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In God We Trust – by Andy Rooney

    Andy Rooney

As you walk up the steps to the building which houses the U.S. Supreme Court you can see near the top of the building a row of the world’s law givers and each one is facing one in the middle who is facing forward with a full frontal view it is Moses and he is holding the Ten Commandments.


As you enter the Supreme Court courtroom, the two huge oak doors have the Ten Commandments engraved on each lower portion of each door.


As you sit inside the courtroom, you can see the wall, right above where the Supreme Court judges sit, a display of the Ten Commandments!


There are Bible verses etched in stone all over the Federal Buildings and Monuments in Washington, D.C.


James Madison, the fourth president, known as “The Father of Our Constitution” made the following statement:
“We have staked the whole of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”

Patrick Henry, that patriot and Founding Father of our country said:
“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”.

Every session of Congress begins with a prayer by a paid preacher, whose salary has been paid by the taxpayer since 1777.

Fifty-two of the 55 founders of the Constitution were members of the established orthodox churches in the colonies.

Thomas Jefferson worried that the Courts would overstep their authority and instead of interpreting the law would begin making law an oligarchy.

The very first Supreme Court Justice, John Jay, said:
“Americans should select and prefer Christians as their rulers.”
How, then, have we gotten to the point that everything we have done for 220 years in this country is now suddenly wrong and unconstitutional?
Lets put it around the world and let the world see and remember what this great country was built on.

It is said that 86% of Americans believe in God. Therefore, it is very hard to understand why there is such a mess about having the Ten Commandments on display or “In God We Trust” on our money and having God in the Pledge of Allegiance. Why DO WE LET THE 14% DICTATE WHAT WE SAY AND DO???!!!



Judge Not by A.J. Avila

Judge Not – by A.J. Avila

We all have a tendency to jump to conclusions.
That was certainly the case for me one time after a visit to my local library. Back then I was still single, and so I had gone there alone. On the way out, my arms laden with books, a rather seedy-looking man—who obviously hadn’t bathed for quite some time—held the door open for me. I thanked him as any lady should do when extended this courtesy.
But when we got outside in the parking lot, it was a different story. It was night, and except for the two of us, the lot was empty. I could hear this guy’s footsteps right behind me. And he was whistling the way a man whistles at a woman he thinks is attractive.
I began to panic. If he grabbed me, I had no defense. Fortunately, the police station shared the same parking lot. It occurred to me I should turn around, hurl my books at him, and run for the police station as fast as I could.
As I approached my car, I readied myself. To my distress, the footsteps were getting closer, and he was still whistling. I whipped around, about to pelt him with my books—
—and fortunately discovered what was really happening.
He wasn’t whistling at me.
He was calling his dog.
I have to admit the greater part of the reason I thought he was going to attack me was because of his appearance. Yes, I had judged him based upon that.
In Matthew 7:1, Christ admonishes us to “Judge not, that you may not be judged.”
So . . . what does that mean, exactly? Some folk seem to think anyone who judges another is guilty of breaking this prohibition. But then, ironically, those who think that way have already set themselves up as judges.
Does it mean I can’t judge someone without the proper placard or license plate parking in a handicapped space? Well, no—but also yes.
I can judge that it is breaking the law to park in such a space without the proper authorization. However, I can’t judge what is inside the heart of the person doing so.
For all I know, he missed the sign saying it’s a handicapped space. For all I know, he forgot his placard at home. (Not, I believe, that those would make any difference to a police officer who merely sees the car parked there.)
I can, in other words, judge an action, but I can’t judge a motive. We can’t judge even someone like Hitler that way. We can judge Hitler’s actions as wrong. But for all we know, Hitler was insane and therefore not responsible for them. Only God can infallibly determine that.
I’m sure that man in the library parking lot had no idea he was scaring me. I’m certain he wasn’t thinking about me at all.
I was right to be cautious about his actions.
But I was totally wrong about the motive for his behavior.

Posted on November 21, 2017 by ajavilanovels.  Visit A.J. Avila at Avila web page

Bringing Jesus to a 105 year old – by Deacon Marty McIndoe

This afternoon I had an absolutely wonderful experience. It all started last week when I was talking to a Eucharistic Minister who brings the Holy Eucharist to some people who are homebound. I asked her about an old friend of mine who used to come to our Charismatic prayer meeting many years ago. She was also always in church and I enjoyed talking to her. Her family has been very active in our church and community and I know so many of them.  It has been a while since she has been in church and I missed her. The Eucharistic Minister told me that this woman was doing well and has mentioned to her that she would love to see me.  I told the EM that I would love to go with her the next time she went.  Today was the day. It was to be a surprise visit.

I don’t want to mention this woman’s name, because I didn’t ask her for permission to use it. But I do want to tell you some interesting things about her and our visit and the presence of Jesus.  This friend has been homebound for several years. She has a really good excuse, she is 105 years old. When you see her she certainly doesn’t look her age. When you talk to her she seems so young at heart. Her mind is as sharp as a tack. When we first walked in her daughter (who I also know well), who didn’t know I was coming, greeted us with a huge smile and welcomed us in. We then went in to the room where the 105 year old was sitting at the kitchen table. The smile on her face when we walked in lit up this rainy, dark and dreary day. It was enough to absolutely warm your heart.

We spoke for a while reminiscing about old times in the prayer group and in the parish. I was so surprised at the details that she remembered. She seemed so happy to talk about the old times, but also seemed so happy about talking about her present life. She related how she loved Jesus and Mary and the prayers that she can offer. She was sad only because she couldn’t be a part of the church activities. She also was quite concerned for a dear relative who had fallen and broken some bones. We prayed for that relative.

After talking for a while, we prayed the rosary. She knew every prayer so well. She was so excited to tell me about her rosary. It seems that a friend of a friend had gone to Rome and had an audience with Pope Francis. This friend mentioned that he had a friend who was 105 years old and still prayed the Rosary. The pope then reached in his pocket and pulled out a rosary, blessed it and told the man to give it to the 105 year old.  That is the rosary that we used. It is absolutely beautiful and to know that the Pope had sent it to her, was very uplifting.

We then did what this person does every time before receiving the Sacred Host.  We prayed an Act of Contrition and then an Our Father.  She then received the Host with such a beautiful, warm, glow on her face. It was so moving to watch. We then talked for a while and prayed together.  I prayed for her specifically while laying on hands.  I also gave her and the EM and her daughter a blessing. Truth be told……I was the one who received the blessings.

So why do I bring this one occasion up? It is because things like this happen continuously in the Church. Bringing Jesus to the homebound (or nursing home etc.) is one of the most satisfying things a Minister of the Eucharist can do, whether they are ordained or an Extra-ordinary Minister. This last Sunday I brought the Eucharist to several people in one nursing home and then on Monday I brought the Eucharist to another nursing home.  The experience of doing that is so satisfying.

I really encourage all Eucharistic Ministers to reach out to the homebound and bring them Jesus.  So many EM’s help out at mass with the distribution of the Most Blessed Sacrament, and this is great and well needed in most parishes.  But an even better way to minister to people is by visiting the homebound. It is a ministry that brings Jesus to others and allows Jesus to come to you in a very special way. God is good.

Life in the Spirit by Deacon Marty McIndoe

The Life in the Spirit Seminar  – by Deacon Marty McIndoe

This year we will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the birth of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in the Catholic Church.  Today there are over 160 million Catholics involved in the Renewal in over 230 countries.  At the heart of the Charismatic Renewal is the Life in the Spirit Seminar.  I would like to look at this great gift.  But before I do this I would like to give a brief history of the renewal.

It is quite apparent that the early Church had the elements that are found in the Charismatic Renewal today. Many of our communities and our Saints also seemed to possess many of these same characteristics over the ages.  However, by the modern age most of this seems to have gone dormant.  At the beginning of the 1900’s something very special happened.  It really seems to have started with a nun in Lucca, Italy, Elena Guerra (1835-1914), the founder of the Oblate Sisters of the Holy Spirit, whom Pope John XXIII was to beatify and give the title “Apostle of the Holy Spirit”in 1959.

Near the end of the 1800’s, Blessed Elena wrote 13 letters to Pope Leo XIII asking him to dedicate the new century, the 1900’s to the Holy Spirit.  Pope Leo was very interested in doing everything he could to bring unity to the Church.  He hoped to unite the Orthodox as well as Protestant sects and he saw the power that the Holy Spirit had in bringing forth unity.  He was very open to Blessed Elena’s desire to bring the Holy Spirit out more in the Church.  In 1895 he wrote an apostolic letter calling all the faithful to pray a special Novena to the Holy Spirit for Pentecost.  In 1897 he wrote another letter, an encyclical on the Holy Spirit.  The bishops all seemed to like these letters but didn’t act on them.  Blessed Elena,  in her sixth letter to Pope Leo said, “It is true that right after the publication of that encyclical, which I believe was dictated by the Holy Spirit, many bishops thanked Your Holiness.  And this was good. But wouldn’t it have been better to obey?

Sister Elena and Pope Leo did not give up.  Sister Elena asked that at the very beginning of the new century, Pope Leo dedicate the century to the Holy Spirit.  On January 1, 1900 Pope Leo XIII ushered in the new century by solemnly invoking the Holy Spirit over all of Christendom.   It should be noted that he included ALL of Christendom, not just the Catholic Church.  He chanted the Veni Creator Spiritus.  This new century was now begun with the Pope praying for the Holy Spirit to come on all Christians.  Only a few hours after his prayers, a Methodist woman by the name of Agnes Ozman started speaking in tongues in Topeka, Kansas.  This was seen as the beginning of the Pentecostal renewal in the Protestant Church.  In the early 1900’s the Pentecostal Renewal flourished and grew.  Today there are over 700 million Pentecostals.  In 1962 Pope John XXIII opened the Vatican Council II invoking the Holy Spirit and using the phrase, “a new Pentecost”.  Five years later the Charismatic Renewal in the Catholic Church began  when Catholic professors from Duquesne University went on a Cursillo in Pittsburg and started studying the Holy Spirit.  A new Pentecost flowed among them and is still very active today.  As the renewal began to grow, a Life in the Spirit Seminar was developed to help people be open to the Holy Spirit.  I went through that Life in the Spirit Seminar in 1972 and it led me in to the Catholic Church.  It helped me to discover the power of God’s Holy Spirit and the riches within the Catholic Church.  I was welcomed in to the Church in 1973 and my life has been totally changed.  I have seen so many gifts of the Holy Spirit made manifest through so many different people.  I have seen so many miracles and lives changed to follow Jesus.  I strongly believe in the fruits that this Life in the Spirit Seminar brings forth.

Pope Francis seems to also believe in the fruits of this seminar.   Addressing a worldwide retreat for clergy at St John Lateran Church in Rome, the Pope reminded his audience of priests and bishops from 90 countries that they were dispensers of grace, and could never love or forgive too much. “Speaking of dispensers of grace, I ask each and all of you that as part of the current of grace of Charismatic Renewal you organize seminars of Life in the Spirit in your parishes and seminaries, schools, in neighborhoods, to share Baptism in the Spirit,” said Francis. “It is catechesis. It is catechesis that produces, by the work of the Holy Spirit, the personal encounter with Jesus who changes our life. (from Goodnews Magazine, and

The Life in the Spirit Seminar has several forms and can be done over several weeks, or one weekend.  It usually consists of seven talks.  Here are the normal titles used for each seminar talk:

1 –  The Explanation Talk

2 –  The Sign up Session

3 –  Seminar 1: God’s Love

4 –  Seminar 2: Salvation

5 –  Seminar 3: The New Life

6 –  Seminar 4: Receiving God’s Gift

7 –  Seminar 5: Praying for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit

8 –  Seminar 6: Growth

9 –  Seminar 7: Transformation in Christ

10 – Continue in a Charismatic Prayer Meeting


I would highly recommend that if you haven’t already done a Life in the Spirit Seminar, or even if you did one many years ago, search your parish or local parishes for one and attend it regularly.  I think you will be glad you did.  Please, if you are Catholic; choose one given in a Catholic Church.  It is designed especially for you and makes references to our Sacramental life.

For more information on being baptized in the spirit, click on this link which brings you to an earlier article I wrote:  What is the Big Deal About the Holy Spirit

For more information on the 50th Anniversary Jubilee Conference in Pittsburg click here:  Charismatic Jubilee



Our Lady of Fatima at the United Nations –  by Deacon Marty McIndoe

The United Nations in New York City

On May 12th, the day before the 100th anniversary of the first apparitions at Fatima, my wife and I had the privilege of attending a special gathering at the United Nations in NYC entitled, THE CENTENARY OF FATIMA AND THE ENDURING RELEVANCE OF IT’S MESSAGE OF PEACE.   It was a most rewarding experience.  The Fatima apparitions have been the beginning of so many changes in the 20th century.  They began on May 13, 1917 just as Europe was immersed in WWI, a very devastating war and supposedly the “war to end all wars”.  It was also the year of the Bolshevik Revolution and the beginning of the Communist threats to the world.  The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three young shepherd children in a remote region of Portugal and gave a message of the need to turn to Jesus, do penance, and pray in order to keep further horrendous wars away.   Her message was filled with Hope and Love but also quite disturbing in showing the way the world was headed.   She was concerned with bringing Peace and Hope and Eternal Life to all of the peoples of the world by having them follow Jesus.

The conference itself looked at the message of Fatima and what had occurred since then.   There is still a great need for peace in our war torn world.  The threat of communism seems to be gone, but there are many other threats to world peace.   The conference had five speakers and lasted about two hours.   I would like to give a brief synopsis of what each speaker said.  There is no doubt that this 100 year old message from the Blessed Virgin Mary is still very relevant to us today.   All of the speakers were excellent in their content and in the emotional attachment to what they were saying.  Tears flowed from both men and women as they spoke.  I was impressed by the dedication of each speaker.

The Dais for the speakers.  The statue of Fatima is to the right.

Archbishop Bernadito C. Auza opened the conference and was the mediator.   He is the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations.   His topic was “The Lessons of the Fatima Message of Peace for the Cause of Peace Today”.  The Archbishop recounted what had happened at Fatima and how it had led to many changes in the world.   He told the story of Pope John Paul II’s dedication to Fatima and how the Pope was very instrumental in the collapse of communism in Europe and in Communist Russia itself.   The Archbishop reflected the call for hope but also the need for continued conversion.   He was very pastoral in his tone, and appears to be an excellent representative of the Church to the United Nations.

Johnnette Benkovic was the second speaker.   Johnnette is the foundress and president of Women of Grace.   She is also an author and TV and radio host.   She is an excellent speaker and her topic was,   ‘Mary and the Dignity of Women’s role in a Culture of Peace”.   Johnnette did an excellent job of reminding us how women, who by their very nature are life giving and protecting, must work hard for peace.   She did say that women are not always fulfilling this role of working for peace and must step up to do so.   She definitely believes that women can be very instrumental in helping bring about peace.

The Statue of Our Lady of Fatima at the Dais.

Dr. Andrea Bartoli was the third speaker.   He is currently the Dean of the Seton Hall School of Diplomacy and International Relations.   His topic was “The Importance of Religious Leaders Serving as Examples of Peace, Tolerance, Solidarity and Justice”.   Dr. Bartoli shared several stories from his work in various nations to deal with the ravages of war.   He was quite emotional in sharing some of the things that happened to the people he was trying to help.   There was no doubt that this man is a man of faith and compassion who has worked hard to foster peace (he is an expert in conflict resolution) and to help those who suffer because of a lack of peace.   He challenged all, especially those who are religious leaders, to work hard for peace and to help those who are suffering from a lack of it.   His call was basically to be like Jesus.   We need more diplomats like him.

Dr. Maria Santos Pais was the fourth speaker.   She is the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence Against Children.   Her topic was, “Children as a Zone of Peace”.   Dr. Pais is from Portugal and it was apparent that she was well aware of the Fatima story.   She also seemed well aware of the terrible things that are happening to children throughout the world today.   Some of the statistics that she gave us were quite disturbing.   Dr. Pais was very clear in showing us that children are peacemakers, but unfortunately are often victims of the lack of peace.   She gave a very emotional talk.   Please pray for the children of the world.

The Shepherd Children of Fatima to whom Mary appeared.  Pope Francis proclaimed Francisco and Jacinta Marto Saints as he celebrated the 100th anniversary mass in Fatima.  Lucia only died in 2005 and her cause is pending.

Dr. Anna Halpine was the fifth and last speaker.   She is the Foundress and CEO of the World Youth Alliance.   Her topic was, ‘The Fatima Shepherd Children: the Role of Children in the Cause of Peace”.    Dr. Hapline did an excellent job of showing how these poor shepherd children responded so well to the call of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  She continued talking about children of the world living in such difficult situations.   Her talk was very complementary to the previous talk given by Dr. Pais.   The last two speakers helped us all to focus on those who suffer so much from a lack of peace, the children.  It is so sad to think that we have created a world where children suffer so much.

This sculpture is in the United Nations plaza.

In review, the conference was very much like the original message of Fatima.   It is disturbing in pointing out what mankind has done by war and by a lack of peace.   It also pointed out that we must work hard to accomplish peace.   There is hope, but we must actively seek it and work for it.   The message of Our Lady is very appropriate today.   We must seek Jesus, pray and do penance and work hard for peace.   Having this conference take place at the United Nations was quite encouraging.  The Statue of Fatima was brought there for this conference and then brought over to the Church of the Holy Family nearby.   This is the second visit of this statue to the United Nations.   It first came to the UN in 1952.  The Blessed Virgin Mary is most definitely the Queen of Peace.   May peace come forth to this world and may all peoples receive the gift of heavenly peace.  I end with the prayer that Mary taught at Fatima; O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy. Amen…

The Statue at Holy Family Church near the United Nations


Growing Closer to Jesus through Eucharistic Adoration – by Deacon Marty McIndoe

               There is no doubt that the mass is the source and summit of our faith.  I attend daily mass because I need the mass to help me grow spiritually in my life, and I also enjoy the whole experience of mass.  As Scott Hahn tells us, it is like heaven on earth at mass.  I usually get to mass at least 20 minutes early to just sit in front of the tabernacle and have some quiet time with Jesus.  This time is precious to me and enriches my prayer life.  Once a week I preside at a Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction service at a local chapel inside the Saint Joseph Prayer Center.  We expose the Blessed Sacrament from 1pm to 5pm every Tuesday so people can just stop in and spend time with Jesus.  I bring the Blessed Sacrament out at 1pm and stay for about one hour in prayer.  It is very powerful prayer.  I then come back around 4:30 and just before 5pm do Benediction.  When I bless the people with the monstrance, I can feel, and almost see, the power going out to them.  It is a wonderful experience.

               It seems to me that quite a few parishes have let Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction fall in to disuse.  I find that sad because it is such a great way to grow spiritually in our relationship with Jesus.  I have heard stories of parishes that have begun providing Adoration and Benediction and how it has helped their parishes.   I am writing this short post to hopefully encourage you, and your parishes, to take advantage of this great form of prayer.  Since not everyone is familiar with this, I will give a few definitions and some quotes from the Saints about it.  If you haven’t done Adoration in a while, please try it.  I believe that you will be glad that you did.

               ADORATION – time spent in front of the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist.  This could be as simple as going to church early and just sitting in prayer in front of the TABERNACLE (where the consecrated hosts are kept).  It could also be a simple Adoration where a CIBORIUM (container with consecrated hosts are kept) is placed upon the altar for people to adore.  A formal ADORATION is where a MONSTRANCE or OSTENSORIUM (ornate vessel that allows you to see the consecrated host) is put in a prominent place for adoration.  During formal Adoration services there are usually songs and prayers and scripture readings and incense, along with silence.

               BENEDICTION – This is usually done at the end of formal Adoration.  The bishop, priest or deacon picks up the MONSTANCE and blesses the people with it drawing the sign of the cross over them.  It usually ends with songs of praise being said or sung.

               When Jesus gave us the gift of the Eucharist, His Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, He told us that It would bring us life.  I can attest that in receiving and adoring the Eucharist, I find the fullness of life.  Many Saint have talked about this.  Here are a few quotes from them (make sure you read the last quote):

“Christ held Himself in His hands when He gave His Body to His disciples saying: ‘This is My Body.’ No one partakes of this Flesh before he has adored it.” – St. Augustine

“If we but paused for a moment to consider attentively what takes place in this Sacrament, I am sure that the thought of Christ’s love for us would transform the coldness of our hearts into a fire of love and gratitude.” – St. Angela of Foligno

“What wonderful majesty! What stupendous condescension! O sublime humility! That the Lord of the whole universe, God and the Son of God, should humble Himself like this under the form of a little bread, for our salvation”  and

“…In this world I cannot see the Most High Son of God with my own eyes, except for His Most Holy Body and Blood.”  – St. Francis of Assisi

“How many of you say: I should like to see His face, His garments, His shoes. You do see Him, you touch Him, you eat Him. He gives Himself to you, not only that you may see Him, but also to be your food and nourishment.” – St. John Chrysostom

“I throw myself at the foot of the Tabernacle like a dog at the foot of his Master.” – St. John Vianney

“All the good works in the world are not equal to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass because they are the works of men; but the Mass is the work of God. Martyrdom is nothing in comparison for it is but the sacrifice of man to God; but the Mass is the sacrifice of God for man.” – St. John Vianney, Cure d’Ars

“God dwells in our midst, in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar” and

 “If angels could be jealous of men, they would be so for one reason: Holy Communion.” – St. Maximilian Kolbe

“Do you realize that Jesus is there in the tabernacle expressly for you – for you alone? He burns with the desire to come into your heart…don’t listen to the demon, laugh at him, and go without fear to receive the Jesus of peace and love…  and

“Receive Communion often, very often…there you have the sole remedy, if you want to be cured. Jesus has not put this attraction in your heart for nothing” – St. Therese of Lisieux

“How I loved the feasts!…. I especially loved the processions in honor of the Blessed Sacrament. What a joy it was for me to throw flowers beneath the feet of God!… I was never so happy as when I saw my roses touch the sacred Monstrance…” – from St. Therese’s Autobiography: Story of A Soul

The Church and the world have a great need for Eucharistic worship. Jesus awaits us in this sacrament of love. Let us not refuse the time to go to meet him in adoration, in contemplation full of faith, and open to making amends for the serious offenses and crimes of the world. Let our adoration never cease.” – Pope Saint John Paul II

It is “O ANTIPHONS” time by Deacon Marty McIndoe

THE “O” ANTIPHONS – Deacon Marty McIndoe

The Roman Church has been singing the “O” Antiphons since at least the eighth century. They are the antiphons that accompany the Magnificat canticle of Evening Prayer from December 17-23. They are a magnificent theology that uses ancient biblical imagery drawn from the messianic hopes of the Old Testament to proclaim the coming Christ as the fulfillment not only of Old Testament hopes, but present ones as well. Their repeated use of the imperative “Come!” embodies the longing of all for the Divine Messiah.

Here are the traditional “O” antiphons for each day.  Please note – I wrote this originally for Epic Pew last December.  If you go to their site and search for O Antiphons you will see the original WITH pictures and drawings.  Check them out at


December 17

O Wisdom of our God Most High, guiding creation with power and love: come to teach us the path of knowledge!


December 18

O Leader of the House of Israel, giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai: come to rescue us with your mighty power!


December 19

O Root of Jesse’s stem, sign of God’s love for all his people: come to save us without delay!


December 20

O Key of David, opening the gates of God’s eternal Kingdom: come and free the prisoners of darkness!


December 21

O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.



December 22

O King of all nations and keystone of the Church: come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!


December 23

O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law: come to save us, Lord our God!



Advent Saints – St. Nicholas by Deacon Marty McIndoe


The altar above the tomb of St. Nicholas in Bari, Italy

Saint Nicholas is one of our very popular Saints.  There are many churches named in his honor and he is the Patron Saint of more causes than any other Saint.  He is the Patron Saint of mariners, merchants, bakers, travelers, brides, prisoners, archers, students and especially of children.   He is the Patron Saint of many countries and towns and cities, including New York City.   His popularity goes from east to west around the world.  So who was this man, Saint Nicholas?  He certainly was a lot more than the popular Santa Claus.

Saint Nicholas was the bishop of Myra which is in modern day Turkey.  He lived in the early 300’s and was known to be a very Holy, devout, loving man.  It is difficult to think of Saint Nicholas without thinking of all the legends that surrounded him.  However, most of these legends just emphasize the great person that he truly was.  We do know that he was the son of wealthy parents who raised him as a devout Christian.  His uncle was the local bishop.   Nicholas’s parents died when he was quite young.  They left him a significant estate.  Throughout his life Nicholas used that estate to help the poor.  After his parents died, Nicholas was raised by his uncle, the Bishop of Patara.  During the Roman Diocletian persecution, St. Nicholas was seized, tortured, and imprisoned.  After his release, he continued his many works of charity and served the people of Myra as their bishop.

Nicholas was known for fighting the heresy of Arius.  Nicholas attended the Council of Nicea in 325 where Arius tried to push his heresy.  Nicholas became so angered at Arius that he slapped him in the face.  The other bishops censored Nicholas for this, but later he regained his good status.  The love of Jesus and the love of the Church and the love of the poor consumed Nicholas.   Bishop Nicholas died on December 6, 343 in Myra and he was buried in his Cathedral of Myra.  In later centuries, the area fell in to the hands of non Christians and in the year 1087 a group of Italians took his body and moved it to Bari, Italy where it is today.

There are only a few quotes from St. Nicholas in existence today so I will share two of those, as well as a few quotes from others about him.  The last quote is from Anne Frank during the Nazi holocaust.

“The giver of every good and perfect gift has called upon us to mimic Gods giving, by grace, through faith, and this is not of ourselves.”  St. Nicholas of Myra

“Children, I beseech you to correct your hearts and thoughts, so that you may be pleasing to God. Consider that although we may reckon ourselves to be righteous and frequently succeed in deceiving men, we can conceal nothing from God. Let us therefore strive to preserve the holiness of our souls and to guard the purity of our bodies with all fervor. Ye are the temple of God, says the divine Apostle Paul; If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy.”    St. Nicholas of Myra

“Everybody loves St Nicholas, because St. Nicholas loves everybody.”   Fr Andrew Phillips

“Alas! How dreary would be the world if there was no Santa Claus! There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.”   Francis P. Church

“Once again St. Nicholas Day Has even come to our hideaway; It won’t be quite as fun, I fear, As the happy day we had last year. Then we were hopeful, no reason to doubt That optimism would win the bout, And by the time this year came round, We’d all be free, and safe and sound. Still, let’s not forget it’s St. Nicholas Day, Though we’ve nothing left to give away. We’ll have to find something else to do: So everyone please look in their shoe!” – Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl


Truth Within A Tagline by Catholic Girl Bloggin’


(note: This was original published in July)

A new film called The Neon Demon is now in limited theatrical release.  No, I will not be seeing the movie.  The trailer alone made me feel unsettled.

However, while browsing through Facebook, the teaser trailer of the movie’s FB page kept popping up on my newsfeed.  The caption above the promotional video caught my eye:

“The face of an angel can awaken the demon.”

As disturbing as that line is, something about it resonated with me.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized that within the frightening quote lies a hint of truth.

I once had a dream where I was looking at what seemed to be a girl made entirely of light slowly spinning around amidst a deep gray fog.  I texted a friend of mine about it and his response was, “Hmm…sounds like a beacon of holiness in the midst of darkness…” Looking back on that dream now combined with The Neon Demon tagline, I think it all points to the fact that where there are angels, there are demons and vice versa.

You and I exist in the physical world, but within our reality lies a hidden spiritual world where the forces of Light and darkness reside in oppositional existence.

Imagine that there is a veil between our visible reality and the invisible realm, a fabric barrier that angels can pass through with no limitations, but you and I can’t even touch with our fingertips.  On the other side of the veil is an invisible realm where the forces of good and evil do not coexist peacefully, but rather do battle with one another.

On the other side of our reality is a battlefield where angels of God fight to protect us while the demons of the evil one seek to drag us down.

While we eat, sleep and go about our routines, this is taking place:


Wherever there is goodness, evil is sure to follow behind like a relentless stalker.  Purity cannot flourish without corruption creeping in to put a stop to it.

However, at the same time, when corruption does rear its ugly head, purity arrives to interrupt and overtake it.

Admittedly, it is terrifying to think that darkness comes after light, that there will always be an infernal force ready to wreck havoc wherever goodness appears.  And yet, I take comfort in the fact that the opposite is true: Where darkness reigns, Light will surely intervene.

Whenever there is a Lucifer who tries to bring about division and chaos, there will also be a Michael who courageously stands up to restore peace and unity.

If the face of an angel can awaken a demon, then take heart in the fact that while the demon is rising from its slumber, the angel is already up and alert, ready to fight.


Saint Padre Pio was a man who frequently encountered both good and evil residents of the hidden world.  Angels would greet him and demons would beat him.  He had every reason to want to avoid the spiritual world, and yet he embraced the celestial reality.

“Do not fear him (devil). Trust more and more in Jesus, who never leaves you alone when confronted by Satan.”

–Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina

The next time the devil hisses at you, “Where Jesus is, I am,” just smile and say with confidence, “But where you are, He is.” 

Saint Michael, Saint Gabriel and Saint Raphael, pray for us.

Catholic Girl Bloggin’ website can be found at

Time for Some Catholic Fiction: Author A.J. Avila interviews Author Amy M. Bennett


Many of us study great theology and spirituality books, but sometimes you just need to take a break and read some good fiction.   How about Catholic fiction?  My good friend, author A.J. Avila interviewed author Amy M. Bennett.   Check out this interview.

I managed to score an interview with Catholic author Amy M. Bennett, who specializes in mystery novels. In a day and age where our media is often full of profanity, sex, and condemnation of the Catholic Church, Ms. Bennett’s books are a refreshing ray of sunshine.

What are your books about?

I write what are known as “cozy mysteries”–mystery novels set in familiar, home-style settings, like small towns. Because I’ve always been a fan of mysteries, I chose to write mysteries (yes, murder mysteries) set in a small, New Mexico town where most of the characters have lived all their lives and have a strong Catholic culture. Any resemblance to my own life is strictly coincidental!

Where do you get the ideas for your books? 

I joke that, working in retail, it’s easy to find villains and victims for murder stories, but the truth is that I’m a shameless eavesdropper (thanks to the advent of cell phones, no conversation is private anymore… remember that the next time you’re carrying on a “private” conversation in a public place!) and I pick up ideas from news stories. Radio news gives great teasers–”A long-buried secret surfaces just before the mayoral election.” “Feuding families come together for a child’s last wish.” I don’t even want to hear what the real story is… I’m busy coming up with my own!

What inspired you to write your first book?  
I have always enjoyed creative writing (yeah, I was THAT kid in your English class!) since I was old enough to write complete sentences. I would read a lot and read at a level far above my age and grade. I was reading Agatha Christie mysteries in sixth grade and coming up with my own characters and storylines. I didn’t really start writing a novel until I was in my twenties, married, with a baby. I started reading Writer’s Digest and The Writer magazines and wrote a couple of novels which I squirreled away from anyone’s eyes. Only my husband read them—I doubt that even the editors and agents I submitted them to ever really read them before sending me a form rejection letter. When I heard about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in 2008, which is a nation-wide writing challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days, I decided to take the challenge. In 2009, I got down about 30,000 words of what would become “End of the Road”, my first mystery novel. I broke my own rule about not letting anyone see my unfinished work. Both my husband and his sister read it and said, “You have to finish this.” I have to give them the credit for launching my series!

How do you incorporate your Catholic faith into your writing?

It’s about the same as I incorporate my work habits, eating habits, and the like. It’s a part of me, so it’s a part of my characters. I don’t write novels that try to teach or preach; I just write about every day people who happen to be Catholic and live the Faith. They go to Mass, they pray, they attend the parish fiesta, they try to avoid sin and the near occasion of. One of my main characters, Sheriff Rick Sutton, is divorced and, while he is very much in love with another main character, Corrie Black, he knows (and so does she) that a relationship is out of the question. It makes the “love triangle” so much more realistic.

How did you come up with the main characters for your series?

I got tired of certain stock characters I kept finding in so many other books. I got tired of emotional issues being resolved in graphic detail with “no-strings” sex. I got tired of characters who were not like anyone I knew or could relate to. I wanted strong, but sensitive and vulnerable characters who had real reasons for their actions. I wanted to write characters that I would want for friends. I think I succeeded!

Do your characters seem to “take over” when you write?

Oh, all the time! Except Rick. If you look in the dictionary under “taciturn”, his picture would be there! I write my story from Corrie’s point of view and also from J.D. Wilder’s point of view (since Rick refuses to let me in on his thoughts) and several times, they have strayed from the “script”, so to speak, and come up with situations and plot twists that evolved naturally from their characters. I like to give them free rein as much as possible, even if it means having to do a lot of heavy editing later on!

If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? Why would you choose that person?

I think many women would expect me to say Rick or J.D.–and why not?–but I would love to spend time with Corrie, who is the type of best friend anyone would like to have. But I also have a special place in my heart for RaeLynn, Corrie’s friend whose life has been anything but easy, who is timid and shy, but has a fierce desire to better herself and rise above her situation. She would be my hero.

Which of your books is your favorite? Why?

I can say my son is my favorite child because he’s the only one I have, but my books? Each one is so different from the others and I’d like to think that each one is a step in my writing journey. But if I had to pick one, I think my favorite would be “No Lifeguard on Duty”, the second book in the series. I think it’s where I got comfortable with my characters, knew them well enough to really invest a lot of feeling and emotion with them. The subsequent books open up a lot of information about them, but “No Lifeguard” is the book where my characters went from being acquaintances to being friends.

Amy M. Bennett is the author of the award-winning Black Horse Campground mystery series, published by Oak Tree Press. She works full time as a cake decorator at Walmart in Alamogordo, New Mexico and part time as a “vino slinger” for Noisy Water Winery in Ruidoso, New Mexico. She lives in Bent, New Mexico with her husband and son. The fifth book in the series is currently awaiting publication while she works on her sixth book.

Links to purchase books online:

Oak Tree Press:

Barnes and Noble:



The Church, from the very Beginning…was Catholic! By Kenneth Henderson – Part 3 of 3

Israel 677The stairs that Jesus walked in Jerusalem.

So now we move on to Tertullian. He shows here in his writing “The Prescription Against Heretics” around A.D. 200 that the Church is referred to as the Catholic Church. It’s been 100 years since Ignatius of Antioch first recorded the Church being called Catholic. Too bad Tertullian didn’t heed his own advice when he later succumbed to the heresy of Montanism, a heresy that claimed the revelation of Truth was continuing past the Apostolic age.


Where was Marcion then, that shipmaster of Pontus, the zealous student of Stoicism? Where was Valentinus then, the disciple of Platonism? For it is evident that those men lived not so long ago – in the reign of Antoninus for the most part – and that they at first were believers in the doctrine of the Catholic Church, in the church of Rome under the episcopate of the blessed Eleutherus, until on account of their ever restless curiosity, with which they even infected the brethren, they were more than once expelled (The Prescription Against Heretics 22,30 [A.D.200])  –> Read online in its entirety here

Saint Clement of Alexandria, near the end of the second century and the beginning of the third talks about how the Church has a hierarchy of bishops, priest and deacons. Again, this is before the claimed corruption of the Church by Constantine. Just sayin’.

Clement of Alexandria

A multitude of other pieces of advice to particular persons is written in the holy books: some for presbyters, some for bishops and deacons; and others for widows, of whom we shall have opportunity to speak elsewhere (The Instructor of Children 3:12:97:2 [A.D. 191]).  –> Read online in its entirety here

Even here in the Church the gradations of bishops, presbyters, and deacons happen to be imitations, in my opinion, of the angelic glory and of that arrangement which, the Scriptures say, awaits those who have followed in the footsteps of the apostles and who have lived in complete righteousness according to the gospel (Stromateis 6:13:107:2 [post-A.D. 202]).  –> Read online in its entirety here

In the following, Saint Hippolytus discusses how the bishop is to ordain priests and deacons by the laying on of hands, and how only bishops have the authority to do so. Again, this is 100 years before Constantine ever became Emperor. This is important to remember as this is exactly as the bishops today ordain priest. I have been to a couple of ordinations and yep, it’s the same.


When a deacon is to be ordained, he is chosen after the fashion of those things said above, the bishop alone in like manner imposing his hands upon him as we have prescribed. In the ordaining of a deacon, this is the reason why the bishop alone is to impose his hands upon him: He is not ordained to the priesthood, but to serve the bishop and to fulfill the bishop’s command. He has no part in the council of the clergy, but is to attend to his own duties and is to acquaint the bishop with such matters as are needful. . . . On a presbyter [priest], however, let the presbyters impose their hands because of the common and like Spirit of the clergy. Even so, the presbyter has only the power to receive [the Spirit], and not the power to give [the Spirit]. That is why a presbyter does not ordain the clergy; for at the ordaining of a presbyter, he but seals while the bishop ordains. (Apostolic Tradition 9 [ca. A.D. 215]).  –> Read online in its entirety here

Last but not least, we arrive at Saint Cyprian of Carthage who is writing on the unity of the Church in the year A.D. 251. You can also see that he is referring to Matthew 16:18-19 speaking of how the Church will be protected by the Holy Spirit from ever being overcome by separations and divisions and from teaching error.  Notice, that even though the Church has experienced separations and divisions through the Protestant revolt and the Schisms that split the East from the West, the One Catholic Church is still standing and is without any doubt the greatest pillar of Truth in the world.

Cyprian of Carthage

The spouse of Christ cannot be defiled; she is uncorrupted and chaste. She knows one home . . . Does anyone believe that this unity which comes from divine strength, which is closely connected with the divine sacraments, can be broken asunder in the Church and be separated by the divisions of colliding wills? He who does not hold this unity, does not hold the law of God, does not hold the faith of the Father and the Son, does not hold life and salvation (On the Unity of the Catholic Church 6 [A.D. 251]).  –> Read online in its entirety here

Peter speaks there, on whom the Church was to be built, teaching and showing in the name of the Church, that although a rebellious and arrogant multitude of those who will not hear or obey may depart, yet the Church does not depart from Christ; and they are the Church who are a people united to the priest, and the flock which adheres to its pastor. Whence you ought to know that the bishop is in the Church, and the Church in the bishop; and if anyone be not with the bishop, that he is not in the Church, and that those flatter themselves in vain who creep in, not having peace with God’s priests, and think that they communicate secretly with some; while the Church which is Catholic and one, is not cut nor divided, but is indeed connected and bound together by the cement of priests who cohere with one another (Letters 66 [A.D. 253]).  –> Read online in its entirety here

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the pre-Constantine writings that show that the Church was One, Holy and Apostolic, but if gives a good overview of what the Early Church Fathers saw the Church of their time appeared, and it looks just like the Church today. Not the buildings, but the unity, the hierarchy, and the authority. It is only in a Church like this that the following scripture passage has any validity and make any sense.

15 “If your brother sins [against you], go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. 16 If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector. 18 Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. – Matthew 18:15-18

If the Church was not unified, which Church would I take my brother to if he won’t listen to me concerning his sin? The Baptist? The Episcopal? The Presbyterian? The Reformed Calvinist? The non-denominational church down the street? This passage only makes sense when you have one unified church as the true protector of God’s truth on earth, and is supported when you read the quotes from the earliest Christian writers. As Paul attest, the Church is the protector of Truth, without a doubt!

But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth. – 1 Timothy 3:15


About the Author: Kenneth Henderson

In 2002 I had a miraculous conversion, the details of which can be read about in “Amazing Grace for Married Couples” by Ascension Press (edited by Jeff Cavins, Patti Armstrong, Matthew Pinto) As a result, I gave my first public testimony of my conversion at my home parish of Church of St. Benedict in Broken Arrow. Some time after that began a ministry called True Knights that was founded to encourage the spiritual growth of men, to promote a true and courageous faith among men of all vocations world-wide.

I started speaking nationwide at parishes and Men’s Conferences and even appeared on several EWTN programs, including twice on “Life on the Rock” and once on “The Journey Home with Marcus Grodi”. I was also a guest on several Catholic radio shows including my good friends Jesse Romero and Teresa Tomeo.

I was involved with that ministry full-time. However, it was taking a toll on me and my family. After much prayer, in 2009 I needed to put True Knights on hiatus and remove myself from public ministry to concentrate on being the best husband and father I can possibly be, my first and most important vocation.

This website came about after a couple of good friends asked me to form a group to help men grow in their faith. We were inspired to attempt to start a Pint, Pipe and Cross Club based upon a post on Facebook on Aug 6, 2013 by The Catholic Gentleman. He had posted a GK Chesterton quote, “the pint, the pipe and the Cross can all fit together.” What a marvelous idea. I really enjoying having a good pint of strong ale , smoking my pipe and enjoying good, even spirited conversation about the Catholic faith. I think it was all kind of spontaneous, but I immediately envisioned a group of men gathering once or twice a month and partaking of this type of activity. Cheers!




Full disclaimer, I am a “new dad”.  I don’t have 5, 10, or 15 years of experience under my belt. I have 4 children, a 3 year old son Luke, a 1.5 year old son Jude, one baby in heaven, and one baby on the way! I am constantly learning how to be the best dad I can be, with many of these learning moments coming from my faults. With that being said, I am not writing this attempting to fool anyone into thinking I have this whole dad thing figured out (I mean, we haven’t even hit the rebellious teenage years yet.).  Nonetheless, I write this with conviction as I have witnessed many authentic, God-fearing, wife-loving, child-raising fathers in my life, my own father being a prime example.

Here’s 3 easy things every dad should be doing:

1. Love your wife. Children are so observant. I am constantly amazed when I hear one of my boys attempting to hum a song I was humming 2 minutes ago.  Or after dinner when I start taking dishes to the sink, being followed by Luke and/or Jude, with a cup in hand, hurling his cup into the sink attempting to do his part. Our kids watch and replicate so many of our actions which is why they need to see their dad loving their mom.  My sons will learn how to treat women by observing how I treat their mother.  Likewise, if I am blessed to have a daughter(s), she will learn how she should be respected and the inherent dignity she has as a woman by the amount of respect and dignity I show her mother.

2. Have family prayer.  Servant of God Father Patrick Peyton famously said, “The family that prays together stays together”.  If you don’t have a family prayer routine, start small and continue building up. As the spiritual leader of the home, lead your family in prayer before meals. At first it may seem awkward and uncomfortable but typically that discomfort is only on your end. Push through that discomfort and it will soon become as natural as breathing.

When it’s the kiddo’s bedtime, we all have nightly routines. Take a bath, brush teeth, comb hair, get pajamas on, and maybe a bedtime story. Before that bedtime story, you, your wife and children kneel down by their bed and have a bedtime prayer. It can be as simple as, “Now I lay me, down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” It’s quick and easy but sets an example of praying before bed… an example that I carried on from when my parents taught me.

3. Bless your children. Before my boys go to sleep or any time I have to leave for a couple days on business, I make the sign of the cross on their forehead while praying, “May almighty God bless and keep you and may you always stay under the protection of our Mother Mary.” It’s quick and simple. Takes me all of 5 seconds. Our Lord ordained men as heads of the Domestic Church, which is a miniature of the Universal Church. This means each man is a priest of his home. A great way to embrace the role as a priest of your family is by blessing your children. My boys have come to love and expect this nightly ritual and always give me a happy grin as I pray it. (For a great book on this topic, Click here.)


About Adam Minihan:
Adam is the Vice President of an award-winning local Catholic radio station and the host of The Catholic Man Show. Adam and his best friend/co-host, David Niles, had 0 experience in the radio business before being presented with the opportunity to start a Catholic station in 2014. Taking a leap of faith, they launched St. Michael Catholic Radio and it has now grown into covering the whole Tulsa Market, airing multiple local programs, and carrying EWTN content.  Adam is married to his beautiful bride Haylee and they have 2 young boys Luke and Jude. They live in Tulsa, OK where they are active in many Catholic bible studies, church functions, apologetic groups, and Cursillo. You can follow Adam on twitter
 or like St. Michael Catholic radio on Facebook!


A Most HOLY room, the Ark of the NEW Covenant, the Holy Spirit, the Sequence and a little bit of Typology by Deacon Marty McIndoe

Israel 624 Israel 628 Israel 629 Israel 630In these pictures of the Upper Room, you see first, the interior; second signs of the Muslim Mosque; third,  a brass olive tree donated to Israel by the Catholic Association, and lastly, a column showing a Pelican feeding its young by taking blood from its side.  This was an early Christian symbol of the Eucharist.  When the Ottomans took over Upper Room, they removed all Christian symbols but this one.  They did not understand its meaning.

In Jerusalem there is a building known as the Upper Room (or Cenacle).  The present day structure is in Jerusalem on Mount Zion and dates to the 1200’s.  It is a reconstruction made by the Crusaders using three out of the four original walls of the original structure from the time of Jesus.  There were earlier reconstructions as well.  It is a very HOLY building since it was used by the disciples for The Last Supper, The Washing of the Disciple’s feet by Jesus, Several Resurrection Appearances by Jesus, and the Election of Matthias as an Apostle to replace Judas.  Lastly, it was the place where the Holy Spirit descended upon the Disciples on the Feast of Pentecost.  It is such a Holy place that the early Christians used it as a place of worship, a synagogue (remember the Early Christians in Jerusalem practiced Judaism).  In 384 the first large Christian Church was built right next to it and was known as the Church of the Apostles.  The traditional Tomb of David is right below it.  The Church of the Apostles, next to the Upper Room, was torn down by the Muslims in 1009 but Crusaders later took back the area and built the present reconstruction of the Upper Room.  The Franciscans kept custody of it until 1552 when the Ottomans overtook it and they turned the Upper Room in to a Mosque.  You can still see signs of the Muslim usage.  In 1948 the government of Israel took it over and gave the Franciscans administrative control again.

This Holy room, the Upper Room is where our Church first began.  The Disciples were unable to do much of anything after Jesus Ascended in to Heaven.  They seem lost and powerless.  However, with the Blessed Virgin Mary amongst them, the Power of the Holy Spirit came upon them at Pentecost and they were given the power to go out and form the Church.  It is interesting here to throw in a little typology.  In scripture study, we use the term typology to show the way that the Old Testament (Hebrew scriptures) and the New Testament are related.  I would like to point out one thing about Pentecost regarding this.  In yesterday’s post, Dan Gonzalez showed how Pentecost is a Jewish feast day.  We, as Christians, see it as the birthday of our church.  In looking at this we should look back to the Old Testament book of 2 Chronicles where we hear the story of the dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem that Solomon built.  In this account, the scriptures tell us that 120 priests gathered for the dedication and a sacrifice was put on the altar.  We are told that when the Ark of the Covenant was brought in to go in to the Holy of Holies, God sent fire from the sky to burn the sacrifice on the altar.  When we look at the New Testament book of Acts we hear that the disciples and other followers, totaling 120 people, gathered in the Upper Room.  The mother of Jesus, Mary, who is known as the New Ark of the Covenant gathered in the center of them all.  God sent down the Holy Spirit upon them all as tongues of fire.  In both accounts of the beginning of the Temple and the beginning of the Church, 120 people gathered with the Ark of the Covenant and God sent down fire.  Our Lord is awesome.

As we celebrate this Holy Feast of Pentecost, let us give thanks to God for giving us the gift of the Holy Spirit and for the gift of the Church.  Our Pentecost liturgy has a Sequence put in along with the normal scripture readings.  This really should be read at every mass of Pentecost, but is quite often skipped over.  Here is a copy of this Sequence.  Read it over and see the precious gift that God has given to us in the Holy Spirit.


Sequence — Veni, Sancte Spiritus

Come, Holy Spirit, come!
And from your celestial home
Shed a ray of light divine!

Come, Father of the poor!
Come, source of all our store!
Come, within our bosoms shine.

You, of comforters the best;
You, the soul’s most welcome guest;
Sweet refreshment here below;

In our labor, rest most sweet;
Grateful coolness in the heat;
Solace in the midst of woe.

O most blessed Light divine,
Shine within these hearts of yours,
And our inmost being fill!

Where you are not, we have naught,
Nothing good in deed or thought,
Nothing free from taint of ill.

Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour your dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away:

Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.

On the faithful, who adore
And confess you, evermore
In your sevenfold gift descend;

Give them virtue’s sure reward;
Give them your salvation, Lord;
Give them joys that never end. Amen.


Note: Veni Sancte Spiritus is a true masterpiece of Latin poetry. In rhyme scheme, it is complex and gorgeous; lines one & two rhyme with each other, and line three always ends in the syllable –ium. In meter, the sequence is a very faithful example of trochaic dimeter. In content, it is a magnificent meditation on the Spirit’s guidance through consolation & desolation. So much is lost when this sequence is not sung in its original Latin.


Arbor Day and Our Catholic Faith by Deacon Marty McIndoe

JPIIOliveTreeThis Olive Tree was planted by St. Pope John Paul II in 2000 on Mt Nebo at the beginning of a pilgrimage to the Holy Lands.  This is where Moses looked over  in to the Promised Land. 

Happy National Arbor Day.  There are so many ways that we can find God.  So often people look at the beauty of nature and see God there.  We know that our God is the Creator and to be quite frank, he did a wonderful job of creating the world we live in.  Everywhere you look in nature you can find true beauty.  The poet Joyce Kilmer, in her poem, “Trees” declares the beauty of the tree and ends her poem with, “Poems are made by fools like me, But only God can make a tree.”  Although man can make some beautiful structures, and some beautiful pictures and art, it all pales compares to what we find in God’s creation.

One of the most popular Saints in the Catholic Church is St. Francis of Assisi.  He is known for his love of God’s creation, plant and animal.  His songs of Praise of God always mention the beautiful pieces of creation.  He even sees the close link between our creation as a human and the creation of plants and animals.  To Francis, we are all brother and sister to one another.  He knew that there is a strong link between all the plants and animals.  Modern day scientists tell us that we need plants just to live.  They give off Oxygen and take in Carbon Dioxide while we take in Oxygen and give off Carbon Dioxide.  There is a real balance between all of the parts of creation.

The Catholic Church has seen this from even further back then St. Francis and has called for a special honoring of all of creation.  In modern times, Pope Paul VI, who had a deep love for the outdoors and for all of creation, decided to do something.  He knew that our modern society was helping to destroy the environment so in 1971 he published an apostolic letter entitled Octogesima Adveniens— “A Call to Action.” In the letter, he listed 11 new social problems that the Church should confront, including the environment.  He wrote, “Man is suddenly becoming aware that by an ill-considered exploitation of nature he risks destroying it and becoming in his turn the victim of this degradation.”  He even went on to address the United Nations Conference on the Environment in 1972.  In 1991 the Conference of American Bishops issued a pastoral letter arguing that environmental ethics are an integral part of Catholic teaching.

Pope John Paul II, a year after being elected Pope, named St. Francis of Assisi the patron saint of ecologists.   In 1990, he issued a statement where he warned that the Earth was in danger not just from a nuclear arms race, or regional conflicts, but also a “a lack of due respect for nature, by the plundering of natural resources and by a progressive decline in the quality of life.”   He added that things like “industrial waste, the burning of fossil fuels, unrestricted deforestation, and the use of certain types of herbicides, coolants and propellants” all contributed to the degradation of the environment.

Arbor Day began back in 1872 in Nebraska where over one million trees were planted.  Since then Arbor Day is to help remind us of the beauty of nature, as well as our responsibility to care for it.  As Catholics, we are supposed to do our share in caring for the environment.  Perhaps this year you might want to plant a tree, or better yet, plant an idea in others about the need to care for the beauty of God’s creation.

Door A or Door B by A.J. Avila


When I was growing up, there was a game show on television called Let’s Make a Deal. The host, Monty Hall, would give members of the studio audience the opportunity to swap one prize for a different, unknown prize inside a box or behind a curtain. Sometimes the recipient got a better deal by making the trade. Sometimes not.

Of course, if you could see beforehand what was in the box or behind the curtain, you would know whether or not making the trade was a good idea.

I was reminded of this when considering something St. Faustina said in her Diary. She describes being led by an angel into Hell itself. The images she paints of the torments there are staggering. (Diary, 741)

I was more shocked, though, by what she said at the end of it all.

She said she would rather undergo incredible agonies and the greatest sufferings until the end of the world than offend God by the least sin.

So let me get this straight. You have two doors, and you have to choose one of them. Behind Door A is incredible pain and suffering until the Second Coming. Behind Door B is stealing a cookie.

And she’s saying she would choose Door A. Because, apparently, that’s the better deal.

What’s difficult to accept is that she’s right.

We all have a tendency to downplay sin, especially venial sin. Well, yeah, I told a lie, but it’s not like it was a big lie. Not like lying on the witness stand or something. It was just fudging a bit on my taxes. It was just claiming the light was green instead of red when I entered the intersection. No big deal, right? Sheesh, it’s not like I’m Hitler or something!

When we start comparing ourselves to Hitler instead of the Person we should be comparing ourselves to (namely, Jesus), we’ve lost sight of just how diabolical sin is. God is infinitely greater than the universe, and I, little mote of dust that I am, sinned against That? Against Utter Perfection? Against Grace?

That’s exactly what I’ve done. And that’s exactly what Jesus went to the Cross for.

See how much my sins cost? How can sins paid for by such a great price be considered “little”?

That’s why, despite what I’ve heard out of the mouths of a couple of priests, there’s no such thing as a “little sin.” Yes, some are incredibly bigger than others, so big, in fact, that they destroy God’s grace in our souls. But none of them are small.

And that’s also why God wiping them out is such an incredible act of mercy.


Visit author, A.J. Avila at her blog at

Do Catholics Believe Jesus had no Earthly Brothers and Sisters? by David Rummelhoff


Let’s begin by asking, does anyone believe that Jesus had biological siblings — brothers or sisters born of the same biological mother? Yes. (And that’s probably no revelation to you.) The follow-up question is, why does anyone believe that Jesus had biological siblings? The most prominent answer to that question will be, “Well, the Bible says Jesus had siblings.” And if that’s why you believe that Jesus had biological siblings, born of the womb of Mary, then I understand where you’re coming from. I believed the same thing for a long time.

The task then is to read the Scriptures that lead people to believe that Christ had biological siblings, and to examine them closely enough to determine whether or not that is the most tenable or probable case. And where do we begin? Perhaps the best place would be Matthew 13:55-56 (which has a close parallel in Mark 6:3). In this passage, the people of Nazareth are responding to Jesus’ teaching in the synagogue:

Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?”

Again, that seems straight-forward enough, so nobody is jumping to any conclusions here by thinking these are biological siblings. That said, we must note that in the language of the New Testament, the terms here are not absolutely indicative of siblings. The Greek term, which is adelphoi, is also indicative of other familial relations. Fine, but that’s merely a possibility, that doesn’t demonstrate that these four men named are other than Mary’s children. So, let’s see if the NT can clarify for us who these men are in relation to Jesus and Mary.

Jump to Matthew 27:55-56 :

There were also many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him, among whom were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

Here we find another mention of “James and Joseph”, and here their mother is named Mary. However, it is fairly clear that this Mary who was looking on from a distance is not the Mary who bore Jesus. Why? Well, the central character is Jesus, and quite frankly, being the mother of Jesus is a far more important and distinguishing piece of information than being the mother of anyone else. And that this is a different Mary than Jesus’ mother is reinforced a few verses later (v.61) when Matthew writes:

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.

“The other Mary”? Yes. Once again, the Mary who was paired with Mary Magdalene just a moment ago is now called “the other Mary”. It’s not easy to justify the idea that Matthew would refer to the mother of Jesus Christ as “the other Mary”, which is probably why there’s almost no Scripture scholar on earth who believes this other Mary is the mother of our Lord.

Maybe you’re not totally convinced; I get it. So, let’s look at another account of the crucifixion to see how another Gospel writer recorded the presence of these people. John 19:25 :

but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.

Alright, John has given us three Marys. One he identifies by her being the mother of Jesus. Another is the famed Mary Magdalene, and the last is, we’re fairly certain, the “other Mary”, the wife of Clopas and the sister of Jesus’ mother. So, Jesus’ mother is named Mary, and his mother’s “sister” is named Mary. Of course, that Jesus’ maternal grandparents gave two daughters the same name is extremely improbable. So, this is probably another one of those instances where that Greek term adelphoi is used to indicate a non-sibling relation. In other words, it’s quite likely that Clopas’ wife is the cousin of Jesus’ mother.

  1. So, that gives us good reason to conclude that the first two “brothers”, James and Joseph, named in Matthew 13 are of some other familial relation to Jesus. In fact, the evidence strongly indicates that they are Jesus’ second cousins. And if the first two adelphoi named are only second cousins of Jesus, it is certainly improbable that the men and sisters mentioned after are of closer relation, certainly not the children of Mary and Joseph.

Does this “prove” that Jesus had no siblings? No, but it tells us that it’s highly improbable. When the people of Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth thought of Jesus’ family members, the first people they named are second cousins

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David Rummelhoff is a stay-at-home dad whose three little girls have him on a short leash since he finished his MA in theology. He pretends to have time to read and write, but he really spends his days incessantly preparing food for children with insatiable appetites and dangerous minds. He is the founder of Peter’s Mark.

Divine Mercy Too by Deacon Marty

20160403_112933Corpus Christi Parish in Lexington, SC on Divine Mercy Sunday

20150923_111200Unschooled orphan children in Lufwanyama, Zambia

Last Sunday, Divine Mercy Sunday, I was down in Lexington, South Carolina for my father’s funeral.  I attended Corpus Christi Parish.  I went by myself as my wife was still in New York and could not be there, and my brothers and sisters living near there were not Catholic.  Even though I went by myself, the parishioners were very warm and welcoming and I felt at home.  The priest who said the mass gathered all of the children around him on the altar steps.  He asked them what they wanted to be when they grew up.  Each child responded and there were things like, Teacher, Astronaut (what I would have answered at that age), Police man or woman, Fire man or woman, etc.  The children were all excited at the personal attention the priest gave them and at his interest in their ideas.  After hearing from all of the children, he said that all of them could probably become what they wanted to be with a little bit of work.  Then he said, “what if your parents told you that age eight you had to leave school and help with the farm; or what if there was no school at all near you; or what if the school consisted of a metal shed with no books or blackboards or other learning tools.”  He told them that for a very large number of children in the world, that was what they faced.

When he said this it reminded me of my own mission trip down to Zambia in Africa last fall.  I went with a charity (HALO Missions) that helps bring medical and educational help to orphans throughout that area.  I remember the wonderful, happy children who could not attend school because they did not have the money to buy the government required school uniforms.  I remember visiting the local school that was definitely under sized and quite primitive compared to what we have.  I remember helping bring medical assistance to these orphans, sometimes saving their lives with less than $4.00 worth of medicine.  I remember the school headmaster’s smile when we told him we were giving him enough money to complete the school extension that the government had stopped due to lack of funds.  I also remember the joy on the faces of the 109 orphans that we dealt with telling them that we would purchase their school uniforms so they could attend school.  Helping others brings such joy, and there are so many who need help.  That was the message that the priest gave the children.  They were having a special fund raiser for a charity that helped children around the world.  I hope that the parents of these children heard that message and contributed generously.

So what does this have to do with Divine Mercy?  It has plenty do to with it.  John Paul II told us that Divine Mercy was twofold.  The emphasis we have most of the time is the first part:  God is Merciful; he is filled with unending Mercy.  We do need to hear that and take it in to our heart.  But we also have to live out the second part.  The second part is that we too are called to be like God and be filled with Mercy.  That means not only being forgiving, but also being generous in our dealings with others, especially the poor.  We need to touch the people around us by showing God’s Mercy in our everyday lives.  But we also have to be Merciful to those who do not have what we do.  We need to shower them with generous, merciful actions.  This Sunday, as we continue our Easter celebration and hear Jesus tell St. Peter that he must feed and tend the sheep, we too must think about how we can feed and tend God’s children who are in need.  This should be a time when we think about the other part of Divine Mercy, Divine Mercy Too, our response to God’s Mercy and our call to bring Mercy to others.  God bless.

To check out the the HALO missions website go to

Divine Mercy by Deacon Marty

DIVINE-MERCY-IMAGE1This Sunday, the first Sunday after Easter, is Divine Mercy Sunday.  This is such an important day for us, especially during this YEAR OF MERCY.  We are called to see how the love of God is poured out upon us in His Mercy.  Now we especially see Divine Mercy in relationship to our death, but I think we should also see it in our day to day walk with Jesus.   We should experience all of life with a sense of gratitude for the Mercy God shows us.  The gift of life itself calls us to be filled with gratitude for what God has given us.

This last week I have personally seen God’s love and Mercy at work.  On Monday I received a call from my brother that my 90 year old dad had become seriously ill.  He lived in an assisted living home in Columbia, SC.  I live in Long Island, NY.  His care workers saw that he did not come out of his room for breakfast.  They knew that he never missed a meal, so they thought something was wrong.   They went in to find him unconscious on his bed and immediately called an ambulance.   He was rushed to the hospital and my brother was called.  After some testing they found that he had a bad infection caused by his divitriculitus.  It was severe enough that they believed he would not recover.  My brother told me I should come down as soon as possible.   Since the airfare was extremely expensive,  I planned to drive down, which would have taken me two days.  Fortunately,  God has given me a wife who had the wisdom to tell me that I should fly down.  I did that and came to dad Tuesday afternoon.

As soon as I got to the hospital, I  talked to my brother.   Dad was getting worse.  I went in to see him and dad was fairly awake because the nurses had just washed him.  He lit up as soon as I walked in and tried to talk, but could only mouth “Marty”.  His look on his face when he saw me is one I will never forget.   God, in His Mercy, allowed me to get there just in time.  Right after that,  he never fully awoke.  All four of his children,  and several of his grandchildren were gathered around him.  We stayed with him until finally,  on Wednesday morning, he breathed his last.  I see God’s Mercy in allowing all four of his children to be there for his last few days.

I also see God’s Mercy in his death.  Although the doctors told us that he could have a prolonged and difficult death, he didn’t.   On Wednesday  morning his blood pressure kept failing and the hospital allowed all four of us gather around him in his ICU bed.  We told him how much we loved him and we first prayed the Numbers 6 prayer and then prayed the Our Father.  As we prayed the last words of the Our Father, he breathed his last breath.  He died peacefully,  with his children and grandchildren around him.  I certainly saw God’s Mercy in this.

My dad was originally baptized a Methodist and when I was about 20 he became a Jehovah Witness.   This conversion of his has caused a great deal of difficulty within our family.  However,  the last few years have brought a lot of healing to us all and I see God’s Mercy at work in this.   I really believe the Jehovah Witnesses are very misled in their beliefs and I would certainly consider them to be in apostasy.   I have worried about my dad (and Mom’s) salvation , but I know that dad loved God and served Him in the way he thought was correct.   Because I know of God’s Mercy, I feel better about my Mom and Dad’s salvation.   I do believe that we all have to face God in judgment for our lives.  However,  it is good to know that we have a good and Merciful  judge.

The Second Greatest Act of Mercy by A.J. Avila

The Second Greatest Act of Mercy


The second greatest act of mercy I’ve ever known was performed by somebody whose name you have probably never heard.

She was Assunta Goretti, mother of St. Maria Goretti.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the story of Maria Goretti, at the tender age of eleven she was threatened by a neighbor, Allesandro Serenelli, to give in to his sexual advances. When she refused, Allesandro stabbed her 14 times. She survived the attack long enough to make it to the hospital but later died of her injuries.

Allesandro was of course arrested and sent to prison. While there, he had a conversion experience in which Maria appeared to him in a dream with 14 white lilies, one for each time he had stabbed her.

Maria did forgive her murderer, which was a great act of mercy, but one even more incredible was to come.

Allesandro was released from prison 27 years after the attack. He sought out Maria’s mother, Assunta Goretti, to beg her forgiveness.

Amazingly, she not only forgave him but (get this!) adopted him as her own son.

If your initial reaction is “How could she do that?” you and I are a lot alike. To tell you the truth, if a man murdered one of my daughters, I don’t think I’d have it in me to adopt him as my son, no matter how repentant he was. He would always be there, as a reminder. I would every day see the hands that had snuffed out my daughter’s life.

Forgive . . . yes.

Adopt . . . are you crazy?

Then it occurred to me that there is another act of mercy similar to this one, in fact, the Number One Act of Mercy.

You see, someone did for me what Assunta did for Allesandro.

Those were my sins that scourged Jesus. Those were my sins that crowned His head with thorns. Those were my sins that nailed Him to the cross, that shed His Precious Blood, that caused His excruciatingly painful death.

That’s what I did to a certain Someone’s Son, and yet . . .

And yet He not only forgave me but adopted me as His daughter.

I’d always known about God’s great mercy in dying for my sins. But I had not stopped to consider the second part of the story: God making me His own child.

When I came to this realization, for the first time it hit me like a bullet between the eyes what it actually means that God’s Love and Mercy goes to such great lengths.

And I will be eternally grateful.

EASTER SUNDAY by Deacon Marty

Israel 182

This is a picture that I took while we were out on the Sea of Galilee in a boat.  It was early in the morning and there was a low fog on the waters.  We started singing the song, “How Great Thou Art” and all of a sudden rays of sun came through the clouds.  It was a real Holy Moment.  God is good.

CHRIST THE LORD IS RISEN TODAY, ALLELUIA – What a day of Joy for the Church, for the world.  Today the victory over death has occurred.   Because of Jesus’s  resurrection we now have Hope and Joy and Peace and Love and Life.  God is so good!  For the next forty days the Church will CELEBRATE the resurrection of the Lord.  This echoes the forty days that Jesus spent with His disciples in His Resurrected Body.  He spent those days teaching them and getting them ready to form the Church and spread the GOOD NEWS throughout the world.  He prepared them for His own leaving (Ascension in to Heaven) and for the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.  Today the Church begins the Easter season where we too will be learning so much from the Lord through the scripture readings of mass.  It is a very Holy time for us.  We too need to learn about the gift that God will give us at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit.  In Romans, Paul tells us that the Spirit that lives within us is the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead.  Now that is true power.  We need to learn more about what God can do through us when we are open to His Spirit.  The Easter Season will help us do that.  Remember that Easter is a forty day process.  Make the best of it.  May our good Lord continue to bless you and yours and may you have the very best Easter season ever.