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CATHOLIC NEWS AGENCY
23 Sept 2017

**See also:
http://blog.franciscanmedia.org/sam/blessed-stanley-rother
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Rother


Fr_Rother_and_little_girl

Blessed Stanley Rother and a little girl. (Credit: Frankie Williams. Courtesy of Archdiocese of Oklahoma.)

Oklahoma City, Okla., Sep 23, 2017 / 02:16 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Father Stanley Rother, an Oklahoma priest martyred in Guatemala, was beatified Saturday during a Mass in Oklahoma City attended by over 20,000 people.

Pope Francis named him blessed in a letter that cited his “deeply rooted faith,” his “profound union with God,” and his “arduous duty to spread the word of God in missionary lands, faithfully living his priestly and missionary service until his martyrdom.”

His feast day is set for the anniversary of his death, July 28, 1981, which the papal letter described as “the day of his heavenly birth.”

Fr_RotherBlessed Stanley Rother served indigenous people of his Guatemala parish at a time of civil war. He returned to his home state of Oklahoma after a death threat, then returned knowing the dangers. [Painting artist unknown.]

Before his last Christmas, the priest wrote to a parish in Oklahoma about the dangers in Guatemala:

“The shepherd cannot run at the first sign of danger,” he said.

Armed men broke into his rectory, intending to abduct him. He resisted and struggled, but did not call for help, so others at the mission would not be endangered.

He was shot twice and killed.

At a time of great social and political turbulence, the priest lived as a disciple of Christ, “doing good and spreading peace and reconciliation among the people,” Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect for the Congregation of Saints, said in his homily.

“Unfortunately, this immediate recompense on this earth was persecution and a bloody death, in accord with the Words of Jesus: Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat. But if it dies, it produces much fruit,” said the cardinal, citing the words of the Gospel.

Celebrating the Mass with Cardinal Amato were Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul Coakley, dozens of bishops, scores of priests and thousands of laity, including some from Guatemala. The Mass took place at Oklahoma City’s Cox Convention Center.

Family of Fr. Rother were also in attendance. Sister Marita Rother read the first reading, from the Book of Sirach.

Though Blessed Stanley faced difficulties in his seminary studies, he showed great dedication to the manual labor he was familiar with from his youth on his family farm near Okarche, Okla.

After volunteering for the Guatemala mission Santiago Atitlan, the priest learned Spanish. He even the local language of the Tz’utujil Mayan Indians so well that he could use it in his preaching.

He would spend 13 years of his life there, diligent in visiting newlyweds and baptizing and catechizing their children. He was vigorous in both religious and social formation, drawing on his experience to work the fields and repair broken trucks while also building a farmer’s co-op, a school, a hospital and the area’s first Catholic radio station.

Blessed Stanley even took action after a major earthquake in 1976.

“With courage he climbed the ravines in order to help the very poor, pulling the wounded out of the ruins and carrying them to safety on his shoulders,” Cardinal Amato said.

Cardinal Amato recounted the civil conflict in Guatemala. From 1971 to 1981, there were numerous killings of journalists, farmers, catechists and priests, all accused falsely of communism.

“This was a real and true time of bloody persecution of the Church,” the cardinal said. “Fr. Rother, aware of the imminent danger to his life, prepared himself for martyrdom, asking the Lord for the strength to face it without fear.”

“He continued, however, to preach the gospel of love and non-violence.”

Both the priest’s mission and the aid he gave to the victims of violence were seen as subversive, explained the cardinal, who added: “a good shepherd cannot abandon his flock.”

“In the face of kidnappings and violence Fr. Rother felt helpless because he did not succeed in changing the situation of reconciliation and forgiveness,” Cardinal Amato continued. “He often cried in silence to a Carmelite nun who asked what to do if he were killed.”

“Fr. Rother responded: ‘Raise the standard of Christ Risen’.”

Others spoke about Blessed Stanley. Oklahoma City Archbishop emeritus Eusebius Beltran voiced gratitude to God for the beatification of the first native-born priest and martyr of the United States.

“His death was a tragedy for Oklahoma and for Guatemala. However, through his death, his saintly life has become known well beyond the boundaries of Guatemala and Oklahoma and the faith of all those who are now familiar with his life is greatly strengthened, and the Church continues to flourish,” Archbishop Beltran said.

Archbishop Coakley said that the priest “chose to remain with his people” and “gave his life in solidarity.”

“Pray that Church will experience a new Pentecost and abundant vocations, aided by the intercession of Bl. Stanley Rother,” he said.

The Mass was multi-lingual, incorporating Spanish, Comanche and the Mayan language of the indigenous people Fr. Rother served.

The offertory was dedicated to the Guatemalan parishes where Blessed Stanley Rother served, in order to help meet their needs and sustain the faith there. The Catholic Foundation of Oklahoma is managing donations through the webpage http://stanleyrother.org/mass



14th-Aug-2017 04:21 pm - Mother Mary

This afternoon I found this image of Our Blessed Mother on the Rosary Center page. It is too beautiful not to share.

Mother Mary

12th-Jul-2017 02:46 am - Prayer to St. Joseph after the Rosary

Prayer from: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops - Inspiration from Rosary Center

Introduction

Mary_and_Joseph

This prayer to Saint Joseph—spouse of the Virgin Mary, foster father of Jesus, and patron saint of the universal Church—was composed by Pope Leo XIII in his 1889 encyclical, Quamquam Pluries. He asked that it be added to the end of the Rosary, especially during the month of October, which is dedicated to the Rosary. The prayer is enriched with a partial indulgence (Handbook of Indulgences, conc. 19), and may be said after the customary Salve Regina and concluding prayer. It may also be used to conclude other Marian devotions.

Prayer

To you, O blessed Joseph,
do we come in our tribulation,
and having implored the help of your most holy Spouse,
we confidently invoke your patronage also.

Through that charity which bound you
to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God
and through the paternal love
with which you embraced the Child Jesus,
we humbly beg you graciously to regard the inheritance
which Jesus Christ has purchased by his Blood,
and with your power and strength to aid us in our necessities.

O most watchful guardian of the Holy Family,
defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ;
O most loving father, ward off from us
every contagion of error and corrupting influence;
O our most mighty protector, be kind to us
and from heaven assist us in our struggle
with the power of darkness.

As once you rescued the Child Jesus from deadly peril,
so now protect God's Holy Church
from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity;
shield, too, each one of us by your constant protection,
so that, supported by your example and your aid,
we may be able to live piously, to die in holiness,
and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven.

Amen.


**(Image artist unknown)

16th-Jun-2017 05:51 am - Catholic prayers online

Very early this morning I was in need of some common Catholic prayers, and I wanted to be able to read them online. I found this site which has so many useful prayers that you will not ever lack for an appropriate and significant offering again.

Please go here:

13th-Jun-2017 03:23 pm - Why St. Anthony Holds the Child Jesus

**This is an old article which I have saved, and since today is the Memorial of St Anthony of Padua, one of my very favourite saints who never fails to help me, I am going to post it for you. Apologies if I have done so previously. I could not find it here.

Most of us are familiar with the popular image of St. Anthony holding the infant Jesus. But do we know why he is portrayed this way?

By Jack Wintz, O.F.M.
American Catholic.org
June 2000

The child Jesus is a good symbol of what we are celebrating this year—the 2,000th anniversary of the Incarnation and birth of Jesus. It’s the perfect year to explore why the image is so closely associated with St. Anthony of Padua.

Next to Mary of Nazareth, the saint most often seen in artwork holding the child Jesus in his arms is St. Anthony of Padua. If there is anything I’ve learned from visiting churches and Catholic missions throughout the world, it is that the image of Anthony and the child Jesus is a favorite around the globe. It can be found wherever Catholic missionaries have carried the Good News, even in the most remote regions of the world.

Since I grew up in a Franciscan parish (in southern Indiana) and was then educated in the Franciscan seminary system, I was very familiar with that image. How could I avoid it? And yet for most of my life, I seldom asked others or myself: “Why is St. Anthony presented that way?”

I have consistently found the image of Anthony with the child Jesus quite friendly and likable. Even as I encountered artists who smiled at the image in patronizing ways and dismissed it as too sweet and sentimental, this did not keep me from finding the image appealing.

For a good part of my life, I did not look for a deeper meaning in this familiar image. Nor did I ask why the image caught the popular fancy of almost every culture around the world.

Looking for the Deeper Meanings

In recent years, however, I’ve taken a whole different tack. I’ve concluded that this popular image has developed in the Franciscan tradition and in the Catholic consciousness for some profound reason. For me, it conveys something vitally important in the Franciscan and Catholic spirit.

Exploring this image is something like exploring a vivid dream we’ve had during the night. We wake up the next morning and wonder, “Now what was that all about?” We assume that this dream, emerging from our inner depths, may hold an important meaning for our lives. So, too, the images that rise from the inner life of the Church may well hold profound meanings for us.

It is interesting to note that, although Anthony has been frequently portrayed in art since his death in 1231, images of him with the Christ child did not become popular until the 17th century.

Before exploring the image of Anthony and the Christ child, however, we should look at one of the popular stories explaining the origin of the custom. A good number of Franciscan historians, I believe, would advise us to approach the story as legend rather than as solid historical fact.

According to one version of the legend—and there are many—there was a Count Tiso who had a castle about 11 miles from Padua, Italy. On the grounds of the castle the count had provided a chapel and a hermitage for the friars.

Anthony often went there toward the end of his life and spent time praying in one of the hermit cells. One night, his little cell suddenly filled up with light. Jesus appeared to Anthony in the form of a tiny child. Passing by the hermitage, the count saw the light shining from the room and St. Anthony holding and communicating with the infant.

The count fell to his knees upon seeing this wondrous sight. And when the vision ended, Anthony saw the count kneeling at the open door. Anthony begged Count Tiso not to reveal what he had seen until after his death.

Whether this story be legend or fact, the image of Anthony with the child Jesus has important truths to teach us.

Anthony's Franciscan Ties

First of all, we notice that Anthony is wearing a Franciscan habit. Seeing him as a true son of St. Francis and a part of the Franciscan tradition is very important.

It is a historical fact that Anthony joined the Order of Friars Minor while Francis was still alive. We know that Anthony attended the Franciscan chapter of Pentecost, 1221, at which Francis was also present. Although more than 2,000 friars came to that famous gathering near Assisi, it’s hard to believe that Anthony—famous for finding lost objects for everyone else!—would not have been resourceful enough to find a way to see and hear the much-loved and illustrious founder of the Franciscan brotherhood, or perhaps even meet him. Less than three years later, Anthony received a personal letter from Francis graciously granting him permission to teach theology to the friars.

What I’m getting at is that Anthony, being a committed member of Francis’ Order, would have known well the spirit, teachings, values and dramatic actions of Francis. Like the other friars, he would have surely heard about Francis’ famous celebration of Christmas near Greccio, Italy, in 1223.

On that occasion, St. Francis had people come to Midnight Mass in a cave where there was an ox and an ass and a manger filled with straw. And the story went around that the Christ child appeared in the straw and Francis held the child in his arms. How interesting! The story of the baby Jesus appearing to Anthony is a kind of “copycat” story amazingly similar to that of St. Francis.

Even more important is the attitude or theology behind the story. Francis, we know, was tremendously impressed by the “poverty” and littleness of God—a God who left behind his divinity and chose to become a vulnerable child. In God’s entering the human race as a little baby on Christmas Day, Francis saw a God of unbelievable generosity, a God who held nothing back from human beings, a God of total self-giving, humility and poverty.

The poverty of God made a strong impression on St. Francis, according to evidence in his Rule. In the sixth chapter, he instructs his followers that they should “serve the Lord in Poverty...because the Lord made himself poor for us in this world.”

Anthony would have read this rule often. More than this, he would have taken to heart the larger spiritual vision of St. Francis, which extended beyond his fascination with the feast of Christmas. St. Francis also saw God’s poverty and vulnerability and self-giving love in Jesus’ suffering and death, so much so that he often broke into tears at the sight of a cross. He saw God’s poverty in the Eucharist, as well, where under the common forms of bread and wine Jesus humbly hands his whole self over to those he loves.

To see St. Anthony holding the infant Jesus in his arms, therefore, is to see a true follower of St. Francis. For did not Francis also embrace that same image of God’s vulnerability and humble love?

An Eloquent Preacher Holding Up the Word

Another meaningful way to interpret the presence of the Christ child in the arms of St. Anthony is to realize that Anthony was a great preacher of the gospel—a brilliant communicator of the Incarnate Word. In his sermons, Anthony emphasized the mystery of the Incarnation.

In 1946, Pope Pius XII officially declared Anthony a Doctor of the Universal Church, with the designation “Doctor of the Gospel.” Clearly, Anthony had taught Scripture with great power and effectiveness.

This leads us to view the images of Anthony holding the infant in a whole new light: Through his Scripture-based preaching, the real, historical Anthony was holding and communicating to the world the Incarnate Word of God. Very often the infant in Anthony’s arms is portrayed as standing on the holy Bible. Can there be a more obvious symbol and clue that the Christ child in Anthony’s arms represents the very embodiment of the Word of God? Often, the child stands on the Bible’s open pages as if rising out of the printed word itself.

In San Antonio, Texas, there is a large and lovely statue of St. Anthony of Padua, the patron saint of the city. The statue was a gift of Portugal (Anthony’s birthplace) to San Antonio. It stands in a public park along the San Antonio River in the heart of the city. The Christ child in Anthony’s arms stands on the Bible and his arms are extended in the shape of the cross as if embracing the whole world—as if Anthony is saying: “I hold up to all, as Savior of the world, this humble God of self-emptying love!”

We, Too, Can Carry Christ

The image of Anthony holding the divine infant is a symbol and model for each of us. The image inspires us to go through life clinging to the wonderful mystery of the humble, self-emptying Christ, who accompanies us as a servant of our humanity and of the world’s healing.

This is the image of Christ that St. Paul sketches for us in his Letter to the Philippians. Paul urges that we take on the attitude of “Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross” (2:6-8).

This passage from Philippians is a key building block of Franciscan spirituality. And if the infant in Anthony’s arms were to speak, Philippians 2:6-8 would be his first message and self-description.

Just as Jesus’ death on a cross reveals God’s total self-giving love for us, so also does his Incarnation (symbolized in the Christ child). The eminent Scripture scholar, the late Father Raymond Brown, has affirmed that “the divine self-giving” revealed in Jesus’ Incarnation is comparable to “God’s supreme act of love...embodied in Jesus’ self-giving on the cross.” Brown adds, “Indeed some theologians have so appreciated the intensity of love in the Incarnation that they have wondered whether that alone might not have saved the world even if Jesus was never crucified.”

This is the kind of love that radiates from the Christ child so often pictured in St. Anthony’s arms. Would it not be a good idea for all of us to go through life carrying an imaginary God-child in our arms—and holding him up to the world? The child, however, is not really imaginary or fictitious. Two thousand years ago, thanks to the Virgin Mary’s “Yes,” the Son of God left behind his divine condition and came to dwell among us as a human child. Our faith tells us that he does accompany us each day like a humble servant—like a vulnerable child.

Like St. Anthony, we do well lovingly to carry this image with us on our life journey.

St. Anthony and the Lily

Besides holding the Christ child, St. Anthony is often shown with a lily. Obviously, the lily is a symbol. The real Anthony would probably not have wanted to walk through life with a lily in his hand—especially if he was preaching to a group of construction workers!

But the lily symbolizes purity, innocence, integrity. This symbol has been especially associated with the Virgin Mary and other virgin saints. In Annunciation scenes, for example, the Archangel Gabriel is often portrayed as arriving with a lily to symbolize Mary’s purity. St. Joseph, too, is frequently shown with the same flower. Images of St. Cecilia, St. Clare, St. Francis of Assisi and St. Dominic often include lilies.

With great frequency, St. Anthony is shown holding both a lily and the Christ child. A special significance can be drawn from this. Placing a vulnerable child under the care of another human being shows a tremendous amount of trust toward that person. The risks are apparent: Any child can be easily harmed, neglected, misguided or even abused by a human parent or mentor.

In light of this, God gave Mary an immense honor in choosing her as Jesus’ mother. St. Joseph, too, received a similar honor. And when Catholic tradition—through its many painters and artisans—placed the child Jesus in Anthony’s arms, they were granting the saint a similar gesture of honor and trust.

By adding the lily symbol, these artists were planting a big clue as to why Anthony, too, deserves such honor and trust. In today’s world, when children are so often victims of neglect and abuse, the combined symbolism—of Anthony, child and lily—gives us rich food for prayer and meditation. Our children, our Church, Christ himself are sacred gifts entrusted to the People of God.

In many places, lilies are blessed on the feast of St. Anthony and given to those who want them. The prayer of blessing, approved by Pope Leo XIII, asks for the gift of chastity, peace and protection against evil.

Jack Wintz, O.F.M., is the editor of this publication and author of Lights: Revelations of God’s Goodness, an inspirational book from St. Anthony Messenger Press exploring the spirit of St. Francis in the context of the author’s life journey.


Our_Lady_of_the_Dawn

Our Lady of the Dawn (Photo: Thekosiniak - Wikimedia Commons)


“I don’t deny that the Immaculate receives the mercy from the Lord God, but she is the personification of this ‘divine mercy’ and that is why a soul is converted and sanctified if it turns to her.” —St. Maximilian Kolbe


Read the article by Carrie Gress >>here at the National Catholic Register.

Seen at the Rosary Center on Facebook.

7th-Feb-2017 04:00 pm - The Good Shepherd

I have a little plaque at home, which I keep by the computer, of the painting by Bernhard Plockhorst of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. It is one of my favourite depictions of Jesus because it makes me think that he loves animals even though I know he was using sheep as a symbol. Every time I get a prayer request for the animals, I would like to feel able to not only implore Our Lady and my favourite saints to heal the afflicted pets but also to ask our Lord Jesus to step in and alleviate the suffering. I guess I am feeling very distant from the 'God the father' part of the holy Trinity these days as I see and read about so much evil, abuse, torture, misery and disease in this world that it seems impossible to believe that our father in heaven would not put a stop to it rather than let innocents continue to suffer. But this distance is my problem. Hopefully your faith is stronger than mine.

At any rate, I had a desire to post this beautiful painting and to include one of the Bible passages I like concerning Jesus and the sheep using a free computer program I hope you might also find helpful. If you want to read the specific story of the lost sheep, go to Luke, Chapter 15.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic


John 10: 1-18

---

• Taken from the free Digital Catholic Bible program for the computer and other devices, with versions in English, Spanish and Latin.

---

Amen, amen I say to you: He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up another way, the same is a thief and a robber.

But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.

To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.

And when he hath let out his own sheep, he goeth before them: and the sheep follow him, because they know his voice.

But a stranger they follow not, but fly from him, because they know not the voice of strangers.

This proverb Jesus spoke to them. But they understood not what he spoke to them.

Jesus therefore said to them again: Amen, amen I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.

All others, as many as have come, are thieves and robbers: and the sheep heard them not.

I am the door. By me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved: and he shall go in, and go out, and shall find pastures.

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly.

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep.

But the hireling, and he that is not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and flieth: and the wolf catcheth, and scattereth the sheep:

And the hireling flieth, because he is a hireling: and he hath no care for the sheep.

I am the good shepherd; and I know mine, and mine know me.

As the Father knoweth me, and I know the Father: and I lay down my life for my sheep.

And other sheep I have, that are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd.

Therefore doth the Father love me: because I lay down my life, that I may take it again.

No man taketh it away from me: but I lay it down of myself, and I have power to lay it down: and I have power to take it up again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

---

Image source

4th-Oct-2016 06:10 am - Memorial of St Francis of Assisi

I started this journal in 2005 with a dedication to St Jude. I knew also I had a great affection for the grace and goodness of Our Lady. Through the years, many people have been drawn to a certain post here concerning St Francis of Assisi, whose memorial we celebrate today. They come to ask for help for their animals and also to give thanks for aid and comfort received. I especially revere Our Lady, St Anthony, St Martin de Porres, St Jude, St Joseph and St Francis.

Today I ask St Francis to bless all the animals with love and to touch the hearts of humans so that they may take loving care of the innocent creatures who so desperately need it.



St. Francis of Assisi, born in Umbria in 1181, was the founder of the Franciscan Order. He died on October 4, 1226 at the age of 45.

1st-Jul-2016 08:05 pm - Sea of Galilee

From Mysterious Things in the World at Facebook



Tiberias, Israel
12th-Mar-2016 12:35 pm - Do you believe in miracles?

**This post comes straight from Facebook from a page you can easily like and follow. I have posted them before. Click on the link under the image to view the mobile version of Mary † Virgin † Mother.

March 5 - Our Lady of Healing (II)



Mary † Virgin † Mother

One of these miracles involved a certain man who lived in the county of Kilkenny, whose arm had been withered from birth so that he was unable even to move it. One night, in a dream, it seemed as though the Mother of God appeared to him and suggested that he journey to Waterford and visit her image which was then preserved in St John’s Hospital. The vision promised that if he did so, his arm would be fully restored. On awakening he decided to comply with the suggestion. Later that same day he arrived in Waterford. He first visited the Reverend Nicholas Fagan so that he could tell him the reason for his visit, but the priest suggested that he wait until the next day, when he could celebrate Holy Mass and recommend his cure to God.

The next morning the man and a considerable number of Catholics assembled in the oratory, where Reverend Fagan offered the Holy Sacrifice. At the moment of the Elevation, the man realized that his hand and arm were suddenly and perfectly cured. Not wishing to cause a disturbance at that moment by declaring what had happened, he held his peace until the end of the Mass. He then raised his arm, now as healthy and whole as the other, and proclaimed his cure to all present.

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