Tuesday, February 19, 2019


Full snow moon


Deuteronomy, Chapter 10, Verse 12-13
12 Now, therefore, Israel, what does the LORD, your God, ask of you but to fear the LORD, your God, to follow in all his ways, to love and serve the LORD, your God, with your whole heart and with your whole being, 13 to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD that I am commanding you today for your own well-being?

What is meant by serving God?

Doing the will of God in all things which He requires of us, in whatever state of life we may be placed, and doing this with fidelity, with unwearied zeal, and out of love for Him. (Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896)

When we are bored and familiar with routine work, let us generously offer ourselves to the Lord for He indeed knows our needs and will take care of our well-being.

The Devil and Temptations[1]

There are many and varied ways in which sin and evil are presented to us in an attractive way.

Spiritualists or Spiritualistic Churches

·         Spiritualism involves a communication with the dead or with the spirit world by some psychic or occult means.
·         Great care is to be used because many people are fooled. There can be the use of the Bible, holy water, statues of saints and Catholic hymns. Spiritualists often believe in the Fatherhood of God, doing good to others, personal responsibility for what one does, reward for good deeds and punishment for evil deeds. Many are Christian or even Catholic and profess faith in Jesus.
·         There is always a dangerous attempt to communicate with the dead or with spirits in some way. It can be through a seance, or perhaps the person just seems to go into a trance.
·         Spiritualists are involved in healing, witchcraft, fortune telling or even blessing homes to protect them. Sometimes they believe in reincarnation as well.

Reincarnation (Theosophy)

·         This is the belief that the soul, after death, passes into the body of another human being, an animal, a plant or even an object. Many oriental religions or cults believe this. In Hinduism the god Vishnu is believed to have several reincarnations as a fish, a dwarf, as the person of Rama, and as Krishna in the different ages of the world. This is contrary to the Bible and to all Christian belief in the afterlife. "It is appointed that men die once, and after death be judged" (Heb. 10:27). Those involved with spiritualists must renounce Satan, renounce spiritualism, ask God's pardon, and confess their sin to a priest.

THE TREE OF HAPPINESS (Cont.)

King Richard was glad to see all the Grand knights and their sons preparing for the Quest. Why even Sir Michael sent for his God-son Gabriel to be part of the great quest. Gabriel was the son of Henry, Sir Michael’s brother. Henry was not a member of the royal court and lived deep in the forests of Utopia. Henry had renounced his birthright, by his marriage to a simple peasantry woman, named Diane, who was known not only for her beauty but also for her intelligent mind and loving ways. Diane and Henry had raised Gabriel quite different from the other young men of Utopia. He was taught all the great sciences of the time and his father trained him in the Knightly arts. He was a young man of strength in both mind and body. That was why Sir Michael chose him to be his Sergeant at Arms on the great crusade to find the Tree of Happiness.

When Gabriel got the word that he was to go with his uncle he was in his most favorite places to be. He was in the upper most branches of the oldest oak tree in the forest. It was said of the tree that it was used as a meeting place for Mass when St. Dennis first brought Utopia to the church over 500 years ago and if this was true it would make the tree at least 600 years old. Gabriel always loved it here. This was his special place. This was the place where he spoke with his creator. It was here he developed his strength of mind and by climbing the great tree he also developed his physical strength.

After Gabriel joined Sir Michael, King Richard and the rest of the Crusaders visited many faraway lands in search of the Tree of Happiness. They fought many battles (which are stories themselves) they learned the value of friendship, duty and the worth of selfless service. The king and his Knights found themselves returning to the beliefs of the church and strangely found themselves happy although suffering in hardships together. After five years of searching, they found their selves approaching Utopia having never found the Tree of Happiness and having a sense of failure. Gabriel now a Knight himself, found they were approaching the tree of St. Dennis, his special place, in the middle of a terrible storm. As they approached the tree, Gabriel was mentioning to King Richard how this tree was a special place to him, and they camped there for the night to wait out the storm. Gabriel had just finished mentioning this to King Richard when a great bolt of lightning struck the great tree splitting it. Sadly, later that night Gabriel went to bed.

In the morning Gabriel, Sir Michael, King Richard and the company of Knights approached the split tree. As they approached, they discovered buried within the tree a crucifix that had been attached to the tree and the tree had grown around it. The crucifix was the cross of St. Dennis which had the following words inscribed upon it, “Upon this tree (cross) God hung in payment for our sins and love for us. THIS is the true Tree of Happiness.”

Full Snow Moon

According to the almanac today we are having a Full Snow Moon. Plan to have a day to take your children or your grandchildren out to play in the snow and talk a little with them about your love and faith in God and make snow angels.

Our Lady of the Snows[2]


Improbable as it is for snow to fall during August, history tells of a snowfall that seemed more impossible, namely in Rome, Italy. August 5, 352, snow fell during the night in Rome.
There lived in the Eternal City a nobleman, John and his childless wife, who had been blessed with much of this world’s goods. They chose the Mother of God as the heir to their fortune, and at the suggestion of Pope Liberius, prayed that she might make known to them how to do this by a particular sign. In answer, the Virgin Mother during the night of August 5, appeared to John and his wife and also to the Holy Father, Pope Liberius, directing them to build a church in her honor on the crown of the Esquiline Hill. And what would be the sign that John and his wife had requested?
“Snow will cover the crest of the hill.”

Snow rarely falls in Rome, but the flakes fell silently during that night, blanketing the peak of the historic hill. In the morning the news quickly spread, and crowds gathered to throng up the hill and behold the white splendor. The snow had fallen in a particular pattern, showing the outline of the future church. When it became known that the snow was a sign from Mary, the people spontaneously added another to her long list of titles, Our Lady of the Snows.

Antarctica: Faith in the Land of Eternal Snows[3]

Where Mass Is Never Canceled on Account of Cold Weather
Angelo Stagnaro

It’s hard to imagine that, 60 million years ago, Antarctica was teeming with dinosaurs languishing in the sweltering, subtropical heat typical of the “White Continent” at the time. Now, it’s home only to seals, penguins, walruses and humans who insist they don’t mind the frigid temperatures. The first official nod to Christianity on Antarctica came from Capt. Aeneas Mackintosh, who erected a large memorial cross on Wind Vane Hill on Cape Evans in honor of three members of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1914-1917 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition party who died in 1916.

Priests Down South

Father William Menster (1913-2007), a priest in the Archdiocese of Dubuque, Iowa, and U.S. Navy chaplain, wrote in his 1949 book Strong Men South about his Antarctic expedition in 1946 and 1947, “The highlight of my life was the celebration of Mass at and blessing the Antarctic continent.” This first Mass on the continent was celebrated in a temporary tent on an altar oriented eastward — or what passes for eastward when you’re at the bottom of the planet. The first Jesuit stationed in Antarctica was seismologist Jesuit Father Henry Birkenhauer, in 1957-58, earning him the nickname “The Polar Priest.” Jesuit Father Daniel Linehan was a scientist and explorer who made two expeditions to Antarctica in 1954-55 and 1955-56. The Linehan Glacier is named after him. Vatican astronomer Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno visited Antarctica in 1996 and discovered a number of meteorites. (The climate aside, it’s easy hunting for such rocks, as they stand in clear contrast to the continent’s snowy fields.) Jesuit geophysicists Edward Bradley and J. Joseph Lynch also did extensive research in Antarctica.
Cool Chapels

There are currently nearly 90 science stations in Antarctica, half of which are only used in summer months, when the days are long. Most research stations have a small multipurpose room that serves as an ad hoc chapel. However, several bases and settlements have their own dedicated chapels, including:

1. Notre-Dame des Vents (Port-aux-Français, Kerguelen Island)
Interestingly, Capt. James Cook discovered this uninhabited island on Christmas Day 1776, an auspiciously appropriate day for what would subsequently become the southernmost French-Catholic church in the world. French for Our Lady of the Winds, the chapel is located in Port-aux-Français, the capital settlement of the Kerguelen Islands, territory of the French Southern and Antarctic lands in the south Indian Ocean. The concrete chapel was built in the 1950s, and its proportions are based on the “Golden Ratio” — the ratio of the building’s dimensions is the same as the ratio of the sum of the larger of the chapel’s two quantities. This is a fancy mathematical way of saying the chapel is exquisitely beautiful and exceptionally pleasing mathematically, aesthetically and emotionally. This chapel serves as the parish church for the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the British Antarctic Territory. A statue of Our Lady of the Winds stands vigil between the chapel and the Golfe du Morbihan, welcoming congregants while assuring them of her love and prayers. 

2. The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart (Punta Arenas)
The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart (El Sagrado Corazón) in Punta Arenas, on the southern tip of South America, serves the Chilean Antarctic Territory. Punta Arenas is the southernmost diocese in the entire Catholic world. Its parish, Nuestra Señora del Carmen, in Puerto Williams on Navarino Island is the southernmost Catholic parish on the planet. Though not “technically” on Antarctica, it’s practically there; and the Vatican has given it its specific mission of serving the faithful who temporarily call Antarctica home.

3. The Ice Cave Catholic Chapel at Belgrano II Base (Coat’s Island)
Argentina’s Belgrano II Base at Coat’s Island is the southernmost house of worship — of any religion — and is entirely made of ice blocks. Built in 1955, it’s used year-round by the scientists, soldiers and staff of the Argentine military base and research station on the island. A wedding was conducted in the chapel on January 29, 2007, for two researchers, a Chilean and a Russian.

3. Notre Dame de l’Ocean (Amsterdam Island)
Our Lady of the Ocean Chapel serves the scientists of French-administered Amsterdam Island. This squarish, cozy chapel is immediately adjacent to the researcher’s quarters and hosts Mass every Sunday. The chapel offers a magnificent view of the Antarctic Ocean.

4. Chapel of the Snows (Ross Island)
The Chapel of the Snows is located at McMurdo Science Station on Ross Island and was constructed in 1956. The chapel was rebuilt after a fire in 1978 and was re-consecrated in 1989. It later opened its doors to Protestants, Mormons, Bahais and Buddhists so that they might conduct their own services. The chapel serves 200 researchers and support personnel, but it can host up to 1,000 visitors. It contains a stained-glass window depicting Antarctica.

5. Notre Dame des Oiseaux Chapel, Possession Island
This tiny French-administered island in the Crozet Archipelago has a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Birds. The chapel is located near Alfred Faure Base and was built in 1984.

6. Trinity Church (Bellingshausen, King George Island)
This Russian Orthodox chapel warmly, pun intended, welcomes Catholics to celebrate Mass there. The quaint structure is made of pressurized Siberian pine treated to withstand the subzero temperature of the southernmost continent. It can hold 30 worshippers at any given moment. Two Russian monks’ man this remote chapel, committing to a year’s service. Defying the destructive power of the polar winds, the wooden structure with Russian carvings stands 15 meters (49 feet) tall, and Mass is generally celebrated in either Spanish or English.

7. San Francisco de Assisi Chapel (Hope Bay)
A chapel dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi is appropriately located at Esperanza (Spanish for “hope”) Station in Antarctica’s Hope Bay. This is one of Argentina’s 13 research bases in Antarctica. Catholic babies are routinely baptized here.

8. Chilean Chapel of Santa Maria Reina de la Paz (Villa Las Estrellas, South Shetland Islands)
This humble and utilitarian church is made out of repurposed shipping containers stacked side by side and can fit up to 36 congregants. The local population, aside from the penguins, can be up to 120 people, making it the largest civilian settlement in Antarctica. Located on the Chilean military base of King George’s Island, Villa las Estrellas (Spanish: “The Village of Stars”), it’s not uncommon for personnel to bring their families, with children, to live on the base for up to two years at a time, necessitating religious services and catechetical instruction.

9. Chapel of the Santisima Virgen de Lujan at Marambio Base
The Chapel of the Most Holy Virgin serves Argentina’s permanent, year-round base. On Jan. 3, 2013, during the 44th Overwintering Campaign, Father Marcelo Lopez and the team of researchers consecrated the entire base to the Virgin Mary.

10. St. Ivan Rilski Chapel, Livingston Island
This Orthodox church was built on Bulgaria’s St. Kliment Ohridski expeditionary base in 1988.

11. Stella Maris Chapel, Cape Horn Island
Next to the lighthouse on Cape Horn Island lies a tiny wooden chapel dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It serves the sacramental needs of the researchers and staff at this station, which lies between South America’s Tierra de Fuego and the Antarctic continent. The first Catholic, let alone human being, to visit the area was Ferdinand Magellan on his round-the-world-trip across the straits that still bear his name. Oddly, the 90 researchers and support staff of the Italian Mario Zucchelli Station at Terra Nova Bay don’t have a permanent chapel, despite lay Italian Catholics offering to build one for free. In fact, a German shipping company offered to transport the prefab chapel to Terra Nova Bay gratis. Despite this, the Italian government is dragging its feet, to the detriment of the devout scientists and staff on the base. The Worldwide Antarctic Program (WAP) is spearheading the construction of a Catholic chapel at the base. So far, the plan is on ice.

The Way[4] Penance

"Read these counsels slowly. Pause to meditate on these thoughts. They are things that I whisper in your ear-confiding them-as a friend, as a brother, as a father. And they are being heard by God. I won't tell you anything new. I will only stir your memory, so that some thought will arise and strike you; and so you will better your life and set out along ways of prayer and of Love. And in the end you will be a more worthy soul."

With you, Jesus, what joy in suffering, what light in darkness!

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Universal Man Plan
·         Nivevah 90 day 27

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