Prayer for our Nation Before the

2012 Presidential Election

Saturday, October 27, 2012

In a little over two weeks, Americans across the country will go to the polls to elect the next President of the United States.  Without doubt, this is an important time for all Americans, especially for those who profess to be followers of Jesus Christ.  Currently many of the values that have shaped our Country from its founding seem to be at risk, religious liberty being one of the most prominent.  Religious liberty, which is the first value guaranteed by the Constitution, is being eroded and is on the verge of being denied with the HHS mandate that would compel Catholic employers to provide insurance coverage for contraception and sterilization.  Pope Benedict XVI and the United States Bishops have recognized this erosion, and have encourage Catholics across the Country to defend our religious freedom and to defend those Christian values upon which the United States was founded.

So, as Catholics, we have always turned to the Mother of God for help in times of need.  The Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) is sponsoring a Novena to the Mother of God for the NationThis novena is a great way to ask for the Blessed Mother's intercession! Each day, there is a short reflection and prayer, which can be prayed online everyday, or downloaded to print.  It is a great way to pray with others all over the country and world for the future of the United States and for religious freedom.  And if you start tomorrow, Sunday, October 28, the novena ends one day before the Presidential Election.

Tell your family and friends about the novena, and let's ask Mary the Mother of God to intercede for us so that religious liberty may be protected and the values we cherish as "one nation under God" would be respected and promoted!

Click here for the novena website.

Thank you and God bless you!

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What is So "Great" About John Paul II?

Q - I have heard a lot of people referring to Pope John Paul II as "John Paul the Great". I do not feel comfortable giving him this title although I think he is one of the greatest popes ever. What do you think about calling him John Paul the Great now, and how does a pope receive that designation?

A - Thanks for the questions. The first question is easy for me to answer, since JPII has had such a formative influence on my life - I have no problem with it at all.

The second question requires a bit more background.
There are three other popes who have been called "The Great":

  • Pope St. Leo I
  • Pope St. Gregory I
  • Pope St. Nicholas I

Here is the interesting thing, none of the three have ever been officially recognized by the Church as "great". It is a popular title given, that rises up from the people and tradition surrounding the men. Since they received the popular title, the have been listed in Church documents with "The Great" appended to their name, but never has the Church given the title to them officially.

So, why would we list John Paul II as another "Great"? There are many reasons, so here is a short list:

  • He was the third-longest reigning pope of all-time (26 years).
  • His leadership helped bring down the Iron Curtain of Communism.
  • He was one of the most prolific authors of papal documents and he was widely considered one of the best philosopher-theologians of modern times.
  • He presided over the writing of the Catechism and the new Code of Canon Law.
  • He traveled more than any other pope in history.
  • His charismatic personality drew him to a wide range of people.
  • He saw more progress in Ecumenical dialogue (especially with the Orthodox Churches and secondarily with Lutherans) than any other Pope.
  • He helped continue the healing of wounds between Judaism and Christianity that has been simmering for centuries. This healing was started by previous Popes, but went to new levels with JPII.
  • He advanced the teachings of the human person and sexuality to new levels in his Theology of the Body.
  • His holiness and virtue have helped lift him to the level of a "Blessed" and will soon make him a "Saint".
  • He was an orthodox Catholic leader who also had a very nice understanding of how to pastorally apply the teachings of the Church.
  • His love for young people helped start World Youth Days.
  • He continued to lead the Church while suffering greatly, thus showing us how to carry our crosses with dignity and love.
  • He was a great defender of all human life. The poor, the baby, the elderly, etc.
  • He helped lead the Church into a new millennium and prepare the Church for the changes that come with time, by challenging us to a "new evangelization" of fallen-away Catholic cultures and peoples.
  • He recognized more Saints than any other Pope - much needed in a culture of death and injustice.
  • Many more reasons are not in this list.

I expect history won't downgrade John Paul from being the next "Great" Pope.
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The Angelus

An online, video version of the Angelus has been produced by the Catholic Advance as part of the Year of Faith activities and to promote the traditional prayer. Bishop Michael O. Jackels leads the Angelus, a set of prayers in honor of the Incarnation. It is traditionally prayed three times a day, morning, noon, and evening, at the sound of the bell. The faithful are invited to bookmark the prayer which on the diocesan homepage at CatholicDioceseOfWichita.org.

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Pope Benedict XVI opens Year of Faith

pope blessing

At anniversary Mass, pope recalls 'authentic spirit' of Vatican II


VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Marking the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the start of a special Year of Faith, Pope Benedict XVI called on Catholics to revive the "authentic spirit" of Vatican II by re-proposing the church's ancient teachings to an increasingly Godless modern world.
The pope spoke at a special Mass in St. Peter's Square Oct. 11, half a century to the day after the opening ceremonies of Vatican II. About 400 bishops from around the world, including 15 of the 70 surviving members of the 1962-65 council, attended. Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury attended as special guests.
The observances featured ceremonies recalling milestones of Vatican II, including the enthronement of a book of the Gospels used at the original gathering and a re-presentation of the council's final "messages" to various categories of lay Catholics, such as artists, workers and women.
Vatican II, Pope Benedict said, had been "animated by a desire ... to immerse itself anew in the Christian mystery so as to re-propose it fruitfully to contemporary man."
He noted that Blessed John XIII, in his speech at the opening of the council, called for both the safeguarding and the effective teaching of the "sacred deposit of Christian doctrine ... this certain and immutable doctrine, which is to be faithfully respected, (and) needs to be explored and presented in a way which responds to the needs our time."
"The council fathers wished to present the faith in a meaningful way," the pope said, "and if they opened themselves trustingly to dialogue with the modern world it is because they were certain of their faith, of the solid rock on which they stood."
One of the council fathers, retired Bishop William J. McNaughton of Inchon, Korea, traveled to the anniversary Mass from his home in Methuen, Mass. Speaking recently to Catholic News Service, he recalled the procession of more than 2,200 bishops into St. Peter's Basilica on the council's first day.
"Because television cameras from all over the world were taking pictures, all the lights were on in the basilica," said Bishop McNaughton, 85. "I thought I was at the gate of heaven."

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The Year of Faith has started, but what is it all about?

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The Nicene Creed is the prayer for the Year of Faith

The Profession of Faith

I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;
through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried,
and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. I believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.  Amen.

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Former Newman Club Member Enters Religious Order

Anna Wishall  joined the Dominican Sisters, Servants of Relief for Incurable Cancer on October 7th, 2012.  The Servants of Relief serve adults with terminal cancer who are unable to pay for adequate medical care. They rely completely on Divine Providence and always welcome donations. The foundress is Nathaniel Hawthorne's daughter, Rose. She is now Blessed Mother Mary Alphonsa, and hopefully will be canonized within the next few years.

Anna graduated PSU in May 2007 with a BA in Music.  While at PSU, Anna was very involved at the Newman Center.  She recently worked as a Case Worker for adults with Developmental Disabilities in Kansas City.  Please keep Anna in your prayers.

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Bishop Jackels asks faithful to strengthen their relationship with Jesus during this Year of Faith
Bishop Jackels
Bishop Jackels

By Bishop Michael O. Jackels
The need for us, in the Year of Faith, to strengthen our relationship with Jesus and the practice of our Catholic Faith has been greatly on the mind of the Pope Benedict.

Not long after announcing the Year of Faith, the Pope shared with the Cardinals in the Vatican his concern for the Church, especially in Europe, saying that it is characterized by "faith fatigue ... [a] sense of having had enough of Christianity."

As evidence of this, the Holy Father observed that regular church-goers are increasing in age and decreasing in numbers; that recruitment of priestly vocations is stagnating; and that skepticism and unbelief are growing.

Pope Benedict contrasted the faith fatigue in Europe with the "joyful passion for the faith" that he encountered in his pastoral visit to Benin in Africa and to World Youth Day in Spain.

He described what he experienced on these visits as "a new, more youthful form of Christianity" that is expressed in five notable ways:

*    Belonging to a universal Church family. We have the same inner encounter with Jesus as the basis of our living faith. We pray in the same way, especially in our common liturgy.

*    Readiness to serve others. The encounter with Jesus inflames us with love that inspires service, even self-sacrifice for the glory of God and the benefit of others.

*    Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The spirit of adoration determines our life and enables us to celebrate the Eucharist correctly and receive Holy Communion rightly.

*    Making a regular Confession. This calls for humility, asking God for forgiveness, seeking purification, and awakening in us love of God and others.

*    Living in joy. This comes from the certainty that we are loved, accepted, wanted by God. Only then can we love and accept ourselves.

The Church in our country, in order not to follow what is happening in Europe, should ensure that these five notable expressions of a more youthful form of Christianity are in evidence here as well.

And if this is going to happen on a national level, then it has to begin on a local and personal level: in the Diocese, in each parish and institution, in each religious community, and in each of the faithful.

What will you do during this Year of Faith?

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Year of Faith: Oct. 11, 2012-Nov. 24, 2013

"…They called the church together and reported what God had done with them and how he had opened the door of faith..."(Acts 14:27).

In the Acts of the Apostles, we learn that God has opened the door of faith for the early Church.  But did you know that God has opened the door of faith for each one us and he invites us to step through the threshold into a deeper relationship with him.  The upcoming Year of Faith is an opportunity for every Catholic to turn towards Jesus Christ, encounter him in the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist and rediscover the Faith and Church.

With his Apostolic Letter of October 11, 2011, Porta Fidei. . . , Pope Benedict XVI declared that a "Year of Faith" will begin on October 11, 2012 and conclude on November 24, 2013. October 11, 2012, the first day of the Year of Faith, is the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council . . . (Vatican II) and also the twentieth anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. During the Year of Faith, Catholics are asked to study and reflect on the documents of Vatican II and the catechism so that they may deepen their knowledge of the faith.

"The 'door of faith' (Acts14:27) is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and offering entry into his Church."---Pope Benedict XVI, Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei for the Indiction of the Year of Faith.

The upcoming Year of Faith is a “summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the One Savior of the world” (Porta Fidei 6). In other words, the Year of Faith is an opportunity for Catholics to experience a conversion – to turn back to Jesus and enter into a deeper relationship with him. The “door of faith” is opened at one’s baptism, but during this year Catholics are called to open it again, walk through it and rediscover and renew their relationship with Christ and his Church.

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Catechism of the Catholic Church

 

Read the Catechism in a Year

For this Year of Faith, Pope Benedict has encouraged you to study and reflect on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Well, here's an easy way to do it. Simply enter your email  address  here and - starting October 11, 2012 - you'll start getting a little bit of the Catechism emailed to you every morning. Read that little bit every day and you'll read the whole catechism in a year. Cool, right?

 

Faith in Action

Sign up here for a free email newsletter, Faith in Action, and each week get an inspirational reflection and action step written by some of the Church's most popular and gifted authors and speakers.

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October is the Month of the Rosary

Rosary - History


It is usually suggested that the rosary began as a practice by the laity to imitate the monastic Office (Breviary or Liturgy of the Hours), by which monks prayed the 150 Psalms. The laity, many of whom could not read, substituted 50 or 150 Ave Marias for the Psalms. Sometimes a cord with counters on it was used to keep an accurate count.
The first clear historical reference to the rosary, however, is from the life of St. Dominic (+1221), the founder of the Order of Preachers or Dominicans. He preached a form of the rosary in France at the time that the Albigensian heresy was devastating the faith there. Tradition has it that the Blessed Mother herself asked for the practice as an antidote for heresy and sin.
One of Dominic's future disciples, Alain de Roche, began to establish Rosary Confraternities to promote the praying of the rosary. The form of the rosary we have today is believed to date from his time. Over the centuries the saints and popes have highly recommended the rosary, the greatest prayer in the Church after the Mass and Liturgy of the Hours. Not surprisingly, it's most active promoters have been Dominicans.
Rosary means a crown of roses, a spiritual bouquet given to the Blessed Mother. It is sometimes called the Dominican Rosary, to distinguish it from other rosary-like prayers (e.g. Franciscan Rosary of the Seven Joys, Servite Rosary of the Seven Sorrows). It is also, in a general sense, a form of chaplet or corona (also referring to a crown), of which there are many varieties in the Church. Finally, in English it has been called "Our Lady's Psalter" or "the beads." This last derives from an Old English word for prayers (bede) and to request (biddan or bid).

Click here for an online Rosary Meditation for help in concentrating on the rosary.


The Feast of the Guardian Angels
October 2nd
"From infancy to death human life is surrounded by their (the angels) watchful care and intercession. Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life. Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united to God."
- from the Catechism of the Catholic Church; 336
.

Prayer to Your Guardian Angel

Angel of God, my guardian dear,
To whom God's love commits me here,
Ever this day, be at my side,
to light and guard, rule and guide.

Amen.



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Cardinal Dolan Slams Giving Morning After Pills to 14-Year-Olds

Cardinal Dolan, the head of the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Archdiocese of New York, is slamming a program that will give morning after pills to girls in NYC schools as young as 14-years-old.

The New York City Department of Education is furnishing morning-after pills and other birth control drugs to students at 13 city high schools and without parental permission. School nurses supplied with the drugs, which can cause a very early abortion, are dispensing “Plan B” and other oral or injectable birth control to girls as young as 14 without telling their parents — unless the parents opt out of the program after receiving a school letter informing them of the new policy.

In a blog post titled, “Tragic and Misguided,” Dolan pans the idea.

The public schools of the City of New York have announced that they are providing so-called “emergency contraception” and long-term contraceptive injections to high school students as young as 14 years old. This policy of dispensing of powerful medicines to young women — without their parents’ knowledge and consent — is tragic and misguided.

Parents have the right and the responsibility to be the first and primary educators of their children.  This plan usurps that role, and allows the public school system to substitute its beliefs and values for those of the parents. It also places minors at risk, because no school system can be expected to know all the pertinent health information about their son or daughter, and be able to properly judge what is in their best interests.  Requiring parents to “opt-out” of the program is hardly adequate, either.  In New York State in recent weeks, laudable legislation has been passed and signed into law requiring explicit consent from parents if a child wants to get a piercing or a tattoo.   We now also have a law on the books banning minors from using tanning salons even if the parents consent, out of concern for possible long term health risks.  And, for every other medical procedure, explicit, informed consent is required.  But not when these powerful drugs – with their potentially serious side effects – are involved.  Then we let these young teens do what they want, without a word to their parents.

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Feast of the Archangels:  St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael

September 29th, 2012


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Our prayers are never wasted, Pope Benedict says

 

Pope Benedict XVI used his weekly General Audience to explain that there is no such thing as wasted prayer.

“We can be sure that there is no such thing as a superfluous or useless prayer. No prayer is lost,” said the Pope to over 8,000 pilgrims in the Vatican’s Paul VI Audience Hall Sept. 12.

“When faced with evil we often have the sensation that we can do nothing, but our prayers are in fact the first and most effective response we can give, they strengthen our daily commitment to goodness. The power of God makes our weakness strong.”

Pope Benedict was continuing his weekly exploration of prayer in the story of salvation with a particular focus on the second part of the Book of the Apocalypse, the concluding book of the Bible.

Within its passages, he explained, the Christian assembly is called “to undertake a profound interpretation of the history in which it lives” so that it may learn “to discern events with faith” a thus “collaborate in the advancement of the kingdom of God.”

Thus the assembly is invited to ascend into heaven “in order to see reality with the eyes of God.”  God’s plan for history and mankind, however, is contained in a scroll which is “hermetically sealed with seven seals and no one can read it.”

It ultimately requires “Christ, the Lamb, who immolated in the sacrifice of the cross but stands in sign of his resurrection” to “progressively open the seals so as to reveal the plan of God, the profound meaning of history.”

This episode, said the Pope, should remind us all “of the path we must follow to interpret the events of history and of our own lives.” Both as individuals and a community we should realize that in “raising our gaze to God’s heaven in an unbroken relationship with Christ” in prayer we can learn “to see things in a new way and to grasp their most authentic significance.”

While this “realistic examination of the present time in which they are living” can lead to the discovery of great evil and injustice in the world, the Church “is invited never to lose hope,” said Pope Benedict, as “the power of God has entered man's history, a power capable not only of counterbalancing evil, but also of overcoming it.”

“God became so close as to descend into the darkness of death and illuminate it with the splendor of divine life. He took the evil of the world upon himself to purify it with the fire of his love.”

This is why as Christians “we can never be pessimists,” concluded Pope Benedict, as prayer “educates us to see the signs of God, his presence and his action” or rather “it educates us to become lights of goodness, spreading hope and indicating that the victory is God’s.”

The Pope then addressed the enthusiastic gathering in several different languages before leading pilgrims in the singing of the Our Father in Latin and imparting his apostolic blessing.

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Fr. Barron on 9/11

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The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
September 8th

The present Feast forms a link between the New and the Old Testament. It shows that Truth succeeds symbols and figures and that the New Covenant replaces the Old. Hence, all creation sings with joy, exults, and participates in the joy of this day.... This is, in fact, the day on which the Creator of the world constructed His temple; today is the day on which by a stupendous project a creature becomes the preferred dwelling of the Creator" (Saint Andrew of Crete).
"Let us celebrate with joy the birth of the Virgin Mary, of whom was born the Sun of Justice.... Her birth constitutes the hope and the light of salvation for the whole world.... Her image is light for the whole Christian people" (From the Liturgy).

As these texts so clearly indicate, an atmosphere of joy and light pervades the Birth of the Virgin Mary.  For more information, click here.

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Novena to the Blessed Mother, Queen of Heaven and Earth

 


I greet you, ever-blessed Virgin, Mother of God, refuge of sinners, and Queen of the Universe.
Most loving Mother, attracted by your beauty, sweetness, and tender compassion, I confidently turn to you, and beg of you to obtain for me of your dear Son the favor I request in this novena: (mention your request).
Obtain for me also, Queen of Heaven and Earth, the most lively contrition for my many sins and the grace to imitate closely those virtues which you practiced so faithfully, especially humility, purity, and obedience. Above all, I beg you to be my mother and protectress, to receive me into the number of your devoted children, and to guide me from your high throne of glory.
Do not reject my petitions, Mother of Mercy! Have pity on me, and do not abandon me during life or at the moment of my death.
Accept this offering, sweet Queen of Heaven and Earth, and obtain for me from your dear Son, Jesus Christ, the favors I ask through your intercession in this novena. Obtain for me also a generous, constant love of God, perfect submission to His Holy Will, the true spirit of a Christian, and the grace of final perseverance.
Amen.

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"To Rome With Love": a movie review by Fr. Barron


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Celebrating the 125th Anniversary of the founding of the Diocese of Wichita and the centennial of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.


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St. Pius X Catholic Student Center


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