Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Australians mourn Bishop Joseph Grech's sudden death.

I found out late yesterday that Bishop Joseph Grech had died. He was admitted to hospital on the 23rd of December from a recurrence of a blood-related disorder which he suffered from about 5 years ago. He died at the hour of Mercy 3pm yesterday 28th December with eight family, close friends and other members of the Church (which he served so faithfully); Melbourne’s Archbishop Denis Hart, Archbishop Mark Coleridge & Fr Maurizio Pettena CS.

It is fitting that this well loved Man of God, Champion of the King of the Universe died at this hour "for at that moment mercy is opened wide for every soul. In this hour you can obtain everything for yourself and for others for the asking; it is the hour of grace for the whole world".

At three o'clock, implore My mercy, especially for sinners; and, if only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My Passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony. This is the hour of great mercy ... In this hour I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My Passion.

(Diary 1320).

Many people will mourn the loss of Bishop Joe Grech, he was only in Rome for the Canonization of St Mother Mary of the Cross (Mary MacKillop) in October "larger than life". We hope and pray that he is now seeing what is really larger than life; the heavenly kingdom and the Lord and King who reigns above all!

Eternal rest grant unto him Oh Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul rest in peace!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Urgent Prayer Request for Bishop Joe's Grech.

I received this urgent prayer request late last night:

Dear friends,

An update about Bishop Joe's health:

Bishop Joe’s condition has deteriorated. Late on Christmas night he was moved to

Intensive Care where he still is. The latest report (1.00pm 26th December) he is in a serious but stable condition.

Let us keep on praying for him!...



Please keep Bishop Joseph Grech from the diocese of Sandhurst Australia fervently in your prayers this week.

I'll keep updating as I find out more information regarding his condition. Thank you

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Christmas Gift for that Special Priest in your Life

Encourage has a lovely gift idea for anyone looking to give something meaningful to that special priest in your life, any young man you know discerning a vocation, even your local Bishop or any priest that you feel called to pray for. Any member of the clergy would feel very comforted by receiving a card with one of these personal spiritual bouquets in it for Christmas.

It's so simple, choose from the three sample templates, send it and pray for these courageous virtuous men that guide our way to heaven and need our prayers.

God Bless

Thursday, December 2, 2010

PIF - For the First Week of Advent 2010 - Philip Johnson

I'm sure all our American readers have become aware of the plight of Philip Johnson a young seminarian from the Diocese of Raleigh who in October 2008 discovered he had a mass growing on his brain. In January the following year he was diagnosed with cancer.

"Bishop Burbidge stated that,
Philip is a powerful example of the faith and the trust we need to share in the sufferings of Christ"

Here is a link to Philips original story, please read it and share it with many others so we can unite our prayers for him and storm heaven for a miracle .

We are a little late bringing to your attention the beginning of the novena being said in honour of the Immaculate Conception, whom is the patroness of the Raleigh diocese. It is being offered for Philips illness, treatment and full recovery if the is the Holy Will of God. However any spiritual efforts offered for Philip through Our Lady's intercession will bless this heroic young seminarian, who has already touched the hearts of many through his example & courage.

Please keep Philip Johnson in your prayers all through this Advent season.

St Peregrine is the Patron Saint of Cancer sufferers, may he intercede for Philip and all those afflicted by the disease of cancer.

St. Peregrine Story

He was born in Forli, Italy around 1265. At the time, Forli was governed by the Pope as part of the Papal States. Peregrine grew up in a family which was actively involved in the opposition or anti-papal party. Forli was a stronghold of anti-papal party activism. Because of this anti-papal political activity, the city was under the church penalty of interdict. This meant that Mass and the Sacraments could not be celebrated in the city. St. Philip Benizi, the Prior General of the Servants of Mary was sent to Forli to preach the reconciliation of the city and the removal of the penalty. Young Peregrine was so intense in his political fervor that he heckled Philip during the preaching and at one point Peregrine struck St. Philip.

The moment of striking St. Philip seemed to drastically change Peregrine. He began to channel his energies into good works and eventually he joined the Servants of Mary and pronounced his vows in the Servite Priory in Siena, Italy. He was about 30 years old. Peregrine then returned to Forli, where he spent the rest of his life. The best information indicates that he was not a priest, but a choir brother, who undertook an apostolate among the people of Forli. He especially dedicated himself to the sick, the poor and the fringe people of society. He also imposed a special penance on himself-to stand whenever it was not necessary to sit. This led to varicose veins. The varicose veins deteriorated into an open, running sore on his leg. The open, running sore was diagnosed as cancer. The wound became so obvious, odorous and painful that the local surgeon scheduled surgery to amputate the leg.

Suddenly Peregrine was confronted with the ugliness and suffering of his own life. He had given himself to people in similar situations and then found he must lean on his own faith in the goodness of God. The night before the operation he prayed before the image of the crucified Christ in the priory chapter room. At the age of 60 he was challenged to carry a new and more difficult cross. His prayer led him into a deep trance-like sleep during which he envisioned the crucified Christ leaving the cross and touching his cancerous leg. When Peregrine awakened from the trance of prayer, he discovered the wound healed and the leg saved.

St. Peregrine lived 20 more years. He died on May 1, 1345 at the age of 80. He was canonized on December 27, 1726. He has been named the Patron Saint for those who suffer from cancer. The people of Forli chose him to be the Patron Saint of their city.
His feast day is celebrated on May 4.

St. Peregrine Prayer

You answered the divine call
With a ready spirit,
And forsook all the comforts of the world
To dedicate yourself to God
In the Order of His Most Holy Mother.

You laboured manfully
For the salvation of souls;
And in union with Jesus Crucified
You endured the most painful sufferings

With such patience
As to deserve to be
Healed miraculously
Of an incurable cancer
In your leg by a touch
Of his divine hand.

Obtain for me
The grace to answer

Every call of God
And to fulfill His Will
In all the events of life.

Enkindle in my heart
A consuming zeal
For the salvation of souls;
Deliver me from the infirmities
that afflict my body

(name your petition)

To cure Philip Johnson

from brain cancer, if that be God's Divine will.

Obtain for me

Perfect resignation to the sufferings
It may please God to send me,
So that, imitating our Crucified Savior
And His Sorrowful Mother,
I may merit eternal glory in heaven.


St. Peregrine, pray for me
And for all who invoke your aid.
(3 times)

God Bless.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Would-be Pro Golfer on Path to Priesthood.

Anchorage, Alaska, Nov 6, 2010 / 01:16 pm (CNA).- It’s easy to imagine a six-foot, tanned, 32-year-old Peter Hannah on the golf greens of Monterey, California, in textbook form, languidly driving balls 300 yards.
But instead of an Izod shirt and khaki pants, he’s wearing the long, white habit of a medieval Dominican friar — and he’s heading into winter in Alaska. He arrived in August from St. Albert’s Priory in Oakland for a year’s work at Holy Family Cathedral in Anchorage, Alaska, as part of seminary training.
“My first reaction to being assigned to Anchorage was, ‘Wow, that’s a long ways away from California,” Brother Peter Junipero Hannah told the Catholic Anchor.
But the would-be professional golfer, former college fraternity brother and convert to Catholicism already has traveled a long distance — through even the spiritual “desert” of the so-called “good life” — on the surprising path to freedom.
The American Dream
By most accounts, Brother Hannah was living the American Dream.
Born in Temple, Texas at 10 pounds, 13 ounces, he looked like a nascent Texas Cowboys linebacker. But a family move to the West Coast and a “generally slender frame,” he said, turned hopes of football stardom into a chance at PGA fame. Like his up-and-coming school-mate Tiger Woods, as a teen, Brother Hannah was perfecting his strokes on California’s sunny golf courses.
Still, life was well-rounded.
Brother Hannah’s parents weren’t “PhDs or anything,” he said, but they instilled in him and his sister a “love for learning.”
And they owned a set of World Book of Encyclopedias, whose volumes six-year-old Brother Hannah would pick up on his own and “just start reading.” That intellectual curiosity continues to this day. “I’m interested in everything!” exclaimed the religious brother.
Growing up, his Presbyterian family attended church every Sunday. But by high school – and though he never “explicitly” disbelieved or rebelled against God – Brother Hannah was “so interested in golf, I didn’t really want to do anything else.”
In 1995, the “naturally ambitious” and determined Brother Hannah entered the University of California at San Diego, where he majored in American history and played on the golf team – aiming for a lucrative, professional sports career.
“I wanted to have a good life, I wanted to be successful,” Brother Hannah said.
A gnawing angst
At college, he joined a fraternity – which meant camaraderie, leadership and philanthropy projects.
But frat life had a dark side. There were drugs, alcohol and denigrating attitudes toward women.
By junior year, the “pagan pastimes” were gnawing on his conscience — as was the impermanence of his academic, social and athletic accomplishments.
His goals were “not bad things in themselves,” Brother Hannah said. “But when perfect performance did not emerge, and was made less and less perfect by the increasing mental haze attending fraternity life, a deep sense of anxiety developed within me.”
“I knew deep within my soul that things were not quite right,” he observed.
In quiet moments, he acknowledged, “‘There’s something really wrong about the messages I’m getting. There’s an emptiness in my soul that needs to be answered, filled somehow.’”
Then, the summer before senior year, his father encouraged him to become an official member of their hometown Presbyterian church — a step he had not yet taken.
“Like a lot of young people today,” he told his father that he wanted to “study other religions first.” For Christianity, his dad recommended the book, “Mere Christianity.”
So after a round of golf, Brother Hannah went to Barnes & Noble and walked out with a copy of C. S. Lewis’s classic and the autobiography of Jack Nicklaus.
'Water in the desert'
Lewis’s book turned out “like water in the desert for me,” Brother Hannah recalled.
“It was like, ‘Wow, Christianity does have some things to say!’” and those things, he observed, “protect order in society, protect human dignity” in “wonderful ways.”
Although he had “never tried to live intentionally in a non-Christian way,” Brother Hannah said he hadn’t thought much about what living in a Christian way looked like.
He began to realize that, however unwittingly, he had been acquiring “a lot of the habits that many people in the world acquire.”
He listed a few: the portrayal of women as sexual objects, the pursuit of wealth “to the neglect of the poorest of the poor or as kind of an end unto itself” and the pursuit of power and ambition apart from other concerns.
Finally, Brother Hannah acknowledged that he shouldn’t be embarrassed or ashamed by a conscience that was bothered by such attitudes and behaviors.
Soon, he began to question all his sacrifice just for a lower score on the links. By graduation, he had left his “religion” of golf.
Freedom in Christ
In graduate school in Maryland, Brother Hannah discovered Jesus in the Eucharist at a nearby Catholic parish. “I was overcome,” he recalled when considering that Christ himself would manifest himself in “his very flesh and blood.”
In a short time, he formally joined the Catholic Church and soon discerned a religious vocation.
He then entered the Order of Preachers or Dominicans as a brother and began the road to the priesthood.
In 2007, Brother Hannah made his first religious vow – obedience. As one who was accustomed to making his own way, he considers it the hardest.
“The vow of obedience goes straight to our free will and our desire to have certain situations the way we want them,” he said.
Obedience is the answer to the “mistake of pride of taking my own desires, will, wants, needs and not being willing to see them in a wider context of other peoples’ needs and of the needs of the world and the needs of my neighbor,” he explained.
Paradoxically, “the thing I’ve gained is freedom of heart,” he observed. “There is an almost indescribable freedom in giving yourself to Christ alone, in a single-minded way.”
As a religious, “all of my energy is going into helping people discover the life of Christ, helping people discover the grace and the freedom that is in Christ.”
For instance, in Anchorage, Brother Hannah is running the catechetical programs at Holy Family Cathedral, assisting with the youth and young adult groups there and teaching a church history class at Holy Rosary Academy.
Having been through the “desert,” Brother Hannah wants to show young people, in particular, “that there are other ways to live and to give them hope,” he explained.
Referencing Saint Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, the now casual golfer and motivated religious brother observed: “We Christians are called to run the race to obtain a crown that doesn’t perish which is eternal life.”

Monday, October 25, 2010

Bishop Monroe from British Columbia Badly Beaten

Most Rev Bishop David Monroe 2nd from the left
Please keep him in your prayers.
"Bishop Monroe, 69, was rushed to hospital, along with another priest who dislocated a shoulder trying to fend off the attacker".Read more: 

Update: "Kamloops Bishop David Monroe, 69, has been removed from the Intensive Care Unit of Kamloops Royal Inland Hospital, where he continues to recover after being viciously beaten at Sacred Heart Cathedral Friday night" - The Busy Catholic blog

Bishop David John James Monroe 
Bishop of Kamloops, British Columbia
14 Apr 194169.53 Born
20 May 196726.1Ordained Priest
5 Jan 200260.7Appointed
12 Mar 200260.9Ordained Bishop

18 Mar 200260.9Installed

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fr Thomas Dubay Dies: World-Renowned Retreat Master, Author & Popular Spiritual Director to Priests

Fr Thomas Dubay has died. Many would say a saint has entered heaven!
He was one of the well loved priests from EWTN a spiritual master on Contemplative prayer, the spirituality of St Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross. He was a Marist Priest; the Marist charism is…
to think as Mary, judge as Mary, and feel and act as Mary in all things…
He instructed many Catholics through his 20 spiritual masterpieces on the spiritual life and prayer, his forte was Spiritual Direction for priests and religious. He practiced what he preached in his example of holiness and a Christ-like life.

Rev Thomas Dubay, SM - RIP September 26, 2010

"From the Little Sisters of the Poor who cared for him - From Washington, DC:
This morning at 4:45, the Lord welcomed into His Kingdom Rev Thomas Dubay, SM, after suffering kidney failure and massive bleeding in the brain. Father’s frail health had been declining ever since his admission to the Little Sisters of the Poor home in Washington more than a year ago, but his suffering was even more noticeable in recent months. Despite this fact, Fr Dubay was just as witty as ever.

When Father’s superior, Fr. Bruce Lery, SM, called the Little Sisters on Sunday morning to tell them, he said, "We have a saint in heaven" –how true! Fr. Dubay was hospitalized about a month ago and then transferred to a rehabilitation facility for specialized treatments but his health was steadily declining. Yesterday he was re-admitted to the hospital with bleeding in the brain, and he was put in coronary intensive care. Although the ventilator was removed, he continued to breathe on his own.

Although he suffered from his loss of independence, he was happy to concelebrate Mass almost every day in the chapel of the Little Sisters Home in the shadow of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in our nation’s capital.

The Marist priests and brothers visited him almost daily, and Father depended very much on his superior, Fr. Bruce, who was always there for him. In a few words, Fr. Dubay literally practiced what he preached! Father was happy to give weekly classes to the Little Sister postulants –classes which he enjoyed as much as they! From his room, Father continued his spiritual direction with many persons who called on him and this also was extended to letter writing.

We can render prayers of thanksgiving for the wonderful support Father gave to religious communities spending a good part of his life giving conferences and retreats. Although his preaching and spiritual direction was delivered to contemplative communities, his teaching was not for them alone. Religious the world over benefitted of his spiritual wisdom and guidance for years. He will be sorely missed. May he rest in peace after leading so many souls to true spiritual peace during his lifetime! The opening prayer of today’s liturgy says it all: “Help us hurry toward the Eternal Life you promise and come to share in the joys of your kingdom”.

In this video below Fr Dubay offers insights into his Call to the Priesthod and how to recognize a personal Call from God to the Religous Life or the Priesthood. His wisdom will be surely missed.

Here is a good article written by Catholic journalist Tim Drake who over the years spoke to and interviewed Fr Dubay a number of times.

I can imagine Father Dubay saying this prayer as he greets Our Lady as she escorts him to his mansion in a special place in heaven.
I greet thee, Mary,
Daughter of God the Father.
I greet thee, Mary,
Mother of the Son of God.
I greet thee, Mary,
Spouse of the Holy Spirit.
I greet thee, Mary,
Temple of the Blessed Trinity.
I greet thee, Mary,
White Lily of the resplendent Trinity.
I greet thee, Mary,
Fragrant Rose of the heavenly court.
I greet thee, Mary,
Virgin full of meekness and humility,
of whom the King of Heaven willed to be born
and nourished by thy milk.
I greet thee, Mary,
Virgin of virgins.
I greet thee, Mary,
Queen of martyrs,
whose soul was pierced by the sword of sorrows.
I greet thee, Mary,
Lady and Mistress,
to whom all power has been given
in Heaven and on earth.
I greet thee, Mary,
Queen of my heart, my sweetness,
my life and all my hope.
I greet thee, Mary,
Mother most amiable.
I greet thee, Mary,
Mother most admirable.
I greet thee, Mary,
Mother of beautiful love.
I greet thee, Mary,
Conceived without sin.
I greet thee, Mary,
Full of grace, the Lord is with thee,
blessed art thou among women,
and blessed be the Fruit of thy womb.
Blessed be thy spouse, Saint Joseph.
Blessed be thy father, Saint Joachim.
Blessed be thy mother, Saint Anne.
Blessed be thy angel, Saint Gabriel.
Blessed be the Eternal Father,
Who has chosen thee.
Blessed be thy Son,
Who has loved thee.
Blessed be the Holy Ghost,
Who has espoused thee.
May all those who love thee bless thee.
O Blessed Virgin,
bless us all in the name of thy dear Son.
O Virgin most kind,
Mary, Mother of God,
most loving consoler of those in distress,
commend to your Son the souls of the Faithful Departed,
so that, because of your motherly intervention,
they may joyfully arrive in your company
as their longed-for home in heaven.
Eternal rest grant unto him Oh Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Prayers for Fr Laurence Gresser FSSP

I am writing to ask for many prayers for a good and holy FSSP priest in Sydney, Australia. (The Maternal Heart Chapel, Lewisham) Fr Laurence Gresser.

I'll share what his brother John wrote:

Fr Laurence Gresser is a FSSP priest from Sydney who suffered extensive burning on Saturday:

The first 24 hours have been difficult for Fr Laurence, but things are looking positive.

On Saturday afternoon, while on a visit to the poor, Fr Laurence felt cold and tried to light a faulty heater, which exploded. His cassock caught on fire and he sustained burns to 35% of his body. An ambulance was called straight away and he received immediate care in hospital. His situation on Saturday night was considered critical but has since stabilised.

Fr Laurence is currently in Intensive Care, and is sedated. The burns are mainly to his face, chest, left arm/hand and right shoulder. The doctors have so far classified them as “superficial” although the full extent of his injuries will not be known for 7 – 10 days. It is not yet known if there is any damage to his eyesight. Doctors are optimistic he will make a full recovery (although they will not estimate how long that may take).
Please pray that there will not be any permanent damage or scarring.

Fr Laurence has been Anointed twice and has also been blessed with every Sacramental Fr Wong has in his extensive collection!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Priests in Focus

Starting a new approach to the Priests in Focus from now on. We have decided to post 6 priests names each fortnight (every second week) still on the Thursday.

There are two main reasons. It enables us to actually post it here, as well as the sidebar, by posting it allows the ladies who only follow our site via google reader to receive the new list without having to click over to check out our sidebar.

Secondly it enables ladies to make a novena if they wish for these priests, giving us 14days to accomplish a nine day novena (maybe the extra days will be handy as well in case a day is missed here or there) ~ it also gives more time to reflect upon and pray for these priests a bit longer than previously.

We hope you also like this new idea and please continue to email us with the names of any priests you would love to have added to this fortnightly list.

I hope to design a special image to head this fortnightly post, but I'm adjusting to a new Mac at present and haven't learnt yet how to put together a new image. So hopefully soon, that will come.

So here are the names of the six priests:

Fr Andrew James.

Fr Simon Kitimbo

Fr John Ssemaganda

Fr Charles DiMascola,

Fr Ross (recently deceased)

Fr. Louis Madey

A list of the priests we have previously prayed for, are in the right hand sidebar down the bottom.

If you have any priests you wish to nominate to be added to the Priests in Focus please email us and we would more than happy to add that priest to our list.

Our Lady, Queen of the Apostles, bless us with holy, courageous priests!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Our Holy Mother Mary's Birthday

"On Our Lady's birthday the Church celebrates the first dawning of redemption with the appearance in the world of the Savior's mother, Mary. The Blessed Virgin occupies a unique place in the history of salvation, and she has the highest mission ever commended to any creature. We rejoice that the Mother of God is our Mother, too.
Let us often call upon the Blessed Virgin as "Cause of our joy", one of the most beautiful titles in her litany".

If you are devoted to The Blessed Virgin Mary here is a very special website that offers beautiful contemplations and meditations on Our Holy Mother - MaryVitamin

O Immaculate Virgin,
Mother of the true God and Mother of the Church,
from this spot you have manifested your clemency and compassion
for all who have recourse to your protection.
Hear the prayer we address to you
with filial confidence,
and present it to your Son Jesus,
our only Redeemer.

Mother of Mercy,
Teacher of hidden and silent sacrifice,
on this day we sinners consecrate to you,
who come to meet us,
all our being and all our love.

We also consecrate to you
our life,
our work,
our joys,
our infirmities,
and our sorrows.

Grant to our peoples peace, justice, and prosperity
so that we may entrust to your care,
our Lady and our Mother,
all that we have and all that we are.

We wish to be completely yours
and to follow together with you the path of total fidelity
to Jesus Christ in His Church:
hold us ever lovingly by the hand.

See how great is the harvest,
and intercede with the Lord
that He will imbue the whole people of God
with a hunger for holiness
and bestow abundant vocations of priests and religious,
who are strong in their faith
and zealous dispensers of the mysteries of God.

Grant to our homes the grace
of loving and respecting life in its beginnings,
with the same love
with which you conceived in your womb
the life of the Son of God.

Blessed Virgin Mary,
Mother of Fair Love,
protect our families
so that they may always be united
and bless the upbringing of our children.

Our hope, look upon us with pity,
teach us to go continually to Jesus,
and if we fall help us to rise again and return to Him
through the confession of our faults and our sins
in the Sacrament of Penance,
which gives peace to the soul.

We beg you to grant us a great love
for all the Holy Sacraments,
which are, as it were, the signs
that your beloved Son left us here on earth.

Thus, Most Holy Mother,
with the peace of God in our consciences,
with our hearts free from evil and hatred,
we will be able to bring to all others
true joy and true peace,
which come to us from your Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
lives and reigns for ever and ever.

Heavenly Mother stay close to us all, we pray on this special day when we celebrate your birthday that you may shower many blessings and graces upon us all and the suffering souls in purgatory.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Reviving First Sunday Devotions - The Difference One Mother Can Make

 This picture is indeed unique in the annals of the Catholic Church. From 1 to 4 September 1946, the majority of the 323 priests and religious met in their village of Lu for a reunion which attracted world-wide attention

The Difference One Mother Can Make
by Fr. Roger J. Landry - January 11, 2008
"The vast majority of priests and religious say that the nourishment of their divine vocations began at home. It was in the domestic Church that they first learned about God — who he is, how he loves us, and what he expects of us. It was from their parents that they saw the centrality of God in human life and learned how to pray, how to love, how to forgive and ask forgiveness. It was from example of their faith that they grasped the importance of the Church, the Eucharist and confession, the commandments, virtues and works of mercy. It was also from them that they learned a loving reverence and fascination for the priests, brothers and women religious whom God had mysteriously called to his service and theirs.

While not discounting the contributions of fathers and siblings, in most homes most of the credit for this Christian upbringing goes to mothers. They are the principal masons laying the foundation for their children's future growth in faith. They are the "spiritual breast-feeders," who allow their children to be nourished by their own faith. There's an expression among priests that "behind every vocation stands a woman," and in most cases that woman has their mother's face".

The Mother's of Lu

We have shared this amazing story before from the booklet Adoration, Reparation, Spiritual Motherhood For Priests but thought it was worth sharing again. It was this story that really moved us last year to start the SM blog for the YOTP. There were many other deeply inspirational stories from the booklet that touched us but this one was the one that really prompted us into action.

The mother's of Lu were not just physical mothers to there children, they were spiritual mothers to there children, taking their stewardship one step further by offering their children back to God not once but over and over, with confidence that He would do something beautiful with them for Himself.
The most generous act we can offer Our Lord is to offer our children back to Him, to be His and His alone, they are the most precious things to us and also the most precious things to Him.

We would like to revive the First Sunday devotion in responce to what these peasant mothers of Lu did, and encourage & remind all women who are praying for priests through the Spiritual Motherhood for Priests devotion to offer their Holy Communion and Mass on the First Sunday’s of the Month in honour of vocations to the priesthood, specifically from our own families by reciting the simple prayer below during their thanksgiving prayers after Mass. It is not a prerequisite of the devotion but another aspect of it, it is up to you if you would like to. 


The little village of Lu, in northern Italy, is located in a rural area 90 kilometres east of Turin. It would still be unknown to this day if some of the mothers of Lu had not made a decision that had important consequences in 1881.
The deepest desire of many of these mothers was for one of their sons to become a priest or for a daughter to place her life completely in God’s service. Under the direction of their parish priest, Msgr. Alessandro Canora, they gathered every Tuesday for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, asking the Lord for vocations. They received Holy Communion on the first Sunday of every month with the same intention. After Mass, all the mothers prayed a particular prayer together imploring for vocations to the priesthood.
Through the trusting prayer of these mothers and the openness of the other parents, an atmosphere of deep joy and Christian piety developed in the families, making it much easier for the children to recognize their vocations.
When the Lord said, “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Mt 22:14), we can understand that many are called, but only a few respond to that call. No one expected that God would hear the prayers of these mothers in such a dramatic way.
From the tiny village of Lu came 323 vocations: 152 priests (diocesan and religious), and 171 nuns belonging to 41 different congregations. As many as three or four vocations came from some of the families. The most famous example is the Rinaldi family, from whom God called seven children. Two daughters became Salesian sisters, both of whom were sent to San Domingo as missionaries. Five sons became priests, all joining the Salesians. The most well-known of the Rinaldi brothers is Blessed Philip Rinaldi, who became the third successor of St. John Bosco as Superior General of the Salesians. Pope John Paul II beatified him on 29 April 1990. In fact, many of the vocations from this small town became Salesians. It is certainly not a coincidence, since St. John Bosco visited Lu four times during his life. The saint attended the first Mass of his spiritual son, Fr. Philip Rinaldi in this village where he was born. Philip always fondly recalled the faith of the families of Lu: 
“A faith that made our fathers and mothers say, 
‘The Lord gave us our children, and so if He calls them, we can’t say no.’”

Fr. Luigi Borghina and Fr. Pietro Rota lived the spirituality of Don Bosco so faithfully that the former was called the “Brazilian Don Bosco” and the latter the “Don Bosco of Valtellina.” Pope John XXIII once said the following about another vocation from Lu, His Excellency, Evasion Colli, Archbishop of Parma: 

“He should have become pope, not me. He had everything it takes to become a great pope.”

Every ten years, the priests and sisters born in Lu used to come together from all around the world. Fr. Mario Meda, the long-serving parish priest of Lu, explained that this reunion is a true celebration, a feast of thanksgiving to God who has done such great things for Lu.

The prayer that the mothers of Lu prayed was short, simple, and deep:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree ~ A priest back from the dead

Lk 13:6-9 Jesus spoke this parable. "A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it, and found none. He said to the vine dresser, ‘Behold, these three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and found none. Cut it down. Why does it waste the soil?’ He answered, ‘Lord, leave it alone this year also, until I dig around it, and fertilize it. If it bears fruit, fine; but if not, after that, you can cut it down.’"

I would like to add a few comments myself before sharing this amazing testimony. Fr Scheier said that when the accident was first reported, all his parishioners came to the church to pray, the local Baptists and many other christian denomination church's gathered and prayed all night for Father. He believes that his second chance was given to him because of the prayers of those interceeding for him.

I think that is a powerful statement. The prayers of the people, praying for the life and soul of this priest. It is a reminder to all the great need to pray for our priests! To pray for their sanctification.

Below is Fr Tommy Lane's homily with the retelling of Fr Stephan Scheier's life after death experience.

"Fr Steven Scheier was ordained in 1973. Unfortunately he was more concerned about what other priests thought of him than about being a good priest for Jesus. His priesthood was not in the service of Jesus but to win people’s admiration. Deep down he knew he was not doing what he should be, that he was not the priest he should be. He hid that to the point that people thought he was a good priest.

Fr Stephan Scheier

On October 18, 1985, Fr Steven was traveling from Wichita to his parish (Parish of the Sacred Heart) in Fredonia, Kansas, 86 miles away. The highway does not have any shoulders, it is heavily traveled by semis, pickups and vans. That morning he had gone to Wichita to meet a priest and was returning that afternoon. He was involved in a terrible accident: a head-on collision with a pickup truck and with God. Three people were in the pickup. No one was killed. Fr Scheier was thrown from his vehicle. His entire scalp was taken off on the right side. The doctors told him afterwards the right side of his brain was partially sheered off and many cells were crushed. He was unconscious at the scene. Behind him in the ambulance on the way to the hospital was a nurse, who later mentioned she tried to help him with the Hail Mary but didn’t know it but he was saying the Hail Mary over and over by himself.

He was taken to a small hospital in Eureka Kansas. He had suffered a broken neck, a C2, the second cervical vertebra was broken, the hangman’s break. Had his head been turned either way at the scene of the accident he would have asphyxiated. The doctor said there wasn’t much he could do and sewed his scalp back on and called for the lifewatch helicopter in Wichita from Lesley Hospital and they brought him to Wichita. He did not know he was being transported because he was unconscious. One of his parishioners who happened to be in the hospital was told he was being given a 15% chance to live. Many people of different Christian faiths prayed for him. He said God hears everyone’s prayer and that’s why he’s still here today. He had no surgery. The accident happened in October and on 2nd Dec he was released from hospital and still had the halo, as he called it, a support around his head. He recuperated at home until they could take the halo off, in April. He returned to his parish in May.

The Barren Fig Tree

One day when saying Mass, the Gospel was today’s Gospel about the fig tree. When reading it in the Church, the page became illuminated, enlarged and came off the lectionary towards him. He finished Mass as best he could and back at the rectory/presbytery remembered a conversation that had taken place shortly after the accident.

In that conversation Fr Scheier found himself standing before the judgment of Jesus. He doesn’t know how long it lasted. He says the Lord took him through his entire life, and showed him how he had failed in his priestly service. Fr Scheier said “yes” to everything Jesus said about his life. Before the accident Fr Scheier had planned that when he would go before the judgment seat of Jesus he would say he was pushed on any day he sinned and couldn’t do anything else. He had a number of excuses all ready. He used to confession regularly before the accident but not appropriately i.e. he was not allowing the sacrament to change his life. He did not have a purpose of amendment.

After the accident he wondered how many of his confessions were valid because he had no purpose of amendment. Before the accident he was thinking there would be time to convert but during this judgment scene Jesus taught him there is no time. Now before Jesus he was talking to Truth and when you are talking to Truth you can’t give excuses. At the end of his judgment his sentence from Jesus was hell. Fr Scheier said “yes” as that was the only logical thing he deserved.

At that moment, however, he heard a woman say, “Son, will you please spare his life and his eternal soul?” The Lord replied, “Mother, he’s been a priest for twelve years for himself and not for me, let him reap the punishment he deserves.” “But Son,” she said, “if we give him special graces and strengths then let’s see if he bears fruit; if not, your will be done.”

There was very short pause, after which Jesus said,

“Mother, he’s yours.”

Fr Scheier sharing his testimonal with Mother Angelica

Ever since then he has been hers. He didn’t have a special relationship with her before the accident but since then she has become everything to him. At the foot of the cross Jesus looked on her and made her mother of the whole Church. Fr Scheier says she takes that very literally and seriously. Fr Scheier experienced Jesus’ mercy but Mary was the one who interceded for him. He has learned this beautiful truth, no one of the Blessed Trinity can say “no” to Our Lady. It is impossible. They will not say “no” to her. He says “Isn’t she someone you want on your side?”

We believe in Jesus, Our Lady and the saints in two ways, with the head or the heart. Fr Scheier believed with his head and knew nothing with his heart. He believed the angels and saints but they were make-believe friends and were not real. After the accident he became aware that they are very real, that we have only one home and its not here. Fr Scheier says a lot of our priorities are mixed up. His priorities were mixed up, his priority should have been to save his soul and save other souls. If he had died his parishioners would not have thought that he would have gone to hell. Jesus doesn’t take a popularity poll, Jesus is the only one that matters when it comes to what others think about us because we are alone before Jesus in judgment. We cannot say somebody made me sin. Jesus knows the truth.

Mother Angelica

Fr Scheier says during his first twelve years after ordination he was not being a priest for Jesus. Instead of suffering for Jesus he was a priest for himself. He always ran from the cross. If we run from the cross there is a bigger one awaiting us. He says he was a coward during those twelve years. His mission now is to let people know that Jesus’ love outweighs justice, that hell exists and that we are liable to hell and also that Jesus’ Divine Mercy exists. I conclude with some of the words of the parable in our Gospel today which has become so meaningful to Fr Scheier,

“Look here, for three years now I have been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and finding none. Cut it down: why should it be taking up the ground?” “Sir,” the man replied, “leave it one more year and give me time to dig round it and manure it: it may bear fruit next year; if not, then you can cut it down.”

~ Fr Tommy Lane Homily for the Third Sunday of Lent Year C

Friday, August 20, 2010

Please pray for Australia - VIP Priest in Focus

Dear ladies, Sorry for the stillness of the blog these days. Life has been so busy for both Anne and I. She has just had months of rehearsals in a stage play and has had major computer difficulties over the last six months. I have been very busy with my husband who is fighting on the forefront of the pro-life movement here in Australia, who always needs my support and with our 7 children, six of whom have just started a new study programme; time has become very scarce.

God has called us to be wives and mothers, to focus on our duties in our own domestic churches where we are working toward heaven being the hearts of the home. Here, where our prayers for our own families and being spiritual mothers' of priests unite. As I go through my day I am always offering little things for all those who have asked for or need prayer. Consequently even though this blog may have slowed I know as I am doing, so are many other women who go throughout their day in a mode of contemplation suitable to their circumstances, are doing too; praying for others but especially for our priests.

This week-end here in Australia we are about to under go one of the most crucial elections ever. Christian values, life issues, morality issues, freedom of religion and many of our vital values will be under threat if the current government returns to power. There will be a big possibility that we could be living under a gradual regime of socialism that will be unprecedented in this country and could alter our way of life forever. This party currently has momentum and is ahead in all the polls however these are secular media polls who have a strong bias toward this Labor government. We hope and pray they do not get back into government.

Please pray for our country! Australian Catholics have been sharing around a request to pray the Nine Hour Novena to The Infant of Prague; a very efficacious prayer, the one prayer that we are trying to encourage everyone to say. In the hope of uniting our hands, hearts, souls and minds toward heaven to save our country from a Fabian form of Obama style government which Ms. Julia Gillard would decisively implement. Join us here on the blog or here on the Facebook page.

For any Australians looking to educate themselves on the candidates for your electorate and how to help you cast your vote consistent with your Christian values, Family Life International has put together a very helpful comprehenive Pro-Life voting guide.

Ladies I hope you don't mind if I deviate a little from the spirit of this blog to ask you all to please pray for our country this week. This week I have intervened on the PIF list to add these two principal men of the Church here in Australia;
His Eminence George Cardinal Pell - Catholic Archbishop of Sydney and
Most Reverend Bishop Geoffery Jarrett - Bishop of the Diocese of Lismore
who have both spoken about this coming federal election. It's times like these that we pray for the hierarchy of the Church to be courageous over the pulpit and over the media.

Priest in Focus for this week is:

Please Pray this NOVENA TO THE INFANT OF PRAGUE for Australia:

(This Novena is to be said at the same time every hour
for nine consecutive hours in just one day).

O Jesus, Who hast said,
ask and you shall receive,
seek and you shall find,
knock and it shall be opened to you,
through the intercession of Mary,
Thy Most Holy Mother,
I knock, I seek,
I ask that my prayer be granted.

(Make your request)
Please pray for Australia

O Jesus, Who hast said,
all that you ask of the Father in My Name,
He will grant you.
Through the intercession of Mary,
Thy most Holy Mother,
I humbly and urgently ask Thy Father
in Thy Name that my prayer be granted.

(Make your request)
Please pray for Australia

O Jesus, Who hast said,
"Heaven and earth shall pass away
but My word shall not pass",
through the intercession of Mary,
Thy Most Holy Mother,
I feel confident that my prayer will be granted.

(Make your request)
Please pray for Australia

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

HAPPY FEAST DAY TO ALL PRIESTS - St John Vianney's feast day

Today is the feast day of the "Priests priest"; Saint Jean-Baptiste-Marie Vianney (and my mother's birthday ;)  
Saint John Vianney is known to have said, 
 "Virtue passes from the heart of a mother to the hearts of her children, who do willingly what they see her do." 
 This great saint learned this truth first hand from his own childhood experience. His own mother was truly a good woman of great piety, and she led him into the way of religion at an early age, and taught her six children to love God and to never offend Him" - The Life of the CurĂ© d'Ars

 Here is a simple and concise article written on the life and holiness of St John Vianney  and also some leisurely viewing for you to enjoy on this special feast day!

Dear Saint John Vianney,
your childhood dream was to be a Priest,
to win souls for God.
You endured years of toil and humiliation
to attain the Priesthood.
You became a priest truly after God's own heart,
outstanding in humility and poverty;
prayer and mortification.
Totally devoted to the service of God's people.
The Church has exalted you as model
and patron saint of all Parish priests,
trusting that your example and prayers
will help them to live up
to the high dignity of their vocation
to be faithful servants of God's people,
to be perfect imitators of Christ the Saviour
Who came not to be served but to serve,
to give His Life in ransom for many.
Pray that God may give to His Church today
many more priests after His own Heart.
Pray for all the priests under your patronage,
that they may be worthy representatives
of Christ the Good Shepherd.
May they wholeheartedly devote themselves
to prayer and penance;
be examples of humility and poverty;
shining models of holiness;
tireless and powerful preachers of the Word of God;
zealous dispensers of God's Grace in the Sacraments.
May their loving devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist
and to Mary His Mother
be the Twin Fountains of fruitfulness for their ministry.

Simple St. John Vianney Prayer   
"O my God, come to me, so that You may dwell in me and I may dwell in you."
Happy Feast Day!!