Sunday, December 30, 2007

Happy Feast of the Holy Family!

From today's Gospel
Mt 2:13-15, 19-23

When the magi had departed, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said,
“Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt,
and stay there until I tell you.
Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.”
Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night
and departed for Egypt.
He stayed there until the death of Herod,
that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled,
Out of Egypt I called my son.

When Herod had died, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream
to Joseph in Egypt and said,
“Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel,
for those who sought the child’s life are dead.”
He rose, took the child and his mother,
and went to the land of Israel.
But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea
in place of his father Herod,
he was afraid to go back there.
And because he had been warned in a dream,
he departed for the region of Galilee.
He went and dwelt in a town called Nazareth,
so that what had been spoken through the prophets
might be fulfilled,
He shall be called a Nazorean.


"Scripture tells us practically nothing about the first years and the boyhood of the Child Jesus. All we know are the facts of the sojourn in Egypt, the return to Nazareth, and the incidents that occurred when the twelve-year-old boy accompanied his parents to Jerusalem. In her liturgy the Church hurries over this period of Christ's life with equal brevity. The general breakdown of the family, however, at the end of the past century and at the beginning of our own, prompted the popes, especially the far-sighted Leo XIII, to promote the observance of this feast with the hope that it might instill into Christian families something of the faithful love and the devoted attachment that characterize the family of Nazareth. The primary purpose of the Church in instituting and promoting this feast is to present the Holy Family as the model and exemplar of all Christian families."

— Excerpted from With Christ Through the Year, Rev. Bernard Strasser, O.S.B.

Fr. James's Sunday Homily

The Christmas Love Story and Family Life

When Mother Teresa came to this country for the first time, she said:

“I suppose that some of you are feeling that you would have to buy a plane ticket and travel to India if you were to give effective help to the poor. There is no need. The poor are right here in your own country. In the third world, there is often a famine of the stomach due to the lack of food, but the people are rich in love. They share what little they have with one another. In developed nations like yours, there is an abundance of food. But there is often a famine of the heart due to a lack of love. The victims of this famine of love are the new poor. And who are these poor people? They are the people sitting next to you”.

Why is their a famine of love in developed countries? The answer is simple and clear: we have become so selfish.

Today, Americans tend to be so isolated and self-centered. Many talk feverishly on cell phones, but never stop to say hello to the person next to them. Many are consumed with Internet chat rooms, but they have never say a word to the person living next door to them. Many are living in a narcissistic fantasy world, never having time for the children that they brought into this world. Many married people recklessly do all that they can to limit the number of children that God may be calling them to bring into this world, selfishly closing themselves off to the gift of life.

Jesus gave us the solution to selfishness: “Love one another as I have loved you”.

Here is what Mother Teresa had to say: “Let us bring peace into the world by love and compassion, by respecting life, the most beautiful gift of God. Let us love each person – the unborn, the young, the old, the sick and the poor – with the same love with which God loves each one of us, a tender and personal love”.

Christmas is the celebration of God’s unconditional love for you and for me. “God so loved the world, that he gave us his only Son; not to condemn the world, but to save it” (John 3: 16)... (Continued here.)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I hope that you all had a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful time with family and friends. I am spending time with my family and will be back soon to "catch up!"

God bless!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Will you help me adopt this family?

The other day I posted about a family who is in need right now for prayers and also for food and money to keep a roof over their heads. Many of us have the luxury of a home, food, and necessities and will have a very Merry Christmas! I just learned about this family the other day. They live in my town and I plan to try to get them whatever help I can. This woman who wrote the note was a friend of my dear friend and spiritual director, Fr. Bill who recently passed away. She wrote him a Christmas card not knowing that he had passed away. She was asking for his help with prayer and I know she would greatly benefit from some financial help, as well. I will include her personal note in this post again and I am asking if you would like to contribute ANYTHING to help this woman who doesn't even have a refrigerator. If you would like to send a donation, you may write to me at DMCooperOboyle(at)aol(dot)com. I will also try to set up a Paypal account to raise money for this family and will let you know as soon as I do. You may also send a donation to me to: Donna Cooper O'Boyle, P.O. Box 773, New Milford, CT 06776. Please enclose a note explaining that it is a donation for this family.

Here's the note from the woman:

"Dear Father,

Everyone I’m sure has always looked to you and ask for prayers! I am first wondering how you are doing and I hope that you are well? I sure wish you were around
(she must mean that he is no longer at our parish because he retired several years ago).

At this time I am totally and permanently disabled. I do not quality for SSDs due to 2 injuries. I don’t get Social Security, too young and have no income. I’m using the little bit I have to try to save my home, no health insurance, meds are $6,500.00 and more per year. Car broke down, now no refrigerator. Problem with my son, I have a workers compensation case and injury but they maybe too late coming to save me and my home and my animals and son. I need a St. Jude Novena and am too ill in bed to get to Church to meet the requirements. Would you please pray to St. Jude and baby Jesus to get God’s help. I want to live out my life with peace of mind and own roof over my head and better health for us. So sorry to have to ask you for help. I have no family left. Love, ****"(I have left her name out).

Thank you in advance for your help!

Merry Christmas!


The Blessings of Faith

I found this very nice reflection at Catholic Exchange. I recommend you read the entire article. :)

"Ahaz, king of Judah, did not exercise his leadership over the southern kingdom in a way that was pleasing to the Lord. Isaiah, the prophet, attempted on numerous occasions to call him back from his wandering ways, that is, to be faithful to the covenant and to seek guidance from the Lord as he ruled over God's people.

This Sunday's first reading includes Isaiah's invitation to the king to ask for a sign, a blessing from the Lord, as proof of God's willingness to shepherd his people. Ahaz responds in anger, masking his lack of faith, by saying "I will not ask! I will not tempt the Lord!" Isaiah responds with the famous prophecy: "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall name Him Emmanuel." Ahaz's lack of faith in God prompted a prophetic word that will echo in the hearts of Christians for the rest of eternity.

The king's response to God is sharply contrasted with St. Joseph's in this week's Gospel. Joseph faces a heart wrenching predicament: he is married to a uniquely wonderful woman who is pregnant, and he knows that he is not the biological father. Since he is a "righteous man," he chooses to... (Continued here at Catholic Exchange)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Jesus in the "distressing disguise of the poorest of the poor" as Mother Teresa always said

My dear friend and spiritual director, Fr. Bill, as some of you know, passed away a couple of months ago. According to his niece, he is still receiving Christmas cards at his house. She emailed me this morning and told me of a person who sent Fr. Bill a card and hand wrote this note inside:

"Dear Father,

Everyone I’m sure has always looked to you and ask for prayers! I am first wondering how you are doing and I hope that you are well? I sure wish you were around
(she must mean that he is no longer at our parish because he retired several years ago).

At this time I am totally and permanently disabled. I do not quality for SSDs due to 2 injuries. I don’t get Social Security, too young and have no income. I’m using the little bit I have to try to save my home, no health insurance, meds are $6,500.00 and more per year. Car broke down, now no refrigerator. Problem with my son, I have a workers compensation case and injury but they maybe too late coming to save me and my home and my animals and son. I need a St. Jude Novena and am too ill in bed to get to Church to meet the requirements. Would you please pray to St. Jude and baby Jesus to get God’s help. I want to live out my life with peace of mind and own roof over my head and better health for us. So sorry to have to ask you for help. I have no family left. Love, ****"(I have left her name out).

This woman apparently did not know that dear Fr. Bill had died. But, now we have before us "Jesus in the distressing disguise of the poorest of the poor" as Mother Teresa has always said. I have this woman's address from the card and I will find her and go over to see her. I have also alerted my pastor so that we can arrange meals and help. PLEASE pray for this woman and of course, all of those who are in difficult situations right now at Christmas time. Pray also for the mother I told you about that is planning to abort her baby today. PLEASE, please pray for all of the poorest of the poor who surround us and have so many needs. Calcutta is in our midst. We have to open our eyes and ears to see and hear their pleas. We need to respond in love, especially when we are so busy. They are JESUS living in one another. Will we go to greet HIM? Will we show HIM our love?

God bless you!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Pope Benedict and Advent

"Advent means to bring to life within ourselves the hidden Presence of God. It takes place to the extent that we travel the path of conversion and change our cast of mind by turning from the visible to the invisible. As we travel this path, we learn to see the miracle of grace; we learn that there can be no more luminous source of joy for human beings and the world than the grace that has appeared in Christ."--Pope Benedict XVI

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Pope Benedict and Christmas

Vatican City, Dec 19, 2007 / 10:25 am (CNA).- As Christmas draws nearer, Pope Benedict departed from his tradition of reflecting on an Early Church Father on Wednesdays so that he could point to the impact of Jesus’ birth upon the world.

That God’s son became a man means that mankind is able to become truly human, that this message of salvation must be shared and that peace will come to the world, Benedict XVI explained... (Continued here.)

Mother and unborn baby need prayers!

I received this today from a Pro-life friend. Please take a moment to read about this expectant mother who feels that she has to abort (kill) her unborn baby a few days before Christmas!


Dear Friends of the Unborn,
I am copying this email below to ask for urgent prayers for this little soul who is in danger of abortion on Friday. A good woman from my church sent it to me. She received it from one of her family members I believe who is good friends with the woman who is contemplating abortion. This is NOT one of those bulk email chain letters but is from a very reputable source that I know personally. For those of you who can fast along with pray please do. And for those who can go before our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament to plead for this soul thank you!
God bless,
Mike and Kerry

Dear Family and Friends,

Please take a minute to read this email and pray for my friend. I won’t give you her name for her sake, but she is having an abortion on Friday the 21st. PLEASE pray that she won’t go through with it. She found out last week that her baby will be born with Down syndrome and apparently the doctors and her family have led her to believe that “terminating” her pregnancy is the right thing to do. Not only am I sad for the child, but sad for her b/c the psychological ramifications will haunt her for years. I’ve put her in touch with a woman we found yesterday who founded ‘Reece’s Rainbow’ which is a Georgia-based ministry for saving Down syndrome children- they have 200 families, paper-ready, to adopt Downs children.

Below is my friend’s email, which she sent out yesterday to over 100 of us who have taken her exercise class:

“To my pregnancy:

In my age group I had a 1:86 chance for Trisomie 21(Down Syndrom) and this time we were the unlucky ones..I'll have the DNE(similar to DNC)done Friday afternoon. It's sad and I wish I could change it, but hopefully the next time I won't be the 'unlucky winner'. It makes us appreciate even more what we've got with Andy, family and friends!”

Please pray today and tomorrow for her and for the soul that is about to be killed. Please pray for our efforts to interrupt her decision, and please pray for our culture that seems to think it is okay to broadcast a decision to kill a life so casually.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My newest book, "Catholic Saints Prayer Book"

My newest book, Catholic Saints Prayer Book is now listed with its cover image on Amazon.Com. This book will be released in March 2008 by Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Company and can be pre-ordered through my website or Amazon.Com.

My latest segment on "Catholic Connection"

Well, here's the link to my latest segment with Teresa Tomeo. I was on the air with her yesterday morning on my "Mom's Corner" segment discussing Christmas traditions. I also shared a couple of experiences I just had recently. One of them, I call, "Jesus in the Post Office." The other little story is about a woman I met in the grocery store a couple of years ago around Christmas. You can hear the whole segment by clicking here.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Overnight Christmas Blueberry-Pecan French Toast

This morning I spoke about this recipe when I was on the air with Teresa Tomeo on "Catholic Connection" discussing Christmas reflections. I promised that I would post the recipe for all of you. I will also post the segment soon so that if you didn't get a chance to tune in this morning, you'll be able to listen to it from my blog. I'll also tell you the story behind this recipe - but FIRST the recipe for all of you eager chefs out there! Here it is!

Overnight Christmas Blueberry-Pecan French Toast


nonstick spray
1 baguette, cut into 20 one inch slices
6 eggs
3 cups of milk
1 cup brown sugar
vanilla to taste
nutmeg to taste
1 cup pecans, toasted
2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen


Coat a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with the nonstick spray and arrange the baguette slices in a single layer in the dish. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, three-fourths of the brown sugar, vanilla and nutmeg. Pour the mixture evenly over the bread.

Cover and chill the mixture overnight. There will appear to be a lot of moisture when the mixture goes into the refrigerator, but it will all soak into the bread by morning.

Just before baking, sprinkle the remaining one-quarter cup brown sugar, pecans and blueberries over the bread. Bake the dish in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes to one hour (the recipe says 30 minutes, but I found that it takes longer, so check at 30 and be sure to have allowed for 45 minutes to 1 hour) or until golden and bubbling. Serve with maple syrup. For an added treat, heat the syrup with blueberries and have blueberry-flavored syrup.


I love this recipe because you do the preparation beforehand and only need to pop in into the oven on Christmas morning 45 minutes to an hour before you'd like to serve it. I like to also serve fresh fruit with this "french toast," which can be washed and prepared on a dish in advance to save you the trouble on Christmas morning. I also like to serve fresh muffins - various kinds along with the fruit and "french toast." You may also use a whole grain type baguette in this recipe for added nutrition. You can put this dish in the oven Christmas morning, set the timer and go open your presents! So EASY - that's the idea - keep it simple and enjoy your loved ones!

Let me know how you like it if you decide to make it. :)

Christmas Breakfast Bread!

Hello Everyone,

This morning when I was on the air with Teresa Tomeo on "Catholic Connection," I mentioned a Christmas bread that I make and told a story about it. Some of you have been writing to ask for the recipe that I said I would post for you. Don't worry! I will post it for you. I have to run out now to do some errands and to Christmas shop and perhaps I'll bump into "JESUS in the distressing disguise of the poorest of the poor" as Mother Teresa always said.

I'll try to post the recipe by tonight or tomorrow. Please be patient with me! :)

Thanks for joining me this morning!

God bless you!


JOY fills our hearts...

Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI told us that JOY enters hearts of those who seek to minister to the poor. This Advent season, are we focusing on the BIRTH OF CHRIST? Are we getting caught up in the busyness of running around and trying to have everything (superficially) perfect? Are we giving our hearts to the poor?

I'll be back a little later on to post about the radio show this morning with Teresa Tomeo on "Catholic Connection," as well as speak about some family Advent and Christmas ideas.

God bless you!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Fr. James's Sunday Homily: Third Week of Advent

Rejoice Always!

The lighting of the pink candle of the Advent Wreath reminds us that Christmas is almost here. The theme of this Sunday’s liturgy is joy and St. Paul tells us to rejoice. “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice! The Lord is near” (Philippians 4: 4, 5).

What is joy? The dictionary defines joy as an emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying. It is also defined as a state of happiness or felicity. In Catholicism, joy is a state of soul equated with happiness and it is also defined as one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

Joy is not to be understood as something superficial or immature. The person who is filled with Christian joy possesses an immense treasure because the true Christian can smile and laugh even in the middle of the most terrible adversities and sufferings. St. Lawrence, when he was being cooked alive by his torturers, joked and told them to turn him over.

Over the years I have noticed that the one main thing that our modern world is missing is joy. I see a lot of people walking around without a smile on their face. I have often asked myself what the cause of this problem might be. It seems to me that a lot of people are selfish, self-absorbed and even some are narcissistic.

Christianity is completely opposite to selfishness, self-absorption and narcissism. Christianity demands a radical reorientation of our personal lives. We must be empty of all self-seeking. “His state was divine, yet he did not cling to his equality with God but emptied himself to assume the condition of a slave, and became as men are; and being as men are, he was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on a cross” (Philippians 2: 6-8). All throughout the Gospels Jesus tells us that we must die to self in order to be his disciples and he shows us over and over again how we must live our lives for others.

My dear friends, selfishness, self-absorption and narcissism are totally incompatible with Christianity. There are many things in our modern society that are causing... (Continued here.)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Pour a cup of coffee or tea and join us!

I hope you'll join me on Monday morning! Brew yourself a cup of tea or coffee and sit down for 15 minutes to visit with Teresa Tomeo and me. We'll be doing our "Mom's Corner" segment on "Catholic Connection," Ave Maria Radio at 9:15 AM Eastern Standard Time. Perhaps you can also tune in from your vehicle on your way out for morning Mass or to do some last minute Christmas shopping! Either way, I hope you'll join us for a few minutes of some Christmas inspiration for Moms and families. Maybe we'll throw in something for the Dads, too!

I'll look forward to spending some time with you on Monday morning! In the mean time, watch out for the black ice and slippery conditions in some places out there. Try not to get flustered over the harried shoppers running around! Keep it simple if you can, so you can enjoy this beautiful season of Advent - of preparing our hearts for the Christ Child!

God be with you!

Yours in Jesus, Mary, and Joseph,

If you want to know...

If you want to know what I am doing today, just go to my Embracing Motherhood blog to find out!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I hope that it was worth the wait!

I decided that I couldn't possibly pick this winner from a hat...

Every one's entry was so compelling...

So, I decided that the winner is...

EVERYONE who entered!! SURPRISE!! After all, it is ADVENT and CHRISTMAS is coming! I know who you all are, so just email me again and this time give me your mailing address and please tell me who you want me to inscribe the book to (yourself or the person you were thinking of).

Have a BLESSED day!

The winner is.....

I chose a winner for the book contest yesterday on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the unborn.

Drum roll, please...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Winner will be picked today!

Well, I told you I would pick the winner today on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe for my "Prayerfully Expecting" contest. I will have my daughter pick an entry out of a hat shortly! "Stay tuned!" Be back soon!

Our Lady of Guadalupe - pray for us!

"Hear me and understand well, my son the least, that nothing should frighten or grieve you. Let not your heart be disturbed. Do not fear that sickness, nor any other sickness or anguish. Am I not here, who is your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my fold? What else do you wish? Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything."

— Our Lady to Juan Diego

"In the winter of 1531, a poor, 57-year-old Aztec Indian living five miles outside of Mexico City encountered a miraculous happening on his way to morning Mass. First he heard strange music coming from Tepeyac Hill, and then he heard a woman's voice calling his name. Juan Diego climbed the hill and encountered a young woman, appearing to be of his own people in physical appearance and dress. The woman identified herself as the Virgin Mary, and told Juan Diego to ask the bishop of Mexico City to build a church on the hill to assist in the conversion of the nation and be a source of consolation to the people.

Juan Diego obeyed the request, but the bishop was skeptical regarding the message, even though he perceived that Juan was a humble, and well meaning Catholic. Juan reported the bishop's doubt to Our Lady at Tepeyac Hill, and she asked him to return to the bishop once again, bearing the same message. The bishop once again heard the story, and told Juan Diego to ask Our Lady for a sign that it was indeed herself that wished for the church to be built.

When he returned to the hill, Mary gave Juan Diego such a sign. Miraculously, roses appeared on the hill in the middle of winter, and Juan gathered them in his tilma, or cloak. Our Lady arranged the roses in his tilma with her own hands, and Juan returned to the bishop's presence. When Juan released the tilma, allowing the flowers to fall to the floor, it was revealed that a miraculous image of Our Lady had imprinted itself on his tilma (see above).

The bishop immediately fell to his knees, and came to believe in Juan Diego's message. A church was built on the spot of the apparition, as Mary had requested, and 8 million people converted to Catholicism in a short period of time upon hearing of or viewing the miraculous image of Our Lady.

The tilma of Juan Diego has been the subject of much modern research. The tilma, woven out of coarse cactus fiber, should have disintegrated after 20 years, but although over 500 years have passed the tilma is still in perfect condition. The pupils of Mary in the picture reflect the Indians and clergy present at the time of the first revelation of the image. No paint was used, and chemical analysis has not been able to identify the color imprint. Additionally, studies have revealed that the stars on Mary's mantle match exactly what a Mexican would have seen in the sky in December of 1531." (from Catholic Culture)

Happy feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe!

God of power and mercy,
you blessed the Americas at Tepeyac
with the presence of the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe.
May her prayers help all men and women
to accept each other as brothers and sisters.
Through your justice present in our hearts
may your peace reign in the world.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

(opening Mass prayer, feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe)



I will be back later to post more about this beautiful feast

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Fr. James's Sunday Homily: Second Sunday of Advent

The Witness

Why is an obscure figure of the Bible relevant for us today? Why does the Catholic Church, on the Second Sunday of Advent, present John the Baptist for our reflection?

St. John the Baptist commands our interest because he is a witness. By his witness, he reminds us that we are called to be witnesses. And in any age, to be a witness is challenging.

The witness of John the Baptist begins with his birth. The miraculous circumstances of his conception and birth direct our attention to the mysterious and transcendent. An angel announces his birth to a woman well beyond childbearing years. His father is struck dumb for his disbelief. As an infant, John, leaps in his mother's womb when he is in the presence of the Messiah's mother. Upon his birth, he is given not his father's name, but rather the name, John, which translates "Yahweh is gracious". With the giving of this name spoken by the angel, John's father, Zechariah, recovers his power of speech. Thus the miraculous circumstances surrounding his beginnings give witness to a sacred world, a world reaching beyond time and space.

As an adult, his chosen surroundings bear witness to a different reality. John is a man of the desert. He totally separates himself from the world in order to give testimony of another world. Within his solitude he is able to hear the voice of God. Between the center of Judea and the Dead Sea exists one of the most austere deserts of the world. John the Baptist made this place his home. His home is a testimony of what our souls must be in order to listen to God and to possess him. Our journey during this Advent should bring about a deeper detachment from earthly creatures so that we may come closer to God... (Continued here.)


Thursday, December 6, 2007

Who is that Santa guy AKA St. Nicholas?

"Through the centuries many stories and legends have been told of St. Nicholas' life and deeds. These accounts help us understand his extraordinary character and why he is so beloved and revered as protector and helper of those in need.

One story tells of a poor man with three daughters. In those days a young woman's father had to offer prospective husbands something of value—a dowry. The larger the dowry, the better the chance that a young woman would find a good husband. Without a dowry, a woman was unlikely to marry. This poor man's daughters, without dowries, were therefore destined to be sold into slavery. Mysteriously, on three different occasions, a bag of gold appeared in their home-providing the needed dowries. The bags of gold, tossed through an open window, are said to have landed in stockings or shoes left before the fire to dry. This led to the custom of children hanging stockings or putting out shoes, eagerly awaiting gifts from Saint Nicholas. Sometimes the story is told with gold balls instead of bags of gold. That is why three gold balls, sometimes represented as oranges, are one of the symbols for St. Nicholas. And so St. Nicholas is a gift-giver." (See more here.)

(Illustration by Elisabeth Jvanovsky from Saint Nicholas by Henri Gheon, Sheed and Ward, 1936)

St. Nicholas's feast day!

This is from Catholic Culture today:

"St. Nicholas was born in Lycia, Asia Minor, and died as Bishop of Myra in 352. He performed many miracles and exercised a special power over flames. He practiced both the spiritual and temporal works of mercy, and fasted twice a week. When he heard that a father who had fallen into poverty was about to expose his three daughters to a life of sin, Nicholas took a bag of gold and secretly flung it through the window into the room of the sleeping father. In this way, the three girls were dowered and saved from mortal sin and hell."

Happy St. Nicholas day!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Advent: A beautiful time to get ready...

Our new liturgical year begins. Advent is upon us! It's time to get our hearts and homes ready to greet the Christ Child! Are we getting caught up in the worldly hustle and bustle of getting ready for Christmas? Let's be sure that we take the time to pause each day in prayer to prepare our hearts as we also set the example and guide our household in prayer.

Did you get a chance to set up your Advent wreath? It's not too late, of course. It can be simple or elaborate. A prayer said together as a family each evening at the dinner table after the first candle on the wreath is lit is in keeping with a wonderful tradition of our Catholic Church (of course, always use caution with a flame and candles with children and also pets).

In Hope We are Saved: our holy father, Pope Benedict XVI's new encyclical, Spe Salvi was just released and is extremely beautiful. I encourage everyone to read and reflect upon this document that is so beautifully written and came at an absolutely perfect time immediately before Advent. You can get the encyclical here. I plan to bring it with me before the Blessed Sacrament and prayerfully read it and reflect upon it.

God bless you this first week of Advent!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Fr. James's Sunday Homily

Preparing For Christmas

The first Sunday of Advent marks the beginning of a new liturgical year. It is interesting to note how the liturgical year ends with the theme of the Second Coming, while at the same time, the new liturgical year also focuses on the same theme. Since we are about to celebrate Christmas, we would suppose that the new liturgical year would begin chronologically with a reflection on the Incarnation. However, that is not the case. The reason why the liturgical year ends and begins with the same theme is clear: if we have already embraced Jesus in His first coming, we will have no fear of His second coming.

It is also interesting to note that the new liturgical year begins with a penitential season; i.e. the season of Advent. The priest and deacon now use purple colored vestments. As the world around us prepares for Christmas with an ever increasing emphasis on material things, the Church directs our gaze toward the spiritual. The liturgical calendar begins differently from the secular calendar precisely because the Church, while in the world, is not of the world. Advent is a penitential season because Christmas is about our personal relationship with Jesus Christ, not about external celebrations. In this Sunday’s reading St. Paul exhorts us to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ”. The external celebrations should be seen as a visible manifestation of our joy of being disciples of Jesus Christ.

Advent, as a penitential season, prepares us to celebrate the anniversary of the Lord's... (Continued here.)

First Sunday of Advent!

Friday, November 30, 2007

I can't wait to read Pope Benedict's new encyclical!


Spe Salvi

November 30, 2007 - By Pope Benedict XVI



1. “SPE SALVI facti sumus”—in hope we were saved, says Saint Paul to the Romans, and likewise to us (Rom 8:24). According to the Christian faith, “redemption”—salvation—is not simply a given. Redemption is offered to us in the sense that we have been given hope, trustworthy hope, by virtue of which we can face our present: the present, even if it is arduous, can be lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey.

Now the question immediately arises: what sort of hope could ever justify the statement that, on the basis of that hope and simply because it exists, we are redeemed? And what sort of certainty is involved here?

Faith is Hope

2. Before turning our attention to these timely questions, we must listen a little more closely to the Bible's testimony on hope. “Hope”, in fact, is a key word in Biblical faith—so much so that in several passages... (Continued here).

Pope Benedict's new encyclical on HOPE!

Vatican City, Nov 30, 2007 / 06:15 am (CNA).- Today at noon in Rome, the Holy See released Pope Benedict XVI’s second encyclical, “Spe Salvi”, which proclaims the need for hope in modern society and the necessity for Christians to recover its true meaning.

The Pope begins his 75 page encyclical by explaining that “the present, even if it is arduous, can be lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey.”

“Spe Salvi” draws upon the rich treasure of Benedict XVI’s learning, with references from the lives of the saints and the Church Fathers. Armed with this wisdom and the virtue of hope, the Holy Father says, “The dark door of time, of the future, has been thrown open. The one who has hope lives differently; the one who hopes has been granted the gift of a new life.”

Naturally, this leads to the question, what is hope? The pontiff relates that “to come to know God—the true God—means to receive hope.”

Yet Christian hope is different. Referring to... (Continued here.)

Are you WISHING for this book?

Since my Prayerfully Expecting: A Nine Month Novena for Mothers-To-Be is ranked number 8 at Amazon.Com in the Mother Teresa category (she wrote the foreword) in the most wished for list, I will give this book away! So, for this contest, tell me why you are wishing for this book for yourself or someone else. Do this in a paragraph or less and please send it to me by email to: DMCooperOBoyle(at)aol(dot)com. You may enter only once for this contest. But, be sure to tell others about this contest and perhaps you can link to this from your own blogs to spread the word. :)

I will pick a winner on December 12th, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

So, what are you waiting for? Christmas?? :)

Don't forget to give your smile away - especially to those you don't particularly feel like smiling at - it may help them to change their perspective and their heart!

God bless!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Fr. James's Homily: Feast of Christ the King!

The Kingdom Of Christ
I have always been inspired by the example of Blessed Miguel Pro of Mexico who as a priest of the Society of Jesus, lived during a very trying time for the Mexican people. The Catholic Church was terribly persecuted. A popular uprising of Catholic laymen called the Cristeros rose to the occasion to free the Church from oppression. Blessed Miguel Pro died as a martyr, executed on the firing squad by federal soldiers on November 23, 1927.

As he stood, waiting for the shots that would end his earthly life and begin a new life in the kingdom of Heaven, he forgave his executioners, and spreading out his arms in the form of a cross he cried out ¡Viva Cristo Rey! Long live Christ the King!

This is the kind of zeal and conviction that the kingdom needs from all of us. No true reforms will take place in the Church; no renewal will take place in our nation until Jesus Christ... (Continued here.)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Culture's pressure on our teen and "tween" girls

In case you'd like to leave a comment at Catholic Exchange on my article there today about the pressure on our teen and "tween" age girls, or to read the article, click here.

Friday, November 23, 2007

It's my birthday today!

It's my birthday today. I'll be enjoying it with my family. I hope you all had a very nice Thanksgiving day! Have a happy day today during this holiday week end, everyone! Try to take at least a few moments to pause and enjoy and listen to what our Lord is telling you.

I'll be back tomorrow, God willing. :)

God bless!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

O give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his love endures forever.--Ps 136:1

Enjoy your day, snuggle together to watch the parade, cook together, pray together, eat together, chat, play, make memories!

God bless!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Let's not forget that today is the feast of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary!

Here are some beautiful words by Saint Augustine about Mary:

"The blessed Mary certainly did the Father's will, and it was for her a greater thing to have been Christ's disciple than to have been his mother, and she was more blessed in her discipleship than in her motherhood. Hers was the happiness of first bearing in her womb him whom she would obey as her master." -St. Augustine

When Mary was only three years old, she was taken to the Temple in Jerusalem by her parents, St. Joachim and St. Anne. (We celebrate their feast day on July 26.) Mary's whole life was to belong to God. He had chosen her to be the Mother of his Son, Jesus. The Blessed Virgin was happy to begin serving God in the Temple. And St. Joachim and St. Anne were pleased to offer their saintly little girl to God. They knew that God had sent her to them. In the Temple, the high priest received the child Mary. She was placed among the girls who were dedicated to prayer and Temple service. The high priest kissed and blessed the holy child. He realized that the Lord had great plans for her. Mary did not weep or turn back to her parents. She came so happily to the altar that everyone in the Temple loved her at once. St. Joachim and St. Anne went back home. They praised God for their blessed daughter. And Mary remained in the Temple, where she grew in holiness. She spent her days reading the Bible, praying and serving the Temple priests. She made beautiful linens and splendid vestments. Mary was loved by all the other girls because she was so kind. Mary tried to do each of her duties well, to please God. She grew in grace and gave great glory to the Lord.

It's been busy here!

It's been very busy here lately! I hope that you are happily making preparations for a Thanksgiving holiday together (all of those who celebrate this holiday, that is). You can visit my "Embracing Motherhood" blog (click on image on button in right hand column here) to see some tips to ease in to the holiday as well as hear the clip from my latest radio segment yesterday morning which speaks on the subject of Thanksgiving- keeping it sane, simple, and holy.

Have a beautiful day! We'll be baking some pies and breads and spending time together. I hope that you can be together too!

God bless!

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Miraculous Medal Novena

Today starts the Miraculous Medal Novena. I will be praying this powerful novena and invite you to join me to pray this prayer for the next nine days. St. Catherine of Laboure's feast day is November 28th.

In keeping with Blessed Mother Teresa's tradition of giving out Miraculous medals to all she met, I do the same at all of my talks and book signings. I wear the one that Mother Teresa gave me during my precarious pregnancy with my daughter, Mary-Catherine.

I have witnessed amazing works from the Blessed Mother through her Miraculous medal. Fr. John Hardon S.J. a now deceased renowned Catholic theologian and author and my former spiritual director spoke highly about the Miraculous Medal and told a story about how the Miraculous medal changed his life... (Please go to my "Embracing Motherhood" blog for the continuation)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Annual Meteor Shower PEAKS TONIGHT!!

Nov. 16) - This weekend brings us the return of the famous Leonid Meteor Shower, a meteor display that in recent years has brought great anticipation and excitement to skywatchers around the world. Check out the information here.

"Button" for "Embracing Motherhood" blog

If anyone would like either of the two buttons of the images in the right hand column of "Embracing Motherhood" for their own blogs, just let me know and I'll send you the code. You may write to me at DMCooperOBoyle(at)aol(dot)com.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Hidden in the Tabernacle

Recently my daughter, Mary-Catherine volunteered to help at the parish with the Christmas pageant auditions. The people in charge decided to use the Church to hold the auditions. Various stations were set up in the Church for the many roles in the pageant.

I decided to stay and pray before the Blessed Sacrament while my daughter was helping out - it would be an hour or two - so good to use this time wisely, I thought. Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament was gracing us with His presence while all of the mothers were bringing in their children of all sizes to try out for the pageant. There was much hustling and bustling all around the Church and the adjacent hall getting ready for the rehearsal and try outs to begin. It really was lovely to see all of the people come in to the Church at a time when no one would normally be there other than a stray visitor of Jesus or two. But, some of the Moms allowed their children to run through the Church and climb over pews as if it were a playground.

Wouldn't it be nice if all of these parents realized that Jesus was present here in our midst, I thought. Jesus, who is God is here -- right here -- now! I wonder if that knowledge would change any one's life, perspective, or attitude if they really knew. I sadly have not seen any genuflections or bows. Perhaps everyone feels that this is not a Mass, therefore no need to show reverence. I wish they knew, dear Lord. I wish they would acknowledge You!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pope Benedict's new encyclical, "Saved by Hope" ready before Christmas

ROME, Nov 15, 2007 / 09:41 am (CNA).- The Italian newspaper La Repubblica revealed today that Pope Benedict XVI has finalized his second encyclical on the subject of Christian hope, and that it should be published before Christmas, during Advent.

Benedict’s first encyclical, “Deus Caritas est”, was signed on Christmas Day 2005 and by the following month had been published in eight languages. His second encyclical is tentatively titled "Spe Salvi” (Saved by Hope) and takes its inspiration from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, the newspaper reported. The potential title comes from the 24th verse of the eighth chapter of St. Paul's letter, which reads: "Because we have been saved by hope..." (Continued here.)

Feel like climbing back into bed...

It's a rainy, dreary day - actually pouring rain right now which makes one's aches and pains ache a bit more and accentuates one's already tired mind...making one desire to climb back into bed! But, nope, not me! As Fr. John Hardon S.J. told me so many times, "There's work to be done!" Therefore, work I shall do!

Enjoy your day of working for the Lord!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

Pope Benedict's upcoming trip to the US

Baltimore, Nov 12, 2007 / 09:37 am (CNA).- Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S., has announced that Pope Benedict will be making his first visit to the United States April 15-20. The plans for the five day voyage will include an address at the United Nations in New York and a stop in Washington D.C.

The Pope’s itinerary will begin with an April 16 meeting with President George W. Bush at the White House, followed by a gathering with the U.S. bishops at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

On Thursday, April 17, the American public will have its first chance to see Benedict XVI at a Mass to be held at the new Washington Nationals stadium. Later in the day the Pope will... (Continued here)

The Golden Compass

A friend sent me this email below. I have posted a warning at "Embracing Motherhood" about this movie recently but would like you to read what this person says because it's important.

Watch out for this movie. I thought you might find the following article from

It isn't a movie for children!!

FYI This is a terrible, anti-Catholic (anti-Christian) movie called the 'Golden Compass' will be coming out in early December, aimed at children and labeled as a family movie. This movie is based on a series of books by an atheist British author (Phillip Pullman) whose goal in writing the books is to be the 'Anti-Narnia' series and to lead children into atheism. The main villains in the series of books are the Magisterium, Cardinals, and the Pope, and includes a heroine that is a young girl who sets out to kill God. The truly sick thing about the movie is that they have made it APPEAR as if it is an innocent film, with exciting effects and a fairytale story. They have removed from the movie the appalling anti-Catholic/Christian themes from the book. The goal of the movie is to hook unsuspecting families into viewing the film so that children will then want to read the books (and probably buy merchandise) . Nicole Kidman stars in it, and Scholastic Books is behind it. I heard about this from Bill Donahue of the Catholic League who was on 'The World Over' on EWTN. The goal is to let as many people as
possible know about this horrible film and to have it bomb at the box office. The makers of the movie are hoping it will be as big as Harry Potter or the Da Vinci Code. Let's pray that it won't! Please tell as many people as possible to avoid this terrible film.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Fr. James's Sunday Homily

Is There Life After Life

Can science prove that there is life after life? There is increasing medical evidence that people who experience clinical death and return after being resuscitated do experience inexplicable phenomena that point to life after life.

Medical reports speak about patients having out-of-body experiences, walking toward a bright light, seeing and communicating with deceased family and friends, and feeling embraced by unconditional love. After their encounters these patients lose all fear of dying. Having been deeply affected by their experiences, they now live changed lives.

Diane Corcoran, Ph.D., RN of Durham, North Carolina is one of several nurses around the world studying the phenomenon of near-death experiences. Many medical professionals who are atheists or agnostics attempt to discredit the events reported by patients as hallucinations, but many questions remain unanswered. Corcoran gives as an example the near-death event experienced by an eight year old boy. (Continued here.)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Busy, busy, busy...

Busy, busy, busy and head ache, head ache, head ache lately so posts have been bare here. Check out my other blog, Embracing Motherhood for a coupla things including an important recall alert.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Holy Souls in Purgatory

Since the 16th century the month of November has been dedicated to praying for the souls in purgatory. We continue our prayers for them each day this month.

As we have learned, the Holy Souls are those who have died in the state of grace but who are not yet free from all punishment due to their unforgiven venial sins and all other sins already forgiven, however the satisfaction for them has not been made. First, they must suffer in Purgatory but they are promised to eternally rest in Heaven thereafter. The Holy Souls cannot help or pray for themselves and they must rely on others for prayer(John 9:4). We are part of the Communion of Saints with these poor holy souls and should consider it a blessing to pray for those brothers and sisters who have gone before us and are in purgatory. We can shorten their time in purgatory--their separation from God by our prayers, sacrifices, good works, and, especially, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.

FOR THE SOULS IN PURGATORY My Jesus, by the sorrows Thou didst suffer in Thine agony in the Garden, in Thy scourging and crowning with thorns, in the way to Calvary, in Thy crucifixion and death, have mercy on the souls in purgatory, and especially on those that are most forsaken; do Thou deliver them from the dire torments they endure; call them and admit them to Thy most sweet embrace in paradise. Our Father, Hail Mary, Eternal rest, etc.

FOR ALL THE DECEASED By Thy resurrection from the dead, O Christ, death no longer hath dominion over those who die in holiness. So, we beseech Thee, give rest to Thy servants in Thy sanctuary and in Abraham's bosom. Grant it to those, who from Adam until now have adored Thee with purity, to our fathers and brothers, to our kinsmen and friends, to all men who have lived by faith and passed on their road to Thee, by a thousand ways, and in all conditions, and make them worthy of the heavenly kingdom. (Byzantine Liturgy)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Fr. James's Sunday Homily

The Example of Zacchaeus

As the end of another liturgical year quickly approaches, the Church presents to us another beautiful and uplifting message through this Sunday’s liturgy. Once again we are reminded of the mercy of God and the call to conversion.

In this Sunday’s first reading we hear these consoling words: “Therefore you rebuke offenders little by little, warm them and remind them of the sins they are committing, that they may abandon their wickedness and believe in you, O Lord!” (Wisdom 12: 2). Zacchaeus is someone who recognized his sin and repented of all the wrong that he had done.

But, let us take a look at where the gospel narrative is taking place... (Continued here.)

Friday, November 2, 2007

All Souls day

Reading 1
Wis 3:1-9

The souls of the just are in the hand of God,
and no torment shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead;
and their passing away was thought an affliction
and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace.
For if before men, indeed, they be punished,
yet is their hope full of immortality;
chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed,
because God tried them
and found them worthy of himself.
As gold in the furnace, he proved them,
and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.
In the time of their visitation they shall shine,
and shall dart about as sparks through stubble;
they shall judge nations and rule over peoples,
and the LORD shall be their King forever.
Those who trust in him shall understand truth,
and the faithful shall abide with him in love:
because grace and mercy are with his holy ones,
and his care is with his elect.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Feast of All Saints

God our Father,
source of all holiness,
the work of your hands is manifest in your saints,
the beauty of your truth is reflected in their faith.
May we who aspire to have part in their joy
be filled with the Spirit that blessed their lives,
so that having shared their faith on earth
we may also know their peace in your kingdom.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.
[opening Mass prayer, solemnity of All Saints]


This litany is the oldest litany continually in use. It was used if not by Pope Liberius certainly by Pope St. Gregory the Great in the "Litania Septiformis" at Rome and in the procession of St. Mamertus at Vienna. This litany forms one of our oldest liturgical offices in the West, and is the model for all others.

Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us. God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us. God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us. God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us. Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.

Response: pray for us

Holy Mary, Holy Mother of God, Holy Virgin of virgins, St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael, All you holy Angels and Archangels, All you holy orders of blessed Spirits, St. John the Baptist, St. Joseph, All you holy Patriarchs and Prophets, St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Andrew, St. James, St. John, St. Thomas, St. James, St. Philip, St. Bartholomew, St. Matthew, St. Simon, St. Thaddeus, St. Matthias, St. Barnabas, St. Luke, St. Mark, All you holy Apostles and Evangelists, All you holy Disciples of the Lord, All you holy Innocents, St. Stephen, St. Lawrence, St. Vincent, Sts. Fabian and Sebastian, Sts. John and Paul, Sts. Cosmas and Damian, Sts. Gervase and Protase, All you holy Martyrs, St. Sylvester, St. Gregory, St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, St. Jerome, St. Martin, St. Nicholas, All you holy Bishops and Confessors, All you holy Doctors, St. Anthony, St. Benedict, St. Bernard, St. Dominic, St. Francis, All you holy Priests and Levites, All you holy Monks and Hermits, St. Mary Magdalen, St. Agatha, St. Lucy, St. Agnes, St. Cecilia, St. Catherine, St. Anastasia, All you holy Virgins and Widows, All you Holy Men and Women, Saints of God, make intercession for us.

Be merciful, spare us, O Lord. Be merciful, graciously hear us, O Lord.

Response: O Lord, deliver us

From all evil, From all sin, From your wrath, From sudden and unprovided death, From the snares of the devil, From anger, and hatred, and all ill-will, From the spirit of fornication,. From lightning and tempest, From the scourge of earthquake, From plague, famine, and war, From everlasting death, Through the mystery of your holy Incarnation, Through your Coming, Through your Nativity, Through your Baptism and holy Fasting, Through your Cross and Passion, Through your Death and Burial, Through your holy Resurrection, Through your admirable Ascension, Through the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, In the day of judgment,

Response: We beseech you, hear us

We sinners, That you would spare us, That you would pardon us, That you would bring us to true penance, That you would deign to govern and preserve your holy Church, That you would deign to preserve our Apostolic Prelate, and all orders of the Church in holy religion, That you would deign to humble the enemies of Holy Church, That you would deign to give peace and true concord to Christian kings and princes, That you would deign to grant peace and unity to all Christian people, That you would deign to call back to the unity of the Church all who have strayed from the truth and lead all unbelievers to the light of the Gospel, That you would deign to confirm and preserve us in your holy service, That you would lift up our minds to heavenly desires, That you would render eternal blessings to all our benefactors, That you would deliver our souls and the souls of our brethren, relations and benefactors, from eternal damnation, That you would deign to give and preserve the fruits of the earth, That you would deign to grant eternal rest to all the faithful departed, That you would deign graciously hear us, Son of God,

Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord. Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord. Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us. Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Our Father, etc. (inaudibly).

V. And lead us not into temptation. R. But deliver us from evil.

Psalm 69: Deign, O Lord, to rescue me; O Lord, make haste to help me. Let them be put to shame and confounded who seek my life. Let them be turned back in disgrace who desire my ruin. Let them retire in their shame who say to me, "Aha, aha!" But may all who seek you exult and be glad in you, and may those who love your salvation say ever, "God be glorified!"

But I am afflicted and poor; O God, hasten to me! You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, hold not back! Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

V. Save your servants. R. Who trust in you, O my God.

V. Be a tower of strength for us, O Lord, R. Against the attack of the enemy.

V. Let not the enemy prevail against us. R. And let not the son of evil dare to harm us.

V. Lord, deal not with us according to our sins. R. Neither requite us according to our iniquities.

V. Let us pray for our Sovereign Pontiff, Pope N. R. The Lord preserve him, and give him life, and make him blessed upon the earth, and deliver him not up to the will of his enemies.

V. Let us pray for our benefactors. R. Deign, O Lord, for Your name’s sake, to reward with eternal life all those who do us good. Amen.

V. Let us pray for the faithful departed. R. Eternal rest give to them, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon them.

V. May they rest in peace. R. Amen.

V. For our absent brethren. R. Save your servants, who trust in you, my God.

V. Send them help, O Lord, from your sanctuary. R. And sustain them from Zion.

V. O Lord, hear my prayer. R. And let my cry come to you.

V. The Lord be with you. R. And with your spirit.

Let us pray: O God, whose property is always to have mercy and to spare, receive our petition, that we, and all your servants who are bound by the chains of sin, may, by the compassion of your goodness, be mercifully absolved. Graciously hear, we beg you, O Lord, the prayers of your suppliants, and pardon the sins of those who confess to you, that in your bounty you may grant us both pardon and peace.

In your clemency, O Lord, show us your ineffable mercy, that you may both free us from all our sins, and deliver us from the punishments which we deserve for them.

God, who by sin are offended and by penance pacified, mercifully regard the prayers of your suppliant people, and turn away the scourges of your anger, which we deserve for our sins.

Almighty, everlasting God, have mercy upon your servant N., our Sovereign Pontiff, and direct him according to your clemency into the way of everlasting salvation, that by your grace he may desire those things that are pleasing to you, and perform them with all his strength.

O God, from whom are holy desires, good counsels, and just works, give to your servants that peace which the world cannot give, that our hearts be set to keep your commandments, and that, being removed from the fear of our enemies, we may pass our time in peace under your protection.

Burn our desires and our hearts with the fire of the Holy Spirit, O Lord, that we may serve you with a chaste body, and with a clean heart be pleasing to you.

O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful, grant to the souls of your servants and handmaids the remission of all their sins, that, through devout prayers, they may obtain the pardon which they always desired.

Direct, we beg you, O Lord, our actions by your holy inspirations, and carry them on by your gracious assistance, that every prayer and work of ours may begin always with you, and through you be happily ended.

Almighty and everlasting God, you have dominion over the living and the dead, and you are merciful to all who you foreknow will be yours by faith and good works; we humbly beg you that those for whom we intend to pour forth our prayers, whether this present world still detain them in the flesh, or the world to come has already received them our of their bodies, may through the intercession of all your Saints, by the clemency of your goodness, obtain the remission of all their sins. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

V. O Lord, hear my prayer. R. And let my cry come to you.

V. May the almighty and merciful Lord graciously hear us. R. Amen.

V. And may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. R. Amen.

Prayer Source: Enchiridion of Indulgences , June 29, 1968

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Well, this is good news...

"Baldwin pharmacist Lutful Chowdhury thinks Catholicism's leader is dispensing sound advice when he told pharmacists in Rome yesterday to exercise their right to refuse to fill prescriptions of medications that could end a pregnancy, assist in euthanasia or contraception..." (Continued here.)

Check out the latest segment of my "Mom's Corner" with Teresa Tomeo

You can listen to my latest segment on "Mom's Corner" with Teresa Tomeo on "Catholic Connection" in case you missed it yesterday morning. We discussed Halloween, All Saints and All Souls days. Just click here.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Fr. James's Sunday Homily

We are Sinners

Time-lapse photography compresses a series of events into one picture. Such a photo appeared in an issue of National Geographic. Taken from a Rocky Mountain peak during a heavy thunderstorm, the picture captured the brilliant lightning display that had taken place throughout the storm's duration. The time-lapse technique created a fascinating, spaghetti-like web out of the individual bolts. In such a way, our sin presents itself before the eyes of God. Where we see only isolated or individual acts, God sees the overall web of our sinning. What may seem insignificant to us and passes with hardly any notice taken, creates a much more dramatic display from God's panoramic viewpoint.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; and those who are crushed in spirit He saves. The Lord redeems the lives of his servants; no one incurs guilt who takes refuge in him” (Psalm 34: 18, 22).

What is sin? Man calls it an accident; God calls it an abomination. Man calls it... (Continued here.)

Friday, October 26, 2007

the Lay Missionaries of Charity

From time to time, people ask me about the lay Missionaries of Charity. Here is a link to find out more.

Abortionist ordered to produce medical records

Hyannis, MA, Oct 25, 2007 / 11:38 am (CNA).- The mother of a woman who died during an abortion has secured a court order requiring an abortionist to release her daughter's medical records.

Eileen Smith's daughter Laura Hope Smith died during an abortion procedure at the Hyannis, Massachusetts office of abortionist Rapin Osathanondh on September 13, 2007.

Mrs. Smith had met with Osathanondh ten days after her daughter's death. He required her to meet him alone in a public place, refusing to allow her husband to accompany her... (continued here.)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Blessed are they who hope in the Lord...

Today's Psalm is:

Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

R. (Ps 40:5) Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.

R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.

R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Not so the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.

R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.


Dear Lord, sometimes my hope in You wains when I see what is going on around this world we live in. But, I must remember - Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

Lord, my spouse doesn't believe in You which makes our daily lives in the family less than perfect. I will try to remember the words of the psalmist- Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

Dear Lord, it seems like nothing ever changes, the struggles continue, but I am reminded - Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

Lord, it always seems to be the same old "one step forward and several steps back" which wears on my spirit. But I will strive to take these words to heart - Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

Dear Lord, fill my heart with Your hope, please as I strive to stay on the narrow path that leads to life. Thank you for Your many blessings and love. Amen

[this prayer is not meant to reflect personal struggles of the author, only written to encourage hope for everyone. :)]

Monday, October 22, 2007

Poverty and Christianity

TUESDAY - Please see the additions to this post added after the original post.

I received this comment this morning from a visitor and I'd like to address it in a post. Normally comments would be addressed in the comment section but this one came in an area of another subject so readers might not have noticed it. Plus it is an important topic. Here is the comment:

Hi Donna-Marie,

I am a Christian from the UK. I came across your blog while surfing Blogland. I wonder if I may ask you a question about a topic that appears frequently on your postings - poverty.
Why is it many Christians praise poverty? Why is it many Christians praise poverty while not living in poverty?
If you, for example, were poor, you would not be able to have a blog, as poor people cannot afford computers, electricity, telephone bills etc, let alone rent for a house.




Dear James,

I'm glad you stopped by and felt comfortable to ask your question which is a very good question indeed. "Why is it many Christians praise poverty?"

There are many reasons why a Christian would want to embrace poverty. But, first of all to answer your comment about "Why is it many Christians praise poverty while not living in poverty? If you, for example, were poor, you would not be able to have a blog, as poor people cannot afford computers, electricity, telephone bills etc, let alone rent for a house."

A poor person can have a blog and use their local library computer to maintain it if they felt inclined to do so. Poverty reaches across all states of life and is not only reserved for the desolate. Christians who believe that it is wise to be poor in spirit are not hypocritical if they own something.

But, back to your original question about "Why is it that many Christians praise poverty? Our Lord Himself was poor. Jesus, who is our King and Savior was paradoxically born into poverty, resting in a wooden manger of hay, hardly what would be expected for a King’s birth. Angels sent simple shepherds to Mary and Joseph to see their holy baby. Mary “treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).

Christians who feel an affinity with poverty may choose to live a little simpler, acquiring less material wealth and certainly sharing their wealth with the poor which can be done in so may ways. Christians can choose to become "detached" from worldly things, wanting to concentrate more on what our Lord is calling them to do and not obsessing over material wealth which will be left at our graves.

Blessed Mother Teresa took care of the poorest of the poor and had seen people every day living in squalor, disease, and dirt in the streets of Calcutta. She never admonished the rich for having riches. She always said that if that is what God called them to, that is fine but asked them to share those riches with the poor. She was upset about the imbalance of wealth in this world - the rich wasting or hoarding their wealth while others died in poverty.

This holy woman also pointed out that poverty is not just the poverty of riches but even more sadly and tragically is the poverty of spirit. People are starving for love and affection right in our affluent countries, right in our neighborhoods; people who may have never known the warmth of an embrace or even acknowledgement from others because of their state in life, such as in the case of a homeless person feeling rejected by society. There are others who may seem to be successful and happy by outward appearances, but are crying inside, hoping for love and acceptance. These are the people we need to smile at, to talk to, to offer a hand to. We are all called to ease the pain of the suffering and the poor.

Mother Teresa's approach was to help one person at a time - all who were within her reach. She has asked us to do the same. We can all in all of our walks of life reach out and help each other - what a world this would be if we would do that!

Regarding Christians and poverty, we should know that we can pray and ask our dear Lord to help us to embrace a simpler and more loving and giving lifestyle. We can and should ask Him to open our eyes to the poor around us. They may be right beside us and there is no need to run off to a poverty stricken country to find them. Mother Teresa had said quite often. There is Calcutta all over the world for those who have eyes to see." Let's find that Calcutta in our midst and help to ease the suffering of the poor.

So, James, I don't know if I have answered your question. Perhaps someone else may have a better answer or another way to explain it and can leave a comment here. I invite others to please chime in.

God bless!

After posting the above, James wrote this back:

Hi Donna Marie,
Thanks for your reply and including my question as a post.
May I comment on what you said?

I suggested poor people would not have a blog because they could not afford a computer, telephone bill etc. You stated poor people could use their local library to maintain a blog. I know many poor people and none have a blog. The reality is material poverty has an effect spiritually, educationally and on our aspirations.
As for Jesus being poor, I see no evidence in Scripture to support this widely held Christian belief. The Gospel tells us Jesus was born in a stable because there was no room at the inn - not because Joseph was too poor to pay. Joseph ran his own construction business, not a lowly carpenter shop as people romantically imagine, so he would have been wealthy. In fact, one of his biggest clients would have been the Roman army. Also, if Jesus was poor, wore poor clothes etc, why did the Roman soldiers gamble for his clothes at the crucifiction? If he dressed like a poor man, they would have been thrown aside.
I'm glad you said Mother Teresa did not admonish the rich. Her calling and that of her order, is very specific and not common amongst Christians. I knew some of her nuns where I used to live, and that was their view.
The problem is when any of us speak of the 'rich' we always think of someone else. So, I think a movie star is rich and the movie star thinks the studio owner is rich and the studio owner thinks the oil billionaire is rich and so on.
I think it is very hard to define "a simpler lifestyle.' To me, a moivie star lives in excess with every luxury. But to someone in the Third World earning $1 a day, my lifestyle (I have a nice house, water, electricity, overseas holidays etc) seems like the lifestyle of a millionaire, but that I certainly am not!
I think Christians of all denominations, have tended to take a mistaken view of poverty and richess and misunderstood Jesus' message here. He convicted one rich young man but not Zacchaeus the tax collector, who even after giving away a lot of his money, would still have been rich.
May I suggest reading an excellent article on poverty written by Eddie Russell who founded the Catholic Charismatic group, Flame Ministries.
He gets the right balance between rich and poor - and states that if Jesus came to give the Good News, the Good News for the poor is they don't have to be poor any longer.


Thank you, James for your response. I will invite others to respond to your comments and I will get back to you a bit later on.

God bless!

Please feel free to leave a comment on this subject that James has brought up about poverty and Christianity.

Barb from "SFO Mom" left this comment:

This question particularly hits home with me because as a Secular Franciscan, I take as my model Saint Francis of Assisi, who identified so much with the materially poor that he had absolutely no possessions of his own.

People who are interested in becoming Secular Franciscans often worry that they will have to give up their homes or cars in order to follow a Franciscan life.

And while I much admire Franciscans like the Friars of the Renewal, who truly do not own a thing in this world (but surely are building up many treasures in Heaven), not all of us are called to that kind of life.

In Matthew 5: 3, Jesus says, "Blessed are the poor in spirit." He does not say, "Blessed are the materially poor." Certainly to be materially poor is a difficult life, and most people would not consider it a blessing to be challenged to live that life. But the poor in spirit are the ones who realize that it is not material possessions that matter. They are the ones who are willing to be generous with the resources with which they have been blessed--so they can bless others. They do not hoard up their treasures for their own future selfish use (like the man in today's Gospel) but instead are ready to share their treasures.

In Luke 12:34 we read, "Wherever your treasure lies, there your heart will be." I believe that one who is poor in spirit is one who knows from where these treasures have come, and looks for opportunities to use these treasures to make life better for even one other person.

In that respect, my husband is a far better Franciscan than I am. He is generous to a degree that I am not courageous enough to imitate. He has brought a homeless woman and baby into our home (when Big Brother was an infant) so that we could give this woman some formula, diapers, baby clothes, and a chance to bathe her little boy. He has bought dinners for soldiers in uniform when he sees them in restaurants. He is far more gentle and generous than I am with Adventure Boy. It seems like he is energized by these actions--I find them stressful and exhausting.

Yes, I believe that he is a wonderful example of what it is to be poor in spirit.


Feel free to visit Barb's blog SFO Mom.

Thank you very much, Barb!


Esther of A Catholic Mom in Hawaii had this to say:

Hi Donna and all:

I don't know that as Christians we embrace poverty. Personally, I don't see it that way. I think we are called to be content in our own station in life, be it rich, poor or middle class.


Thanks, Esther!

Jean at Catholic Fire said this:

I agree with Esther that each of us is called to live according to our station in life.

Jesus Christ did not condemn the possession of worldly goods, or even of great wealth; for He himself had rich friends.

Christ constantly pointed out the danger of riches, which, He says, are the thorns that choke up the good seed of the word (Matthew 13:22). Because of His poverty as well as of His constant journeying, necessitated by persecution, He could say: "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air nests: but the son of man hath not where to lay his head" (Matthew 8:20).

While poverty has no intrinsic goodness, it is good only because it is useful to remove the obstacles which stand in the way of the pursuit of spiritual perfection.

As Christians, we are called to share our material goods with others.
In the acts of corporal mercy, to feed the hungry: "For I was hungry and you gave me to eat." Mt. 25:35, to give drink to the thirsty "...I was thirsty and you gave me to drink..." Mt. 25:35, to clothe the naked: "I was...naked and you clothed me..." Mt. 25:36, and to shelter the homeless: "...I was a stranger and you took me in..." Mt. 25:35.

As an Oblate with the Community of St. John, I made a promise of poverty, which basically focuses on poverty of spirit as Barb has described above.

Jesus tells us in the Eight Beatitudes: Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

I have witnessed in my lifetime Christians who have been extremely generous to others living in poverty because this is what the Lord has called us to do: Christians who have invited complete strangers into their homes to live for a period of time; Christians who have provided food, the clothing off their backs, and rent or house payments to the unemployed and the poor.

Our own small Community has raised thousands of dollars
for those in third world countries and have assisted those who were affected by the tsunami. Some in our Community have worked with Mother Teresa and have physically and spiritually assisted the poor.

Here in Kansas, the state where I live, Christians have taken time off from their own jobs to assist those who were affected by the tragedy in New Orleans.
Man here are involved in Habitat for humanity and others in the community build homes for them.

Poverty is not a good thing in itself, but when we give of what we have to others and care for their corporal and spiritual needs, we are following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ.

God can bring good out of these situations of suffering and trial - that is the grace and the miracle that occurs.

Jesus never praised nor promoted wealth, but He did teach us how important it was to love one another.

Having a blog or three TV's per household or a brand new car are not necessities in this life, but food, clothing, and shelter are and should never be denied anyone.

God gives us each a free will. If there are those among us who waste our resources and do not give God his due by assisting others in this area, then they will have to answer to Him on judgement day.

I, for one, have difficulty understanding how some Hollywood celebrities can spend so much money on their animals(purchasing diamond collars, sending them to pet spas, feeding them gourmet food, etc,) when there are so many people starving in the world. I love animals, but people are much more important.

I hope you understand what I am trying to say. Christ commanded us to love others as we love ourselves. If everyone would follow this teaching, poverty in this world would be eradicated.

God bless you!


Thanks, Jean!

Feel free to visit Jean's blog at Catholic Fire.


Jane said:

Based on James' response, it seems like maybe he already knows the answer to his question.

As a mother of six, with two adopted from the developing world (where the average annual family income is about $120USD); I can tell you that we knew that my husband and I felt confident that we would be able to financially provide for our Ethiopian children at a level far more secure than their first family was able.

What is more important, however, is our ability to provide security for their eternal souls. And our "developed" nation, that is a much less certain thing. We don't worry nearly as much about the poverty of their bodies as we do their souls now that they are here.

Poverty is everywhere. Sometimes we just need to look a little harder to see it.



Thanks, Jane!


James came back to say:

Hi All,
If I may, I'd like to post the comments I sent to Barb for her awesome answer on the poverty and riches debate. All you folks have supplied amazing answers and are obviously Spirit-filled people who know their Scripture. Other Christians I ask about poverty, have a muddled understanding. Its been a great debate, and I'll leave it now. Maybe I can drop by later and pose another simple question - like 'why pray to saints?"
Blessing to everyone from an Evangelical Scotsman in the UK,


Hi Barb,
James Hastings here, the UK Christian who posed the poverty question on Donna Marie's page. It is a question I have posted on many Christian blogs and yours is the only answer which is correct.
It is not money or wealth that are wrong, but the love of these or how we go about getting them or wanting them too much. It is about being good stewards and tithing, not hoarding. It is about understanding from where our wealth comes, (the Father), not believing we are the primary source.
Understand that, and you'll see it is perfectly possible to get into heaven wearing a Rolex watch.
Your husband is an awesome example of poor in Spirit. Of course, he could not buy soldier's dinners or help a homeless woman and her baby if he was materially poor. What a guy.
I'd refer you to a great article on being poor in Spirit at which is the home of the Catholic charismatic group, Flame Ministries in Australia. I am a big supporter of theirs, and I'm not even a Catholic.




Margaret Mary said:

Jesus told us to trust in God, through the story of the lilies of the field. I think this is the kind of "poverty" that many of us need to embrace today, as misfortunes come our way. It isn't easy to learn that we are not "in control" (due to job loss, business failure, natural disaster). It isn't easy to have to give up a lifestyle we were accustomed to; but to offer that to God and trust in Him for what we need is - in my opinion - one of the ways that we live in a "spirit of poverty", not seeking poverty, but seeking to turn lovingly, patiently, and trustingly to God in all things. (check out her blog here.)


Thanks, Margaret Mary!


Well, that was fun! Thank you everyone for taking the time to enter into this conversation. Thank you, James for stopping by to meet up with all of us who chimed in and who are all scattered around the globe.

Let's hope and pray that we all truly give of ourselves in so many ways to "feed" the poor, whether it be in offering a hand, a piece of bread or a listening ear. God calls us all to holiness in all of our states of life and asks us to give food to the hungry and drink to the thirsty. He wants us to visit the sick and lonely. We should be utterly comforted knowing that when we offer ourselves to the poor we are offering ourselves to Him who gives us life.

When we draw our dying breath, we hope to hear those magnificent words, "Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me. Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?' And the king will answer them, "Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me..." (Matthew 25:34-41)

God bless!