It’s Time to Tell the Mainstream Media #WhyWeMarch

In recent memory, one of the only main media outlets that mentions the #MarchforLife (this is a hash tag – see below) is Fox News. Along with them, you get the other websites, mostly Pro-Life, that also speak about the March, but from any of the other news outlets – it’s a total media blackout!!

It’s time for us to tell the mainstream media that we have been Marching for Life for now 44 years!

I never realized until recently how much the mainstream liberal media enjoyed covering protests, since they never covered the March for Life, which is a protest focused on our First Amendment rights. The mainstream media (#MSM) covered the protests after President Donald J. Trump won the Electoral College by a big number, they covered the “protests” from last week’s Inauguration of President Trump (although it was more chaos and anarchy than protesting), and they also covered last week’s Women’s March, which really wasn’t a march for all women, since many pro-life and pro-women groups were asked not to participate.

Realizing all of this has inspired me to write today’s blog post. It’s now our time to protest, and although many of us cannot make it to Washington, D.C. this year for the March for Life, we can still protest and bring attention to the March by making it trend on Twitter and Facebook. Many of you probably already have a Facebook account so sharing stories and news articles (such as the presence of the Trump Administration that are going to the March for Life tomorrow) are pretty familiar to you and it seems as if it’s already occurring.

Where we really need our presence to be is on Twitter. If you don’t have a Twitter account, I would highly encourage you to make a Twitter account today. So you might be asking yourself, what is Twitter and how does it work?

“Twitter is an online news and social networking service where users post and interact with messages, “tweets,” restricted to 140 characters. Registered users can post tweets, but those who are unregistered can only read them” (Twitter Wikipedia page).

To learn about setting up a Twitter account, “tweeting” and what a hash tag is, go to the article titled, The Beginner’s Guide to Twitter. There are other sites as well but this is pretty simple and he does a good job explaining things.

Once you have your Twitter account set up, get the word out there about the March for Life. If you feel bold in your tweets, tag the mainstream media left wing hacks such as @ABC, @CBS, @NBC, @MSNBC, @CNN, @NPR, and many others like the Washington Post, New York Times, LA Times, and really any news organization out there.

Encourage @FoxNews to cover it too, but I have a feeling they will since representatives from the Trump Administration will be present.

Encourage your local television stations and newspapers, which also probably have Twitter accounts, to cover the March for Life. To contact the main news outlets via email and feedback pages, please read the post titled, Media Blitz: We Look Forward to Your Coverage of the March for Life from the Diocese of Arlington (Virginia).

To help you get started, here are a few accounts you can start following – @March_for_Life, @LifeNewsHQ, @AbbyJohnson, @Students4LifeHQ, @SBAlist, @ProLifeBlogs – from here Twitter should suggest others and you will get the hang of things.

Hash tags – the two most important are #MarchforLife and #WhyWeMarch

Okay, my fellow Catholics – let’s get it done this year and show the mainstream media that we can protest too!

Pray for those still in the Abortion industry – that they may see their wrong doings and have the courage to leave that industry today.

Pray for all of those who have made it to our nation’s capital this year for the March for Life – pray for their safety and that voices will be heard.

“Mondays with Mary” – The Espousal of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Saint Joseph

Although today’s feast day is no longer in the liturgical calendar of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, for many years, first beginning on October 22, 1517 and approved by Pope Leo X, the Espousal of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Saint Joseph was celebrated by many as the day that Our Lady and Saint Joseph were espoused together as a couple.

According to some of the light research I conducted last night, the Espousal of the Blessed Virgin Mary began when she was a young woman at the time prepared for her marriage. As tradition tells us, a few men came and to seek her hand in marriage, but all were rejected. She would be arranged to a simple and humble craftsman (worked with wood and stone) – we know this man today as Saint Joseph. He was known to be a just man of God, however, it seems he lacked the fortitude to ask for Mary’s hand. In the end, God’s Divine Providence and timing placed them together.

Mary was very happy to receive St. Joseph as her spouse. As we all know, she contained an incredible and blessed secret that was deep in her heart. As tradition also teaches us, as do the Early Church Fathers such as St. Augustine of Hippo and St. Gregory of Nyssa, Mary as a young girl made a vow of virginity in the temple (see my book, Understanding Catholic Teaching on the Blessed Virgin Mary, pages 42-45). We also believe that Mary prayed for a holy man who would respect her vow and protect her virginity.

The Catholic Church believes and teaches that the marriage of Mary and St. Joseph was real. Each of them accepted the other as spouse, which included all of the mutual rights. I say in my aforementioned book, “The essence of marriage is the lifetime vow of fidelity to Christ. According to canon law, consent (the vows) is what makes it a marriage. The gift of body is the expression of the vow. Mary and Joseph are truly married because they give themselves as total gift to one another, but not bodily” (page 48).

Marriage of the Virgin - Raphael

Marriage of the Virgin – Raphael

The marriage of Mary and St. Joseph has served as a model for Christian marriages since their own marriage endured trials. We read in the Sacred Scriptures about the Annunciation (Lk 1:26-31) and the worries that St. Joseph analyzes on how to send her away quietly (Mt 1:18-19). However, as we know, God intervened by sending an angel to St. Joseph in a dream to reassure him that Mary’s virginity was intact and that the child she was carrying was of heavenly origin (Mt. 1:20-21).

Being the just, noble, and obedient man that he was, St. Joseph witnessed for himself the plan of God in his life and in the life of his spouse. He realized how faithful Mary truly was to not only God, but to him as well.

To learn more about the history of the feast, I would encourage you to read the Catholic Encyclopedia page on New Advent. For those who are even more daring, you can read St. Thomas Aquinas’ questioning from the Summa Theologica.

As we remember this day…

Let us pray for the many holy and faithful Catholic marriages that are producing great fruit in the Church.

Let us pray for those who may be struggling in their marriages – may Our Lady and St. Joseph intercede on behalf of their trials.

Let us pray for those Catholics that are not married in the Church – those who are unaware that their marriages are not valid – pray that they, through the intercession of Mary and St. Joseph will come to be in full communion again and Convalidate their secular marriage.

Let us pray for those couples preparing to enter the Sacrament of Matrimony in the days and month ahead.

O Mary, Perpetual Virgin…Pray for Us

Saint Joseph…Pray for Us

“So my Fellow Catholics: Ask not what your God can do for you…”

In light of today’s Inauguration of the 45th President of the United States of America – Donald J. Trump, I found it fitting to share with you an excellent homily I personally heard last weekend at the parish of St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church. The homily is given by my Pastor and Boss, Fr. Will Schmid.

Focusing on the words of John F. Kennedy Jr from his inaugural speech, Fr. Will breaks open for us as Catholics the importance of what we can do for God, instead of asking what God can do for us. In his homily, Fr. Will also focuses on the Catholic Mass and the primary reason of why we attend Mass weekly. To learn the primary reason, I would encourage you to listen to the homily below.

He also focuses on the importance of discipleship and how the Catholic Mass allows us to be disciples to the world. Drawing from the readings of the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Fr. Will in a most excellent way, examines how important it is for us to give back to God instead of always expecting God to give us something.

He concludes with the words – “So my Fellow Catholics: Ask not what your God can do for you (because he’s already done it) — instead, ask today what you can do for your God.”

Fr. Will’s homily:

If you are interested, all Sunday homilies and Saturday Morning Speaker Series talks are available for download via iTunes and Google Play Music.

Fr. Will Schmid

725th Blog Post 

“Mondays with Mary” – The Top 5 Most Popular “Mondays with Mary” of 2016

Since we are at the beginning of a new year, I wanted to share with you the Top 5 Most Popular “Mondays with Mary” of 2016. Many of you may have read these already, but I know there are new followers to my blog who may not have read these blog posts when they were first published. I do this from time-to-time as a way to share what readers found to be interesting in this series. They are numbered 1 to 5, 1 being the most views.

1. “Mondays with Mary” – Our Lady of La Salette 

2. “Mondays with Mary” – Our Lady of America, Part I 

3. “Mondays with Mary” – Bishop Fulton Sheen and ‘The Assumption and the Modern World’ 

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

5. “Mondays with Mary” – Our Lady of Walsingham 

Please continue to pray for the success of this weekly series on the Blessed Virgin Mary. I am approaching the 5th Anniversary of “Mondays with Mary” this upcoming May. I have also turned some of these into a book and waiting to hear back from some Catholic publishers. Pray that they will publish my manuscript so that others, who may not know about this series or my blog, may come to grow in their relationship with Jesus through Our Lady.

Our Lady of Guadalupe…Pray for Us.

Our Lady of Fatima…Pray for Us.

Our Lady of America…Pray for Us.

“Mondays with Mary” – Our Lady of Absam

As much as I think I know about the teachings of the Catholic Church in regards to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the primary approved apparitions, there is still so much I don’t know and so many apparitions of the Blessed Mother I have never heard of before – today’s feast day in Austria is no different.

The Blessed Virgin Mary is truly our Mother and never leaves us for she seems to have appeared, and continues to appear, in nearly in every country across the globe. I realize that many of us know about Guadalupe, Fatima, Lourdes, Amsterdam, and La Salette, but how many of you are aware of Our Lady of Absam in Austria?

In 1797, a young 18-year-old female by the name of Rosina Buecher was sewing by her window. At the same time, our father was working in the salt mines. Out of nowhere, she felt a terrible feeling that something was wrong with her father, maybe he had an accident in the mines. As she stared out her window wondering about her father, she saw an image of a beautiful woman on the window. After calling her mother into her room, who also saw the image, they both believed that they were looking at the Blessed Virgin Mary. Not sure if they were correct or not, they called their neighbors and their parish priest to confirm their belief.

The parish priest had the windowpane removed so it could be scientifically tested. During the testing of the window, it came to be that when the window was submerged under water – the image would disappear, but when the window was a dried off, the image would then reappear. The scientists who examined the window were not able to conclude how the image was created on the glass.

our-lady-of-absam-image

Realizing that it was more than likely a miracle and not explainable through the scientific process, the priest returned the image to the Buecher family. As word spread, the miraculous image of what would become known as Our Lady of Absam grew in popularity and many people came to venerate the holy image.

The family decided to donate the image to the parish church so people could come and view it. Quickly word spread of Our Lady’s face on the pane glass window. Many people from all over Austria descended upon the small town six miles outside of Innsbruck, and just as quickly miraculous healings began.

Today the image can be seen in the parish of St. Michael the Archangel, which has been raised to a Minor Basilica. The holy image of Our of Absam is enshrined on a side altar. It measures 5”x7”.

The parents and grandparents of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI were married in Absam. According to Georg Ratzinger, the brother of Pope Benedict says in his book, My Brother the Pope, that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has a special devotion to Our Lady of Absam.

Our Lady of Absam…Pray for Us.

Source:

Guide, The Catholic Travel. “Innsbruck, Austria: Our Lady of Absam Shrine.”Our Lady of Absam Austria Miraculous Image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Jan. 2017.

The Magi Have Arrived

Since today is Epiphany Sunday here in the USA, it fell this past Friday nearly everywhere else; I wanted to share with you an excerpt from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI that focuses on the Magi. This excerpt comes from the book titled, Benedictus – Day by Day with Pope Benedict XVI. A friend gave it to me last year and I hope to use it this year at work for daily meditations.

Once I provide you with this heart-penetrating excerpt (because when I read it, my response was – Wow!), I am going to share with you the journey of the Magi through pictures from my new Nativity set, which began around Christmas Eve and ended with them seeing Baby Jesus and the Holy Family on Friday. Even though I am not married nor do I have children, I felt the need to do this with my own Magi as they approached Baby Jesus on Epiphany in my own home. It will be a tradition I carry on from here on out and one that I hope to share with a family some day.

In the biblical text, when the Magi showed up at Herod’s door seeking the New Born King of the Jews, Herod was scared and nervous since he was only a puppet king the Romans put in place to rule. He was not about to give us his dominion to some young child. After realizing the Magi would never return, because he asked them to come back and share with him their findings (they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod), Herod’s anger grew and he ordered the killing of all male children three and under. Liturgically, we celebrate this as the Feast of the Holy Innocents on December 28.

Why three years and under you may ask? It took the Magi somewhere between two to three years after they met with King Herod to locate our Lord, who would have been around 2 or 3 years old. Furthermore, although Our Lord would have been older by the time the Magi arrived, we often see him as a little baby in a manager in most Nativity sets. Again, this has to do with the way we liturgically celebrate the Christmas Season, which includes the arrival of the Magi on Epiphany.

So with this being said, let’s turn our attention to the words of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI – this excerpt is titled, What the Magi Learned –

“Going into the house, the Magi saw the child…Outwardly, their journey was now over. But at this point a new journey began for them which changed their whole lives…Deep within themselves they felt prompted to go in search of the true justice that can only come from God, and they wanted to serve this King, to fall prostrate at his feet and so play their part in the renewal of the world. They were among those ‘who hunger and thirst for justice’ (Mt 5:6). This hunger and thirst had spurred them on in their pilgrimage – they had become pilgrims in search of the justice they expected from God…The new King, to whom they now paid homage, was quite unlike what they were expecting. In this way they had to learn that God is not as we usually imagine him to be. This was where their inner journey began. It started at the very moment when they knelt down before this child and recognized him as the promised King. But they still had to assimilate these joyful gestures internally. They had to change their ideas about power, about God and about man, and in so doing, they also had to change themselves…They had to learn to give themselves – no lesser gift would be sufficient for this King. They had to learn that their lives must be conformed to this divine way of exercising power, to God’s own way of being. They must become men of truth, of justice, of goodness, of forgiveness, of mercy…They will have to ask: How can I serve God’s presence in the world? They must learn to lose their life and in this way to find it. Having left Jerusalem behind, they must not deviate from the path marked out by the true King, as they follow Jesus.”

On this day, let us be like the Magi, who after being in the presence of Jesus as a child, changed their lives, sought justice and mercy, and were ever transformed for the rest of their days. Let us also learn to be obedient to Jesus and His Catholic Church.

Now the pictures of my Magi and their journey…

The Magi start on the top of my bookcase after talking with Pope Benedict and the Knight.

The Magi start on the top of my bookcase after talking with Pope Benedict and the Knight.

wisemen-2

The Magi on my desk. An up close look at their gifts.

The Magi in my kitchen. A little sip of the vino might help them sleep better that week.

The Magi in my kitchen. A little sip of the vino might help them sleep better that week. Carrying their gifts.

The Magi on my dining room table.

The Magi on my dining room table. Gifts in hand.

The Magi can see Baby Jesus in the distance.

The Magi can now see Baby Jesus. They are close now.

The Magi have arrived for Epiphany.

The Magi have arrived for Epiphany. Here they are bearing their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Remembering Father Michael Scanlan, TOR

Although my testimony to this great man of God and Catholic priest will not compare to the many others who knew him better than I, I felt the need to write this as soon as possible.

My decision to finally take the plunge into the deep waters of Catholicism and attend Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio for my Masters in Theology came in the spring of 2008; it was and is the best decision I have made in the last 10 years (which includes taking my dream job and working for my current Pastor). It was a chance to study with some of the great Catholic minds in the US Church and to be on the campus that many see as a beacon of Catholicism (think the lighting of the beacons from The Return of the King).

I never realized when making this decision that I would come face-to-face with the great man and Catholic priest, known to many as Fr. Mike, so soon after I arrived in Steubenville. After making the four-day trek across the country, I arrived in Steubenville close to the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary. And since traveling across the USA had its toils, along with my own sins of impatience while driving, I remember how much I wanted to go to the Sacrament of Confession. Friends at the time suggested that I go to the Friary on campus, ring the bell, and one of the Friars would more than likely come out – never did I realize it would be Fr. Michael Scanlan!

After the initial shock of seeing him in person, and asking him if he was Fr. Michael Scanlan just to be 100% positive, although I had seen pictures and read one of his books, we chatted briefly about my trip across the country to attend Franciscan and to attain the MA in Theology. After this, we both made the Sign of the Cross and entered into the Sacrament of Confession. Although I regularly receive the graces from this sacrament to this day (going again this afternoon once I hear from my confessor), this is one time I will always remember in a way like no other.

All I can say is that it was like being in the presence of an elderly grandfather who is Jesus Christ. That’s it – that’s how I remember him. Simple, humble, understanding my failings, and readily excited to forgive me through his priestly vocation.

fr-michael-scanlan-tor

Once the sacrament concluded, he walked me out of the Friary, said his good-bye and wished my studies on campus well. I remember him distinctively saying that he would pray for me and pray for my time at Franciscan. I walked to my 4Runner, got in, and a tear fell from my eye, realizing that I just went to Confession with a living saint. I quickly started my 4Runner and drove to my friend’s house and shared that I just met “Fr. Mike” (which is how I remember him introducing himself).

One of the girls said to me jokingly but still serious – did you get a piece of his hair? She said that to me because we both knew someday he would be a saint and that his hair would be a first-class relic (Ha ha!) I replied no – I just wanted to go to Confession.

Although I saw Fr. Mike from time-to-time on campus, he was already retired when I went to Franciscan. When I did see him he was so cordial, joyful, smiling, and eager to talk. The one time I did speak to him was after an intramural football game during my second year. He knew I was playing with the graduate students since my t-shirt had “Old Skool” on the front of it. He asked me – can you keep up with these kids? After we both laughed, he told me to go home and ice down my sore muscles. Again, another experience I will cherish.

I woke up this morning and received the news of his passing, and although I was saddened by the news, I can’t help to think of the great rejoicing that must be occurring in Heaven at this time. It’s my hope that in five years time, the process to begin his Canonization as an official saint of the Catholic Church will begin.

Canonization doesn’t make a person a saint; it only confirms what God has already done with the individual, and nothing is truer than the saintly life of Fr. Michael Scanlan, TOR, President Emeritus of Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Pray with me this day for Fr. Michael Scanlan – Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord. And let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.