Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Routine Surgery Opens Door to Heaven


Multiple organ failure during a routine kidney stone removal put Dean Braxton's life in the balance and gave him a glimpse of the afterlife and Jesus.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Documentary Sheds New Light on Our Lady of Guadalupe Miracle

Photo by Loci B. Lenar

The following excerpt is from the NCRegister:

By Celeste Behe, Register Correspondent

A barren hillside in Mexico. A humble peasant named Juan Diego. A beautiful lady. A painted tilma.

The facts surrounding the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe are known to most informed Catholics. Or are they?
"Ask just about any educated Catholic where Guadalupe is, and the answer you’re likely to get is ‘Mexico,’" says movie director and producer Tim Watkins. "But, in fact, Guadalupe is in Spain."

It’s a surprising piece of information, one of many revealed in the fascinating documentary The Blood and the Rose.
"There are numerous connections between certain events that took place in both the Holy Land and in Europe and the events which led up to Our Lady’s miraculous appearance in the New World," says Watkins. "Their convergence, more than 15 centuries in the making, was guided by the hand of divine Providence."
The feature-length documentary — which brings together the talents of executive producer Steve McEveety (The Passion of the Christ) and actor Eduardo Verastegui (Bella) — includes on-location interviews with experts in the fields of science, history and theology.
Their findings help to recount the "untold" part of the Guadalupe story, which, says Watkins, "doesn’t end with Juan Diego."
"The movie really conveys much more than the Guadalupe story," agrees Raymond Arroyo, creator and host of EWTN’s The World Over and guest speaker at the Jan. 24 premiere screening of the documentary.

Referring to the image of Guadalupe, he says that "any image that shows up 500 years after its premiere on an air freshener or a rapper’s bicep is an image firmly ensconced in the popular imagination."
But, as Watkins observes, key elements of the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe are usually missing from these reproductions. "This is no ordinary icon that we can just alter at will to suit different applications and tastes," he says. "God himself is the artist, and he conveys in the image numerous messages and proofs that demonstrate that it is nothing less than his word."
The film sheds light on many of these elements, including the pattern on Our Lady’s garment.

Read more: Documentary of  Lady of Guadalupe

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Pope's last Angelus: I will not abandon the Church. I will serve in a different way

News from RomeReports.com

It was the last time that Benedict XVI appeared before his studio window to lead the Angelus as Pope. It's estimated that about 200,000 pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square to thank the Pope for his eight year Pontificate.

Some came with banners to thank the Pope and be part of history. With only days left as Pope, Benedict XVI clearly spoke about his retirement. In Italian he said, God is asking me to serve the Church in a way that's more appropriate for my age and strength.

“The Lord is calling me 'out to the mountain' to devote more time to prayer and meditation, but this does not mean I'm abandoning the Church. In fact, if God is asking this of me, it's precisely to continue serving the Church with the same dedication and love with which I have served so far, but in a way that's more suited for my age and strength.”

The Pope's Angelus was repeatedly interrupted by applause and cheers. Before completing the last Angelus of his Pontificate, the Pope said he will always be close to the Church and its people.

“Thank you, I will always be near you.”

This Angelus was the Pope's first public appearance, following a spiritual retreat which ended on Saturday. On Monday he will meet with Cardinals of the Roman Curia and on Wednesday, he will celebrate his last General Audience in St. Peter's Square.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Rachel Lozano's recovery from cancer could be labeled a miracle by the Vatican

Rachel Lozano

The following excerpt is from KSDK.com

By Art Holliday

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - "Whether the church says it or was or not, I believe it was a miracle."

That "M" word: miracle. During the nine years she's been cancer free, Rachel Lozano has used that word a lot, explaining over and over again why she's still among the living.

"Sometimes it's a little overwhelming at times," said Lozano. "I think of this time as my extra years on earth."

Most of Rachel's high school years at St. Joseph's Academy were spent fighting a rare and sometimes fatal form of cancer, Askin's tumor. She had multiple surgeries and underwent a bone marrow transplant. Chemotherapy claimed her hair, but she whimsically turned her bald head into a canvas for colorful artwork. In her high school graduation photo, she was smiling brightly, even though she was fighting for her life.

"It was strange. I actually had a peacefulness when I would think and pray about it," said Lozano. "I didn't know what that peacefulness meant. I didn't know if that meant dying or that meant living."

When the cancer appeared for the third time, the doctors delivered the worst news possible.

"That I pretty much had a few weeks to live at the most, depending on which organ was hit first, because the tumor recurred between my heart, lung, and spine."

During one last surgery to remove cancer, Rachel Lozano's doctors were shocked to find no cancerous tissue. The cancer was gone.

A 2000 photograph shows Lozano at the gravesite of Father William Chaminade, founder of the Marianists in 1817. She had flown to Rome to attend a ceremony honoring Father Chaminade. Feeling a strong connection to the priest, Lozano prayed to Chaminade to cure her cancer.

"He also overcame a lot of obstacles in his life and never gave up hope," said Lozano. "I see the parallels in our lives that way."

Eventually Rachel Lozano's recovery was declared to be a miracle by the St. Louis Archdiocese and the investigation was passed along to the Vatican. If the Vatican certifies that Lozano's case is a miracle, it would be the second miracle attributed to Father Chaminade, and the Pope could declare Chaminade a saint. She doesn't know if or when that will happen.

Read More: Rachel Lozano

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Overcoming Racial Hate with Love

The video and following excerpt is from CBN TV

Sisters Barbara Shores and Helen Shores Lee remember growing up in Alabama during the turbulent Civil Rights era.

NBC: A violent and gory mocking of Jesus

The following news bulletin and excerpt is published on the site of American Family Association - afa.net

This past weekend, NBC's "Saturday Night Live" aired an extremely violent and gory segment mocking Jesus Christ…just for laughs. And, it's available now online.
The segment is a fake movie trailer depicting ... Jesus returning to get revenge. It's called, "Djesus Uncrossed." Thanks to the funding by mainstream advertisers, NBC is painting Jesus as a revengeful murderer bent on killing the Romans who crucified Him.
You can watch the skit here, but be aware you will be disgusted at the mockery.
Kmart, Sears and J.C. Penney have the responsibility to demand their brands not support programs that mock people of faith.
Sears, Kmart and J.C. Penney are underwriting this attack on the Christian faith on NBC network. Let them know you are offended.
Visit the following link to Sign the Petition:
Read More: Take Action! 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Lent at the End of an Age

Photograph by Loci B. Lenar

The following excerpt is from TheCatholicThing.org

By Bevil Bramell, OMI

We are at the end of an age. And that is a fact that must loom large in the inventory of our Christian lives, for which we are all individually responsible. The priest or bishop or professor who misled us in college will not be with us at the judgment seat. Neither will “the culture” or the media. Lent is the suitable time to put aside all excuses and to reflect on larger concerns, which are becoming more acute with each passing year.

The “take-out” model of parishes – where you drop in to church for the sacraments and little else – has left generations of U.S. Catholics poorly informed and largely unprepared for a culture that no longer supports life, basic faith, truth, or morality. So for Catholics, this is the question: how do I carve out my life in a world that constantly contradicts what I believe so that I become a saint?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Wojtyla for saint: A miracle has been presented to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints

The following excerpt is from the Vatican Insider:


There is a presumed miracle that has been attributed to the intercession of John Paul II. The Postulator of the Cause, Mgr. Slawomir Oder presented this inexplicable case of healing to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints headed by Cardinal Angelo Amato, a month ago. The dossier is now in the hands of the medical commission. It all took place in the utmost secrecy and confidentiality. But Amato himself and the Archbishop of Cracow, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz - who had been Pope Wojtyla’s personal secretary and a big promoter of his canonization – had already discussed this three weeks ago. The Polish pope’s “inner circle” therefore hoped Wojtyla would receive the title of Saint by 2013.

A reliable source has confirmed to Vatican Insider that a step forward has been made, even if the alleged healing has not yet been examined by the Congregation’s medical commission, headed by Dr. Patrizio Polisca, Benedict XVI’s personal doctor. As is known, in order for a beatification to take place, the Catholic Church needs to guarantee and recognise a miracle attributed to the intercession of the candidate for sainthood and this miracle needs to have occurred after the death of the person who performed it. A second miracle needs to be confirmed in order to move up a step from beatification to canonization, an act proclaimed by the Pope, which implies infallibility and makes the worship of a saint universal. The second miracle must have been performed after the individual’s beatification. In the case of Wojtyla, it took place after the ceremony on 1 May 2011 in the presence of a huge crowd.

It is now up to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to assess the case and decide whether the case presented has the necessary attributes for the medical commission – composed of various specialists called to give their thoughts on the scientific inexplicability of the healing - to approve it.

Wojtyla was beatified for having healed a French nun, Sister Simon Pierre, who worked in a hospital’s maternity ward, from Parkinson’s disease. She had the same syndrome as John Paul II. The sisters prayed for the Pope when he passed away. And Sister Marie Simon Pierre was suddenly cured. The procedure for the recognition of this case of healing was not at all easy because it is difficult to give a precise diagnosis of certain neurological illnesses. Not all the doctors consulted gave their approval even though the Congregation’s final assessment was positive.

Read More: Pope John Paul II

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lent is a Time for Spiritual Renewal of the Soul

Photograph by Loci B. Lenar

Commentary By Loci B. Lenar

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent for many Christian denominations including Catholics. Lent prepares us through sacrifice and prayer for a spiritual renewal of the soul. However, Easter rejuvenates our lives as God the Father calls us to live by the gospels of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by transforming us into the resurrected image of His divine son.

Ash Wednesday Is An Invitation to Turn Away From Sin and Be Faithful to the Gospel

Lent / Easter - Catholic Online

The following excerpt is from Catholic Online:

By Deacon Keith Fournier

When lent is voluntarily embraced it opens us to a deeper experience of the freedom which Jesus Christ has obtained for each one of us. Because "it was for freedom that Christ set us free" (Galatians 5:1,2) we enter into Lent with our whole person, it can draw us at its' closure, into a deeper experience and embrace of the power of the Resurrection, beginning right now. The practices of piety, asceticism and extended prayer and worship challenge us to "turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel".

Read More: Ash Wednesday

Monday, February 11, 2013

Pope announces he will be stepping down as of February 28

News Bulletin from RomeReports.com

The Pope is unable to continue. He made the announcement today to the cardinals gathered in Rome. On February 28 at 8 p.m. Benedict XVI will no longer be Pope. That date will kick off the sede vacante, or vacant seat. According to canon law, within 20 days the cardinals must meet in conclave to elect the new Pope.

In the Vatican statement the Pope read in Latin to his cardinals, he explained that, “In order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.”

His resignation is a rare occasion for the Catholic Church, as only three other Popes have resigned in their time, Celestine V, Clement I and Gregory XII.

Starting at 8 p.m. on the last day of February, all posts within the Vatican will remain vacant until a new Pope is elected, with exception of the Camerlengo, the Major Penitentiary and the Vicar of Rome. The new Pontiff will be the one to canonize new saints on May 12, attend the World Youth Day in Brazil, and guide the Church through the remaining Year of Faith.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Writer Vittorio Messori investigates Lourdes apparitions

Video and News Story - RomeReports.com:

Italian journalist Vittorio Messori is widely known for tackling current issues within the Catholic Church. Previously, he has published two books about John Paul II and Joseph Ratzinger.

Now, he is focusing his attention on the apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes. He believes the authenticity of the message, lies in the credibility of Bernadette's testimony, since she says she saw the apparition directly. It's also the topic of his latest book Bernadette non ci ha ingannati, or Bernadette Does Not Deceive.

Journalist and Writer
“History can show that the apparitions of Lourders are authentic. And when we have a faith crisis, which also happens to me, naturally, when we have doubts, when we have problems, then we can seize that which is true, and that is Lourdes.”

Messori says the message of Lourdes can help many people reconcile with their Catholic faith, because her apparitions appear to strengthen the Pope's authority.

Journalist and Writer
“Let's not forget that Lourdes is very Catholic. Our Lady appears always with a rosary in hand, she appears four years after a dogma on her Immaculate Conception, as if to confirm what Pius IX did. Our Lady appears according to the several cycles of the liturgy. It's why Lourdes is the place that the Popes have loved more.”

The Italian writer is also working on his next book, also dealing with Lourdes. He will attempt to explain why the grotto in Lourdes was the best place for Our Lady's apparition.

Journalist and Writer
“In the fist book, I've been dedicated entirely to examining Bernadette's credibility. The second book will be called “Return to that Grotto,” where I will respond to questions about that mystery. Because we believers may say, why an insignificant town as Lourdes? Why a person as humanly insignificant as Bernadette?”

Vittorio Messori, was raised in an agnostic environment. He decided to document supernatural interventions, apparitions and miracles of Our Lady, because he considers them to be God's manifestations, that can reinforce the faith.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament

Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament - By Stephen B. Whatley 

By Stephen B. Whatley

I am 'divinely pushed' when I create, especially my works of faith; so often when I might be suffering.

That day I was so tired in the evening but wanted to celebrate my niece, Grace's 5th birthday....exhausted so that I tried to draw and felt it wouldn't come so rejected the drawing, feeling upset...so I prayed harder, determined my energy would not be in vain and this, Our Lady of The Most Blessed Sacrament was the result. Truly one of my most powerful works I gratefully feel; by the grace of God.

May peace, healing and love shine on all who view this image.

Inspired by a devotion randomly selected from the Illustrated Book of Mary (William J. Hirten Co., NY, published 2010).

Our Lady of The Most Blessed Sacrament. 2013
Pastel on paper, 23.4 x 16.5in/59 x 42cm

For prints and original artwork by the artist, please visit the following link: http://www.stephenbwhatley.com/

To see other artwork by the artist, please visit the following link: www.flickr.com/stephenbwhatley

Presentation of Jesus in the Temple

Stained glass image courtesy of www.StainedGlassInc.com
When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord  (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”),  and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him.  It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.  Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”

The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage,  and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.  Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.  Luke 2:22-40