Solemnity of SS Peter and Paul, Apostles

FROM A SERMON BY St. AUGUSTINE, BISHOP

(Sermon 295, 1-2.4. 7  -  8: PL38, 1348  -  1352)

SOLEMNITY OF SS PETER AND PAUL, APOSTLES (29 JUNE)

THE MARTYRS REALIZED WHAT THEY TAUGHT

St Peter and St Paul

This day has been made holy by the passion of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul. We are, therefore, not talking about some obscure martyrs. For their voice has gone forth to all the world, and to the ends of the earth their message. These martyrs realized what they taught: they pursued justice, they confessed the truth, they died for it.

Saint Peter, the first of the apostles and a fervent lover of Christ, merited to hear these words: I say to you that you are Peter, for he had said: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Then Christ said: And I say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church. On this rock I will build the faith that you now confess, and on your words: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God, I will build my Church. For you are Peter, and the name Peter comes from petra, the word for “rock,” and not vice versa. “Peter” comes, therefore, from petra, just as “Christian” comes from Christ.

As you are aware, Jesus chose his disciples before his passion and called them apostles; and among these almost everywhere Peter alone deserved to represent the entire Church. And because of that role which he alone had, he merited to hear the words: To you I shall give the keys of the kingdom of heaven. For it was not one man who received the keys, but the entire Church considered as one. Now insofar as he represented the unity and universality of the Church, Peter’s preeminence is clear from the words: To you I give, for what was given was given to all. For the fact that it was the Church that received the keys of the kingdom of God is clear from what the Lord says elsewhere to all the apostles: Receive the Holy Spirit, adding immediately, whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven, and whose sins you retain, they are retained.

Rightly then did the Lord after his resurrection entrust Peter with the feeding of his sheep. Yet he was not the only disciple to merit the feeding of the Lord’s sheep; but Christ in speaking only to one suggests the unity of all; and so he speaks to Peter, because Peter is first among the apostles. Therefore, do not be disheartened, Peter; reply once, reply twice, reply a third time. The triple confession of your love is to regain what was lost three times by your fear. You must loose three times what you bound three times; untie by love that which your fear bound. Once, and again, and a third time did the Lord entrust his sheep to Peter.

Both apostles share the same feast day, for these two were one; and even though they suffered on different days, they were as one. Peter went first, and Paul followed. And so we celebrate this day made holy for us by the apostles’ blood. Let us embrace what they believed, their life, their labors, their sufferings, their preaching and their confession of faith. 
 

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Saint Elizabeth of Portugal

SAINT ELIZABETH OF PORTUGAL’S STORY

 

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Elizabeth is usually depicted in royal garb with a dove or an olive branch. At her birth in 1271, her father Pedro III, future king of Aragon, was reconciled with his father James, the reigning monarch. This proved to be a portent of things to come. Under the healthful influences surrounding her early years, she quickly learned self-discipline and acquired a taste for spirituality.

Thus, fortunately prepared, Elizabeth was able to meet the challenge when at the age of 12, she was given in marriage to Denis, king of Portugal. She was able to establish for herself a pattern of life conducive to growth in God’s love, not merely through her exercises of piety, including daily Mass, but also through her exercise of charity, by which she was able to befriend and help pilgrims, strangers, the sick, the poor—in a word, all those whose need came to her notice. At the same time, she remained devoted to her husband, whose infidelity to her was a scandal to the kingdom.

Denis, too, was the object of many of her peace endeavors. Elizabeth long sought peace for him with God, and was finally rewarded when he gave up his life of sin. She repeatedly sought and effected peace between the king and their rebellious son Alfonso, who thought that he was passed over to favour the king’s illegitimate children. She acted as peacemaker in the struggle between Ferdinand, king of Aragon, and his cousin James, who claimed the crown. And finally from Coimbra, where she had retired as a Franciscan tertiary to the monastery of the Poor Clares after the death of her husband, Elizabeth set out and was able to bring about a lasting peace between her son Alfonso, now king of Portugal, and his son-in-law, the king of Castile.

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The litany of our Lady of Loreto

THE LITANY OF OUR LADY OF LORETO

 

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Litany of Loreto

This litany to the Blessed Virgin Mary was composed during the Middle Ages. The place of honor it now holds in the life of the Church is due to its faithful use at the shrine of the Holy House at Loreto. It was definitely approved by Sixtus V in 1587, and all other Marian litanies were suppressed, at least for public use. Its titles and invocations set before us Mary’s exalted privileges, her holiness of life, her amiability and power, her motherly spirit and queenly majesty.

The principle that has been followed in their interpretation is the one enunciated by the same Pius IX: ‘God enriched her so wonderfully from the treasury of His divinity, far beyond all angels and saints with the abundance of all heavenly gifts, that she…should show forth such fullness of innocence and holiness, than which a greater under God is unthinkable and which, beside God, no one can even conceive in thought.’

Hence, whatever virtue and holiness is found in angels and saints must be present in Mary in an immeasurably higher degree.

Lord, have mercy on us.

Christ have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy on us.

Christ hear us

Christ, graciously hear us.

 

 

 

God the Father of heaven,

Have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world,

Have mercy on us.

God the Holy Spirit,

Have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity, One God,

Have mercy on us.

 

 

Holy Mary,

Pray for us.

Holy Mother of God,

Pray for us.

Holy Virgin of Virgins,

Pray for us.

Mother of Christ,

Pray for us.

Mother of the Church,

Pray for us.

Mother of Divine Grace,

Pray for us.

Mother most pure,

Pray for us.

Mother most chaste,

Pray for us.

Mother inviolate,

Pray for us.

Mother undefiled,

Pray for us.

Mother most amiable,

Pray for us.

Mother most admirable,

Pray for us.

Mother of Good Counsel,

Pray for us.

Mother of our Creator,

Pray for us.

Mother of our Savior,

Pray for us.

Mother of mercy,

Pray for us.

Virgin most prudent,

Pray for us.

Virgin most venerable,

Pray for us.

Virgin most renowned,

Pray for us.

Virgin most powerful,

Pray for us.

Virgin most merciful,

Pray for us.

Virgin most faithful,

Pray for us.

Mirror of justice,

Pray for us.

Seat of wisdom,

Pray for us.

Cause of our joy,

Pray for us.

Spiritual vessel,

Pray for us.

Vessel of honor,

Pray for us.

Singular vessel of devotion,

Pray for us.

Mystical Rose,

Pray for us.

Tower of David,

Pray for us.

Tower of ivory,

Pray for us.

House of gold,

Pray for us.

Ark of the Covenant,

Pray for us.

Gate of Heaven,

Pray for us.

Morning star,

Pray for us.

Health of the Sick,

Pray for us.

Refuge of sinners,

Pray for us.

Comforter of the afflicted,

Pray for us.

Help of christians,

Pray for us.

Queen of angels,

Pray for us.

Queen of patriarchs,

Pray for us.

Queen of prophets,

Pray for us.

Queen of apostles,

Pray for us.

Queen of martyrs,

Pray for us.

Queen of confessors,

Pray for us.

Queen of virgins,

Pray for us.

Queen of all saints,

Pray for us.

Queen conceived without original sin,

Pray for us.

Queen assumed into Heaven,

Pray for us.

Queen of the Holy Rosary,

Pray for us.

Queen of families,

Pray for us.

Queen of peace,

Pray for us.

Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world,

Graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world,

Have mercy on us.

 

 

Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God,

That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

       

Let us pray- Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord God, that we Thy servants may enjoy perpetual health of mind and body, and by the glorious intercession of the Blessed Mary, ever Virgin, be delivered from present sorrow and enjoy everlasting happiness. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen

 

 

 

 

 

Story of our Lady of Loreto

STORY OF OUR LADY LORETO

 

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The Holy Family’s house in Nazareth has a complicated and obscure history. What is known is that the knights of the First Crusade took control of Galilee in 1099 and made Nazareth their capital. The Italian Angeli family began to reconstruct the Holy Family’s house when a Muslim army won a key battle in 1187 near Nazareth, forcing all the Europeans to flee. The Angelis disassembled stones of the Holy Family’s house and shipped them to Italy by way of modern-day Croatia. The stones were ultimately reconstructed in 1294–95 in their present location in Loreto, where the labors of the Angelis in bringing the stones by ship turned into the legend that “angels” had scooped up the home in Nazareth and transported it through the air to Loreto. In the succeeding centuries, the small stone house was enclosed within an elaborate marble structure within an ornate papal basilica, which became one of the most visited Marian shrines in the world.

Our Lady of Loreto is the title of the statue of the blackened Virgin found in the Holy House. By the 1600s, a beautiful “Litany of Loreto”enumerating Mary’s biblically rich and theologically evocative titles became a popular Catholic devotion. In October 2019, Pope Francis went on pilgrimage to Loreto and announced that December 10 would henceforward be the Optional Memorial of Our Lady of Loreto on the Church’s universal calendar. The formal decree instituting the change states that the new feast “will help all people, especially families, youth and religious to imitate the virtues of the perfect disciple of the Gospel, the Virgin Mother, who, in conceiving the head of the church also accepted us as her own.”

Our Lady of Loreto, we ask your intercession to intercede on behalf of all who have recourse to you. Grant us the grace to respond generously to all of God’s invitations to holiness, though they may disrupt our domestic duties and life’s plan.

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Prayer for spiritual communion

PRAYER FOR SPIRITUAL COMMUNION

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An act of Spiritual Communion can help! No matter what your day is like, especially in this time of Pandemic.

“My Jesus,

I believe that you are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive You Sacramentally, come at least into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.”

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Blessed is any one who trusts in God

BLESSED IS ANY ONE WHO TRUSTS IN GOD

BLESSED IS ANY ONE WHO TRUSTS IN GOD, WITH GOD FOR HIS RELIANCE. HE IS LIKE A TREE BY THE WATERSIDE THAT THRUSTS ITS ROOTS TO THE STREAM: WHEN THE HEAT COMES IT HAS NOTHING TO FEAR, ITS FOLIAGE STAYS GREEN, UNTROUBLED IN YEAR OF DROUGHT, IT NEVER STOPS BEARING FRUIT. (Jeremiah 17: 7 – 8)

DEAR FRIENDS, WE PUT ALL OUR TRUST IN GOD. WE PRAY THAT THE LORD WILL CONTINUE TO PROTECT US FROM THIS PANDEMIC, ALL OUR FAMILIES WHEREVER THEY MAY BE, OUR FRIENDS AND LOVED ONES. WE MAKE OUR PRAYER THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD. AMEN. 

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Saint Joseph Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary

SAINT JOSEPH SPOUSE OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

SAINT JOSEPH

 

The Solemnity Of St. Joseph, Spouse Of The Blessed Virgin Mary – March 20.

COLLECT PRAYER

Grant, we pray, almighty God, that by Saint Joseph’s intercession your Church may constantly watch over the unfolding of the mysteries of human salvation, whose beginnings you entrusted to his faithful care. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

St. Joseph, the spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the foster-father of Jesus, was probably born in Bethlehem and probably died in Nazareth. His important mission in God’s plan of salvation was “to legally insert Jesus Christ into the line of David from whom, according to the prophets, the Messiah would be born, and to act as his father and guardian” (Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy). Most of our information about St. Joseph comes from the opening two chapters of St. Matthew’s Gospel. No words of his are recorded in the Gospels; he was the “silent” man. We find no devotion to St. Joseph in the early Church. It was the will of God that the Virgin Birth of Our Lord be first firmly impressed upon the minds of the faithful. He was later venerated by the great saints of the Middle Ages. Pius IX (1870) declared him patron and protector of the universal family of the Church.

This Solemnity normally falls on March 19 but has been transferred since it falls on a Sunday.

SAINT JOSEPH

St. Joseph was an ordinary manual laborer although descended from the royal house of David. In the designs of Providence he was destined to become the spouse of the Mother of God. His high privilege is expressed in a single phrase, “Foster-father of Jesus.” About him Sacred Scripture has little more to say than that he was a just man-an expression which indicates how faithfully he fulfilled his high trust of protecting and guarding God’s greatest treasures upon earth, Jesus and Mary.
The darkest hours of his life may well have been those when he first learned of Mary’s pregnancy; but precisely in this time of trial Joseph showed himself great. His suffering, which likewise formed a part of the work of the redemption, was not without great providential import: Joseph was to be, for all times, the trustworthy witness of the Messiah’s virgin birth. After this, he modestly retires into the background of holy Scripture.

Of St. Joseph’s death the Bible tells us nothing. There are indications, however, that he died before the beginning of Christ’s public life. His was the most beautiful death that one could have, in the arms of Jesus and Mary. Humbly and unknown, he passed his years at Nazareth, silent and almost

At present there are two major feasts in his honor. On March 19 our veneration is directed to him personally and to his part in the work of redemption, while on May 1 we honor him as the patron of workmen throughout the world and as our guide in the difficult matter of establishing equitable norms regarding obligations and rights in the social order.

St. Joseph is invoked as patron for many causes. He is the patron of the Universal Church. He is the patron of the dying because Jesus and Mary were at his death-bed. He is also the patron of fathers, of carpenters, and of social justice. Many religious orders and communities are placed under his patronage.

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Ash Wednesday

ASH WEDNESDAY

WHAT DOES ASH WEDNESDAY SYMBILIZE?

The definition of Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, when some Christians wear ashes on their forehead as a symbol of penitence

WHAT IS THE MEANING BEHIND ASH WEDNESDAY?

 Ash Wednesday is an important date on the Christian calendar as it marks the start of Lent (or the Lenten season if you wish to be a bit more formal). For 40 days from here on in, Christians go through a period of fasting which is to remember the same amount of time Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness.

 WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF ASH WEDNESDAY?

 Ash Wednesday is a central part of the season of Lent among many Christian groups (Catholic and Protestant). Lent is a religious time period of 40 days before Easter. The purpose of Lent is to draw people’s focus to prayer, repentance, and renewal of faith.

WHY DO WE USE ASHES ON ASH WEDNESDAY?

 Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of adherents as a sign of mourning and repentance to God. The ashes used are typically gathered after the palms from the previous year’s Palm Sunday are burned.

IS ASH WEDNESDAY IN THE BIBLE?

Ash Wednesday is not specifically mentioned in the Bible, however, from Biblical times, sprinkling oneself with ashes has been a mark of sorrow for sin. Several times the Bible mentions people repenting in dust and ashes; for example: Mordecai (Esther 4:1), Job (Job 42:6), the inhabitants of Nineveh (Jonah 3:5-6), and Daniel (Daniel 9:3-4).

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May you be filled to the complete fullness of Christ

 

From a homily by a spiritual writer of the fourth century  

 (Hom. 18, 7  -  11:  PG 34,  639  -  642)  

MAY YOU BE FILLED TO THE COMPLETE FULLNESS OF CHRIST 

Those who have been considered worthy to go forth as the sons of God and to be born again of the Holy Spirit from on high, and who hold within them the Christ who renews them and fills them with light, are directed by the Spirit in varied and different ways and in their spiritual repose they are led invisibly in their hearts by grace. At times, they are like men who mourn and lament over their fellow men, and pouring forth prayers for the whole human race, they plunge into tears and lamentation, on fire with spiritual love for mankind. At other times they are enkindled by the Spirit with love and exultation that, were it possible, they would clasp in their embrace all mankind, without discrimination, good and bad alike. Sometimes they are cast down below all mankind in lowliness of spirit, so that they reckon theirs to be the lowest and most abject of conditions.

Sometimes they are cast down below all mankind in lowliness of spirit, so that they reckon theirs to be the lowest and most abject of conditions. And sometimes they are held by the Spirit in ineffable joy. At one time they are like a brave man who puts on the king’s full armor and goes down into battle; he fights bravely against the enemy and defeats them. In like manner, the spiritual man takes up the heavenly arms of the Spirit and marches against the enemy and engaging in battle tramples the foe beneath his feet. At another time the soul is at rest in deepest silence, tranquility and peace, existing in sheer spiritual pleasure and in ineffable repose and a perfect state.

Again, the soul is instructed by grace in a certain understanding in the ineffable wisdom and the inscrutable knowledge of the Spirit on matters which neither tongue nor lips can utter.  Then again, the soul becomes like any ordinary man.  In such varied ways does grace work within them and many are the means by which it leads the soul, renewing it according to God’s will and training it in different ways so that it may be set before the heavenly Father pure and whole and blameless.  We, too, therefore must make our prayer to God and entreat in love and in great hope that he may bestow upon us the heavenly grace of the gift of the Spirit. We pray that we, too, may be guided by that Spirit and that he may lead us into the fullness of divine will and refresh us with the varied kinds of his repose, that by the help of this guidance, exercise of grace and spiritual advancement, we may be considered worthy to attain to the perfection of the fullness of Christ, as the Apostle says: that you may be filled to the complete fullness of Christ.

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The presentation of the Lord

THE PRESENTATION OF THE LORD

 

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Known originally as the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord is a relatively ancient celebration. The Church at Jerusalem observed the feast as early as the first half of the fourth century, and likely earlier. The feast celebrates the presentation of Christ in the temple at Jerusalem on the 40th day after His birth.

HISTORY OF THE PRESENTATION OF THE LORD

 

According to Jewish law, the firstborn male child belonged to God, and the parents had to “buy him back” on the 40th day after his birth, by offering a sacrifice of “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons” (Luke 2:24) in the temple (thus the “presentation” of the child). On that same day, the mother would be ritually purified (thus the “purification”).

Saint Mary and Saint Joseph kept this law, even though, since Saint Mary remained a virgin after the birth of Christ, she would not have had to go through ritual purification. In his gospel, Luke recounts the story (Luke 2:22-39).

When Christ was presented in the temple, “there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel” (Luke 2:25) When Saint Mary and Saint Joseph brought Christ to the temple, Simeon embraced the Child and prayed the Canticle of Simeon:

Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace; because my eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples: a light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel (Luke 2:29-32).

Feast 02 February. 

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