The month of March is dedicated to St. Joseph.The first five days fall during the liturgical season known as Ordinary Time which is represented by the liturgical color green. Green, the symbol of hope, is the color of the sprouting seed and arouses in the faithful the hope of reaping the eternal harvest of heaven, especially the hope of a glorious resurrection. The remainder of the month falls falls during the liturgical season of Lent which is represented by the liturgical color purple — a symbol of penance, mortification and the sorrow of a contrite heart.
Recognition of the Right of Christian Communities: That Christian communities, especially those who are persecuted, feel that they are close to Christ and have their rights respected. (See also Apostleship of Prayer)
The theme of life and light has colored the Liturgy of this week. Before leading the catechumens into the Mystery of Christ’s Passion and Death, the Church presents Christ to them once more as the Light of the world who has power to open man’s eyes to his Light. He will veil it for a while during his Passion but it will burst forth in full splendor again on Easter morning.
Historically today is the feast of St. Photina, the Samaritan woman at the well.
We must forgive our neighbor always. This fraternal charity is the source of strength among the members of the Mystical Body: “If two of you shall consent upon earth concerning anything whatsoever they shall ask, it shall be done to them by my Father.” This charity should animate us in giving fraternal correction, which should always be free from all vanity, self-love and desire to humiliate and defame.
The Church dispenses Christ’s forgiveness through the power of the keys: “whatsoever you shall loose upon earth shall be loosed also in heaven.” Christ’s pardon of us is limitless. Just as the small quantity of oil, increasing miraculously at the word of Elias, enabled the poor widow to pay all her debts, so the infinite merits of Christ enable us to expiate all our sins.
Love of God and of neighbor imposes on us constant self-denial and self-mastery. Only love working through mortification will enable us to ascend the “holy hill” and dwell in “God’s tabernacle.” — The Cathedral Daily Missal by Right Rev. Msgr. Rudolph G. Bandas
Things to Do:
- Discuss the idea of forgiveness with your children — emphasizing with today’s Gospel that Christ’s forgiveness is limitless to those who humbly repent of their offenses against Him. Ask them ways in which they practice this virtue every day, with their sisters and brothers, with their parents, and with their friends.
- Throughout this fourth week of Lent, often the time when children begin to lose focus or weary of this penitential season, give them something tangible to work on, such as a Lenten Scrapbook, an ongoing activity that will engage their minds and stretch their creativity in putting their faith into pictures.
St. Photina was that Samaritan woman whom our Lord met at Jacob’s Well. When He disclosed the secret of her profligate life, she believed in Him at once as that Messiah which was to come, and began spreading the Gospel among the Samaritans, converting many. Later, she and her son Josiah and her five sisters went to Carthage to preach and then to Rome. Another son, Victor, was a soldier and had already come to Emperor Nero’s attention as being a Christian. The Emperor summoned the whole family and with threats and tortures tried to force them to renounce their faith in Jesus Christ. Meanwhile, when Nero’s daughter Domnina came in contact with Photina (the Lord Himself had given her the name, meaning “resplendent” or “shining with light”), she, too, was converted. The enraged emperor had the heads of the sons and sisters cut off; Photina was held in prison for a few more weeks before being thrown into a well, where she joyously gave her soul to the Lord.
Excerpted from Orthodox America
The Station is at the church of St. Cecelia where the Saint lived and was martyred and where her body now rests. The first church on the site was built in the 3rd or 5th century, and the baptistery from this church was found during excavations, situated underneath the present Chapel of Relics. A house from the Imperial era was also found, and tradition claims that the church was built over the house in which St Cecilia lived. This house was one of the tituli, the first parish churches of Rome, known as the titulus Ceciliae.
Meditation: Matthew 20:17-28
2nd Week of Lent
Whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant. (Matthew 20:26)
Recently, a group of women began getting together to pray for their college-aged children. Things were going pretty well at the first gathering until one of the women inadvertently shifted the focus. Rather than stating only what she wanted prayer for, this mom added a few sentences about all that her child had accomplished. In their minds, the other women began to compare their children with this woman’s, trying to see who had done the better job of parenting.
Some might say this is a common pitfall of being a parent. Without even realizing it, we can all be tempted to seek attention for our children—or even ourselves—at the expense of other people. That’s why the ambitious mother of James and John might make us uncomfortable. Hearing her try to secure a special position for her sons in God’s kingdom can hit close to home for us.
Jesus’ response is blunt: “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?” (Matthew 20:22). He exposes their mixed motivations and clarifies what greatness in his kingdom really looks like. Authority and position are to be used in service, Jesus explains. And to serve is to seek to love above all.
You are probably in a position of service in some way, in your church, in your workplace, or in your family. This gives you an opportunity to put this principle into practice. As you serve, focus on love. Try to take the focus off yourself, and that will help curb any tendency towards selfishness or self-serving ambition. Love looks at the people we are serving as treasured children of God. It treats them as vessels of the Holy Spirit, worthy of every honor and dignity possible.
The love behind service is the same love that brought Jesus into the world and drove him to the cross. It’s the love that Jesus has for you—a love that he invites you to share with everyone around you.
If you have difficulty loving the people you are serving, ask the Holy Spirit to help you. He will help soften your heart a little bit more, and he will help you find ways to care for these people more selflessly, one step at a time.
“Jesus, teach me to serve your people with your love.”
Psalm 31:5-6, 14-16
In 1830, one of the apparitions sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church occurred in the chapel of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, Rue de Bac, Paris. There were three visions given to Saint Catherine Laboure who, at the time of the first one, was a novice in the order. She was awakened at 11:30 PM on the eve of the Feast of St. Vincent de Paul, by a “shining child” who led her to the chapel where she saw Our Lady, who spoke to her for two hours about the difficult task that lay ahead. Four months later, on November 27 Catherine had the second vision wherein she saw a three-dimensional scene of the Blessed Virgin standing on a white globe with dazzling rays of light streaming from her fingers and she heard a voice say:
“There now formed around the Blessed Virgin a frame rather oval in shape on which were written in letters of gold these words: ‘O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee’ Then the voice said: ‘ Have a medal struck upon this model. All those who wear it, when it is blessed, will receive great graces especially if they wear it round the neck. Those who repeat this prayer with devotion will be in a special manner under the protection of the Mother of God. Graces will be abundantly bestowed upon those who have confidence.’ “
This sacramental from Heaven was at first called simply the Medal of the Immaculate Conception, but began to be known as the Miraculous Medal due to the unprecedented number of miracles, conversions, cures, and acts of protection attributed to Our Lady’s intercession for those who wore it.
Sister Catherine became Saint Catherine in 1947. The church instituted recognition of the apparition in which the Miraculous Medal first appeared for November 27, 1830. Millions of the Miraculous Medal have been distributed, and many graces and miracles have been received through this devotion to Our Lady.
BROWN SCAPULAR OF MT. CARMEL
shall never suffer eternal fire.”
Virgin Mary’s promise to Saint Simon Stock
July 16, 1251″Wear it devoutly and perserveringly,” she says to each soul, “it is my garment. To be clothed in it means you are continually thinking of me, and I in turn, am always thinking of you and helping you to secure eternal life.”
The scapular is an external sign of the filial relationship established between the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother and Queen of Mount Carmel, and the faithful who entrust themselves totally to her protection, who have recourse to her maternal intercession, who are mindful of the primacy of the spiritual life and the need for prayer.
THE SABBATINE PRIVELEGE
The blessed Virgin of Mt. Carmel has promised to save those who wear the scapular fromthe fires of Hell; She will also shorten their stay in Purgatory if they should passfrom this world still owing some temporal debt of punishment.
The Blessed Virgin appeared to him and speaking of those who wear the Brown Scapular said: “I, the Mother of grace, shall descend on the Saturday after their death and whomsoever I shall find in Purgatory, I shall free, so that I may lead them to the holy mountain of life everlasting.”
Pope Benedict XV proceeded to grant an indulgence of 500 days for each time the cloth Scapular is kissed”. On July 16th, the Scapular feast, while addressing the seminarians of Rome, Benedict XV said: “Let all of you have a common language and a common armor: the language, the sentences of the Gospel; the common armor, the Scapular of the Virgin of Carmel, which you all ought to wear and which enjoys the singular privilege of protection even after death.”
Pope Benedict XV, addressing seminarians in Rome:“Let all of you have a common language and a common armor: The language, the sentences of the Gospel – the common armor, the Brown Scapular of the Virgin of Carmel which you ought to wear and which enjoys the singular privilege and protection after death.”The Brown Scapular | A Sacramental“One of the most remarkable effects of sacramentals is the virtue to drive away evil spirits whose mysterious and baleful operations affect sometimes the physical activity of man. To combat this occult power the Church has recourse to exorcism, and sacramentals” (The Catholic Encyclopedia., 1913, VXIII, p. 293).The Brown Scapular | A True StoryYou will understand why the Devil works against those who promote the brown scapular when you hear the true story of Venerable Francis Yepes. One day his Scapular fell off. As he replaced it, the Devil howled, “Take off that habit which snatches so many souls from us! All those clothed in it die piously and escape us!” Then and there Francis made the Devil admit that there are three things which the demons are most afraid of: the Holy Name of Jesus; theHoly Name of Mary and the Holy Scapular of Carmel.“Modern Heretics make a mockery of wearing the Scapular. They decry it as so much trifling nonsense.” – St. Alphonsus LigouriMary, Mother of God and Our Mother“When Mary became the Mother of Jesus, true God and true Man, She also became our Mother. In His great mercy, Jesus wished to call us His brothers and sisters, and by this name He constituted us adopted children of Mary.” – St. John BoscoOver the years there have also been many miracles associated with wearing the brown scapular.
*If you would like a brown scapular click here:
New Catholic Radio Station serving Chittenden County
Donna McSoley stands in St. Francis Xavier Church in Winooski. She is the driving force behind a new Catholic radio station. Photo by Gail Callahan
WINOOSKI – In a state identified in a national study two years ago as one of the least religious in the country, a new Catholic radio station is being hailed by the market and people of faith.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Radio, which can be found at 105.5 FM, transmits 24-hour daily programming of the Eternal Word Television Network from the St. Francis Xavier Church property in Winooski. The station can be heard in the greater Burlington area and started broadcasting earlier this fall.
Donna McSoley, the driving force behind WRXJ 105.5 FM, said she is eager to begin producing some local programming after she learns more about audio editing software. McSoley said one of her ambitions is to air homilies from priests who serve the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington.
“I wanted to bring Catholic radio to Vermont because many people here have rejected Christianity without even knowing much about church history, the early church fathers, or never having read the Bible in its entirety,” said McSoley. “Our state is in crisis over heroin and other drugs, and many people are lost and are desperately searching for freedom from addictions and a greater meaning in life.”
In 2015, the Pew Research Center conducted the Religious Landscape study, and Vermont tied as the 48th most religious state. The study found 34 percent of the Green Mountain State’s adults said they are “highly religious.”
A state’s spiritual devotion was measured by factors including “absolute belief in God and daily prayer.”
The Rev. Lance Harlow, rector of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph’s Co-Cathedral in Burlington, records in WRXJ radio’s Winooski station. Courtesy photo
McSoley, a parishioner at St. Francis Xavier Church, began the quest to secure a broadcast license more than five years ago when the Federal Communications Commission opened a small window to own a channel on the FM spectrum for a low-power station. It took about 18 months to secure the FCC’s approval.
McSoley accesses the station’s computers remotely from her Essex Junction home.
She said a radio station can reach people in ways other media outlets can’t. “Radio can be a great way to reach people in the privacy of their own car and where people are apt to ponder life’s great questions,” she said. “I think for that reason, radio can be a great way to explain the Catholic faith, which is largely misunderstood by the general public. … My hope is that the programs on the station can clear this up and we can foster greater unity within the Christian community here in Vermont.”
Ted Quigley, a practicing Catholic, embraces the organization. “105.5 FM is a wonderful change in my life,” he said. “I turn it on when I’m driving or when I’m home cleaning.”
The Most Rev. Christopher Coyne, bishop of Vermont’s Catholics, recorded some station identifications that play through the hour.
Coyne, who was named by Pope Francis to shepherd Vermont’s Catholics nearly two years ago, said he welcomes the station, praising McSoley’s efforts. “The Catholic community in Vermont has been very supportive of the launch of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Radio,” said Coyne. “Right now, this is the only Catholic radio station in Vermont. I hope to see many more begin to broadcast soon.”
Coyne’s remarks regarding the dearth of religious broadcasting in Vermont underscore what many perceive as an absence of God from the public dialogue. The FCC said it doesn’t keep track of content when license applications come in.
The program director for a Christian radio network serving Vermont said religious-oriented radio outlets are filling a much-needed niche. Bob Pierce, of The Light Radio Network, said his Christian station reaches about 15,000 listeners in Chittenden County.
In a competitive market, McSoley said she is anxious for WRXJ’s message to spread. “Although Vermont is one of the least religious states in the country, I have great faith that people will always be able to recognize truth when they hear it, so my hope is that many people will turn on the radio and start the journey toward discovering God,” she said.