“Mondays with Mary” – Our Lady of Walsingham

The shrine to Our Lady of Walsingham, also known as England’s Nazareth, began in the middle of the 11th century just before the Normandy Invasion of 1066. In the year 1061, the Lady of the Manor of Walsingham, Richeldis de Faverches, was reciting her daily prayers when the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to her in a vision. After her initial vision, the Blessed Virgin appeared two more times along with St. Joseph and the Child Jesus. During these visions, Richeldis was told by the Blessed Virgin to build a replica of the Nazareth home where the Annunciation had occurred. The Blessed Virgin said to Richeldis,

“Do all this unto my special place and honor. And all who are in any way distressed or in need, let them seek me here in that little house you have made in Walsingham. To all that seek me there shall be given succor. And there in Walsingham in this little house shall be held in remembrance the great joy of my salutation when the Saint Gabriel told me I should through humility become the Mother of God’s Son.”

Richeldis was given detailed instructions on how the home was to be built, however, one night she heard the voices of heavenly angels singing. As she went to investigate, she saw the Holy Angels departing and realized the home of Nazareth had been built miraculously. Once this occurred, pilgrims began to immediately arrive at the site. Pilgrims arrived from all over England, Ireland, and most of Europe. It became one of the greatest shrines on the continent.

By the year 1130, Franciscans and Augustinians built homes to care for the pilgrims visiting the holy site, both peasants and nobility. In 1226, King Henry III began visiting the shrine and also became a patron. Nearly every king and queen of England visited the shrine during his or her respective reigns. Queen Isabella of France as well as King Robert the Bruce of Scotland also visited the holy site.

All along the roads, chapels were built, the last one being dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria in the fourteenth century, who was the Patroness of the Holy Land. The chapel became known as Slipper Chapel. Pilgrims would remove their shoes out of respect and walk to the chapel in slippers or barefoot as an act of penance.

As the sixteenth century approached, the Protestant Reformation stormed across Europe, as did far-reaching iconoclasm. In 1538, by order of King Henry VIII, who was a frequent visitor to the shrine before he broke from the Catholic Church, he had the shrine at Walsingham burnt to the ground and destroyed. The statue of the Blessed Virgin was taken back to London and also burnt.


In 1863, nearly three hundred and fifty years after the initial shrine was destroyed, a wealthy Anglican woman by the name of Charlotte Boyd funded the rebuilding of the holy site. The only structure that remained was Slipper Chapel, which was being used as a barn to house animals on the property. During her time to rebuild the shrine of Walsingham, Miss Boyd converted to Catholicism. She eventually bought the chapel and donated it to Downside Abbey. In 1864, Pope Leo XIII gave permission that the shrine was to be built as it was originally. The Guild of Our Lady of Ransom oversaw the construction. They also had a statue of the Blessed Virgin and Child Jesus carved. The statue was placed in Kings Lynn.

On August 20, 1897 the first public pilgrimage here in centuries took place. It began at Kings Lynn and concluded at Walsingham. By the conclusion of the nineteenth century, the little village of Walsingham was once again home of the Catholic Shrine of Our Lady.

In August 1934, the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales began leading thousands of pilgrims to Slipper Chapel. At this point, it became the official Roman Catholic National Shrine of Our Lady in England. In 1938, young Catholics on pilgrimage commemorated the four hundredth anniversary of the shrine’s destruction. In 1948, oak crosses numbering 14 in total were erected in the garden. The tradition for pilgrims is to walk the last mile of the pilgrimage barefoot.

In 1954, Marcel Barbeau carved a beautiful stone statue of the Blessed Virgin and it was placed in Slipper Chapel. Archbishop O’Hara, a Papal Representative crowned the statue. During his visit to England in 1982, Pope St. John Paul II blessed the statue in Wembley. Every year, on September 8, which is the Feast of the Birth of Our Lady, the beautiful statue of Our Lady of Walsingham is carried in a procession for several miles and ends at Slipper Chapel.

Today’s “Mondays with Mary” is dedicated to Bishop Steven J. Lopes and all the Catholics of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Please pray for Bishop Lopes and the lay faithful of the Ordinariate here in the USA and Canada as he begins his duties and travels to visit the priests and faithful under his care.

Please visit the newly designated Cathedral of Our Lady of Walsingham in Houston, Texas. I was there last week for the Bishop’s Ordination and Consecration. It’s a beautiful church and I hope to attend Mass there in the near future.

Our Lady of Walsingham…Pray For Us. 


Mary Pages – http://www.marypages.com/Walsingham

Catholic Tradition – http://www.catholictradition.org/Mary/walsingham.htm

The Episcopal Ordination of my college friend, Steven J. Lopes

On Tuesday night, in Houston, Texas, at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, on the feast of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple (Candlemas), I attended the Episcopal Ordination of my long time college friend, Steven J. Lopes. I met Bishop Lopes nearly 22 years ago when I transferred into the Saint Ignatius Institute at the University of San Francisco in the Fall of 1994.

Bishop Steven J. Lopes

Although I have been to Ordinations to the Priesthood, this was my first Episcopal Ordination, and it couldn’t have been any better, especially since it was for someone I personally know. It’s very difficult to explain to you through this limited space the pageantry, pomp, beauty, and sacredness that was the Episcopal Ordination Mass of Bishop Steven J. Lopes. The sheer excitement that began during the day at the hotel and then reaching its peak during the Mass is still penetrating my heart and mind. I think the 24 hours I spent in Houston for this occasion will be with me over the next few weeks as I continue to share it with parishioners at my parish as well as with friends who were unable to attend.

Not to make light of the ordination by any means, but as we were making our way to the cathedral from the hotel, which was a very short bus ride, I said to my three other friends, one a Benedictine brother and one a religious sister, “Between the Cardinals, Bishops, Priests, Religious, and so many Lay Faithful, tonight is like Catholic Candy Land.”

There are many things that stood out for me during the course of the three-hour Episcopal Ordination, but if I had to narrow it down to three things, it would be the Liturgy itself, the beautiful sacred music, and the Rite of Ordination of a Bishop. The Mass resembled the structure of the Roman Liturgy, but with some nuances from the Anglican tradition. It was very much a “high mass” which I have come to enjoy as I learn more about the liturgy. The Prayer of Humble Access before Holy Communion and the Prayer of Thanksgiving after Holy Communion, both said by everyone who received Our Lord in the Eucharist, reminded me of the Eastern liturgies I have been to in the past. Both prayers reflect the beauty of the Church’s sacramental theology.

Bishop Lopes and I at the reception following his Episcopal Ordination.

Bishop Lopes and I at the reception following his Episcopal Ordination.

The second aspect of the Mass was the intense and most profound sacred music. I am in my early 40’s, which means I grew up with mundane liturgical music that often contradicted Catholic theology in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Although I have been exposed to beautiful sacred music since, the music at the ordination was beyond superb and spiritually elevated us right into heaven and brought heaven down to us. The choir was composed of three individual choirs – the choir from Our Lady of Walsingham Parish (now the Cathedral), the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart Choir and the Archdiocesan Choir. If you watch the remarks from the Bishop here, you will get a taste of what the choir brought to the liturgy.

The third and final aspect of the Mass that I enjoyed was the Rite of Ordination of a Bishop. This rite began with the Principal Consecrator, His Eminence Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and concluded with Bishop Steven J. Lopes taking the reigns from him and finishing the liturgy. The Rite of Ordination of a Bishop had numerous parts. They are:

  1. Veni Creator Spiritus (Come, Holy Ghost)
  2. Presentation of the Bishop-Elect
  3. Reading of the Apostolic Letter (official document from Pope Francis)
  4. Assent of the People (all responded with – Thanks be to God)
  5. Homily
  6. Examination of the Candidate (asked numerous questions regarding his episcopal ordination)
  7. Invitation to Prayer (all pray for Bishop-elect)
  8. Litany of Supplication (Litany of the Saints)
  9. Laying On of Hands
  10. Prayer of Consecration (Book of the Gospels held above the head of Bishop-elect) and Prayer of Ordination recited (Calling down of the Holy Spirit)
  11. Anointing of the Bishop’s Head (with Oil)
  12. Presentation of the Book of the Gospels (Teaching is a duty of the Bishop; other two duties – Sanctify and Govern).
  13. Investiture with Ring, Mitre, and Pastoral Staff
  14. Seating of the Bishop and Kiss of Peace (from this moment Bishop Lopes became the primary presider of the Liturgy).

There is so much I could say about each part, however, this blog post would end up being 2500 plus words in length and far too long for a reasonable post. If you ever get the chance to attend an Episcopal Ordination, my suggestion is – take it! It’s by far one of the most amazing liturgies I have experienced. With liturgies such as this one, it makes me very glad and blessed to be a Catholic.

Embracing and wishing Bishop Lopes congratulations.

Embracing and wishing Bishop Lopes congratulations.

As I did in my blog post back in November, I implore that you pray for Bishop Steven J. Lopes. Please pray three Hail Mary’s through the intercession of Our Lady of Walsingham as he begins his new ministry as Shepherd of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.

To learn more about the Ordinariate, please visit their website. I would also encourage you to Like their Facebook page. I did.

Our Lady of Walsingham…Pray for Us.

This blog post is dedicated to the Bishop himself, Steven J. Lopes. Thank you for your friendship, guidance, and overall support these many years. Unfortunately, I never made it to Rome while you were there. I pray that you will be a good Shepherd to your flock.

“Mondays with Mary” – 10 Quotes from Pope St. John Paul II on the Presentation of the Lord

Tomorrow, in the Western Church, we will celebrate the feast of the Presentation of Our Lord, or otherwise known historically as the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This feast originated in the Eastern Churches and was known as “The Meeting” for many centuries. It is also now titled the Encounter of Our Lord with Simeon.

In the West, beginning in the sixth century this feast began to focus on the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary because of the words of St. Simeon from the Gospel of Luke. The feast was also accompanied by solemn blessings and processions with candles, hence, it is known by its popular name – “Candlemas.” It is here where we see that Christ’s life begins, which will then lead us to the Resurrection.

To commemorate this feast day, here are 10 Quotes from the 20th century Polish Pope, John Paul II, on the Presentation of the Lord –

“And here he enters. Brought by the hands of Mary and Joseph. He enters as an infant, forty days old, in order to meet the requirements of Mosaic law. He is brought to the temple like so many other Israelite children: the child of poor parents… This day is his feast; the feast of Jesus Christ, on the fortieth day of his life, in the temple of Jerusalem according to the provisions of the law of Moses (cf. Lk 2:22-24). And it is also her feast: Mary’s.”

“With his inspired words, Simeon, a man of the Old Covenant, a man of the temple of Jerusalem, expresses his conviction that this Light is meant not only for Israel, but also for pagans and all the peoples of the earth. With him, the ‘aged’ world receives in its arms the splendor of God’s eternal ‘youth’. However, the shadow of the Cross already looms in the background, because the darkness will reject that Light. Indeed, turning to Mary, Simeon prophesies: ‘This child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel…’”

“Let us look at Mary and Joseph carrying to the temple in Jerusalem a baby. It is the fortieth day after his birth. And they are presenting him in the temple to fulfil a precept of the law. But much more than the law is being fulfilled by their obedience. The prophecies of old are all being, fulfilled. For Mary and Joseph are bringing to the temple the ‘light of all the nations’.”

“The second characteristic element of today’s celebration is the reality of the meeting. Even if no one was waiting for Joseph and Mary when they arrived hidden among the people at the temple in Jerusalem with the baby Jesus, something most unusual occurs. Here they meet persons guided by the Holy Spirit: the elderly Simeon…and the prophetess Ann…”

Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple

“These words resound in the temple of Jerusalem, as 40 days after the birth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph prepare to ‘present him to the Lord’ (Lk 2:22). By emphasizing the contrast between the modest, humble action of the two parents and the glory of the event as perceived by Simeon and Anna, the Evangelist Luke apparently wants to suggest that the temple itself is waiting for the Child’s coming.”

“To Mary Simeon said: ‘And a sword will pierce through your own soul also’ (Lk 2:35). The hymns of Bethlehem have now faded and the cross of Golgotha can already be glimpsed; this happens in the temple, the place where sacrifices are offered. The event we are commemorating today is thus a bridge as it were, linking the two most important seasons of the Church’s year.”

“The icon of Mary that we contemplate as she offers Jesus in the temple prefigures that of the Crucifixion and also anticipates its true interpretation of Jesus, Son of God, sign of contradiction. Indeed, on Calvary, the sacrifice of the Son, and with it, that of his Mother, reach fulfillment. The same sword pierces both, the Mother and the Son (cf. Lk 2,35). The same sorrow, the same love.”

“The picture of Mary who in the temple offers the Son to God, speaks eloquently to the hearts of the men and women who have made a total offering of themselves to the Lord through the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience for the Kingdom of Heaven. The theme of spiritual sacrifice is fused with that of light, introduced by Simeon’s words. The Virgin appears as a candlestick bearing Christ, the ‘Light of the world’.”

“The ransoming of the first-born is another obligation of the father, and it is fulfilled by Joseph. Represented in the first-born is the people of the covenant, ransomed from slavery in order to belong to God. Here too, Jesus – who is the true “price” of ransom (cf. 1 Cor 6:20; 7:23; 1 Pt l:19) – not only “fulfills” the Old Testament rite, but at the same time transcends it, since he is not a subject to be redeemed, but the very author of redemption.”

“Simeon’s words seem like a second Annunciation to Mary, for they tell her of the actual historical situation in which the Son is to accomplish his mission, namely, in misunderstanding and sorrow. While this announcement on the one hand confirms her faith in the accomplishment of the divine promises of salvation, on the other hand it also reveals to her that she will have to live her obedience of faith in suffering, at the side of the suffering Savior, and that her motherhood will be mysterious and sorrowful.”

As we celebrate this great feast in the Church tomorrow, let us take the words of Pope St. John Paul II to heart. Let us ask for his intercession and of course the intercession of Mother Mary to assist us in being like her when it comes to presenting Jesus to the world in which we live. As the sword pierced her heart; may it also pierce our heart.

Quick Lessons from the Catechism: The Ten Commandments

On Monday night at RCIA and Adult Confirmation, I taught about the Ten Commandments. The night was the first session of two that will focus on the Moral Teachings of the Catholic Church. Next week, I have a speaker coming to teach on the Social Teachings of the Catholic Church. Next week will also be the last session in the Catechumenate, which is the period of intensive instruction for those preparing to receive the Sacraments.

Although I was not initially scheduled to teach on the Ten Commandments this year, my presenter was stuck in the snow on the East Coast, I love teaching about the Ten Commandments and explaining the importance that they still hold in the life of the Catholic Church and in the life of those of us who follow Jesus Christ.

Some will argue that the Ten Commandments are out of date, and since Jesus fulfilled the law (Mt. 5:17), the Commandments are no longer needed. I would beg to differ because the Ten Commandments are sacred, holy, good, and part of the Natural Law – the law that is written on our very hearts. Jesus talks about the importance of Ten Commandments numerous times in the New Testament Scriptures and even says that all should know them.

Charleton Heston - 10 Commandments

So with this being said, for today’s QLC, let’s read what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches on the Ten Commandments –

“What good deed must I do, to have eternal life?” – “If you would enter into life, keep the commandments” (Mt 19:16-17). [#2075]

By his life and by his preaching Jesus attested to the permanent validity of the Decalogue. [#2076]

The gift of the Decalogue is bestowed from within the covenant concluded by God with his people. God’s commandments take on their true meaning in and through this covenant. [#2077]

In fidelity to Scripture and in conformity with Jesus’ example, the tradition of the Church has always acknowledged the primordial importance and significance of the Decalogue. [#2078]

The Decalogue forms an organic unity in which each “word” or “commandment” refers to all the others taken together. To transgress one commandment is to infringe the whole Law (cf. Jas 2:10-11). [#2079]

The Decalogue contains a privileged expression of the natural law. It is made known to us by divine revelation and by human reason. [#2080]

The Ten Commandments, in their fundamental content, state grave obligations. However, obedience to these precepts also implies obligations in matter which is, in itself, light. [#2081]

What God commands he makes possible by his grace. [#2082]

I would encourage you to also read paragraphs 2052-2074 for a complete understanding of this subject. In the future, I will do other QLC’s focusing on the individual Ten Commandments.

The Ten Commandments are taken very seriously by the Catholic Church, and without being trite; I think this is a very funny clip from History of the World, Part I. This is one of those funny videos that is good to share with family and friends on social media right after you share this blog post.

We Stand Up to Fight for Life and Humanity

Today, hundreds of thousands will gather in blizzard conditions in Washington, D.C. for the March for Life, and on Saturday, ten of thousands will gather for the Walk for Life West Coast in San Francisco, CA. The main stream liberal media (composed of liberals who promote tolerance and justice, unless of course you disagree with them) will more than likely not cover either event, even though there has been a push this year for them to cover it. Their avoidance of not choosing to report about these two events will not stop us from gathering to defend the importance of human life, which begins at conception.

We now have entered the 43rd year of this war on abortion that has cost the lives of over 57 million babies. The battle lines have been drawn and the ranks just continue to grow on the Pro-Life front. The numbers have not decreased, as some wish they would, but they have doubled, tripled, and even quadrupled over the years.

The Culture of Death, a phrase coined by Pope Saint John Paul II, is looking to destroy all that is good and beautiful about the human person. As Christians, we must rise up and defend human life from conception to natural death. We must stand for marriage between one man and one woman, we must fight against the evils of contraception, in-vitro fertilization, cloning, stem-cell research that destroys human embryos, and child abuse. In the end, we must fight for the very good of humanity itself!

The Culture of Death is not just about Abortion, but it envelops all the forces of destruction that I have mentioned, which in the long run seeks to destroy today’s civilization. These evils will only continue to disrupt and demonize humanity in the years to come. We can see it currently with the destruction of the traditional family, the great strife in relationships, and the annihilation of the glory of the human person.

March for Life 2013

With millions of children dead, we must say enough is enough. We must stand up and fight for the unborn — for the beauty of the human person. Standing up for Life against the evils of Abortion is what we are called to do. It’s our very duty in this time of human history.

In his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis says,

“Defense of unborn life is closely linked to the defense of each and every other human right…It involves the conviction that a human being is always sacred and inviolable, in any situation and at every stage of development. Human beings are ends in themselves and never a means of resolving other problems. Once this conviction disappears, so do solid and lasting foundations for the defense of human rights, which would always be subject to the passing whims of the powers that be.”

We are no longer fighting just battles, but it’s an all out war against the Culture of Death. We are not just engaging our fellow humans, who justify Abortion as a “law” or because it’s the easy way out, but we are fighting against the spiritual world as well (See Eph 6:10-18). As Christians, we must “put on the whole armor of God” so that we too can stand against the attacks from the devil. We must gird our loins and engage the battle that is in front of us.

The Culture of Life must be the engaging force against this darkness. With Jesus Christ as our source and summit, it is our fundamental duty as Christians to engage the culture, counteract the culture, and do all that we can to show the Light of the World to the world. Our Lord is not a light that should be kept under a bushel basket, but He is the greatest light, the light brighter than a thousand Suns – Christ is the Light that will pierce the darkness. Jesus Christ is the Heart – the very Core, of the Culture of Life, for He is Life itself.

Aaron Rodgers and the “Hail Mary”

Here is a little Catholic humor to start off your Tuesday –

Source of Meme: Facebook, a friend posted it.

Source of Meme: Facebook, a friend posted it.

In case you don’t know, live in a different country other than the United States, live in the USA but were under a rock on Sunday night, or you just don’t follow the NFL, Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers through two very long passes at the end of the Divisional Playoff game against the Arizona Cardinals. The pass that essentially sent the game into overtime, which was won by the Cardinals, was a “Hail Mary” pass. Watch the pass below –


The “Hail Mary” pass originated with two of the four Horseman from the University of Notre Dame. It had to do with a desperation pass that only with divine intercession would be successful. For the most part, until Roger Staubach, the term was only confined to Notre Dame football and other Catholic colleges. The “Hail Mary” phrase become widely popular after the aforementioned Dallas Cowboy Quarterback threw a very long game winning pass to Drew Pearson in a game against the Minnesota Vikings on December 28, 1975. Staubach, a Roman Catholic, said after the game, “I closed my eyes and said a Hail Mary.”

An hour after the amazing plays by Aaron Rodgers, I was home watching television and noticed that everyone talking about the passes kept saying, “Hail Mary.” On my Twitter feed, I posted this: The best part about Rodgers throwing those long passes – ESPN, Local News, NFL Primetime, & others keep saying, “Hail Mary.” #Catholic. 

If you are offended by this meme, there is something wrong with you and not me. This is humor and not meant to be blasphemous, since I know some will take it this way. If you think this is inappropriate, get some tougher skin, it’s humor. It’s meme’s like this that will sometimes cause an individual not practicing their faith or who does not know Mother Mary to look into her and Jesus.

“Mondays with Mary” – Storm Heaven with the Rosary

Recently, after seeing a link for it shared by some friends on Facebook, I signed up through Catholic Action for Faith and Family website to Storm Heaven by praying the Rosary.

How does it work? It’s simple. You sign-up through their website and you pledge to pray the Rosary on the first day of each month. In union with Holy Mass and Rosary said by Cardinal Burke, we can pray the rosary from wherever we are to battle the spiritual confusion our culture is currently enduring. If you are Catholic Bishop or Priest, you can make a pledge to say Holy Mass.

Let us take the fight to the culture, become Prayer Warriors, and join Operation Storm Heaven.

As many of you know, the Rosary has done powerful things in the history of the Catholic Church and world. The Devil hates the Rosary! St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio) called the Rosary, “The Weapon” against the Devil.

It happens to also be one of those Marian topics that I have written about many times through this weekly series on Mary. I would encourage you to first sign-up for Operation Storm Heaven and then come back to this blog post to read and learn more about the Holy Rosary – “Mondays with Mary”- How Important is the Holy Rosary? Well, I Have Written on it 13 Times.

I would also encourage you to carry a Rosary with you at all at times in either your front pocket or a purse (if you are woman). I have had a Rosary in my front right pocket since I was 19 years old. For those you who think a medal chain rosary will break in your pocket, you are correct, it will break. That’s why I carry a wooden Rosary made with rope. The beads have broken off before the Rosary pulls apart. Whatever kind of Rosary you have, make sure it’s with you at all times.

Please share this blog post so that your family and friends can join all of us in praying the Rosary together.

Our Lady of the Holy Rosary…Pray For Us.

Mary and the Rosary