Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?


Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."

To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."


As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."


September 30: Saint Jerome, Doctor of the Church

Posted by Jacob

Today, September 30, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Jerome (347-419), Father of the Church and Doctor of the Church.  One of the great spiritual and theological minds of the faith, Saint Jerome has inspired countless saints and scholars, among them, Saint Augustine of Hippo who said: “What Jerome is ignorant of, no man has ever known.”  The writings of Saint Jerome continue to unlock the meaning of the Scriptures for the faithful today, and the lessons from his life remind us that the Lord uses us each in our own way to glorify His name!


Jerome, who was born Eusebius Hieronymous Sophronius, was the was born at Stridonius, a small town at the head of the Adriatic, near the episcopal city of Aquileia. His father, a wealthy and well-respected Christian, took care that his son was well instructed at home, then sent him to Rome, where the young man's teachers were the famous pagan grammarian Donatus and Victorinus, a Christian rhetorician. In Rome, Saint Jerome read classical literature with great voracity, and became fluent in Latin and Greek. His aptitude for oratory was such that he may have considered law as a career. He acquired many worldly ideas, made little effort to check his pleasure-loving instincts, and lost much of the piety that had been instilled in him at home. Yet in spite of the pagan and hedonistic influences around him, and the dissolute lifestyle he had embraced, Jerome was baptized by Pope Liberius at the age of 19. Drawn to Church history, he frequently spent time in the tombs and catacombs, deciphering the descriptions that adorned holy men and women’s’ tombs. He recorded, "it was my custom on Sundays to visit, with friends of my own age and tastes, the tombs of the martyrs and Apostles, going down into those subterranean galleries whose walls on both sides preserve the relics of the dead."

Shortly after his baptism, he journeyed to Trier in Gaul and to Aquileia in Italy, where he began to cultivate his theological interests in company with others who, like himself, were ascetically inclined. In Antioch, where he was warmly received, he continued to pursue his humanist and monastic studies. He also had a profound spiritual experience, dreaming that he was accused of being "a Ciceronian, not a Christian." In his dream, Jerome was standing before the tribunal of Christ. "Thou a Christian?" said the judge skeptically. "Thou art a Ciceronian. Where thy treasure is, there thy heart is also."

Deeply shaken, Jerome determined to devote himself exclusively to the Bible and theology. Jerome moved to the desert of Chalcis, spending time in Palestine and marking with devotion each spot important to the life of Christ. While in the desert, he devoted himself to penance, and while practicing more rigorous austerities, pursued his studies, including the learning of Hebrew. In the Syrian desert, he lived for years as a hermit, and is reported to have removed a thorn from a lion’s paw. As holy legend tells us, the creature stayed loyal to Saint Jerome, living by his side for years.

In the desert of Chalcis Saint Jerome also experienced many attacks of illness, but suffered still more from temptation. "In the remotest part of a wild and stony desert," he wrote years afterwards to Saint Eustochium, "burnt up with the heat of the sun, so scorching that it frightens even the monks who live there, I seemed to myself to be in the midst of the delights and crowds of Rome.... In this exile and prison to which through fear of Hell I had voluntarily condemned myself, with no other company but scorpions and wild beasts, I many times imagined myself watching the dancing of Roman maidens as if I had been in the midst of them. My face was pallid with fasting, yet my will felt the assaults of desire. In my cold body and my parched flesh, which seemed dead before its death, passion was still able to live. Alone with the enemy, I threw myself in spirit at the feet of Jesus, watering them with my tears, and tamed my flesh by fasting whole weeks. I am not ashamed to disclose my temptations, though I grieve that I am not now what I then was."

On his return to Antioch in 378 he entered the priesthood, under the direction of Saint Gregory of Nazianzan.Upon ordination, Jerome returned to Rome, and was appointed the personal and confidential secretary and librarian to Pope Damasus I. Saint Jerome was tasked with translating the Bible into Latin, and was working obediently on his task when Damasus passed away. Jerome returned to the east, settling in Bethlehem in a monastery appointed by a group of wealthy Roman women (Saints Paula and Marcella). It was there, in Bethlehem, that the majority of his writing—including the completion of his Biblical translation (known as the Vulgate translation)—were completed. Jerome remained at the monastery for 34 years, until his death. The remains of his body now lie buried in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome.

Saint Jerome’s incorporation of science, philosophy, geography, and archeology into his scriptural exegesis raised the teachings of the Church to greater scholarship. His correspondence with noted saints and scholars—among them Saint Augustine of Hippo—are rich in encouragement and faith. Known for his difficult demeanor and oftentimes hot-temper, his scholarly contributions are all the more surprising. Despite these shortcomings, Saint Jerome’s love for God and his Son Jesus Christ was extraordinarily intense: anyone who taught error was an enemy of God and truth, and Jerome went after him or her with his mighty and sometimes sarcastic pen.

Jerome was a strong, outspoken man. He was a fearless critic of the immorality of man, while simultaneously acknowledging his own sins. He was no admirer of moderation-- whether in virtue or against evil. He was swift to anger, but also swift to feel remorse, even more severe on his own shortcomings than on those of others. A pope is said to have remarked, on seeing a picture of Jerome striking his breast with a stone, "You do well to carry that stone, for without it the Church would never have canonized you."

Saint Jerome contributed significantly to the doctrinal formation of the Church’s teachings. An active adversary to heresies rampant during the time, he successfully defended the faith, contributing to the solid foundation which we still profess today. The life and writings of Saint Jerome remind us that each of us has areas to improve upon, and yet, even with our flaws, the Lord continues to grace us with gifts and talents beyond our comprehension. Today, on the feast of Saint Jerome, we lift a prayer of thanksgiving to our generous and gracious Lord!


Prayer for Christ’s Mercy (written by Saint Jerome)
O Lord, show your mercy to me and gladden my heart. I am like the man on the way to Jericho who was overtaken by robbers, wounded and left for dead. O Good Samaritan, come to my aid, I am like the sheep that went astray. O Good Shepherd, seek me out and bring me home in accord with your will. Let me dwell in your house all the days of my life and praise you for ever and ever with those who are there.


Holy Writings of Saint Jerome:
 
 
 

Selected Writings of Saint Jerome:

From a letter of Saint Jerome to Saint Eustochium: “In the remotest part of a wild and stony desert, burnt up with the heat of the scorching sun so that it frightens even the monks that inhabit it, I seemed to myself to be in the midst of the delights and crowds of Rome. In exile and prison to which for the fear of hell I had voluntarily condemned myself, I many times imagined myself witnessing the dancing of the Roman maidens as if I had been in the midst of them: in my cold body and in my parched-up flesh, which seemed dead before its death, passion able to live. Alone with this enemy, I threw myself in spirit at the feet of Jesus, watering them with my tears, and I tamed my flesh by fasting whole weeks. I am not ashamed to disclose my temptations, but I grieve that I am not now what I then was.”

“The measure of our advancement in the spiritual life should be taken from the progress we make in the virtue of mortification; for it should be held as certain that the greater violence we shall do ourselves in mortification, the greater advance we shall make in perfection.”

“You say in your book that while we live we are able to pray for each other, but afterwards when we have died, the prayer of no person for another can be heard…. But if the apostles and martyrs while still in the body can pray for others, at a time when they ought still be solicitous about themselves, how much more will they do so after their crowns, victories, and triumphs?”

“I interpret as I should, following the command of Christ: “Search the Scriptures,” and “Seek and you shall find.” For if, as Paul says, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God, and if the man who does not know Scripture does not know the power and wisdom of God, then ignorance of Scriptures is ignorance of Christ. No one should think that I mean to explain the entire subject matter of this great book of the prophet Isaiah in one brief sermon, since it contains all the mysteries of the lord. It prophesies that Emmanuel is to be born of a virgin and accomplish marvelous works and signs. It predicts his death, burial and resurrection from the dead as the Savior of all men. Whatever is proper to holy Scripture, whatever can be expressed in human language and understood by the human mind, is contained in the book of Isaiah.”



Year 2: Day 273 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Spiritual and intellectual understanding of Scripture.
Requested Intentions: Business success, peace, health (E); Conversion and deliverance of those who suffer, increase in vocations (M); Financial security and safe housing (M); For a daughter (K); Conversion of a family, deliverance of the souls in Purgatory (S); Successful marriage (A); Health, safety, grace, success of a building project (A); Successful treatment and recovery from cancer (D); Clear speech for a child (C); Conversion of a family (A); Successful employment (S); For the healing of impaired vision (F); For a couple experiencing difficulties (L); Successful employment after finishing college (M); Mother’s health (A); Financial security, freedom from anxiety (S); For a son and cousins (L); Peace and civility (B); Successful examination results (D); Safety of family, strength, courage, wisdom (C); For the souls of a departed father and brother, finding of a suitable marriage partner (R); Successful pilgrimage, deepening of prayer life (R); Restoration of health (J); Restoration of health (S); Freedom from pride (A); For children and marriage (M); For the birth of a healthy baby (Y); For personal family intentions, for the sick, poor, hungry, and homeless (G); Financial security and peace (J); Grace, peace, and obedience to the will of God in a marriage (H); Successful and blessed marriage for sin, freedom from anxiety for husband, spiritual contentedness for family (N); Employment and health for a husband (B); Recovery and health of a mother (J); For a family to grow closer to the Church, salvation for all children (D); Successful employment (L); Successful employment (S); Renewal of faith life (A); Support for an intended marriage, health for friend and aunt (J); Mental health assistance for son (G); Freedom from illness (S); Successful employment (C).

Pope Saint Gregory the Great: On the Archangels

Posted by Jacob

Today, September 29, we celebrate the Feast of the Archangels: Saint Michael, Saint Gabriel, and Saint Raphael. The liturgy celebrates the feast of these three archangels who are venerated in the tradition of the Church. Michael was the archangel who fought against Satan and all his evil angels, defending all the friends of God. He is the protector of all humanity from the snares of the devil. Gabriel announced to Zachariah the forthcoming birth of John the Baptist, and to Mary, the birth of Jesus. His greeting to the Virgin, "Hail, full of grace," is one of the most familiar and frequent prayers of the Christian people. Raphael is the archangel who took care of Tobias on his journey.


Below, a homily delivered by Pope Saint Gregory the Great on the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael.


You should be aware that the word “angel” denotes a function rather than a nature. Those holy spirits of heaven have indeed always been spirits. They can only be called angels when they deliver some message. Moreover, those who deliver messages of lesser importance are called angels; and those who proclaim messages of supreme importance are called archangels. And so it was that not merely an angel but the archangel Gabriel was sent to the Virgin Mary. It was only fitting that the highest angel should come to announce the greatest of all messages.


Some angels are given proper names to denote the service they are empowered to perform. In that holy city, where perfect knowledge flows from the vision of almighty God, those who have no names may easily be known. But personal names are assigned to some, not because they could not be known without them, but rather to denote their ministry when they came among us. Thus, Michael means “Who is like God”; Gabriel is “The Strength of God”; and Raphael is “God’s Remedy”.


Whenever some act of wondrous power must be performed, Michael is sent, so that his action and his name may make it clear that no one can do what God does by his superior power. So also our ancient foe desired in his pride to be like God, saying: I will ascend into heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of heaven; I will be like the Most High. He will be allowed to remain in power until the end of the world when he will be destroyed in the final punishment. Then, he will fight with the archangel Michael, as we are told by John: A battle was fought with Michael the archangel.


So too Gabriel, who is called God’s strength, was sent to Mary. He came to announce the One who appeared as a humble man to quell the cosmic powers. Thus God’s strength announced the coming of the Lord of the heavenly powers, mighty in battle. Raphael means, as I have said, God’s remedy, for when he touched Tobit’s eyes in order to cure him, he banished the darkness of his blindness. Thus, since he is to heal, he is rightly called God’s remedy.

September 29: Feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael

Posted by Jacob

“You should be aware that the word "angel" denotes a function rather than a nature. Those holy spirits of heaven have indeed always been spirits. They can only be called angels when they deliver some message. Moreover, those who deliver messages of lesser importance are called angels; and those who proclaim messages of supreme importance are called archangels.”
From a homily by Pope Saint Gregory the Great.

Today, September 29, we celebrate the Feast of the Archangels: Saint Michael, Saint Gabriel, and Saint Raphael. The liturgy celebrates the feast of these three archangels who are venerated in the tradition of the Church. Michael was the archangel who fought against Satan and all his evil angels, defending all the friends of God. He is the protector of all humanity from the snares of the devil. Gabriel announced to Zachariah the forthcoming birth of John the Baptist, and to Mary, the birth of Jesus. His greeting to the Virgin, "Hail, full of grace," is one of the most familiar and frequent prayers of the Christian people. Raphael is the archangel who took care of Tobias on his journey.



From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

“The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls ‘angels’ is a truth of faith. The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition.


Saint Augustine says: ‘Angel’ is the name of their office, not of their nature. If you seek the name of their nature, it is ‘spirit’; if you seek the name of their office, it is ‘angel’: from what they are, ‘spirit;’ from what they do, ‘angel.’ With their whole beings the angels are servants and messengers of God. Because they ‘always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven’ they are the ‘might ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word.”


As purely spiritual creatures angels have intelligence and will: they are personal and immortal creatures, surpassing in perfection all visible creatures, as the splendor of their glory bears witness.”

Angels are the servants and messengers of God -- in fact, this is what the word "angel" means. Several different kinds (or ranks) of angels are mentioned in the Bible: angels, archangels, cherubim, seraphim, thrones, choirs, dominions, principalities, and powers.

The feast of Saint Michael, one of the seven archangels of Scripture, originated in the sixth century. More recently, two other of the archangels named in scripture, Gabriel and Raphael, are also honored on this day.

Saint Michael the archangel, whose name in Hebrew means "Who is like God?,” is revered as the leader of the angelic army who will conquer Satan and his armies of demons, and is considered the defender of the Church. Michael is more often represented in art than any other angelic being. He is often shown wearing armor, in the act of slaying the great Dragon of the Apocalypse [Satan] in Revelation 12:7-9.

Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world -- he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. (Revelation 12:7-9)

The name Michael is the war cry of the good angels in the battle fought in heaven against Satan and his followers. Holy Scripture describes Saint Michael as “one of the chief princes,” and leader of the forces of heaven in their triumph over the powers of hell. He has been especially honored and invoked as patron and protector by the Church from the time of the Apostles

Pope John Paul II recommended that the “Saint Michael Prayer” be used by all Catholics as a prayer for the Church when he said: ‘”May prayer strengthen us for the spiritual battle we are told about in the Letter to the Ephesians: ‘Draw strength from the Lord and from His mighty power’ (Ephesians 6:10). The Book of Revelation refers to this same battle, recalling before our eyes the image of St. Michael the Archangel (Revelation 12:7). Pope Leo XIII certainly had a very vivid recollection of this scene when, at the end of the last century, he introduced a special prayer to St. Michael throughout the Church. Although this prayer is no longer recited at the end of Mass, I ask everyone not to forget it and to recite it to obtain help in the battle against forces of darkness and against the spirit of this world.”‘

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray. And do thou, O prince of the heavenly host, by the divine power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl around the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.



The Archangel Gabriel, whose name in Hebrew means "Strength of God,” appears throughout the Bible. He first fulfils his role as messenger of the Lord in the prophesies of Daniel in the Old Testament, announcing to Daniel the prophecy of the seventy weeks. Gabriel was the angel who appeared to Zachariah to announce the birth of Saint John the Baptist. Finally, he announced to Our Blessed Mother that she would bear a Son Who would be conceived of the Holy Spirit, Son of the Most High, and Savior of the world. His address to her, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee" (the "angelic salutation") is familiar to all who say the Rosary.

Blessed Saint Gabriel, Archangel
We beseech thee to intercede for us at the throne of divine mercy:
As thou didst announce to Mary the mystery of the Incarnation,
so through thy prayers may we receive strength of faith and
courage of spirit, and thus find favor with God and redemption through Christ Our Lord.
May we sing the praise of God our Savior with the angels and saints in heaven
forever and ever. Amen.


The Archangel Raphael, whose name means “Medicine of God,” is mentioned by name in the Old Testament book of Tobit (Tobias), whom the angel aided by healing him of blindness and guiding him on his travels. Saint Raphael is one of the seven Archangels who stand before the throne of the Lord in Heaven. He was sent by God to help Tobit, Tobiah and Sarah. At the time, Tobit was blind and Tobiah’s betrothed, Sarah, had had seven bridegrooms perish on the night of their weddings. Raphael accompanied Tobiah into Media disguised as a man named Azariah. Raphael helped him through his difficulties and taught him how to safely enter marriage with Sarah. Tobiah said that Raphael caused him to have his wife and that he gave joy to Sarah’s parents for driving out the evil spirit in her. He also gave Raphael credit for his father’s seeing the light of heaven and for receiving all good things through his intercession

Blessed Saint Raphael, Archangel,
We beseech thee to help us in all our needs and trials of this life,
as thou, through the power of God, didst restore sight and give guidance to young Tobit.
We humbly seek thine aid and intercession,
that our souls may be healed,
our bodies protected from all ills,
and that through divine grace we may be made fit
to dwell in the eternal Glory of God in heaven. Amen.



Devotion to the Holy Angels gives rise to a certain form of the Christian life which is characterized by devout gratitude to God for having placed these heavenly spirits of great sanctity and dignity at the service of man; and an attitude of devotion deriving from the knowledge of living constantly in the presence of the Holy Angels of God. On this day, the feast of the Archangels, we are filled with serenity and confidence in facing difficult situations, since the Lord guides and protects the faithful in the way of justice through the ministry of His Holy Angels.

Pope Benedict XVI reminded the faithful to keep the Archangels present in our minds, during his address on their feast day in 2007:
... the Feast of the three Archangels who are mentioned by name in Scripture: Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. This reminds us that in the ancient Church - already in the Book of Revelation - Bishops were described as "angels" of their Church, thereby expressing a close connection between the Bishop's ministry and the Angel's mission. From the Angel's task it is possible to understand the Bishop's service. But what is an Angel? Sacred Scripture and the Church's tradition enable us to discern two aspects. On the one hand, the Angel is a creature who stands before God, oriented to God with his whole being. All three names of the Archangels end with the word "El", which means "God". God is inscribed in their names, in their nature. Their true nature is existing in his sight and for him. In this very way the second aspect that characterizes Angels is also explained: they are God's messengers. They bring God to men, they open heaven and thus open earth. Precisely because they are with God, they can also be very close to man. Indeed, God is closer to each one of us than we ourselves are. The Angels speak to man of what constitutes his true being, of what in his life is so often concealed and buried. They bring him back to himself, touching him on God's behalf. In this sense, we human beings must also always return to being angels to one another - angels who turn people away from erroneous ways and direct them always, ever anew, to God. If the ancient Church called Bishops "Angels" of their Church, she meant precisely this: Bishops themselves must be men of God, they must live oriented to God. "Multum orat pro populo."


God our Father,
in a wonderful way you guide the work of angels and men.
May those who serve you constantly in heaven
keep our lives safe from all harm on earth.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit. Amen.




Year 2: Day 272 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Guidance and protection of the Lord; Assistance in times of difficulty from His army of angels.
Requested Intentions: Business success, peace, health (E); Conversion and deliverance of those who suffer, increase in vocations (M); Financial security and safe housing (M); For a daughter (K); Conversion of a family, deliverance of the souls in Purgatory (S); Successful marriage (A); Health, safety, grace, success of a building project (A); Successful treatment and recovery from cancer (D); Clear speech for a child (C); Conversion of a family (A); Successful employment (S); For the healing of impaired vision (F); For a couple experiencing difficulties (L); Successful employment after finishing college (M); Mother’s health (A); Financial security, freedom from anxiety (S); For a son and cousins (L); Peace and civility (B); Successful examination results (D); Safety of family, strength, courage, wisdom (C); For the souls of a departed father and brother, finding of a suitable marriage partner (R); Successful pilgrimage, deepening of prayer life (R); Restoration of health (J); Restoration of health (S); Freedom from pride (A); For children and marriage (M); For the birth of a healthy baby (Y); For personal family intentions, for the sick, poor, hungry, and homeless (G); Financial security and peace (J); Grace, peace, and obedience to the will of God in a marriage (H); Successful and blessed marriage for sin, freedom from anxiety for husband, spiritual contentedness for family (N); Employment and health for a husband (B); Recovery and health of a mother (J); For a family to grow closer to the Church, salvation for all children (D); Successful employment (L); Successful employment (S); Renewal of faith life (A); Support for an intended marriage, health for friend and aunt (J); Mental health assistance for son (G); Freedom from illness (S); Successful employment (C).

Saint Lorenzo Ruiz: Canonization Homily Delivered by Pope John Paul II

Posted by Jacob

Today, September 28 we celebrate the feast day of Saint Lorenzo Ruiz (1600-1637), Dominican missionary, the first saint of the Philippines, and the first Filipino martyred for the faith.  Saint Lorenzo experienced difficulty in his early life, and may have fallen victim to sin.  However, he turned to the Lord, realizing it is never too late for forgiveness.  He embraced his faith, approached his role as missionary with zeal, and gave his life for the encouragement of others. Pope John Paul II described him as the "most improbable of saints" during his canonization ceremony.

Below, the Homily of Pope John Paul II delivered at the Vatican during the Canonization Rite of Blessed Lorenzo Ruiz and his Companion Martyrs in Nagasaki:


"Today's canonization of Blessed Lorenzo Ruiz and his companions, martyred in and around Nagasaki between 1633 and 1637, constitutes an eloquent confirmation of these words. Sixteen men and women bore witness, by their heroic sufferings and death, to their belief in the message of salvation in Christ which has reached them after being proclaimed from generation to generation since the time of the Apostles.


In their sufferings, their love and imitation of Jesus reached its fulfillment, and their sacramental configuration with Jesus, the one Mediator, was brought to perfection.


These holy martyrs, different in origin, language, race and social condition, are united with each other and with the entire People of God in the saving mystery of Christ, the Redeemer.


The martyrs' message of supreme fidelity to Christ speaks to Europe, with its common Christian foundation laid by Apostles Peter and Paul, which has been a seedbed of missionaries for two thousand years.


It speaks to the Philippines, which was the place of immediate preparation and strengthening in faith for eleven of the new Saints, which, as I remarked on the occasion of the martyrs. Beatification in Manila in 1981, from being evangelized is called to become an evangelizer in the great work of bringing the Gospel to the peoples of Asia.


May this task of evangelization begin in Philippine families, following the example of Lorenzo Ruiz, husband and father of three children, who first collaborated with the Dominican Fathers in Manila, and then shared their martyrdom in Nagasaki, and who is now the first canonized Filipino saint.


The Holy Martyrs speak to the Church in Japan, particularly to the Archdiocese of Nagasaki, to the Church in Taiwan and in Macao, and to all Christ's followers in Asia. May the example and intercession of the new Saints help to extend Christian truth and love throughout the length and breadth of this vast continent.


The great Dominican Family, and in particular the Province of the Holy Rosary, which celebrates the Fourth Centennial of its foundation, receives today, with legitimate pride, among its saints, these martyrs, some of whom were especially associated to the Colegio de Santo Tomas de Manila. This center of learning, today a University, like other meritorious ecclesiastical institutions, has contributed in a notable manner to the implantation and development of the Church in the Far East.


The missionaries who are canonized today, speak to the faithful in this World Day of Prayer for the Missions and exhort them to reawaken their missionary conscience. The new Saints should be our models in following the call of God with total surrender."


September 28: Saint Lorenzo Ruiz

Posted by Jacob

"That I will never do, because I am a Christian, and I shall die for God, and for him I will give many thousands of lives if I had them. And so, do with me as you please."

(Saint Lorenzo Ruiz, when government officials asked, "If we grant you life, will you renounce your faith?)

Today, September 28 we celebrate the feast day of Saint Lorenzo Ruiz (1600-1637), Dominican missionary, the first saint of the Philippines, and the first Filipino martyred for the faith. Saint Lorenzo experienced difficulty in his early life, and may have fallen victim to sin. However, he turned to the Lord, realizing it is never too late for forgiveness. He embraced his faith, approached his role as missionary with zeal, and gave his life for the encouragement of others. Pope John Paul II described him as the "most improbable of saints" during his canonization ceremony.

Lorenzo was born in Binondo (Manila), Philippines, the son of a Chinese father and a Filipino mother. As both his parents were Christians, he was raised in the faith, learning both Chinese and Tagalog from his parents, and Spanish from the Dominican friars with whom he served Mass as an altar boy. As he grew, Lorenzo demonstrated constancy and piety, and turned his steady demeanor into profession, transcribing documents in calligraphy.

Lorenzo entered the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary as a Dominican, and from this young age demonstrated a loving devotion to Our Blessed Mother. Well educated and accomplished, he later married and with his wife, produced three children (two sons and one daughter).

Saint Lorenzo’s peaceful life was shattered when he was accused of murder. Little is known about this event, but it is clear that he suffered from his implication in a crime that resulted in the death of a fellow man. It is said in the Dominican record that Lorenzo was sought by the authorities on account of a homicide to which he was present or which was attributed to him."

To avoid the death penalty, which was what surely awaited him, Lorenzo took refuge with a Dominican missionary party which was departing for Japan. Fully aware of the violent persecution that was sweeping across the island country, Lorenzo embraced his chance to work as a missionary for the Lord. Along with Dominican priests Antonio Gonzalez, Guillermo Courtet, and Miguel de Aozaraza, and a Japanese priest, Shiwozuka de la Cruz, the set sail for Okinawa.

Despite having the opportunity to contemplate the difficulties that lie ahead, and to even continue sailing past Japan, Lorenzo disembarked the ship with his companions. It was not long before they were discovered as missionaries, arrested, and tried. Together, the brave martyrs underwent the most horrific of tortures—initially, they were forced to consume large quantities of water, and then through the application of solid boards to their stomachs, their torturers forced the water from their noses and ears, causing incredible pain as well as the sensation of drowning.

The holy men, Lorenzo included, refused to recant their faith, proclaiming the name of the Lord as loudly as they could in such discomfort. After several days of torture—including bamboo needles being inserted under their fingernails—the Dominican superior, Father Antonio, died in agony. Each of the remaining men endured torture, as well as their own moments of spiritual crisis.

Lorenzo, for example, implored of his interpreter, "I would like to know if, by apostatizing, they will spare my life." The interpreter was noncommittal, and as time continued, Lorenzo found himself filled with the Holy Spirit, no longer afraid, and became bold in his proclamations of the Christian faith. Existing documents attest that the Japanese promised him a safe trip back home where he could be reunited with his loved ones, but Ruiz staunchly chose to remain faithful to his religion.

Eventually, the remaining men were martyred, hung upside down in earthen pits. One hung, boards were fitted around their waist, with stones place atop them to increase pressure. They were tightly bound to slow circulation and prevent a speedy death. Lorenzo died after a period of three days. Those left alive were beheaded. Saint Lorenzo’s body was cremated and his ashes thrown into the sea. He and fifteen companions, martyred in the same persecution, were beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1981 and elevated to sainthood in1987 in Rome.

"The Lord gives us saints at the right time and God waited 350 years to give us this saint," Pope John Paul II said of Saint Lorenzo Ruiz. "It is the heroism which he demonstrated as a lay witness to the faith... which is very important in today's world. The witness of San Lorenzo is the testimony we need of courage without measure to show us that it is possible. Faith and life for Lorenzo was synonymous and inseparable. Life without faith would have been without value...he proved that sanctity and heroism are there for anybody and the final victory is made to size for each one of us."



Prayer to St. Lorenzo Ruiz

O MOST MERCIFUL and almighty God,
You bestowed as gift to
Lorenzo Ruiz
The strength to withstand
The overpowering forces of death
For the sake of his faith in You.


Through his prayers,
Help us to follow his example
By overcoming all life's trials
And eventually, increase
Our hope and love in You.


O St. Lorenzo Ruiz,
You brought honor to your country,
Having been a level-headed
And prudent father of the family,
A witness of Christ in your life
Until your death.


We present all our petitions
To God through your help
So that by our actions,
We may know more and love more
Jesus our Lord and Savior.


We humbly implore
Your intercession O dear
St. Lorenzo,
For the infinite glory of God

And in honor of your triumph
As a martyr of Christ
And defender of Christianity.
Amen.





Year 2: Day 271 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Forgiveness; Courage to move past our sins and serve the Lord
Requested Intentions: Business success, peace, health (E); Conversion and deliverance of those who suffer, increase in vocations (M); Financial security and safe housing (M); For a daughter (K); Conversion of a family, deliverance of the souls in Purgatory (S); Successful marriage (A); Health, safety, grace, success of a building project (A); Successful treatment and recovery from cancer (D); Clear speech for a child (C); Conversion of a family (A); Successful employment (S); For the healing of impaired vision (F); For a couple experiencing difficulties (L); Successful employment after finishing college (M); Mother’s health (A); Financial security, freedom from anxiety (S); For a son and cousins (L); Peace and civility (B); Successful examination results (D); Safety of family, strength, courage, wisdom (C); For the souls of a departed father and brother, finding of a suitable marriage partner (R); Successful pilgrimage, deepening of prayer life (R); Restoration of health (J); Restoration of health (S); Freedom from pride (A); For children and marriage (M); For the birth of a healthy baby (Y); For personal family intentions, for the sick, poor, hungry, and homeless (G); Financial security and peace (J); Grace, peace, and obedience to the will of God in a marriage (H); Successful and blessed marriage for sin, freedom from anxiety for husband, spiritual contentedness for family (N); Employment and health for a husband (B); Recovery and health of a mother (J); For a family to grow closer to the Church, salvation for all children (D); Successful employment (L); Successful employment (S); Renewal of faith life (A); Support for an intended marriage, health for friend and aunt (J); Mental health assistance for son (G); Freedom from illness (S); Successful employment (C).

September 27: Saint Vincent de Paul

Posted by Jacob

Today, September 27, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Vincent de Paul (1581-1660), founder of the Congregation of the Mission, and servant to his fellow man. Saint Vincent is a model of Christian charity, caring for all, and revolutionizing the mission work of the Church. Truly modeling his life on that of Christ, Saint Vincent placed himself at the feet of the poor, assisting in their need, but more importantly, recognizing the sanctity and dignity of every human life.

Saint Vincent was born into a peasant farming family in Pouy, France. A highly intelligent youth, he excelled at academics, and sought the priesthood primarily for social advancement and monetary gain. At that time, escaping the peasant life was difficult, and entering a religious order was one of the only manners in which to change one’s station in life.

Vincent spent four years with the Franciscan friars in Acq, France, and excelled at his education. He supported himself through tutoring the children of the wealthy, and was ordained a priest at the young age of 19. Shortly thereafter, he was captured by Turkish pirates, and sold into slavery, where he remained for several years. He eventually converted one of his owners to Christianity, and later escaped.

Returning to France, Vincent was assigned to a small parish. Having begun his ministry with less than pure intentions and motives, the Lord sought to change Vincent’s heart. Spending time with those who lived in poverty, with little education, Vincent was shocked to discover how his fellow man was being forced to live. He was able to empathize with them, given his own imprisonment. Moreover, he learned how little that his congregation knew of their faith, and began preaching the importance of confession and repentance.

He could have never predicted the response of his parishioners. Lines for confession stretched out the doors of the parish chapel, and the faithful waited for hours to pour out their hearts to Saint Vincent. More than anything, they hungered for the Gospel, and for priests to minister to their basic needs (as well as their spiritual needs). In 1626, Vincent and three priests pledged to, in his own words, "Aggregate and associate to ourselves and to the aforesaid work to live together as a Congregation…and to devote ourselves to the salvation of the poor country folk.” With that, The Congregation of Priests of the Mission (the Lazarists) was established. With Saint Louise de Marillac, he similarly founded the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity.

The congregations Saint Vincent established spread quickly throughout France, largely due to he and his fellow founders’ travel and preaching efforts. Membership grew, and the congregations started social and community justice organizations committed to helping the poor, sick, unemployed, imprisoned, and uneducated. Saint Vincent worked tirelessly to bring dignity and justice to the destitute, enslaved, abandoned, forgotten, and ignored. The more society looked down upon an individual, the more Saint Vincent became his servant. His basic vision was simply that the Good News of Jesus Christ should be announced to the poor through word and service.

Within his lifetime, the Congregation of the Mission had spread throughout the world, and chapters remain active today in all corners of the globe. At his funeral, it was declared that Saint Vincent had “transformed the face of the Church.”

Saint Vincent de Paul knew how to make his work responsive to all kinds of misery, whether physical or moral, determined to remedy it and finding an appropriate solution for every situation. He was the initiator of assistance to abandoned children, to prisoners, victims of catastrophe, refugees, and housebound invalid. Bending himself to the pattern of his model, Jesus Christ, he place himself at the service of the poor, “who are our lords and our masters.” He taught that true charity does not consist only of distributing alms, but of helping the abject to regain their dignity and independence.

He believed in the virtue of action and he loved to use this succinct motto: “Action is our entire task.” He would then add that “Perfection does not come from ecstasy but rather from doing the will of God.” However, he recommended long prayer and meditation before action so that one could come to recognize the divine will. Above all, this man of action was a man of prayer and deep spirituality: “You must have an inner life, everything must tend in that direction. If you lack this, you lack everything.”



Selected Quotations of Saint Vincent de Paul:

However great the work that God may achieve by an individual, he must not indulge in self-satisfaction. He ought rather to be all the more humbled, seeing himself merely as a tool which God has made use of.

We must love our neighbor as being made in the image of God and as an object of His love.

The Church teaches us that mercy belongs to God. Let us implore Him to bestow on us the spirit of mercy and compassion, so that we are filled with it and may never lose it. Only consider how much we ourselves are in need of mercy.

Extend your mercy towards others, so that there can be no one in need whom you meet without helping. For what hope is there for us if God should withdraw His Mercy from us?

The most powerful weapon to conquer the devil is humility. For, as he does not know at all how to employ it, neither does he know how to defend himself from it.

Free your mind from all that troubles you; God will take care of things. You will be unable to make haste in this (choice) without, so to speak, grieving the heart of God, because he sees that you do not honor him sufficiently with holy trust. Trust in him, I beg you, and you will have the fulfillment of what your heart desires.

It is our duty to prefer the service of the poor to everything else and to offer such service as quickly as possible. If a needy person requires medicine or other help during prayer time, do whatever has to be done with peace of mind. Offer the deed to God as your prayer…. Charity is certainly greater than any rule. Moreover, all rules must lead to charity.

Human nature grows tired of always doing the same thing, and it is God’s will that this because of the opportunity of practicing two great virtues. The first is perseverance, which will bring us to our goal. The other is steadfastness, which overcomes the difficulties on the way.

We should strive to keep our hearts open to the sufferings and wretchedness of other people, and pray continually that God may grant us that spirit of compassion which is truly the spirit of God.

Humility and charity are the two master-chords: one, the lowest; the other, the highest; all the others are dependent on them. Therefore it is necessary, above all, to maintain ourselves in these two virtues; for observe well that the preservation of the whole edifice depends on the foundation and the roof.

As it is most certain that the teaching of Christ cannot deceive, if we would walk securely, we ought to attach ourselves to it with greatest confidence and to profess openly that we live according to it, and not to the maxims of the world, which are all deceitful. This is the fundamental maxim of all Christian perfection.

We have never so much cause for consolation, as when we find ourselves oppressed by sufferings and trials; for these make us like Christ our Lord, and this resemblance is the true mark of our predestination.

Perfection consists in one thing alone, which is doing the will of God. For, according to Our Lord’s words, it suffices for perfection to deny self, to take up the cross and to follow Him. Now who denies himself and takes up his cross and follows Christ better than he who seeks not to do his own will, but always that of God? Behold, now, how little is needed to become as Saint? Nothing more than to acquire the habit of willing, on every occasion, what God wills.

He who allows himself to be ruled or guided by the lower and animal part of his nature, deserves to be called a beast rather than a man

Whoever wishes to make progress in perfection should use particular diligence in not allowing himself to be led away by his passions, which destroy with one hand the spiritual edifice which is rising by the labors of the other. But to succeed well in this, resistance should be begun while the passions are yet weak; for after they are thoroughly rooted and grown up, there is scarcely any remedy.

The first step to be taken by one who wishes to follow Christ is, according to Our Lord’s own words, that of renouncing himself - that is, his own senses, his own passions, his own will, his own judgment, and all the movements of nature, making to God a sacrifice of all these things, and of all their acts, which are surely sacrifices very acceptable to the Lord. And we must never grow weary of this; for if anyone having, so to speak, one foot already in Heaven, should abandon this exercise, when the time should come for him to put the other there, he would run much risk of being lost.

We ought to deal kindly with all, and to manifest those qualities which spring naturally from a heart tender and full of Christian charity; such as affability, love and humility. These virtues serve wonderfully to gain the hearts of men, and to encourage them to embrace things that are more repugnant to nature.

It ought to be considered a great misfortune, not only for individuals, but also for Houses and Congregations, to have everything in conformity with their wishes; to go on quietly, and to suffer nothing for the love of God. Yes, consider it certain that a person or a Congregation that does not suffer and is applauded by all the world is near a fall.

Even though the poor are often rough and unrefined, we must not judge them from external appearances nor from the mental gifts they seem to have received. On the contrary, if you consider the poor in the light of faith, then you will observe that they are taking the place of the Son of God who chose to be poor. Although in his passion he almost lost the appearance of a man and was considered a fool by the Gentiles and a stumbling block by the Jews, he showed them that his mission was to preach to the poor: “He sent me to preach the good news to the poor.” We also ought to have this same spirit and imitate Christ’s actions, that is, we must take care of the poor, console them, help them, support their cause. Since Christ willed to be born poor, he chose for himself disciples who were poor. He made himself the servant of the poor and shared their poverty. He went so far as to say that he would consider every deed which either helps or harms the poor as done for or against himself. Since God surely loves the poor, he also love whose who love the poor. For when on person holds another dear, he also includes in his affection anyone who loves or serves the one he loves. That is why we hope that God will love us for the sake of the poor. So when we visit the poor and needy, we try to be understanding where they are concerned. We sympathize with them so fully that we can echo Paul’s words: “I have become all things to all men.” Therefore, we must try to be stirred by our neighbors’ worries and distress. It is our duty to prefer the service of the poor to everything else and to offer such service as quickly as possible. Charity is certainly greater than any rule. Moreover, all rules must lead to charity. With renewed devotion, then, we must serve the poor, especially outcasts and beggars. They have been given to us as our masters and patrons.


Read more written by Saint Vincent de Paul: "To Serve the Poor is to Serve Jesus"


Dear Saint Vincent de Paul, the mere mention of your name suggests a litany of your virtues: humility, zeal, mercy, self-sacrifice. It also recalls your many foundations: Works of Mercy, Congregations, Societies. And the Church gratefully remembers your promotion of the priesthood. Inspire all Charitable Workers, especially those who minister to the poor - both the spiritually and the materially poor. Amen.