Our Lady holding Jesus as He accepts flowers from the shepherd child

Our Lady holding Jesus as He accepts flowers from the shepherd child

Welcome to our intercessory prayer ministry for families, babies, little ones and those who love them.

In our prayers for families, we pray for the sanctity of all life and for vocations to marriage, the priesthood and consecrated life, which are born and nurtured in families.

Prayer of Entrustment to Mary was prayed for this ministry at the icon of the Madonna Salus Populi Romani (Salvation of the Roman People, Our Lady of Good Health) in the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore (Basilica of Mary Major) in Rome, Italy, in Nossa Senhora do Rosario da Fatima (Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary) in Fatima, Portugal, in Eglise du Sacre-Coeur (Sacred Heart Parish Church), the site of St. Bernadette's baptismal font, in Lourdes, France and at The National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts at the Shrine of the Holy Innocents before Our Lady of Guadalupe and at Basilica Papale de San Pietro in Vaticano (St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City) at the Tomb of St. John Paul II in Rome, Italy and at the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe (Basilica of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe) in Mexico City, Mexico.

This ministry is consecrated to Jesus Christ, Wisdom Incarnate, through the hands of Mary and dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary. In our prayers to Mary, we honor and worship her Son Jesus. When He was on the Cross, He gave His Mother to John and she became our Mother as well. "Behold, your Mother." John 19:27

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam
For the greater glory of God

January 22, 2023

National Day of Prayer for the Protection of Unborn Children


National Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children, Jan. 23

National Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children is Monday, Jan. 23. Join with thousands around the nation in praying for the legal protection of unborn children, for women experiencing crisis pregnancies and their partners and for the development of a comprehensive social safety net that embodies loving support for children, mothers and families before, during and after delivery.

Let us pray:

Most precious Lord, You dwelt within the womb of your dear mother, sanctifying the womb, and elevating the dignity of all human life. I pray today for the full legal protection of every unborn child. I also pray that every heart that supports abortion will be changed so as to experience the freedom that comes from living in the Truth. I offer to You, this day, all my sufferings and sacrifices to help atone for every violation against human dignity committed through acts of abortion. Please bring healing, hope, and freedom to all. Mother Mary, pray for me. Jesus, I trust in You.

(Please go to this link for a beautiful reflection: https://mycatholic.life/saints/saints-of-the-liturgical-year/january-22-day-of-prayer-for-the-legal-protection-of-unborn-children-usa-memorial/    )               posted by MJ

January 10, 2023

The Work of Christmas

The Work of Christmas

When the song of the angels is stilled,

When the star in the sky is gone,

When the kings and princes are home,

When the shepherds are back with their flock,

The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among others,
To make music in the heart.

                      Howard Thurman, African - American Theologian                                                                                                                                   

January 06, 2023

Wise Men from the East




Today we celebrate the ‘Epiphany’ of the Lord. ‘Epiphany’ means a ‘manifestation’ or a ‘revelation’. 


On a personal level, someone could speak of having an epiphany: a sudden revelation about the essence or meaning of something.


On the religious level, the Epiphany of the Lord is the celebration of the fact that Jesus Christ, God-in-the-flesh, was revealed to the nations: God the Father revealed Himself to humanity as a whole when His only begotten Son was seen by the magi.


Pope Benedict XVI gave the following reflection:

“These men who set out towards the unknown were, in any event, men with a restless heart men driven by a restless quest for God and the salvation of the world. They were filled with expectation, not satisfied with their secure income and their respectable place in society. They were looking for something greater. They were no doubt learned men, quite knowledgeable about the heavens and probably possessed of a fine philosophical formation. 


But they desired more than simply knowledge about things. They wanted above all else to know what is essential. They wanted to know how we succeed in being human. And therefore they wanted to know if God exists, and where and how he exists. Whether he is concerned about us and how we can encounter him. Nor did they want just to know. They wanted to understand the truth about ourselves and about God and the world. Their outward pilgrimage was an expression of their inward journey, the inner pilgrimage of their hearts. They were men who sought God and were ultimately on the way towards him. They were seekers after God.”


There is much we can learn from the example of the magi:

1. We must never cease seeking the face of God.

2. We should be always filled with expectation, like little children

in awe of the mysteries of our faith.

3. We must turn away from selfishness and always look for the One who is greater than ourselves.

4. We should never tire of learning about the Catholic faith, not just the doctrines themselves, but the reasons behind the Church’s teachings. Study of the Sacred Scriptures and the Catechism are essential in our search for truth about God,

ourselves and the world.

5. Each one of us is called to an encounter with Christ. May the inner pilgrimage of our hearts find their fulfilment in the contemplation of God, who is our natural and supernatural end!


( i Pope Benedict XVI, Homily on the Solemnity of the Epiphany, Jan 6, 2013, as found on Deacon Greg Kandra’s website, http://www.patheos.com/blogs/deaconsbench/2013/01/bishops-as-modern-magi-from-pope-benedicts-homily-for-epiphany/

posted by Mary Jo

December 31, 2022

Farewell Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

 Farewell to Benedict XVI: ‘Humble Worker in Vineyard of the Lord'

The 95-year-old Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI passed away on Saturday at 9:34 AM in his residence at the Vatican's Mater Ecclesiae Monastery.

By Vatican News


Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has returned to the Father’s House.

The Holy See Press Office announced that the Pope Emeritus died at 9:34 AM on Saturday morning in his residence at the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery, which the 95-year-old Pope emeritus had chosen as his residence after resigning from the Petrine ministry in 2013.

“With sorrow I inform you that the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, passed away today at 9:34 AM in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican. Further information will be provided as soon as possible.  As of Monday morning, 2 January 2023, the body of the Pope Emeritus will be in Saint Peter's Basilica so the faithful can pay their respects."

News of worsening health condition

Already for several days, the health conditions of the Pope Emeritus had worsened due to advancing age, as the Press Office had reported in its updates of the evolving situation.

Pope Francis himself publicly shared the news about his predecessor's worsening health at the end of the last General Audience of the year, on 28 December.

The Pope had invited people to pray for the Pope Emeritus, who was "very ill," so that the Lord might console him and support him "in this witness of love for the Church until the end."

Following this invitation, prayer initiatives sprung up and multiplied on all continents, along with an outpouring of messages of solidarity and closeness from secular leaders.

Funeral plans

During a briefing at the Holy See Press office at midday, the director, Matteo Bruni, told journalists that  Pope Francis will preside over the funeral of the Pope Emeritus on 5 January at 9.30 CET in St. Peter's Square.

He added that as from Monday, the body of Benedict XVI will be lying in state in the Basilica so that the faithful who wish to do so may pay their last respects with prayers and a final farewell.

Bruni also said the Pope Emeritus on Wednesday, 28th in the afternoon, received the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick in the monastery at the end of Holy Mass.

And speaking to reporters after the briefing he said Benedict specifically asked that everything - including the funeral - be marked by simplicity, just as he lived his life.

Updated at 12.40


Statement from Bishop McManus on the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI


“The universal Church is profoundly saddened at the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, whose pontificate was an extraordinary gift to the Church and to the world. Ever the brilliant theologian and teacher, the late Pope Emeritus guided the Church through the rough seas of doubt, confusion and challenging ideologies, always presenting the tenets of our Catholic faith with wisdom and genuine pastoral concern. It is that same Catholic faith in the resurrection of Christ from the dead that gave our deceased Pope Emeritus and that gives us as well our only hope of future glory in heaven. I encourage all Catholics and all people of good will to pray for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in the coming days that he may be welcomed home to the new and eternal Jerusalem by the Risen Lord whom he loved and served so well. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.”


December 31, 2022

"His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’"               Matthew 25:23  (posted by MJ)


December 30, 2022

Feast of the Holy Family

Today is the Sixth Day in the Octave of Christmas. When there is no Sunday within the Octave of Christmas, the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph is celebrated on the Sixth Day of the Octave of Christmas. 


Scripture tells us practically nothing about the first years and the boyhood of the Child Jesus. All we know are the facts of the sojourn in Egypt, the return to Nazareth, and the incidents that occurred when the twelve-year-old boy accompanied his parents to Jerusalem. In her liturgy the Church hurries over this period of Christ's life with equal brevity. The general breakdown of the family, however, at the end of the past century and at the beginning of our own, prompted the popes, especially the far-sighted Leo XIII, to promote the observance of this feast with the hope that it might instill into Christian families something of the faithful love and the devoted attachment that characterize the family of Nazareth. The primary purpose of the Church in instituting and promoting this feast is to present the Holy Family as the model and exemplar of all Christian families. 

(—Excerpted from With Christ Through the Year, Rev. Bernard Strasser, O.S.B. 


Pope Francis Feast of the Holy Family

(https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/angelus/2019/documents/papa-francesco_angelus_20191229.html )

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

     And truly, today is a beautiful day… We celebrate today the feast of the Holy Family of Nazareth. The term “holy” places this family within the sphere of holiness which is a gift from God but, at the same time, is free and responsible adherence to God’s plan. This was the case for the family of Nazareth: they were totally available to God’s will.

     How can we not wonder, for example, at Mary’s docility to the action of the Holy Spirit Who asks her to become the mother of the Messiah? Because Mary, like every young woman of her time, was about to realize her life project, that is, to marry Joseph.

     But when she realises that God is calling her to a particular mission, she does not hesitate to proclaim herself His “servant” (cf. Lk 1: 38). Jesus will exalt her greatness not so much for her role as a mother, but for her obedience to God. Jesus said: “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it” (Lk 11: 28), like Mary. And when she does not fully understand the events that involve her, Mary meditates in silence, reflects and adores the divine initiative. Her presence at the foot of the cross consecrates this total willingness.

     Then, with regard to Joseph, the Gospel does not give us a single word: he does not speak, but he acts, obeying. He is the man of silence, the man of obedience.

     Today’s Gospel reading (cf. Mt 2: 13-15, 19-23) recalls this obedience of the righteous Joseph three times, referring to the flight to Egypt and the return to the land of Israel. Under God’s guidance, represented by the Angel, Joseph distances his family from Herod’s threats, and saves them. The Holy Family is thus in solidarity with all the families of the world forced into exile, in solidarity with all those who are compelled to abandon their own land due to repression, violence, and war.

     Finally, the third person of the Holy Family, Jesus. He is the will of the Father: in Him, says Saint Paul, there was no “yes” and “no”, but only “yes” (cf. 2 Cor 1: 19). And this is made manifest in many moments of His earthly life. For example, the episode at the temple when He responded to the anguished parents who sought Him out: “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Lk 2: 49); His continual repetition: “My food is to do the will of Him Who sent me and to accomplish His work” (Jn 4: 34); His prayer in the olive grove: “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, Your will be done” (Mt 26: 42). All these events are the perfect realisation of the very words of Christ Who says: “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired […] Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book” (Heb 10: 5-7; Psalm 40: 7-9).

     Mary, Joseph, Jesus: the Holy Family of Nazareth which represents a choral response to the will of the Father: the three members of this family help each other reciprocally to discover God’s plan. They prayed, worked, communicated. And I ask myself: you, in your family, do you know how to communicate or are you like those kids at the table, each one with their mobile phone, while they are chatting? In that table there seems to be a silence as if they were at Mass… But they do not communicate between themselves. We must resume dialogue in the family: fathers, parents, sons, grandparents and siblings must communicate with one another … This is today’s homework, right on the day of the Holy Family. May the Holy Family be a model for our families, so that parents and children may support each other mutually in adherence to the Gospel, the basis of the holiness of the family.

    Let us entrust to Mary, “Queen of the Family”, all the families in the world, especially those who suffer or who are in distress, and invoke upon them her maternal protection. (posted by MJ)






December 24, 2022

Christmas Eve Lauds

 The following is from Christmas Eve Lauds.........

READING     Isaiah 11:1-3a
A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, 
  and from his roots a bud shall blossom.
The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: 
  a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, 
A spirit of counsel and of strength, 
  a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord,
  and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord. 

Tomorrow will be the day of your salvation,
the sinfulness of earth will be destroyed. 
- Tomorrow will be the day of your salvation,
the sinfulness of earth will be destroyed. 
The Savior of the world will be our king;
- the sinfulness of earth will be destroyed.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit
- Tomorrow will be the day of your salvation,
the sinfulness of earth will be destroyed. 

ENEDICTUS  http://www.liturgies.net/Prayers/canticles.htm#benedictus.

The time has come for Mary to give birth to her firstborn Son. 

To Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, who will come again in glory with great power, let us make our humble prayer:

                  Come, Lord Jesus! 

Lord Jesus, you will come with great power,
- look on our lowliness and make us worthy of your gifts.

You came to be the good news for mankind,
- may we always proclaim your saving work.

You are worthy of praises, for you have life and rule all things,
- help us to wait in joyful hope for the coming of your glory.

We long for the grace of your coming,
- console us with the gift of your own divine life. 

Our Father... 

Come quickly, we pray, Lord Jesus,
and do not delay,
that those who trust in your compassion
may find solace and relief in your coming.
Who live and reign with God the Father
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. 

May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.

(Published by Mary Jo)



December 12, 2022

Am I not here, who am your Mother?


              Patroness of the Unborn and of the Americas 

And Mary said: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior." Luke 1:46-47 

Today is the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. A poor Indian Juan Diego was a 57 year old widower who lived in a small village near Mexico City. On Saturday morning December 9, 1531, he was on his way to attend Mass in honor of Our Lady. He was walking by a hill called Tepeyac when he heard beautiful music like the warbling of birds. A radiant cloud appeared and within it a young Native American maiden dressed like an Aztec princess. The lady spoke to him in his own language and sent him to the bishop of Mexico, a Franciscan named Juan de Zumarraga. She told him that the bishop was to build a chapel in the place where the lady appeared.

Our Lady of Guadalupe to Juan Diego:

"Do not be troubled or weighed down with grief. Do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain. Am I not here, who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the fountain of your joy?"

“My dearest son, I am the eternal Virgin Mary, Mother of the true God, Author of Life, Creator of all and Lord of the Heavens and of the Earth...and it is my desire that a church be built here in this place for me, where, as your most merciful Mother and that of all your people, I may show my loving clemency and the compassion that I bear to the Indians, and to those who love and seek me.”

Juan Diego went to the bishop who told him to have the lady give him a sign. About this same time Juan Diego’s uncle became seriously ill. Poor Diego tried to avoid the lady but she appeared to him and assured him that his uncle would recover and she provided roses for Juan to carry to the bishop in his cape or tilma. Juan Diego told his story to the bishop, who instructed him to return and ask the Lady for a miraculous sign to prove her claim.

The Virgin told Juan Diego to gather some flowers from the top of Tepeyac Hill. It was winter and no flowers bloomed, but on the hilltop Diego found flowers of every sort, and the Virgin herself arranged them in his tilma, or peasant cloak. When Juan Diego opened his tilma in the bishop’s presence, the roses fell to the ground and the bishop sank to his knees. On Juan Diego’s tilma appeared an image of Mary miraculously imprinted exactly as she had appeared at the hill of Tepeyac. It was December 12, 1531.

The Image on the Tilma

The imprint of Mary on the tilma is striking, and the symbolism was primarily directed to Juan Diego and the Aztecs. Mary appears as a beautiful young Indian maiden with a look of love, compassion, and humility, her hands folded in prayer in reference to the Almighty God. Her rose dress, adorned with a jasmine flower, eight petal flowers, and nine heart flowers symbolic to the Aztec culture, is that of an Aztec princess. Her blue mantle symbolized the royalty of the gods, and the blue color symbolized life and unity. The stars on the mantle signified the beginning of a new civilization. La Morenita appeared on the day of the winter solstice, considered the day of the sun's birth; the Virgin's mantle accurately represents the 1531 winter solstice! Mary stands in front of and hides the sun, but the rays of the sun still appear around her, signifying she is greater than the sun god, the greatest of the native divinities, but the rays of the sun still bring light. Twelve rays of the sun surround her face and head. She stands on the moon, supported by an angel with wings like an eagle: to the Aztec, this indicated her superiority to the moon god, the god of night, and her divine, regal nature.

Most important are the black maternity band, a jasmine flower, and a cross that are present in the image. Mary wore a black maternity band, signifying she was with child. At the center of the picture, overlying her womb, is a jasmine flower in the shape of an Indian cross, which is the sign of the Divine and the center of the cosmic order to the Aztec. This symbol indicated that the baby Mary carried within her, Jesus Christ, the Word made Flesh, is Divine and the new center of the universe. On the brooch around her neck was a black Christian cross, indicating she is both a bearer and follower of Christ, the Son of God, our Savior, who died on the Cross to save mankind. The image signified Mary bringing her Son Christ to the New World through one of their own.

Our Lady's apparition was an event of great significance for Native Americans. Nine million Indians became Catholic in a very short time. Our Lady of Guadalupe shows us God's love for the poor and for the unborn.  Our Lady said to Juan Diego, "I will give all my protection to the people. I am the merciful Mother of all mankind. Am I not your fountain of life."  Our Lady of Guadalupe protects all her children, born and unborn.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, we entrust all the names we receive through this prayer ministry to you, our most loving and merciful Mother.

(Check out the Shrine of  Our Lady of Guadalupe in LaCrosse Wisconsin https://www.guadalupeshrine.org/  )

December 08, 2022

The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Today the Church celebrates with great joy the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.  Very often this day is misunderstood to be in regards to the conception of Jesus. 

 "No sin would touch her, so that she would be afitting and worthy vessel of the Son of God. The Immaculate Conception does not refer to the virginal conception and the birth of Christ, but rather to Mary's being conceived without inheriting Original Sin." (United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, 142-143)


On this day in 1854 Pope Pius IX declared in his Constitution, Ineffabilis Deus“… in the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin.”


There is no one better to turn to for instruction on what this day means than Pope Saint John Paul II.  The following is his last homily on the Immaculate Conception.


Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Wednesday, 8 December 2004

1. "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!" (Lk 1: 28). 

We address the Virgin Mary several times a day with these words of the Archangel Gabriel. Let us repeat them with fervent joy today, on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, remembering 8 December 1854 when Blessed Pius IX proclaimed this wonderful Dogma of the Catholic faith in this very same Vatican Basilica.

I cordially greet those who are gathered here today, especially the representatives of the National Mariological Societies who have taken part in the International Mariological Congress, organized by the Pontifical Marian Academy. 

I then greet all of you present here, dear brothers and sisters, who have come to pay filial homage to the Immaculate Virgin. I offer a special greeting to Cardinal Camillo Ruini. I renew to him my warmest wishes for the jubilee of his ordination to the priesthood and express to him my deep gratitude for the service that with generous dedication he has and continues to render to the Church as my Vicar General for the Diocese of Rome and President of the Italian Bishops' Conference.

2. How great is the mystery of the Immaculate Conception that the Liturgy presents to us today! A mystery that never ceases to invite the contemplation of believers and inspires the reflection of theologians. The theme of the Congress that has just been mentioned: "Mary of Nazareth welcomes the Son of God into history", has fostered a deep examination of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary as a presupposition for receiving in her virginal womb the Word of God Incarnate, the Saviour of the human race. 

"Full of grace", "κεχαριτωµευη": in the original Greek of Luke's Gospel, the Angel greets Mary with this title. It is the name that God, through his messenger, chose to use to describe the Virgin. This is how he had always seen and thought of her, ab aeterno (from all eternity). 

3. In the hymn of the Letter to the Ephesians just now proclaimed, the Apostle praises God the Father "who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places" (1: 3). What a special blessing God addressed to Mary from the beginning of time! Mary was truly blessed among women (cf. Lk 1: 42)! 

The Father chose her in Christ before the creation of the world, so that she might be holy and immaculate before him in love, preordaining her as the first fruits of filial adoption through the work of Jesus Christ (cf. Eph 1: 4-5). 

4. The predestination of Mary, like that of each one of us, is linked to the predestination of the Son. Christ is that "seed" that was "to bruise the head" of the ancient serpent, according to the Book of Genesis (cf. Gn 3: 15); he is the Lamb "without blemish" (cf. Ex 12: 5; I Pt 1: 19), immolated to redeem humanity from sin. 

With a view to the saving death of the Son, Mary, his Mother, was preserved free from original sin and from every other sin. The victory of the new Adam also includes that of the new Eve, Mother of the redeemed. The Immaculate Virgin is thus a sign of hope for all the living who have triumphed over Satan by the blood of the Lamb (cf. Rv 12: 11). 

5. Today let us contemplate the humble young girl of Nazareth, holy and blameless before God in love (cf. Eph 1: 4), in that "love" whose original source is God himself, one and triune. 

How sublime an act of the Most Holy Trinity is the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of the Redeemer! Pius IX, in the Bull Ineffabilis Deus, recalls that the Almighty "by one and the same decree had established the origin of Mary and the Incarnation of divine Wisdom" (Pii IX Pontificis Maximi Acta, Pars prima, p. 559). 

The Virgin's "yes" to the announcement of the Angel fits into the reality of our earthly condition, with humble respect for the divine will to save humanity not from history but in history. Indeed, ever preserved free from all taint of original sin, the "new Eve" benefited uniquely from the work of Christ as the most perfect Mediator and Redeemer. The first to be redeemed by her Son, she shares to the full in his holiness; she is already what the entire Church desires and hopes to be. She is the eschatological icon of the Church

6. Consequently the Immaculate Virgin, who marks "the very beginning of the Church, Bride of Christ, without spot or wrinkle, shining with beauty" (Preface), always precedes the People of God in the pilgrimage of faith, bound for the Kingdom of Heaven (cf. Lumen Gentiumn. 58; Redemptoris Matern. 2). 

In Mary's Immaculate Conception the Church sees projected and anticipated in her most noble member, the saving grace of Easter. 

In the event of the Incarnation the Church encounters Christ and Mary indissolubly united: "he who is the Church's Lord and Head and she who, uttering the first fiat of the New Covenant, prefigures the Church's condition as spouse and mother" (Redemptoris Matern. 1). 

7. To you, Virgin Immaculate, predestined by God above every other creature to be the advocate of grace and model of holiness for his people, today in a special way I renew the entrustment of the whole Church

May you guide your children on their pilgrimage of faith, making them ever more obedient and faithful to the Word of God

May you accompany every Christian on the path of conversion and holiness, in the fight against sin and in the search for true beauty that is always an impression and a reflection of divine Beauty. 

May you obtain peace and salvation for all the peoples. May the eternal Father, who desired you to be the immaculate Mother of the Redeemer, also renew in our time through you, the miracles of his merciful love. Amen! 




November 24, 2022


I wanted to share with you all the essence of a homily I received this morning at Mass. The priest made the point that this day belongs to our Country no matter who you are.  Each of the Religions have their own days they celebrate but today it is for all.  If there were to be a Holy Day for this country - it would be Thanksgiving.

He reminded us of the quote  by President Washington -  "it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor".  This is from George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation given on October 3 1789.

President Lincoln made it officially the last Thursday in November in his address on October 20, 1864:

A Proclamation

It has pleased Almighty God to prolong our national life another year, defending us with His guardian care against unfriendly designs from abroad and vouchsafing to us in His mercy many and signal victories over the enemy, who is of our own household. It has also pleased our Heavenly Father to favor as well our citizens in their homes as our soldiers in their camps and our sailors on the rivers and seas with unusual health. He has largely augmented our free population by emancipation and by immigration, while He has opened to us new sources of wealth and has crowned the labor of our workingmen in every department of industry with abundant rewards. Moreover, He has been pleased to animate and inspire our minds and hearts with fortitude, courage, and resolution sufficient for the great trial of civil war into which we have been brought by our adherence as a nation to the cause of freedom and humanity, and to afford to us reasonable hopes of an ultimate and happy deliverance from all our dangers and afflictions:

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do hereby appoint and set apart the last Thursday in November next as a day which I desire to be observed by all my fellow-citizens, wherever they may then be, as a day of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe. And I do further recommend to my fellow-citizens aforesaid that on that occasion they do reverently humble themselves in the dust and from thence offer up penitent and fervent prayers and supplications to the Great Disposer of Events for a return of the inestimable blessings of peace, union, and harmony throughout the land which it has pleased Him to assign as a dwelling place for ourselves and for our posterity throughout all generations.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this 20th day of October, A.D. 1864, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-ninth.  ABRAHAM LINCOLN.   (https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/documents/proclamation-118-thanksgiving-day-1864)

Today we stop and acknowledge God's presence and be thankful and grateful for all we have.  It is a day about each of us as individuals to give thanks.  As we foster  a sense of gratitude, it makes us more aware of all we have.

Let us pray.....

Lord, on this special day of thankfulness, we thank you not only for the delicious food, lovingly prepared and presented, but also for special gifts
you’ve given to this family — loved ones we cherish dearly, a comfortable place to live, the beauty that surrounds us, material pleasures, health, spiritual wealth, and so much more. How can we show our gratitude for the countless blessings you’ve provided? We thank you for giving us clear direction,
through your holy word on how to show our appreciation, by obeying Your commands and by loving and serving our neighbors. Thank you, Lord.

— Joanna Fuchs ( https://www.catholicdigest.com/faith/201611-07five-prayers-to-say-on-thanksgiving/

November 23, 2022

Just Say Yes

Just Say Yes


I love Advent.  While it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle, we take quiet moments to reflect on what we are preparing for by lighting our Advent wreath, pondering the daily readings or finding a moment of quiet time to listen to God. It is the time of year that brings us to ponder what the Blessed Mother did for us just by saying ‘yes’.


She listened, she pondered and she did the Will of God. Mary’s Fiat.  One woman’s ‘yes’ changed the course of humanity.  In our imitation of Mary, our ‘yes’ can also impact humanity. 


On March 15, 1995, I met Pope John Paul II on a pilgrimage to Rome.  This lifechanging event set me on a path of searching for answers to questions about my Catholic Faith.  As I became more involved in different ministries within the Church, one of my youth ministry friends invited me to consider applying to the Master of Arts in Ministry Program at Saint John Seminary.  


In the first year of Apostolic Formation, my advisor invited me to consider prison ministry as a ministry which would provide a good experience.  At first, I rather emphatically declined the invitation.  


After 15 years I still volunteer in the Catholic Chaplaincy Program at a local women’s prison.  I consider the prison ministry one of the great graces in my life. 


In my second year of Apostolic Formation, I received an invitation to be part of Project Rachel.  Named for the Old Testament figure Rachel, who wept inconsolably for her children until God came to her, offering hope for her future (Jeremiah 31:15-17), Project Rachel is a confidential Catholic outreach ministry offering hope and healing to women and men hurting from past abortions.  Participation in this ministry offered me a glimpse of the pain and suffering people go through in the aftermath of abortion.  It also showed me how, through the sacraments of Confession and Eucharist, a resurrection in their lives can come about.


In June 2017 I was invited to work as a nurse at Pregnancy Help.  Pregnancy Help is a resource center where all services are free and confidential and are available to anyone experiencing an unexpected pregnancy.  


It is a great gift to work with the people whom God has placed in my care at Pregnancy Help.   They often come through the door alone, overwhelmed, hopeless, and pressured to make decisions they know are not the best for them.


In August 2017 I was invited to St. Joseph the Good Provider Parish in Berlin to run the Religious Education Program.  I had told God a few days before that I would never work in a parish again.  The old saying goes.  “You plan, God laughs.” 


In every encounter I learn more and more how to love, listen and walk with those placed in my care.  God is always preparing us for what’s coming even if we don’t know what that might be.  With every invitation, my first internal response was ‘no’.  In every instance, I found grace when I said “yes”.


God has a plan for every one of us. Pope Saint John Paul II writes: “The human being is single, unique, and unrepeatable, someone thought of and chosen from eternity, someone called and identified by name”.  During this time of crisis there are many invitations to help our brothers and sisters in need. 


As we enter the Fourth Week of Advent be aware of where God might be calling you to help.  Where, like Mary, God is inviting you to say ‘yes’.