Thursday, October 25, 2012

Renew Fasting and Prayer

“Dear children! Today I call you to pray for my intentions. Renew fasting and prayer because Satan is cunning and attracts many hearts to sin and perdition. I call you, little children, to holiness and to live in grace. Adore my Son so that He may fill you with His peace and love for which you yearn. Thank you for having responded to my call.”  BVM, Medjugorje, 10/25/2012

And when he was coming into the house, his disciples secretly asked him: Why couldn't we cast him out?... And he said to them: This kind can come out only  by prayer and fasting. (Mark 9:27, 29)

Fasting has become a forgotten religious Biblical and Christian theme. And its concepts are largely lost in the Church. Yet, Our Lady calls us time and time again to the spiritual disciple of fasting.

"The best fast is on bread and water. Through fasting and prayer one can stop wars, one can suspend the natural laws of nature. Works of charity cannot replace fasting... Everyone except the sick, has to fast." BVM, Medjugorje. 7/21/1982

Today, we know that many illnesses are caused by excessive eating and drinking. Obesity is on the rise in adults and children and many of us have developed a disorderly relationship with food in general. As a result of this, many people are returning to a more natural and healthy way of eating.

Throughout the Old and New Testament we see that fasting has always been connected with prayer as a means to peace. Prophets fasted before accepting their service as prophets and before special revelations. Jesus fasted prior to His public life and said that those that are His own will also fast.

When Jesus spoke to His disciples about how to fast, He clearly was expecting that they would fast (Matthew 6:16-18 ). He did not say "if you fast" but "when you fast."

As the Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it, fasting and abstinence

“help us to acquire mastery over our instinct and freedom of heart. (CCC 2043) 1

Our Lady asks everyone to pray all three Mysteries of the Rosary and to fast two days a week, on Wednesdays and Fridays.

To many people this call seems excessive, unrealistic and impossible. Yet, the history of fasting shows the Jewish people already fasted two days, on Mondays and Thursdays.

Jesus did not discard the value of fasting nor did He forbid fasting twice a week. He only forbade judging others.

In calling us to fast two days a week, Mary remains in the tradition of Her Israelite nation and reminds us of the multi- century tradition of the Eastern and Western Church.

1. Big C Cathoics 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Why Fasting??

Fasting. Just the thought of fasting wrinkles my nose and causes me to grumble under my breath, “ugh”! Why would I want to fast???

I love to cook, I love to eat.When I am not doing either one of these two things, I spend a lot of time thumbing through food magazines or reading cooking blogs.  And yes, I even record cooking shows and watch my favorite episodes while I put my time in on the treadmill! Sound familiar?
Food, we American’s seem to have an obsession with it. And fasting, well …. we view that to be a long forgotten religious, Biblical and Christian theme. Today not only the practice of fasting, but also its concepts are largely lost in the Church. And yet, today we have more health related illness and obesity than ever before.1

 So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and fasting.... Daniel 9:3

 Our Lady calls all of us to peace, fasting, prayer and conversion and to a firm faith. 

On August 14, 1984, an unexpected apparition occurred.  Ivan, one of the visionaries of Medjugorje,  was praying at home and then started to get ready to go to church for the evening services. By surprise Our Lady appeared to him and told him to relate this message to the people:

“ I would like the people to pray along with me these days. And to pray as much as possible! And to fast strictly on Wednesdays and Fridays, and every day to pray at least on Rosary: the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries.”

Our Lady asked that we accept this message with a firm will.

Fasting, just like renunciation, gives strength, enables us to pray and brings joy.


O Lord God, Creator of all creation and my Creator, today we give you thanks for having arranged the world so wonderfully. Thank you for having given fertility to mother earth so that she may bear all kinds of fruit. Thank you for the food prepared from the fruits of the earth. Father, I rejoice in your creatures. I rejoice in all the fruits today, and I thank you. Thank you for our daily food and drink.

Father, thank you for having made my body in such a way as to be able to use the fruits of the earth and so develop and serve you. Thank you Father for all those who through their work, produce new life possibilities. Thank you for those who have much and give away to others. Thank you for all who are hungry for heavenly bread while eating this earthly bread.

Father thank you also for those who have nothing to eat today, for I am convinced that you will send them help through good people. Father, today I decide to fast. In doing so, I do not despise your creatures. I do not renounce them, I only want to rediscover their value. I decide for fasting because your prophets used to fast, because Jesus Christ fasted and so did his apostles and disciples. I especially decide for fasting because your servant Mother Mary fasted too. She called me to fasting.

“Dear children, today I invite you to start fasting with the heart. There are a lot of people who fast because others do so. Fasting is a habit nobody wants to give up. I ask the parish to fast out of gratitude that God allowed me to stay in this parish so long. Dear children, fast and pray with the heart. Thank you for having responded to my call.” (9/20/84)

Father I present this day of fasting to you. Through fasting I want to listen to and live your word more. I want during this day to learn to be turned more toward you, in spite of all the things that surround me. With this fast that I take upon myself freely, I pray to you for all who are hungry and who because of their hunger have become aggressive.

I present you this fast for PEACE in the world. Wars come because we are attached to material things and are ready to kill each other because of them.

Father I present to you this fast for all those who are totally tied down to material things so that they are unable to see any other values. I ask you for all those who are in conflict because they have become blind in what they possess. Father open our eyes through fasting to what you give us to what we have. I am also sorry for the blindness which has taken hold of my senses so that I do not give thanks for the goods I have. I repent every misuse of material goods because I used to judge their value wrongly.

Make me able, through this fast today, to see you and the people around me better. Enable me to hear your word better. Through todays fasting, let love for you and for my neighbor grow in me. Father I decide to live on bread and water today that I may better understand the value of heavenly bread, and the presence of your Son in the Eucharist. Let my faith and trust grow through fasting. Father I decide for fasting and accept it because I know that in this way my longing for you will grow in me. Eagerly and with gratitude do I think of your Son’s words: How blessed are the poor in spirit, the reign of God is theirs.

Father make me poor before you. Grant me grace that through fasting I may understand how much I need you. Grant that through fasting my desire for you may grow, that my heart may long for you as the deer longs for the running waters and the desert for the clouds of rain. Father, I pray to you, grant that through this fast my understanding of the hungry and the thirsty of those who do not have enough of material goods, may especially grow. Help me see what I do not need but possess, that I may give it up for the benefit of my brothers and sisters.

O Father I especially pray to you. Grant me the grace to become aware that I am but a pilgrim on this earth, that when passing away to the other world I shall not take anything with me but love and good deeds. Let the awareness grow within me that even when I possess something I cannot call it my own for I have only received it from you to manage it. Father grant me grace that through fasting I may become more humble and more willing to do your will.

Cleanse me of my selfishness and haughtiness. Through this fast cleanse me of all bad habits and calm down my passions, and let virtue increase in me. Let the depth of my soul open to your grace through this fast so that it may totally affect and cleanse me. Help me to be always like your Son, in trials and temptations, to resist every temptation, so as to be able to serve you and seek your Word more and more, day after day.

Blessed Mother, you were free in your heart and bound to nothing except the Father’s will. Obtain by prayer the grace of a joyful fast for me today, in which my heart will be able to sing with you a thanksgiving song. Obtain by prayer the grace for me that my decisions to fast may be firm and lasting. And I offer for all people, the difficulties and the hunger I am going to feel today. Mary, my Mother, pray for me. Let every evil and temptation of satan stay away from me today through your intercession and through the power of your protection. Teach me dear Mother to fast and to pray that day after day I may become more and more like you and your Son, Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit. Amen .

 1. Fast with the Heart Fr. Slavko Barbaric

Friday, October 19, 2012

Simple Stones

The Philistine army had gathered for war against Israel. For forty days they taunted King Saul and his army. They were all terrified. But the faith and courage of one young boy changed what could have been a dreadful outcome.

David, son of Jesse, you slew Goliath with nothing but a sling shot and a bag of stones. As the 9 foot Philistine approached you, jeering at you and ridiculing you with his enormous size and mighty strength, you feared not! You, a simple shepherd boy, filled with trust and faithfulness to the God of Israel, took a stone from your side pouch, loaded your sling shot, aimed and launched the stone that ended his life and destroyed your enemy.

Our Lady has given us weapon to use against the attacks of the wicked enemy, Satan. These weapons are like the stones used by David to slay Goliath. They are prayer (daily Rosary), fasting, the Bible, monthly confession, and Holy Communion.

Since 1214, when the Church first received the Rosary from St. Dominic, given to him by Our Blessed Mother, the Rosary has been a powerful weapon for the conversion of sinners and a form of protection against the enemy.

To recite the Rosary is to be with Jesus and Mary, meditating on the mysteries of their lives. When we are daily linked with them by such meetings, then the joy of victory over death and sin is guaranteed to us with them. The gifts of the Spirit and the final triumph in heaven are assured us. 1

Sometimes, it is easy to say the Rosary in a hasty manner, rushing to finish it and off to start something else. But, we should try to say the Rosary like we were talking to a friend, enjoying the time we spend together, nurturing the moment and the relationship.

“Dear children! Today I invite you in a particular way to enter the battle against Satan by means of prayer. Satan wants to battle more, now that you are aware of his activity. Dear children, put on therefore, your armor against Satan, and with the Rosary in your hands, you will defeat him. Thank you for having responded to my call.” (August 8, 1985)

1  Pray with the Heart! Medjugorje Manual of Prayer, F. Slavko Barbaric, O.F.M.

Monday, October 15, 2012

22nd Medjugorje Peace Conference

22nd Medjugorje Peace Conference
October 20 and 21, 2012
Bren Events Center, UCI Campus, Irvine, California
Located 40 miles south of Los Angles, CA


Josip Elez
Son of Medjugorje Visionary Ivanka
Reverend Svetozar Kraljevic, ofmPriest from St. James, Parish
Valentyna Pavsyukova
She brings many doctors and medical students to Medjugorje for life-changing retreats
Dr. Alexandra ZagorodniaShe will give testimony of her conversion while on retreat in Medjugorje

Reverend Kerry Beaulieu is pastor of Our Lady Queen of Angeles Church, Newport Beach, CA In addition to serving in five parishes he has taught at St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, CA and was vicar for priests for the Diocese of Orange from 1999 until 2004. Father is an elected member of the Council of Priests and active in Worldwide Marriage Encounter as a team priest. His first love is parish life and the call of the parish to be an Evangelizing community.

Tajci Cameron is a singer/songwriter and inspirational speaker from Croatia. She and her husband and producer, Matthew, developed a unique model of narrative concerts that have seasonally aired on EWTN and TBN and are available on DVD and CD. With her “iDoBelieve” concert series, Tajci performed over 900 events including 2006 Youth Day in Medjugorje for over 30,000 people. Previously she performed at Madison Square Gardens and Carnegie Hall in NY. Presently she and her husband live in Cincinnati with their three young sons.
Michael Crotty, raised in a devout Catholic family in San Francisco, was lured by the excitement of crossing moral boundaries and soon became addicted to crack cocaine. After countless failures in rehab facilities, he traveled to Medjugorje with his father. There, in an encounter with the Gospa, he found the courage to enter Comunita Cenacolo a unique rehab community in the village. While recovering, he helped other young people save their lives by facilitating their entry into the program.

Reverend Patrick Crowley, SS.CC., is a member of the Sacred Hearts Community and resides in Hemet, CA. He also is a member of the Association of Christian Therapists and active in Healing Light Ministry. A respected Retreat Master, Father has ministered for his Community in foreign countries and counsels women seeking healing from abortion. He is the Spiritual Director for the Irvine Medjugorje Peace Conference.

Reverend Timothy Deeter was born and ordained to the priesthood in Chicago. For the past fifteen years he has ministered in Perth and Sydney, Australia in the areas of liturgical music, vocations discernment, young adult ministry and World Youth Day 2008. In Perth, he is pastor of St. Paul’s Parish and chaplain of Edith Cowan University. His visits to Medjugorje led him to avidly promoting devotion to Our Lady and the need to live her messages. Father is a dynamic and resourceful speaker.
Josip Elez was born in 1990 in Caplina, a village close to St. James Church in Medjugorje. His mother, Ivanka, is one of the six Medjugorje visionaries. When at home, he is graced to be present during the Gospa’s annual apparition to his mother on June 25. His family earnestly endeavors to live the Gospa’s call to conversion through prayer, fasting, the Sacraments and peace. Their family rosaries are offered for families around the world. Josip currently, attends Irvine Valley College in California.
Reverend Joseph Grbes, OFM was born in Rama, Bosnia-Herzegovina. He joined the Franciscan Order in 1986 and studied in Bosnia-Hercegovina, England and the USA. He presently serves in Chicago as Pastor of St. Jerome Croatian Parish, while continuing his post-graduate work in pastoral theology at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. A young man when the Medjugorje visions began in 1981, Father has studied Our Lady’s messages and encourages all to respond to her urgent call to peace and frequent confession.
Reverend Svetozar Kraljevic, OFM of St. James Parish in Medjugorje has been closely involved with the reported apparitions there. He has written two books that give clear spiritual insights into what has become the spiritual event of our time. Father “Svet” is loved and admired for his efforts in maintaining Mothers Village, which provides a home, school, and medical and dental care for orphans and single mothers, and for assisting other homeless families. Father also devotes many hours almost every day to hearing confessions.
Monsignor James Lisante is pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Massapequa, NY. While devotedly guiding the faith of his parish congregation, he often can be seen on Fox News Channel and ABC Eyewitness News defending Catholic ethics on right to life for the unborn, faith and family relationships. Monsignor has originated a TV show for PBS called Close Encounter in which he interviews screen stars and sports figures who express their joy in actively living their Catholic faith. His delivery is highly stimulating.
Reverend Doug Lorig is Pastor of St. Maria Goretti Parish in Scottsdale, AZ and has been the Spiritual Director for the Arizona Mir Center for 20 years. He was an Episcopal Priest until 1979 when he, his wife Nancy and their four children converted to the Catholic Church. He was ordained to the Priesthood of the Catholic Church in 1984, through the Pastoral Provision of John Paul II, which has allowed more than a hundred such ordinations. He and his wife have 15 grandchildren.
Most Reverend Dominic M. Luong was born in Vietnam. In 1958, he emigrated to the United States where he continued his seminary studies in Buffalo, NY and in 1966, was ordained a priest. He eventually was incardinated in Archdiocese of New Orleans where he served as the Director of National Center for Vietnamese Apostolate. In 2003, Pope John Paul II appointed him Auxiliary Bishop of Orange, California. His motto is, “You are strangers and aliens no longer” (Eph. 2:19).

Chris Mattson is Mistress of Ceremonies for this Conference. Chris holds a Master’s Degree in Theological Studies from the University of Dallas. For 17 years she worked for the Diocese of San Diego, CA. including several years as diocesan pro-life coordinator She is an Oblate of the Order of St. Benedict and is active in prison ministry. Chris has been married to Eric for 38 years; they have three grown children. She made her first pilgrimage to Medjugorje in 1988.

Valentyna Pavsyukova, upon moving to the USA from the Ukraine—a communist regime disavowing God’s existence—she underwent conversion, becoming a Catholic. Dedicating her life to serving God, in 2007 she and friends founded Chalice of Mercy nonprofit group working to protect the dignity of life from conception to natural death and to aid poor Ukrainian people. She brings Ukrainian physicians to retreats in Medjugorje. Many, upon returning to Ukraine, return to their faith determined to protect life at all its stages.
Connie Salazar of Irvine, CA is an accomplished vocalist and recording artist. Because of her inspirational voice, she is invited to cantor at local diocesan liturgical celebrations and to sing for religious conferences throughout the United States. Connie has produced three cd’s. Her music has been carried on a variety of Christian radio stations including EWTN, Vatican Radio, Indie Gospel Radio (Internet) and Ireland’s Highland Radio. Julianne Choi will accompany Connie on the piano.
Reverend Edward Sousa, Jr. wanted to be a successful Chef, marry and have children. He became that successful Chef, but Our Lady tugged at his heart, calling him to enter the seminary. Unsure of his vocation, he traveled to Medjugorje where he heard Father Jozo speak of the dignity of the call to priesthood. Our Lady led him back to the seminary and in 2003 he was ordained a priest for the Providence, RI Diocese. In thanksgiving to Our Lady for his vocation, Father Sousa has often returned to Medjugorje.
Spirit Alive Music Ministry is located in the Los Angeles Diocese and consists of Lisa and Richard Derleth, Docie and Tony Heim, and Suzie and Michael Wooldridge. They are a lively and deeply spiritual music group and recording artists who offer their music as an avenue of meditation and contact with God. Their Ministry performs at churches and conferences and has produced three CD’s. They will provide our conference music.

Dr. Alexandra Zagorodnia is Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the National Medical University of Bobomoletz in Kiev, Ukraine. During a retreat in Medjugorje with 38 other doctors, she confronted the truth of the sanctity of life from moment of conception. Returning to Kiev, she re-evaluated her profession and discontinued recommending abortions. Now, happy in living the truths of her faith, she openly advocates protection for the child in the womb.

“I beg of you…to live my messages and relate them to whomever you meet.”
This conference is sponsored by the Medjugorje Peace Conference Committee. Conference organizers recognize and accept that final authority regarding apparitions rests with the Holy See.
“Dear children! Also today, with hope in the heart, I am praying for you and am thanking the Most High for every one of you who lives my messages with the heart. Give thanks to God's love that I can love and lead each of you through my Immaculate Heart also toward conversion. Open your hearts and decide for holiness, and hope will give birth to joy in your hearts. Thank you for having responded to my call.” BVM , Medjugorje, 8.25.2012

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

How do you respond when your Mother says " I need you"

Like most children, I love my mother very much.She is kind and gentle. She knows that all she has to do is ask me to do something for her and that  I will stop anything I am doing to come help her with whatever she asks of me.

My heavenly mother is kind and gentle too.Her love is tireless and her heart is warm and welcoming. I would like to think that if she needed me to do something for her that I would eagerly say yes......

Today, October 2, 2012, Our Blessed Mother gave the following message to Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo:

“Dear children; I am calling you and am coming among you because I need you. I need apostles with a pure heart. I am praying, and you should also pray, that the Holy Spirit may enable and lead you, that He may illuminate you and fill you with love and humility. Pray that He may fill you with grace and mercy. Only then will you understand me, my children. Only then will you understand my pain because of those who have not come to know the love of God. Then you will be able to help me. You will be my light-bearers of God’s love. You will illuminate the way for those who have been given eyes but do not want to see. I desire for all of my children to see my Son. I desire for all of my children to experience His Kingdom. Again I call you and implore you to pray for those whom my Son has called. Thank you.”

A Friend of Medjugorje  shares the following:

 The old woman had worked tirelessly for her children to walk the right path. Several had turned out good. Yet because of her concern for those who had become wicked, she constantly prevailed upon her good children to help them. But they would respond, through their actions, that their siblings were unworthy of their help. 

To be an Apostle, in the time of grace, is for eternity an extraordinary position that few others will have had, just as Peter, James and John, and just a few others, held the fortunate position of being in the right place at the right time, encountering the right Person. They sit on special thrones in Heaven reserved for them because of an opportunity that fell in a specific time of man’s history. A special time that their birth and the geographic location of where they were raised made it possible for them to respond. Their occupations required of them to be in the right place at the right time when the clock of history struck the hour that the Messiah would cross their paths, and at the exact moment of their lives when the Messiah’s call went out. One could say, but they were chosen! True, but they still were fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right particular time when the Messiah went among them to be chosen. Our Lady said,

June 25, 1993

“…Dear children, these times are particular…”

We may be surprised at who will be counted among the chosen today. There are many good children whose actions speak that they have eyes but do not see, have the opportunity, the grace offered to be love and humble but do not illuminate. Light-bearers that did not bear the light of the love given to them, and that they, in turn, did not give to others.

Our Lady has come among us with a cause of need. A need of those who are desiring a pure heart to help Her. How many hearts will She have to pass to get to that particular soul who is a John or a Peter who would be open enough to see who is calling them? Peter was told by his brother, Andrew, “Come, the Messiah is here.” Peter dropped his nets and responded. Others Jesus walked by to go to Peter. Why did He pass them by? What was in their hearts that Jesus was unable to be recognized by them? Is it not the same today, as Our Lady comes among us? Even for us in Community, having been in the right place at the right time, even born here, will we understand? Will we see the opportunity of Our Lady’s call in this particular moment of history? If we do not, why can we not see? What do we not understand?

Our Lady requires of those She needs not just to be counted among the good. But to have a character of soul that possesses love, humility, purity, prayer and mercy. Those traits, and the ‘desire’ to be so, can be just as easily found among the sinners. Many good people do bad things and can just as easily be lacking these five traits. Our Lady has not just come to make the good, Apostles, but for the one who has ears, let him hear. For the one who has eyes, let him see. Just because one is a religious, one is in a religious community, does not mean they illuminate with their life. Yes, they are chosen, but that position demands a response. To be a light-bearer of Our Lady has requirements. The opportunity Our Lady gives us today is as important as in the origins of salvation history. Will you meet the need of Our Lady? Do you even want to? Do not be the one who causes Our Lady the very pain we are to alleviate. The Holy Spirit wants to enable you, to lead you through Our Lady’s and your prayers to fill you as a basket with love and humility, fill you with graces and mercy, that you can feed those who pain Our Lady’s heart. You hold one of the twelve baskets of fish to dispense. Will you keep it for yourself or give it out? 1
With Love,
A Friend of Medjugorje

Our Lady is asking  each of us to pray for all her children to experience His Kingdom. She needs our help. She needs our prayers to be united with hers. The rosary is a wonderful way of uniting our prayers with Our Lady.

By tradition, the Catholic Church dedicates each month of the year to a certain devotion. The month of October is dedicated to the holy rosary, one of the best known of all Catholic devotions.


Churches Threatened to Stay Quiet This Election

Less than a week before more than 1,000 pastors plan to defy the IRS and preach politics from their pulpits this Sunday, a former Oklahoma lawmaker is reporting that Americans United for Separation for Church and State (AU) has sent a threatening letter to over 60,000 churches warning them not to violate the law.

According to Thomas Peters of The Catholic Vote blog, the letter was reported by Rebecca Hamilton, who served in Oklahoma’s State House of Representatives. It warns pastors that houses of worship and other non-profit entities listed under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue tax code could see their tax exempt status revoked if they openly endorse a particular candidate.
“Any activity designed to influence the outcome of a partisan election can be construed as intervention. If the IRS determines that your house of worship has engaged in unlawful intervention, it can revoke the institutions tax exempt status or levy significant fines on the house of worship or its leaders,” the letter warns.
This letter was mailed after more than 1,000 pastors announced their plan to preach politics from their pulpits on “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” which is being held this Sunday. Participants plan to send a recording of their homily to the IRS with the goal of challenging the IRS to take action against them so that the law can finally be brought to  court. Even though the 1954 statute is frequently used to threaten churches prior to elections, prosecutions are rare because it probably will not survive a direct constitutional challenge due to the fact that it strips pastors of their right to free speech.
But that doesn’t mean the bullying will stop, Peters reports, and calls the AU’s mass-mailing “a naked attempt to bully churches into being quiet this election. They even offer a section on their website inviting people to ‘Report a Violation’. That’s because they know that religiously active American citizens can be all the difference in critical elections across the country this November,” he writes.
Peters goes on to suggest that the faithful arm themselves with the facts about what churches and pastors are permitted to do and say by visiting the website of the organizers of the October 7 event.
“Catholic priests, parishes, dioceses, etc have every right to inform the consciences of their fellow Catholics. Just because you are a person of faith or a 501c3 non-profit does not mean you must give up your right to free speech,” Peters says.
“Together, speaking as one, we are too many for them to silence!”
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O Mary, conceived without sin,
pray for us who have recourse to you.