Exorcisms tend to be that hush idea that no one talks about, sort of like that uncle that ran moonshine during prohibition. The fact is, every diocese has an exorcist, there is a school of exorcism in the Vatican, and spiritual warfare is on the rise by both the faithful laity and exorcists.

Here are some bits of information that may help you understand this ancient rite of our Church.

True: There are two different forms of exorcism, major and minor.

Major exorcisms are performed on those who are determined, by thorough investigation, to be demonically possessed. They performed by a bishop or by a priest who has been given permission by the bishop.

 

According to the USCCB, minor exorcisms are prayers used to break the influence of evil and sin in a person's life, whether as a catechumen preparing for Baptism or as one of the Baptized faithful striving to overcome the influence of evil and sin in his or her life.1

 

False: If you receive an exorcism, your head will spin 360 degrees.

No, no it will not. That is a Hollywood invention! There are times, however, that the devil is given permission by God to bend the rules of nature but never to break them.

 

True: You can’t be possessed against your will.

Nobody wakes up one morning and says “I think today’s the day I will be possessed”. However, by involvement in particular sins like pornography, drugs, occult, witchcraft, Ouija boards we open avenues that allow the devil to enter us and do great harm. This is why it is important to avoid such things and keep close to the sacraments, particularly Eucharist and confession.

 

False: The devil will stay away if I frequent the sacraments and pray.

The sacraments provide us with necessary grace to do the will of God. They are not demon repellant.

 

True: Holy people get pushed around by the devil.

This is a true statement, and includes YOU! The more you seek God’s Holy Will the harder the devil will work to derail you. In fact, there are many saints, Padre Pio for one, who battled demons on a regular basis.

 

False: Possession and temptation are the only ways Satan is able to afflict us.

Temptation is obvious, but the devil has other ways to drag us down. When we do not go to confession after we sin, the door opens for the devil to work on us. If this becomes serious, we could have spiritual oppression or demonic infestation. Neither is the way, the truth, or the life.

 

 

True: Mary crushes the head of the serpent.

The Most Holy Rosary is the strongest weapon we have against the temptations and ills of the devil. Satan HATES to hear the rosary recited! Mother Mary is a fierce ally against demons.

 

DO NOT BE AFRAID! The power of Christ is strong. Staying close to Jesus and the sacraments will give you the necessary strengths to fight those annoying attacks of the devil. Remember, the devil’s job is to throw you off course but with the example of the saints, the prayers of the Blessed Mother, and the battle ready St. Michael you will have a greater punch against your opponent than Rocky Marciano in the ring!

 

 

1http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/sacraments-and-sacramentals/sacr...

Taken from:

https://epicpew.com/every-catholic-must-know-exorcisms-spiritual-warfare/

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What’s the Deal with Halloween?
Since Halloween is just around the corner, it is important to consider how to celebrate without losing touch with God and the Tradition of the Church.  There are many controversies surrounding the celebration of All Hallows’ Eve.  Isn’t this a pagan holiday rooted in evil and witchcraft?  No, actually it isn’t.  The exact origin of the celebration of All Saints Day is not completely known but around 313, when Christianity became legal, a common commemoration of martyrs appeared in various areas throughout the Church.  For example the eastern city of Edessa celebrated on May 13, the Syrians on the Friday after Easter, and Antioch on the first Sunday after Pentecost.  On May 13, 609 Pope Boniface IV rededicated the Pantheon under the name St. Mary and all Martyrs.  So how did we get November 1? Pope Gregory III (731-741) dedicated an oratory in the original St. Peter's Basilica in honor of all the saints on Nov. 1 (at least according to some accounts), and this date then became the official date for the celebration of the Feast of All Saints in Rome. Pope Gregory VII (1073-85) suppressed May 13 and mandated Nov.1 as the date to celebrate the Feast of All Saints. So, we find the Church establishing a liturgical feast day in honor of the saints independent of any pagan influence.

However, there is no denying Celtic and pagan activity surrounding that date.  November 1 marked the beginning of the Celtic winter acknowledging the Celtic lord of death named Samhain, literally “summers end.”   The practices surrounding witches, goblins, ghosts, elves and cats came from superstition surrounding this Celtic lord.  The common secular practices were carried over as Christianity spread, perhaps out of superstition at first and then out of fun.  Either way it is important to understand that All Hallows’ Eve – Hallowe’en – is rooted in Christian devotion not pagan superstition.

How can Halloween be celebrated with its original intent?  Dressing in costume was one of those practices that found its way into contemporary celebration.  Dressing as a favorite saint is a great way to show off a hero and evangelize!  Trick or treating is a favorite childhood pastime, however English Catholics would chant a different sort of request:

Soul, soul, an apple or two, If you haven't an apple, a pear will do, One for Peter, two for Paul, Three for the Man Who made us all.

Is it possible to celebrate Halloween as a faithful Catholic?  Yes, as long as the intent is aimed at the Holy Saints and Souls that lead us to God.

 

For more information on Halloween visit:

https://www.wordonfire.org/resources/blog/its-time-for-catholics-to-embrace-halloween/2133/

http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0199.html

Angels are valuable friends to humanity. They are creatures of pure intellect, messengers of God, attendants, and often appear as humans to carry out their missions. Some people have seen their guardians and have been told their names. God created nine choirs of angels. Of those choirs are the Archangels, the highest rank of the choirs.

There are four archangels that we recognize: Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, Uriel. Each has a different task and a chaplet of their own for us to implore their aid. Perhaps the most necessary in this current climate of the world and the Church is the chaplet of St. Michael.

Origin: One day St. Michael Archangel appeared to devotee Servant of God Antonia De Astónac. The Archangel told the nun that he wished to be honored through recitation of nine salutations. These nine salutations correspond to the nine choirs of angels. The chaplet consists of one Our Father and three Hail Mary in honor of each angelical choir.

Promises: To those that practice this devotion in his honor, St. Michael promises great blessings:

1. To send an angel from each angelical choir to accompany the devotees at the time of Holy Communion.

2. Additionally, to those that recite these nine salutations every day, it assures them that they will enjoy his continuous assistance. That is to say, during this life and also after.

3. Furthermore, they will be accompanied by all the angels and together with all their loved ones, they will be freed from Purgatory.1      

St. Michael is a great warrior and fights for us against Satan, who we are told in 1Peter 5:8, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking to devour souls. It seems that lion is a bit engorged considering how much has been devoured in the past years, months and days. The chaplet of St. Michael is a great way for the laity to enter into the fight for Truth, Beauty, and Goodness.

The chaplet is said on beads that are in groups of three separated by a single bead. Below is a website link that you can use to pray the chaplet.2 If you would like to have a printed version you can find them outside the music office.   

 

1http://ourladystears.blogspot.com/2007/07/heavens-promises-chaplet-of-st...

2https://www.ewtn.com/devotionals/prayers/chaplet-of-st-michael.htm

As Catholics we understand we can experience Christ in several ways: through the deposit of faith in the Church, through scripture, through the sacraments, through each other, and through mystics.

 

Mystics? Isn’t that totally forbidden by the Church?! You’re thinking of mediums. Mediums and psychics are those who open the door to communicate with the dead. They perhaps have a mystic gift but they use it in a way that is not condoned by the Church; it is called necromancy. A mystic on the other hand, is a person who is deeply aware of the powerful presence of the divine spirit: someone who seeks, above all, the knowledge and love of God and who experiences to an extraordinary degree the profoundly personal encounter with the energy of divine life. Mystics often perceive the presence of God throughout the world of nature and in all that is alive, leading to a transfiguration of the ordinary all around them. However, the touch of God is most strongly felt deep within their own hearts. (King 2001, 3)1  Those who are mystics have a very unique and passionate relationship with God.

 

Does the bible have any examples of mystics? There is at least one in 2 Corinthians       12: 2-4, I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. Also, we cannot forget the Lord’s prophets who spoke His words with their tongues.

 

Are we permitted to consider the words of mystics? We are. We are not required to take into account what they say, but we are given permission to hear them and use what they say to deepen our faith in reason and practice. There are many mystics who are approved by the Church. It is important for us to stay close to the Church’s guidance because there are mystics who are false and deceptive like Sr. Magdalena of the Cross (1487-1560) who sold her soul to the devil and Gigliola Ebe Giorgini (b. 1934) of Italy who founded a false movement and stole money from thousands. Both can be found with an internet search.

 

There are several mystics that you may have already heard of such as Padre Pio and St. Faustina, St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, or St. Bonaventure and St. Catherine of Sienna. There are also several you may not have heard of such as Ann Catherine Emmerich, Heinrich Seuse, or St. Hildegard of Bingen.2 These and many others were skilled in contemplative prayer and given private revelations from God to be handed to us. Revelations that stood the scrupulous discernment by Holy Mother Church so we can look to them as an avenue leading to a deeper personal union with Christ and His Church.

 

 

1King, U. (2001). Christian Mystics. Mahwah: HiddenSpring

2 https://themysticsaints.wordpress.com/famous-catholic-mystics/

     Throughout the course of the history of Holy Mother Church we have been told that Catholics do not believe in scientific facts or, more recently on our calendar, one cannot believe in God and science, too. Neither of these statements is true. As a matter of fact, MANY scientific proofs and understandings have been brought to the world by the Catholic Church; more specifically by Catholic priests.

     One such priest is Father Georges Lemaître, a Belgian priest and cosmologist. Cosmology is a branch of astronomy that studies the origin and the evolution of the universe. Fr. Lemaître was born in 1894, excelled in math and physical sciences, earned a degree in engineering but ended up fighting in WWI before working in the field of engineering. After the war he continued his science studies, wrote brilliant papers, earned degrees and awards, and in 1929 was ordained a priest.1  

     In 1927, one of those brilliant papers was a manifesto whose title proclaimed that the universe’s mass is constant, but its radius is increasing, causing its galaxies to move apart.2 Seriously? The universe is expanding? He seemed to think so and had the science to prove his theory. That paper was translated into English and astronomers all over the world were convinced Lemaître was correct; the universe does, in fact, expand.

     Why is this important to us? In 1931 Fr. Lemaître explored the logical consequences of an expanding universe and boldly proposed that it must have originated at a finite point in time. If the universe is expanding, he reasoned, it was smaller in the past, and extrapolation back in time should lead to an epoch when all the matter in the universe was packed together in an extremely dense state. Appealing to the new quantum theory of matter, Fr. Lemaître argued that the physical universe was initially a single particle—the ‘primeval atom’ as he called it—which disintegrated in an explosion, giving rise to space and time and the expansion of the universe that continues to this day. This idea marked the birth of what we now know as Big Bang cosmology.3 Father Georges Lemaître is not only a father of the Church but also the father of the BIG BANG THEORY!

     In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth and the earth was without form or shape, with darkness over the abyss and a mighty wind sweeping over the waters (Genesis 1:1-2). Well-played father! Fr. Lemaître died in 1966 at the age of 71. He was only one of many priests proving the awesomeness of God through science. His accomplishments are worth reading. Check out the references, you’ll have a cosmic experience!

 

 

 

 

1 https://www.famousscientists.org/georges-lemaitre/

2 Ibid

3 http://www.intellectualtakeout.org/blog/father-big-bang-catholic-priest

Youth Ministry news will be posted here. Check back often!

The Gospel of Mark 3:32-35 is a passage that gives fuel for Protestants to believe Mary was not a perpetual virgin. This thought is the heresy of helvidianism that argues the very point of this passage, albeit wrong. Helvidius was an author before 383 AD and wrote a book claiming Mary and St. Joseph had marital relations and other children.1

 

How do you provide the Truth? First it is important to explain that in Greek the word for brothers used in Mark’s Gospel is adelphois, which, in its literal sense means “brothers; those from the same womb.” This is also in John 1:41 as adelpho. In Acts 22:13 it means "one who shares a common ethnic heritage.”  In Matthew 7:3-5 it means "neighbor." In Colossians 4:7 the word refers to "one who shares the same faith in Christ; a fellow-believer."2  Adelphai, the word used for sister in Marks Gospel, falls under the same complication.

 

It’s important to defend scripture with scripture and not pick and choose. Is there another verse in scripture that uses the exact same Greek word to mean people not born of Mary? Yes, 1Corinthians 15:6 After that, He (Jesus) appeared to more than five hundred brothers at once, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.

I am fairly certain Mary did not birth 500 children.

 

Also, when the Virgin is mentioned in scripture she is called Mary, the mother of Jesus (see John 2:1, Acts 1:14). Mary, Maria in Greek, Miriam in Hebrew, is a common name in Jewish culture. When James and Joseph, also called Joses, are referred to as Jesus’ brothers in Mark 6:3 it SEEMS like the Virgin is their mother but further reading in Marks lands us on 15:40 which says Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of the younger James and of Joses, and Salome. The virgin would have been listed as the mother of Jesus, not only James and Joses.

 

Included as brothers in Mark 6:3 is Judas and Simon. I find it personally interesting that James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon were surprised and fascinated by Jesus Christ as if they had not known Him before introduction. John the Baptist was the cousin of Jesus and it is possible not to live around your cousins and therefore not know them well, but siblings tend to live in the same house. Would they not have known Jesus if they were brothers? Would they not have needed to ask “Where do you live”? If Mary, the mother of Jesus had been their mother as well, they would have followed Him out the door not found him on a beach and elsewhere.

 

 

1http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3007.htm

2http://biblicallanguagesresearch.blogspot.com/2011/04/adelphoi.html

Lights, Camera, Action!

There are few pastimes more entertaining than a good movie and hot, fresh popcorn. Everyone has their favorite actors, genres, even movie lines and there is always room for a new option. In 2004 the publication National Catholic Register compiled a list of 100 pro-Catholic movies. Perhaps you will find a new favorite, or an old friend in the list. As summer approaches there might be a fun movie night lurking on the list.

 

WARNING: Not all of these movies are family-friendly. Movies with asterisks are known to have adult content. (NCR)

 

1. The Passion of the Christ (2004)* 
2. The Sound of Music (1965)
3. A Man For All Seasons (1966)
4. The Song of Bernadette (1943)
5. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
6. The Ten Commandments (1956)
7. The Scarlet and the Black (1983)
8. Jesus of Nazareth (1977)
9. Schindler’s List (1993) * 
10. The Bells of St Mary’s (1945)
11. Thérèse (2004)
12. Braveheart (1995) *
13. The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima
14. The Mission (1986) *
15. Lilies of the Field (1963)
16. The Miracle of Marcelino (1955)
17. Les Miserables (1998) *
18. The Quiet Man (1952)
19. Ben Hur (1959)
20. Rudy (1993) *
21. The Robe (1953)
22. Return to Me (2000) *
23. We Were Soldiers (2002) *
24. Becket (1964) * 
25. Going My Way (1944)

26. Romero (1989)
27. Sister Act (1992) *
28. Pope John Paul II (1984)
29. Jonah: a Veggie Tales Movie (2002)
30. Shoes of the Fisherman (1986)
31. Brideshead Revisited (1981) * 
32. The Keys of the Kingdom (1944)
33. On the Waterfront (1954)
34. I Confess (1953)
35. Boys Town (1938)
36. Molokai: the Story of Father Damien (1999) * 
37. Quo Vadis (1951)
38. The Trouble With Angels (1956)
39. Babette’s Feast (1987)
40. The Rookie (2002) * S
41. The Reluctant Saint (1962)
42. One Man’s Hero (1999)
43. Brother Sun, Sister Moon (1972)
44. The Exorcist (1973) * 
45. Dead Man Walking (1995) *
46. Joan of Arc (1948)
47. The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965) *
48. The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) *
49. Angels In the Outfield (1951)
50. Moonstruck (1987) *

 

http://www.ncregister.com/info/top_100_pro_catholic_movies

Lights, Camera, Action - Take 2!

Last week we read the first 50 of 100 pro-Catholic movies published in a 2004 publication of National Catholic Register. Here are 51-100.

 

WARNING: Not all of these movies are family-friendly. Movies with asterisks are known to have adult content. (NCR)

51. The Miracle Maker: the Story of Jesus (2000)
52. Henry V (1989) *
53. Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957)
54. Entertaining Angels: the Dorothy Day Story (1996)
55. Knute Rockne: All American (1940)
56. The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)
57. The Singing Nun (1966)
58. Marty (1955)
59. Monsieur Vincent (1948)
60. The Assisi Underground (1985)
61. Au Revoir Les Infants (1987) *
62. Come to the Stable (1949)
63. Diary of a Country Priest (1951)
64. In This House of Brede (1975)
65. The Jeweller’s Shop (1988)
66. The Miracle of the Bells (1948)
67. The Fighting Sullivans (1944)
68. The Fourth Wiseman (1985)
69. The Juggler of Notre Dame (1970)
70. Barabbas (1962)
71. King of Kings (1961)
72. Francis of Assisi (1961)
73. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1937)
74. The Decalogue (1987) *
75. The Gospel According to Saint Matthew (1966)

76. Angels With Dirty Faces (1938)
77. The Fugitive (1947)
78. The Longest Day (1962)
79. Thérèse (1986)
80. The Gospel of John (2003)
81. A.D. (1985)
82. Faustyna (1995)
83. The Son (2002)
84. Francesco (1989) *
85. The Flowers of St. Francis (1950)
86. Brother Orchid (1940)
87. Demetrius and the Gladiators
88. Nazarin (1958)
89. The Silver Chalice (1954)
90. When In Rome (1952)
91. Not of This World (1999)
92. Open City (1945) *
93. 3 Godfathers (1948)
94. Don Bosco (1988)
95. Abraham (1994)
96. The Detective (1954)
97. The Hoodlum Saint (1946)
98. The Sign of the Cross (1932)
99. The Wrong Man (1956)
100. Padre On Horseback (1977)

 

 

 

 

From a sermon by a sixth century African author

The disciples spoke in the language of every nation. At Pentecost God chose this means to indicate the presence of the Holy Spirit: whoever had received the Spirit spoke in every kind of tongue. We must realize, dear brothers, that this is the same Holy Spirit by whom love is poured out in our hearts. It was love that was to bring the Church of God together all over the world. And as individual men who received the Holy Spirit in those days could speak in all kinds of tongues, so today the Church, united by the Holy Spirit, speaks in the language of every people.

Therefore if somebody should say to one of us, “You have received the Holy Spirit, why do you not speak in tongues?” his reply should be, “I do indeed speak in the tongues of all men, because I belong to the body of Christ, that is, the Church, and she speaks all languages. What else did the presence of the Holy Spirit indicate at Pentecost, except that God’s Church was to speak in the language of every people?”

This was the way in which the Lord’s promise was fulfilled: No one puts new wine into old wineskins. New wine is put into fresh skins, and so both are preserved. So when the disciples were heard speaking in all kinds of languages, some people were not far wrong in saying: They have been drinking too much new wine. The truth is that the disciples had now become fresh    wineskins, renewed and made holy by grace. The new wine of the Holy Spirit filled them, so that their fervor brimmed over and they spoke in manifold tongues. By this spectacular miracle they became a sign of the Catholic Church, which embraces the language of every nation.

Keep this feast, then, as members of the one body of Christ. It will be no empty festival for you if you really live what you are celebrating. For you are the members of that Church which the Lord acknowledges as his own, being himself acknowledged by her, that same Church which he fills with the Holy Spirit as she spreads throughout the world. He is like a bridegroom who never loses sight of his own bride; no one could ever deceive him by substituting some other woman.

To you men of all nations, then, who make up the Church of Christ, you, the members of Christ, you, the body of Christ, you, the bride of Christ—to all of you the Apostle addresses these words: Bear with one another in love; do all you can to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Notice that when Paul urges us to bear with one another, he bases his argument on love, and when he speaks of our hope of unity, he emphasizes the bond of peace. This Church is the house of God. It is his delight to dwell here. Take care, then, that he never has the sorrow of seeing it undermined by schism and collapsing in ruins.

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