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November 28, 2002


(Psa 98:7-8)  Let the sea be moved and the fullness thereof: the world and they that dwell therein. The rivers shall clap their hands, the mountains shall rejoice together



As we celebrate this great American custom this year, we must not forget God. We should pause this Thanksgiving Day and take time to pray, reflect on our lives and give thanks. Each Catholic should make a real effort to attend Mass and come to the Banquet of our Lord to lift up our hearts in Thanksgiving and to receive Him in the Holy Eucharist. Yes, we give thanks for the gifts of faith, the Church and the sacraments. We give thanks for the loved ones who are entrusted to our care and those who care for us. We give thanks for our country which has provided such great opportunities, security and peace. In all, we give thanks and rejoice in the Lord who has blessed each of us with so much and in so many ways.


Pope John Paul II said Thanksgiving was a good moment to reflect on the duty to protect the environment even while harvesting its fruits. "Safeguarding the created world is something everyone should feel involved in," the pope said during a Sunday blessing from the Vatican Nov. 10, the day celebrated as Thanksgiving this year in Italy. "We need an authentic cultural conversion in this regard: From an indiscriminate exploitation of resources there is a need to convert to a responsible administration of the goods of creation," he said. The pope, noting that the United Nations has declared 2002 the "International Year of Mountains," said environmental protection of mountains is an especially delicate and important task.


Nuns are safety net for poor
Being a friend of God
Harvest Trolley
Hard times find donors on other end of charities

SEE ALSO: Immigrants savor Thanksgiving rite

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 20- "On bodily vigil"

9. Long sleep produces forgetfulnes, but vigil purifies the memory.

November 27, 2002



A controversial Italian fertility specialist said Monday that he expects the first-ever cloned human being to be born in January. Severino Antinori told a news conference in Rome that a consortium of doctors had cloned a human being and that an embryo was currently in a womb.

“It’s the 33rd week,” said Antinori, who runs a fertility clinic in Rome. “I expect the birth for the first week of January.”

'Dolly' scientist embryo bid
Scientists Planning to Make New Form of Life
Cloning Livestock: the next step?
When clones kill the Second Coming
U.N. Treaty on Human Cloning Stalled

ANALYSIS: Science plays dangerous game with life


US states are facing the worst fiscal crisis since World War II as a slumping stock market and slow economic growth reduce tax revenue and drain reserve funds, according to a report issued on Monday.

The National Governors Association and the National Association of State Budget Officers said in a report that 37 states were forced to reduce their Budgets by about US$12.8 billion (S$22.7 billion) in fiscal 2002, which ended on June 30.

'It's going to be very tough sledding this year, and the problem is going to be around for a while,' said Mr Raymond Scheppach, executive director of the National Governors Association.

'Even when the economy recovers, this problem is going to lag.' States have confronted the financial problem by issuing more debt, boosting taxes and firing workers.

Cuts also have been made to state services. Massachusetts last month cut its Medicaid benefits by US$11.5 million and New York Governor George Pataki has asked departments to cut spending by 5 per cent.

Mr Scheppach said fiscal 2002 marked the first time since the 1940s that states' revenue has fallen from the previous year.

States Face $40 Billion 2003 Budget Deficit
New York's austerity plan hits almost everyone
Funds for a 'schizophrenic' economy
Stop the presses: Using play dough would be wrong
Easy Credit and Hard Times Bring a Flood of Foreclosures
Greenspan: Global Economy in Slump

ANALYSIS: The economics of war

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 20- "On bodily vigil"

8. The preparing of the table exposes gluttons, but the work of prayer exposes lovers of God. The former skip on seeing the table, but the latter scowl.

November 26, 2002


With applause breaking out across the church, a high-ranking member of the Roman Catholic clergy made an emotional return to his congregation for the first time since being cleared of sexual abuse charges.

Monsignor Michael Smith Foster received spontaneous applause as he walked toward the altar, shaking hands and greeting the Sacred Heart parishioners during Sunday Mass. He said it was their prayers and concern that soothed him when "I felt like I had been cast into prison."

"By your prayers you clothed my spirit. By your concern through letters and calls and action you welcomed me into your lives when I felt like I had been cast into prison," he said.

Foster was one of the highest-ranking clergy members accused of abuse since the crisis erupted in January, when court documents revealed the Boston archdiocese shuffled abusive priests between parishes. He is the presiding judge of the archdiocesan tribunal that handles annulments and canon law issues.

He was accused of sexual abuse and twice suspended before being reinstated last month.

"You stopped what was happening in your lives and gave your time and support to me. I am overwhelmed by your loving support," he told former youth group members and altar servers, who countered the abuse allegation from a former altar boy.

The archdiocese is "delighted" to have Foster back in full ministry, said spokeswoman Donna Morrissey. "We're going to work together to make sure we maintain and respect his good name," she said.

RELATED: Local Catholic Web site praising priests grows

SEE ALSO: Catholics hope policy will revive church's moral clout


Worried about a possible U.S. military attack on their country, hundreds of Iraqi Christians fasted Friday and prayed for peace, days before U.N. inspectors are to resume their search for banned weapons for the first time in four years.

Faithful of all ages attended special services Friday called by leaders of Iraq's Christian churches. About 5 percent of the country's 22 million people are Christians, with the vast majority of the population Shiite or Sunni Muslim.

At the Notre Dame de la Deliverance church in Baghdad's well-to-do Karradah neighborhood, some 500 Assyrian Catholics chanted, "Forgive us and give us peace." Many lighted candles in front of a a statue of the Virgin Mary as they headed into Mass.

President Bush has warned that Iraq will face military action if it does not cooperate with inspectors searching for nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. The first contingent of 18 inspectors arrives in Iraq on Monday and they are expected to resume their work on Wednesday.

In his sermon on Friday, Father Rafael Qoteimi said, "We are praying for our Iraq that has been suffering for years from war, and until this day we are threatened by war."

"We call upon world leaders to work for peace ... and let people live in peace and security," he said. "We raise our hands so that war stays away from us and peace prevails."

RELATED: Iraq: U.N. Plan Is Pretext for War

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 20- "On bodily vigil"

7. The God-loving monk, when the trumpet sounds for prayer, says 'Good, good!' The lazy one says: 'Woe, alas!'

November 23, 2002


(Act 1:8)  "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Sama'ria and to the end of the earth."


John Paul II encouraged those involved in the Catholic charismatic renewal to be "living signs of hope" witnessing to the presence of the Holy Spirit.

The papal message was sent to the Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowships, attending a congress in Rome, to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the phenomenon. The Catholic Fraternity is part of the Catholic charismatic movement, which today has some 80 million Catholic followers worldwide.

"Your contribution to the life of the Church, through your faithful witness to the presence and action of the Holy Spirit, has helped many people to rediscover in their own lives the beauty of the grace given to them at baptism, the gateway to life in the Spirit," the Pope explained in the message written in English.

"It has helped them to know the power of the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit conferred at confirmation," he wrote. "I join you in praising the Most Holy Trinity for the work of the Spirit who continues to draw people more fully into the life of Christ and to render their bonds with the Church more perfect."

Referring to the topics of the congress -- family life, youth and human promotion -- John Paul II said that these "cannot fail to open your hearts and minds to the needs of humanity as it struggles to find purpose in a world too often troubled by a 'crisis of meaning.'"

Given the situation, John Paul II stressed the urgency of an "evangelization of culture, in order that life may be marked by hope rather than by fear or skepticism."

He encouraged charismatics to be "living signs of hope, beacons of Christ's good news for the men and women of our time."


Catholic Life in the Spirit seminars are booming.

Thousands of Americans, many of whom haven't entered a church in years, now flock to these courses to soothe their curiosity, gain answers to their nagging faith questions or just make a few friends. By the time the programs end a few months later, many say they've met one very special friend: God. The growth and the results are striking.

A survey by the Hartford Catholic archdiocese's Charismatic Renewal Office found that Life in the Spirit participants were substantially more focused and prayerful. Before attending, 20 percent didn't pray at all; afterward, everyone did. Daily Bible reading increased from 25 to 80 percent of participants. Receiving the Eucharist weekly increased from 70 to 96 percent, and daily from 10 to 68 percent. And 90 percent claimed a moderate or significant increase in "gifts of the Spirit" such as love, joy, peace, kindness and others listed in Galatians 5:22-23.

But Eugene Dion, director of the archdiocesan Charismatic Renewal Office, said the greatest gift is to begin a personal relationship with Jesus.

"If that comes about everything else works out because, all of a sudden, Jesus becomes a very personal person, not a historical figure," he said.

Dion said Life in the Spirit participants come for all sorts of reasons.

"A lot of people are looking for more in their spiritual life and they don't necessarily know about how to get there," Dion said. "Some come just out of curiosity. Who's to know? Everybody comes for a different reason. We believe the Lord has led them."

Dion said not everyone is ready for such programs.

"We can pray and teach but how much do you want to allow God to come into your life and take control? And I believe a lot of people are uncomfortable with that. Some people aren't ready yet. Only God knows."

MORE: The Catholic Charismatic Center on the World Wide Web

RESOURCE: Life in the Spirit Seminars Team Manual: Catholic Edition

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH: "Life in the Holy Spirit fulfills the vocation of man."

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 20- "On bodily vigil"

6. A vigilant monk is a fisher of thoughts, and in the serenity of the night he can easily observe and catch them.

November 22, 2002

PADRE PIO: "Love the Madonna and pray the Rosary, for her Rosary is the weapon against the evil of the world today.


Teaching children the Catholic rosary - the joyful mysteries on Monday and Thursday, the sorrowful ones on Tuesday and Friday and glorious mysteries on Wednesday and Sunday - is already a lot of events to remember (15 in all). Now Sunday schools must decide how to teach the five additional events in the newest rosary prayers: the luminous mysteries, or mysteries of light.

In October, Pope John Paul II announced the first addition since the 16th century to the list of prayers that make up the Catholic rosary. The original prayers highlighted Mary and Jesus' lives and Jesus' works. The new prayers focus on Jesus' public ministry. The pope also named 2003 The Year of the Rosary.

The luminous mysteries focus on Jesus' baptism, first miracle, proclamation of the coming of the kingdom of God, the transfiguration and his institution of the Eucharist as a sacrament.

"The significance is a stronger connection to the actual living ministry of Jesus for worshippers," said Robert Jones, director of the Office of Adult Faith Formation at The Catholic Center in Raleigh.

"The pope is always looking forward and focusing on the ministry of Jesus," he said.

Officials at St. Stanislaus Church, St. Therese Catholic Church and Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Southport all said they have not discussed how to teach the luminous mysteries. Nevertheless, according to Debbie Marino, director of youth ministry at St. Mark Catholic Church, learning the new set of rosaries was especially important to the younger generation.

"The children were astonished that the rosary was changing because it seemed like such an old thing to them. Seeing it change gave them a little bit of ownership," she said. "The church has such a vast history, and this is something that is happening in their time. I think older generations haven't had that close feeling to what's happening in the Catholic Church. These kids are getting that benefit."


VIA Bernie O'Donnell: I wanted to share my rosary story with you.

It was about four years ago when my mother who was eighty years old at the time was in ill health. We all knew it was just a matter of time before she would pass on. I had consulted a dear friend at the time. He told me to put the brown scapular around my mothers neck. I did this and told my mother not to let anyone take it off. I also had called for a priest to administer her Last Rites. I was harboring some guilty feelings that I could have done more for my mother in the last few years of her life. After she had passed away the Rosary helped me to get through this very difficult time in my life.

The most beautiful thing happened to me during the funeral Mass. As the choir was singing my mother's favorite song, the Ave Maria. I was praying the Rosary and saw a vision of my mother and our blessed mother standing together on the altar. My mother was dressed in a blue robe and appeared to be a young girl. It was so peaceful and serene. I'll never forget it as long as I live. From that day on I new I did all I could to help my mother to get to the next step on her journey and the guilt was lifted.

I've been saying the Rosary daily for the past seven years and I can honestly say that it is the only weapon I would need in fighting the evil of these current times.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 20- "On bodily vigil"

5. Vigil is a quenching of lust, deliverance from dream phantoms, a tearful eye, a softened heart, the guarding of thoughts, the smelting furnace of food, the subduing of passions, the taming of spirits, the chastisement of the tongue, the banisment of phantasies.

November 21, 2002

A reporter once asked Mother Teresa the secret of her success. She answered that she wasn't called to succeed, but only to try. Success was God's business. Trying was her business. She wasn't called to find big solutions to poverty, but to live the little solution of personal love that would become a good infection in the hearts of other people.


Adventurous, funny and on a mission from God that only she understood, Seattle's hitchhiking nun, Sister Eileen Parks, wasn't satisfied to "sit by the side of the road and be a friend to man."

Each morning deep into her 80s, the nun would choose a corner on top of Queen Anne Hill. There she'd wait, watching passing cars and trucks and praying to "Our Blessed Mother" to send her the right ride to her "work" making lunches for the needy at the St. Vincent de Paul kitchen of Sacred Heart Church across from Seattle Center.

When she sensed the driver was safe, Sister Eileen wasn't passive. She stepped off the curb in front of the oncoming car to make certain it would stop. "They're not going to run over me in a veil!" she said with a laugh when we first met five years ago.

Afternoons, Sister Eileen would reverse the route, cadging rides home to St. Anne's Parish in everything from low-slung limousines with cocktail tables in the back to rusty trucks too high for her without a hand-up from the wheel man.

It never failed. Every morning she made it to work by 7:30 a.m. Every evening she arrived home intact.

It was only in the last 18 months that Sister Eileen gave up her wandering ways and went to live in a home for the Sisters of Providence and other orders. "Isn't it a blessing that you're not in pain?," Pat Warme (her sister and best friend) soothed. "And she laughed that, yes, but she'd already given plenty of that to others!"

Just before she died and already anointed at St. Joseph's residence, Sister Eileen woke up suddenly, sharp as ever and insisting she had to get up and get going despite a priest's admonition to stay in bed.

"Didn't you take a vow of obedience?" Father Jennings joked. "Yes, father, but not to you," Sister Eileen told him.


Nun adopted Polish defectors
Nuns Bring Hope to Mississippi Delta Towns
Nuns Arrested During Military Protest
This nun's spiritual message is delivered with a kick

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 20- "On bodily vigil"

4. A vigilant monk is a foe to fornication, but a sleepy one is its mate.

November 20, 2002

(2Co 12:8-10)  Three times I besought the Lord about this, that it should leave me; but he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong.


When Tim Devine fulfils his dream and is ordained next weekend, he will become one of the few blind Catholic priests in the world.

"When you are disabled, you have to push for your dream," says Tim Devine.

And he has pushed harder than most through six years of seminary training, so that he can be ordained in Ottawa next weekend as a Roman Catholic priest. He has also had to learn braille so that he will be able to read prayers and Scripture texts to parishioners.

Until 1983, when the Catholic church revised its code of canon law, the blind were prohibited from becoming priests, and relatively few have been admitted to the priesthood anywhere in the world since the changes in the law. He believes he is the first blind man to be ordained by the church in Canada.

Mr. Devine, 28, became Rev. Devine last year when he was ordained a deacon, and began 10 months as an intern at a Toronto parish. He has performed marriages and baptisms, but is still practising for his first celebration of a Mass. It is a challenge.

He was born with only three per cent vision and, from grade school in Kitchener through the University of Waterloo, the Dominican College and St. Paul University in Ottawa, he studied with the help of volunteer readers, books on tape, and a computer display that magnifies the words of a text enough for him to read with his limited vision.

After entering seminary, he realized none of these methods would help him read the daily prayers and readings to parishioners. So he learned braille.  He has memorized the words of the Mass, preaches mostly from memory, and can print out braille versions of the prayers and Scripture readings.

Rev. Devine can also do things the rest of us cannot. When the power went out in the Toronto parish one night, Rev. Devine kept on reading from his braille text. What tipped him off that something had changed were the surprised chuckles of the people in the pews.

"There are hidden blessings in blindness," he says.


The curious and the hopeful patiently filed into Memorial Auditorium for a chance to see the priest they've heard so much about. Father Zlatko Sudac, a Croatian priest, claims to have the stigmata -- bodily marks resembling Christ's wounds.

Sudac was ordained a priest in 1998. He says he received the mark on his forehead -- an indentation of a cross about an inch long -- in May 1999. The next year, marks appeared on his wrists, feet and side. He has said in interviews that the mark on his forehead can be painful.

"It doesn't hurt me, except when I am in prayer, and then I feel it pulsing. On First Fridays and at certain times, it's known to bleed and leak as though it is crying," he said in an interview with Medjugorje in May.

The Vatican has not recognized the authenticity of either the sightings of the Virgin in Medjugorje or Sudac's stigmata. There is also no official position on the other gifts the priest claims -- the ability to speak in tongues, prophecy, healing powers and bilocation (the ability to be in two places at once). Many of these same gifts were attributed to Padre Pio, a 20th century priest who will soon be canonized.

When Sudac walked onto the stage, many in the audience leaned forward in their seats. They soon discovered what many of his followers already knew -- on the orders of his bishop in Croatia, Sudac covers his marks.

But that didn't seem to matter. The slight priest with the long brown hair -- many said he looks a lot like how they envision Jesus -- has a powerful stage presence. Although he needed an interpreter, Sudac's message of love and hope connected with the audience. There was nothing radical about what he said -- his words clearly fall into mainstream Catholicism. He spoke passionately about Christ and following him.

"I thought he was just excellent," Ruby Hernandez said during a break. She concedes she was curious about the stigmata. "He was chosen by God to have it, and I think he was chosen so people would come to hear what he has to say."

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 20- "On bodily vigil"

3. A vigilent eye makes the mind pure; but much sleep hardens the soul.

November 19, 2002

(Eph 6:11-12)  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.


Shaking bundles of pungent leaves and swaying to a frenzied drum beat, hundreds of Haitians flock to a temple to beg the spirits for U.S. visas and lucky lottery numbers.

At a time of deepening poverty and despair, many people in this Caribbean country see only one way out. "Voodoo is Haiti's only hope," says Solange Patrice, a 19-year-old street vendor who took Wednesday off to make meager offerings of coins and candles at a voodoo temple. "We have nothing else unless you're willing to risk your life to make it to the United States."

On Tuesday at the Desermite temple, songs asking the gods for U.S. visas and lucky lottery numbers reverberated against the concrete blocks as believers stomped their feet. Some fell to the ground, believing they were possessed. "Open the door for us if it is closed!" worshippers wearing brightly colored satin scarves sang in Creole as they waved white candles.

Practitioners believe in a supreme God and spirits who link the human with the divine, and who are petitioned by offerings that include everything from rum to roosters.

"Every day we make offerings and people come to see me," said Exilien Francois, 75, a voodoo priest or houngan. "Even though they don't have much to give me or the spirits, we will keep praying. We have to."


COMMENTS ON "The Two Second Rosary" (11/15)

VIA Fr. Bill Malloy, OMC Ph.D: Who said that the Holy Rosary does not work!? What a testimony to its powerful and loving effect. I shall use this story whenever I preach or teach about the Holy Rosary, as this apostolate is a part of my priestly work. Please give my regards to its authors and thank them for sharing this event with us all.

Moreover, when we next pray, let us ask our guardian angels to pray and to join us in giving thanks to the Most Blessed Trinity for sharing such a glorious treasure with us. In these times of trial and chastisement, God is so loving and giving. While He fine-tunes our souls, affected by sin, He never promised that he would leave us defenseless in the face of the evil one and its servants (I call them stooges!) Whenever you can, please remind us Catholics that even in the face of persecution, slander, liable and trial, when the whole world rejects Our Blessed Lord, and Our Blessed Mother, that the Holy Rosary is one of the greatest treasures God gives us to fight against these difficult persecutions and evil times. Sure, they are terribly rough and painful; but, with Our Blessed Mother leading us to victory, she has already begun to crush the head of the evil one, Satan and its demons.

And you might want to remind your readership that while Our Lord permits these chastisements to help us grow in His Divine Grace, by letting the devil (yes it is real, I know, for it picked me up bodily one day, while feeding the poor and threw me into a barbed wire fence, while it said to me, "I will kill you, get out of here!") try us all. Believe me that is when the whole idea of the evil one stopped being just a theological concept, and became a reality that I will never forget. Fortunately, God knew what was happening; He sent an angel to me, who washed my gashing head wound out with water, and when the nurse came to see what was left of me she found no wounds at all, only the blood on my stole and all over the streets! All of the PhD's in the world never prepare one for that experience. This was a birth into a vivid interest in the unseen spirits, we now call angels or devils, for I was to meet them again in future work.

I share this with you and your readers to remind you that while God permits these tests to strengthen us, He never told Satan that He would leave us defenseless. He gave us the powerful Sacraments and many sacramentals, one of which is the Holy Rosary of which I speak. It never ceases to amaze me why many clerics, religious and such "learned scholars," desire to take away these powerful weapons away from the Holy Church and out of the minds of all of the faithful, unless they serve those evil stooges, of whom I wrote.

One thing is sure: The next time I am privileges to ascent the Altar of God at Mass, I will offer the Precious Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ to the Blessed Trinity for His Divine Mercy and Love, in giving us His treasures, one of which is the Holy Rosary

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 20- "On bodily vigil"

1. Some stand before earthly kings without weapons and without armour; but others hold staffs of office, or have shields, or swords. The former are vastly superior to the latter, for they are usually personal relations of the king and members of the royal household. So it is with earthly kings.

November 16, 2002


(Mat 18:10)  See that you despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you, that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.


“The Angels of Jesus do not sleep!” St. Gemma Galgani said one night to her Guardian Angel.

“Nevertheless, I ought to sleep,” the Angel replied with a smile on his face. “Where shall you put me?” She commanded him to stay near her all night, which he did, by stretching himself out above her head with his wings spread. The 22-year-old saint completed this entry in her diary by saying, “In the morning, he was still there.” St. Gemma, an Italian mystic who died in 1903, had the gift of seeing her Guardian Angel throughout her entire life and was shocked when she learned other people couldn't do the same.

Another popular saint who had a strong relationship with his Guardian Angel was St. Pio of Pietrelcina. He often sent his Angel on errands and regularly received the Angels of his spiritual children when in need of prayer, including those in Purgatory. One night, he had so many of these Angelic visitations that he complained in the morning, “Those Guardian Angels kept me awake all night!” St. Frances of Rome, who died in 1440, was another soul gifted with the ability to see angels in human form. In her diary, she once described an Archangel sent to protect her. “He resembled in stature a boy of nine, but only a little taller . . . . He had lively sparkling eyes and the sweetest expression on his lovely face. He wore a white tunic and over it a tunicle that reached to his feet, clear as light and of an ethereal color, something like sky-blue and flaming red. His hair was like spun gold, long enough to cover his neck and shoulders. . . .” That every soul has a guardian angel has never been defined by the Church and is not an article of faith, but is repeatedly implied throughout Scripture. The Catechism of the Catholic Church provides guidance on angels, section 328-336. The Church Fathers have provided us with the most definitive information about these guardians who stand at our side.

St. Anselm, for instance, believed that “every soul is committed to an angel when it is united with the body.” St. Thomas Aquinas wrote that not only do baptized Christians receive an angel, but so does every member of the human race. These guardians never leave us, even when we sin, and will accompany us to our eternal reward of heaven or purgatory.

Their power is best illustrated in the famous story of St. Peter who was freed from prison by his Guardian Angel. This Angel had the power to put the guards to sleep, make the iron chains drop off of St. Peter's wrists and ankles, and open every locked door in their path to freedom.

That our angels have the power to do these things, and more, is beyond dispute, but they will do nothing outside of the will of God.

How they operate is almost as fascinating as they are. They “speak” to us all the time, but with an interior voice — a mental suggestion — much like the Prophet Zachariah's revelations from an angel who spoke “in him” not “to him.” Some of the more specific functions they perform for us include:

Physical Protection

One of the main duties our Guardian Angels have is protecting us from danger to our bodies and souls.

They protect our corporal life by shielding us from sudden danger or come to our help when we are hurt. There are thousands of stories of “strangers” who appeared to people in times of danger just long enough to help them before disappearing from sight. For most of us, we will not know how many perils our Angel prevented us from experiencing until after we die.

Spiritual Protection

Our Guardian Angels' greatest job is saving our immortal souls. They do this by exciting pious thoughts or fear of God's judgment. They keep devils away, or at least prevent them from doing all they'd like to do. Guardian Angels prevent demonic activity by running a kind of “interference pattern,” through the interjection of good thoughts for evil ones, suggesting paths that lead away from sin, and strengthening us in times of temptation.

Enlighten and Instruct Us

Sometimes our Guardian Angels will allow us to suffer and experience trials or violent temptations in order to humble us or give us an opportunity to do penance and atone for our faults. For this reason, the Greek Fathers called the Guardian Angels “Pedagogues,” or better yet, spiritual directors. Even an accident will sometimes be permitted in order to give us the occasion for even greater merit, such as in the case of Tobit, whose angel could have easily prevented the blindness that plagued him for so many years. In Tobit's case, these afflictions are sometimes allowed in order to gain us greater merit.

Accompany Us Through Death

It is a common Christian belief that our Guardian Angels are working the hardest while we are in our final agonies, warding off the last temptations of Satan, which are never stronger than in those last few hours of life on earth. When our souls leave our bodies, it will be our Guardian Angels' duty to escort us to our judgment, then to purgatory if necessary.

If we are in need of further purification, our Angel will often visit us in purgatory to comfort us, and will go off in search of friends and relatives to remind them to pray for us and thus gain us the fastest possible release. At the end of our suffering, it will be this same angel who accompanies us to paradise.

Guardian Angels are said to be among the lowest choir of angels. Archangels, members of the next choir, are sometimes given to souls who will perform specific work for the Almighty during their tenure on earth. The next choir, the Principalities, are generally considered to be the guardians of cities, nations, churches and parishes.

Many saints in the course of our history have been known to never greet an individual without addressing a silent greeting to the heavenly companion at their side. During time of war and civil unrest, the faithful have turned to the angels guarding their towns and countries for protection and there are innumerable accounts of divine intervention attributed to these angelic sentinels.

That we are personally attended by an unseen power is a fact of life too often overlooked by the faithful. One can only imagine how much different our lives might be if we resorted more often to the ready assistance of our celestial body guards.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 19- "On sleep, prayer and psalmody"

6. In chanting with many, it is impossible to pray with the wordless prayer of the spirit. But your mind should be engaged in contemplation of the words being chanted or read, or you should say some definite prayer while you are waiting for the alternate verse to be chanted.

November 15, 2002


Pope John Paul II deplored the "new and fearful dimension" of international terrorism and made a veiled appeal to Christian countries to turn away from war against Iraq in an address to the Italian parliament, the first ever by a pontiff.

The 82-year-old head of the Roman Catholic church was greeted with warm applause as he walked with a cane into the Chamber of Deputies where some 800 people including members of both houses of parliament had gathered to hear the address.

Alluding to a possible US-led war against Iraq, the pope warned Italy and other countries "historically rooted in the Christian faith" to not allow themselves "to be imprisoned by a logic of conflict incapable of offering real solutions".

"Tragically our hopes for peace are brutally contradicted by the flaring up of chronic conflicts, beginning with the one which has caused so much bloodshed in the Holy Land," the pontiff said.

Turning to terrorism, John Paul said the violence had "taken on a new and fearful dimension, involving in a completely distorted way the great religions."

"The world's religions are challenged to show all their rich potential for peace by directing, and, as it were 'converting' towards mutual understanding, the cultures and civilizations which draw inspiration from them," he said.

The pope touched on social issues, in particular unemployment affecting the young, the declining birthrate which he said must be reversed and overcrowding in prisons which he said could be alleviated through reduced sentences.



Yesterday we boarded a Boeing 757 (full of people - about 280) at Raleigh, NC about 4 pm and weather had been bad (rain and wind all day with huge thunderheads). I had asked Blessed Mother to spread Her Mantle of Protection over the plane and started saying a Rosary before boarding and asked Her to protect everyone on board. I felt at the time that Cindy and I were the only ones praying on that flight as we boarded - most everyone started sleeping since we were delayed 40 minutes due to bad weather in Atlanta and Raleigh - part of the storm system that generated 70 tornados.

On take-off, the nose wheel had started to lift off and I would estimate the plane was going at least 140 knots when the pilot slammed on brakes and reversed thrusters(and since the runway was wet and it was raining the huge plane started skidding but somehow the pilot held it on the runway). The plane shuddered several times and finally stopped about 100 feet to 150 feet from the crash barrier at the end of the runway. If it had been two seconds later we would have crashed into the barrier and if he had taken off two seconds sooner we would have lifted-off and been hit by a wind shear (which is a violent downdraft in which the plane loses all lift and gets behind power curve and will crash). I felt a violent wind hit the plane at end of the runway as we came to a stop (alot of rain and could not see anything).

The pilot came on and it a calm voice said: "A new high-tech device had given a warning of a Wind Shear over the runway and he thought the device was of great benefit. He said the plane was fine and had no mechanical problems but we would have to wait until the brakes were checked." All other take-offs were cancelled and we were directed to a new runway.

I thanked Blessed Mother for interceding on the Two-Second Rosary. Later we took off again with no problems and and the sun started shining at 22,000 feet and I imagined it to be like a pink and blue mantle around the plane.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 19- "On sleep, prayer and psalmody"

5. It is possible for all to pray with a congregation; for many it is more suitable to pray with a single kindred spirit; solitary prayer is for the very few.

November 14, 2002


My brother bishops, my sisters and brothers in Christ, in a few short weeks during the season of Advent, we shall listen again to the opening words of the 40th chapter of the Book of Isaiah. The prophet is speaking in the name of God to the people of Israel who have long been in exile in Babylon.

The Israelites are broken and afraid; they are dispirited and uncertain of their future. They needed a word of hope. Isaiah steps into their midst and declares in God's name: ``Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God.'' The times in which we live are likewise characterized by fear and uncertainty, and there are many reasons for this anxiety. The signs of the times are painfully obvious:

Like the Israelites of old, we too need a word of hope. We need the word that God spoke through Isaiah: "Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God.'' But we also need to know what we are seeking.

The comfort that God has in mind for his people is not what the word "comfort'' often implies: a life of passive ease. On the contrary, the comfort that the Lord is offering is a life of complete and active engagement with God in Jesus Christ.

It is a matter of letting go of the slavery of our earthly desires and dreams, and letting God's plan and dream for his people take hold of us. It is a matter of allowing ourselves to be formed as the people of God by pursuing, with God's grace, the call to holiness that each of us has received from God.

In the end, it is a matter of engaging in deep communion with God so that we will be nourished into an ecclesial communion that has as its mission the proclamation and living out of the Gospel of Christ.

MORE FROM THE USCCB: A Matter of the Heart

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Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 19- "On sleep, prayer and psalmody"

4. The really obedient man often suddenly becomes radiant and exultant during prayer; for this wrestler was prepared and fired beforehand by his sincere service.

November 13, 2002


"With signs of war with Iraq increasing every day, lost amidst the fog of war are a small, once proud and once very influential people.

Almost completely ignored in the current discussions are 1.2 million Assyrian Christians. Scattered throughout Iraq, but with many near the city of Nineveh, currently known as Mosul, these remnants of the great Assyrian Empire are frozen in time.

It is their history that is little known. It was to them that Jonah came to bring the message of repentance and they repented. It was to them that the Apostle Thomas came and their King Abgar repented for his people and Assyria in the first century became the first Christian nation."

Those are the words of Ken Joseph, Jr., a Christian missionary in Japan and grandson of Stephen Joseph, an Assyrian Christian who fled a Kurdish massacre in 1919 which destroyed two- thirds of the nation. Stephen came to America, settling in Chicago, and for 50 years to the day he died, awoke at night screaming of terrors he refused to describe to his descendants.

Does another massacre lie ahead for today's Assyrians, the second largest group of Christians in the Middle East, second only to Egypt's Christians? What could happen to the Iraqi Christians if war breaks out?

Saddam might exact revenge on the people of northern Iraq with more poison gas attacks. After Saddam, the fate of Christians in the hands of militant Muslim majorities could be horrific. There are three warring Muslim factions in Iraq. Three-quarters of the Arab population are Shi'ah Muslims, but political power is held by minority Sunni Muslims loyal to Saddam, who assassinated Shi'ah leaders and blocked access to many Shi'ah mosques. The Muslim Kurds are implacable foes of both Sunni and Shi'ah.

In a post-Saddam Iraq, the one thing 21 million Muslims might agree upon is to snuff out the million Christians in the world's oldest Christian community.


U.S. bishops to draft statement in opposition to possible Iraq invasion
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Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 19- "On sleep, prayer and psalmody"

2. Just as over-drinking is a matter of habit, so too from habit comes over-sleeping. Therefore we must struggle with the question of sleep, especially in the early days of obedience, because a long-standing habit is difficult to cure.

November 12, 2002


Al-Qaeda planned to assassinate Pope John Paul II on two occasions during visits made or planned by the Pontiff to the Philippines in 1995 and 1999, The Times of London reported today.

Masterminding the assassination attempts was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, also accused of plotting the September 11 attacks on the US, who was in the Philippines during both papal visits, the newspaper reported.

Although the 1995 plot had been publicised and attributed to local terrorists, the 1999 attempt had been kept secret, the newspaper reported.

Months were spent planning the attacks, the first of which involved planting a bomb in a park where the Pope was due to speak. However the bomb exploded prematurely in a Manila apartment. A police search of the Manila apartment yielded additional bomb-making equipment and a laser-guided sniper rifle.

Cancellation of the Pope's 1999 visit thwarted the second attempt, the newspaper reported.

Terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna told The Times: "One thing you should remember about al-Qaeda - when they didn't destroy the World Trade Centre first time around, they came back to finish it off. That is how it was with the Pope in the Philippines."



EXCERPT: "We have been searching to see if there is any truth to some more dramatic prophecies attributed to St. Bridget. According to one account, she prophesied that "when the Feast of St. Mark shall fall on Easter, the Feast of St. Anthony on Pentecost, and that of St. John on Corpus Christi, the whole world shall cry, 'Woe!'"

EDITOR'S NOTE: It is quite possible that this prophecy has already been fulfilled.  Research shows that when the Feast of St. Mark falls on Easter, each of the other feasts also falls on the correct day. Easter on April 25 occurs in: 1666, 1734, 1886, 1943, 2038, 2190.

An account of the events of World War II in 1943 certainly appears to fulfill the prophetic word of St. Bridget.


Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 19- "On sleep, prayer and psalmody"

1. Sleep is a particular state of nature, an image of death, inactivity of the senses. Sleep is one, but, like desire, its sources and occasions are many; that is to say, it comes from nature, from food, from demons, or perhaps, sometimes, from extreme and prolonged fasting, through which the flesh is weakened and at last longs for the consolation of sleep.

November 9, 2002


(Rev 6:3-4)  When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, "Come!" And out came another horse, bright red; its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that men should slay one another; and he was given a great sword.


President Bush warned Iraq on Friday that it would face "the severest consequences" if it defies the terms of a U.N. Security Council resolution requiring Baghdad to disarm. "The resolution approved today presents the Iraqi regime with a test, a final test. Iraq must now without delay or negotiations fully disarm," he said.

Shortly after the Security Council gave unanimous approval to a resolution Bush called for on Sept. 12, the president used threatening language against Iraq during an appearance at the White House, saying the United States will lead a coalition to disarm Iraq if it does not do so itself.

Bush said Iraqi President Saddam Hussein must make no attempt to negotiate the resolution's terms for allowing U.N. inspectors back into the country. "His cooperation must be prompt and unconditional or he will face the severest consequences," said Bush, with Secretary of State Colin Powell standing beside him in the Rose Garden.

Bush gave no sign that he felt obligated to return to the Security Council for approval of any military action should he judge it necessary. A senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity at a White House briefing, laid down a low threshold for finding Iraq guilty of violating the resolution and said "we will know rather quickly whether or not they are cooperating."

FACTBOX- Key demands in Iraq U.N. resolution


Faced with the prospect of war against Iraq, many in mainstream churches view the idea of a preemptive strike as morally at odds with the teachings of the Prince of Peace.

Fifteen years have passed since the Rev. Robert Edgar stepped down from his seat on the U.S. House of Representatives. But the United Methodist minister still has his foot in the door of the Capitol's dealings.

As general secretary for the National Council of Churches, Edgar is a leader in the increasingly broad religious opposition to war on Iraq. Some are calling the movement the biggest show of solidarity against war since Vietnam.

Never mind that Congress has already given Bush the go-ahead. Edgar and others believe there's still time to change military course. A protest last week drew more than 200,000 to the White House. Continually, petitions are being signed and more proclamations issued. Edgar plans to meet with at least 40 religious leaders in New York on Monday to organize protest efforts nationwide.

The faithful have appealed to Bush's own sense of religion. Both Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney are Methodists. It was no small occurrence, then, that the United Methodist Conference of Bishops issued a statement critical of Bush and Cheney, calling a move toward war "reckless."

"United Methodists have a particular duty to speak out against an unprovoked attack. President Bush and Vice President Cheney are members of our denomination. Our silence now could be interpreted as tacit approval of war. Christ came to break old cycles of revenge and violence. Too often, we have said we worship and follow Jesus but have failed to change our ways."

Others have been equally forthright in their opposition. As if to prove the church means business, Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, hand-delivered a letter of opposition to national security adviser Condoleezza Rice in September.

Catholics, as well as others opposed to war on Iraq, contrasted this situation to the war on Afghanistan, to which Catholic bishops were not opposed.

"We believe Iraq is a different case," the letter said. "Given the precedents and risks involved, we find it difficult to justify extending the war on terrorism to Iraq, absent clear and adequate evidence of Iraqi involvement in the attacks of Sept. 11 or of an imminent attack of a grave nature."

RELATED: Archbishop Not In Favor of Iraq War


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SUMMARY: The Iraqi Threat: At A Glance


The following was a private message for the President of the United States, but due to the efforts to get it to the President it inadvertently became public. Christina apologizes for it becoming public. Christina said she will keep the contents of this message in her prayers and she asks that anyone who reads the contents of this message to please keep it in their prayers.

October 23, 2002 12:05 A.M. Ireland time.
The Blessed Mother desires that the President of the United States not come forward to order an attack on any country. The consequences of this would be drastic. This is what China is waiting for. One slip of your pen would mark the start of the Third World War. This is not what God desires.

This message is to be delivered to the President within 24 hours. God will make it possible.

Christina was given an awareness of China and other countries who want to conquer America.

Message received later on the night of October 23, 2002 at 12:20 A.M.
There are cells of Al Queda all over the United States and in many other countries. They are plotting their next scare tactics. They have many in mind. They plot against the United States and many countries. Their deepest hatred is for the United States. Their first action is fear followed by terror followed by bloodshed.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 18- "On insensibility"

4. I have seen many people hear about death and the terrible judgment and shed tears, and with the tears still in their eyes they eagerly go to a meal. And I was amazed how this tyrant, this stinkpot of gluttony, by complete insensibility, can grow so strong as to turn the tables even on mourning.

November 8, 2002

(John 10:27-29)  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.


Pope John Paul II urged local churches to reach out to those "who do not yet deeply know the love that is hidden in the Eucharist," calling the sacrament a source of life and church unity.

Speaking to participants in a plenary meeting of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses, the pope said renewed emphasis on the Eucharist was especially important because of "threatening clouds" over humanity at the start of the third millennium.

"Already one sees clearly how necessary the light of Jesus Christ and the life he offers in the Eucharist are for all humanity and for the church," he said.

The pope encouraged the committee's members to persevere "with commitment and passion, animating and diffusing eucharistic devotion in all its expressions."

SEE ALSO: Without God, Culture Is Overwhelmed by Fear, Pope Says


More than 400 Roman Catholic priests are gathering at a Butlins holiday camp to address the issue of dwindling congregations.

The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, is preaching to the clergymen and women at Butlins in Bognor Regis, West Sussex. It is the first time every priest from the Westminster Diocese, which includes Hertfordshire, has gathered in one place for such a meeting.

The aim of the historic three-day conference is to seek approval for a far reaching bid to encourage worshipers to "renew" their faith. The Cardinal hopes the priests will embrace his vision and work with their local communities to involve thousands more Roman Catholic members in church life.

In a keynote speech to a conference mass, the Cardinal will invite priests to take up challenges laid down by the Pope and "launch out into the deep".

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 18- "On insensibility"

2. Insensibility is negligence that has become habit, benumbed thought, the child of predispositions, a snare for zeal, the noose of courage, ignorance of compunction, a door to despair, the mother of forgetfulness which gives birth to loss of the fear of God. And then she becomes the daughter of her own daughter.

November 7, 2002


The Vatican is giving $400,000 to Roman Catholic causes in Israel and the West Bank to try to improve life for Christians there and persuade them not to flee the ongoing fighting.

Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, head of Cor Unum, the Vatican's charity arm, will deliver the money and an appeal for Christians to remain in the region during a visit this week, the Vatican said Wednesday.

A statement from Cor Unum noted that religious tourism to the region had fallen precipitously in the past two years of fighting, particularly after a standoff earlier this year between Israeli troops and Palestinians holed up in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

"It's understandable why there is a desire among many to leave the country," the statement said. "The safekeeping of holy sites, however, would be seriously put in danger if Christians abandoned them."

Cordes will deliver the funds along with an appeal from Pope John Paul II to "encourage Christians to remain in these tortured places, like so many missionaries already are doing in heroic fashion," the statement said.

The money will be divided among the Jerusalem Patriarchate, the Franciscan order, Caritas and various Catholic communities in the region.

"The support is offered to improve the condition of life and work in their lands, to be a fertile seed of humanity and peace," the statement said.

The money was collected in an appeal launched by John Paul after the Sept. 11 attacks to help comfort victims of war and terrorism.

RELATED: Arafat predicts worsening of conflict with Israel


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Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 18- "On insensibility"

1. Insensibility both in the body and in the spirit is deadened feeling, which, from long sickness and negligence, lapses into loss of feeling.

November 6, 2002


This week, Muslims around the world mark the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, the most significant Islamic holiday. Muslims believe that Ramadan -- the ninth month of the Islamic year, as determined by the lunar calendar -- represents the time when the Koran was sent down from heaven as "a guidance unto men, a declaration of direction, and a means of salvation." During this month, Muslims observe the fast of Ramadan and other Islamic traditions.

During the fast of Ramadan, as always, significant restrictions are placed on the daily lives of Muslims. They are not allowed to eat or drink during daylight hours. Smoking and sexual relations are also forbidden during daytime. At the end of each day, the fast is broken with prayer and a meal called the 'iftar.' In the evening following the iftar, it is customary for Muslims to go out visiting family and friends; most of them spend their time praying and reading the Koran.

Among the good deeds widely practiced during Ramadan are generosity to the poor and forgiveness toward enemies. Ramadan is widely believed to be a month of peace and reconciliation. Historically, warring troops often took suspended fighting during the holy month or called a truce. A war between rival Muslim countries or groups has almost never been declared during Ramadan.

Some Islamic scholars, however, say military actions during Ramadan are forbidden neither by the Koran nor by the Prophet's hadiths. Imran Waheed of Hizb ut-Tahrir, a fundamentalist Islamic group that aims to create a Islamic caliphate throughout the Muslim world, said history demonstrates that Ramadan cannot realistically be described as a month of peace. "Well, actually, you say that Ramadan is a month of peace, but the reality is that Ramadan was in fact a month of victory for the Muslims. It was a month in which there were many battles that the Muslims fought, both in self-defense and also to carry Islam to the world. Many of the famous battles -- the battle of Salaheddin against the Crusaders, for example -- took place in Ramadan. The first battle of the Prophet Muhammad took place in Ramadan, and the conquest of Mecca took place in Ramadan. So Ramadan is far from being a month of peace. Rather, Ramadan is a month for Muslims to be active politically and intellectually. This is what Ramadan means for Muslims," Waheed said.


Ramadan to Start on Wednesday, Says Lebanese Cleric
President Bush Sends Ramadan Greeting to Muslims Around the World
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COMMENTARY: Ramadan: A Month of Peace?

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 17- "On non-possessiveness"

10. Waves never leave the sea, nor do anger and grief leave the avaricious.

November 5, 2002


VIA SPUC: Thousands of Catholic priests in the US have signed a statement identifying abortion as a key issue for voters. The statement on political responsibility also reminds public officials that they must not support "direct attacks on innocent human life". Fr Frank Pavone, director of Priests for Life, said: "This is just the beginning of a massive effort to mobilise Christians as never before to bring an end to abortion in this nation, and to declare that those who tolerate abortion are not worthy of public office." [Pro-Life Infonet, 4 November]

Every Election is a Tale of Two Virtues
By Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.


With the upcoming U.S. elections, Focus on the Family has released an interview with David Barton, president of WallBuilders ministry and an expert on the Christian roots of the United States. Barton notes that Bible believing Christians often fail in their biblical duty to vote, and even those who do vote often give greater weight to monetary over moral concerns - a perspective not in line with Scripture.

"A Christian has a duty to vote probably more than any other citizen because of the biblical principles that are out there relating to nations," says Barton, quoting numerous passages from Scripture. "Even when Christians do vote, they often don't vote on the basis of what the Bible says is right and wrong. It's more on what their pocket says is right and wrong, and so that creates a problem of not being able to enact godly or righteous policy within a nation," laments Barton. He concludes with a strong push for Evangelical Christians to vote.

See the full interview at:

SEE ALSO: Pro Life Voting List:

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 17- "On non-possessiveness"

8. Let us monks, then, be as trustful as the birds are; for they have no cares, neither do they gather into barns.

November 2, 2002


(Rom 8:38-39)  For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor might, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Catholics around the world pray for their deceased loved ones today. The idea for today’s feast has roots in Judaism during the last century or two before Christ. Praying for the dead appears in the Second Maccabees 12:39-45, which tells how victorious Jewish rebels prayed for their fallen comrades who had violated God’s law by carrying what Filipinos would call an anting-anting under their clothes. Those Jewish rebels realized that their comrades had trusted in something other the One God and for that reason perished in battle. So the living prayed for their slain comrades in the belief that God forgives sins and tempers justice with mercy.

The idea that sinners need some form of purification before they can rightly enter the presence of God was taken from Judaism into Christianity. By 1,000 A.D., the practice of the Churches in both the East and the West was to pray for the dead. During the Middle Ages, in the Western churches, the practice of praying for the dead was interpreted in terms of a legal model, that of criminal justice. That is, more serious sins demanded greater purification, even if the sinner had repented and received the grace of God's forgiveness before death. That was why it became a Medieval Western custom to ask priests to offer the Eucharist for deceased relatives, praying that God would lessen the length of the purification process. In time, artists began to imaginatively describe the purgation process. Writers like Dante and Milton offered their views in poetry. Visual artists conceived and painted imaginative scenes of Purgatory, the place of purification for sinners who still had to pay the price for their sins. The teaching about Purgatory and prayers for the dead met challenges from reformers like Luther and Calvin, but Catholics still felt they needed to pray for the dead.

Today, Catholics still pray for the dead although the Medieval legal justice model is giving way to deeper trust in the mercy of God. As Catholics and other Christians observe this day of prayer for the dead, they also reaffirm their faith in God. Praying for the dead can touch the hearts of the living and lead them to the transforming power of God.

May the departed rest in peace. Through the grace of God may we, the living, find mercy in the embrace of God.


Special Grace to Release Souls from Purgatory; during the period of time surrounding All Souls Day (November 2nd)

A PLENARY indulgence, applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory, is granted to the faithful, who devoutly visit a cemetery and pray for the departed each day from the 1st to the 8th of November (Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, Apostles Creed)

One must also go to confession and communion some time during this period in order to obtain a plenary indulgence. A PLENARY indulgence is a complete release from the temporal punishment due for sins already forgiven.

The Souls that you release from Purgatory will not only be grateful for your prayers, but they will in turn pray for you, and will be waiting to thank you when you reach Heaven...

- Priests of the Sacred Heart

RELATED: Indulgences - Great Treasures!!


VIA Divine Word Missionaries: The Catholic Church is celebrating the Feast of All Souls (Poor Souls) and the Feast of All Saints. It is a very special time in our lives because we remember and honor our deceased family members. During the month of November we remember in a special way our loved ones who have already finished their earthly journey. The Feast of All Souls is an occasion for us to intercede for our deceased parents, sisters, brothers, children, and friends. Our prayers, offered for them, are not only a wonderful way of remembering them but also a way of invoking God's mercy and blessing.

On behalf of Divine Word Missionaries I invite you to light a MEMORIAL PRAYER CANDLE for your deceased. To do so, visit our website at:

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 17- "On non-possessiveness"

6. He who has tasted the things on high easily despises what is below. But he who has not tasted the things above finds joy in possessions.

November 1, 2002

(1John 3:1-3)  See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God's children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. And every one who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.


I join the whole (Philippine) nation in the solemn observance of All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days.

These are the days by which the communion of the living and dead are made manifest. We pray for the dead. And the dead, who now dwell in the Lord’s peace are also interceding for us who are still journeying in this world. Indeed, whether living or dead, we are the Lord’s.

This is also the moment when we are called to examine the role of death in our lives. Especially now that senseless violence and tragedies occur, we are forced to confront death. It is natural to feel sorrow at the death of a loved one. But as Christians, we should also feel at the same time a firm hope that what are confronting is a separation that may be long or short but that it is not a total loss of contract forever.

Our lives are too precious to end without a trace. We believe that death is not an end. It is a transition. It is not a break in existence.

It is a transformation. We believe that when the hour of our death arrives, when our existence on this earth reaches its end we do not find ourselves facing nothingness.

RELATED: Fr. William P. Saunders Catholic Herald column- What are the origins of All Saints Day and All Souls Day? Are these linked with paganism and Halloween?


Via Richard: There is very little time left for you to register your deceased for the 500 Masses that will be said for them starting on Saturday Nov 2nd which is All Souls Day.

Please register them right away - as this is the perfect once a year extraordinary time set aside in a special way by the Church for the intention of helping souls receive graces in purgatory - and to assist as many as possible to go to heaven.

Just go to and then click "Register Your Souls Here"

Everything is all set up and ready to go - registering them will only take a moment of your time.

Also, please do forward this to your friends and prayer groups - so as many souls can benefit as possible from the tidal wave of graces from these 500 Masses that are going to be released for them !!

Rev. Francis Hubbard- "On All Saints Day, we focus on the fact that the family of God is the only group you can join and get a longer than lifetime membership".

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 17- "On non-possessiveness"

4. A non-possessive man is pure during prayer, but an acquisitive man prays to material images.

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Jubilee 2000: Bringing the World to Jesus

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