Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of GuadalupeToday we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas and Star of the New Evangelization.

Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe

O Immaculate Virgin, Mother of the true God and Mother of the Church,
who from this place reveal your clemency and your pity to all those who ask for your protection,
hear the prayer that we address to you with filial trust,
and present it to your Son Jesus, our sole Redeemer.

Mother of Mercy,
Teacher of hidden and silent sacrifice,
to you, who come to meet us sinners,
we dedicate on this day all our being and all our love.
We also dedicate to you our life, our work, our joys,
our infirmities and our sorrows.

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

We wish to be entirely yours and to walk with you
along the way of complete faithfulness to Jesus Christ in His Church;
hold us always with your loving hand.

Virgin of Guadalupe,
Mother of the Americas,
we pray to you for all the Bishops,
that they may lead the faithful along paths of intense Christian life,
of love and humble service of God and souls.

Contemplate this immense harvest,
and intercede with the Lord
that He may instill a hunger for holiness
in the whole people of God,
and grant abundant vocations of priests and religious,
strong in the faith and zealous dispensers of God’s mysteries.

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

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

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

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

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


Source: Prayer of Saint John Paul II during his first foreign trip as Pope. Mexico, January 1979.


Oración a la Virgen de Guadalupe 

¡Oh Virgen Inmaculada,
Madre del verdadero Dios y Madre de Iglesia!
Tú, que desde este lugar manifiestas
tu clemencia y tu compasión
a todos los que solicitan tu amparo;
escucha la oración que con filial confianza te dirigimos,
y preséntala ante tu Hijo Jesús, único Redentor nuestro.

Madre de misericordia, Maestra del sacrificio escondido y silencioso,
a Ti, que sales al encuentro de nosotros, los pecadores,
te consagramos también nuestra vida, nuestros trabajos,
nuestras alegrías, nuestras enfermedades y nuestros dolores.

Da la paz, la justicia y la prosperidad a nuestros pueblos;
ya que todo lo que tenemos y somos lo ponemos bajo tu cuidado,
Señora y Madre nuestra.

Queremos ser totalmente tuyos y recorrer contigo el camino
De una plena fidelidad a Jesucristo a su Iglesia:
No nos sueltes de tu mano amorosa.

Virgen de Guadalupe, Madre de las Américas, te pedimos por todos
Los Obispos, para que conduzcan a los fieles por senderos
de intensa vida cristiana, de amor y de humilde servicio a Dios
y a las almas.

Contempla esta inmensa cosecha,
e intercede para que el Señor infunda hambre de santidad
en todo el Pueblo de Dios,
y otorgue abundantes vocaciones de sacerdotes y religiosos,
fuertes en la fe y celosos dispensadores de los misterios de Dios.

Concede a nuestros hogares
la gracia de amar y de respetar la vida que comienza
con el mismo amor con el que concebiste en tu seno
la vida del Hijo de Dios.
Virgen Santa María, Madre del Amor Hermoso,
protege a nuestras familias,

Para que estén muy unidas
y bendice a la educación de nuestros hijos.

Esperanza nuestra, míranos con compasión,
Enséñanos a ir continuamente a Jesús y, si caemos, ayúdanos
a levantarnos, a volver a Él, mediante la confesión de nuestra culpas
y pecados en el sacramento de la Penitencia,
que trae sosiego al alma.

Te suplicamos que nos concedas un amor muy grande
a todos los santos sacramentos,

Que son como las huellas que tu Hijo nos dejó en la tierra.

Así, Madre Santísima, con la paz de Dios en la conciencia,
Con nuestros corazones libres de mal y de odios,
Podremos llevar a todos la verdadera alegría y la verdadera paz,
que vienen de tu Hijo, nuestro Señor Jesucristo,
que con Dios Padre y con el Espíritu Santo,
vive y reina por los siglos de los siglos.


Source: Oración de San Pablo II durante su primer viaje al extranjero como Papa. México, enero de 1979.

I am looking forward to returning to the Shrine to speak for the second year in a row.

Confirmation Retreat
January 18, 2015
Shrine of Our Lady of Miracles
Gustine, CA

Date: January 18, 2015
Event: Confirmation Retreat
Sponsor: Shrine of Our Lady of Miracles
(209)854-6692 (Marybeth Nunez - Office Manager)
Venue: Shrine of Our Lady of Miracles
Location: 370 Linden Avenue
Gustine, CA 95322
Public: Private

I am looking forward to returning to Holy Spirit Parish in Fresno, CA this weekend. It will be my second time speaking there. If you live in the area, please come join us. I’d love to meet you.

Advent Parish Mission
December 13-15
Holy Spirit Catholic Church
Fresno, CA

Date: December 13, 2014—December 15, 2014
Event: Advent Parish Mission
Sponsor: Holy Spirit Catholic Church
(559) 434-7701 (Mr. Tomas Tafolla, DRE)
Venue: Holy Spirit Catholic Church
(559) 434-7701
Location: 355 East Champlain Drive
Fresno, CA 93730-1273
Public: Public
More Info: Click here for more information.

Feast of Saint Juan Diego

San Juan DiegoToday is the feast of San Juan Diego, the first apostle of the New Evangelization.

Prayer to Saint Juan Diego

We come to you,
dear Juan Diego,
chosen messenger of
Our Lady of Guadalupe.
We ask you now to be our messenger.

Take this, our petition,
to the throne of God,
but take it first
to our merciful Mother,
and receive her approving sign.

Then your voice will be magnified
and will ring with the sweet authority of her own.

May you intercede on our behalf
and may blessings fall from heaven,
as roses fell from your mantle
and revealed to us Mary’s sacred image painted there
by the finger of God
for us to cherish forever. 

Saint Juan Diego, our heavenly messenger, pray for us!

Hoy celebramos la fiesta de San Juan Diego, el primer apóstol de la Nueva Evangelización.

Oración a San Juan Diego

Querido San Juan Diego,
escogido mensajero de la Santísima Virgen de Guadalupe.
Ahora te pedimos que seas nuestro mensajero.

Presenta nuestras peticiones ante el trono de Dios,
pero antes deposítalas en las manos de nuestra bondadosa Madre
para que lleven su marca de amor.

Ella engrandecerá tu mediación con la dulzura de su voz.

Pedimos que por tu intercesión desciendan sobre nosotros
las gracias divinas como desbordaron
de tu ayate las rosas que encomendó a tu cuidado
nuestra dulce Madre. 

¡San Juan Diego, nuestro mensajero celestial, ruega por nosotros!

Anniversary of Fulton Sheen’s Death

Fulton Sheen Memorial GraphicToday marks the 35th anniversary of the death of the Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, one of my spiritual fathers and patron of this website, whose cause for canonization has unfortunately been suspended.

I would invite you to join me in praying fervently for his cause to be reopened. I believe that many more souls would be saved as a result of this great apostle being raised to the altars.

Prayer for the Canonization of Fulton J. Sheen

“Heavenly Father, source of all holiness, You raise up within the Church in every age men and women who serve with heroic love and dedication. You have blessed Your Church through the life and ministry of Your faithful servant, Archbishop Fulton J Sheen. He has written and spoken well of Your Divine Son, Jesus Christ, and was a true instrument of the Holy Spirit in touching the hearts of countless people.

If it be according to Your Will, for the honor and glory of the Most Holy Trinity and for the salvation of souls, we ask You to move the Church to proclaim him a saint. We ask this prayer through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”

Just suppose that you could have pre-existed your own mother, in much the same way that an artist pre-exists his painting. Furthermore, suppose that you had the infinite power to make your mother anything that you pleased, just as a great artist like Raphael has the power of realizing his artistic ideas. Suppose you had this double power, what kind of mother would you have made for yourself? Would you have made her of such a type that would make you blush because of her unwomanly and un-mother-like actions? Would you have made her exteriorly and interiorly of such a character as to make you ashamed of her? Or would you have made her, so far as human beauty goes; the most beautiful woman in the world; and so far as beauty of the soul goes, one who would radiate every virtue, every manner of kindness and charity and loveliness; one who by the purity of her life and her mind and her heart would be an inspiration not only to you but even to your fellow men, so that all would look up to her as the very incarnation of what is best in motherhood?

Now if you who are an imperfect being and who have not the most delicate conception of all that is fine in life would have wished for the loveliest of mothers, do you think that our Blessed Lord, who not only pre-existed His own mother but who had an infinite power to make her just what He chose, would in virtue of all the infinite delicacy of His spirit make her any less pure and loving and beautiful than you would have made your own mother? If you who hate selfishness would have made her selfless and you who hate ugliness would have made her beautiful, do you not think that the Son of God, who hates sin, would have made His own mother sinless and He who hates moral ugliness would have made her immaculately beautiful?”

– Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

Immaculate ConceptionToday is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, which celebrates one of the great (and oftentimes misunderstood) mysteries of our faith, namely, that the Virgin Mary, from the moment of her conception, was preserved immaculate from all stain of original sin. This  Marian dogma was infallibly defined by Pope Pius IX in 1854:

We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which holds that the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the first instant of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace of the Omnipotent God, in virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of mankind, was preserved immaculate from all stain of original sin, has been revealed by God, and therefore should firmly and constantly be believed by all the faithful.”

- Pope Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus

Here is a clip from the highly acclaimed Catholicism Series, wherein Father Robert Barron visits Lourdes and discusses the Immaculate Conception.

“Secrete Santa”

Handpainted Manna Bottle, Bari image St. Nicholas Center Collection

Handpainted Manna Bottle, Bari image
St. Nicholas Center Collection

You’re probably wondering if the title of this post contains a typo. It doesn’t. I’ll explain why in a moment. As many of you know, today is the feast of St. Nicholas, the fourth-century Greek Bishop of Myra in Lycia (part of modern-day Turkey) who in the United States and other parts of the world has become identified with Santa Claus.

In the last few days, in anticipation of his feast as well as Christmas, a number of bloggers have commented on the many fantastical legends associated with this most beloved saint, most of which are apocryphal. However, there is one little-known fact about old St. Nick that I think you will find fascinating: The bone relics of St. Nicholas secrete manna.

St. Nicholas died December 6, A.D. 343 in Myra, and his bones were later transferred to a tomb in Bari, upon which the Cathedral of St. Nicholas was built. From the time of his death to the present day, an oily substance, known as the manna of St. Nicholas (Manna di S. Nicola), which is highly valued for its medicinal powers, is said to come forth from them.

From the St. Nicholas Center (Centro Studi Nicolaiani di Bari):

The “manna of Saint Nicholas,” which was once commonly called “oil,” is actually transparent pure water that is formed in the tomb of the Saint in the crypt of the Basilica in Bari. This phenomenon is not easily explainable. It is absolutely excluded that there is some kind of infiltration of water from the outside, for it has been proven that the casket containing the bones of the Saint is impermeable. Notwithstanding the various solutions that are arrived at from numerous hypothesis forwarded, whether supernatural or natural explanations of the phenomenon, the manna is an authentic relic, because it is a liquid that remained in contact with the bones of the Saint, and therefore explains the very reason why there is such a great devotion springing up from this relic. The manna also exuded in the tomb of the Basilica of Myra immediately after the death of Saint Nicholas, as attested to by numerous biographies and eulogies, all are in accord of the exemplary virtue of the miracle worker. The Legends of the translation likewise affirm that the urn containing the remains of Saint Nicholas of Myra was full of “manna.” After the translation to Bari the phenomenon continued uninterruptedly. It is also fully proven that the pilgrims coming to Bari are attracted to the tomb of the Saint in view of the fact that the “manna” is famous because of the miracles St. Nicholas accomplishes through it. Between 1954 and 1957, the authenticity that this liquid truly came from the bones of the Saint, as was commonly held, was put into question. In 1954, because of the renovation being done in the crypt, the tomb was opened and the bones were exhumed. Then they were placed inside an urn, where it remained exposed to the public to see and venerate for three years in the hall of the treasures (of the Saint in the Basilica). Sometimes it was observed that the bones “perspired” a certain kind of fluid; one time the linen sheet which held the relics was found to be soaking wet when the mortal remains of St. Nicholas were re-interred in the tomb. This linen cloth has been preserved up to this day. From 1980 onwards the manna is formally extracted every May 9, the Feast of the Translation (of the relics from Myra to Bari), by the Rector of the Basilica, in the presence of the delegate of the Pope, the Archbishop of Bari, an Orthodox Bishop, Civil Authorities, the Clergy and Faithful, after the solemn celebration of the Eucharist. The Bishop gives the blessing and after him the Orthodox Bishop too, to the excited assembly of the faithful, with the crystal vial containing the freshly extracted precious liquid, artistically handpainted and is called “glass of St. Nicholas.” The annual output of pure “santa manna” is no more than about 50 ml.

Hence, the Secrete Santa.

Read the rest.

Note: This post originally appeared in the Catholic Answers Blog on December 6, 2013