgence is a full remission of the temporal punishment due to sin. It may be obtained only once a day and may be applied to oneself or to a Soul in Purgatory.
5. A Partial Indulgence is a partial remission of the temporal punishment due to sin. It may be obtained many times a day and may be applied to oneself or to a Soul in Purgatory.

The prescribed works to gain an Indulgence are many. One such prescribed work to gain a Plenary Indulgence during this Extraordinary Jubilee (Holy Year) of Mercy is to walk through The Holy Door (Porta Sancta) or “Door of Mercy” in the Cathedral of Saint Joseph.

The prescribed conditions to gain a Plenary Indulgence are: 1. to go to Holy Communion (usually received during Holy Mass); 2. to go to Confession; 3. to pray for the intentions of the Holy Father the Pope; 4. to intend to obtain the Plenary Indulgence; 5. to be completely detached from all sin, including Venial Sin.

It is appropriate, but not necessary, that the sacramental Confession and especially Holy Communion and the prayer for the Pope’s intentions take place on the same day that the indulgenced work is performed; but it is sufficient that these sacred rites and prayers be carried out within several days (about 20) before or after the indulgenced act. Prayer for the Pope’s intentions is left to the choice of the Faithful, but an “Our Father” and a “Hail Mary” are suggested. One sacramental Confession suffices for several plenary indulgences, but a separate Holy Communion and a separate prayer for the Holy Father’s intentions are required for each Plenary Indulgence.

Please consult your Pastor or Parish Priest if you have any questions regarding Indulgences, whether Plenary or Partial.

Walking Through The Holy Door (Porta Sancta)
or “Door of Mercy”
in the Cathedral of Saint Joseph
during this Extraordinary Jubilee (Holy Year) of Mercy

The Most Reverend Paul J. Swain, the Bishop of Sioux Falls, at the behest of Pope Francis, has established The Holy Door (Porta Sancta) or “Door of Mercy” in the Cathedral of Saint Joseph. It is located in the front of the Cathedral on the north side (near the Baptistry).

In the December 2015 issue of The Bishops Bulletin, Bishop Swain explained: “Our Door of Mercy will be a site of pilgrimage and a sign of the vastness of God’s love and mercy through Christ.”

Walking through the Door of Mercy in the Cathedral of Saint Joseph during this Holy Year of Mercy is one of the prescribed works to obtain a Plenary Indulgence. If the prescribed conditions (listed above) are met, then one gains a Plenary Indulgence, which is “a full remission of the temporal punishment due to sin.”

Honoring Our Lady: Monday, June 27, 2016 (The Holy Year of Mercy)

J.M.J. On this the Feast of Saint Cyril of Alexandria, Bishop and Doctor (370-444), the great defender of Our Lady's Divine Maternity during the Council of Ephesus in 431, we turn to Mary with ever deepening gratitude for her role in the Life of Christ and in our lives.

From an Eleventh Century Irish Litany of Mary:

Temple of the living God, pray for us.
Light of Nazareth, pray for us.
Beauty of the world, pray for us.
Queen of life, pray for us.
Ladder of heaven, pray for us.
Mother of God, pray for us.

“Take away this star of the sun which illuminates the world: where does the day go? Take away Mary, this star of the sea, of the great and boundless sea: what is left but a vast obscurity and the shadow of death and deepest darkness?”

--Saint Bernard, In Navitate B. Mariae Sermo-De aquaeductu, 6

"One day during an exorcism, a colleague of Father Gabriele Amorth, S.S.P. (the Chief Exorcist of the Diocese of Rome) heard Satan or one of the demons say, 'Every ‘Hail Mary’ is like a blow on my head. If Christians knew how powerful the Rosary (is), it would be my end.'”

Looking Again at the Most Holy Rosary: Sunday, June 26, 2016 (The Holy Year of Mercy)

J.M.J. A wonderful reading experience awaits you, your spouse, your children, grandchildren and whomever you love and want to help reach Heaven.

Here is a review that I wrote recently.

All Souls to Heaven
A Catholic Family’s Complete Guide to the Rosary
Written and curated by Tom Wall. 
Illustrated by Martin Whitmore.
(Green Bay, Wisconsin: Aquinas Ventures, LLC, 2016)
Paper, v + 63 pages, $10.00.


If a compelling and accurate text, which enjoys an imprimatur, vivid pictures and a family-friendly feel help to ensure that a volume both informs and inspires, then All Souls to Heaven: A Catholic Familys Complete Guide to the Rosary is sure to inform and inspire.

Tom Wall has assembled, with the able assistance of Martin Whitmore, a slender but packed booklet that is sure to teach about the nature and the value of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary and delight with crisply presented truths and encouragement.

A quick perusal may lead the reader to conclude that this work is exclusively for children, given the illustrations that are similar to those in materials aimed at the twelve-and-under. But do not be fooled. Dad and Mom as well as older brothers and sisters will also benefit. And the title is appropriate: this really is for Catholic families. And why not even converts and those Catholics desirous for a refresher?

The timing of the publication of All Souls to Heaven is, inarguably, providential. Next year is the one hundredth anniversary of Our Lady’s appearances at Fatima, Portugal. Her stirring message there heavily featured the importance of the daily recitation of the Holy Rosary. Could any of us credibly claim that “The Beads” are always prayed with the requisite reverence, understanding and frequency wished by the Ever-Virgin? This booklet will ameliorate such lack.

A brief review cannot do justice to this fine work, the second half of which is stocked with prayers to use and memorize.

Remember the following exhortation: Do not be sorry later for having passed on this volume. Obtain it. Read it. Distribute it far and wide.