“Mondays with Mary” – Our Lady of the Way

This coming Wednesday, May 24, is the optional memorial of Our Lady of the Way, also known as – Santa Maria della Strada. Often celebrated in Jesuit parishes, schools, and communities, this optional memorial was restored to the Jesuit’s Proper Calendar in 2014.

Santa Maria della Strada was the first Jesuit church in the city of Rome. When St. Ignatius and his cohorts first came to Rome, it was here where they often celebrated Mass, heard Confessions, taught the faithful, and provided catechesis to children. After seeing so much good fruit, the Pastor of the parish joined the Jesuits and asked the Holy Father, Pope Paul III, to place the parish under the care of the Society of Jesus. It was during this papacy that the Society of Jesus was officially approved.

In the church of Maria della Strada, was a late medieval mural, which was on the external wall of the small chapel. St. Ignatius often prayed in front of this mural. He had a great devotion to Our Lady throughout his life and placed the patronage of the Jesuit order under Mary’s protection. It was the place where many of the Jesuit novices professed their vows when joining the order. When they were sent to foreign lands as missionaries, many of the Jesuits prayed in front of this image.

In 1568, the small chapel of Santa Maria della Strada was torn down for the building of the Church of the Gesù, the primary church of the Society of Jesus in Rome. The Gesù was consecrated in 1584. The image of Our Lady of the Way was carefully preserved from the original place in the small chapel and now has it’s own special place in the north chapel of the Gesù.

Santa Maria della Strada in The Gesu.

Our Lady of the Way…Pray for Us.

Happy Birthday to my hero – Pope St. John Paul II

Today would have been the 97th birthday of Karol Wojtyla, known to so many as – Pope St. John Paul II. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about him fondly. The reason I do what I do on this blog and in my position at the parish is based on his life and his many great documents. The influence of John Paul II on my own life is truly immeasurable. I was blessed to see him three times in my life – Phoenix, Arizona in 1987, Denver, Colorado in 1993, and in Rome, Italy in 2000. I am the JP2 Generation.

Pope St. John Paul II as a young priest.

For a collection of pictures from a previous post, check out this one I wrote on his birthday in 2014. Below are the Top 5 All-Time Posts (most views) I have written in the past –

1. 12 Quotes from Blessed Pope John Paul II on the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World 

2. 12 Quotes from Pope St. John Paul II on Our Lady of Guadalupe

3. “Mondays with Mary” – 5 Quotes from Pope St. John Paul II on the Mother of Mercy

4. 5 Quotes on Pentecost from Pope St. John Paul II

5. 10 Quotes on the Holy Family from Pope St. John Paul II

For the complete collection of my writings on him, click here.

Pope Saint John Paul II…Pray For Us 

“Mondays with Mary” – The Prayers of Fatima

As most of you know, this past Saturday, May 13, was the 100th Anniversary of the beginning of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima. Over the next few months, we will continue to remember the approved apparitions that occurred on the 13th day of every month ending in October. At Fatima, the Virgin Mary identified herself as Our Lady of the Rosary and asked that the Holy Rosary be recited on a daily basis. To read more about Our Lady of Fatima, I would encourage you to read my article by clicking on the aforementioned link.

During these apparitions, Our Lady, along with an angel appeared to the three young visionaries teaching them five prayers that should be recited often by the faithful. The first one I share with you is probably the one everyone knows well since it has become a staple prayer within the Holy Rosary. It is known as The Rosary Decade Prayer

“Oh My Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.”

During their time with Our Lady, she taught the children to offer up their personal daily sacrifices by praying The Sacrifice Prayer

“Oh my Jesus, I offer this for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

When the angel appeared to the three children, he identified himself as the Angel of Peace and the Angel of Portugal. He taught them The Pardon Prayer

“My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love Thee! I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love Thee.”

When Our Lady first appeared, the children had an internal desire to pray this prayer, The Eucharistic Prayer, together –

“Most Holy Trinity, I adore Thee! My God, my God, I love Thee in the Most Blessed Sacrament.”

During one of the apparitions, when the angel appeared to them, they saw the angel prostrated in front of a suspended host and chalice praying The Angel’s Prayer

“Most Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit- I adore Thee profoundly. I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges, and indifferences whereby He is offended. And through the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of Thee the conversion of poor sinners.”

Since these prayers are truly heavenly treasures, and it seems that many people are not aware of them, I would encourage you to share this article with as many as people as you can so that they can learn these prayers and offer them up on a daily basis.

Our Lady of Fatima…Pray for Us.

Source:

Thierfelder, Mary. “Five Prayers Taught at Fatima by Mary & the Angels.” Get Fed | A Catholic Blog to Feed Your Faith. The Catholic Company, 10 May 2017. Web. 15 May 2017.

How I Learned to Dress Appropriately for Mass

This article first appeared in this week’s edition of Vidi Dominum, the parish bulletin of St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church. Re-published here with permission.

If you Google Search – “how to dress for Mass”, you will find ten different articles explaining why it’s important to dress appropriately, and a lot of different opinions in the comments. The reasons given are, for the most part, very similar. With the arrival of warmer temperatures here in Arizona and other places around the country, we tend to dress more casually. Many of us dress casually when we come to Mass as well. Should we?

Before I really dive deeper into this topic, let me say one thing – I am not judging you in any way. As one who works for the parish, it is my job, in union with our Pastor, Fr. Will, to help lead you closer to Christ. It’s not about judgment, but helping you to grow in your faith. My hope is that many of you will read this article, understand it, and implement it.

How did I learn to dress for Mass appropriately?

It goes back to the very first time I attended Holy Mass at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Steubenville, Ohio nearly nine years ago. I’ll never forget the feeling of being totally underdressed when I walked into church. Even though I was wearing a $200 pair of Joe’s Jeans, an expensive Banana Republic polo shirt, and a pair of Johnston and Murphy shoes, nearly everyone else was dressed in their “Sunday best.” This was how I was dressing for Mass for years before that day. At least four of my graduate school professors, including Scott Hahn, were dressed in full suits with ties and their families were dressed to the same degree. Even as I write these words to you now, the feeling of that moment still resides with me. My first thought I was, “I need to go home and change into better clothes.” In the end, I stayed for Mass but sat in a back corner hoping that none of my professors witnessed my attire. Some might think this is extreme, but I learned long ago from my Dad that it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed, and I was most certainly underdressed for Holy Mass.

From that moment on, I learned how to wear appropriate clothing to Mass every Sunday. Did I dress in a suit very Sunday? No, but I wore dress pants, dress shoes, a polo or button down shirt (most often button down with a sweater) and, on occasion, a tie. In recent years, I have begun to wear a tie nearly every week. I am grateful that this lesson was taught to me many years ago. Dressing appropriately for Mass completely changed my disposition at Mass. My outer disposition and clothing now reflect my inner disposition.

Although I am writing this article to all parishioners, I particularly hope that my fellow Catholic men who read this article will take my words to heart. If you wear dress pants/khaki’s and a polo shirt/button down to work every day, but come to Mass dressed in shorts, a t-shirt, and flip flops – there is a disconnect. Why dress appropriately for work, but dress casually for Mass? Would you wear your work clothes to go to the pool, the beach or the lake? This seems like a common sense question, but if you were to visit the President of the United States or Pope Francis, would you wear shorts and t-shirt? In Rome, you aren’t even permitted to enter a church building if you are not dressed appropriately.

Men – we can do better than this! It may not be a perfect expression, but the phrase “the clothes make the man” does express that the clothes we wear often affects the way we are regarded.

Practical Guidelines Appropriate Dress for Mass

So we might be asking ourselves, “what is appropriate dress for Sunday Mass?” In order to assist you in this question, below are a few norms for your consideration:

Men…

1. Wear formal (dress) shoes to Church. Flip-flops, TOMS (I love mine, but not for Mass), beach sandals, or cross training/running shoes are not formal shoes.

2. Wear dress pants or khakis (not jeans).

3. Don’t wear shorts.

4. Wear a button down shirt or a polo shirt, but make sure the shirt has a collar. Tuck the shirt into the pants. T-shirts with no collars, sleeveless shirts, and sports jerseys are too informal.

5. [For the more daring types] – wear a tie, a suit, or a sport coat with your attire. Some may think this is too stuffy, but not long ago, men wore such clothes every day, every Sunday to Mass, and yes, even to sporting events. Go take a look at a baseball game from the 1930’s and 1940’s – the men are wearing suits!

Women… (these suggestions came from fellow female parishioners)

1. Wear decent shoes to Church. Flip-flops and tennis shoes should be avoided.

2. Remember that for a skirt or dress, three fingers above the knee, or longer, is appropriate. Skirts and dresses should not be “see through” or have long slits in them. Shorts, especially “short shorts” should not be worn.

3. Don’t wear jeans (just like men). Slacks are a good option, but they should not be too tight. Your goal shouldn’t be to attract attention to the shape of your body when dressing for Mass.

4. Wear a nice blouse (if not wearing a dress). Tops should not be too tight for the same reason that pants shouldn’t be. Tank tops, spaghetti straps, and midriffs are not appropriate for Mass. It’s also important to make sure that undergarments remain undergarments. If any part of your bra can be seen by others, rethink your choice in top.

5. Cleavage should never be visible. You might think a shirt covers your cleavage, but take this quick test before you leave for Mass: Bow in front of the mirror. Whatever you see is what the Priest, Deacon, or Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion will see when your bow before receiving the Eucharist.

Common Objections

With all of this in mind, let’s examine four common objections to dressing up for Mass –

1. “God doesn’t care what I wear to Mass”: This is often heard along with – “Come as you are! God doesn’t care what clothes you wear! He just wants you!” This objection is conjecture. God does care what you wear – don’t use this excuse because laziness has set in. No Bride on her wedding day is going to say to her Groom – “Come as you are to our wedding! I really don’t care what you wear.” Jesus explicitly demands respectful attire in Matthew 22:1-14 (The Parable of the Wedding Feast).

2. “It’s my personal prerogative – I don’t feel like dressing up”: Here we have the objection that, because I dress up all week for work, on Sunday it’s time to relax. Yes, Sunday is the Holy Sabbath – a day of rest. However, not dressing for Mass appropriately falls into the sin of sloth. Sloth lacks discipline and the willingness to suffer. If Our Lord suffered in agony on the cross for all of us, we can dress appropriately for a couple of hours on a Sunday to glorify His name, and yes, even when it’s 110 degrees.

3. “I never dress up”: Some people that make this argument are non-conformists, or have a tendency to rebel against authority, but this comment also comes from people who aren’t ever required to dress up for work. Some employers have become lax on their dress codes for their employees. Regardless, this argument doesn’t really hold up since those same people who say they never dress up, actually dress up for a lot of things. We wear sport jerseys to games, dresses or tuxedos for Prom and weddings, uniforms for teams, or specialty (sometimes expensive) clothes for hunting, fishing, hiking or even working out at the gym. We actually “dress for the occasion” pretty often. Shouldn’t that concept apply to Holy Mass as well?

4. “I don’t have money for dress clothes”: Dressing nice for Mass does not need to cost a lot. Those who have limited financial resources can find clothes that are decent for Mass at discount or thrift stores. However, if you are truly unable to purchase new clothes and don’t currently have anything appropriate for Mass, don’t be ashamed to call the office and ask for help!

How we Dress for Mass Really Matters

There are two main reasons why how we dress matters. First, how we dress conveys respect and honor. When we dress appropriately for Mass, we are saying to God, “You are worth the effort; you deserve my best.” It also communicates to your fellow parishioners that you take Mass seriously. It’s not just another casual event during the week.

Second, when we dress in a respectful manner it changes our interior disposition. Personally, when I have a suit on, or even just a tie, my words, thoughts, posture, and my general attitude is different. My father used to say to me – “a gentleman truly knows how to dress for every occasion.” Some will even argue that dressing up for Mass can be seen as spiritual discipline.

If you want to assist in bringing the changes needed for dressing appropriately, first make the commitment to dress more reverently at Mass yourself. Call up a friend from the parish and challenge each other to dress better for Mass. Next Sunday, make the effort to dress more appropriately. Once you are doing your best to express the seriousness of the sacrifice of the Mass in your outward appearance, then you can help your children to do the same.

Postscript: All comments are read by me and only approved with my discretion. Comments made should be done in regards to the article. Any comments attacking me, each other, or any entity associated with this post will not be approved. As long as these guidelines are followed, the comment box will remain open. If they are not followed, the comment section will be closed. Thank you.

Sources:
Christoff, Matthew James. “Dressing like a Man for Mass.” The Catholic Gentleman. N.p., 03 Dec. 2015. Web. 26 Apr. 2017.
Pope, Monsignor Charles. “Adore the Lord in Holy Attire – On Proper Dress for Mass.”Community in Mission. Archdiocese of Washington Blog, 10 June 2015. Web. 26 Apr. 2017.
Vogt, Brandon. “[Video] How My Family Dresses for Mass.” Brandon Vogt. N.p., 08 July 2015. Web. 26 Apr. 2017.

“Mondays with Mary” – Mary, the Gate of Heaven

Since tomorrow is the feast day of Our Lady of Loreto, and one of the titles for Mary in the Litany to Our Lady of Loreto is “Gate of Heaven,” I though I would focus today’s “Mondays with Mary” on this specific title. So why and how is Mary the “Gate of Heaven”?

First, it has to do with our death. There are two moments in our life that that the Church teaches us to call upon Mary – now, the present moment, which is in our power, and “at the hour of our death,” which may not be in our power, however, with the help of Mary we may be given to the chance to enter Heaven. Second, Mary is called the “Gate of Heaven” because she leads us to Jesus Christ, who is in Heaven and that is where we want to end up. The “Gate of Heaven” isn’t just for those of us on earth, the Church Militant, but she is the gate that also leads those souls suffering in Purgatory, the Church Suffering.

Second, Mary is the “Gate of Heaven” because her Our Lord, who entered the world through her, allows her to lead us closer to Him. Along with the Sheep Gate (John 10), Mary as the “Gate of Heaven” works with protecting Heaven and leading the sheep of the flock ever more closer to Jesus. There is nothing more that Our Lady wants but to lead us all closer to Jesus Christ.

St. Bonaventure says, “Mary is the called gate of heaven because no one can enter that blessed kingdom without passing through her. Furthermore, St. Bernardine of Siena says the following, “As every mandate of grace that is sent by a king passes through the palace gates, so does every graces that comes from heaven to the world pass through the hands of Mary the Gate of Heaven.”

To conclude today, here are five quotes from Pope St. John Paul II regarding Mary as the “Gate of Heaven” –

“We are going to turn to Mary, our Mother. I am sure that the children here present pray to her often. And you parents, you set great store by training them, from the earliest age, to prayer, to religious acts, to the Good News of the Gospel. Even better, you deepen your faith with them and pray with them. Let us ask Mary to lead you to full knowledge of her Son, Jesus, to be his disciples and his apostles.”

“What can I wish for you but that you will always listen to these words of Mary, the Mother of Christ: ‘Do whatever he tells you’? And may you accept these words with your heart, because they were uttered from the heart. From the heart of Mother. And that you will fulfill them: ‘God has chosen you…calling you to this, with our Gospel, for possession of the glory of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.’”

“As the Apostle Paul says: ‘We know that our home is in heaven, where we also await our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior, who will change our vile body that is may be fashioned like his magnificent body’ (Phil 3:20-21). Holy Mary has already reached her heavenly home, and after exile on earth gained entrance immediately to glory. So, let your sufferings, your anxieties, your hopes be directed toward her…”

“…[T]he Second Vatican Council emphasizes in the last chapter of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church that “in her life the Virgin has been a model of motherly love with which all who join in the Church’s apostolic mission for the regeneration of mankind should be animated” (Lumen Gentium, 65).

“Moreover, the effectiveness of our pastoral mission depends on our holiness of life. Let us not be afraid, for the Mother of Jesus is with us. She is in our midst today and always. And we are strong through her prayers and safe in her care. Regina Caeli, laetare, alleluia!

Mary, Gate of Heaven…Pray for Us

Our Lady of Loreto…Pray for Us

Pope St. John Paul II…Pray for Us

Quick Lessons from the Catechism – The Family in God’s Plan

In recent years, and now even more recently, the self-designated “science guy,” Bill Nye has made some rather interesting comments in regards to science, climate change, and the penalizing of parents who have large families. Although the last comment was made in regard to families in poor countries, I would bet if you pushed him on the subject, he would make the claim that countries that can sustain large families should do the same thing. This whole notion that the world is overpopulated is a big pile of horse dung. Every few years these crackpots come out their cocoons to make these ridiculous comments.

In regards to “Mr. Science Guy”, let’s make something very clear. He does not have a degree in a Physical science like Biology, Chemistry, or Physics; his degree is in Mechanical Engineering, which is an Applied Science. Not that mechanical engineers aren’t intelligent, not saying that at all, but claiming that you are a “science guy” with that degree is just nonsense. What is ironic about Bill Nye is that he promotes science and the study of life, but really he is anti-family, anti-children, and anti-life. The National Catholic Register article says it all – Bill Nye the Pseudoscience Guy.

So with this being said, let’s briefly examine what the Catholic Church teaches on family, children, and society’s role in developing families from the Catechism of the Catholic Church

“Honor your father and your mother” (Deut 5:16; Mk 7:10). [#2247]

According to the fourth commandment, God has willed that, after him, we should honor our parents and those whom he has vested with authority for our good. [#2248]

The conjugal community is established upon the covenant and consent of the spouses. Marriage and family are ordered to the good of the spouses, to the procreation and the education of children. [#2249]

“The well-being of the individual person and of both human and Christian society is closely bound up with the healthy state of conjugal and family life” (GS 47 § 1). [#2250]

Children owe their parents respect, gratitude, just obedience, and assistance. Filial respect fosters harmony in all of family life. [#2251]

Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children in the faith, prayer, and all the virtues. They have the duty to provide as far as possible for the physical and spiritual needs of their children. [#2252]

Parents should respect and encourage their children’s vocations. They should remember and teach that the first calling of the Christian is to follow Jesus. [#2253]

Public authority is obliged to respect the fundamental rights of the human person and the conditions for the exercise of his freedom. [#2254]

It is the duty of citizens to work with civil authority for building up society in a spirit of truth, justice, solidarity, and freedom. [#2255]

Citizens are obliged in conscience not to follow the directives of civil authorities when they are contrary to the demands of the moral order. “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). [#2256]

Every society’s judgments and conduct reflect a vision of man and his destiny. Without the light the Gospel sheds on God and man, societies easily become totalitarian. [#2257]

For a more complete understanding of this topic, I would encourage you to read paragraphs 2196-2246.

I have written on this topic in the past in other articles, if you are interested, here they are: 7 Quotes on Family Life from Mother Teresa, 10 Quotes on the Holy Family from Pope St. John Paul II, “Mondays with Mary” – Pope St. John Paul II, Challenges of the Family, and Marian Prayer, and “Mondays with Mary” – 10 Quotes on the Family from the Guardian of the Redeemer.

My favorite quotes from Guardians of the Galaxy

Okay, I am going to be straight up with you – the first time I saw the trailer in the theatre for Guardians of the Galaxy, I thought it was dumbest thing I had ever seen. Dumb! Stupid! I said to myself – This like the Avengers in space! As a child, I never actually read the comics that were associated with the Guardians, so I had no idea who they were. I was completely opposed to seeing the film.

Now – fast forward to opening weekend for Rogue One. I went to see the film with my friends Steve and Mary. Before the film began, there was a trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol.2. I looked over at Steve and said that I hadn’t seen the first one because the trailer looked so dumb. He said, What?! Mary said the same thing. Then she saw it and loved it.” I was like really! That weekend, I DVRed it and watched it.

My first reaction after watching the movie was exactly this – you’re an idiot Perna! An idiot! That’s possibly the best Marvel film yet. What makes the whole movie is the awesome music from the soundtrack – one hit after another. The characters are also so awesome and the actors playing them do an excellent job. Again I said to myself – you’re an idiot, Perna! Since December, I probably have watched the movie 10 times…yes, 10 times! It’s awesome and I absolutely love it!

So with this being said, here are some of my favorite lines from the movie. They are in no particular order. At the end, I have also inserted a video introducing the Guardians when they are arrested (except for Drax the Destroyer).

Rocket Raccoon: You’re…making…me…beat…up…grass!

Groot: I am Groot. (Later on in the movie, great scene – “We are Groot.”)

Peter Quill/Star-Lord: You said it yourself, b*tch. We’re the Guardians of the Galaxy.             
Gamora:
 I know what you’re trying to do, Peter Quill, and I am some starry-eyed waif here to succumb to your… your pelvic sorcery!

Rocket Raccoon: Let’s get something clear! This one here is our booty. You wanna get to him, you go through us… or, more accurately, we go through you!

Rocket Raccoon: His people are entirely literal. Metaphors go right over his head.

Drax the Destroyer: Nothing goes over my head. My reflexes are too fast and I would catch it.

Peter Quill/Star-Lord: Well on my planet, we have a legend about people like you. It’s called Footloose. And in it, a great hero, named Kevin Bacon, teaches an entire city full of people with sticks up their butts that dancing, is the greatest thing there is.

Rocket Raccoon (talking to Groot): Four of us? Asleep for the danger, awake for the money as for frikin’ usual.

Rocket Raccoon: Well now I’m standing. Happy? We’re all standing now. Bunch of jackasses, standing in a circle.

Gamora: I have live most of my life surrounded by my enemies. I would be grateful to die surrounded by my friends.

Drax the Destroyer: Finger to the throat means death. Metaphor! Peter Quills/Star-Lord: Sort of.


Peter Quill/Star-Lord:
 I come from a planet of outlaws: Billie the Kid, Bonnie and Clyde, John Stamos…

Ronan the Accuser: What are you doing? Peter Quill/Star-Lord: I’m distracting you, you turd-blossom!

Peter Quill/Star-Lord: What should we do next: Something good, something bad? Bit of both? Gamora: We’ll follow your lead, Star-Lord. Peter Quill/Star-Lord: A bit of both!

Today, I am off to see Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 with Steve and Mary. To say I am excited would be an understatement. More fun is going to be next year when we see the Avengers and the Guardians come together to fight Thanos in Infinity Wars, Part 1. The sarcasm dialogue between Rocket, who is my favorite of the Guardians, and Tony Stark should be entertaining in itself.

Warning: the video is uncensored. I couldn’t find a censored video showing the whole crew.