New Insights on the Gospels

March for Life 2012

Evil triumphs when good men do nothing - Edmund Burke

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Feast of St John Chrysotom - 13 September 08


Today we celebrate the feast of the life of St. John Chrysotom. Chrysotom actually means 'Golden Mouth'.

He is on of the four great doctors of the Church, and born in 347 in Antioch, Syria. He was prepared for a career in law under the renowned Libanius, who marveled at his pupil's eloquence and foresaw a brilliant career for his pupil as statesman and lawgiver. But John decided, after he had been baptised at the age of 23, to abandon the law in favour of service to the Saviour. He entered a monastery which served to educate him in preparation for his ordination as a priest in 386 AD. From the pulpit there emerged John, a preacher whose oratorical excellence gained him a reputation throughout the Christian world, a recognition which spurred him to even greater expression that found favour with everyone but the Empress Eudoxia, whom he saw fit to examine in some of his sermons.

When St. John was forty-nine years old, his immense popularity earned him election to the Patriarchate of Constantinople, a prestigious post from which he launched a crusade against the excessiveness and extreme wealth which the Empress construed as a personal affront to her and her royal court. This also gave rise to sinister forces that envied his tremendous influence. His enemies found an instrument for his indictment when they discovered that he had harboured some pious monks who had been excommunicated by his arch rival Theophilos, Bishop of Alexandria, who falsely accused John of treason and surreptitiously plotted his exile.

When it was discovered that the great St. John had been exiled by the puppets of the state, there arose such a clamour of protest, promising a real threat of civil disobedience, that not even the royal court dared to confront the angry multitudes and St John was restored to his post. At about this time he put a stop to a practice which was offensive to him, although none of his predecessors outwardly considered it disrespectful; this practice was applauding in church, which would be considered extremely vulgar today, and the absence of which has added to the solemnity of Church services.

St. John delivered a sermon in which he deplored the adulation of a frenzied crowd at the unveiling of a public statue of the Empress Eudoxia. His sermon was grossly exaggerated by his enemies, and by the time it reached the ears of the Empress it resulted in his permanent exile from his beloved city of Constantinople. The humiliation of banishment did not deter the gallant, golden-mouthed St. John, who continued to communicate with the Church and wrote his precious prose until he died in the lonely reaches of Pontus in 407.

Fore more details about the life of St John Chrysotom refer to http://www.chrysostom.org/life.html

For the writings of St John Chrysotom refer to http://www.chrysostom.org/writings.html

Friday, September 12, 2008

Feast of the Holy Name of Mary - 12th September 2008

On the feast of the Holy Name of Mary let us read the words of the Doctor of the faith St. Alphonsus Ligouri

The following is a text for the book by St. Alphonsus Ligouri called the Glories of Mary.

THE great name of Mary, which was given to the divine mother, was not found on earth, neither was it invented by the mind or will of men, as were all other names that are in use among them;but it came from heaven, and was given to the Virgin by divine ordinance, as St. Jerome, St. Epiphanius f St. Antoninus, and others attest.

The name of Mary was drawn from the treasury of the divinity, as Richard of St. Laurence says: From the treasury of the divinity, oh Mary, came forth thy excellent and admirable name; for the Most Holy Trinity, the same author goes on to say, gave to thee this name, next
to the name of thy Son, so superior to every name, and attached to it such majesty and power, that when it is uttered, all in heaven, earth, and hell must fall prostrate and venerate it.Among the other privileges which the Lord has attached to the name of Mary, let us see how sweet he has made it to the servants of this most holy Lady in life as well as in death.

To begin with life, the holy anchorite, Honorius,says, that the name of Mary is full of all divine sweetness.And the glorious St. Anthony of Padua attributes to the name of Mary the same sweetness as St. Bernard attributed to the name of Jesus. The name of Jesus, said the latter,
the name of Mary, said the former, is joy to the heart, honey to the mouth, melody to the ear of their devoted servants.

We read in the holy Canticles, that at the Assumption of the Virgin, the angels three times asked her name: 'Who is she that goeth up by the desert as a pillar of smoke?' 'Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising?' And in another: 'Who is this that cometh up from the desert, flowing with delights?'; Richard of St. Laurence in quires why the angels so often asked the name of this queen, and answers: The sound of the name of Mary was so sweet to the angels, and they repeated the question that they might hear it repeated also.

The enamored St. Bernard, too, addressing his good mother with tenderness, says to her: Oh great, oh merciful Mary, most holy Virgin, worthy of all praise, thy name is so sweet and lovely that it cannot be spoken without enkind ling love to thee and to God in the heart of him
who pronounces it; the thought of it alone is enough to console thy lovers, and inflame them a consolation to the poor, because by them they are relieved of their miseries, oh how much more, says Richard of St. Laurence, does thy name console us sinners, oh Mary; far more than the riches of earth it relieves us in the troubles of the present life.

For more about the Holy Name of Mary refer to Chapter X of The Glories of Mary.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Feast of St. Cyprian - 11th September 2008





St. Cyprian is important in the development of Christian thought and practice in the third century, especially in northern Africa.

Highly educated, a famous orator, he was converted to Christianity as an adult. He distributed his goods to the poor, and amazed his fellow citizens by making a vow of chastity before his Baptism. Within two years he had been ordained a priest and was chosen, against his will, as Bishop of Carthage (near modern Tunis).

Cyprian's first Christian writing is "Ad Donatum", a monologue spoken to a friend, sitting under a vine-clad pergola. He tells how, until the grace of God illuminated and strengthened the convert, it had seemed impossible to conquer vice; the decay of Roman society is pictured, the gladiatorial shows, the theatre, the unjust law-courts, the hollowness of political success; the only refuge is the temperate, studious, and prayerful life of the Christian.

Cyprian complained that the peace the Church had enjoyed had weakened the spirit of many Christians and had opened the door to converts who did not have the true spirit of faith. When the Decian persecution began, many Christians easily abandoned the Church. It was their reinstatement that caused the great controversies of the third century, and helped the Church progress in its understanding of the Sacrament of Penance. Novatus, a priest who had opposed Cyprian's election, set himself up in Cyprian's absence (he had fled to a hiding place from which to direct the Church—bringing criticism on himself) and received back all apostates without imposing any canonical penance. Ultimately he was condemned. Cyprian held a middle course, holding that those who had actually sacrificed to idols could receive Communion only at death, whereas those who had only bought certificates saying they had sacrificed could be admitted after a more or less lengthy period of penance. Even this was relaxed during a new persecution.

During a plague in Carthage, he urged Christians to help everyone, including their enemies and persecutors.

A friend of Pope Cornelius, St. Cyprian opposed the following pope, Stephen. He and the other African bishops would not recognize the validity of Baptism conferred by heretics and schismatics. This was not the universal view of the Church, but Cyprian was not intimidated even by Stephen's threat of excommunication.

He was exiled by the emperor and then recalled for trial. He refused to leave the city, insisting that his people should have the witness of his martyrdom.

Cyprian was a mixture of kindness and courage, vigor and steadiness. He was cheerful and serious, so that people did not know whether to love or respect him more. He waxed warm during the baptismal controversy; his feelings must have concerned him, for it was at this time that he wrote his treatise on patience. St. Augustine remarks that St. Cyprian atoned for his anger by his glorious martyrdom.

In August, 258, Cyprian learned that Pope Sixtus had been put to death in the catacombs on the 6th of that month, together with four of his deacons, in consequence of a new edict that bishops, priests, and deacons should be at once put to death; senators, knights, and others of rank are to lose their goods, and if they still persist, to die; matrons to be exiled; Caesarians (officers of the fiscus) to become slaves. This edict was put forward by Emperor Valerian.

Galerius Maximus, the successor of Paternus, sent for Cyprian back to Carthage, and in his own gardens the bishop awaited the final sentence. Many great personages urged him to fly, but he had now no vision to recommend this course, and he desired above all to remain to exhort others. Yet he hid himself rather than obey the proconsul's summons to Utica, for he declared it was right for a bishop to die in his own city. On the return of Galerius to Carthage, Cyprian was brought from his gardens by two principes in a chariot, but the proconsul was ill, and Cyprian passed the night in the house of the first princeps in the company of his friends. Of the rest we have a vague description by Pontius and a detailed report in the proconsular Acts. On the morning of the 14th a crowd gathered "at the villa of Sextus", by order of the authorities. Cyprian was tried there. He refused to sacrifice, and added that in such a matter there was no room for thought of the consequences to himself. The proconsul read his condemnation and the multitude cried, "Let us be beheaded with him!" He was taken into the grounds, to a hollow surrounded by trees, into which many of the people climbed.Cyprian took off his cloak, and knelt down and prayed. Then he took off his dalmatic and gave it to his deacons, and stood in his linen tunic in silence awaiting the executioner, to whom he ordered twenty-five gold pieces to be given. The brethren cast cloths and handkerchiefs before him to catch his blood. He bandaged his own eyes with the help of a priest and a deacon, both called Julius. So he suffered. For the rest of the day his body was exposed to satisfy the curiosity of the pagans. But at night the brethren bore him with candles and torches, with prayer and great triumph, to the cemetery of Macrobius Candidianus in the suburb of Mapalia. He was the first Bishop of Carthage to obtain the crown of martyrdom.
“You cannot have God for your Father if you do not have the Church for your mother.... God is one and Christ is one, and his Church is one; one is the faith, and one is the people cemented together by harmony into the strong unity of a body.... If we are the heirs of Christ, let us abide in the peace of Christ; if we are the sons of God, let us be lovers of peace” (St. Cyprian, The Unity of the Catholic Church).

Solemn Mass in Toronto

I cannot believe it. This is a Solemn mass in Toronto. I hope all my blog readers who are in Toronto and the vicinity will be able to attend this. Please drop me a line if you can we can meet before or after the mass. This mass commemorates Our Lady of the Rosary, remember the Battle of Lepanto.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Understanding forms of Government

With both the USA and Canada going to election. It is a good time to look at governments.
In the USA issues in the upcoming elections include the right to life for unborn babies, homosexual unions etc. While in Canada abortions right up to the 9th month are legal and homosexual unions have been dubiously dubbed as marriages.

Let us see what Dr. Plinio Correa has to say about the forms of government

When speaking of the various forms of government, Pope Leo XIII made it quite clear that "each of them is good, as long as it moves honestly toward its end, namely, the common good, for which social authority is constituted,"

We do label as revolutionary the hostility professed against monarchy and aristocracy on the principle that they arc essentially incompatible with human dignity and the normal order of things. This error was condemned by Saint Pius X in the apostolic letter 'Notre charge apostolique', of August 25, 1910. In this letter, the great and holy Pontiff censures the thesis of Le Sillon, that "only democracy will inaugurate the reign of perfect justice," and he says: "Is this not an injury to the other forms of government, which are thus reduced to the category of impotent governments, acceptable only for lack of something better?" (If democracy is the best form of government, how then can it aloow for abortions on demand and legal sanction of homosexual unions? - note by blog author)

If one fails to consider this error, which is deeply rooted in the process under study, one cannot completely explain how it is that monarchy, classified by Pope Pius VI as the best form of government in thesis ("praestantioris monorchici regiminis forma"), has been the object in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries of a hostile worldwide movement that has overthrown the most venerable thrones and dynasties. From our perspective, the mass production of republics all over the world is a typical fruit of the Revolution and a capital aspect of it.

A person cannot be termed a revolutionary for preferring, in view of concrete and local reasons, that his country be a democracy instead of an aristocracy or a monarchy, provided the rights of legitimate authority be respected. But, yes, he can be termed a revolutionary if, led by the Revolution's egalitarian spirit, he hates monarchy or aristocracy in principle and classifies them as essentially unjust or inhuman.

From this antimonarchical and antiaristocratic hatred are born the demagogic democracies, which combat tradition, persecute the elites, degrade the general tone of life, and create an ambience of vulgarity that constitutes, as it were, the dominant note of the culture and civilization--supposing the concepts of civilization and culture can be realized in such conditions.

How different from this revolutionary democracy is the democracy described by Pius XII:



History bears witness to the fact that, wherever true democracy reigns, the life of the people is as it were permeated with sound traditions, which it is illicit to destroy. The primary representatives of these traditions are first of all the leading classes, that is, the groups of men and women or the associations that set the tone, as we say, for the village or the city, for the region or the entire country. Whence the existence and influence, among all civilized peoples, of aristocratic institutions, aristocratic in the highest sense of the word, like certain academies of widespread and well?deserved fame. And the nobility is also in that number.


As can be seen, the spirit of revolutionary democracy is quite different from the spirit that must animate a democracy according to the doctrine of the Church.


(This is an exceprt from Dr. Plinio's book Revolution and Counterrevolution)

St. Thomas ov Villanova - Commentary by Dr. Plinio Correaf

Let us read the commentary of Dr. Plinio Correa about St. Thomas of Villanova.



Comments of Prof. Plinio:

This is not a very easy selection to comment on since it primarily reports facts about St. Thomas of Villanova that are characteristic of many saints. They are admirable and praiseworthy, but a little too generic and repeat what we hear about the others. I limit myself, therefore, to comment on some more distinctive points here and there for our meditation.

First, it is remarkable the fact that Charles V chose St. Thomas of Villanova as a preacher and councilor. He was a person who in many ways directed the conscience of the Emperor. You see the finger of Divine Providence directing this great statesman.

Charles V, Emperor of the Holy Roman German Empire, a man over whose domains the sun never set, was an extraordinarily important man. He continued the vocation of the Hapsburgs of the House of Austria. There is a text by Mary de Agreda describing the designs of Providence for the House of Austria and all the graces God gave the Hapsburgs to fulfill them. It is very beautiful to see how Divine Providence assisted the realization of those designs by sending St. Thomas of Villanova to be the court preacher and councilor to Charles V.

Charles V, we must add with sadness, did not entirely correspond to those plans of God. He had a saint as a councilor, but he was a man whose softness and spirit of tolerance permitted Protestantism to expand in his lands. It is true that he had many different enemies to fight. One of them was the league formed by Muslim Turkey and Catholic France, which also became indirectly responsible for the expansion of Protestantism.

But Charles V had long periods of peace when he could have opposed the expansion of Protestantism. His famous temporizations have made him the subject of strong, objective critiques by Church historians.

But he ended his life well. He left aside all his possessions and goods and retired to a monastery as a penitent. He spent his last years there living a life that edified all Christendom. Did the good counsels of St. Thomas of Villanova finally move his heart? He used to say that St. Thomas had the gift of moving hearts. Did St. Thomas also bend his own heart of iron? It is a point to consider.

Someone could object: Why do you say that he had an iron heart? A man who makes concessions is a soft man and cannot be consider a man with an iron heart.

I would answer that long experience of life has shown me that nothing is harder to change than the heart of a soft man and make him an energetic man. It is harder to make a soft man energetic than to make an energetic man become soft. I think that a saint who could have made Louis XVI lose his softness would have performed a supernatural exploit greater than one who would convince Louis XIV to refrain from using force. So, the change of Charles V, who went to a monastery to make penance, may have been due to a good counsel of St. Thomas of Villanova.

Second, it is interesting to see that St. Thomas had so many ecstasies that he used to speak about them in his sermons. It is admirable to see how he reported, sincerely and nobly, without vanity, the manifestations of grace in his soul from the pulpit. Only a truly superior soul can do this because he understands that grace does not rely on his personal merit but only on the largesse of God.

This attitude is the opposite of a certain Calvinist way of understanding humility that has infiltrated many Catholic milieus. According to it, an individual is proud if he ever praises himself or lets someone else know of his qualities or gifts, because humility would always demand that he hide such things. This is not always true. It is a simplified picture.

I know, of course, that it can be dangerous to tell a person he can praise his own qualities. Often it happens that the person does not have an objective view of himself, but exaggerates his qualities and becomes proud. I know this, and I agree that we must be careful about encouraging this kind of pride.

But this is different from obliging everyone to hide his qualities in the name of humility. You can see in the life of St. Thomas of Villanova how he made a beautiful and natural manifestation of the graces he received and the marvelous things God did in his soul. He could talk about them even in a sermon because he was detached from them and was glorifying God alone, and not himself.

In the richness of the Catholic Church, we can find the models for both the rule, which is to be silent about one’s qualities, and also for the exception, which is to praise one’s own graces and qualities in order to honor God.

This is another beautiful facet of the life of St. Thomas of Villanova.

St. Thomas of Villanova - 10th September 2008

Thomas García Martínez was born in 1486 in Fuenllana, Ciudad Real, Spain. He spent his childhood in the family home in Villanova de los Infantes.

A gifted student, Thomas entered the University of Alcalá at the age of 15. He earned a degree in Theology in a very short time, and was asked to join the faculty of this famous university.

His reputation as an excellent teacher spread, and the prestigious University of Salamanca offered Thomas a professorship in 1516. He refused the position, instead seeking admission into the Order of Saint Augustine.

He professed his vows as an Augustinian in 1517 and was ordained a Priest in 1518. Recognizing his leadership ability, his fellow Augustinians chose him to serve as Prior (local superior) and later as Provincial (regional superior). In this position, Thomas encouraged a more faithful adherence to the principles of Augustinian life. He also promoted missionary activity by Augustinians in the New World.

Thomas grew into a deeply spiritual life. He lived simply, giving away the small fortune that he inherited from his parents.

Asked to become Bishop of Granada, Thomas refused, preferring the simple life to a life of power and prestige. Several years later, Thomas was asked to become Bishop of Valencia. When he refused again, the authorities persuaded Thomas' religious superiors to order him under his vow of obedience to accept.

He reluctantly accepted, and became Archbishop of Valencia in 1545. There he found an archdiocese in spiritual chaos. He began his episcopacy by visiting every parish in the Archdiocese to discover what were the needs of the people. He then set up programs in which funds provided by the wealthy would help to provide for the poor.

The money his cathedral chapter gave him to furnish his house was given to a hospital instead. His explanation to them was that "our Lord will be better served by your money being spent on the poor in the hospital. What does a poor friar like myself want with furniture?"

He wore the same habit that he had received in the novitiate, mending it himself. The canons and domestics were ashamed of him, but they could not convince him to change. Several hundred poor came to Thomas's door each morning and received a meal, wine and money. When criticized because he was at times being taken advantage of, he replied, "If there are people who refuse to work, that is for the governor and the police to deal with. My duty is to assist and relieve those who come to my door." He took in orphans and paid his servants for every deserted child they brought to him. He encouraged the wealthy to imitate his example and be richer in mercy and charity than they were in earthly possessions.

In order to have a well-formed clergy, Thomas started Presentation Seminary in 1550. He established schools where the young would have access to a quality education. He turned his own home into a sort of soup kitchen and shelter, giving to the poor and the homeless food to eat and a place to sleep. For that reason he was known as Beggar Bishop and Father of the Poor.

Criticized because he refused to be harsh or swift in correcting sinners, he said, "Let him (the complainer) inquire whether St. Augustine and St. John Chrysostom used anathemas and excommunication to stop the drunkenness and blasphemy which were so common among the people under their care."

Thomas became ill in 1551. As his illness progressed and he grew weaker, he gave away all of his remaining possessions. As he lay dying, Thomas commanded that all the money he possessed be distributed to the poor. His material goods were to be given to the rector of his college. Mass was being said in his presence when after Communion he breathed his last, reciting the words: "Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit."He died September 8, 1555 in Valencia. His remains are preserved at the Cathedral there. He was canonized in 1658.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Sacremental Wine the Precious Blood of Our Lord

I had an email from a reader who wanted to know what is Sacramental Wine and is it different from regular wine. I am publishing this article courtesy EWTN



Wine is one of the two elements absolutely necessary for the
sacrifice of the Eucharist. For valid and licit consecration vinum
de vite, i.e. the pure juice of the grape naturally and properly
fermented, is to be used. Wine made out of raisins, provided that
from its colour and taste it may be judged to be pure, may be used
(Collect. S. C. de Prop. Fide, n. 705). It may be white or red,
weak or strong, sweet or dry. Since the validity of the Holy
Sacrifice, and the lawfulness of its celebration, require
absolutely genuine wine, it becomes the serious obligation of the
celebrant to procure only pure wines. And since wines are
frequently so adulterated as to escape minute chemical analysis,
it may be taken for granted that the safest way of procuring pure
wine is to buy it not at second hand, but directly from a
manufacturer who understands and conscientiously respects the
great responsibility involved in the celebration of the Holy
Sacrifice. If the wine is changed into vinegar, or is become
putrid or corrupted, if it was pressed from grapes that were not
fully ripe, or if it is mixed with such a quality of water that it
can hardly be called wine, its use is forbidden (Missale Rom., De
Defectibus, tit. iv, 1). If the wine begins to turn into vinegar,
or to become putrid, or is the unfermented juice is pressed from
the grape, it would be a grievous offence to use it, but it is
considered valid matter (ibid., 2). To conserve weak and feeble
wines, and in order to keep them from souring or spoiling during
transportation, a small quantity of spirits of mine (grape brandy
or alcohol) may be added, provided the following conditions are
observed (1) The added spirit (alcohol) must have been distilled
from the grape (ex genimime vitis); (2) the quantity of alcohol
added, together with that which the wine contained naturally after
fermentation, must not exceed eighteen per cent of the whole; (3)
the addition must be made during the process of fermentation (S.
Romana et Univ. Inquis., 5 August, 1896).

A.J. SCHULTE
Transcribed by Michael C. Tinkler

From the Catholic Encyclopedia, copyright © 1913 by the
Encyclopedia Press, Inc. Electronic version copyright © 1996 by
New Advent, Inc., P.O. Box 281096, Denver, Colorado, USA, 80228.
(knight@knight.org) Taken from the New Advent Web Page
(www.knight.org/advent).

This article is part of the Catholic Encyclopedia Project, an
effort aimed at placing the entire Catholic Encyclopedia 1913
edition on the World Wide Web. The coordinator is Kevin Knight,
editor of the New Advent Catholic Website. If you would like to
contribute to this worthwhile project, you can contact him by e-
mail at (knight.org/advent). For more information please download
the file cathen.txt/.zip.

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St. Peter Claver - 9th September 2008

Today we celebrate the feast if St. Peter Claver a Jesuit Missionary.



If anyone wonders what exactly it is that constitutes a Saint, he has only to read the life of Saint Peter Claver, in whom the superhuman life of grace acted so visibly as to create a person who seemed more than a man. This holy Jesuit, born in Spain in 1580, was during his novitiate a disciple of Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez, “the holy porter of Majorca”, a humble lay-brother endowed with the highest gifts of contemplation and prophecy. The two would eventually be canonized together by Pope Leo XIII in 1888, thus cementing the perfect union which began on earth and certainly continues in heaven.

Saint Alphonsus, when he saw the novice for the first time, was inspired to kiss his feet; and the novice embraced his spiritual father with a tenderness which would increase with time. A little later, the preceptor learned from a vision that this novice was destined to save a multitude of souls in the New World; he said to Peter: “How many peoples go astray for lack of ministers! The fatigue of going to seek them out is dreaded, but not the danger and crime which it is to abandon them!” Eventually Saint Alphonsus revealed his divinely revealed calling to him, to inspire in him an active desire to respond to the explicit Will of God.

After eight years of study and apostolic preparation in Spain, Saint Peter asked to go to the Jesuit missions of the Western Indies, and was sent to Carthagena in Colombia, South America, when he was thirty years old. He was assigned to accompany an elderly priest who had undertaken a ministry of service to the poor Africans brought to be sold in the market of that city. These poor strangers spoke several languages but shared a common misery, which Saint Peter soon saw clearly. When the holds of the boats were opened, “all one beheld was a confused mass of men, women, children and old men, sick persons mingled with healthy ones, and often, alas! living beings next to cadavers, for the crossing made victims.” The elderly forerunner of Peter, when about to retire, asked that the objects of his care be definitively confided to Peter Claver, a petition willingly granted.

Thus began forty-four years of unceasing dedication to their spiritual and material betterment by Saint Peter. He watched for the arrival of the slave ships, which brought from ten to twelve thousand souls each year, and never failed to be the first to go aboard, accompanied by his interpreters and carrying the provisions he had been able to beg. He greeted the living, arranged for the burial of the dead and the transport of the sick to hospitals. Having won their sympathy, he went to them regularly with his interpreters and taught them, during several hours’ time, the elements of doctrine, aided by pictures. Before he died, he had baptized 400,000. He put around the necks of each newly baptized child of God, a medal which would thereafter distinguish the Christians from the yet untaught.




Though this was his principal industry, he also spent many days in the nearby lazaretto — a refuge for lepers — and in the hospitals of the region. No infirmity repelled him; the Brother who accompanied him had several times a day to clean his cloak, on which he would lay the sick while he arranged their poor beds. It never ceased to emit a heavenly fragrance. He slept only two or three hours at night, and ate almost nothing. The poor were his beloved children and he their beloved father, whose visits were anxiously awaited and were always too short. Those who resisted him did not do so indefinitely; one man insulted him for twenty-two years, but at the end of that time fell on his knees and begged his pardon. The vision of his charity is certainly reserved for heaven; his biographers scarcely find words adequate to describe his heroic life. Pope Pius IX, who beatified Saint Peter in 1851, commented that never had he read a life of a Saint which so moved him.

After Saint Peter contracted the plague in his declining years, he was left infirm and partially paralyzed. He then had himself tied to a donkey and in that way went about begging and distributing provisions. He had a rude servant who often neglected him and mistreated him, but when his brethren offered him another, asked to be allowed to keep that one, who treated him far better than he deserved. Two years after his death at the age of seventy-four, his body was found intact, despite the humidity of the burial site and the live caustic covering it. Miracles proliferated there and elsewhere by the invocation of his name. A large church was built in Carthagena in his honor, and he became the second patron of his adopted land, Colombia.

Peter Claver understood that concrete service like the distributing of medicine, food or brandy to his black brothers and sisters could be as effective a communication of the word of God as mere verbal preaching. As Peter Claver often said, "We must speak to them with our hands before we try to speak to them with our lips."

Monday, September 8, 2008

Karan Thapar's editorial about the Orissa Situation

Please find below an article by Karan Thapar which was published in the Hindustan Times, Mumbai, Aug 31, 2008



Please click on the image above so that it can be read in its entirety in a bigger font.

Mount Mary Basilica Bandra Mumbai India


(Edifice of Our Lady of the Mount Basilica)

When I was a little boy one of the big churches we went to on the 8th Of September was the Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount commonly referred to as Mount Mary.

Although the current church edifice is just 100 years old, the history behind the current statue of Our Lady goes back to the 16th century when Jesuit priests from Portugal brought the statue to the current location and constructed a chapel. In 1700 Arab pirates interested in the gilt-lined object held in the hand disfigured the statue by cutting off the right hand.

In 1760, the church was rebuilt and the statue was substituted with a statue of Our Lady of Navigators in St. Andrew's church nearby. This statue has an interesting legend. It goes that a Koli fisherman dreamt that he would find a statue in the sea. The statue was found floating in the sea between 1700 and 1760. A Jesuit Annual Letter dated to 1669 and published in the book St. Andrew's Church, Bandra (1616–1966) supports this claim.

The shrine was renovated and given most of the present day features in 1904 as part of the golden jubilee of Pope Pius IX’s Declaration of the Immaculate Conception in 1854. The National Marian Congress, 1954, Pope Pius XII designated the shrine as a Minor Basilica.


(Interior view of the Basilica)

Every year before the 8th of September there is a Novena to the Immaculate Conception. 100 of thousands of people both Catholic and non catholic attend the novena in honour of Our Lady. Indeed, in India is is common to see many non-Catholics attend festivals of Our Lady. As a little boy I loved going for the novena when I could and attend the big mass on the 8th of September which was usually a holiday in our Catholic schools so that we could go for mass at Mount Mary. After this we would all go for the Bandra Fair but that is another story and another post.