Monday, December 30, 2013

Prayer for a Blessing on the New Year

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Biblical films' Hollywood comeback in 2014

News excerpt from The Telegraph

Superheroes are being elbowed out by Noah and Mary as Hollywood makes 2014 year of the biblical epic.

The saint-like image of a hooded woman looms out from the movie poster, her arms outstretched as a divine light bursts from the sky. A message written above is simple and unambiguous: “You Will Believe.”

So goes the promotional campaign for the forthcoming Hollywood blockbuster Mary Mother of Christ. “It is a part of Mary, Joseph and Jesus’s life that has not been shown on the big screen before,” reads a synopsis. “Under the reign of terror of Herod the Great and, against all odds, they survive as young parents in one of the most treacherous times in history.” It promises “faith-based high action drama” − and there is no room in the audience for doubting Thomases.
Mary Mother of Christ, whose title character will be played by Odeya Rush, a 16-year-old Israeli-born actress, is one of a series of  Christian biblical epics due to appear next year, marking an unprecedented overture by Hollywood to America’s evangelical heartland.

In March audiences will be treated to Noah, a $150 million special effects-laden extravaganza, in which Russell Crowe will build an ark and rescue mankind from the Great Flood. Harry Potter actress Emma Watson will play his adopted daughter, and Sir Anthony Hopkins is portraying Methuselah.

Noah will be followed by Sir Ridley Scott’s Exodus, in which Christian Bale, as Moses, will part the Red Sea. Scenes from ancient Egypt have been reconstructed in southern Spain, with Bale wielding a bow and arrow and Sigourney Weaver playing the Pharaoh’s wife.

Read more: Biblical films' Hollywood comeback in 2014

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Wishing all Family, Friends and Visitors a Joyful and Merry Christmas!

Photo by Loci B. Lenar

Please join us at St. Mary's Church to celebrate the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day!

St. Mary's Christmas Schedule:

December 24th, Tuesday
Christmas Vigil Masses: 5:00 pm, 7:00 pm and 10:00 pm

December 25th, Wednesday
Christmas Day: 7:00 am, 8:30 am, 11:30 am

Saint Mary's Church is located on 15 Myers Avenue, Denville, New Jersey, 07834. For more information, please call St. Mary's Parish on 973-627-0269. Website:

The photograph shows a live nativity scene from the 2013 Radio City Christmas Spectacular.
Photographed by Loci B. Lenar on Thanksgiving Day at Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Avenue of the Americas, New York City, NY.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Pope Francis named Time's 2013 Person of the Year

News story and excerpt from

By Eun Kyung Kim

Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pontiff who won hearts and headlines with his humility and common touch, was named Time magazine's Person of the Year for 2013, the magazine revealed Wednesday on TODAY.

Pope Francis stood out "as someone who has changed the tone and perception and focus of one of the world's largest institutions in an extraordinary way," Time managing editor Nancy Gibbs said Wednesday.

The magazine staff makes the ultimate decision, Gibbs said, but they poll readers and take public opinion into account. This was the third time Time named a pope as its Person of the Year.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told TODAY in a statement that "the Holy Father is not looking to become famous or to receive honors. But if the choice of Person of Year helps spread the message of the gospel — a message of God's love for everyone — he will certainly be happy about that."

Read more: Pope Francis

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Man Attributes Miracle Survival to Psalm 54

CBN News -

Video of a man's miracle survival after being trapped underwater for three days has gone viral.

Harrison Okene, a Nigerian cook, is the lone survivor of a 12-member crew of an upended tug boat. He attributed his survival all to prayer.

Footage of his rescue, which happened more than six months ago, was just posted online this week.

During the time he was trapped, Okene found an air pocket in the boat and said he was praying to God the whole time, reciting Psalm 54, also called the prayer for deliverance.

That was the last Psalm his wife had sent him via text message. Okene said he believes his rescue after more than 60 hours at 100 feet underwater is a sign of divine deliverance.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Join St. Mary's Parish for an evening of "Lessons and Carols" on December 15th

Photo by Loci B. Lenar

Saint Mary's Parish - Advent and Christmas Schedule

Advent Evening of Reflection - "Lessons and Carols" - Sunday, December 15th at 7:00 pm in St. Mary's Church.
Parish Advent Reconciliation Service - Wednesday, December 18th, 7:30 PM

Saint Mary's Church is located on 15 Myers Avenue, Denville, NJ, 07834.  For more information, please call St. Mary's Parish on 973-627-0269.

St. Mary's Christmas Mass Schedule
December 24th, Tuesday
Christmas Vigil Masses: 5:00 pm, 7:00 pm and 10:00 pm

December 25th, Wednesday
Christmas Day: 7:00 am, 8:30 am, 11:30 am

St. Mary's Weekly Mass Schedule

Sunday: 7:00, 8:30, 10:00, and 11:30 AM

Saturday: 5:00 PM

Weekdays: 8:00 AM and 12:05 PM - (Except June ~ Labor Day - No 12:05 PM)

First Fridays: 8:00 AM, 12:05 PM, 8:00 PM - (Except June ~ Labor Day - No 12:05 PM)

Holy Days: 7:00 AM, 8:00 AM, 12:00 noon, 7:00 PM

Eve of Holy Days: 5:00 PM

(Loci B. Lenar is a parishioner of the Parish and is the founder of

Friday, December 06, 2013

Little Drummer Boy by Pentatonix

▶ [Official Video] - Pentatonix - YouTube

The new version of the Little Drummer Boy by Pentatonix is refreshing and extraordinary! I recommend listening to this beautiful song!

The five-person a cappella group from Arlington, Texas, is five vocalists: Scott Hoying, Kirstie Maldonado, Mitch Grassi, Avi Kaplan and Kevin Olusola.

The five-person a cappella group won the third season of NBC's competition series "The Sing-Off" in 2011.

Read more here:

Read more here:

St. Nicholas: Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa

News excerpt and photo from Catholic Online

By Peg Luksik

HARRISBURG, PA. (Catholic Online) - Years ago, a little girl named Virginia O'Hanlon wrote to the editor of the New York Sun asking if Santa Claus was real.  His answer, which spoke of skeptical men in a skeptical age who only believed in what they could see, is as relevant today as it was when Frank Church wrote it.

The name and face of Santa has been plastered over advertising, billboards, movies and television.  We have single Santa's looking for wives, reluctant Santa's trying to escape their destinies, drafted Santa's to replace one who is "retiring", and even bad Santa's.  The stories all have happy endings, with the magic of the North Pole somehow saving the day.

Thankfully, none of them is Santa.  Because Saint Nicholas, like every saint, is real.

He was born in Asia Minor and was bishop of the town of Myra in the fourth century.  When he died he was buried in the cathedral there.  When the Saracens conquered Myra in the early eleventh century, his remains were moved to the Italian city of Bari in 1087. His tomb is visited by thousands every year, even to this day.

His bones exude a clear liquid, called the "manna of Saint Nicholas", which is extracted from the shrine every year on May 9 in a formal ceremony conducted by the Rector of the Basilica in Bari, in the presence of the delegate of the Pope, the Archbishop of Bari, an Orthodox Bishop, civil authorities, the local clergy and the faithful.  This has happened every year since 1980.  The manna is distributed and is considered a relic with healing properties.

Nicholas is the patron saint of children, Russia, Greece, Sicily, sailors, prisoners, bakers, and pawnbrokers.  His image is second only to Mary's in religious icons of both the Eastern and Western churches.

The stories of his generosity and kindness are legendary.

Santa Claus is a translation of his name.

Saint Nicholas is a person who made that connection.  When people pretend to be Santa, they act with levels of generosity and charity and kindness that they do not normally exhibit.  In other words, they get closer to God.  In doing so, they discover happiness.

And even in the convoluted versions of Santa being pushed by today's secular media, that message of happiness through goodness continues to resonate.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.  He is not just an idea.  He was, and is, a saint.  A saint who reminds us that we are loved without limits.  A saint who challenges us to remove the limits on how we love others.  A saint who calls us to holiness as we prepare to celebrate the greatest gift mankind has ever received.

Read more: Saint Nicholas

How One Prayer Healed Autism


Gina and Brian witnessed their son Ethan experience victory over autism.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Countdown for Christmas: unique Advent calendar for the digital age

News excerpt from

With Christmas just around the corner, there's a new Advent calendar to help prepare for the holidays. But this isn't your average calendar. It is high-tech, and it can be seen through a website or a smartphone.

It was launched by the Archdiocese of Sydney and it's called the 'Xt3 Advent calendar'. It truly is an online journey towards Christmas. Every day, a door virtually opens so that users from all over the world can have a unique yet shared experience. 

The website includes all kinds of interactive material like daily reflections, podcasts and even videos like this one, featuring children talking about the true meaning of Christmas. And all the way from Australia, it will also share Cardinal Pell's message for the holidays and a special surprise for Pope Francis' birthday on December 17th.

It's the fifth year the Archdiocese launches this project, and it's also available for iPhone and Android. A new way to count the days for Christmas in the online world.

Monday, December 02, 2013

The Divine Rescue on Highway Six


It’s been called The Miracle on Highway 6. After a fiery car crash and desperate prayers, witnesses say angels showed up and performed a miraculous rescue.