Blessed Are We!

I Want To Be A Saint Too!

What Is This Devotion All About??

This isn't superstition. St. Faustina did the same thing!

I want to introduce you to the practice of picking a saint at random to be your “holy protector” for the year. The tradition of letting a saint “pick you,”is not a new one. St. Faustina wrote about it in her diary, "Divine Mercy in My Soul".

The excerpt is below.

“There is a custom among us of drawing by lot, on New Year's Day, special Patrons for ourselves for the whole year. In the morning, during meditation, there arose within me a secret desire that the Eucharistic Jesus be my special Patron for this year also, as in the past. But, hiding this desire from my Beloved, I spoke to Him about everything else but that. When we came to refectory for breakfast, we blessed ourselves and began drawing our patrons. When I approached the holy cards on which the names of the patrons were written, without hesitation I took one, but I didn't read the name immediately as I wanted to mortify myself for a few minutes. Suddenly, I heard a voice in my soul: ‘I am your patron. Read.’ I looked at once at the inscription and read, ‘Patron for the Year 1935 - the Most Blessed Eucharist.’ My heart leapt with joy, and I slipped quietly away from the sisters and went for a short visit before the Blessed Sacrament,where I poured out my heart. But Jesus sweetly admonished me that I should be at that moment together with the sisters. I went immediately in obedience to the rule.”

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Patron Saint of the Year blog is continuing so please don't be discouraged or impatient! I have been in and out of the hospital for the last few months and have not kept up with the blog like I should have. I hope you accept my apology for that. I am currently working on the new blog page for 2015 but in the meantime, am accepting requests for a Patron Saint of the Year 2015. I will keep your email after sending your your saint(s) et al and then let you know when the new site is up. 

I hope your Christmas was one of joy and am wishing and praying that 2015 will be full of much love, happiness and continued blessings!

I look forward to hearing from you soon!!

God bless you always!


Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Father's Love Letter

My Child,

You may not know me, but I know everything about you…Psalm 139:1

I know when you sit down and when you rise up…Psalm 139:2
I am familiar with all your ways…Psalm 139:3
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered…Matthew 10:29-31 

For you were made in my image…Genesis 1:27 

In me you live and move and have your being…Acts 17:28 

For you are my offspring…Acts 17:28 

I knew you even before you were conceived…Jeremiah 1:4-5 

I chose you when I planned creation…Ephesians 1:11-12 

You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book…Psalm 139:15-16

I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live…Acts 17:26 

You are fearfully and wonderfully made…Psalm 139:14 

I knit you together in your mother's womb…Psalm 139:13 

And brought you forth on the day you were born…Psalm 71:6
I have been misrepresented by those who don't know me…John 8:41-44

I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love…1 John 4:16 

And it is my desire to lavish my love on you…1 John 3:1
Simply because you are my child and I am your father…1 John 3:1
I offer you more than your earthly father ever could…Matthew 7:11
For I am the perfect father…Matthew 5:48 

Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand…James 1:17
For I am your provider and I meet all your needs…Matthew 6:31-33
My plan for your future has always been filled with hope…Jeremiah 29:11
Because I love you with an everlasting love…Jeremiah 31:3
My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore…Psalm 139:17-18
And I rejoice over you with singing…Zephaniah 3:17
I will never stop doing good to you…Jeremiah 32:40
For you are my treasured possession…Exodus 19:5
I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul…Jeremiah 32:41 

And I want to show you great and marvelous things…Jeremiah 33:3
If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me…Deuteronomy 4:29
Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart…Psalm 37:4
For it is I who gave you those desires…Philippians 2:13
I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine…Ephesians 3:20
For I am your greatest encourager…2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles…2 Corinthians 1:3-4 

When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you…Psalm 34:18
As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart…Isaiah 40:11
One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes…Revelation 21:3-4
And I'll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth…Revelation 21:3-4
I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus…John 17:23 

For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed…John 17:26
He is the exact representation of my being…Hebrews 1:3 

He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you…Romans 8:31
And to tell you that I am not counting your sins…2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled…2 Corinthians 5:18-19
His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you…1 John 4:10
I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love…Romans 8:31-32
If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me…1 John 2:23
And nothing will ever separate you from my love again…Romans 8:38-39
Come home and I'll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen…Luke 15:7 

I have always been Father, and will always be Father…Ephesians 3:14-15 

My question is…Will you be my child?…John 1:12-13 

I am waiting for you…Luke 15:11-32 

Your Father, Almighty God

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Gift of Gifts, the Paraclete, the Counselor and Consoler, Friend, Sanctifier, Third Person of the Blessed Trinity—all of these are different titles given to the Person of the Holy Spirit. The power of the Holy Spirit is to transform sinners into great saints—as we saw in the Apostles, and especially Simon Peter. Saint John XXIII actually said:  “The saints are the masterpieces of the Holy Spirit.”   A future saint can be you and me. (HURRAY!!)
Here are ten specific ways that we can deepen our knowledge, love, intimacy and union with the Holy Spirit and thereby allow Him to do the work of transforming us from sinners into saints. It can be done if we become docile instruments in the hands of God who is the Holy Spirit!  “Come Holy Spirit, come, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary!”
1. Prayer. Form the habit if praying to the Holy Spirit on a frequent basis. You could pray the traditional prayer to the Holy Spirit:  “Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle within us the fire of your divine love.” If you like the hymn in Latin: “Veni Creator”; or the Sequence prayed on Pentecost “Veni, Sancte Spiritus.”  Or you might sing the classical hymn to the Holy Spirit, “Come Holy Ghost.”   Or it might appeal to you to pray the Litany of the Holy Spirit. Never forget, you can pray and talk to the Holy Spirit using your own words, simply speak to Him from your heart.
2. Acts of the Apostles. Read the book from the Bible, “The Acts of the Apostles”. Written by the Evangelist Saint Luke, this book clearly shows the powerful working of the Holy Spirit in the Apostles—especially Saint Peter and St. Paul—as well as the formation of the primitive church. As you read be keenly attentive to the presence and workings of the Holy Spirit and beg Him to work powerfully in your own personal life! “Come Holy Spirit come….”
3. Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Get to know the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. You received the Gifts of the Holy Spirit the day of your Baptism. These Gifts were fortified the day of your Confirmation. However, these Gifts must be used and exercised. If these Gifts are not used then they become rusty, dormant, and inactive. Memorize them and study them. Here they are:  Wisdom, Knowledge, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Piety and Fear of the Lord.  These gifts, according to St. Thomas Aquinas, perfect our intellect and our will—so that we can know God more clearly and love Him more ardently.
4. Silence. We must cultivate zones of silence in our daily lives, even though many of us have to combine the Martha and Mary (The Active and the Contemplative) in a harmonious balance. Still the danger is to launch ourselves into a frenetic activism whereby there is little time for prayer and much less for silence. The Holy Spirit speaks to a heart that is ready to listen in silence. With Samuel in the temple we should pray: “Speak O Lord for your servant is listening.”
5. Docility. Silence is a prerequisite to move on to the next step—docility to the Holy Spirit.  A person who is living in the state of grace, honestly pursuing a life of holiness and seeking perfection will be exposed to heavenly inspirations that come from the Holy Spirit. The key is an ability to listen to these gentle but insistent inspirations, discern them coming from God and then the most difficult is to follow and obey these inspirations. The Holy Spirit is so to speak a “Gentleman” and will never force Himself upon anybody. Rather, He waits patiently for us to respond and then He can work very powerfully only if we are silent, humble and obedient.
6. Spiritual Readings.  Highly to be recommended, with respect to learning to be docile to the Holy Spirit, is the reading of a spiritual masterpiece “The School of the Holy Spirit”, written by the French spiritual master Jacques Philippe. The essence of this book is very clear and simple. If we want to arrive at sanctity of life we must get to know the Holy Spirit, love the Holy Spirit and manifest this knowledge and love by being docile to His heavenly inspirations.
7. Be Careful and Alert. The work of the devil is to discourage us, make us sad and to push us into desolation and then despair. Be aware of the workings of the Holy Spirit. The workings of “The sweet Guest of the soul” are the direct opposite of the devil.  How does the Holy Spirit work? St. Ignatius of Loyola in his rules for discernment specifies how the Good Spirit works.  He strengthens our resolve to follow Jesus and fortifies our faith, hope, charity. He infuses peace and joy and energy to follow the Lord. He encourages us to lift our mind to heaven. He consoles us with the thoughts of the eternal salvation of our soul. Therefore, do not allow the devil to discourage you, but let the Holy Spirit encourage and strengthen you.
8. Prayer, Penance, Power, Perseverance, & Perfection. Try to connect these “5 P’s” to union with the Holy Spirit; all are necessary for a constant and growing union with the Holy Spirit.  We must pray to the Sanctifier. Also, as Mary and the Apostles acted in the Cenacle for this powerful novena, we must practice penance or self-denial.  This will give our will power— or if you like “Will-power” to do good. However, the journey can be long and cumbersome, we must persevere and if we fall bounce back. Then if we are faithful to the first 4’P’s the Holy Spirit will bring us to perfection in the following of Jesus.
9. Loneliness? Problems? If you experience loneliness and are weighed down by many problems then never forget to enter into the depths of your soul and speak to the Holy Spirit whose name is “Sweet Guest of the soul”.  You will recognize that you are really not alone and that your problems and crosses are not as heavy as you think. Rather, the Holy Spirit can help you to resolve your problems or at least help you to cope with them.
10.Mary and the Holy Spirit. Mary is the Daughter of God the Father, the Mother of God the Son, and she is the Mystical Spouse of the Holy Spirit. St. Maximilian Kolbe has written brilliantly on the intimate relationship between Mary and the Holy Spirit. Also Saint Louis de Montfort has gone so far in saying: “Those who love Mary, the Holy Spirit flings Himself into that soul,” if you like, as a powerful Frisbee cutting through the air going from one hand to the next.   If you want to have a powerful invasion in your heart of the Holy Spirit,  a personal Pentecost experience in your life, then why not turn to Mary. As the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles the day of Pentecost through Mary’s prayers and presence, He can descend into your soul through the prayers and presence of Mary.  “Come Holy Spirit, come, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

Sunday, June 8, 2014


Friday, May 30, 2014

Some daily wisdom

1) Pray / be silent (15 Min.) each day and if you are really busy do it for an hour.
2) Exercise a little each day
3) Read a little each day - something that challenges your mind.
4) Do something just because you want to each day.
5) Eat & drink in moderation
Source: Adapted from a March 2000 retreat talk by the late Fr. Jim Babb, SJ - St. Ignatius House, Atlanta GA

Sunday, April 27, 2014

May My Faith NEVER Falter

SAINT John Paul II


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Holy Week in Two Minutes

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Something to think about ... 

 Many saints have become saints because of the teaching and example of a parent or grandparent. Thus, the power of a living example. Holiness and Christian living are taught chiefly by personal influence, and it is the living instruction that flows from a holy life that leads others to holiness. As the old Latin maxim has it: Verbum sonat; exemplum tonat 
("Words make a noise, but example thunders").

Sunday, April 6, 2014

How the Apostles Died

MatthewSuffered martyrdom in Ethiopia ; killed by a sword wound.    

MarkDied in Alexandria , Egypt , after being dragged by Horses through the streets until he was dead.

LukeWas hanged in Greece as a result of his tremendous Preaching to the lost.

JohnFaced martyrdom when he was boiled in huge Basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution In Rome. However, he was miraculously delivered from death.
John was then sentenced to the mines on the prison Island of Patmos . He wrote his prophetic Book of Revelation on Patmos . The apostle John was later freed and returned to serve As Bishop of Edessa in modern Turkey . He died as an old man, the only apostle to die peacefully.

PeterHe was crucified upside down on an x-shaped cross. According to church tradition it was because he told his tormentors that he felt unworthy to die In the same way that Jesus Christ had died.

James: The leader of the church in Jerusalem was thrown over a hundred feet down from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. When they discovered that he survived the fall, his enemies beat James to death with a fuller's club.
* This was the same pinnacle where Satan had taken Jesus during the Temptation.

James the Great: Son of Zebedee, was a fisherman by trade when Jesus Called him to a lifetime of ministry. As a strong leader of the church, James was ultimately beheaded at Jerusalem . The Roman officer who guarded James watched amazed as James defended his faith at his trial. Later, the officer walked beside James to the place of execution. Overcome by conviction, he declared his new faith to the judge and Knelt beside James to accept beheading as a Christian.

Bartholomew: Also known as Nathaniel Was a missionary to Asia . He witnessed for our Lord in present day Turkey . Bartholomew was martyred for his preaching in Armenia where he was flayed to death by a whip.

Andrew: Was crucified on an x-shaped cross in Patras , Greece . After being whipped severely by seven soldiers they tied his body to the cross with cords to prolong his agony. His followers reported that, when he was led toward the cross, Andrew saluted it in these words: 'I have long desired and expected this happy hour. The cross has been consecrated by the body of Christ hanging on it.' He continued to preach to his tormentors for two days until he expired.

Thomas: Was stabbed with a spear in India during one of his missionary trips to establish the church in the Sub-continent.

Jude: Was killed with arrows when he refused to deny his faith in Christ.

Matthias: The apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot, was stoned and then beheaded.

Paul: Was tortured and then beheaded by the evil Emperor Nero at Rome in A.D. 67. Paul endured a lengthy imprisonment, which allowed him to write his many epistles to the churches he had formed throughout the Roman Empire . These letters, which taught many of the foundational Doctrines of Christianity, form a large portion of the New Testament.
Perhaps this is a reminder to us that our sufferings here are indeed minor compared To the intense persecution and cold cruelty faced by the apostles and disciples during their times for the sake of the Faith.

And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake:
{But he that endureth to the end shall be saved} 

Faith is not believing that God can,
It is knowing that God WILL!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Mirror of Patience, Lover of Poverty, Model of workmen, ornament of the domestic life, guardian of virgins, Pillar of families, Solace of the afflicted, hope of the sick, Patron of the dying, terror of demons, Protector of Holy Church--- these praises refer to the greatest saint in the catholic church—aside from Jesus and Mary, but related  to both of them—the Glorious saint Joseph!
To follow is a brief outline of the various “Titles” given to Saint Joseph, with the hope that you will get to know Joseph, pray to him, love him entrust your life to him and experience—like St. Teresa of Avila and many of the saints his powerful intercession.
First,  MASTER OF THE INTERIOR LIFE.     A title given to him by St Teresa herself. Meaning, that to grow in our interior life, our spiritual life, our intimate union with God, St. Joseph can play an indispensable role!   A very interesting parallel is that the Catechism of the Catholic Church likewise gives another “Person” that same name:  THE HOLY SPIRIT--- “Master of the interior life”.   Hence, why not beg good St. Joseph for the grace to make huge strides in your interior life; he is waiting, ready and willing to grant you this excellent request!
Second,  TEACHER OF PRAYER.   Related to being the “Master of the Interior Life" is that of being the “Teacher of prayer”.   Joseph acquired a most profound interior life of prayer and without a doubt lived the injunction of Jesus: “It is necessary to pray always, without losing heart. “ (Lk. 18:1). Prayers in the morning, prayers with Jesus before work, prayers before meals, prayers in the synagogue, prayers on the way to the Temple in caravan, prayers in family, the Psalms with Jesus and Mary, private and spontaneous prayer--- all of these were offered by good St. Joseph with  fervor, humility and purity of intention.  Mind-boggling, staggering the human imagination, ineffable and beyond words is the following: Joseph also taught Jesus to pray!   In His Human nature Jesus grew in wisdom, age and grace before God and man. He learned to walk, eat, work, and speak. Therefore, it was both Mary and Joseph that taught Jesus human words by which he could speak to God the Father.  “Abba”—meaning “Daddy” was most possibly one of the first words that St. Joseph taught Jesus so that he could begin to speak in human words to His Father and eventually teach the whole world to say, “Our Father, who art in heaven…”
Third,  PATRON OF SPOUSES (HUSBANDS).    In a world in which unfaithfulness is rampant and rapidly spreading its evil poison and wreaking havoc on the family that should be the “Basic building block of society”, the “Domestic church”, St. Joseph teaches husbands the extreme importance of being faithful to their wives and living out the vows that they made on their wedding day before God, the church and before his spouse.  “I promise to be faithful to you in good times and in bad, health and in sickness, riches and poverty, until death do we part…” St. Joseph, help men to treasure and cherish their wives as the very “apple of their eye”.
Fourth,  PATRON OF FATHERS.  Equally important was the role that St. Joseph played as “Foster-Father” to Jesus, the “Son of the living God”.   A true father should fulfill the test of the “Three (3) P’s!” What are the “3’P’s” Let’s see! First and foremost, Powerful-prayer warrior”.  A true father, must have an intimate connection to the Heavenly Father. Actually, one of the primary roles of the earthly father is to reflect the love, compassion, presence, firmness and wisdom of the “Heavenly Father”. That mean, in concrete, that children should view the vision of God the Father reflected in their earthly father.   No doubt a very challenging objective; that is why we turn to Joseph who reflected the loving presence of  God the Father perfectly! May earthly fathers take good St. Joseph as their model! Also to provide for his family, as St. Joseph did by his constant and strenuous work. Finally, to protect the family from physical, moral, and spiritual dangers. Thus we admire, good St. Joseph, rising early and fleeing to Egypt, thereby, saving Jesus from being slaughtered by an insecure, jealous and bloodthirsty tyrant-- King Herod!
Fifth,  PATRON OF WORKERS.    As a result of Original Sin, all must work and earn their bread by the sweat of their brow. (Gen. 3). Tedious, boring at times, demanding to the point of exhausting, grinding—all of these can be notes of daily work!  St. Joseph, went through it all!  Up before dawn, opening the shop, starting with prayer, working from dawn till dusk—this would be the daily rhythm of Joseph as well as Jesus!  Enough for the schedule, but what about the tenor of the work?  Hard, demanding, exhausting manual work of a Carpenter! Pounding nails, sawing wood pieces, sanding down to size, lifting heavy furniture, Saint Joseph did it all! At the end of the day, most likely he arrived home sore to the point of exhaustion, drenched with sweat, hair filled with sawdust, hands engraved with deep callouses—this would be the “hard-working” and faithful worker, Saint Joseph! May we rediscover the importance of hard, dedicated, concentrated work!   Idleness is the workshop of the devil! None of that in Joseph’s workshop! Rather, our attitude should be the sober but motivating words of St. Paul:  “Work out our salvation in fear and trembling!”
Sixth,  PATRON OF FAMILIES.  Interconnected with Joseph’s role as spouse and “foster-father” is his pivotal importance, his hinge-work in the cohesiveness of “The Holy Family”.   One practical point: the importance of the “Mere-presence” of Joseph to his family and the need of the father to be “present” to his family. Being present means, not simply physical presence—although this is key—but also emotional, moral, spiritual, psychological, joyful and concerned presence! Put simply, Good Saint Joseph was totally available to God at all times and at the same time, he was totally available for Mary and Jesus.  Many families suffer due to”Drop-out Dads”. Either these  “Dead-beat-Dads” have abandoned their families physically, have caved in to immorality such as drink porn or drugs, or prioritize friends, games and sports over the well-fare of their family! Not so with  “The ornament of the Domestic life”, St. Joseph, his mere presence was total and all-encompassing. He was a cohesive glue that sustained the peace and unity and harmony of the “Holy Family.”
Seventh,    TERROR OF DEMONS.   A striking tribute to  Glorious Saint Joseph.  St. Ignatius Loyola, in the two Standards, depicts a striking contrast, Jesus raising His Standard and inviting all to follow; then Satan, ugly, in Babylon, the city of confusion seated on a dunghill!  In our battle against “the enemy of our salvation” (St. Ignatius); the roaring lion, seeking to devour us (St. Peter), Satan or Prince of this world (Jesus), we must muster as much ammunition in our arsenal to defeat the devil. St. Joseph can run quickly to our aid.  In the official Rite of Exorcism,  the holy name of St. Joseph is invoked!  At the mere name of Powerful Saint Joseph, the leagues of God’s enemies take to their heels and disappear!
Eighth,  PATRON OF PURITY AND CHRISTIAN COURTSHIP.   Indeed, the most important decision in ones’ life is both profession and even more important vocation. In other words, the work-profession one will choose, and  of greater importance, the future spouse that will be  chosen. Sad to say, most in the modern society, choose the wrong mate, in the wrong time, in the wrong place and with the wrong intention. This amounts to disaster!  From 50 to 60% of marriages end in divorce today for this reason!    Parents as well as young people should beg earnestly of good St. Joseph, who chose the Blessed Virgin Mary to be his spouse, to enlighten them as to who will be the future spouse.  The primary condition and intention should be to choose somebody who will be a bridge to heaven, both for the spouse as well as for the future children.  Once chosen a future partner, the grace of purity should be implored, so that both will avoid any impurity in their courtship, so that the wedding day will indeed reflect the beautiful, radiant and unsullied roses that will be placed before the image of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.   St. Joseph, pray for our youth, for purity and moral integrity!
Ninth,  PATRON OF THOSE IN TRIBULATION.   Admirable to the highest degree, the great St. Joseph in his coping with and accepting trial after trial, due to this great Saint’s boundless and limitless confidence in God’s all-abiding and ever-present Providential Plan  on him and his family. Contemplate these scenes: the long trek from Nazareth to Bethlehem with a pregnant woman mounted on a donkey, rejection—probably many times seeking for lodging for the night, “No room for you in the Inn", the birth in a poor, stinking, humid, abandoned animal refuge, a flight in the middle of the night to a foreign, alien, even hostile country where he had neither relatives, lodging, knowledge of the language, and finally losing his foster-Son for three interminable days--- these were among the many trials of St. Joseph. Instead of giving into despair, he humbly submitted his will to the will of Almighty God and God Himself, resolved problems that seemed almost impossible to resolve!  May good Saint Joseph, strengthen our trust in God in the midst of life’s constant trials, tribulations, setbacks and failures!  St. Joseph firmly believed:  “The Lord is my Shepherd, there is nothing I shall lack."
Tenth,  PATRON OF A HOLY AND HAPPY DEATH.     The most important moment of our lives is the moment of our death, in which this will determine for all eternity our destiny: either up or down, heaven or hell and with that for all eternity, meaning forever and ever and ever!!!!!!  Good St. Joseph can come to our rescue in this all too critical moment in our earthly pilgrimage!  Why? For the simple reason that St. Joseph had the all-important grace to die in the arms of both Jesus and Mary.  When? We do not know! But, having died in the arms of Jesus and Mary should spur us on to desire most ardently to do the same!  May St. Joseph obtain for us the grace to die in the state of grace and to die in the arms of Jesus, Mary—and yes—the loving arms of good Saint Joseph!
Let us end by commending ourselves to Glorious Saint Joseph in this short, poetic but beautiful prayer.  “ Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I give you my heart and my soul; Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, make my heart like unto thine; Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, assist me in my last agony; Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I breath forth my soul unto thee!  O Sacrament most holy, O Sacrament Divine, all praise and all-thanksgiving, be every moment thine!”

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Here are 10 apps and a few ideas on how to use them to strengthen your Lenten journey.
  1. Laudate. This is a given. Known as the No. 1 Catholic app, it offers a wide variety of resources, from the daily readings to Vatican documents. Great resources for Lent include the Stations of the Cross, the Rosary, Liturgy of the Hours (although it has a different translation, and the days mix up on iPhones at times) and a daily examination of conscience. (iOSAndroid)
  2. Truth & Life. This app is a dramatized audio rendition of the New Testament. For Lent, you can download the free version and study the book of Mark (the full version is $19.99). It still has study questions and other resources. (iOSAndroid)
  3. Rosary of the Hours. You can try a new way of praying the Rosary this Lent. It’s designed for using one decade for each hour of the day (from the Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful and Glorious mysteries), but you can simply use the Sorrowful. The app has Psalms, meditations and Scripture passages for each mystery. You could then transition to the full Rosary after Easter. It’s a great way to start a new spiritual habit. (iOS)
  4. Confession. Suggested by Bishop Conry, this app develops an examination of conscience based on age, sex and vocation and then walks you through the sacrament. With this tool, you can commit to more frequent confession throughout Lent. (iOSAndroid)
  5. Mary. Made by the creators of the popular Divine Mercy app, “Mary” is a great way to get to know the Blessed Mother. Journeying with her thought Lent is a beautiful way to approach her Son. The app includes information about dogma, doctrine, titles, apparitions and more, as well as prayers and devotions. (iOS)
  6. Ignio. This is a more social option for spirituality. The app tracks your spiritual activities, and you can share your prayers and thoughts with your friends. I recommend identifying a group of friends to try this with, since you have to get started by “bumping” your device with someone else’s to have full access to features. This could be a great way to start a Lenten group. (iOSAndroid)
  7. Mass Explained. While this is only available on the iPad, it looks like an incredible experience made for that platform. Lent is a great time to learn more about the Mass and fall deeper in love with Christ. (iPad)
  8. The Pope App. News, speeches, images, live feeds … you can follow Pope Francis every day. A good place to start could be to read (or watch) his general audiences or Sunday Angelus addresses throughout Lent. (iOSAndroid)
  9. CRS Rice Bowl. This app from Catholic Relief Services is a great way to tap into almsgiving during Lent. You can set specific goals and track your progress. It also offers reflections, meatless recipes and personal stories. (iOSAndroid)
  10. UNICEF Tap Project. You may have heard of this one. It’s not Catholic, but it is a great way to give. By leaving your phone alone for 10 minutes, their sponsor will provide one day of clean water for a child in need. It is a great way to practice detachment without sacrificing the ability to evangelize throughout this great season. (visit website)
One final tip? Keep it manageable. Try picking one or two apps with a specific purpose in mind. Have an “appy” Lent!

Friday, March 7, 2014


I Wonder If St. John Knew What We Would Be Facing Today!

"Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God.” Therefore, according to the Gospel, any citizen can be a good Catholic – that is, side with Jesus Christ and the Pope, and do good to his fellow men – and at the same time side with Caesar, namely, observe the laws of the land, except when the rulers persecute religion or tyrannize the consciences and minds of citizens."
-- St. John Bosco
How is your Lent going so far?
Here are ten simple Lenten practices so that indeed this Lent will be the best Lent in our lives. “If today you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts…”
1.    Prayer.  Instead of being Martha this Lent why not try to imitate Mary of Bethany. What did Mary do, as Martha nervously and frenetically rushed to and fro? Mary simply sat at the feet of Jesus, looked at Jesus intently, listened attentively to His words, carried on a friendly and loving conversation, and simply loved Jesus. In Lent why not make the proposal- in imitation of Mary of Bethany—to pray a little bit more and better! Prayer delights the Heart of Jesus!
2.    Reconciliation and Peace. If it is such that there is some person in your life that you have bitterness towards, resentment, maybe even hatred, then Lent is a most propitious time to reconcile. Build a bridge and knock down the barrier!  In marriage homilies I often say to those about to be married that the three most important shorts phrases that couples should learn are: “I love you!”  “I am sorry!” and “I forgive you!”  Lent is time to throw out the old and rotting yeast and to be renewed in our social relationships!
3.    Penance. Jesus said unequivocally:  “Unless you do penance you will perish.” Give up something you like for love of God and for the salvation of souls.  By saying “No” to self, we say “yes” to the invasion of God in our hearts! Beg the Holy Spirit for light to give up what is most pleasing to God!
4.    The Bible,The Word of God. In the holy seasons of Advent and Lent the Church warmly exhorts us to have a real hunger for the Word of God. Jesus in response to the first temptation of the devil responded:  “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.”  May this Lenten season be motivated by a daily meditation of the Word of God! Use a prayer method suggested by Pope Benedict XVI called Lectio Divina: read, meditate, contemplate, pray, and action—put into practice the good insights you have received. This will result in a transformation of life; as St. Paul asserted:  “It is no longer I who lives but Christ who lives in me.”
5.     Almsgiving.  Lent is a time to give, especially to the poor, sick, marginalized and the rejected of society. Remember Pope Francis’ many gestures of loving the poor, kissing the repulsive and rejected of the world. “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do to me.”
6.    The Three T’s.  Following up on almsgiving why not examine your life in these three areas and see where and how you can give, as Blessed Mother Teresa said: “Give until it hurts!”  Time! Give of your time to others. Start at home because charity begins at home. Talents!  We all have talents. Lent is time to conquer our laziness and work diligently to cultivate our God-given talents.  “Better to wear out then rust out!” Treasures! If you have an excess of food, clothing, money and material possessions, give and give. You are giving to Jesus in the poor!
7.    Joy. Be joyful!  Try to implement this acronym: J. O. Y.   J—stands for Jesus!  O—stands for others; Y—stands for you! If we put Jesus first, then others second and finally ourselves as last then we will experience the joy of the Holy Spirit and it will overflow on the others we meet!
8.    Daily Mass and Communion. By far the best way we could possibly live out the Holy Season of Lent is by drawing close to Jesus as possible. In Holy Mass and Holy Communion, not only do we draw close to Jesus, but we actually receive Him into the very depths of our being, our inner sanctuary which is our soul. However, go to Mass and Holy Communion with intentions, especially to repair for sin and prevent sin. Why did Jesus suffer so much in His bitter Passion?  St. Ignatius of Loyola gives us the two fundamental reasons: 1) To show us the malice and evil of the reality of sin; 2) to show us the depths of His love for all of humanity and for each one of us individually.   Offer your Mass and Holy Communion in reparation for your past sins as well as in reparation for the sins of your family. Morally speaking also our Holy Mass and Communion could and should be offered in reparation for the sins of abortion—shedding the  blood of the most innocent and vulnerable.
9.    Conquer Your Own Devil.  All of us have our own kryptonite— our weak point where we easily fall. But also we all have our own devil that attacks us— often going for our weak point.  Check out where the devil attacks most. You might just go through the Capital sins and see where the devil has an opening.  Gluttony? Lust? Greed? Sloth/Laziness? Anger? Envy? Pride?  In Lent we are soldiers enlisted in the arm of Christ the King. Time to fight against our personal devil with the strength of Jesus the King. We are weak, but God is strong. Nothing is impossible for God!
10. Mary and Lent. Try to live a strongly Marian Lent. Pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary as well as the Rosary dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows. View the movie of Mel Gibson, “The Passion of the Christ” where Mary’s role is significant. Make the Way of the Cross, walking with Our Lady of Sorrows. Strive in Lent to live these holy days through the eyes of Mary and with the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary.
In conclusion, my friends, if we can choose to live out these proposals with generosity of spirit, this will be the most holy of all our Lents. We will be able to live out the fullness of the Paschal Mystery—to suffer and die with Jesus so that we will rise with Him in the glory of the Resurrection!


Father Ed Broom is an Oblate of the Virgin Mary. He blogs regularly at Fr. Broom's Blog.