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SAINT OF THE DAY NOV 29, 2021

ST CLEMENT

Clement of Rome was the third successor of Saint Peter, reigning as pope during the last decade of the first century. He’s known as one of the Church’s five “Apostolic Fathers,” those who provided a direct link between the Apostles and later generations of Church Fathers.

Clement’s First Epistle to the Corinthians was preserved and widely read in the early Church. This letter from the bishop of Rome to the Church in Corinth concerns a split that alienated a large number of the laity from the clergy. Deploring the unauthorized and unjustifiable division in the Corinthian community, Clement urged charity to heal the rift.

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NEWS

  1. Pope Francis attends student play on how the pandemic has affected young people

Pope Francis left the Vatican on Thursday to attend a theatrical performance in Rome by students on how the pandemic has affected young people.

The pope met with the Italian Minister of Education Patrizio Bianchi and a group of young people from 41 countries at the International Pontifical College Maria Mater Ecclesiae in Rome on Nov. 25.

During the visit, the pope watched a show called “The faces of the pandemic,” in which performers covered their faces with decorated white masks.

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Catholic Book Review – Happiness in this Life

Pope Francis – Happiness in this Life

For Pope Francis, the appreciation of our everyday lives is a spiritual undertaking. Joy is a divine attribute and creating joy around us an essential part of faith. Happiness in This Life delivers, in warm, engaging language accessible to believers and nonbelievers alike, key lessons instructing readers on how to find love and happiness in a chaotic world.

The book makes a good reference work for someone who might be struggling and needing an encouraging word. Even better, it could provide material for daily meditation, because it is packed with insight about the big questions in life which cannot be addressed purely intellectually.

That Pope Francis emphasizes joy will not be surprising to anyone even slightly familiar with him. The four parts of the collection each emphasize related, but distinct, aspects of the search for joy in our earthly life.

The first part treats the individual spiritual conditions for joy, with a special emphasis on the Beatitudes. Pope Francis offers insights on individual Beatitudes, explaining what purity of heart and meekness are, for example. These insights draw connections with our concrete lives in fresh and thought-provoking ways.

Pope Francis encourages us to work hard to create a coherent life, one in which we identify a grand dream or long-term goal and then organize our daily activities around that goal. The pope lauds the spiritual freedom that enables the Christian to recognize and choose the good and realize that life project. This freedom comes to us from God’s grace working in our daily lives.

Pope Francis frequently teaches that our joy is found in relationship, in going outside of ourselves and encountering Christ in the poor, suffering, and outcast.

In general, the collection shines in the chapters dedicated to families, priests and religious, and women. Pope Francis movingly speaks about the importance of a strong family life, for the family is the “school where we learn the art of living together.” The excerpts on women praise their dignity and their role in the Church, and the pope petitions for work to be done on a theology of the woman. Most importantly, he emphasizes the mercy of God, encouraging us always to seek His forgiveness, especially in confession. 

A short fourth part on prayer brings the book to a close. It includes a selection of prayers the pope has drawn attention to during his pontificate. The core ideas of his Holiness’ papacy – mercy, support for marginalized people, and diplomacy – shine through. The book is full of inspiration and guidance for personal growth.

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Book Review – The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency is the first detective novel in the eponymous series by Scottish author Alexander McCall Smith, first published in 1998. The novel introduces the Motswana Mma Precious Ramotswe, who begins the first detective agency in Botswana, in the capital city Gaborone, after her beloved father dies. She hires a secretary and solves cases for her clients.

The novel was first published in Scotland, where it gained a following. After two more novels in the series were published, all three were published in the US to much acclaim; in 2002, for example, Publishers Weekly called it a “little gem of a book”.

Mma Ramotswe sits in her office, the Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency. She has a secretary, and she has clients. She is in Gaborone the capital of Botswana, a place of which she is proud.

She is the only child of Obed Ramotswe, a man who worked long years in the mines in South Africa, until one day he witnessed a crime, and knew he had to leave the mines. He had married a year or two earlier, and their daughter was born in Mochudi. He was wise with the money he earned in the mines, using it to buy cattle and slowly grow his herd, watched by a cousin while he was in the mines. Not long after he returned, his wife died. A cousin, left by her husband because she was barren, came to help him raise his daughter Precious. The cousin taught her well, caring for her until a second man asked her to marry him, when Precious is about 10 years old. Precious continues at school until she is 16. Her father wants her to pursue more education, but she wants to stop school and does. She itches to see new places. She lives with her cousin and cousin’s husband. He has a business running buses, and is doing well. She takes a job in the firm, and uncovers thievery by another employee, defrauding the company. Each weekend she takes a bus home to Mochudi to see her father. On one bus trip she meets a boy, a musician named Note Mokote. Soon he proposes marriage to her, going to her father for his permission.

She heads back to Mochudi to be with her father until he dies from the lung disease he got in the mines, just after she is 34. Her father’s herd is large, and the price was good. She sells some of the good herd of cattle to set up her office in Gaborone and buy a house there. The house is on Zebra Drive. The office is well-located.

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SAINT OF THE DAY – NOV 28, 2021

ST JAMES OF MARCHES

St. James of the Marches was a Franciscan priest in the 15th century. He was born into a poor family in Monteprandone, Italy in 1391 and was educated by his uncle who was a priest. He continued his education, eventually achieving the degree of Doctor in Canon and Civil Law from the University of Perugia. He worked for some time as a tutor in a noble family, but on July 26, 1416, he was received into the order of Friars Minor in the Chapel of the Portiuncula in Assisi.

After completing his novitiate, he studied theology under St. Bernardine of Siena. On June 13, 1420, St. James was ordained a priest, and soon began to preach in Tuscany, in the Marches, and in Umbria. For half a century, he continued as a missionary and preacher. St James of the Marches preached penance, combated heretics, and was on legations in Germany, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Bohemia, Poland, Hungary, and Bosnia. He was also appointed inquisitor against the Fratelli, a heretic sect that dissented from the Franciscans on the vow of poverty, among other things. He was offered the See of Milan in 1460, but he refused it.

Inspired by St. Jame’s apostolic example, more than 200 young men of Germany were impelled to enter the Franciscan Order. The crowds who came to hear him were so great that the churches were not large enough to accommodate them, and it became imperative for him to preach in the public squares. At Milan he was instrumental in converting 36 women of bad repute by a single sermon on St. Mary Magdalen. It is said that he brought 50,000 heretics into the Church and led 200,000 nonbelievers to baptism. In addition, God granted St James such wisdom that popes and princes sought counsel from him. He possessed the gifts or miracles and of prophesy in great measure, yet his humility surpassed all those distinctions. On Easter Monday, 1462, St. James, while preaching at Brescia, repeated the ideas of some theologians that the Precious Blood shed during the Passion was not united with the Divinity of Christ during the three days of His burial. He was accused of heresy for saying that, but no discussion or resolution was ever granted to his case, and the matter was ignored or forgotten. James spent the last three years of his life at Naples, and was buried there in the Franciscan church of St. Maria la Nuova, where his body can be seen today.

He was beatified by Urban VIII in 1624 and was canonized by Benedict XIII in 1726. Naples venerates him as one of its patron saints.

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MOVIE SHELF – PAY IT FORWARD

PAY IT FORWARD

Pay It Forward is a 2000 American drama film directed by Mimi Leder. The film is based loosely on the novel of the same name by Catherine Ryan Hyde. It is set in Las Vegas, and it chronicles 11-year-old Trevor McKinney’s launch of a goodwill movement known as “pay it forward”.

Trevor begins 7th grade in Las Vegas. His social studies teacher, Eugene Simonet, assigns the class to put into action a plan that will change the world for the better. Trevor’s calls his plan “pay it forward”, which means the recipient of a favor does a favor for three others rather than paying it back.

Trevor implements the plan himself, forming a branch of good deeds. His first deed is to let a homeless man named Jerry live in his garage, and Jerry pays the favor forward by doing car repairs for Trevor’s mother Arlene.

Trevor’s school assignment marks the beginning of the story’s chronology, but the opening scene in the film shows one of the later favors in the “pay it forward” tree, in which a man gives a car to Los Angeles journalist Chris Chandler. As the film proceeds, Chris traces the chain of favors back to its origin as Trevor’s school project. After her date with Eugene, Arlene paid Jerry’s favor forward by forgiving her own mother, Grace, for her mistakes in raising Arlene, and Grace, who is homeless, helps a gang member escape from the police. The gang member then saves an asthmatic girl’s life in a hospital, and the girl’s father gives Chris his new car.

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Saint of the Day – Nov 23, 2021

Blessed Miguel Agustín Pro

Long live Christ the King!were the last words Pro uttered before he was executed for being a Catholic priest and serving his flock.

Born into a prosperous, devout family in Guadalupe de Zacatecas, Mexico, Miguel entered the Jesuits in 1911, but three years later fled to Granada, Spain, because of religious persecution in Mexico. He was ordained in Belgium in 1925.

Father Pro immediately returned to Mexico, where he served a Church forced to go “underground.” He celebrated the Eucharist clandestinely and ministered the other sacraments to small groups of Catholics.

He and his brother Roberto were arrested on trumped-up charges of attempting to assassinate Mexico’s president. Roberto was spared, but Miguel was sentenced to face a firing squad on November 23, 1927. His funeral became a public demonstration of faith. Miguel Pro was beatified in 1988.

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Saint of the Day – Nov 22, 2021

St Cecilia

St. Cecilia’s family was one of the principle families of Rome. According to the cultural custom of the time, Cecilia’s family betrothed her to a pagan nobleman named Valerian despite St. Cecelia’s consecration to God. On their wedding night, Cecilia told Valerian that she had sworn to remain a virgin before God and that an angel guarded her body, protecting her virginity from violation. She told Valerian that he would be able to see this angel if he went to the third milestone along the Via Appia and was baptized by Pope Urban I. Valerian went to the milestone as Cecilia had instructed, and there was baptized. She later converted his brother as well.

During that era, it was forbidden for anyone to bury the bodies of Christians, so newly-baptized Valerian and his brother dedicated themselves to burying the bodies of all the Christians they found. For this, they were arrested and brought before a judge who ordered them to worship the Roman god Jupiter, and were martyred when they refused to deny their Christian faith. The police then came for Cecilia and strongly advised her to renounce her faith. In reply, she told them that she would prefer to die than to denounce the true faith. According to legend, upon hearing her response, they brought her to a large oven with the intention of suffocating her with the hot and toxic gasses it emitted. However, instead of choking, Cecilia began to sing. Infuriated, her persecutors attempted to behead her, but after three strokes of the sword, Cecilia was still alive and her head was not severed. The soldiers then left her covered in blood in her own home, where she remained for three days before she died.

The church Santa Cecilia in Trastevere was built on the site of the house where she lived. St. Cecelia is known for “singing in her heart to the Lord” upon her wedding day, despite her consecration to God. She is the patron Saint of musicians and poets because of this sentiment and her alleged singing within the oven during her martyrdom. Her fortitude may inspire the modern Catholic in the trials of life and inspire one to find God within music.

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Feast Day – Nov 21, 2021

Presentation of Blessed Virgin Mary

The Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, celebrated annually on November 21st, commemorates the presentation of the Blessed Virgin as a child by her parents in the Temple in Jerusalem. Before Mary’s birth, her parents received a heavenly message that they would bear a child. In thanksgiving for the God’s gift of Mary’s birth, they brought her to the Temple to consecrate their only daughter to The Lord.The celebration of the Feast is first documented in the 11th century within the Byzantine Catholic Church. It was introduced into the Roman Catholic Church in the 15th century by Pope Gregory XI, then removed from the calendar by Pope Pius V in the mid 16th century. Pope Sixtus V later reestablished the feast in 1585, and it is still celebrated today, commemorating the faith of her parents, Joachim and Anne, and the purity of Mary.

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Saint of the Day – Nov 20, 2021

Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne

St. Rose was born into a family with wealth and political connections August 29, 1769 in Grenoble, France. Her father, Pierre Francois Duchesne, was a lawyer, businessman, and prominent civic leader in Grenoble, while her mother, Rose Perier, was a member of a leading family from the Dauphine region. From the young age of eight, St. Rose had a desire to evangelize in the Americas, sparked by hearing a Jesuit missionary speak of his work there. She received a basic education at home from tutors, and religious education from her mother.

Educated from age 12 at the convent of the Visitation nuns in Grenoble, Rose joined them in 1788 at age 19 without the permission or knowledge of her family. Initially they were violently opposed to her choice, but finally gave in.  

In 1804 she joined the Society of the Sacred Heart, which sent her to the United States in 1818. From the convent and school she founded at St. Charles, Mo. — later moved to Florissant, Mo. — she traveled over a wide area, founding schools for girls, doing charitable work, and finally ministering to Native Americans.

St. Rose Duchesne was a valiant missionary and a well-known benefactress. She spent her last ten years in retirement in a tiny shack at the convent in Saint Charles, Missouri where she lived austerely and in constant prayer. She died on November 18, 1852 at Saint Charles, Missouri.

She was beatified on May 12, 1940 by Pope Pius XII, and canonized July 3, 1988 by Pope John Paul II. She is often referred to as “The Lady of Mercy,” or ” Woman Who Prays Always.”

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Tintin : Book 17

Explorers on the Moon is the seventeenth book in  The Adventures of Tintin series, comprising of 24 comics created by the Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi, who wrote under the pen name Hergé. The series was one of the most popular European comics of the 20th century. Tintin is the titular protagonist of The Adventures of Tintin, the comics series by Belgian cartoonist Hergé. He is a reporter and adventurer who travels around the world with his dog Snowy. By 2007, a century after Hergé’s birth in 1907, Tintin had been published in more than 70 languages with sales of more than 200 million copies, and had been adapted for radio, television, theatre, and film.

Explorers on the Moon completes the prophetic scientific Tintin adventure that begins with Destination Moon. Hergé was breaking new ground by sending his star characters into space. Although travelling into space has become normal, even routine, today, at the beginning of the 1950s such an idea was still science-fiction. It is important to remember that the story was published in 1954, while Neil Armstrong took his first steps on the Moon in 1969.

In the second part of Tintin’s Moon adventure, the technical details that permeate the first part make way for a kind of space thriller. The lunar escapade is full of intrigue and surprises. Not far into the story the shocked crew of the mission discover that Thomson and Thompson have managed to hitch a ride to the Moon by accident; by the end engineer Frank Wolff is involved in a terrible twist in the tale. And there are plenty of unexpected events in between!

Throughout Explorers on the Moon, Hergé dabbles in real science, giving us a taste of weightlessness in space and even going so far as to suggest that water exists under the Moon’s surface. The reader follows the characters as they control the atomic motor and thrusters to navigate the rocket through space. This last two-part adventure (after the previous two-part stories Cigars of the Pharaoh and The Blue Lotus, The Secret of the Unicorn and Red Rackham’s Treasure, and The Seven Crystal Balls and Prisoners of the Sun, shows both what a good writer and a good artist Hergé was.

Next book in series: The Calculus Affair

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Saint of the Day – Nov 19, 2021

St Agnes of Assisi

Born Caterina Offreducia, Agnes was the younger sister of Saint Clare, and her first follower. When Caterina left home two weeks after Clare’s departure, their family attempted to bring her back by force. They tried to drag her out of the monastery, but her body suddenly became so heavy that several knights could not budge it. Her uncle Monaldo tried to strike her but was temporarily paralyzed. The knights then left Caterina and Clare in peace. Saint Francis himself gave Clare’s sister the name Agnes, because she was gentle like a young lamb.

Agnes matched her sister in devotion to prayer and in willingness to endure the strict penances that characterized the Poor Ladies’ lives at San Damiano. In 1221, a group of Benedictine nuns in Monticelli near Florence asked to become Poor Ladies. Saint Clare sent Agnes to become abbess of that monastery. Agnes soon wrote a rather sad letter about how much she missed Clare and the other nuns at San Damiano. After establishing other monasteries of Poor Ladies in northern Italy, Agnes was recalled to San Damiano in 1253, as Clare lay dying.

Three months later Agnes followed Clare in death, and was canonized in 1753.

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Tintin : Book 16

Destination Moon is the sixteenth book in  The Adventures of Tintin series, comprising of 24 comics created by the Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi, who wrote under the pen name Hergé. The series was one of the most popular European comics of the 20th century. Tintin is the titular protagonist of The Adventures of Tintin, the comics series by Belgian cartoonist Hergé. He is a reporter and adventurer who travels around the world with his dog Snowy. By 2007, a century after Hergé’s birth in 1907, Tintin had been published in more than 70 languages with sales of more than 200 million copies, and had been adapted for radio, television, theatre, and film.

Destination Moon (1953) gives a detailed account on the preparation and the launching of the expedition to the Moon for which Professor Calculus has chosen Syladavian soil.

The red-and-white chequered pattern on Hergé’s rocket was based on a technique used to measure movements in a rocket during launching, developed by NASA. The pattern made it easier to observe rolling and spinning in a rocket at take-off.

Next book in the series : Explorers on the Moon

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Feast Day – Nov 18, 2021

Dedication of Churches of Saints Peter and Paul

St. Peter’s is probably the most famous church in Christendom. Massive in scale and a veritable museum of art and architecture, it began on a much humbler scale. Vatican Hill was a simple cemetery where believers gathered at Saint Peter’s tomb to pray. In 319, Constantine built a basilica on the site that stood for more than a thousand years until, despite numerous restorations, it threatened to collapse. In 1506, Pope Julius II ordered it razed and reconstructed, but the new basilica was not completed and dedicated for more than two centuries.

St. Paul’s Outside-the-Walls stands near the Abaazia delle Tre Fontane, where Saint Paul is believed to have been beheaded. The largest church in Rome until St. Peter’s was rebuilt, the basilica also rises over the traditional site of its namesake’s grave. The most recent edifice was constructed after a fire in 1823. The first basilica was also Constantine’s doing.

Constantine’s building projects enticed the first of a centuries-long parade of pilgrims to Rome. From the time the basilicas were first built until the empire crumbled under “barbarian” invasions, the two churches, although miles apart, were linked by a roofed colonnade of marble columns.

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