John 14:27 May peace be with you; my peace I give to you: I give it not as the world gives. Let not your heart be troubled; let it be without fear.


Luke 6:23 Be glad in that day, and be lifted up for joy, for your reward in heaven will be great: for their fathers did these same things to the prophets.


Mark 12:30 And you are to have love for the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength


Romans 12:12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Join me in praying the Pentecost Novena

You are invited...


Often, people wonder how to mark the Feast of Pentecost, where Christians celebrate the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in our Church. This year, Pentecost is taking place on Sunday the 8th of June, and you are invited to join others around the world in prayer to mark the nine days between Ascension (2nd June) and the Pentecost Vigil.


(9 days leading to Pentecost.)

Holy Spirit, third Person of the Blessed Trinity, 
Spirit of truth, love, and holiness, 
proceeding from the Father and the Son, 
and equal to Them in all things, 
I adore You with all my heart.

Holy Spirit, confiding in Your deep, 
personal love for me, 
I am making this novena for the following request, 
if it should be Your holy Will to grant it: 

(State Your request here...)

Teach me, Divine Spirit, 
to know and seek my last end; 
grant me the holy fear of God; 
grant me true contrition and patience. 
Do not let me fall into sin. 
Give me an increase of faith, hope, and charity, 
and bring forth in my soul 
all the virtues proper to my state of life.

Make me a faithful disciple of Jesus 
and an obedient child of the Church. 
Give me efficacious grace 
sufficient to keep the Commandments 
and to receive the Sacraments worthily. 
Give me the four Cardinal Virtues, 
Your Seven Gifts, 
Your Twelve Fruits. 
Raise me to perfection in the state of life 
to which you have called me 
and lead me through a happy death to everlasting life. 
I ask this through Christ our Lord.

Holy Spirit, Divine Spirit of light and love, 
I consecrate to you my understanding, 
heart, and will, my whole being, 
for time and for eternity. 
May my understanding be always submissive 
to Your heavenly inspirations 
and to the teaching of the Catholic Church, 
of which You are the infallible Guide. 
May my heart be ever inflamed with the love of God 
and of my neighbour. 
May my will be ever conformed to the Divine Will. 
May my whole life be faithful 
to the imitation of the life and virtues of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, 
to Whom with the Father and You 
be honour and glory forever.

God, Holy Spirit, Infinite Love of the Father and the Son, 
through the pure hands of Mary, 
Your Immaculate Spouse, 
I place myself this day, 
and all the days of my life, 
upon Your chosen altar, 
the Divine Heart of Jesus, 
as a sacrifice to You, consuming fire, 
being firmly resolved now more than ever 
to hear Your voice 
and to do in all things Your most holy and adorable Will. 
For the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Blessed Spirit of Wisdom, 
help me to seek God. 
Make Him the centre of my life and order my life to Him, 
so that love and harmony may reign in my soul.

Blessed Spirit of Understanding, 
enlighten my mind, 
that I may know and love the truths of faith 
and make them truly my own.

Blessed Spirit of Counsel, 
enlighten and guide me in all my ways, 
that I may always know and do Your holy Will. 
Make me prudent and courageous.

Blessed Spirit of Fortitude, 
uphold my soul in every time of trouble or adversity. 
Make me loyal and confident.

Blessed Spirit of Knowledge, 
help me to know good from evil. 
Teach me to do what is right in the sight of God. 
Give me clear vision and firmness in decision.

Blessed Spirit of Piety, 
possess my heart, 
incline it to a true faith in You, 
to a holy love of You, my God, 
that with my whole soul I may seek You, 
Who are my Father, and find You, 
my best, my truest joy.

Blessed Spirit of Holy Fear, 
penetrate my inmost heart 
that I may ever be mindful of Your presence. 
Make me fly from sin, 
and give me intense reverence for God 
and for my fellow men who are made in God’s image.


Grant, we beg of You, Almighty God, 
that we may so please Your Holy Spirit by our earnest prayers, 
that we may, by His grace, 
be freed from all temptations and merit 
to receive the forgiveness of our sins. 
Through Christ our Lord. 


Say 1 Our Father... 
Say 1 Hail Mary... 
Say 1 Glory Be... 
 Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful,
enkindle in them the fire of Thy Love.
Send forth Thy Spirit and they shall be created,
and Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.

Let us pray. 

O God, You have taught the hearts of Your faithful people 
by sending them the light of Your Holy Spirit. 
Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things 
and evermore to rejoice in His holy comfort. 
Through Christ our Lord. 


Thursday, May 22, 2014


As a Secular Franciscan and all through my life, prayer has been a center part of my life.
I pray all the time in many different places and times of day. Some of my prayer time is in silence and most of the time is in contemplation. Whether using books or reading the Gospel of the day, there are so many ways we can engage ourselves in conversation with God.  For some, spontaneous prayer is difficult. That is ok. Start slowly use books and novenas etc. It will help guide you. I can think of no better way to begin the day and there is no other way to end it than with prayer! I am reading a book by Matthew Kelly.  He gives a prayer Process which  I find useful and wanted to share.

The Prayer Process
1. Gratitude: Begin by thanking God in a personal dialogue for
whatever you are most grateful for today.
2. Awareness: Revisit the times in the past twenty-four hours
when you were and were not the-best-version-of-yourself. Talk
~o God about these situations and what you learned from them.
3. Significant Moments: Identify something you experienced
today and explore what God might be trying to say to you
through that event (or person).
4. Peace: Ask God to forgive you for any wrong you have committed
(against yourself, another person, or him) and to fill you
with a deep and abiding peace.
5. Freedom: Speak with God about how he is inviting you to
change your life, so that you can experience the freedom to be
6. Others: Lift up to God anyone you feel called to pray for today,
asking God to bless and guide them.

7. Finish by praying the Our Father.

Having a prayerful life keeps us focused on God all day and everyday. It does not matter what the conversation is about or how long, God wants us and invites us to converse with Him. Jesus went off often to pray and most of the time He went off by himself. We all need a daily dose of solitude. A time to focus, to recenter our energies to what is really important.
So , If you are not a prayerful person, try it.

I guarantee, it will change your life and make you more joyful not to mention spiritual.
 Peace and Good

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

As a toddler learns to say "sorry," her father reflects on finding hope for forgiveness. 
Read the post here.

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A component of FaithND, an initiative of the Notre Dame Alumni Association.


Gospel Reading
 Gospel - May 21, 2014
Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter
JN 15:1-8

Jesus said to his disciples, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. 

“You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. 

“I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright 1989, 1993, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.Approved by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. 

 Reflection - May 21, 2014
There is a great myth that is popular among many young people. I have heard some say that they are "spiritual but not religious." It seems to me that a person who is spiritual is also religious by necessity. In other words, no one can be spiritual in a vacuum; one needs some kind of expression of that spirituality, some concrete way to make that spirituality real. That is what religion does—it connects us to God through a community, and through ritual and prayer and song. These things make real what we believe. And we need those kinds of connections; we need to connect with God through habits and fellowship.

Today's Gospel is focused on the seventh (of seven) "I am" statements in the Gospel of John. Over and over again, Jesus is essentially saying, "Whatever you need, I AM. Are you hungry? I am the Bread of Life. Are you in the dark? I am the Light of the World. Are you lost? I am the Gate and I am Good Shepherd, who will seek and find you and call you by name. Are you caught up in death? I am the Resurrection and the Life, and I am the Way, the Truth and the Life." 

Today Jesus says to us, "Are you disconnected? I am the Vine, you are the branches, and my Father is the vinegrower." In other words, we all fit together in God's world—this is where we belong and are connected, where we live and abide. Apart from that source, apart from that energy, eventually we cease to exist. 

"Abide in me," Jesus says, "as I abide in you." The word "abide" appears eight times in these few verses, so it is obviously an important concept in this Gospel. The original word is also translated as "stay" or "remain," and this is what prayer is all about. The challenge of prayer is to "stay" with God, to connect and remain connected. To rephrase an old dictum, "Don't just do something, sit there!" 

Often we find ourselves busy about many things when we are called to stop all of our activity and simply "abide" with God. In the end, as Jesus keeps telling us over and over again, all we really need is God.

Father Ed Shea, O.F.M, ‘78

Today's Prayer
 Prayer - May 21, 2014
Lord, you made us your disciples through Baptism and you continue to confirm us in our faith through Word and Sacrament. Draw us closer to yourself, as branches to the vine, by every measure of grace and in every moment of our days. As always, we ask that you help us to trust in the presence of your Spirit and the mystery of the cross, our only hope. We ask all this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen! 

Father Michael Belinsky, C.S.C.

 St. Constantine the Great, who ended the persecution of Christians and beheld a saving vision of the cross, pray for us!  Read more...
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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

St. Bernardine and the Holy Name

Today is the feast day of St. Bernardine of Siena, a 14th-century Italian priest and missionary. Fr. Steve Grunow shares his insights on the saint, reminding us to shake off the trappings of title and comfort in order to better understand the way of Christ.

There is a remarkable portrait of the saint the Church celebrates today, Bernardine of Siena, by the Spanish master El Greco. 

The portrait shows the saint as thin, ascetic and draped in his gray, Franciscan habit. In one hand he holds a staff, on which are emblazoned the letters "IHS" — an acronym for the name of Jesus. In his other hand is a Book of Gospels, for the saint was a renowned preacher. 

One bare foot is visible beneath the hem of his habit, a sign of the saint's heroic willingness to eschew luxury and comfort in the face of a world enamored by such things. There is a story told that some old friends of the saint were taken aback by the saint's gaunt appearance, to which he remarked, "I am dying, you know. Each day I die to myself that Christ might live in me." 

Also laid out at the saint's feet are three miters, the pointed hats worn by bishops as a symbol of their office. St. Bernardine was offered the office of bishop three times during his lifetime, and each time, out of humility, he simply refused. 

St. Bernardine was an eloquent preacher, and much of his life was spent giving testimony to the power of Jesus Christ to redeem and save. He was also fearless in naming many of the social injustices of the time. There was no separation of one's faith from one's public responsibilities for St. Bernardine, and the saint was not afraid to let both civil and religious authorities know this. 

The great theme of his preaching was the Holy Name of Jesus, for he believed that all our acts of selfishness, all our sins, come from a forgetting of who Jesus is. By recalling his name, we are reminded of the Lord, and our responsiblity before him. 

St. Bernardine's emphasis on the Holy Name of Jesus is also a reminder to us that the source and center of the Church's proclamation is the Lord Jesus, not the personality or idiosyncratic interests of the preacher, or the pleasure and entertainment of the assembly. 

True preaching is given over to the Lord, wholly and completely, and serves to draw the Church into relationship with her Lord and Savior. 

May St. Bernardine intercede for us, and raise up out of the Church her preachers and teachers whose eloquence and wisdom will draw the world into communion with Christ in his Church. 

Father Steve Grunow is the CEO of Word On Fire Catholic Ministries

Monday, May 19, 2014

Gospel - May 19, 2014

 Today we reflect on the Gospel. Jesus promises us the gift of the Holy Spirit
and what a great gift it is! We are given the gift of faithfulness that resides inside of us. Jesus is always with us. We are never alone! We must be faithful and work in his name.
Let him guide you, let him in and work through you so that you can build the kingdom of God today and always!

Monday of the Fifth Week of Easter
JN 14:21-26

Jesus said to his disciples, “They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.” 

Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.

“I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.”

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright 1989, 1993, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Approved by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Prayer - May 19, 2014
Dear Jesus, you promise to be with us through the your Spirit, our Advocate. Bless us with your presence and the gift of your guidance. May our efforts bring you glory. Amen! 

Father Michael Belinsky, C.S.C

Friday, May 16, 2014

Can you answer the call?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Abandonment to Divine Providence

From the Colettine Sisters

Abandonment to Divine Providence.

(The Sacrament of the Present Moment)



“ In reality, holiness consists of one thing only: complete loyalty to God’s will “

Dear Little hearts,

May the Holy Spirit be with us to guide us and give us light and insights into this work that he created through Jean-Pierre

First is an extract from the actual book and after, a few simple thoughts from sister ex corde.

Section 1.Abandonment to Divine Providence.

God continues to speak to-day as He spoke in former times to our fathers when there were no directors as at present, nor any regular method of direction. Then all spirituality was comprised in fidelity to the designs of God, for there was no regular system of guidance in the spiritual life to explain it in detail, nor so many instructions, precepts and examples as there are now.

Doubtless our present difficulties render this necessary, but it was not so in the first ages when souls were more simple and straightforward. Then, for those who led a spiritual life, each moment brought some duty to be faithfully accomplished. Their whole attention was thus concentrated consecutively like a hand that marks the hours which, at each moment, traverses the space allotted to it. Their minds, incessantly animated by the impulsion of divine grace, turned imperceptibly to each new duty that presented itself by the permission of God at different hours of the day.


From the heart to you.

The practise of our Christian faith has to be practical, it must apply, be lived out in the lives we live. Simplicity is a beautiful virtue and one we can learn, the modern  spiritual pilgrim often takes an all too sophisticated path, accumulating a great many books, seminars, workshops, digital appliances, internet,   etc etc.,.... these things are all good and have value, but in times past man simply put, ot tried to put the word of God into practise, trusted in. In many ways we can no longer see the wood for the trees.

The brilliance of Jean- Pierre is the ability to see and understand that God comes to us in the very ordinary , daily things of life.

If you follow this path that Jean-Pierre offers you it will lead to inner peace and happiness. ( to be cont)


To listen to  clear well presented chapter by chapter readings of,

“ Abandonment to Divine Providence”- Jean Paul de Cassuade please go to the Boston Journal at the following link. A free printable download  and also directions to load onto a  disc if so required.



Dear brothers and sisters !
In recent catechesis, we examined the first three gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding and counsel. Today we think about what the Lord does, He always comes to support us in our weakness with a special gift, the gift of fortitude .
1. There is a parable told by Jesus, which helps us to grasp the importance of this gift. A sower goes out to sow; not all the seed he sows, however, bears fruit. What ends up on the street is eaten by birds; what falls on stony ground or among thorns sprouting, but is soon dried by the sun or choked by the thorns. Only what ends up on the good soil can grow and bear fruit (cf. Mk 4.3 to 9 / / Mt 13:3-9 / / Luke 8.4 to 8 ) . As Jesus himself said to his disciples, the Father is the sower, who sows the seed of His Word abundantly. The seed, however, often clashes with the aridness of our hearts and, even when welcomed, is likely to remain sterile. Instead with the gift of fortitude the Holy Spirit frees the soil of our heart from torpor, uncertainties and all the fears that can stop it, so that the Word of God can be put into practice, in an authentic and joyful way. This is a real help, this gift of fortitude it gives us strength and frees us from many obstacles.
2 . There are difficult moments and extreme situations in which the gift of fortitude is manifested in an extraordinary, exemplary way. This is the case of those who are facing particularly harsh and painful experiences, that disrupt their lives and those of their loved ones. The Church shines with the testimony of so many brothers and sisters who have not hesitated to give their lives, in order to remain faithful to the Lord and His Gospel . Even today there are numerous Christians in many parts of the world who continue to celebrate and witness to their faith with deep conviction and serenity, and resist even when they know that this can result in them paying a very high price. All of us know people, people who have experienced difficult situations, so much pain, let us think of those men and women who have a difficult life, who fight for the survival of their family, educate their children. They do this because the Spirit of fortitude helps them. How many, many men and women - whose names we do not know – honor our people, honor our Church because they are strong in carrying forward their lives, their work, their family, their faith – these our brothers and sisters are saints! Every day saints! Hidden saints among us! They have the gift of fortitude in carrying on in their duty as people, mother, father, brother, sister citizen. We have so many so many. Let us thank the Lord for these Christians who are the hidden saints among us. But is the Spirti within who carry them forward and it would do us good to think of these people. If they do this, if they can do this then why not me and we ask the Lord to give us the gift of fortitude.

3 . With this, we must not think that the gift of fortitude is only necessary on some occasions or in certain situations. This gift must be the base note of our being Christians, in our ordinary everyday lives. As I said we must have fortitude in our everyday life as Christians we need this fortitude to carry on in our lives, our families our faith. Paul, the Apostle Paul, said something that it would do us all good to hear: "I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me" (Phil. 4:13).

In our everyday life, in difficult times it would do us good to say this "I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me”. The Lord always gives us strength, Lord never gives us more than we can handle, "I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me”.

Dear friends, sometimes we may be tempted to allow ourselves be overtaken by laziness or despondency, especially when faced with the hardships and trials of life. In these cases, do not lose heart, but invoke the Holy Spirit, so that with the gift of fortitude He can lift our hearts and communicate new vigor and enthusiasm to our lives and our following Jesus.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Colettine Sisters

The Abandonment & Surrender of love.

Dear Little hearts,

The word abandonment has a variety of definitions, but to begin with let us focus upon abandonment as a total and utter surrender to God. To learn to be able to abandon oneself to God is a life long journey, and it means letting go of everything, our fears, our perception as to how things should be, how a  situation or person , should be, and how it and they actually are.

But the way of abandonment it is way so pleasing to God. Above all it asks trust of us, and because we are often so wounded by life and others this is anything but easy, BUT by His grace we can do all things. This challenging prayer from the heart of Charles de Foucauld was the fruit of a life that underwent a deep conversion and transformation. It is not an easy prayer to pray if we really assent to all it says, but it is an ideal to pray and work towards.

Over the next few days let us look at this prayer more closely and see what it will say to each of us.

I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.

First of all and above all it is addressed to our Heavenly Father, the God and Father who loves me. It is a prayer in relationship to a Father.

It is a trust that underneath all life’s circumstances are the everlasting arms, that we can lean on and be held by.

The prayer reveals the total confidence and trust by the one who composed it that whatever happens  God knows what He is doing and that He knows best even if we are in total perplexity. I can only be ready, if I prepare my heart and soul  to surrender in the ordinary, daily duties that my state of life asks of me. If I make the effort to live in his will

(To be cont)

Prayer of Abandonment

I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.

Let only your will be done in me,
and in all your creatures -
I wish no more than this, O Lord.

Into your hands I commend my soul:
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.

Charles de Foucauld

Friday, May 9, 2014

Sharing a great Blog!

The Word On Fire Blog

A Leper for Christ: St. Damien of Molokai and Solidarity

When St. Damien of Molokai contracted leprosy in 1884, he wasn't angered by the disease. He appeared poised and resolute to friends. As Brandon Vogt demonstrates today, in this excerpt from his forthcoming book, 
"Saints and Social Justice: A Guide to Changing the World", St. Damien considered his suffering the ultimate act of solidarity. 

When Damien de Veuster arrived in Hawaii in 1864, he found an island-community beset by infections. Over the years, travelers and seamen had introduced diseases like influenza and syphilis. Yet none were as bad as Hansen’s Disease, more commonly known as leprosy. First reported in Hawaii in 1840, leprosy devastated people in many ways. First, because the disease was highly contagious and untreatable until the 1930s, people contracting it had no hope of recovery. This often led to deep depression among its sufferers. Second, leprosy caused a progressive degeneration of their skin, eyes, and limbs. It thus disfigured people and eventually immobilized them. Finally, few diseases isolated people from their communities as much as leprosy. Sufferers were seen as outcasts and cautioned to stay away from everyone else. 

In 1866, to curb the spread of the disease, Hawaiian authorities decided to consign lepers to an isolated community on the island of Molokai. On three sides, the colony, called Kalaupapa, bordered the Pacific Ocean, and the fourth side featured massive, 1,600-foot cliffs. Once the lepers were out of sight and no longer a threat to the general population, the government turned a blind eye to their basic needs. Shipments of food and supplies slowed down, and the government removed most of its personnel. The result was a highly dysfunctional community marked by poverty, alcoholism, violence, and promiscuity. 

Puritan missionaries became convinced that leprosy stemmed from the people’s licentiousness. But Damien knew that wasn’t true. He believed the people on Molokai were basically good, not corrupt, and that sin did not cause the spread of the disease. 

In time, Damien came to see the neglected colony as the answer to his boyhood longings for adventurous missionary work. He asked the local bishop for permission to go to Molokai, and the bishop not only granted approval, but personally accompanied Damien to the island. He introduced Damien to the 816 community members as “one who will be a father to you and who loves you so much that he does not hesitate to become one of you, to live and die with you". 

This introduction didn’t surprise Damien, who had no illusions about what his mission would entail. He knew working in the disease-ridden colony virtually guaranteed that he would become infected, too. Yet he never wavered in his commitment. 

At first, the conditions around the lepers proved overwhelming. Damien often felt as if he had opened a door to hell. Victims wandered about, their bodies in ruin and their constant coughing the island’s most familiar sound. Damien could hardly bear the stench: 

"Many a time in fulfilling my priestly duties at the lepers' homes, I have been obliged, not only to close my nostrils, but to remain outside to breathe fresh air. To counteract the bad smell, I got myself accustomed to the use of tobacco. The smell of the pipe preserved me somewhat from carrying in my clothes the obnoxious odor of our lepers."

Eventually Damien overcame the distressing sights and smells. His superiors had given him strict advice: “Do not touch them. Do not allow them to touch you. Do not eat with them.” But Damien made the decision to transcend his fear of contagion and enter into solidarity with the Molokai lepers. He committed to visit every leper on the island and to inquire of their needs. 

One early realization was that to show the lepers the value of their lives, he had to first demonstrate the value of their deaths. So he built a fence around the local cemetery, which pigs and dogs regularly scavenged. He also constructed coffins and dug graves, committing that each leper, even if marginalized throughout his life, would receive a decent burial upon death. This had a remarkably uplifting effect on the community. 

Damien also devoted his attention to the sick. He brought the sacraments to bedridden lepers. He washed their bodies and bandaged their wounds. He tidied their rooms and did all he could to make them as comfortable as possible. 

What surprised the lepers most was that Damien touched them. Other missionaries and doctors shrank from the lepers. In fact, one local doctor only changed bandages with his cane. But Damien not only touched the lepers, he also embraced them, he dined with them, he put his thumb on their forehead to anoint them, and he placed the Eucharist on their tongues. All of these actions spoke volumes to the dejected lepers. They showed that Damien didn’t want to serve them from afar; he wanted to become one of them. 

Damien was careful never to present himself as a messianic figure. soaring in from a higher, more privileged position. He invited lepers to join in the work, turning his service to the community into an act of solidarity. He had them help build everything from coffins to cottages. When the colony expanded along the island’s peninsula, his leper friends helped construct a new road. Under his supervision, the lepers even blasted away rocks on the shoreline to create a new docking facility. Damien also taught the lepers to farm, raise animals, play musical instruments, and sing. Although the lepers were used to being patronized or bullied, Damien spread among them a new cheer and sense of worth. 

This refreshing spirit impressed visitors to the island. "I had gone to Molokai expecting to find it scarcely less dreadful than hell itself," wrote Englishman Edward Clifford in 1888, "and the cheerful people, the lovely landscapes, and comparatively painless life were all surprises. These poor people seemed singularly happy." 

Despite the idyllic community Damien had built through a decade of work, the moment he feared finally arrived in December 1884. One day, while soaking his feet in extremely hot water, Damien experienced no sensation of heat or pain—a tell-tale sign that he had contracted leprosy. The disease quickly developed, causing Damien to write to his bishop with the news: “Its marks are seen on my left cheek and ear, and my eyebrows are beginning to fall. I shall soon be completely disfigured. I have no doubt whatever of the nature of my illness, but I am calm and resigned and very happy in the midst of my people. The good God knows what is best for my sanctification. I daily repeat from my heart, ‘Thy will be done.’” 

Soon, he also wrote home to his brother: “I make myself a leper with the lepers to gain all to Jesus Christ.” 

Even before contracting the disease, Damien spoke of himself and the people of Molokai as “we lepers.” He identified closely with those he came to serve and thus, before and after the disease, offered a powerful, concrete expression of solidarity. And it was for that reason he become known not by his homeland, but by the island community he served—St. Damien of Molokai, patron of lepers. 

Brandon Vogt is the Content Director at Word on Fire Catholic Ministries. His forthcoming book, Saints and Social Justice: A Guide to Changing the World, debuts later this month.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A component of FaithND, an initiative of the Notre Dame Alumni Association.


Gospel Reading
 Gospel - May 6, 2014
Tuesday of the Third Week of Easter
JN 6:30-35

The crowd said to Jesus, “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”

Then Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright 1989, 1993, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Approved by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. 

 Reflection - May 6, 2014
I’m not sure what classic movies play in your house around the Christmas season but we always watch “The Santa Clause.” One of my favorite moments is when little 6-year old Charlie turns to his step-father, a well-trained psychiatrist, and says, “Just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.”

In today’s reading, people ask for a sign so they can believe. They know the story of their ancestors receiving manna, so they are searching for some source of outward proof in order to establish their belief. Instead of a sign, Jesus tells them to turn inward: “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

We claim to have faith. We claim to believe in Jesus. But how many of us can truly say we approach Jesus as our bread of life? He invites us to completely and fully come to him. To do so, we must leave other attachments, but we will find that Jesus nourishes us deeply.

What do we hunger for? New shoes? A fancy car? Signs or symbols? A miracle? Imagine not hungering for anything. What a sense of fulfillment and peace this would bring!

Today, let us feed the spirit. Let us contemplate that for which we hunger and give God the chance to fulfill our deepest longings.

Stephanie Felicetti ‘09
Director, Student Athlete Career Program

Monday, May 5, 2014

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Gospel Reading
 Gospel - May 5, 2014
Monday of the Third Week of Easter
JN 6:22-29

After Jesus had fed the five thousand men, his disciples saw him walking on the sea. The next day the crowd that had stayed on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there. They also saw that Jesus had not got into the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone. Then some boats from Tiberias came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus.

When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.”

Then they said to him, “What must we do to perform the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright 1989, 1993, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Approved by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. 

 Reflection - May 5, 2014
For all the great insights of a Dostoevsky or a Shakespeare into the follies of our human nature, I hope that one day someone will write more of refrigerators and pantries. We all know that moment of idly scanning an open fridge, curious and lethargic, searching between the condiments and cold pizza for something to amuse our stomachs, if not our boredom.

John 6, containing the “Bread of Life” discourse begun by our Gospel passage today, is a challenging and beautiful meditation on our hunger for the Lord. Jesus, finally discovered in Capernaum by the crowd, does not greet his followers warmly but openly reprimands their spiritual complacency. Have they followed him just to be entertained with miracles and to eat their fill of bread?

Then again, when we come to Mass, do we intentionally nourish our trust in God? Or do we try to fill an empty faith with divine amusements, looking for Christ the spectacle? I often wonder whether I am one of the crowd in today’s Gospel. How easy it is to turn the altar into an open fridge door.

This coming Sunday, again we have the opportunity to seek after Christ, and crowd around him in the liturgy to be fed the Bread of Heaven. What an amazing gift to join Pope Francis and delight in the “Joy of the Gospel,” the Word of God that ignites every love of our lives!

Therefore, let us trust in God’s love and hope in the resurrection. Let us feed off of eternity like Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet, and seek our faith that is the “food that endures for eternal life”—faith in Christ whom God has sent us like a shepherd to lost and hungry sheep.

Thomas Graff ‘14
Today's Prayer
 Prayer - May 5, 2014
Lord, we are often tempted to work for “food that perishes.” Too often we take the easy road and the sure thing. We come to you today with open hands, that we may be filled with the food that endures for eternal life.

Father Thomas Jones, C.S.C.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Feast of St. Athanasius of Alexandria

*St. Athanasius of Alexandria*

Courtesy of University of Norte Dame

 Athanasius applied his heart and mind to articulating Jesus' divinity and humanity and faced exile for his work, which helped shape the way the Church understands this mystery.

He was born in 297 in Alexandria, Egypt, at the end of the Roman persecution of Christians and at the start of the ascension of the Emperor Constantine. His parents were Christians, and he received an excellent education. He learned the Scriptures inside and out, and for a time he followed St. Anthony the Great, who established a life of prayer in the desert. 

Athanasius was ordained a deacon at the age of 21 and was assigned as a secretary to the bishop of Alexandria. It was in this role as an aid to the bishop that Athanasius attended the great council of Nicea, which gave us the Nicean creed that we still recite at Mass today.

The council was called because of the rapid spread of a strain of thought—named Arianism, after its first teacher, Arius—which claimed that because Jesus was born as a man, he could not have existed before his birth, and therefore was not fully divine. The council definitively stated that Jesus was, in fact, divine, and had existed as part of the Trinity before the Incarnation. The bishops condemned Arius and articulated the creed as a standard of orthodoxy.

Shortly after the council, the bishop died, and Athanasius was appointed his successor, even though he was not even 30 years old. Arianism, despite its condemnation, was still a popular belief, and Athanasius spent most of the rest of his life dealing with that heresy. 

He steadfastly proclaimed the conclusions of the council, even in the face of threats. His Arian opponents accused him of treason and even murder. Because they had connections to powerful people in the empire, they succeeded in having Athanasius removed and exiled. Political maneuvers resulted in his restoration and exile several more times—by the end of his life, he had been banished five times and spent 17 years in exile. He was a constant thorn in the side of the powerful who wanted a more convenient version of Christianity, and for this reason was called the “Champion of Orthodoxy.”

Athanasius was known as the greatest man of his day, and is one of the greatest religious leaders the world has ever known. He defended the faith when everything seemed stacked against him, and without his steadfastness, we would not have received the fullness of the faith that we have today. His relics rest in the reliquary chapel in the Basilica, and he is depicted there in stained glass windows, including one with an image showing him faithfully handing on doctrine, in the form of a scroll, to the Church.

St. Athanasius, who, against all odds, preserved and passed on the fullness of our faith in Jesus, pray for us!

Reflection Fridays!

Friday is a perfect day  to sit and reflect upon the things you should have done and you didn't , for the things you did that you shouldn't have. It is through prayer and reflection that God speaks to us . It is through reflection that we look upon our lives and seek how to not only make ourselves better but how to make the lives of others better. For if we truly take our daily bread, we truly live the gospel.

"I have done what is mine to do. May Christ show you what is yours to do."
 St. Francis of Assisi

Thursday, May 1, 2014

*St. Joseph the Worker*

St. Joseph (San Jose) the worker 

St. Joseph was the Spouse of Our Lady and adoptive father to Our Lord. Tradition teaches us that he was a carpenter by trade. He is known as the patron of the Catholic Church, as well as many causes including all laborers and families. His feast days are: St. Joseph Husband of Mary - March 19, St. Joseph the Worker - May 1.


Oh, St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God. I place in you all my interests and desires. Oh, St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your devine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. So that, having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers.

Oh, St. Joseph, I never weary of contemplating you, and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me and ask him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls - Pray for me.

This prayer was found in the fiftienth year of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In 1505 it was sent from the Pope to Emperor Charles when he was going into battle. Whoever shall read this prayer or hear it or keep it about themselves, shall never die a sudden death, or be drowned, not shall posion take effect of them; neither shall they fall into the hands of the enemy; or shall be burned in any fire, or shall be overpowered in battle.

Say for nine mornings for anything you may desire. It has never been known to fail, so be sure you really want what you ask.

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