On Divine Mercy weekend, the St. Barnabas and St. Lawrence Basilica Respect Life Ministries hosted a joint event at St. Barnabas in Arden. International, pro life and chastity speaker, EWTN Espanol host, and co-author of “Transfigured”, Patricia Sandoval shared her powerful testimony of a harrowing escape from drug-addiction, homelessness, and the back doors of Planned Parenthood. Her story penetrated the hearts of those in the audience. There were approximately 55 people present. Patricia Sandoval (excerpt from testimony): “These aborted babies are our modern day martyrs, same as the first Christians who met their death in the Colosseum. When we are before God to be judged, Jesus is there with his Divine Mercy but those who have defended life will have in addition, an army of martyrs who will come forth and say, “Lord, Lord have mercy on them, for they defended us.”” Patricia Sandoval has been invited to speak at the White House in front of U.S. Senators and has visited many other countries to advocate for the unborn, and to help change legislation. Patricia and her husband recently relocated to the Asheville area and just celebrated the recent birth of their first child. Her story can be found on YouTube and www.patriciasandoval.com.
Here are a few comments from the audience:
Jennifer Kelsch, parent & art teacher at Canongate Catholic High School: “In the name of "women’s right to choose," what women are offered is a truly horrific choice; they are asked to choose in an environment of coercion when they are at their most vulnerable time. What Planned Parenthood offers feels much more predatory than liberating.”
Katherine Kelsch, age 14: “I was most surprised to hear that there were girls my age, in 8th grade, that are going by themselves to have abortions. I have never gone to the doctor by myself for even a checkup. I could understand how scared they’d be. I would be terrified."
Grace Kelsch, age 17: "I think it's important for people my age to hear about abortion first hand because it makes it real and not just a philosophical thing to be debated.”
Victoria Cambron, nursing student: “I hope that more and more doctors will realize that performing abortions does not fulfill their promise made with the hippocratic oath; not just to the unborn baby, but to the mother.”
Nancy Sypolt, RN: “I was in tears the entire time!”
Peg Schneider, RN: “I never thought about all the generations the one abortion cancelled”.
“I also had three abortions like Ms. Sandoval. My first live birth was late in life. Unfortunately, at the time I did not know about Rachel’s Vineyard and had no idea that post-abortion stress syndrome was a major contributor to the severe postpartum depression that I was experiencing.”
Joan Pajak, RN: “What I liked especially is that she included discussing the pain that fathers go through when their wives/girlfriends get an abortion against their wishes as well as the victimization of the Planned Parenthood workers (i.e. incentive salary to hook you and then persecution if you leave and speak out).”
The Born Alive Abortion Survivor Protection Act (SB 359) passed in the NC Senate. It is going to Governor Cooper. We need to call and write him to tell him that we want him to approve the bill to protect a child born alive. Below is his contact information:
North Carolina Governor: Roy Cooper
Phone Number: 1-919-814-2000
Toll Free: 1-800-662-7952
Emails can be sent to him via this page:
UPDATE 4/18/19: Governor Cooper vetoed this bill this morning. Please do contact him to voice your disappointment!
Immerse into Good Friday
Good Friday, also called Holy Friday or Great Friday, is the most somber day of the entire Church calendar. On this day many Catholics cover their mirrors, extinguish candles, and refrain from celebratory activities. All of these help to foster a sense of mourning and prayer.
Extinguishing candles and refraining from celebration makes sense in the esthetic of being somber but why cover mirrors? Covering mirrors when someone dies is a carryover from Jewish practices of shiva, their time of mourning. Mirrors are covered because prayer services take place and no one faces a mirror during prayer. A second reason is to emphasize that a mourner avoids vanity during the shiva, focusing on their loved one rather than themselves during this period. A mourner is permitted, however, to look into a mirror to ensure their hair is in order, etc.
Jesus Christ hung on the cross from the hours of noon until 3:00. As a result, this time is often referred to as three hours of agony. These are the three most sacred hours of the day. It is a good idea to celebrate these three hours with prayer. Some suggestions are reading the Gospel narratives of the Passion, making the Stations of the Cross by yourself, praying the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, praying the Litany of the Passion, etc. Create an environment of mourning by drawing the curtains and silencing phones, televisions and radios. Quieting your environment and yourself allows you to meditate on the passion and death of Christ. If possible, come to the church and pray in front of the empty tabernacle, join in the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 2:45 and celebrate the Mass of the Pre-sanctified at 3:00. Remember; do not genuflect because the tabernacle is empty. A reverent bow to the altar is all that is necessary.
From the very earliest Christian times, some have the custom of fasting and vigil from 3PM on Good Friday to Easter Morning, the 40 hours our Lord was in the tomb. The Jewish custom is to count any part of one day as “a day” so three days is the total. On the morning of Good Friday hot cross buns are traditionally eaten for breakfast and are about the only luxury permitted in this time of mourning. Legend says that a priest at St. Alban's Abbey in Hertfordshire gave these to the poor on Good Friday beginning in A.D. 1361, and the tradition was born. Perhaps you would like to try hot cross buns in your home as part of your Good Friday fasting requirement.
If you have come to Holy Thursday and Good Friday, it is a great experience to attend the Easter Vigil, the holiest night of the year. Come to the vigil and celebrate the resurrection of our Lord with the holy fire and the Easter candle and the singing of the Exultet. Join us as we celebrate baptisms and confirmations of those who have been preparing to enter into the sacraments for the first time.
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!
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:
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.
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
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!