Showing posts with label New Bedford. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New Bedford. Show all posts

Monday, February 22, 2016

Catholic Radio Seeks to Promote Station and Year of Mercy with New Billboards

The Anchor - Serving the Diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts.

By Kenneth J. Souza
Anchor Staff

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — As a Franciscan, Friar John Mary, F.I., has witnessed signs of faith throughout his life.

Now he’s hoping others will notice one of the signs that recently went up in the Greater New Bedford area promoting WPMW Radio CorMariae and its mission to spread the Good News.

The “micro FM” Catholic radio station that broadcasts at 88.5 on the dial and originates from studios above Our Lady’s Chapel in downtown New Bedford recently contracted with Boston-based Clear Channel Entertainment to advertise its mission via large billboards in three key locations.

“The station has been doing OK financially, and we found we could afford to do another campaign, which is always good because we’re always trying to look for ways to increase our listenership,” Friar John recently told The Anchor. “I think this is one of the most effective ways, other than a bumper sticker campaign.”

The billboards prominently feature a beautiful stained-glass image of Our Lady next to a Scripture passage — “Mercy and Truth have met” (Ps 85:10) — and are located near the intersection of Cove Road and Rockdale Avenue in New Bedford; near St. Mary’s Cemetery on Route 6 across from Shaw’s Supermarket on the New Bedford-Dartmouth line; and on Route 6 (State Road) in Dartmouth, about halfway between Reed and Cross roads.

“The first two went up in mid-January and the third is (going up this week),” Friar John said. “I’m happy with the locations. The one (at Cove Road and Rockdale Avenue) is very conspicuous, near a pretty busy intersection. You can see it as you slow down for the stoplight — it’s very viewable.”

Friar John explained how the billboard on Route 6 in Dartmouth, which can be spotted driving from Westport heading towards New Bedford, was actually a replacement for one that had originally been planned for Coggeshall Street in New Bedford.

“There’s been ongoing construction there,” he said. “It did get put up, but when I went to see it, there was (construction) equipment parked in front of it — it wasn’t a good location. I talked to Clear Channel and told them about it and they found out from the construction crew that the area isn’t going to be cleaned up anytime soon, so they very graciously did the right thing and moved us to the Dartmouth location.”

Friar John said he likes the relocated site better.

“The station is heard pretty well between New Bedford and Westport, and that’s where our signal originates,” he said. “Those coming from Westport heading to the (Dartmouth) Mall will see it.”

Unbeknownst to Friar John, there is also a notorious strip club not far from where the new billboard is located.

“One of our volunteers said that was a good location because the area needs it,” he said. “So I guess they need the prayers and they need to see Our Lady up there.”

The story behind the eye-catching image of the Blessed Mother that dominates the new billboards is perhaps proof positive of Divine intervention in the radio station’s latest advertising campaign.

Friar John first noticed the depiction of Our Lady on the Facebook page of the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary — a group that did a recent recording session at Radio CorMariae.

“I contacted them to see if they had a high-resolution image of it and they said they found it on the Internet and they didn’t know much more about it,” he said. “They didn’t have the source to give me.”

  Stained Glass Window Photographed by Loci B. Lenar  

Thankfully, a graphic design artist named Mary Flannery who does work for the Franciscan Friars was able to do a little digital digging online and discovered that the image, entitled “Immaculate Heart of Mary,” was a photograph taken by Loci B. Lenar and was prominently featured on his Flickr page, blog and website ( She contacted him and he graciously gave WPMW permission to use it in the billboard campaign.

Ironically enough, Lenar has also been featured several times on the syndicated radio program “Sacred Treasures,” which currently airs on WPMW Radio CorMariae.

“He has all these websites and blogs about miracles and conversion stories,” Friar John said. “The thing that got me is this image could have been from anywhere in the world, but the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart found it, used it, which got me to see it, and then it all led back to someone with a connection to our radio station. I really believe it was Divine providence that it’s now being used on our billboard.”

Since we are in the midst of the Year of Mercy as proclaimed by Pope Francis, Friar John said he also wanted to connect that with what the radio station was doing.

“In our last (advertising) campaign, we used the phrase: ‘Behold your mother,’” he said. “I know Our Lady can work with her own image — she doesn’t need words — but I just didn’t want us to have a blank billboard on one side, so I was looking for a good Scripture quote.”

Friar John did a quick Bible search for quotes relating to mercy and came across the line “Mercy and Truth have met” from the Book of Psalms.

For him, it was the perfect quote to include alongside the woman praised in “Hail Holy Queen” as the “Mother of Mercy.”

“I believe that in Pope Francis calling for the Year of Mercy to start on December 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, he had Our Lady in mind,” Friar John said. “Of course, we always talk about mercy, but we have to accompany it with truth — the truth being our faith, the Church, the Sacraments, and Our Lord Himself.

“So we have a merciful, motherly figure in Our Lady and then the Church being the truth — so God knew what He was doing when He put the two together. They go hand-in-hand.”

Friar John said the plan is to keep the billboards up at least throughout the month, but hopefully with additional funding they might be able to extend the campaign even further.

“We want to have the billboards up as long as possible while the funds are coming in,” he said. “On our website we have a page specifically for making donations to support the billboard campaign. People can either use a credit/debit card on the website, or send us a check.”

Since Radio CorMariae doesn’t subscribe to the costly Arbitron ratings system to gauge how many listeners they have, Friar John said it’s important to get feedback via advertising campaigns like this and through word-of-mouth.

“For a station like ours we wouldn’t be involved in the techniques they use and we wouldn’t be able to pay for those services,” he said. “They say if you receive one call during a show, that means there are probably another 99 listeners out there. It’s always pleasant to hear when someone does give you feedback, because then you know someone is getting something out of it. This is why we meet on a regular basis with our volunteers to help publicize the station.”

Tax-deductible donations to support the billboard campaign may be sent to: Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, P.O. Box 3003, New Bedford, Mass. 02741-3003. Please write “Billboard Campaign” on the memo line of the check or money order.

For more information about the campaign or to make a donation online, visit

First published on February 17, 2016 by The Anchor.
(Reprinted with Permission)

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Guardian Angels Watch Over Us

Photograph by Loci B. Lenar - St. Michael's Church

Catholic Weekly Newspaper of the Fall River Diocese -

By Linda Andrade Rodrigues, Anchor Correspondent

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — Guardian angels are the servants and messengers of God.

“How great the dignity of the soul, since each one has from his birth an angel commissioned to guard it,” St. Jerome said.

The “Catechism of the Catholic Church” teaches that as purely Spiritual creatures, angels have intelligence and will: they are personal and immortal, surpassing in perfection all visible creatures, as the splendor of their glory bears witness.

“The Holy Spirit advises me,” and “there’s the angel who advises me,” said Pope Francis. “Nobody walks alone, and none of us can believe we are alone.”

Nine years ago I interviewed a devout Catholic who believes she had an encounter with an angel. She works in marketing and lives in Rhode Island. She shared her story on the condition of anonymity.

Sitting in the front passenger seat of her boyfriend’s car, the woman, along with her two girlfriends, was riding around town late one night.

Out of the blue, a car cut them off running them off the road. Spinning out of control, they crashed into a telephone pole.

“I remember the point of impact,” she said. “I was holding onto the door with a death grip to brace myself as we hit the pole.”

Her boyfriend and friends managed to crawl out of the crushed car, but she was trapped inside.
“I remember not being able to feel my legs,” she said. “I panicked because I couldn’t catch my breath.”

The telephone pole was inside the car; her feet were in the engine compartment.

“I actually saw my life flash before my eyes at the moment of impact,” she said. “I remember seeing family members who had passed on.”

She heard their voices calling to her.

Then she saw a hand coming through the twisted metal. She reached for it.

“I’m a nurse,” the person said.

She told the nurse about the voices.

“Don’t listen to them,” the nurse said. “You’re going to be fine. It’s not your time yet.”

It would take more than an hour for emergency personnel to cut her out of the car with the Jaws of Life. All the while, she kept asking for the nurse who had promised not to leave her.

But the paramedics told her, “There’s nobody here. We’re going to take care of you.”

Her injuries were grave. Her legs and pelvis were shattered, she had massive internal injuries and bleeding, as well as a blood clot. She received Last Rites.

She spent three months in the hospital’s trauma unit, and it would take a year of intensive physical therapy for her to walk again.

A short time after her discharge from the hospital, she arranged to meet the paramedics who had saved her life.

“They couldn’t believe I was there,” she said. “They assumed I wasn’t going to make it.”
Once again, she asked them about the nurse. They told her there was a witness walking his dog in the woods, but there was no nurse.

“It may have been your mind playing games with you,” the paramedic said. “Your body was in shock.”

Today she bears few scars from the accident that nearly took her life. She is married to her boyfriend, the driver of the car, and is convinced a guardian angel came to her on the night of the accident.
“I still feel she’s watching over me,” she said. “I always feel protected.”

A resident of Mine Hill, N.J., Loci Lenar reports news of Christian signs and wonders on his blog and website — “Angels, Wonders and Miracles of Faith” ( and “Signs, Wonders and Miracles” ( — which have recorded over a million page views.

Lenar also documents his own spiritual encounters, following instructions from his spiritual advisor, Father Richard Tartaglia of St. Mary’s Church in Denville, N.J.

Sharing his experiences, he has been interviewed several times for the program “Sacred Treasures” on the international Catholic station Radio Maria, which is broadcast locally by the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate of Our Lady’s Chapel in New Bedford at 88.5 FM (WPMW).

Lenar often visits churches to photograph stained glass windows and statues to use on his website and blog.

Five years ago he stopped to pray at The Church of St. Michael in Netcong, N.J., and photographed a statue of St. Michael the Archangel.

“Without the flash, you see the striking rainbow beyond the statue and around the arms,” he told me. “I gave the small memory card to Father Richard.”

Catholics invoke St. Michael the Archangel in prayer for physical protection.

Lenar said that Jesus is calling people to pray for divine protection, not just for their families but for the world.

“We are living in difficult times, but through prayer we could change things,” he said. “The message is now more important than ever before to invoke the powerful name of Jesus and to pray for the intercession of St. Michael the Archangel to protect our families and nation, especially in light of the violence surrounding our world and the Middle East.”

Two years ago thieves broke into the basement of St. Bernard Catholic Church in Assonet, causing massive damage to the property, pilfering church offerings and leaving behind a feeling of unease that this sacred ground had been violated.

Consequently, Father Michael Racine inserted the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel in the front cover of church missals.

Just before the closing rites at every Mass, the congregation invokes the saint’s protection:
“St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.”

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Medugorje Visionary Ivan Dragicevic to speak at St. Anthony of Padua Church

Reprinted with permission from The Standard-Times and


Friday, October 12, 2012


Reprinted with permission from The Standard-Times and



NEW BEDFORD,  Massachusetts — Catholics believe that Jesus Christ dwells in their midst and is present in the Eucharist because He said this is so.

"While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it, he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, 'Take and eat; this is my body.'" (Matthew 26:26)

Catholics believe this through an act of faith, yet there are prodigies of Eucharistic miracles recorded throughout the world.

The most preserved and scientifically studied Eucharistic miracle occurred during the 8th century in Lanciano, Italy.

According to an ancient document, a monk spoke the words of consecration, and the host changed into flesh and the wine into blood.

They are still intact and on display in the Church of St. Francis, built on the site of the original church.

In 1971, the latest team of medical and scientific experts examined the flesh and confirmed that it is striated muscular tissue of the human heart wall and the human blood is type "AB" — with both having no trace of agents used for preservation.

The extract summarizing the scientific work of the Medical Commission of the WHO and the UN, published in December 1976 in New York and Geneva, declared that "science, aware of its limits, has come to a halt, face to face with the impossibility of giving an explanation."

In honor of the 10th anniversary of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration, Our Lady's Chapel will celebrate "A Decade of Grace," a six-day observance that will feature the Vatican International Exhibit "Eucharistic Miracles of the World," which will be on display from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Oct. 8-12 in Blessed John Duns Scotus Hall.

"When I go to the church (in Italy) and see the host, I see a miracle that is continual, our Lord is still really present. He has worked these miracles to help people who struggle with their faith to believe in Him," said the Rev. Louis Maximillian, FI, Father Guardian of the Chapel. "But I don't have to go to Lanciano. I can go to Our Lady's Chapel or one of the Catholic churches here in New Bedford, where the Lord is really present."

During the past 25 years, there has been an explosion of Eucharistic Adoration taking place, according to the friar.

"Maybe this is our Lord's way of helping people, particularly Catholics, rediscover their faith at a very critical moment in our history," he said.

The Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate instituted Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration a decade ago with the blessing of the bishop.

"It's really a gift from our Lord, something our Lord wanted all along," said Father Louis. "We are simply trying to respond to our Lord's desires that He become better known and loved. We truly want Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration instituted in every Catholic parish."

Fifteen years ago, Father Louis was a young man attending The Cathedral of Christ the King in Atlanta, Ga., one of the few churches for miles around that offered Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration.

"Words cannot describe the impact this had on my own faith life," he said. "I had the privilege of being able to adore our Lord on a regular basis. There's no question that Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration and devotion to Our Lady — the two pillars — were instrumental in my eventually being a priest."

Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration is the adoration of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

For the past 10 years, the Holy Eucharist has never been unattended at Our Lady's Chapel. The friars are responsible for covering adoration several hours each day, but most of the hours are covered by adorers, who pray the rosary, read Scripture or just sit quietly in the presence of the consecrated host in the monstrance.

"Whoever decides to participate commits to a fixed hour per week with the resolve to remain faithful to that commitment," said Father Louis. "It is a great act of faith that they make."

The celebration of the10th anniversary of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration at Our Lady's Chapel will include talks on "Our Lady and the Eucharist" at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 8-12, featuring the Rev. George Roth, FI, of the Marian Friary of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Griswold, Conn., on Oct. 8; the Rev. Edward Murphy, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in New Bedford, on Tuesday, Oct. 9; the Rev. Ron Floyd, parochial vicar at St. Patrick Parish in Wareham, on Wednesday, Oct. 10; the Rev. David Mullen, pastor of St. Brendan Parish in Bellingham, on Thursday, Oct. 11; and the Rev. Monsignor Gerard O'Connor, pastor of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Acushnet, on Friday, Oct. 12.

All talks will be preceded by recitation of the Holy Rosary and followed by Benediction.

A Solemn Holy Mass will be held at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, with principal celebrant Bishop George Coleman. The Mass will be preceded by the recitation of the Holy Rosary and followed by a reception.

For more information, call Our Lady's Chapel at (508) 996-8274. If you are interested in becoming an adorer, drop by the chapel anytime at 600 Pleasant St. in New Bedford, Massachusetts and talk to any of the friars.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Feast of Our Lady of Good Voyage Commemorates Miracle at Sea

Feast of Our Lady of Good Voyage

Feast of Our Lady of Good Voyage commemorates miracle at sea |

The photograph and following story is from


NEW BEDFORD — A time of pilgrimage, prayer, remembrance and thanksgiving, the Feast of Our Lady of Good Voyage honors the Blessed Virgin Mary, patroness of those who make their living at sea.

The feast commemorates the apparition of the Virgin Mary to three fishermen off the coast of Cuba in 1600. In danger of shipwreck during a sudden, violent storm, they called upon Mary, the mother of Jesus, to save them. Suddenly, the storm died down, the sun began to shine and the sea became perfectly tranquil.

"Our Lady calmed the waters around (the fishermen) and got them back safely to shore," said Father Raphael Maria of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate of Our Lady's Chapel.

Likewise, the friars instruct Catholics to turn to God and Mary for refuge in times of tribulation.

While rowing to shore, the fishermen spied a luminous object following them, and upon rowing towards it, they discovered a small image of the Virgin Mary.

This image is now venerated in Cuba as the Virgin of Charity of Cobre and is the patroness of the country. A replica of the image is venerated at Our Lady's Chapel and is the focal point of our city's observance.

The two-day feast will begin at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18, with a candlelight procession and veneration of the statue of Our Lady of Good Voyage, starting at Our Lady's Chapel, 600 Pleasant St. and passing through downtown in a circuitous route.

The solemn procession will step off from the chapel at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 19, as fishermen and friars carry statues, and worshippers sing hymns and say prayers in English and Portuguese.

Upon arrival at the waterfront, special prayers will be said for all fishermen and for those lost at sea.

"Then we will process back to the chapel, and there will be a reception in John Scotus Hall," said Father Raphael. "One and all are invited to come."

The friars request that everyone bring a potluck dish to share.

For more information, contact the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate at (508) 996-8274.

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