Thursday, May 31, 2012

June, Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

June is the month dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Last month for Mary's month of May, a friend of mine and I memorized the Ave Maris Stella prayer with our kids. So I thought for June we would memorize the prayer to the Sacred Heart:

May the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the most Blessed Sacrament be praised and adored and loved with grateful affection, at every moment, in all the tabernacles of the world even to the end of time. 

If you'd like to do more than just the short prayer above, then consider learning the Sacred Heart chaplet. It is composed of 39 beads (or knots, in this case) -- 6 of which are large, and 33 small -- a centerpiece, crucifix, and a Sacred Heart medal. The small beads represent the 33 years of the mortal life of our Lord. The first 30 call to mind the years of his private life and are divided into 5 groups of 6. The 3 near the crucifix recall his public life.

To Start: On the crucifix, pray the Anima Christi:

Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O good Jesus, hear me.
Within Thy wounds hide me.
Separated from Thee let me never be.
From the malignant enemy, defend me.
At the hour of death, call me.
And close to Thee bid me.
That with Thy saints I may be
Praising Thee, forever and ever.

On the large beads say:
O Sweetest Heart of Jesus, I implore
that I may ever love thee more and more.

On the small beads say:
Sweet Heart of Jesus, be my love.

After each grouping, say:
Sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation.

To End, Finish on the centerpiece and pray:
May the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the most Blessed Sacrament
be praised and adored and loved with grateful affection,
at every moment, in all the tabernacles of the world,
even to the end of time.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Aliens, YOLO and what I learned at my son's high school senior night

IB Senior Celebration is a very special night for the seniors of the International Baccalaureate program of St. Petersburg High School. The night includes dinner with parents, presentation of the IB sash that is worn with their cap and gown on graduation night, speeches, awards and special musical presentations.

All of these year end events are very touching. You get  to see how much your child is learning and has grown and you get to rejoice with them on the milestones they are reaching.

But who knew what a great education I would get tonight?

Mr. Ryan Halstead was the faculty member chosen by the students to give a speech. He applauded the parents for sticking with the kids when they "turned into aliens." That got a good laugh, as most parents find that their sweet little children do seem like aliens at some time during their teen years.

But it was news to me, as honestly, our son John never really did turn into an alien during High School. He has been working hard and making good decisions and he's on a great path going forward to college in August at FSU.

Halstead continued with great advice like "be safe, work hard and make good decisions." He also talked about taking risks and doing new things. And then he said YOLO and everyone laughed, except me. Evidently I am way too old to know 2012 slang. But I did know how to text my teenager to ask what it meant and John told me it is "You Only Live Once." He added that usually YOLO is used after sharing something you did that was really stupid.

But I am going with my own explanation of YOLO. You Only Live Once, so love boldly. You Only Live Once, so make a difference. You Only Live Once, so remember that you don't know it all and learn from your kids. You Only Live Once, so keep your feet on the earth and you eyes on Heaven.

It's our second child to get to the end of high school, and I am learning more each step along the away. 


Every home needs a little humor

Monday, May 21, 2012

St. Cristobal Magallanes and companions


Like Blessed Miguel Pro, St. Cristóbal and his 24 companion martyrs lived under a very anti-Catholic government in Mexico, one determined to weaken the Catholic faith of its people. Churches, schools and seminaries were closed; foreign clergy were expelled. Cristóbal established a clandestine seminary at Totatiche, Jalisco. Magallanes and the other priests were forced to minister secretly to Catholics during the presidency of Plutarco Calles (1924-28).
All of these martyrs except three were diocesan priests. David, Manuel and Salvador were laymen who died with their parish priest, Luis Batis. All of these martyrs belonged to the Cristero movement, pledging their allegiance to Christ and to the Church that he established to spread the Good News in society—even if Mexico's leaders once made it a crime to receive Baptism or celebrate the Mass.
These martyrs did not die as a single group but in eight Mexican states, with Jalisco and Zacatecas having the largest number. They were beatified in 1992 and canonized eight years later.

The Mexican martyrs and the battle they fought are receiving current day attention due to the attack on Religious Freedom here in the U.S. A new movie tells the story of the Cristero movement, For the Greater Glory. Movie to debut in 700 select theaters June 1, see details at

Great talk on the Attack on Religious Freedom in Mexico by Patrick Madrid,
Great fictional account of the last Catholic priest in Mexico during the persecution, The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene. Highly recommend this book for late teens to adults!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ascension to Pentecost

The six weeks of Easter continue into the month of May.  Feast of the Ascension is 40 days after the Resurrection. In many dioceses in the United States it has been moved from Thursday (the 40th day) to the following Sunday so that it can be celebrated by all the faithful on a Sunday mass. Pentecost is 50 days after Easter and is celebrated the following Sunday. 

The Gospel readings are so rich for these feasts. They witness the timid and scared disciples seeing Our Lord’s return to heaven and then praying for nine days until the Holy Spirit comes and gives them Holy Boldness.
The practice of saying novenas is derived from these Scriptures. After Jesus' Ascension into heaven, he told his disciples to pray together in the upper room and devote themselves to constant prayer (Acts 1:14). The ApostlesBlessed Virgin Mary, and other followers of Jesus prayed together for nine consecutive days, concluding in the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. (Novena is derived from the Latin "novem", meaning nine.) We all need to have the Holy Spirit transform our lives this Pentecost.

Here is a great novena to pray from Ascension to Pentecost:

Pentecost. How appropriate to celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit, the spouse of the Blessed Mother, in Mary’s month. it was our Lady and disciples praying in the upper room at the command of Jesus from Ascension until Pentecost that constituted the first novena. (See Acts 1 & 2)
  • The Feast of the Holy Trinity is Sunday following Pentecost.
  • The Feast of the Holy Body and Blood of Christ is next Sunday. This Feast is also referred to as Corpus Christi.
With the family, memorize the gifts of the Holy Spirit  Wisdom, Knowledge, Counsel, Understanding, Fortitude, Piety and Fear of the Lord. Who could use a little more of each in their life right now?
Together in your home, pray the Holy Spirit Sequence:
Come, Holy Spirit, send forth the heavenly radiance of your light.
Come, father of the poor, come giver of gifts, come, light of the heart.
Greatest comforter, sweet guest of the soul, sweet consolation. 
In labor, rest, in heat, temperance, in tears, solace.
O most blessed light, fill the inmost heart of your faithful.
Without your grace, there is nothing in us, nothing that is not harmful.
Cleanse that which is unclean, water that which is dry, heal that which is wounded.
Bend that which is inflexible, fire that which is chilled, correct what goes astray.
Give to your faithful, those who trust in you, the sevenfold gifts.
Grant the reward of virtue, grant the deliverance of salvation, grant eternal joy.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

33 Days to Morning Glory by Fr. Micheal Gaitley MIC

33 Days to Morning Glory; A Do-it-Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Marian Consecration Book description: From Fr. Michael E. Gaitley, MIC, the author of the bestselling book Consoling the Heart of Jesus, comes an extraordinary 33-day journey to Marian consecration with four spiritual giants St. Louis de Montfort, St. Maximilian Kolbe, BI. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and BI. Pope John Paul II. If you're seeking to consecrate yourself to Marry for the first time or you're simply looking to deepen and renew your consecration, this book is an incredible blessing for even the busiest of people.

My take: 33 Days to Morning Glory is such a wonderful book. Although the idea is to read it every day for 33 days prior to consecrating oneself to Mary, when I first opened the book, I couldn't stop reading. The lives and stories for 4 great saints, St. Louis de Montfort, St. Maximilian Kolbe, Blessed John Paul II and Blessed Mother Teresa draw you in from the first page. Not only were their writes up interesting historically, they burned in my heart "I want to be a great saint like him/her!"

 My husband and I just consecrated May 13, after reading each days' meditation. It was a beautiful journey. Each day there is a simple, short reading that explains what consecration to Mary is and why anyone would want to do it. Unlike previous consecrations we have done where numerous prayers and scriptures are read, this book actually explains all the benefits of having a relationship with Mary, as well as why go to Mary.

Here is what others are saying:

To get your copy, click below or at right:

Monday, May 14, 2012

On the President's belief in so-called "gay marriage"

"Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk"  is a pretty popular slogan that everyone will agree with. If you are a true friend to someone, you would never want them to be put in a situation where great harm can come to them. The grave danger of driving under the influence of alcohol is well documented. Drunk drivers can cause injury and death to the themselves as well as to innocent drivers and by-standers.

And so it is generally recognized that if your friend who has been drinking wants to get behind the wheel and exercise his freedom to drive, that you, as a friend, will stop him for his greater good and the good of the community.

So with that in mind, let's think about President Obama's recent interview announcing he personally supports so-called "gay marriage."

Here is a portion of the May 9, 2012 transcript of his interview with Robin Roberts of ABC News:

"And-- you know, I-- you know-- you know, we-- we're both-- practicing Christians. And-- and obviously-- this position may be considered to put as at odds with-- the views of-- of others. But-- you know, when we think about our faith, the-- the thing-- you know, at-- at root that we think about is not only-- Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf-- but it's also the golden rule, you know? Treat others the way you'd want to be treated. And-- and I think that's what we try to impart to our kids. And-- that's what motivates me as president. And-- I figure the more consistent I can be-- in being true-- to-- to those precepts-- the better I'll be as a dad and a husband, and-- hopefully the better I'll be as a president."

So first the President says he and his wife are "both practicing Christians." He then says he has based is position on the Golden Rule which is "do unto to others as you would have others do unto you. (Matt 7:12)"

But the Golden Rule does NOT support so-called gay marriage and here's why.

If someone wants what is best for another, he is never going to allow or encourage that person to act out in a way that hurts himself, others and the community. Friends don't let friends drive drunk, right?

Every person is created in the image and likeness of God and because God made us, we all long for authentic love. Love always wants what is best for the other, as other.

God perfectly designed men and women in different, equal and complimentary ways. He created them as such so that they could pro-create and enjoy a life long exclusive relationship. God created the Marital Act to be both unitive and procreative. And in a true marriage, every act must be both.
The Catholic Church has always taught that sexual relations that are not both unitive and procreative as well as all sexual relations outside of marriage are not authentic love, in fact they are grave sin. This is true for heterosexuals and homosexuals alike. All are called to live chastely. If the sexual act is not unitive, it is rape, if it is not open to life it is homosexual or contraceptive.

And so, if we really want to follow the golden rule, we want to help all our friends find authentic love, as well as have them help us with the same. We should "do unto them" in a kind, gentle, and loving way, just as we would want them to "do unto us", sharing the truth about what is for our best. If our friends are in a sinful lifestyle, we need to counsel them to live a pure live in accordance with the gospel, with the help of the sacraments and grace. We would never say, let's legalize the situation that contributes to your decline. This is true for our friends that are engaging in homosexual acts, and our friends engaging in heterosexual acts; those who co-habitate, have affairs, and contracept.

Today so few are trying to live a chaste life, that so much of the current day reasoning is clouded. And so we err in thinking that in kindness we just allow people to do what they want to do.

But Jesus never told a sinner to keep on sinning. He loved the person in sin, but hated the sin. So too should we. And especially in the Catholic Church you will you find a group of people who love others very much, but not the sins in which they may be.

Fr. Michael Schmitz recently released a talk titled "From Love, By Love and For Love." He explains, much better than I, the dignity of every person and why contraception and same sex attraction offend that dignity. He talks with compassion and humor about the yearnings for authentic love that is shared by all people who made in the image and likeness of God.  CLICK HERE TO GET A CD OR DOWNLOAD. This talk is a "must-listen to" for anyone seeking love and understanding and to love and to understand.

Certainly this is a difficult topic to articulate as Christians are now called "narrow-minded" "hate-mongers" and worse. But we MUST articulate, and NOW because 'friends don't let friends drive drunk.'

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Picking Blueberries and the Fifth Sunday of Easter

The Musselmans had an amazing outing this weekend. We went to pick blueberries on the Blueribbon Berry Farm in Williston FL. Adults and children alike had a fun afternoon picking dark blue berries right off the bushes. Mr. Wayne, the owner, was there to tell us what to do and bag us up when we were finished. The sun was hot but we had a nice breeze, and plenty of time to reflect on Sunday's gospel when Jesus says "I am the vine you are the branches (John 15)." Unless we stay connected to the vine we will not bear fruit. Mr. Wayne also talked to me about pruning so that next season all 70,000 bushes bear even more fruit. We ate all we could as we picked and when our teeth were blue, we bagged up the berries and went home to bake!
Staying connected to the vine (until picked!)
Berries laid out to cool and dry

Mr. Wayne bagging the berries.
Bob's famous Blueberry Cobbler
And I made Blueberry Muffins!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Blessing of Friends

An impromptu party to celebrate May, life and friends. Lori front and center, beautiful!

When our oldest children were infants and toddlers, we formed playgroups. Young moms need to be with other young moms to share the journey, joy, troubles, questions and fun of raising children. As our family grew, it became harder to spend as much time with these precious girlfriends. Playgroups dissolved as we moved to the school yard, soccer fields and basketball courts.  A mom's daily duties of school, activities, homework, household and husband takes every moment of each day and time for mom seems to get put on the shelf.

Until Monday.

Monday, April 30th my dear friend Lori sent out an email saying-"Last minute May Day party, tomorrow, on my back deck." My first thought was 'how can I go?' My second thought was 'I want to go, I need to go, I have to go-I so need to see Lori and be with my friends.' So Bob handled dinner and the kids and I got a couple hours out catching up with the precious women that have surrounded me for the last 15-20 years, most of whom I don't see nearly enough. We used to talk about potty training, pre-school and parenting and now the conversation turned to driving cars, college choices and careers.

When I walked up the driveway to Lori's back deck, I just grinned from ear to ear. It was Southern Living Beautiful! Pots of flowers everywhere, pastel table cloths, rainbow umbrellas and a beautiful pink and green beach chair. Lori was the prettiest one there, in a new dress, her blond hair flowing and a million dollar smile. She greeted me and each of us, as if we were the only one there, with eyes of gratitude that pierced right through.

Lori gathered us together, because she was feeling good that day. She recently was diagnosed with cancer and is now undergoing chemo. Yet through this illness, she is teaching us how to live. And not just marginally live, making it through difficult days, but to live with joy and beauty and friends.

Thank you God for the gift of Lori. Thank you for her precious example and glowing vessel of your grace that she is. Thank you God for friends.  How humbled I am to know that even though I haven't reached out as much as I should have over the years, great ones, like Lori, always reach out. Lori, you are just the BEST!

There are no coincidences in life. The party was thrown on May 1st, the first day of the month of Mary, our Blessed Mother. I know Our Lady is watching over Lori and her family, putting her mantle of protection around them all. She stands with Lori and with each of us at the foot of our crosses, just as she stood at the foot of the cross with Jesus, silently interceding and being there to comfort. Mary never loses hope and never leaves us in our hour of need.

May 1st is also the feast of St. Peregrine. St. Peregrine was fourteenth century priest who was miraculously cured from a cancerous growth on his leg, the night before his leg was to be amputated. He is the patron saint of those with cancer.

And so Lori's special party day had many layers of meaning.

Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.
St. Peregrine, pray for us.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Parish Book Club: Fatima for Today by Fr. Andrew Apostoli

May 13 is the Feast day of Our Lady of Fatima. To commemorate the feast day and May, the month of Mary, St. Raphael's parish will be hosting a book club, parish wide reading of:

Amazing Book: Fatima for Today, The Urgent Marian Message of Hope by Fr. Andrew Apostoli 

Join our parish, St. Raphaels, in reading this amazing book. Fr. Dominic Corona, our associate pastor, will lead the group. He would like us to learn more about Our Lady and the message of her appearance at Fatima. Click on the Amazon icon above to order your copy.

Book Description:

Though the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima took place almost a hundred years ago, Our Lady’s call to prayer and penance for the salvation of souls and peace in the world is as relevant now as when first delivered to three Portuguese peasant children in 1917.
At the peak of the First World War, Our Lady warned of another worldwide conflict, the rise and spread of Communism, and a terrible persecution of the Church unless people repented of their sins and returned to God. She also requested devotion to her Immaculate Heart and a special consecration of Russia.
Much of what Our Lady of Fatima said was revealed soon after her appearances, but the third and final "secret", which was not a message but a prophetic vision seen by the children, was not unveiled by the Vatican until 2000. Pope John Paul II, who read the third secret while recovering from the attempt upon his life in 1981, believed the vision signified the sufferings the Church had endured in the twentieth century.
Because of the prophetic nature of her messages, Our Lady of Fatima has been the subject of much controversy and speculation. In this book, Father Andrew Apostoli carefully analyzes the events that took place in Fatima and clears up lingering questions and doubts about their meaning. He also challenges the reader to hear anew the call of Our Lady to prayer and sacrifice, for the world is ever in need of generous hearts willing to make reparation for those in danger of losing their way to God.  

Related Fatima resources:

FREE Copy:
Fatima Prayers: CLICK HERE 

Inspiring Talk: 
Fatima: Living the Message by Fr. Jason Brooks, L.C. 
From the CD sleeve: In a time of lost innocence, the faith of three children inspired thousands and made the world believe in miracles. Mary's messages at Fatima have been promoted by Popes, approved by the Church, and validated by over 70,000 witnesses. Fr. Jason Brooks brings to light why Fatima is regarded by many as the most important spiritual event of the past 100 years. BONUS: Fr. Shanon Collins, retreat master and well known speaker on EWTN, explains the intended impact and opportunity of the messages of Fatima on the spiritual lives of believers today.


Informative Booklet: What Happened at Fatima by Leo Madigan

Faithfully following the memoirs of Sister Lucia, Leo Madigan retells the events of Fatima, from the fi rst apparitions of the Blessed Virgin to the beati cations of Francisco and Jacinta Marto.
88 pages