Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Boy who ‘saw heaven’: Details still vivid after 8 years

The news video (11-29-2011) and following excerpt is from Today.com:

Colton Burpo’s account of visiting heaven when he nearly died of a burst appendix at the age of 4 is the subject of the book “Heaven Is for Real,” and an illustrated edition for children, “Heaven Is for Real for Kids.” Now aged 12, the son of Nebraska pastor Todd Burpo recounted sitting in Jesus' lap, meeting John the Baptist and his own departed great-grandfather, and having angels sing to him during his near-death experience.

Read more: Heaven is for Real

St. Andrew Novena to Obtain Favors

St Andrew
St. Andrew by Lawrence OP
Flickr Photo Sharing

St. Andrew Christmas Novena – Prayer to obtain favors (Nov 30th – Dec 25th)

From CatholicDaily.net:

It is piously believed that whoever recites the prayer below fifteen times a day from the feast of St. Andrew (November 30th) until Christmas (December 25th) will obtain what is asked:

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, O My God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His blessed Mother. Amen

(Imprimatur: +MICHAEL AUGUSTINE, Archbishop of New York, New York, February 6, 1897.)

History of St. Andrew

Devotional Prayers

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The story of Uriel, the 'forgotten' archangel

The video and following news story is from RomeReports.com:

Michael, Raphael and Gabriel are the archangels of the Latin Catholic tradition. But according to Coptic Christians of Eritrea and the Jewish tradition, there is yet another one: archangel Uriel.

Marcello Stanzione
Angel Expert (Rome)

“The fact is that the Coptic Christians of Ethiopia and Eritrea worship archangel Uriel. Also, Anglicans. July 11 is his feast day. Uriel is an archangel, even if he's not recognized in our Catholics texts.”

According to apocryphal Gospels, Uriel helped save St. John the Baptist, from the slaughter ordered by Herod. According to another tradition, Uriel led John the Baptist, and his mother St. Elizabeth to Egypt.

This reportedly inspired Leonardo da Vinci to paint his famous piece titled “The Virgin of the Rocks.”

Priest Marcello Stanzione has collected all the documents that make reference to Uriel. He even wrote a book titled “Inchiesta su Uriele.

L'arcangelo scomparso,” meaning “An investigaion of Uriel, the lost archangel.

Marcello Stanzione
Angel Expert (Rome)

“In Rome, archangel Uriel appeared before the Sicilian priest Antonio Lo Duca and told him to build a church in the Termini area. That church is the famous church of the angels and the martyrs, located at the Exedra Plaza.”

According to Stanzione, the Sicilian priest then told pope Pius VI about the apparition. The pope then asked Michelangelo to design the church.

But despite all this, for many Catholics archangel Uriel is an unknown figure.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Our Lady of Medjugorje's Monthly Message to Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti

November 25, 2011 Monthly Message to Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti

Our Lady of Medjugorje:

"Dear children! Today I desire to give you hope and joy. Everything that is around you, little children, leads you towards worldly things but I desire to lead you towards a time of grace, so that through this time you may be all the closer to my Son, that He can lead you towards His love and eternal life, for which every heart yearns. You, little children, pray and may this time for you be one of grace for your soul. Thank you for having responded to my call." 

November 02, 2011 Monthly Message to Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo 

Our Lady of Medjugorje:

"Dear children, the Father has not left you to yourselves. Immeasurable is His love, the love that is bringing me to you, to help you to come to know Him, so that, through my Son, all of you can call Him 'Father' with the fullness of heart; that you can be one people in God's family. However, my children, do not forget that you are not in this world only for yourselves, and that I am not calling you here only for your sake. Those who follow my Son think of the brother in Christ as of their very selves and they do not know selfishness. That is why I desire that you be the light of my Son, that to all those who have not come to know the Father - to all those who wander in the darkness of sin, despair, pain and loneliness - you may illuminate the way and that, with your life, you may show them the love of God. I am with you. If you open your hearts, I will lead you. Again I am calling you: pray for your shepherds. Thank you."

Friday, November 25, 2011

Author says he felt Christ's loving embrace in near-death experience

Proof of the Afterlife - CNS Photo

CNS STORY: Author says he felt Christ's loving embrace in near-death experience

The book cover and following excerpt is from the Catholic News Service:

By Emily Lahr

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The afterlife is a common topic of discussion for a religious brother in Santa Paula, Calif., since the publication of his book, "Proof of the Afterlife -- The Conversation Continues," a book of hope, forgiveness and mercy.

"People can say, 'Oh that wasn't just a dream.' God was having a conversation with their life," said Brother Gary Joseph, a member of the Servants of the Father of Mercy, an association of vowed and lay members in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Brother Gary said he has had encounters with God and been involved in conversations with the afterlife ever since his "near-death experience" Sept. 27, 2005: At 1:15 a.m., "an out of control" heart arrhythmia caused him to collapse and his heart to stop, and he felt the overpowering presence of God.

In that state, according to his book, he was immersed in the embracing love of Christ and absorbed spiritual messages. When he was resuscitated, Brother Gary said, he awoke and noticed the clock read exactly 1:45 a.m.

"I had been like a dead man, immersed in this encounter for exactly 30 minutes," Brother Gary told Catholic News Service in a Feb. 8 telephone interview.

A priest guided him to a spiritual director who at the time was planning on doing a film on spiritual encounters. The spiritual director encouraged Brother Gary to keep a journal and eventually write a book. The manuscript was sent to Los Angeles Cardinal Roger M. Mahony for theological review prior to its publication last November by the Servants of the Father of Mercy.

He believes the book can help people who have a terminal illness, referring to his mother and a cousin, who both fought cancer. "It's a perfect match for those with illness. It can give a lot of hope."

"Proof of the Afterlife -- The Conversation Continues" ($19.95, softcover) is being sold by Barnes and Noble in its stores nationwide and online. It is also available at Amazon.com. Brother Gary said BookMasters also plans to stock the book in its national warehouse in Ashland, Ohio, promoting it to clients such as Ingram, Baker and Taylor and their retail outlet, AtlasBooks.

Read more: Proof of the Afterlife

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Praise God for His Blessings as We Celebrate Thanksgiving on November 24th

Photograph by Loci B. Lenar

Thanksgiving Prayers from the website of American Catholic.org

For Appreciation of Each Other

We thank you, Father, for the gift of Jesus your Son who came to our earth and lived in a simple home. We have a greater appreciation of the value and dignity of the human family because he loved and was loved within its shelter. Bless us this day; may we grow in love for each other in our family and so give thanks to you who are the maker of all human families and our abiding peace.

From The Catholic Prayer Book, compiled by Msgr. Michael Buckley

In Gratitude

Thank you, Father, for having created us and given us to each other in the human family. Thank you for being with us in all our joys and sorrows, for your comfort in our sadness, your companionship in our loneliness. Thank you for yesterday, today, tomorrow and for the whole of our lives. Thank you for friends, for health and for grace. May we live this and every day conscious of all that has been given to us.

From The Catholic Prayer Book, compiled by Msgr. Michael Buckley.

Thanksgiving Table Prayer

O Gracious God, we give you thanks for your overflowing generosity to us. Thank you for the blessings of the food we eat and especially for this feast today. Thank you for our home and family and friends, especially for the presence of those gathered here. Thank you for our health, our work and our play. Please send help to those who are hungry, alone, sick and suffering war and violence. Open our hearts to your love. We ask your blessing through Christ your son. Amen.

Prayer at Harvest and Thanksgiving 

O God, source and giver of all things,
You manifest your infinite majesty, power and goodness
In the earth about us:
We give you honor and glory.
For the sun and the rain,
For the manifold fruits of our fields:
For the increase of our herds and flocks,
We thank you.
For the enrichment of our souls with divine grace,
We are grateful.

Supreme Lord of the harvest,
Graciously accept us and the fruits of our toil,
In union with Jesus, your Son,
As atonement for our sins,
For the growth of your Church,
For peace and love in our homes,
And for salvation for all.
We pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.

From Living God’s Justice: Reflections and Prayers, compiled by The Roundtable Association of Diocesan Social Action Directors

Prayer of Thanksgiving

by Walter Rauschenbusch

O God, we thank you for this earth, our home;
For the wide sky and the blessed sun,
For the salt sea and the running water,
For the everlasting hills
And the never-resting winds,
For trees and the common grass underfoot.
We thank you for our senses
By which we hear the songs of birds,
And see the splendor of the summer fields,
And taste of the autumn fruits,
And rejoice in the feel of the snow,
And smell the breath of the spring.
Grant us a heart wide open to all this beauty;
And save our souls from being so blind
That we pass unseeing
When even the common thornbush
Is aflame with your glory,
O God our creator,
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

From Living God’s Justice: Reflections and Prayers, compiled by The Roundtable Association of Diocesan Social Action Directors

Thanksgiving Prayer

This Thanksgiving let those of us who have much and those who have little gather at the welcoming table of the Lord. At this blessed feast, may rich and poor alike remember that we are called to serve on another and to walk together in God's gracious world. With thankful hearts we praise our God who like a loving parent denies us no good thing.

From Songs of Our Hearts, Meditations of Our Souls: Prayers for Black Catholics, edited by Cecilia A. Moor, Ph.D., C. Vanessa White, D.Min., and Paul M. Marshall, S.M.

Vatican-trained exorcist shares true tales of his craft

Vatican-trained exorcist shares true tales of his craft | Deseret News

The following excerpt is from DereretNews.com:

By Abbott Koloff, (Morris County, N.J.) Daily Record

MADISON, N.J. — The Rev. Vincent Lampert knows Hollywood has created an image of his profession, a dark figure in a hat looking up at a window, preparing to cast out demons.

He says most exorcisms aren't as dramatic as they appear in movies, but some come close.

There was the time in Italy when a woman shook violently and Lampert said he saw her levitate above a chair.

"If I had not seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn't have believed it," Lampert, 48, a Roman Catholic priest and designated exorcist for the Diocese of Indianapolis, said in a recent telephone interview. "There was nothing between her and the chair. My jaw must have been open."

When speaking to groups, Lampert, who said he's always in demand in October, typically talks about the relevancy of exorcism in modern times, and about a moral crisis of people moving away from God that he says has led to a rise of secularism and superstition. He said he's one of just 36 Vatican-trained exorcists in the U.S., a number that's tripled over the past 10 years as the Catholic Church reportedly tries to stem a movement of people seeking answers in the occult.

"People were turning elsewhere for help to figure out what's going on." Lampert said.

It's not clear how many priests perform exorcisms in the U.S., and how many are performed. Lampert said every bishop is authorized to perform the Rite of Exorcism and may bestow the authority to perform that rite on priests.

Officials with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Paterson, N.J., say they have a designated exorcist, a priest who has performed at least two exorcisms over the past couple of years.

That priest's identity is kept secret from the public, said Ken Mullaney, the diocese attorney, because church officials don't want him to be inundated by exorcism requests. No exorcism is allowed to proceed without the approval of Paterson Diocese Bishop Arthur Serratelli, Mullaney said. The diocese also has another requirement implemented by Mullaney two years ago: Subjects must sign a waiver form.

He said a small portion have something going on that can't be explained by mental health professionals. He said they typically exhibit extraordinary strength, respond to Latin even though they don't know the language, and have an aversion to places and objects considered sacred, such as Holy Water.

Lampert said he prefers to be out in the open, rather than keeping his identity a secret, because that makes him more accessible. He said he receives about six calls a week from people seeking exorcism services.

Read more: Rev. Vincent Lampert

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Mr. Lenar is the Founder of www.Christian-Miracles.com

Mr. Lenar

Loci B. Lenar is the founder and administrator of Christian-Miracles.com.  Mr. Lenar also shares his personal testimony on the website regarding his own spiritual journey through the Catholic faith.

Since its inception in 2008, the homepage counter has logged over 510,000 visitors from around the world, including the USA, Canada, The United Kingdom (UK), India, Australia, Philippines, Germany, Brazil, United Arab Emirates and many others.

The website is built on the foundation of Christianity and the gospels, designed as a public ministry of faith and hope with spiritual news for the community.

With an increase number of reports related to the miraculous, the site was constructed and launched by Mr. Lenar to help spread the good news in order to create public awareness of signs and wonders arising from Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Copyright 2011 www.christian-miracles.com

Man Finds a Vine That Resembles Divine Image

Photograph by Don Taylor - Guideposts

Man Finds a Vine That Resembles Divine Image - Guideposts

The photograph and following excerpt is from Guideposts.com:

By Don Taylor

When Don Taylor looked at this vine growing up a utility pole in Littleton, Colorado, he thought it looked familiar. Although not a religious man, Don thought the vine looked a lot like Christ on the cross.

Ever since he posted the photo on Facebook, the vine has become something of a local celebrity, drawing people of faith to marvel at how a simple plant could have taken on such a unique shape—directly across from a church.

Read more: Vine Resembles Divine Image

Friday, November 18, 2011

Encounter With God

Encounter With God | CBN.com

The video and following excerpt is from CBN.com

By Robert Hull

Jeffrey Thompson had developed diverticulitis, a painful condition causing inflammation in the intestinal wall. Months of natural treatments had failed and his condition was so advanced, he needed surgery to remove part of his intestine. What looked like a textbook operation left him suspended between life and death.

"I woke up to a surgeon pulling a sheet off of my stomach. As I looked down I knew immediately something was terribly wrong. I looked into the surgeon’s eyes and I could see concern on his face."

Madeline says, "He had been hemorrhaging for about 24 hours, and they had continually given him blood, but it was hemorrhaging into his abdomen. It was frightening. I’ve never seen anyone so pale. His lips were just completely white."

Jeffrey continues, "My internal clock told me that I was getting ready to die, that I only had a few seconds of consciousness left. I reached up to grab my wife. I just wanted to tell her how much I loved her and tell her that I was getting ready to leave her."

"I went to him and it was right after that that I lost him," Madeline says. "I could tell he left. He took my hand and then he was gone."

"My life came to my center torso," Jeff says. "I began to rise out of my body into that room. Everything was going haywire down below me. They were grabbing. They were saying, 'I’m going to lose him.'"

"They were doing everything they knew to keep him alive at that point," Madeline says.

"It looked like a disaster going on, but it was the sweetest day of my life," Jeffrey says. "I never had any pain, and I never had any fear."

As Jeffrey’s spirit hovered above his body, a light appeared in the room.

"It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. It started in the center toward the ceiling and began to filter out into that room. I was immediately drawn to it. As it began to hit objects in that room, color came flooding out like I’ve never seen before. I could see everything in that room with perfect clarity. There was an entire dimension that we simply don’t see on earth. I’ve never been more alive than I was at that moment. It was incredible.

"I suddenly had an overwhelming sense of God’s presence, of His love of His peace, of His joy. It was all around me and in me. Literally every bit of this penetrated my soul. The thing that was just so incredible to me was how the maker of this universe, who can make the sun the moon, the stars and this earth and us, can come down and hold me and comfort me and love me as if I’m the only person in the universe. I remember thinking about the prodigal son, that long lost son who had gone out and strayed. He had come back home and his father was coming out to hold him, to love him and to welcome him back. That’s what was happening to me. It’s the sweetest love there is.

"I told Him I wanted to go with Him and then I had a fleeting thought, what about Madeline my wife, and what about Will? Then God told me internally I was going to go back. I remember jolting in my bed, and I remember opening my eyes. When I opened my eyes, I’m looking at the surgeon and he’s saying, ‘I’m losing him. We’ve got to get him back into surgery.’"

He was rushed back into surgery where doctors stopped the bleeding. When he finally regained consciousness, Jeffrey had a new understanding of God’s amazing love and presence in his life.

"God loves you more than you’ve ever known," he says. "He knows your circumstances. He knows what you’re going through. I used to wake up with a knot in my stomach. I wake up with joy in my heart. I know He’s with me. You can’t go through something like that and not be a changed man."

Read more: Encounter with God

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Join in Prayer with St. Mary's Church on November 17 for God's Spiritual Blessings

Give Thanks to God
Photo by Loci B. Lenar

By Loci B. Lenar

Please join us in the monthly prayer service being held on November 17 with Fr. Richard Tartaglia at St. Mary's Catholic Church, Myers Avenue, Denville, NJ. If you cannot attend, you can still participate by praying in unity with us for all special prayer intentions submitted through www.christian-miracles.com.  Thursday's evening prayer service is held between the hour of 7:30 PM and 8:00 PM (EST).

This service is also a great time to give thanks to God for blessings received through prayer. May Our Lord Jesus answer your prayers with divine favor.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

St Francis of Assisi - New Drawing by Stephen B. Whatley

St. Francis of Assisi by Stephen B. Whatley

St Francis of Assisi - New 2011 Drawing by Stephen B. Whatley - Flickr.com

By Stephen B. Whatley

Francis of Assisi (1282-1226) was an Italian Catholic friar and preacher. His faith became paramount over anything worldy and he is perhaps most known for his love of nature - feeling that all God's creations were part of his brotherhood; the humble sparrow as much his brother as the Pope.

I felt inspired to pay tribute through this spontaneous drawing, to this great Saint on his Feast Day, October 4th; looking intially at a small prayer card and studies of North American birds made on location at a nature reserve in New York State in February 2010.

Charcoal on paper
23.4 x 16.5in / 59 x 42cm


Prayer of St Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Future Saint? Book on 100 alleged miracles of Alfonso Maria Fusco to be published

Future Saint? Book on 100 alleged miracles of Alfonso Maria Fusco to be published

The following news excerpt is from RomeReports.com:

Ten years after his beatification an Italian blessed is getting closer to becoming a saint. Alfonso Maria Fusco founded the Congregation of the Sisters of San Giovanni Battista.

Over the years, the sisters from that congregation have collected information on roughly 100 alleged miracles of the Blessed Italian. The writings will be made into a book in the future.

It will include the alleged healing of a child who suffered from malaria in Zambia. Even though the boy's mother wasn't Catholic, she asked a nun to pray for her son.

The book will include other possible miracles that range from physical healings to overcoming moral difficulties.

Blessed Fusco was born in 1839 in Angri, which is located in southern Italy. At the age of 11 he decided to be a priest to help others. Once he was ordained his first assignment was to help underprivileged children from his hometown.

The priest was known for walking along the streets of his town, looking for the poor and offering them help. He would offer them food and education. From this mission, the Congregation of St. John the Baptist was born.

Read more: Alfonso Maria Fusco

Friday, November 11, 2011

Teenage Martyr could become the Philippine's Second Saint

Teenage martyr could become the Philippine's second saint

The following excerpt is from RomeReports.com:

According to Filipino bishops, the Vatican has officially attributed a miracle to a blessed Filipino martyr named Pedro Calungsod. Now, this miracle paves the way for his canonization.

The 17 year old Filipino was beatified back in the year 2000 by Pope John Paul II. The miracle deals with a woman who was declared brain dead, but was inexplicably cured just a few hours later.

The young blessed was born in Cebu, Philippines back in 1654. He died along with Spanish missionary Diego Luis de San Vitores, while they evangelized to natives. In fact, the first time people learned about the work of the teenager, was through the memoirs of Spanish priest San Vitores.

The Philippines was very proud to learn about the faithful teenager, especially his hometown of Cebu, where Calungsod has a sanctuary and has been declared a patron of the youth.

Mhar Vincent Balili
Archdiocese of Cebu (Philippines)

“Hopefully the canonization of blessed Pedro Calungsod will tell that the youth is not only a recipient of the Gospel but they too can be the givers of the Word of God. And now, for the coming of the canonization of the blessed Pedro Calungsod, we can say that now we can really have a countryman, in our dialect we call a 'tagilungsod,' whom we can call also for our prayers and intercession”.

Now the next step is for Benedict XVI to actually ratify the miracle. The pope could make an announcement in the coming weeks. If that's the case, the blessed teenager would eventually become the Philippine's second saint. The first one is San Lorenzo Ruiz, who was canonized in Rome in the year 1988.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Famed Spanish director releases film on powerful conversions

Juan Manuel Cotelo - CNA Photo

Famed Spanish director releases film on powerful conversions - Catholic News Agency (CNA)

The photograph and following excerpt is from CNA:

Lima, Peru, (CNA) - Spanish filmmaker Juan Manuel Cotelo released a new movie featuring radical conversion stories of gang members turned priests and prostitutes leaving their former lives to follow Christ.

“What prescription can you give me that is more effective than allowing oneself to be conquered by the love of God?” Cotelo told CNA on Nov. 9.

“I am convinced that there never has nor ever will be anyone who has put the prescriptions of Jesus Christ into practice and has not been healed of all their wounds. No one.”

Known for his smash hit documentary “La Ultima Cima” (The Last Summit), Cotelo's new movie “Te Puede Pasar a Ti” (It Could Happen to You) will be released on Nov. 11 and will be available online and in stores worldwide.

Conversion stories include a former Colombian gang member who joined the priesthood, a divorced Masonic woman who attacked the Church and is now a devout Catholic.

In an interview with CNA, Cotelo said that God gives men and women purpose in life and that no one can find happiness by running away from him.

On Nov. 11 the film will be available on the following website http://www.infinitomasuno.org/. But it can also be purchased in many stores in Spain, and soon in stores around the world in response to requests they have already received.

The full interview with Juan Manuel Cotelo can be read on CNA.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Day of Prayer for Financial Blessings on November 11, 2011

Day of Prayer for Financial Blessings - Guideposts

The following news is from Guideposts.com:

By Sabra Ciancanelli, Tivoli, New York

The current economy has affected everyone. Unemployment is at an estimated 14 million and record numbers of people face the devastating experience of home foreclosures. With so many struggling to make ends meet, OurPrayer has scheduled November 11 as a Day of Prayer for Financial Blessings.

"Where do you turn when you’re out of work? When your situation seems hopeless? When you have run out of options? You can draw strength and endure through the power of prayer,” says OurPrayer manager, Reverend Dr. Peola Hicks.

On 11/11/11, OurPrayer staff and prayer volunteers in their homes will be joined by Web visitors to pray for each request by name and need on this special day of prayer.

Prayer Requests

Jeffrey and Rachel Hardcastle: ‘This is What Jesus Does’

Jeffrey and Rachel Hardcastle: ‘This is What Jesus Does’ - CBN TV - Video

From the moment Jeffrey and Rachel wed, the clock was ticking towards marital demise. Find out how Jesus changed the course of their relationship.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Soldier-turned-bishop St. Martin of Tours celebrated November 11th

St. Martin of Tours - CNA Photograph

Soldier-turned-bishop St. Martin of Tours celebrated Nov. 11 - Catholic News Agency (CNA)

The photograph and following excerpt regarding St. Martin of Tours is from CNA:

On Nov. 11, the Catholic Church honors St. Martin of Tours, who left his post in the Roman army to become a “soldier of Christ."

Martin was born around the year 316 in modern-day Hungary. His family left that region for Italy when his father, a military official of the Roman Empire, had to transfer there. Martin's parents were pagans, but he felt an attraction to the Catholic faith which had become legal throughout the empire in 313. He received religious instruction at age 10, and even considered becoming a hermit in the desert.

Circumstances, however, forced him to join the Roman army at age 15, when he had not even received baptism. Martin strove to live a humble and upright life in the military, giving away much of his pay to the poor. His generosity led to a life-changing incident, when he encountered a man freezing without warm clothing near a gate at the city of Amiens in Gaul.

As his fellow soldiers passed by the man, Martin stopped and cut his own cloak into two halves with his sword, giving one half to the freezing beggar. That night, the unbaptized soldier saw Christ in a dream, wearing the half-cloak he had given to the poor man. Jesus declared: “Martin, a catechumen, has clothed me with this garment.”

Martin knew that the time for him to join the Church had arrived. He remained in the army for two years after his baptism, but desired to give his life to God more fully that the profession would allow. But when he finally asked for permission to leave the Roman army, during an invasion by the Germans, Martin was accused of cowardice.

He responded by offering to stand before the enemy forces unarmed. “In the name of the Lord Jesus, and protected not by a helmet and buckler, but by the sign of the cross, I will thrust myself into the thickest squadrons of the enemy without fear.” But this display of faith became unnecessary when the Germans sought peace instead, and Martin received his discharge.

After living as a Catholic for some time, Martin traveled to meet Bishop Hilary of Poitiers, a skilled theologian and later canonized saint. Martin's dedication to the faith impressed the bishop, who asked the former soldier to return to his diocese after he had undertaken a journey back to Hungary to visit his parents. While there, Martin persuaded his mother, though not his father, to join the Church.

In the meantime, however, Hilary had provoked the anger of the Arians, a group that denied Jesus was God. This resulted in the bishop's banishment, so that Martin could not return to his diocese as intended. Instead Martin spent some time living a life of severe asceticism, which almost resulted in his death. The two met up again in 360, when Hilary's banishment from Poitiers ended.

After their reunion Hilary granted Martin a piece of land to build what may have been the first monastery in the region of Gaul. During the resulting decade as a monk, Martin became renowned for raising two people from the dead through his prayers. This evidence of his holiness led to his appointment as the third Bishop of Tours in the middle of present-day France.

Martin had not wanted to become a bishop, and had actually been tricked into leaving his monastery in the first place by those who wanted him the lead the local church. Once appointed, he continued to live as a monk, dressing plainly and owning no personal possessions. In this same spirit of sacrifice, he traveled throughout his diocese, from which he is said to have driven out pagan practices.

Both the Church and the Roman Empire passed through a time of upheaval during Martin's time as bishop. Priscillianism, a heresy involving salvation through a system of secret knowledge, caused such serious problems in Spain and Gaul that civil authorities sentenced the heretics to death. But Martin, along with the Pope and St. Ambrose of Milan, opposed this death sentence for the Priscillianists.

Read more: St. Martin of Tours

Tuesday, November 01, 2011


Solemnity of All Saints - Photo by Loci B. Lenar 

The Solemnity of All Saints Day and All Souls Day

The following excerpt is from the St. Michael Center:

The Solemnity of All Saints Day and All Souls Day are celebrated on November 1 and 2, respectively. On All Saints Day, the church celebrates all the saints: canonized or beatified, and the multitude of those who are in heaven enjoying the beatific vision that are only known to God. This day should inspire us with tremendous hope as the saints who have gone before us to the heavenly home call on us to follow them.

For more information on the All Saints and All Souls Day, please visit the following links:
Litany of the Saints
Litany of the Holy Souls