Monthly Archives: July 2016

St. Martha Is Not So Very Well Understood by Deacon Marty McIndoe

Israel 807Church built at the home of Martha, Mary and Lazarus

In all actuality, I believe that Martha has been given somewhat of a “bum rap” over the ages.  Yes, in the Gospel account of Martha and Mary, Jesus does seem to chastise her some for being anxious about serving, but if you really look at what happened, and the other Gospel accounts of Martha, you see a picture of a very faith filled servant who really loved Jesus.  You can also see how much Jesus really loved her.  Martha and Mary and Lazarus, all siblings, were all loved by Jesus and it is apparent that he spent a great deal of time in their home.  John 11:5 says, “Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister Mary, and Lazarus.”  They were special to Him.  It is also interesting when the three names are listed in scripture, Martha always comes first.

Beginning in Luke 10:39, we hear how Jesus goes to the home of Martha and Mary and Lazarus and how Martha immediately begins preparations to serve him.  She was definitely being a good hostess.  In Middle Eastern culture, this is a VERY important thing.  Meanwhile, Mary just sat at the feet of Jesus and listened to him.  Now Martha became quite anxious about all that had to be done, and how Mary was not helping, and she asked Jesus to tell Mary to help in being a good hostess.  Jesus then tells Martha that she is too anxious and worried and that Mary was doing the better thing.  If you look at the wording, Jesus is saying this in a loving, albeit difficult, way.  He said this out of love for Martha.   He didn’t want her to be so caught up in worry that she forgot about Him.  We can really learn a lesson from this.  Worry and anxiety usually do little to help us in our walk with Jesus.  They usually cause us physical and emotional damages.  We need to learn how to serve Jesus, but without anxiety.

The next time we hear about Martha in the Gospels, it is apparent that she learned the lesson that Jesus was teaching.  Martha is grieving the death of her brother, Lazarus, and even though she is sitting in the house with family and guests, when she hears that Jesus is nearby, she leaves the home to meet Jesus.  Mary stays home with the guests.  When Martha meets Jesus, she shows great faith and courage.  She tells Jesus that she fully understands the great power that He has and knows that even now, He can show that power.  It is an interesting conversation that Jesus and Martha have.  Check it out in John 11: 18 plus.  In the conversation, Martha shows her strong faith and Jesus leads her along to show even stronger faith.  The faith that Martha shows leads Jesus to declare that He is The Resurrection and the Life.  He then does one of His most powerful miracles and raises Lazarus from the dead.  We too need to have the faith that Martha shows.  We too need to let Jesus help us grow in our faith so we can see the powerful miracles He does around us.

The next time we hear about Martha, Jesus has come to visit her, and Mary, and the newly risen Lazarus.  The Gospel concentrates on how Mary anoints Jesus with costly perfume, while it simply says, “Martha served”.   This implies a great peace about her service.  There is no more anxiety, but simply service.   That is our call today, to simply serve Jesus and not be anxious or worried.  Martha, very much filled with faith, is now a true servant of God.  We should ask her intercession to help us in doing that.

The name Martha is not very common today, and I think that part of the reason is that Martha has, as I said earlier, been given a “bum rap”.  I was fortunate enough to have the Lord lead me to a Martha, my wife of 47 plus years.  She is somewhat like the Martha of the Gospel in that she loves to take care of the home, cleaning often.  I never had to worry about dropping in with a friend, the house was always tidy and clean.  And, like St. Martha, my wife worries and has some anxiety.  But also, like St. Martha, she is a person of great faith and I know that I would not be where I am today, spiritually, and physically, without her.  Service and faith are a great combination.   May St. Martha always teach us that.

St. Mary Magdalene, Pope Francis and the Dignity of Women – by Deacon Marty McIndoe

St-Mary-MagdaleneImage from

On June 10th of this year (2016), Pope Francis issued a decree elevating the June 22nd Memorial of St. Mary Magdalene to a Feast Day in the Roman Calendar.  Feast Days are reserved for Saints of particular significance, such as the Apostles.  In doing this elevation Pope Francis stated that because St. Mary Magdalene was the first witness to Jesus’ resurrection and then told the Apostles, she was a “true and authentic evangelist”.  He entitled his decree and the article about it “Apostle of the Apostles”.  The Congregation of Divine Worship’s Secretary, Archbishop Arthur Roche, wrote that in celebrating “an evangelist who proclaims the central joyous message of Easter,” St. Mary Magdalene’s feast day is a call for all Christians to “reflect more deeply on the dignity of women, the new evangelization and the greatness of the mystery of divine mercy.”  He further stated, “Pope Francis has taken this decision precisely in the context of the Jubilee of Mercy to highlight the relevance of this woman who showed great love for Christ and was much loved by Christ.”  Archbishop Roche added that St. Mary Magdalene, who “proclaimed life from the tomb, a place of death,” is a lesson for all Christians to trust in Christ who is “alive and risen.”   “It is right that the liturgical celebration of this woman has the same level of feast given to the celebration of the apostles in the general Roman calendar and highlights the special mission of this woman who is an example and model for every woman in the church.”

St. Mary Magdalene has often been seen as the unnamed sinner woman who anointed the feet of Jesus.   However, most scripture scholars indicate that this is not indicated in scripture.  She is the woman from whom Jesus cast out seven demons.  Father Wilfrid J. Harrington, O.P., writing in the New Catholic Commentary, says that “seven demons” “does not mean that Mary had lived an immoral life—a conclusion reached only by means of a mistaken identification with the anonymous woman of Luke 7:36.” Father Edward Mally, S.J., writing in the Jerome Biblical Commentary, agrees that she “is not…the same as the sinner of Luke 7:37, despite the later Western romantic tradition about her.”   There is no doubt that she has been slandered for many years.  We do know that she was a follower of Jesus and loved by Jesus and even helped to support His ministry.  She stood by the cross of Jesus with the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Her most glorious story is of her visiting the tomb of Jesus while it was still dark.

The Gospel tells us that she peaked in to the tomb and saw two angels there.  She then sees Jesus but does not recognize Him until He speaks her name.  Pope Francis said that her tears at Christ’s empty tomb are a reminder that “sometimes in our lives, tears are the lenses we need to see Jesus”.

Even though St. Mary Magdalene has been slandered for many years, she would probably say that it didn’t matter.  She saw herself as a sinner in need of God’s MERCY.  So should we.   As we celebrate Her feast, let us remember that we too are called to love Jesus with all that we are and to tell others about the God who died for us and rose again so we might have LIFE.





A Lesson at the Library by A.J. Avila


One of the more exciting things about having children is introducing them to the wonders of the world. Watching them make discoveries for the very first time often shows us what we’ve lost growing up.

For example, I wanted some more reading material, so my husband and I stopped by our local public library with our firstborn, who was all of two years old. Sure that watching Mommy browse the shelves in the adult section was far too tedious for a toddler, I suggested my husband take our daughter into the children’s room. Our library boasts three large aquariums there, vibrant with colorful tropical fish. Certainly she would find that more entertaining.

I figured I had hit it on the nose when about fifteen minutes later, she came back into the main section of the library, bobbing with excitement. “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy!” she squealed, grabbing my hand. “Come see!”

Her tiny hand cradled in mine, I allowed her to usher me into the children’s room, but to my surprise, she dragged me past the fish tanks and to the shelves of Easy Readers. “Look!” she cried, pointing. “They have books here!”

Books? At the library? Who would have thought?

Smiling at her enthusiasm, I suggested we examine them. What a wonderful idea! As we pulled title after title off the shelf, I sat back on my heels, enjoying her delight at opening them and exploring the wonders inside.

Then I came up with an even better idea. “Let’s take some of these home with us!”

Immediately her grin transformed into horror. Definitely not the reaction I was expecting. Puzzled, I racked my brain for the reason. Slowly it dawned on me that she thought taking the books would be stealing. Even worse, she thought her own mother would be complicit in such a terrible crime.

I explained that we wouldn’t be keeping the books. We would take them for a while, then bring them back.

That, apparently, was even worse somehow. Her lower lip trembled, and I could see she was on the verge of tears.

My pleas that this is what a public library is all about fell on deaf ears. I even offered to ask the librarians at the desk if it was okay to borrow some of the books.

“No, Mommy,” she choked. “Don’t!”

Well, I certainly didn’t want her very first trip to a library to be such a negative experience. “Okay,” I said softly. “Let’s put the books back.”

Only doing that placated her suffering.

In Romans 2:15 St. Paul declares that the law is written on our hearts. Apparently, it’s written so well even a two-year-old can see it.

Yet . . . how many of us are so horrified at sin as my toddler was that day? Do we become so inured to evil, so callous, that we don’t see the heinousness of it as we once did? It’s there every day, in our newspapers and on our television screens, yet don’t we just go on sipping our coffee as if nothing has happened?

Maybe Jesus hit it on the nose more than we realize when He told us we need to be born again and become like little children.

Maybe one of the reasons is so we can recapture seeing the world, and the evil in it, the way we once did.


Find A.J. Avila at Reflections on My Catholic Journey –

A.J. Avila lives in San Bernardino with her husband. She is the author of three Christian novels: Rain from Heaven, Nearer the Dawn, and Amaranth, which are available on Amazon Kindle with all net profits going to charity. (You can learn a bit about those by reading the synopses on Amazon.)

Freedom and Obligation – by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, adapted by Deacon Marty McIndoe


Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas delivered the 2016 Commencement Address at Hillsdale College this year.   I feel that he had a lot of great things to say for our current generation.  As a matter of fact, his statements are great for all generations.   Personally, I am very disappointed in many of the directions that this country and this culture are taking.  Justice Thomas is too, and shed some light on some of our difficulties and made recommendations to overcome them.  The link to his full address on the Hillsdale College website is given below if you wish to read the whole thing.   I have taken excerpts of some of the most important parts for this article.  For God and Country.

This has been a most difficult term at the Court. The difficulty is underscored by the sudden and tragic passing of my colleague and friend, Justice Antonin Scalia. I think it is fitting to say a few words about him. Many will focus on his intellect and his legal prowess. I do not demur on either count. But there is so much more than that. When I think of Justice Scalia, I think of the good man who I could instinctively trust during my first days on the Court. He was, in the tradition of the South of my youth, a man of his word, a man of character. Over the almost 25 years that we were together on the Court, I think we made it a better place for each other. I know that he did for me. He was kind to me when it mattered most. He is, and will be, sorely missed.

As the years since I attended college edge toward a half century, I feel a bit out of place talking with college students or recent graduates. So much has changed since I left college in 1971. Things that were considered firm have long since lost their vitality, and much that seemed inconceivable is now firmly or universally established. Hallmarks of my youth, such as patriotism and religion, seem more like outliers, if not afterthoughts. So in a sense, I feel woefully out of place speaking at commencement ceremonies. My words will perhaps seem somewhat vintage in character rather than current or up-to-date. In that context, I admit to being unapologetically Catholic, unapologetically patriotic, and unapologetically a constitutionalist.

In my youth, we had a small farm. I am convinced that the time I spent there had much to do with my firm resolve never to farm again. Work seemed to spring eternal, like the weeds that consumed so much of our time and efforts. One of the messages constantly conveyed in those days was our obligation to take care of the land and to use it to produce food for ourselves and for others. If there was to be independence, self-sufficiency, or freedom, then we first had to understand, accept, and discharge our responsibilities. The latter were the necessary (but not always sufficient) antecedents or precursors of the former. The only guarantee was that if you did not discharge your responsibilities, there could be no independence, no self-sufficiency, and no freedom.

In a broader context, we were obligated in our neighborhood to be good neighbors so that the neighborhood would thrive. Whether there was to be a clean, thriving neighborhood was directly connected to our efforts. So there was always, to our way of thinking, a connection between the things we valued most and our personal obligations or efforts. There could be no freedom without each of us discharging our responsibilities. When we heard the words duty, honor, and country, no more needed to be said. But that is a bygone era. Today, we rarely hear of our personal responsibilities in discussions of broad notions such as freedom or liberty. It is as though freedom and liberty exist wholly independent of anything we do, as if they are predestined.

It is all too commonly thought that we all deserve the same reward or the same status, notwithstanding the differences in our efforts or in our abilities. This is why we hear so often about what is deserved or who is entitled. By this way of thinking, the student who treats spring break like a seven-day bacchanalia is entitled to the same success as the conscientious classmate who works and studies while he plays. And isn’t this same sense of entitlement often applied today to freedom.  At the end of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin was asked what the gathering had accomplished. “A republic,” he replied, “if you can keep it.” Nearly a century later, in a two-minute speech at Gettysburg, President Lincoln spoke similarly. It is for the current generation, he said, to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

So many who have gone before us have done precisely that, dedicating their lives to preserving and enhancing our nation both in war and in peace, taking care that those who have given the last full measure of devotion have not done so in vain.

America’s Founders and many successive generations believed in natural rights. To establish a government based on the consent of the governed, as the Declaration of Independence makes clear, they gave up only that portion of their rights necessary to create a limited government of the kind needed to secure all of their rights. The Founders then structured that government so that it could not jeopardize the liberty that flowed from natural rights. Even though this liberty is inherent, it is not guaranteed. Indeed, the founding documents of our country are an assertion of this liberty against the King of England—arguably the most powerful man in the world at the time—at the risk of the Founders’ lives, fortunes, and sacred honor. Over the lifespan of our great country, many occasions have arisen that required this liberty, and the form of government that ensures it, to be defended if it was to survive.

At the risk of understating what is necessary to preserve liberty and our form of government, I think more and more that it depends on good citizens discharging their daily duties and obligations.  Having been a young graduate myself, I think it is hard enough to solve your own problems, which can sometimes seem to defy solution. And in addressing your own obligations and responsibilities in the right way, you actually do an important part on behalf of liberty and free government.

I often wondered why my grandparents remained such model citizens, even when our country’s failures were so obvious. In the arrogance of my early adult life, I challenged my grandfather and doubted America’s ideals. He bluntly asked: “So, where else would you live?” Though not a lettered man, he knew that our constitutional ideals remained our best hope, and that we should work to achieve them rather than undermine them. “Son,” he said, “don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.” That is, don’t discard what is precious along with what is tainted.

Today, when it seems that grievance rather than responsibility is the main means of elevation, my grandfather’s beliefs may sound odd or discordant. But he and others like him at the time resolved to conduct themselves in a way consistent with America’s ideals. They were law-abiding, hardworking, and disciplined. They discharged their responsibilities to their families and neighbors as best they could. They taught us that despite unfair treatment, we were to be good citizens and good people. If we were to have a functioning neighborhood, we first had to be good neighbors. If we were to have a good city, state, and country, we first had to be good citizens. The same went for our school and our church. We were to keep in mind the corporal works of mercy and the great commandment: “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Being wronged by others did not justify reciprocal conduct. Right was right, and two wrongs did not make a right. What we wanted to do did not define what was right—nor, I might add, did our capacious litany of wants define liberty. Rather, what was right defined what we were required to do and what we were permitted to do. It defined our duties and our responsibilities. Whether those duties meant cutting our neighbor’s lawn, visiting the sick, feeding the hungry, or going off to war as my brother did, we were to discharge them honorably.

As I admitted at the outset, I am of a different time. I knew no one, for example, who was surprised at President Kennedy’s famous exhortation in his 1961 Inaugural Address: “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” That sentiment was as common as saying the Pledge of Allegiance or singing the National Anthem, as pervasive as shopping at Army-Navy surplus stores. Today there is much more focus on our rights and on what we are owed, and much less on our obligations and duties—unless, of course, it is about our duty to submit to some new proposed policy.

My grandfather often reminded us that if we didn’t work, we didn’t eat, and that if we didn’t plant, we couldn’t harvest. There is always a relationship between responsibilities and benefits. In agrarian societies, that is more obvious. As society becomes more complex and specialized, it is more difficult to discern. But it is equally true. If you continue to run up charges on your credit card, at some point you reach your credit limit. If you continue to make withdrawals from your savings account, you eventually deplete your funds. Likewise, if we continue to consume the benefits of a free society without replenishing or nourishing that society, we will eventually deplete that as well.  If we are content to let others do the  work of replenishing and defending liberty while we consume the benefits, we will someday run out of other people’s willingness to sacrifice—or even out of courageous people willing to make the sacrifice.

.               As the years have moved swiftly by, I have often reflected on the important citizenship lessons of my life. For the most part, it was the unplanned array of small things. There was the kind gesture from a neighbor. There was my grandmother dividing our dinner because someone showed up unannounced. There was the stranger stopping to help us get our crops out of the field before a big storm. There were the nuns who believed in us and lived in our neighborhood. There was the librarian who brought books to Mass so that I would not be without reading on the farm. Small gestures such as these become large lessons about how to live our lives. We watched and learned what it means to be a good person, a good neighbor, a good citizen. Who will be watching you? And what will you be teaching them?

I implore you to take a few minutes to thank those who made it possible for you to come this far—your parents, your teachers, your pastor. These are the people who have shown you how to sacrifice for those you love, even when that sacrifice is not always appreciated. As you go through life, try to be a person whose actions teach others how to be better people and better citizens. Reach out to the shy person who is not so popular. Stand up for others when they’re being treated unfairly. Take the time to listen to the friend who’s having a difficult time. Do not hide your faith and your beliefs under a bushel basket, especially in this world that seems to have gone mad with political correctness. Treat others the way you would like to be treated if you stood in their shoes.

I have every faith that you will be a beacon of light for others to follow, like “a city on a hill [that] cannot be hidden.” May God bless each of you now and throughout your lives, and may God bless America.


Reprinted by permission from IMPRIMIS, a publication of Hillsdale College.

Link to Hillsdale College:





The Liturgy of the Hours (Divine Office or Breviary) by Deacon Marty McIndoe


The church has given us so many tools to help us to grow in our faith. One of those tools is the Liturgy of the Hours.  This form of prayer is sometimes known as the Divine Office or The Hours or The Breviary.    The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us, “The hymns and litanies of the Liturgy of the Hours integrate the prayer of the Psalms into the age of the church, expressing the symbolism of the time of day, the liturgical season, or the feast being celebrated. More over, the reading from the Word of God at each hour, with the subsequent responses and readings from the fathers and spiritual masters at certain hours reveal more deeply the meaning of the mystery being celebrated, assist in understanding the Psalms, and prepare for silent prayer.” (CCC 1177).  As a person who has prayed the Liturgy of the Hours for over 40 years now, I can tell you that it is an extremely good way to grow in our Catholic spirituality.  As an ordained deacon, I am required (just as all bishops, priests, sisters and brothers) to pray the Liturgy of the Hours.  I do not consider it a burden, but rather an extremely uplifting way of Growing In Our Catholic Faith.  Though not required of lay people, it is something that I would highly recommend.

Along with the celebration of the mass, the Liturgy of the Hours is one of the oldest prayer forms in the Church.  As a matter of fact, the reciting of prayers at different hours of the day and evening goes back into our Jewish roots. In the Psalms we find expressions like, “I will meditate on You in the morning”, and “I Rose at midnight to give praise to Thee” and “evening and morning and at noon I will speak and declare and He shall hear my voice.”  It also says “seven times a day I have given praise toThee.”  The early Christians continued the practice of the devout Jewish people by praying different hours of the day. As a matter of fact, in the book of Acts we learn that the Apostles prayed at midnight and at mid-morning (Terce) and at midday (Sext) and at mid afternoon (None). The prayers at this time consisted of the reading and chanting of the Psalms, the reading of the Old Testament, and then the Christians began adding readings from the Gospels and Acts and the Epistles.  The prayers we do today are very much like what the Church has done from the beginning.  By the fifth century, the Office consisted of Lauds (Morning Prayer), Prime (first prayers), Terce (Mid-morning Prayers), Sext (Midday Prayer), None (Mid-afternoon Prayers), Vespers (Evening Prayer) and Complin (Night Prayer).  We still have these prayer times with some minor modifications.  See the following list for today’s Liturgy of the Hours.

Current Roman Catholic usage focuses on three major hours and from two to four minor hours:

  • The Officium lectionis or Office of Readings (formerly Matins ), major hour
  • Lauds or Morning prayer, major hour
  • Daytime prayer, which can be one or all of:

* Terce or Mid-Morning Prayer
* Sext or Midday Prayer
* Non or Mid-Afternoon Prayer

  • Vespers or Evening Prayer, major hour
  • Compline or Night Prayer


The praying of the Liturgy of the Hours only takes a few minutes (about 15+ for the major hours) but is worth every minute you put in to it.  The Liturgy of the Hours can be prayed individually or in a group.  Usually when in a group it is prayed antiphonally, alternating from left to right sides of the Church.  Parts of it can also be sung.  However, praying it privately can be a real help in your own spiritual growth.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church says this about the Liturgy of the Hours:  From #1174 “The mystery of Christ, his Incarnation and Passover, which we celebrate in the Eucharist especially at the Sunday assembly, permeates and transfigures the time of each day, through the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours, “the divine office.”  This celebration, faithful to the apostolic exhortations to “pray constantly,” is “so devised that the whole course of the day and night is made holy by the praise of God.”  In this “public prayer of the Church,”  the faithful (clergy, religious, and lay people) exercise the royal priesthood of the baptized. Celebrated in “the form approved” by the Church, the Liturgy of the Hours “is truly the voice of the Bride herself addressed to her Bridegroom. It is the very prayer which Christ himself together with his Body addresses to the Father.”

So, you are probably asking yourself, “how do I pray the Liturgy of the Hours”.  It used to be that you had to buy the Four Volume book set, or abbreviated one volume set, but today we have it available on the Internet and through smart phone apps.  I own the Four Volume Set and used to use that continually.  However, about four years ago I started using the Ibreviary app and I love it.  There are also websites to help you pray it on a full sized computer or tablet.  Instead of listing these out, there are so many, I would suggest you search on “liturgy of the hours”.  You won’t be disappointed in what you find.

Prayer is at the heart of our relationship to God.  The Liturgy of the Hours is one of the best forms of Prayer that I have found.  I pray it every day, along with my rosary and attendance at daily mass.  All of these bring us closer to the God who loves us so much and wants us to have an abundant life.  Please try praying this beautiful prayer form.  It isn’t just for the Clergy and Religious.  It is for lay people too.  God bless you in your journey.












A Catholic – Christian Response to Violence- by Deacon Marty McIndoe

Israel 344This is the entrance to modern day Bethlehem, the city where the Prince of Peace was born.  It is only one reminder of how violence changes things for the worse.

Sometimes I find it so difficult to face the news of the day.  I know that there are so many good people in the world today that are doing so many good things, but then we are confronted with some people who just seem to be totally influenced by pure evil.  The recent attack in Dallas, Texas has caused me to write this post.  Five Police Officers were killed and six more wounded while they were trying to keep peace at a protest against police violence.   Police Officers have one of the toughest jobs in the world and the vast majority of them do an absolutely fantastic job.  I was really struck by the fact that when the gunfire began at the Dallas rally, Police Officers began shielding, with their own lives, the people that were protesting against them.  That is just an example of how the Police Officer operates.  He or she is trained to Protect and Serve.  In response they are often treated very poorly.

I think that this is just a small portion of the problem we have today.  People seem to think that acts of violence are a way of achieving certain goals.  We then throw in to that racial bias and you can see how messed up we really are.  We have groups like Black Lives Matter who say that Police unfairly attack blacks.  Now, there may be some occasions when this happens, but that is rare.  In 2015 Police Officers had to take the lives of 494 white people and 258 black people.  That hardly seems racist.  It is absolutely terrible that any lives had to be taken, white or black.  But, violence is a large part of our society.  There are some people who believe that making gun ownership illegal would solve that, but as a former law enforcement officer myself, I can tell you that people will get the guns whether they are legal or not.  There are plenty of statistics to show that certain cities that have outlawed guns still have a high rate of people being shot.  We really need to go down much further in to the problem to try to stem violence.

Violence seems so present in our society.  I used to work in the Family Court and I could not believe what some husbands and wives did to each other.  Even young children seemed to act out in fits of violence.  It is hard to find a movie or tv show that doesn’t have a great deal of violence in it.  I look at the video games out there, and they are filled with violence.  This isn’t something new.  Even when I was growing up the cartoons had a lot of violence.  We seem to be a people that are fascinated with violence.  Along with that, there seems to be a shrinking respect for LIFE in all of its forms.   Here in the United States over one million mothers take the lives of their children through abortion each year. Soon to be St. Theresa of Calcutta said, “We must not be surprised when we hear of murders, of killings, of wars, of hatred. If a mother can kill her own child, what is left but for us to kill each other?”  Euthanasia seems to be growing too.  We can’t be a people that JUST say, Black Lives Matter; we need to be a people that say, EVERY LIFE MATTERS.

So, as Catholics growing in our faith, how do we deal with this?  First of all, PRAYER is very powerful.  I was so moved at mass today when our Pastor dedicated the whole mass (including selecting special Eucharistic Prayers) to ending violence and establishing PEACE.  We must make it our constant prayer to ask for peace.  We also must change our lives to turn away from violence.  Instead of watching those extremely violent movies and TV shows, turn towards ones that offer less violence.  In our every day actions, we need to try to be more peaceful.  When that car driver cuts you off, don’t swear or raise a finger at him, pray for him.  We need to tone down yelling in our relationships within our family.  We must try to do things that lead toward peace.  Let us recall the words of Pope Francis, “May the God of peace arouse in all an authentic desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence cannot be overcome with violence. Violence is overcome with peace.”

Our Church has given us tools to help keep us from being influenced by the evil one who loves to lead us towards violence and death and disunity.  Attending mass is one of the best ways to grow in to the person Jesus wants us to be.  We become more like him, when we receive him.  The Sacrament of Reconciliation helps not only us, but the people we live with.  I already mentioned prayer, but I want to mention it again because it is so powerful.  I especially recommend asking Our Blessed Mother, Mary to intercede for us.  She loves us all as her children and wants us to live together in peace and in harmony.  We call her the Queen of Peace.   We must follow the Church’s lead in calling all people to respect LIFE in all of its form.  Respect for LIFE should be at the heart of who we are.  Be a people who say, EVERY LIFE MATTERS.  Stand up for the Christian values that have been taught us and live them out.  When we end mass we are told, “GO FORTH”; that means that we have now been empowered by the Lord and sent out to make a difference in this world.  We really need to change this world.



Divine Mercy and our Youngest Canonized Saint – by Deacon Marty McIndoe

StMariaGorettiJPIISt. Pope John Paul II visits the remains of St. Maria Goretti in 1979

Maria Goretti was born on October 16th, 1890 in Italy.  She came from a very poor family that struggled to make ends meet.  Her father died when Maria was nine years old leaving her mother and siblings to tend the farm so that they could live.  Maria stayed home and watched the youngest child as the others worked.  Even though it was a difficult life for all of them, they were faith filled people.

A young man, Alessandro Serenelli, was a neighbor and he began make sexual advances towards young Maria.  She kept putting him off telling him that it would be a mortal sin and that she would have nothing to do with his sexual advances.  Finally, after several months of this, he attacked her forcibly trying to rape her.  This little eleven year old girl fought off this 20 year old large boy.  He finally told her that he would kill her if she didn’t give him what he wanted.  She told him that she would rather die than commit this terrible sin.  Alessandro tried strangling her and she fought him and he then stabbed her eleven times.  When she then tried to make it to the door, he stabbed her another three times.  The youngest child in the house began screaming and Alessandro ran away.

When Maria’s siblings and mother got to her, she was still alive.  They immediately took her to the hospital, but the damage was so severe that they were not able to help her.  The doctor working on her said to her, “Maria, think of me in paradise”.  She responded, “I will think of you gladly.”   The next day, Maria told her mother that she forgave Alessandro and wanted to see him in heaven with her.  Shortly after, Maria died while holding a crucifix and staring at an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Alessandro was arrested shortly after the incident.  He not only admitted the attempted rape and murder, but also said that he had been trying to seduce her for quite some time.  Because of his age he was sentenced to thirty years in prison, instead of life imprisonment.  A priest came to visit him in prison and Alessandro went in to a rage and began howling and lunging for the priest.  After that, Alessandro hardly ate and was nervous and filled with despair.  It was then that Maria appeared to him in a vision and told him that she forgave him.  She was surrounded by lilies, the flower symbolic of purity.  From that moment on, Alessandro was a changed man.  Real peace entered his heart and he was an ideal prisoner.  After serving his thirty year sentence, Alessandro went to a Franciscan Monastery and they accepted him as a lay brother.  He went to visit Maria’s mother to ask her forgiveness.  Marie’s mother said that if her daughter could forgive him, she would also.  They actually attended Christmas mass together in the local parish church and Alessandro spoke before the people acknowledging his sin and asking for God’s forgiveness and the pardon of the community.

Forty years later, on June 24, 1950, Maria was canonized in St. Peter’s basilica in Rome.  Alessandro, now firmly converted to the Lord, attended the canonization.   He died on May 6, 1970 in the Capuchin convent of Macerata.  A few years before that, Alessandro wrote that Maria was sent to him to guide and save him.  He said that her words of both rebuke and forgiveness were etched in his heart.  He called Maria his light, and his protectress and he anxiously awaited seeing her and her mother in heaven.

Maria is considered a virgin and a martyr because she gave up her life to keep God’s commandments.  I think that her outpouring of mercy and deep care for the one who offended her show us a glimpse of the Divine Mercy that God pours out on us.  For an eleven year old, she accomplished so much.   God’s Divine Mercy triumphs in His Saints.


Independence Day – A Great Beginning, by the Grace of God by Deacon Marty McIndoe

20150201_145250The cross marks the spot where the first mass was celebrated in what would become The United States of America (St. Augustine, Florida).  This happened 211 years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence (1565).

            The final stanza of our National Anthem, “The Star-spangled Banner”, has the phrase, “And this be our motto: ‘In God is our trust.”  In 1864 the phrase, IN GOD WE TRUST, began appearing on our currency.  In 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Congress made the phrase IN GOD WE TRUST our National motto.  When you read any of our original documents, from the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution to the Bill of Rights you can see that the “fathers” of our country saw the need for God in the everyday workings of the people and the government.  Unfortunately today people and the government are turning further and further away from the recognition of God’s work within our country and within our personal lives.  This troubles me greatly.  I thought that for this Independence Day we could look at some quotes from our founding fathers.  After the quotes are listed, I have a link to a post written by my friend, Rich Lamm entitled, 7 Awesome Fact About Charles Carroll, A True American Catholic and Patriot.  This is found on the Epic Pew website, one that I really enjoy.  Make sure that you follow the link at the end of the article to check it out.  It is fascinating.


Samuel Adam

As the Declaration of Independence was being signed, 1776, Samuel Adams declared:

“We have this day restored the Sovereign to Whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His kingdom come.”

~ Samuel Adams (1722 – 1803) is one of the Founding Fathers of the United States.


George Washington

“It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”

~ George Washington (1789 – 1797), first President of the United States


Thomas Jefferson
3rd U.S. President, Drafter and Signer of the Declaration of Independence

“God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever; That a revolution of the wheel of fortune, a change of situation, is among possible events; that it may become probable by Supernatural influence! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in that event.”
Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XVIII, p. 237.

“I am a real Christian – that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ.”

The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, p. 385.


John Hancock
1st Signer of the Declaration of Independence

“Resistance to tyranny becomes the Christian and social duty of each individual. … Continue steadfast and, with a proper sense of your dependence on God, nobly defend those rights which heaven gave, and no man ought to take from us.”
History of the United States of America, Vol. II, p. 229.


James Monroe
5th U.S. President

“When we view the blessings with which our country has been favored, those which we now enjoy, and the means which we possess of handing them down unimpaired to our latest posterity, our attention is irresistibly drawn to the source from whence they flow.  Let us then, unite in offering our most grateful acknowledgments for these blessings to the Divine Author of All Good.”
–Monroe made this statement in his 2nd Annual Message to Congress, November 16, 1818.


John Quincy Adams
6th U.S. President

“The hope of a Christian is inseparable from his faith. Whoever believes in the divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures must hope that the religion of Jesus shall prevail throughout the earth.

Never since the foundation of the world have the prospects of mankind been more encouraging to that hope than they appear to be at the present time. And may the associated distribution of the Bible proceed and prosper till the Lord shall have made ‘bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God’ (Isaiah 52:10).”
Life of John Quincy Adams, p. 248.

William Penn
Founder of Pennsylvania

“I do declare to the whole world that we believe the Scriptures to contain a declaration of the mind and will of God in and to those ages in which they were written; being given forth by the Holy Ghost moving in the hearts of holy men of God; that they ought also to be read, believed, and fulfilled in our day; being used for reproof and instruction, that the man of God may be perfect. They are a declaration and testimony of heavenly things themselves, and, as such, we carry a high respect for them. We accept them as the words of God Himself.”
Treatise of the Religion of the Quakers, p. 355.


Benjamin Rush
Signer of the Declaration of Independence and Ratifier of the U.S. Constitution

“The gospel of Jesus Christ prescribes the wisest rules for just conduct in every situation of life. Happy they who are enabled to obey them in all situations!”
The Autobiography of Benjamin Rush, pp. 165-166.

“Christianity is the only true and perfect religion, and that in proportion as mankind adopts its principles and obeys its precepts, they will be wise and happy.”
Essays, Literary, Moral, and Philosophical, published in 1798.

I know there is an objection among many people to teaching children doctrines of any kind, because they are liable to be controverted. But let us not be wiser than our Maker.

“If moral precepts alone could have reformed mankind, the mission of the Son of God into all the world would have been unnecessary.

The perfect morality of the gospel rests upon the doctrine which, though often controverted has never been refuted: I mean the vicarious life and death of the Son of God.”
Essays, Literary, Moral, and Philosophical, published in 1798.


John Witherspoon
Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Clergyman and President of Princeton University

“While we give praise to God, the Supreme Disposer of all events, for His interposition on our behalf, let us guard against the dangerous error of trusting in, or boasting of, an arm of flesh … If your cause is just, if your principles are pure, and if your conduct is prudent, you need not fear the multitude of opposing hosts.

“What follows from this? That he is the best friend to American liberty, who is most sincere and active in promoting true and undefiled religion, and who sets himself with the greatest firmness to bear down profanity and immorality of every kind.

“Whoever is an avowed enemy of God, I scruple not to call him an enemy of his country.”
–Sermon at Princeton University, “The Dominion of Providence over the Passions of Men,” May 17, 1776.


Alexander Hamilton
Signer of the Declaration of Independence and Ratifier of the U.S. Constitution

“I have carefully examined the evidences of the Christian religion, and if I was sitting as a juror upon its authenticity I would unhesitatingly give my verdict in its favor.

I can prove its truth as clearly as any proposition ever submitted to the mind of man.”
Famous American Statesmen, p. 126.


Patrick Henry
Ratifier of the U.S. Constitution

“It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.”
The Trumpet Voice of Freedom: Patrick Henry of Virginia, p. iii.

“The Bible … is a book worth more than all the other books that were ever printed.”
Sketches of the Life and Character of Patrick Henry, p. 402.

Certainly the majority of the founding fathers were Episcopal or Protestant.  However, many Catholics also added to the building of our country.  As a matter of fact, two hundred and eleven (211) years BEFORE the Declaration of Independence was signed, Father Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales celebrated the first Catholic mass on what was to become American soil.  He did this in St. Augustine, Florida (see picture).  One of the signers of the Declaration of Independence was Charles Carroll, Catholic and Patriot.  Check out his story at the Epic Pew site by clicking here:

God bless you and God bless America!