Now I order you to retain this creed for your nourishment throughout life and never to accept any alternative, not even if I myself were to change and say something contrary to what I am now teaching, not even if some angel of contradiction, changed into an angel of light, tried to lead you astray. For even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which you have now received, let him be accursed in your sight. – St Cyril of Jerusalem
The Pope’s homily of January 1, 2021, for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, and the World Day of Peace, was read by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, who offered Mass at the altar of the Chair of St Peter’s in the Vatican Basilica on behalf of Pope Francis, who was suffering from painful sciatica and prevented from participating.
The Holy Father wished to consecrate the year 2021 to the Virgin Mary with these words:
“Holy Mother of God, to you we consecrate this New Year. You, who know how to cherish things in your heart, care for us, bless our time, and teach us to find time for God and for others. With joy and confidence, we acclaim you: Holy Mother of God! Amen.”
Surrender All Meditation “Surrender all to the Immaculata and entrust everything to her fully. She is able to repair damage and to direct everything to the greatest possible glory of God.” (KW 987) Prayer of Consecration O Immaculata, I renew my consecration to you. Help me to surrender all and entrust everything to you. Please intercede that … Lent may be a favorable time for our transformation according to the logic of love and solidarity, as St. Maximilian teaches us. (March intention) Watch the new film about the MI! CLICK HERE and please share with others! This important new short film is available in 7 languages (in English with six other versions subtitled in Spanish, French, Polish, Portuguese, Italian or Vietnamese). Released on the feast of St. Maximilian Kolbe, this film will continue to carry out his mission that all people might be consecrated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
A German bishop, Cardinal Meisner (1933-2017), Archbishop of Cologne, once received a group of Germans who had been living for 35 years in Siberia, and had been thus been deprived of all contact with the Church during all those years. He recalled the conversation he had with them:
“They said to me: ‘We miss the Church so much! What truth of faith must we pass on to our children so that they may obtain eternal life?’ I answered them: ‘I will give you a catechism and a New Testament.If you give them to your children, they will obtain eternal life.’
Unfortunately, 15 years ago no one could take books to Russia. When they told me this, I said, ‘What abouta rosary? Surely you could take one with you?’
They replied, ‘Yes, we can put it around our necks, like a necklace. No one at the checkpoint will say anything.’ But they added, ‘What does the rosary have to do with our question: what can we pass on to our children so that they may obtain eternal life?’
I showed them the cross hanging from the rosary:
‘This is where we recite the Creed, the doctrine of our faith. And, like St Thomas Aquinas said, the Cross is a never-ending book. Then you have the 3 beads recalling faith, hope and charity. They represent the doctrine of life. And after that, as in a chain, comes the whole New Testament: the mystery of the Incarnation of God in the joyful mysteries; the mystery of Redemption in the sorrowful mysteries; and finally the mysteries of our fulfillment, which are the glorious mysteries.’
I will never forget what one of the pilgrims said to me after he took the rosary I gave him: ‘So you mean that I am holding the Catholic faith in my hand?” Yes, he did indeed hold the fullness of our faith in one hand!”
Cardinal Meisner, Archbishop of Cologne from 1988-2014. Quoted in the magazine “N’ayez pas peur ” n. 8 – Oct. 1992
Special Guardian Meditation “The Immaculata keeps special guard over those who love her. Trust her without limits and love her without limits.” (KW 987) Prayer of Consecration O Immaculata, I renew my consecration to you. Help me to trust you without limits. Please intercede that … Lent may be a favorable time for our transformation according to the logic of love and solidarity, as St. Maximilian teaches us. (March intention) Glory to God through the Immaculata! The official MI prayer book is now available from the MI National Center. Send an email to request a copy: MINational@MissionImmaculata.com
The litany of St. Joseph, one of only six approved by the Church for public as well as private use, sums up qualities that made him such an important part of the Holy Family (pictured above).
Although he does not appear much in scripture, this “just man” (as he is called in Matthew 1:19), a humble carpenter, served our Lord and the Blessed Virgin Mary faithfully as His “foster-father” and her “chaste guardian,” as he is called below.
In referring to St. Joseph as a “diligent protector” of Christ, this litany brings to mind his important role in taking Mary and the infant child Jesus to Egypt to protect our Lord from being killed by King Herod (Matt 3:13-16).
The Litany of St. Joseph, in referring to him as a “patron of the dying” gives one of many examples of his patronage. The faithful ask for his assistance for workers, home buyers (and sellers) and, of course, carpenters, among many others!
When this litany is prayed in public, the congregation responds to a leader with the words in italics.
Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us. God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us. God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us. Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, pray for us (after each line) Saint Joseph, Renowned offspring of David, Light of Patriarchs, Spouse of the Mother of God, Chaste guardian of the Virgin, Foster-father of the Son of God, Diligent protector of Christ, Head of the Holy Family, Joseph most just, Joseph most chaste, Joseph most prudent, Joseph most strong, Joseph most obedient, Joseph most faithful, Mirror of patience, Lover of poverty, Model of artisans, Glory of home life, Guardian of virgins, Pillar of families, Solace of the wretched, Hope of the sick, Patron of the dying, Terror of demons, Protector of Holy Church,
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord. Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord. Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.
V. He made him the lord of His house: R. And ruler of all His substance.
Let us pray. O God, who in Thine unspeakable providence didst vouchsafe to choose blessed Joseph to be the spouse of Thine own most holy Mother: grant, we beseech Thee, that we may deserve to have him for our intercessor in heaven, whom we reverence as our defender on earth: who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.
With Love & Gratitude Meditation “In everything, rely fully and with love and gratitude on the love of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Most Sweet Heart of the Immaculata.” (KW 987) Prayer of Consecration O Immaculata, I renew my consecration to you. May I learn to rely upon you fully and with love. Please intercede that … Lent may be a favorable time for our transformation according to the logic of love and solidarity, as St. Maximilian teaches us. (March intention) Glory to God through the Immaculata! The official MI prayer book is now available from the MI National Center. Send an email to request a copy: MINational@MissionImmaculata.com
“Our family comes from a town near Fatima, Portugal. My great-grandparents were witnesses of the 1917 apparitions. The Miracle of the Sun could be seen dozens of miles away,” said Oliver. Since then, Oliver’s family has made the annual pilgrimage to Fatima on foot from their small town.
“My father was the one who especially transmitted the faith to us. Unfortunately, around the age of 33, I rebelled against God. I didn’t understand why there was so much misery in the world, why God allowed such great inequalities and why the Cross of Jesus hadn’t solved everything… And then one day, at a very precise moment, the Virgin Mary came to me and touched my soul. She made me understand that Christ has opened the way to eternal life for us and that life here on earth is only a stage given to our freedom to choose God. At the same time, I was given the gift to listen to the Scriptures in a new way. I felt the desire to help others, and a longing for prayer, peace and the love that comes from God.”
Today, Oliver witnesses to his faith around him, even at work. “I have friends, but my only true friend is Jesus: He gave His life for me, to Him alone can I entrust everything. To Him and to Mary.
The most striking thing about Lourdes is the abundance of sick and handicapped people. What would Lourdes be without them? Lourdes is their “place” and they are treated like kings!
Before the pandemic, officially 80,000 sick and handicapped people from all over the world would visit Lourdes every year. They would come to draw the strength they needed to bear their suffering and to find meaning in their struggles from the rock of the Grotto.
Sometimes the sight of so many infirmities is overwhelming, yet at the same time Lourdes feels like a haven of peace and joy. For everyone, Lourdes is the city of miraculous healing.
The first miracles in Lourdes took place during the apparitions to Saint Bernadette of Our Lady in 1858. (There were 18 apparitions in all.) Almost immediately, sick people began to come to the Grotto, in increasingly greater numbers and from further and further away.
At that time, the sight of the sick moved some people so deeply that they spontaneously offered their help. There are now countless men and women volunteers or hospitaliers who assist with lodging, picking up people at the train station and the airport, wheeling the sick on the Rosary Esplanade, to the Grotto, to Masses, to Confession, to the healing baths, etc.
Both the sick and the so-called “healthy” gather together at the Grotto, at the feet of Our Lady of Lourdes, where they help one another by exchanging smiles and praying for each other’s intentions in their hearts.
Bishop Robert Barron first came to fame in the Catholic world for his fight against what he called “beige Catholicism.” The founder of Word on Fire rightly saw that a milquetoast, flaccid expression of Catholicism—so common in parishes across the country and embraced by the liberal elements of the Church—is a death knell for the Church. Barron wrote eloquent articles and produced polished videos reminding Catholics that the Faith is more than the insipid liturgies and watered-down teachings they were being fed each week. Justifiably, his influence grew and eventually he was named the Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles.
Yet since being named bishop, Barron has pivoted his ministry, presenting Word on Fire as navigating between the Scylla of beige Catholicism and the Charybdis of “extreme traditionalist Catholicism.” In doing so, however, Barron misses the changing face of the traditionalist movement while falling prey to the very beige Catholicism he originally opposed.
When you read Barron’s descriptions of traditionalist Catholics, you find the words “extreme,” “radical,” and “angry” peppered throughout. Apparently, in his view traditional Catholics are a fringe movement of socially-inept people who desire to overthrow the Church and install their own 1950’s-style religion in its place. Clearly the good bishop hasn’t kept his finger on the pulse of this movement. Traditionalism is booming (in this country, at least), and it’s a diverse, joyful group of people who want exactly what Barron first promoted: a faith that’s no longer watered-down to conform with the surrounding culture.
Why is Barron so wrong in his assessment of the traditionalist movement? Some of his error is understandable; it’s true that traditional Catholics have long had a reputation for being mean and judgmental. This reputation is partially justified. From the early 1970’s until Pope Benedict’s motu proprio liberalizing the use of the traditional Latin Mass (what Benedict called the “Extraordinary Form” of the Mass), traditional Catholics were truly on the peripheries of the Church.
Traditionalists endured persecution from Church officials and fellow Catholics, all because they wanted to practice the faith as countless generations had practiced it before them. Labeled “schismatic,” they were given less respect by far than heretic theologians. While most Catholics ignored the growing abuse crisis among bishops and priests out of a misplaced sense of loyalty and obedience, traditionalists were among the few who spoke out…and they were attacked for it. It’s no surprise that perhaps they had a chip on their collective shoulder. ADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW
Much has changed in the Church since those days. In Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict acknowledged the key point that traditionalists had long argued: that the traditional Latin Mass had never—and could never—be abrogated. In addition, the abuse scandal went public in 2002, showing that traditional Catholics had been right all along in calling bishops to account for their terrible mismanagement of that crisis.
And that’s not all that’s changed: the 2018 McCarrick scandal demonstrated to the world that the episcopacy is still horribly corrupt, in spite of PR-driven efforts to address the abuse crisis. Church leaders were still covering up their sins and illegal activities while doing little to nothing to boldly proclaim the Gospel to the nations. Catholics realized that this wasn’t just beige Catholicism, it was black Catholicism. Yet bishops—including Bishop Barron—still speak about the McCarrick affair like an English gentleman who sees someone picking up the wrong fork at dinner. It’s unfortunate, but let’s not get too worked up, shall we?
Because of all this, traditional Catholicism has boomed as an alternative to the status quo—beige—Catholicism that Barron now represents. The movement has become far more diverse than it was back when you had to drive hours to find an underground Latin Mass to attend. Catholics from all backgrounds are now being drawn to traditional expressions of the faith, and while perhaps it was anger at events like the McCarrick scandal or the bishops’ sycophantic response to state COVID-19 restrictions that originally motivated them, they fell in love with tradition and now stay because they believe traditional Catholicism is the fullest expression of the Catholic Faith.ADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW
Traditional Catholicism is no longer monolithic, either, if it ever was; it encompasses a variety of opinions and views on how best to practice the faith and reform the Church. There are only two unifying threads within traditionalism: a love for the traditional Latin Mass and a suspicion about making Vatican II the sole key for unlocking the mysteries of Scripture and Tradition. Consider some of the public figures who attend the Latin Mass regularly, such as Scott Hahn, Janet Smith, and Leah Darrow. These figures are not the “mean, angry traditionalists” that populate Bishop Barron’s caricatures. They are joyful Catholics who have simply found a deeper devotion to Christ through the practice of traditional expressions of the Faith.
There lies the irony of Barron’s negative views of traditionalism. Catholics are fed up with beige Catholicism, but they don’t want the half-measures that Barron recommends in response. Instead of replacing felt-banner 1970s liturgies with slightly less gauche ones, they want liturgies that give all the glory to God. Instead of substituting heretical teachings with orthodox yet oh-so culturally-relevant homilies, they want unadulterated, politically-incorrect, and unapologetic proclamations of the Faith. And instead of a half-hearted, cover-your-*ss response to the abuse scandal, they want a deep cleaning of the hierarchy, from top to bottom. They see that Catholicism as practiced since the 1970’s is far worse than beige, and Barron’s response itself has lost all color. Give us that ol’ time religion, they say.
Pellevoisin is a small village in Central France. On February 15, 1876, around midnight, 33-year old maid, Estelle Faguette, saw the Virgin Mary at her home, then fourteen more times up until December 8, 1876.
As a sign of spiritual warfare, the first apparition of the Virgin to Estelle was preceded, for a few short moments, by an apparition of the devil. She recounts: “The Virgin turned towards me and said softly to me: ‘Fear not, you are my daughter. Courage, be patient, my Son will let Himself be touched. You will suffer another five days, in honor of the five wounds of my Son. On Saturday, you will be dead or cured’.”
During the night of February 18th (fifth apparition), Estelle miraculously recovered from tuberculosis.
Adapted from: Father René Laurentin and Patrick Sbalchiero, Dictionnaire encyclopédique des apparitions de la Vierge. Fayard, Paris 2007. Read also: Pellevoisin