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100th Anniversary of Fatima

Back in 1917 in Fatima, Portugal, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three shepherd children on the 13th of each month from May through October.  The children were Lucia, who was nine years old, and her cousins, Francisco who was eight, and his sister, Jacinta who was six.  This apparition of the Blessed Virgin is one of the few apparitions approved  by the Catholic Church.  To be approved, it has to go through scrutiny and investigation by the Church.  You are not obligated to believe in this apparition even if you are Catholic but if it strengthens you faith, then learn more about it.  This is a long story and there is a lot of details so I encourage you to look for more on the story but I will try to do it justice.

The Angel of Peace came to the children in 1916 (possibly early spring) and taught them prayers and gave them Holy Communion.  He taught, “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, I love Thee.  I ask pardon for all those who do not believe in Thee, do not adore Thee, do not hope in Thee, do not love Thee.”  In the summer, the Guardian Angel of Portugal appeared again to them, asking them to “Offer up everything within your power as a sacrifice to the Lord in an act of reparation for the sins by which God is offended…”  In Autumn, the Angel appeared again, holding a chalice and a Host was hovering over it from which drops of Blood were falling into the chalice.  He let go of it and it suspended in the air while the Angel prostrated himself on the ground in adoration, while he prayed this prayer, “Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, I adore Thee profoundly, and I offer Thee the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of the same Son Jesus Christ, present in the Tabernacles of the world, in reparation for all the sacrileges outrages and indifferences by which He Himself is offended.  And by the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of Thee the conversion of poor sinners.”  He gave Lucia the Host and the contents of the chalice to Francisco and Jacinta as he said, “Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men.  Make reparation for their crimes and console your God.”

(First Apparition) On May 13, 1917, the children were out in the Cova de Iria where the sheep grazed, they saw a flash of lightening so they were going to start for home when they saw a small holm oak tree and above it was this beautiful Lady.  She was “dressed all in white, more brilliant than the sun”.  She said to them, “Fear not! I will not harm you.”  She wanted them to come to the same spot for six months on the 13th of each month.  She asked them if they wanted to offer themselves to God to “endure all the sufferings that He may choose to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended and as a supplication for the conversion of sinners?”  They agreed.  She said, “Then you are going to suffer a great deal, but the grace of God will be your comfort.” and “Say the rosary everyday to bring peace to the world and the end of the war (This happened during WWI).”

On the second apparition on June 13th, Our Lady taught the children another prayer to be said between the decades of the rosary, “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need.”  She stated that she would take Francisco and Jacinta soon (to heaven), Lucia, however, is to stay here a longer time.  Jesus wants to use Lucia to make Our Lady known and loved…”

(Third Apparition) One July 13th, Our Lady wanted the children to say the rosary daily, in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, for the end of the war “for She alone can save it.”  She promised them a miracle she would perform in October “so that they would believe“.  She asked again for them to sacrifice themselves for sinners.  She opened her arms and the light from her opened up the earth.  The children saw a “sea of fire and immersed in that fire were devils and souls with human form, as if they were transparent black or bronze embers floating in the fire and swayed by the flames that issued from them along with clouds of smoke, falling upon every side…amidst wailing and cries of pain and despair that horrified and shook us with terror.  We could tell the devils by their horrible and nauseous figures and baleful and unknown animals, but transparent as the black coals in a fire” according to the words of Lucia.  Our Lady told them “You have seen Hell–where the souls of poor sinners go.  To save them God wants to establish throughout the world the devotion to My Immaculate Heart.”  She predicted WWII and persecution of the Church, which came true.

On August 13th, the Chief Magistrate told the children he was taking them to the Cova in his carriage. Lucia realized he had lied to them and was stealing them.  He took them to the County House and questioned for the secret the Lady told them.  They were threatened with many punishments including being boiled in oil but wouldn’t tell the secret.  They were thrown in jail with hardened criminals.  The children prayed the rosary in the jail and got the criminals to pray with them.  The Magistrate released them because of an angry mob outside.  Our Lady came to the children on August 19th instead and told of the miracle that will happen in October.  She said that “St. Joseph will appear with Baby Jesus to give peace to the world“.  She wished for a chapel to be built in the spot of the apparitions.

September 13th, Our Lady told more about the miracle that was to take place in October and asked for the rosary to be said.

October 13, 1917 is the day of the “Miracle of the Sun”.  It was very rainy that day and the night before and everyone’s clothing was drenched and the ground was thick with mud.  There were about 70,000 people there in the Cova.  The sun danced for about 10 minutes and appeared to come closer to earth as if it were crashing but then went back up to the sky.  After the sun danced, the ground and all of their clothing was dry when before this they were all muddy.  St. Joseph and baby Jesus appeared and blessed the world.  This miracle has been documented accepted by the Catholic Church.

Please click on the link below to see a poster about the miracle.

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The message of the Virgin Mary is to

  1. Go to Confession often
  2. Say the Rosary daily
  3. Repent of sin
  4. Make sacrifices and reparation for poor sinners and for our sins
  5. Go to Mass
  6. Make the Five First Saturday devotion (Go to confession, Holy Communion, Rosary, and 15 minute meditation on the mysteries of the rosary, in atonement for the sins of the whole world on the First Saturday of each month for five Saturdays.)

This May 13, 2017 is the 100th Anniversary of the first apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the shepherd children.  October 13th will be the 100th Anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun.  Please consider beginning a devotion of honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary for She will lead you to Christ and you will see Him for the first time through her eyes as a mother.  You may say, I don’t need His mother to lead me to Jesus, but in this world of instant gratification, we need to slow down and contemplate the many facets of Jesus and this is one of them that many people miss.  Jesus loved and honored His mother and we should too at the very least out of respect for Jesus, but also for the Mother of God.

The Blessed Virgin Mary wants us to amend our lives, pray the rosary for peace, sacrifice for poor sinners and come to the Her Son in the Eucharist to change the world.  This has been her consistent message for about 150 years in all of her apparitions, yet she has been rejected repeatedly.  When will we listen…when it’s too late?  She is the Arc of the Covenant, like the Arc of Moses.  When things get tough, will we turn back to her after the door of the Arc is closed?  It’s too late then.  Please pray the rosary for peace and please don’t reject her.  She comes to you softly and lovingly as your Mother too.  (And you don’t have to be Catholic to ask for Her intercession and to honor Her.)

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Who was St. Joseph?

St. Joseph was a man who we never hear much about.  He didn’t say anything in the Bible but we know something about him.  Most pictures show him with white hair like he was a lot older than the Virgin Mary but he was not many years older than she was.  She was about 15.  The Bible says that he was a “righteous man”.  He is usually pictured with Baby Jesus and a white lily symbolizing St. Joseph’s purity and virginity.

Click here for more information and prayers.

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The Virgin Mary and St. Joseph were betrothed before Jesus was conceived.  That means they were engaged to be married but in their tradition that means they were married but lived apart for one year.  An angel came to Joseph in a dream telling him “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins,” he did as the angel told him and took Mary as his wife. (Matthew 1:19-25).    When she gave birth, he was there and assisted her.  Logically, he was the first one to see the Child Jesus after his birth.  In Matthew 2:13-23, Joseph has another dream telling him of danger to his family, Mary and the child Jesus.  He takes them to Egypt without question and keeps them safe until King Herod dies and it is safe again to return home.  King Herod had killed all children under the age of two.  These are called the Holy Innocents as they are the first martyrs of Christ.

Joseph was a carpenter and taught Jesus how to be a carpenter also.  He died sometime before Jesus began His ministry.  St. Joseph was of noble blood of the House of David.  This fulfills prophesy that the Messiah would be from the lineage of the House of David.

St. Joseph was a man who had the most beautiful woman on earth, the Virgin Mary, as his wife but he never touched her in a disrespectful or sexual way.  He kept her dignity intact and never tarnished her purity.  He protected her virginity and kept it intact for the rest of her life.

Joseph is the patron saint of the dying because, he died with Jesus and Mary close to him, the way we all would like to leave this earth.  Joseph is also patron saint of the Catholic Church, families, fathers, stepparents, pregnant women, travelers, immigrants, house sellers and buyers, craftsmen, engineers, and working people.

We celebrate two feast days for Joseph: March 19 for Joseph the Husband of Mary and May 1 for Joseph the Worker.

Consider a devotion to St. Joseph asking for his intercession in prayer for you.  Jesus listens to his stepfather answering many prayers.  Try putting a piece of paper with your prayer on it stuck in the frame of his picture.  Or put that same prayer in the hand of a statue of St. Joseph or under it.  This is not expecting the statue to answer the prayer, but instead, when St. Joseph sees that you are honoring his image, he will intercede for you.  This is not worshipping the statue but honoring his image, like we would a family member.  St. Joseph is also a great saint to have as a patron saint for anyone who needs fatherly guidance such as a baptismal saint or for someone who doesn’t have a father in the home.

St. Joseph is the protector the family.  Ask for his assistance if you have struggles in your family.  He will take it to Jesus and Jesus can’t refuse His father because He respects His father.

 

 

 

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What are the Chief Truths Taught by Jesus?

We can find the chief truths taught by Jesus in the Catholic Church found in the Apostles’ Creed.

APOSTLES’ CREED

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth;

and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord; Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilot, was crucified, died and was buried.  He descended into hell; the third day He arose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Amen.

These are the chief truths of the Catholic Church.  More explanation is below.

Jesus taught us that God is: all knowing, almighty, all-good.  These are God’s perfections that we praise.  He is the Supreme Being, eternal, and all-present (everywhere).  Jesus taught us that the Trinity is three Divine Persons but one God.

When we say hell in the Apostles’ Creed, we mean “the place where the good souls were waiting until heaven was reopened by Christ”.  We don’t mean the place of the damned.(The New Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism)

When we say that we believe in the Holy Catholic Church, we mean that Jesus chose and gave the power to Peter to be the first Pope. The successor of St. Peter is the Holy Father, the Pope now.  Jesus gave the power to teach, to sanctify and to rule the Church. “The Church is the congregation (body) of all baptized persons united in the same true faith, the same sacrifice and the same sacraments, under the Holy Father, the Pope.” (Baltimore Catechism)  There is only one Church with one head, the Pope.  This is how Jesus founded it.

The Communion of Saints is our family of saints and deceased loved ones who all pray for us, intercede for us and are our family in heaven.

The power to forgive sins was given to Peter and the apostles only and is offered through Confession in the Church.  The power was not given to anyone except the apostles and their successors.  That means that other churches/pastors do not have this Jesus-given power because they broke succession.

Resurrection of the body means that our bodies will be resurrected up when Jesus comes which means that we should take special care of our bodies after death.  If we have received the Eucharist during our life, we are the tabernacle of the Lord.  We should not be cremated if we can help it and if we are, our ashes are not to be scattered; instead they should be buried right away and not left on someone’s mantle.  Our bodies should be blessed and have a proper funeral in the Church.

Life everlasting is what Jesus promised us if we ate of His Body and Blood, the Eucharist in John 6.  This is what Jesus instituted.  This is what the Mass is about.  This is the core of Catholicism.  If we don’t eat of it, then we have “no life within us.” John 6.

If you believe this, then you are on your way to being Catholic.

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What is the Immaculate Conception?

Most people think it’s the conception of Jesus but this is wrong.  The Immaculate Conception is the conception of the Virgin Mary and is celebrated on the feast day of December 8th.  The Virgin Mary was conceived without the stain of Original Sin so that she could be the perfect and pure place for Jesus to be conceived and protected for the pregnancy.

When a woman is conceived, all of her eggs are formed within her for her whole life.  She never makes more eggs after birth, they only mature, usually one each month in anticipation of a pregnancy.  Think about it, God wanted the perfect and pure place for the conception of His Son but the Virgin Mary’s eggs had to be perfect for the conception too.  Since they were all formed at conception, then God had to intervene to prevent Her from having Original Sin and to form the perfect egg within Her for Jesus.  So God’s plan for the birth of His Son was already in progress at the conception of Jesus’ Mother.

The Virgin Mary’s parents, St. Ann and St. Joachim, were barren and older.  They were visited by an angel saying that they will conceive.

The Virgin Mary is HONORED, not worshipped, for being the Mother of God and we ask for Her intercession for our intentions.  We ask Her to pray for us and our intentions to Her Son because Jesus wouldn’t say no to His mother because He loves Her.  So as long as what we ask for is in alignment with God’s will, the Virgin Mary will intercede for us.  Why don’t we just go directly to Jesus?  Because you can’t have Jesus without Mary and you can’t have Mary without Jesus.  They are forever connected.  Jesus loved and honored His mother and so should we.  Mary always points us to Her Son and teaches us about Him.  What better way of learning about Jesus than through the eyes of His mother, who saw his childhood, miracles, suffering, passion, and resurrection.  Jesus gave His mother to us all as Our Mother when He was on the cross.  The Fourth Commandment tells us to Honor thy father and mother, this includes Jesus’ Mother.

So the next time someone refers to the Immaculate Conception as the conception of Jesus, you can tell them what it REALLY is, the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary to prepare for the coming of Jesus.  For remember, without the Virgin Mary, we wouldn’t have Jesus.

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What is a chaplet?

A chaplet is a devotional prayer that is said while the person keeps track of the progress of the prayer on beads.  The most commonly known is the rosary but others are said to Jesus or saints.  The Divine Mercy Chaplet is becoming more commonly known and said to Jesus.  Some are a loop of beads, while others are a string of beads.  They vary widely.  This practice goes back many centuries when monks would use knots in cords to say the psalms.

The rosary is a meditation on the life of Jesus and The Blessed Virgin Mary continually points us to her Son throughout the meditation.  But you might say, well yea but then explain why do we say so many Hail Mary’s in it?  Because we are asking for the Virgin Mary’s direction and intercession.  She’s helping us along the path to find who the true Jesus is.  She shows us how beautifully He came to us, His life, His suffering (Passion), and His Resurrection.  It is never about the Virgin Mary, it is always about learning about and loving Jesus.  Click to find the Fifteen Promises of the Rosary from Our Lady.

There is a chaplet for:

  • St. Michael
  • Divine Mercy
  • The Blessed Sacrament
  • St. Patrick
  • The Infant Jesus of Prague
  • St. Teresa the Little Flower
  • The Holy Spirit
  • and so many more.

You can find these chaplets at a local Catholic religious store or online.  You could find a saint that you identify with or want to form a relationship with and then find their chaplet and keep that devotion.  This by no means takes you from Jesus though.  They are our family in Heaven and they all point to and teach us about Jesus.  This helps us to have a deeper appreciation and love for Jesus.

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Statues? What’s up with all the statues?

Why do Catholics worship statues?  Do Catholics commit idolatry?  Are they even Christian?

Yes, Catholics are very much Christian and everything is based on what Jesus taught us.  Catholics have Bible verses in every Mass (service).

I remember a story about what the Catholic Church may look like from the outside.  If you stand outside of the church, you can see the stain glass windows but they are dark and unappealing.  The building just looks like any other building and not very exciting or even a little weird to people outside.  But if you look at it from the inside, the stain glass windows are so vibrant, beautiful and they tell a story.  Lights illuminate the ornate painted gold scrollwork on the walls and the beauty within.  Once you get to know what the Catholic Church is all about, you see the beauty within.

Statues in the Catholic Church are reminders for us, like people would have pictures of their family in their wallet.  If we didn’t have pictures of our great grandparents, we wouldn’t know what they looked like, right?  We honor the Virgin Mary (I will write more about that later) and the saints but only ask for them to pray FOR us, like we ask our family and friends to pray for us.  Idolatry would be if we thought that the statue itself would be able to do what we ask, but the statues only remind us of Jesus or the saints and we only worship God and Jesus.

We also have crucifixes of Jesus on the cross to remind us of His sacrifice for us.  We are not crucifying him again.  Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection are all one thing, not separate.  You can’t have one without the other. People have asked me why we want weddings in the church instead of on the beach.  The answer is, so that we have a crucifix to look at and remind us of the sacrifice that we are called to do within our marriage which is a covenant (promise) between the couple and God, instead of a contract of only the couple.

Although it may LOOK like we worship the statues, we are really using the statue to remind us of the person and asking for the person to PRAY FOR US and WITH US to God.  If you think about it, if you wanted something you would go to your mom and ask for her to ask dad for you right? Why?  Because you know that he wouldn’t refuse her on your behalf.  It’s the same with the Virgin Mary and Jesus and God.  The Virgin Mary goes to her Son and asks Him for and with us for our request and Jesus will always listen to His Mother.  The saints do the same thing.  They are our huge family in Heaven and they are on our side and willing to assist us to reach heaven.

Jesus gave His mother to us when He was on the cross dying.

26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loves, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.  John 19:26-27

Jesus not only gave the Virgin Mary, his mother, to John to care for but He also gave her to us as our Mother.  She is our Blessed Mother in Heaven and we need to honor her as Jesus would.