28 May 2011

St. Ubaldesca - Virgin Order of Malta

Today is the Memorial of St. Ubaldesca, Virgin of the Order of Malta.

St. Ubaldesca was born in Calcinaia, near Pisa, in 1136 and joined the Order of St. John of Jerusalem at the age of fifteen. She worked for fifty-five years in the infirmary attached to the monastery at Pisa, caring for her neighbour out of love of God. She died on 28 May 1206 and her body was taken back to Calcinaia where it is enshrined.


O God, pride of the humble lover of virginity, you called Saint Ubaldesca to the religious life in the Order of St. John of Jerusalem: grant that through her prayers and example we may rejoice in being humble and follow you, with pure minds. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(From: The Missal with readings of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes, & of Malta, London 1997)

For more information on this remarkable saint you can read the article I wrote on her, found on page 5 of the quarterly publication of the American Association, Hospitallers .

27 May 2011

New Notre Dame Trustee Denies She Knew Emily's List was Pro-Abort

Roxanne Martino in a classic case of CYA has denied being aware that the organization that she gave nearly $20K to, Emily's List, promoted abortion. And if you believe that . . . well let's just say it is hard to believe that a person of her business acumen was entirely unaware of the immoral activities of an organization she donated a substantial amount of money to. On the other hand perhaps she is simply acting like Mr. Kruger in this classic episode from Seinfeld. I couldn't shorten the clip to the exact point so you will have to click to about the 1:05 mark to see the comparison.  Of course the whole clip is rather classic and if you are not familiar with "The Human Fund" you'll need to watch the beginning.

26 May 2011

Reflections on Bishop Sheen from Msgr. Soseman

Msgr. Sosemen of the Diocese of Peoria asks in one of his daily reflections, do you know Bishop Sheen? Why Not?  I have posted it here and for those who haven't yet gotten to truly know him I encourage you to do so. Yesterday Bishop Jenky of Peoria presented the, Positio, on Bishop Sheen to Pope Benedict. This was the next step towards the canonization of Bishop Sheen.
Peter John Sheen. Fulton John Sheen. Monsignor Sheen. Bishop Sheen. Archbishop Fulton John Sheen. Over the years I have gotten to know all the facets of this great man's life, known in various ways by the abundance of people who came into his life.

His family members, who knew him as a studious brother, a kind uncle, a famous relative.

The young engaged couple, struggling financially, he a Protestant, resistant to the Church, she a Catholic. Bishop Sheen met with them frequently, and later performed their marriage ceremony.

Servant of God, Archbishop Fulton John Sheen

The young street sweeper in Baltimore, who, seeing the Monsignor on the street early in the morning asked to speak to him. "Walk with me to the bus station, I am late for a bus," he was told. He wrote to the Peoria office that through 60 years he has thought of these 20 minutes every day, as motivation for his life.

The drunk on the streets of Manhattan who went to Confession to Bishop Sheen, very late one night. Bishop Sheen bought him a train ticket home. His brother called rejoicing: our lost brother, husband and father has been sent back to us!

The man whose infant daughter had suffered a high fever for two weeks in a Long Island Hospital: "your daughter will never come out of this," he was told "but if she does she will be a vegetable." Bishop Sheen, asked to stop in the room when he was visiting the hospital, prayed over her, looked up, and said "Your daughter's fever will break during the night, tomorrow she will be released from the hospital." The girl's father wrote, 58 years later, telling what a wonderful nurse his daughter had become.

The untold thousands who, moved by the words of Bishop Sheen, were moved to encounter our Lord in the Church.

The untold thousands who, even after Archbishop Sheen's death, have been moved by his example, by his words, and have sought his intercession at the throne of the Heavenly Father.

Just recently I heard of a baby, whose heart stopped at birth. 61 minutes in the delivery room the medical personnel worked to restart the heart, to no avail. The parents decided to entrust their baby's life to Archbishop Sheen's intercession, asking for life, asking that there be no brain damage. In the 62nd minute life came. No brain damage.

Do you know Bishop Sheen? Why not?

23 May 2011

New Notre Dame Trustee Donated Thousands to Pro-Abortion Groups

Is it impossible for Notre Dame to find a trustee who doesn't support pro-abortion groups. No matter how weak their argument for inviting President Obama to be the commencement speaker was was this seems even worse. 
Two weeks ago, the Cardinal Newman Society discovered that Roxanne M. Martino, a newly-appointed member of the trustees board, contributed $16,150 to the pro-abortion group EMILY’s List between 2005 and 2008. The watchdog group also uncovered information showing Martino gave donations to the Chicago Foundation for Women, which supports various pro-abortion groups including Planned Parenthood. http://blog.cardinalnewmansociety.org/2011/05/11/new-notre-dame-trustee-gave-thousands-to-pro-abortion-group/

Martino has given a total of somewhere between $3,250 and $5,996 to the pro-abortion Chicago Foundation for Women between 2004 and 2011, CNS notes.

The Sycamore Trust, the alumni group concerned for Notre Dame’s Catholic identity, followed up on the CNS report and contacted Notre Dame officials, who did not dispute the information in the CNS report. In fact, the donations to pro-abortion groups from Martino is higher than previously established.
Maybe those in charge at Notre Dame should hear the homily from Cardinal Bertone to Caritas, then again if they are going to ignore the Pope why would they pay attention to him.  Read more of the story here.

Cardinal Bertone Reminds Caritas International of It's Christian Mission

Cardinal Bertone spoke to the General Assembly of Caritas International on Sunday and reminded them that their mission is not to be just another humanitarian agency among many but must assert its Christian identity.
The full mission of Caritas Internationalis is thus carried out in the Church. This agency, along with all the national diocesan and parish offices, offers the faithful a privileged opportunity to participate in the Church’s mission and to draw near to Jesus Christ. “For the Church, charity is not a kind of welfare activity which could equally well be left to others, but is a part of her nature, an indispensable expression of her very being”. This ecclesial charity has a twofold expression one within the community, another reaching out to all. First, within the Church herself, as a family,“no one ought to go without the necessities of life … no member should suffer through being in need; at the same time, caritas-agape surpasses the “confines” of the ecclesial community and following the example of the Good Samaritan, shoulders the needs of our brothers and sisters whosoever they may be.

The Church’s charitable activity, like that of Christ, could never be limited to assisting people’s material needs, however urgent and immediate those needs might be. A humanitarian assistance which would habitually prescind from its Christian identity, adapting a “neutral” approach seeking to please everyone, would risk, even in cases where it obtained its immediate goals, failing to offer men and women a fine service consonant with their full dignity. Thus, even without wishing to do so, theywould eventually foster in those whom they assist a materialistic mentality which the latter would then bring to other relationships and to their approach to social issues. In a word: the Church must not only practice charity, but practice it as Christ did.

Blessed Vilmos Apor - Chaplain SMOM

Today is the memorial for Blessed Vilmos Apor Chaplain ad honorem of the Order of St John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta. He was a Bishop and Martyr.

Vilmos (William) Apor, born 1892, was a Hungarian bishop who earned a special reputation for his service to the poor, especially during the months of hardship that came at the end of World War II. He was also known for his hard work, his efforts for social justice and his protection of the weak. He provided emergency supplies to Jews being deported through his town. Named Bishop of Gÿor in 1941, he chose as his episcopal motto: "Crux firmat mitem, mitigat fortem".
“The Cross strengthens the weak and makes the strong gentle.”

During the many air raids he opened his home to those whose houses had been destroyed. When Russian troops entered the city in 1945, many women including religious took refuge in his episcopal residence. On Good Friday 1945 three Soviet soldiers came to the residence and demanded that the women be taken to their barracks. Bishop Apor refused and placed himself in front of the women. One of the Soviets shot and wounded him. Out of fear they then fled, leaving the women unmolested. Bishop Apor lived in great agony for three days and died on Easter Monday. His last words, "The sacrifice was worthwile".
Almighty and Eternal God, through your grace, Bishop William, by courageously
shedding his blood for his flock, earned a martyr’s crown.
Grant that we, despite the difficulties of our daily lives, may do your will and offer our good works for the salvation of our brothers and sisters.
We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

20 May 2011

Film Review: Stone of Destiny

While the majority of the offerings on the streaming side of Netflix are junk (aside from some classic TV shows you can't find anymore) occasionally you stumble across some film that is worthwhile. We came across one that we watched recently and it was an enjoyable film, the Stone of Destiny. It is based upon the true story of a group of young Scots, who plan (and succeed) in stealing the Stone of Scone which is a symbol of English rule over Scotland.

19 May 2011

George Weigel Responds to the Critics of the John Jay Report Regarding Sexual Abuse Crisis

George Weigel has done a good job in answering the "usual suspects" who are apopletic over the release of the John Jay Report that connects the sexual abuse crisis in the Church with the sexual and secular cultural revolution that began in the 1960's. Here is an excerpt from the article which can be read at National Review Online.
The American narrative of the Catholic Church’s struggles with the clerical sexual abuse of the young has been dominated by several tropes firmly set in journalistic concrete: that this was and is a “pedophilia” crisis; that the sexual abuse of the young is an ongoing danger in the Church; that the Catholic Church was and remains a uniquely dangerous environment for young people; that a high percentage of priests were abusers; that abusive behavior is more likely from celibates, such that a change in the Church’s discipline of priestly celibacy would be important in protecting the young; that the Church’s bishops were, as a rule, willfully negligent in handling reports of abuse; that the Church really hasn’t learned any lessons from the revelations that began in the Long Lent of 2002.

But according to an independent, $1.8 million study conducted by New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice, commissioned by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and released on May 18, every one of these tropes is false.

Two: The “crisis” of clerical sexual abuse in the United States was time-specific. The incidence of abuse spiked in the late 1960s and began to recede dramatically in the mid-1980s. In 2010, seven credible cases of abuse were reported in a church that numbers over 65 million adherents. (Of course the sexual revolution continues, as do cases of sexual abuse, except they are even more rarely committed by priests now than before. Look at any offender today and undoubtedly you will find a computer full of pornography close by. But just try and get the Times to go after the porn industry.)

18 May 2011

Malta Auxiliary Corps

The Malta Auxiliary Corps works in association with the Order of Malta to supports its mission of serving the sick and the poor. Some activities Auxiliary members can be involved in are visiting the sick and elderly in hospitals and nursing homes, feeding the poor and homeless in soup kitchens as well as many others. One particular effort of the Order of Malta in the U.S. is in prison ministry and we are really hoping to build that ministry here in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Auxiliary members also have the opportunity to join the Knights and Dames in taking Malades (French for "the sick") on the annual pilgrimage to Lourdes. If you would like more information visit the following links:

Order of Malta American Association Auxiliary Corps

Auxiliary Corps Membership Policy

We have a growing group in the Twin Cities so if you think you would be interested please leave me a comment or send me an email.

17 May 2011

Harmon Killebrew - R.I.P

A sad day for baseball fans as Harmon Killebrew succombs to his battle with cancer. As great as a player as he was perhaps it is fitting that he will be remembered for the person that he was off the field. In the sportsworld there are many anti-hero's but Harmon Killebrew was not one of them. As the statement from Twins President Dave St. Peter says, his legacy will the class, dignity and humility that he demonstrated throughout his life. Harmon Killebrew, requiescat in pace.

May 17, 2011 – Hall of Fame slugger Harmon Killebrew has passed away at age 74 after a long-running battle with esophageal cancer.

"No individual has ever meant more to the Minnesota Twins organization and millions of fans across Twins Territory than Harmon Killebrew. Harmon will long be remembered as one of the most prolific home run hitters in the history of the game and the leader of a group of players who helped lay the foundation for the long-term success of the Twins franchise and Major League Baseball in the Upper Midwest. However, more importantly Harmon’s legacy will be the class, dignity and humility he demonstrated each and every day as a Hall of Fame-quality husband, father, friend, teammate and man. The Twins extend heartfelt sympathies and prayers to the Killebrew family at this difficult time."

- Dave St. Peter, President, Minnesota Twins Baseball Club

“Harmon was a Hall of Famer on and off the field. He was baseball's version of Paul Bunyan, with his prodigious home run power, leading by example in the clubhouse and on the field. Off the field, he emanated class, dignity, and warmth, and he was a great humanitarian. He was so down-to-earth, you would never realize he was a baseball legend. It’s ironic that his nickname was ‘Killer,’ as he was one of the nicest, most generous individuals to ever walk the earth.”
- Jeff Idelson, Hall of Fame President

A native of Idaho, Killebrew made his name in baseball in the nation's capital near the end of the '50s, underscored it many times in 14 summers playing for the Twins in Minnesota, wrapped up his career with one final season in Kansas City, and eventually found a permanent baseball address in Cooperstown, N.Y., among the most prominent names in the game's long history.

14 May 2011

English Catholics Set to Dust Off Their Tuna Casserole Recipes

From Zenit News comes this encouraging story out of England. Hopefully the U.S. Bishops will follow suit.
The bishops of England and Wales are re-establishing the practice of abstaining from meat on Fridays as a penance to identify with Christ on the cross.

"Every Friday is set aside by the Church as a special day of penance, for it is the day of the death of our Lord," a statement of resolutions from the assembly reminded. "The law of the Church requires Catholics to abstain from meat on Fridays, or some other form of food, or to observe some other form of penance laid down by the Bishops’ Conference." (Most people have forgotten or are unaware that some form of penance is still required) 

"The Bishops wish to re-establish the practice of Friday penance in the lives of the faithful as a clear and distinctive mark of their own Catholic identity," the statement announced.

The prelates added that it is "important that all the faithful be united in a common celebration of Friday penance."

13 May 2011

After 40 Years the Sacrament of Confirmation in the Extraordinary Form in the Twin Cities

After 40 years the Sacrament of Confirmation was held again in the Extraordinary Form at the Church of St. Agnes in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. On Wednesday May 11th, twenty seven young men and women received this Sacrament with the customary slap on the cheek from Fr. Ubel, the pastor of St. Agnes, who was designated to administer the Sacrament by Archbishop John Nienstedt. Following the administration of Confirmation a High Mass was celebrated by Fr. Ubel. Archbishop Nienstedt has promised to continue this tradition next year, mostly likely on the eve of Pentecost.  I have posted a couple pictures but apologize for their quality.

08 May 2011

Sculpture of BVM "Descent from the Cross" in Cathedral Notre Dame

During one of the reflections given on our pilgrimage, Fr. Joseph Callipare talked about a sculpture of Mary holding Jesus which is found behind the main altar at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. This beautiful Pieta by Nicolas Coustou depicts the "Descent from the Cross." Since it was unfamiliar to many of us I thought I would post it here. It is a reminder of how works of art can teach us the Faith more deeply.

After New Constitution, Hungary Launches Pro-Life Ad Campaign | LifeNews.com

Last month Hungary adopted a new constitution that includes an article which protects life from the moment of conception.
Article II states: “Human dignity shall be inviolable. Every human being shall have the right to life and human dignity; embryonic and foetal life shall be subject to protection from the moment of conception.”
After New Constitution, Hungary Launches Pro-Life Ad Campaign | LifeNews.com

06 May 2011

Lourdes Pilgrimage 2011

It was my wife's first time on the Lourdes pilgrimage and she really lucked out, being able to meet both the Grand Master, Fra Festing, and also the Prelate of the Order, Archbishop Acerbi.

Reflections on Lourdes Pilgrimage from Archbishop Dolan

My wife and I had blessing of being on the pilgrimage to Lourdes this year with our fellow Knights and Dames of Malta and also the good fortune of having Archbishop Dolan along with us as our chaplain. As usual his homilies were wonderful.  He has written a beautiful article on the pilgrimage, reminding us of our Blessed Mother's love for us in his weekly column in Catholic New York which you can read here.


This blog and the opinions are all my own and in no way imply the endorsement from any organization. Nor does a recommendation of another blog or web site imply my agreement or endorsement of everything found on their site.