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Friday In the Octave of Easter
OUR LADY OF GOOD COUNSEL- ARBOR DAY


Psalm 118, verse 4-6
4 Let those who fear the LORD say, his mercy endures forever. 5 In danger I called on the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me free. 6The LORD is with me; I am not afraid; what can mortals do against me?

When can we say, “His mercy endures forever!” It is when we have received it and given it away. Everybody needs to forgive somebody.

Forgiveness will unleash a power in your life that is underrated and often ignored. It is underrated mainly because it is underused. We fail to capture the power of forgiveness because we are afraid of it, because we have grown comfortable in our familiar wounds, or because we are sinfully stubborn. But the power is there waiting for us.[1]

Allen R. Hunt outlines there are three parts to forgiveness:

1) Receiving Forgiveness which involves experiencing God and forgiving yourself.
2) Deciding to Forgive.
3) Sharing Forgiveness.

Friday In the Octave of Easter

Easter Friday Meditation[2]

Easter reminds us of these fundamental requirements of the Christian life: the practice of piety and patience. Through piety we live detached from human frailties, in purity of mind and body, in union with Christ. Through patience we succeed in strengthening our character and controlling our temper so as to become more pleasing to the Lord and an example and encouragement to others, in the various contingencies of social life. The Resurrection of the Lord truly represents—and for this reason it is celebrated every year—the renewed resurrection of every one of us to the true Christian life, the perfect Christian life which we must all try to live. "The Resurrection of Christ is the sacrament of new life." My beloved brothers and children! First of all let us look closely at our pattern, Jesus Christ. You see that everything in His life was in preparation for His resurrection. St Augustine says: "In Christ everything was working for His resurrection." Born as a man, He appeared as a man for but a short time. Born of mortal flesh, He experienced all the vicissitudes of mortality. We see Him in His infancy, His boyhood, and His vigorous maturity, in which He died. He could not have risen again if He had not died; He could not have died if He had not been born; He was born, and He died so that He might rise again.

Pilgrimage[3] Easter Friday is a favorite day for pilgrimages.

Pilgrimage was an essential part of Jesus’ religious life. As God was one, so he had only one holy city, Jerusalem, to which he called his people to make pilgrimage: “Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God.” These Tri-annual pilgrimages were required at the feast of unleavened bread (Passover), at the feast of the weeks (commemoration of the Torah & the 10 commandments) and the feast of the booths (Sukkoth). Christ by his sacrifice has created a heavenly Jerusalem which is not in a geographic location but is Eucharistic and is located in the tabernacle of every Catholic Church. Jerusalem has still retained an attractive power, because it contained the monuments of the Lord’s passion and is one of the most popular pilgrimage sites. A modern Catholic map of the world will offer many possible destinations for pilgrimage. Jerusalem and Rome remain favorites as well as the Marian shrines of Lourdes and Fatima. Also, since the middle ages travelers have also thronged to Santiago de Compostela, the shrine of St. James in Spain. Yet, here is the greatness of our God: we need not go to the far ends of the earth to go on pilgrimage as God lives with us in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel and we can always find local shrines to make small pilgrimages. We could also make a pilgrimage to visit with holy people we know, or travel to honor the graves of our ancestors, friends and mentors. A pilgrimage is a sacramental: an outward sign of an inward grace. It reminds us that we are wayfarers on earth till we are taken up into heaven.

Holy Catholic pilgrimages for your “bucket list”[4]

Whether you follow in the footsteps of Jesus or the saints, a holy pilgrimage is an opportunity to enrich one's faith.


The holy pilgrimage has been a Christian tradition since the first recorded spiritual journey, in which a bishop named Mileto from Sardis in Asia Minor traveled to the Holy Land in around 160 to visit the place where [things described in the Bible] were preached and done.In the 4th century, pilgrimages following the footsteps of Jesus and the apostles became popular after Constantines mother, St. Helena, visited Jerusalem, discovered what is thought to have been the True Cross, and built churches over holy sites related to Jesus life. To walk the same path as Jesus and his followers, and to see with ones own eyes the places mentioned in Scripture, was more than just travel, it was meant to hasten an interior journey as well. Rome became a major destination for European pilgrims in the 7th century after the Muslim conquest of the Holy Land limited the number of Christians allowed to visit the holy sites there. The Crusades themselves were considered a form of pilgrimage, and pilgrimages to the Holy land increased in the late Middle Ages, partly due to the guidance of the Franciscan friars who were entrusted with the guardianship of the holy sites.

Today, Christians continue to make pilgrimages to enrich their spiritual lives. Taken in the spirit of prayer, a pilgrimage can be as life-changing today as it was in the time of St. Jerome, who in the 4th century wrote, We will have a clearer grasp of Scripture after we have gazed with our own eyes on the sites where the events of our salvation unfolded.


Heres a glimpse of a few sacred places to complete any Catholics bucket list, where modern pilgrims can travel to walk the same path as Jesus and his followers, and visit the sites of the miracles and apparitions:

The Holy Land

Pilgrims to the Holy Land and Jerusalem follow in the footsteps of Jesus, from the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem where Jesus was born to the Via Dolorosa and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre where he was laid to rest. For the last 800 years, the Order of St. Francis has had guardianship over these holy sites, and is today working to ensure that Christians continue to exist in the birthplace of Christianity. By offering pilgrimages in the Holy Land, they can help fulfill that mission.

·         When to visit: The busiest times in Holy Land are during the major Christian and Jewish feasts in spring and fall.

 

Fatima

The shrine in Fatima, Portugal, marks the spot where Our Lady of the Rosary appeared to three shepherd children, Lucia dos Santos and her cousins, Francisco and Jacinta, between May and October of 1917. Pilgrims from all over the world gather for the torch-lit processions held every day, but especially on pilgrimage days in May and October.

·         When to visit: Pilgrims travel to Fatima all year round, but the best-attended processions are held on the 13th of May and October.

 

El Camino de Santiago

The Way of St. James or El Camino de Santiago became a major pilgrimage destination during the Middle Ages. Tradition tells us that St. James remains were carried by boat from Jerusalem to northern Spain where he was buried. Medieval pilgrims traveled from their homes to what is now the city of Santiago de Compostela, receiving penance for the expiation of sins by undertaking the arduous journey.

Today, the pilgrimage has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity, among believers as well as non-believers in search of a retreat from modern life. Pilgrims hostels or albergues welcome travelers along the way and can be found along the routes in Spain, France and Portugal.

Read more:


·         When to visit: July and August are the busiest months on the Camino. Pilgrims traveling during April, May, June and September enjoy warm weather without the crowds.

 

Ireland

Ireland has a long tradition of holy pilgrimages, dating back to St. Patricks fast on what is now known as Croagh Patrick in 441. In the pasts few years, the Pilgrim Paths foundation has been restoring the ancient penitential paths, and has so far created five guided walks. After pilgrims get their passports stamped after completing each of the five routes, they receive an Irish Pilgrim Paths completion certificate from Ballintubber Abbey in County Mayo.

Read more:


·         When to visit: This August 18-25 Pilgrim Paths is holding its second annual Irish Pilgrim Journey, offering local guides for the 5 pilgrim paths. Other pilgrimages can be found by tour groups in conjuction with this years World Meeting of Families in Dublin, which takes place between August 21 and 26.
Rome

European pilgrims headed to Rome along the Via Francigena to follow the paths of the martyred saints and early Christians. Emperor Constantine erected basilicas over the tombs of Peter and Paul, which attracted the faithful from all over Europe.

Read more:


Today a modern pilgrim would similarly visit St. Peters Basilica, attend a papal audience with the successor to St. Peter, take a tour of the Catacombs, the Vatican museums, and the ancient churches of the Eternal City.

·         When to visit: Winter is the best time to visit Rome if you want to avoid the crowds. Spring and fall, outside of Easter week, offer mild temperatures without the crowds of summer.

Lourdes

Millions of pilgrim’s flock to southwestern France each year to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes. It is there that the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared 18 times in 1858 to a young peasant girl, St. Bernadette Soubirous. In one of her appearances she told St. Bernadette to drink from the grottos spring. Many of the sick and suffering claim to have been miraculously cured by the springs healing waters.

Read more:


·         When to visit: The quiet season at Lourdes is between October and March. During peak season, beginning at Easter, there are usually about 25,000 pilgrims a day visiting Lourdes.
Poland

Even before Pope John Paul IIs canonization, a spiritual journey to his homeland in Poland had become a popular pilgrimage among Catholics. An itinerary might include a visit to Karol Wojtylas childhood home in Wadowice, the shrine of the Black Madonna at Jasna Gora Monastery in Częstochowa, and the beautiful Tatra Mountains where John Paul II skied. Other must-visit sites: The Shrine of Divine Mercy and the martyred St. Maximilian Kolbes cell at Auschwitz.

Pope Francis prays in prisoner #16670s cell in Auschwitz

·         When to visit: As with most popular destinations in Europe, summer is the most crowded season. May to October is the best time to travel to Poland to avoid the cold weather.

Our Lady of Good Counsel[5]

On the Feast of Saint Mark, April 25, 1467, the people of Genazzano, Italy witnessed a marvellous sight. A cloud descended upon an ancient church dedicated to Our Lady of Good Counsel. When the cloud disappeared, an image of Our Lady and the Child Jesus was revealed which had not been there before. The image, on a paper-thin sheet, was suspended miraculously. Soon after the image's appearance many miracles were attributed to the intercession of Our Lady of Good Counsel. Because of this, Pope Paul II ordered an investigation and the results have been preserved. It was later discovered that the very same image had been seen in a church dedicated to the Annunciation in Scutari, Albania. The image in this church was said to have arrived there in a miraculous manner. Now, the image had been transported from Albania miraculously to avoid sacrilege from Moslem invasion. A commission of enquiry determined that a portrait from the church was indeed missing. An empty space the same size as the portrait was displayed for all to see. Many miracles continue to be attributed to Our Lady of Good Counsel. Pope Saint Pius V, for example, credited victory in the Battle of Lepanto to Her intercession. Several Popes have approved the miraculous image. In 1682 Pope Innocent XI had the portrait crowned with gold. On July 2, 1753 Pope Benedict XIV approved the Scapular of Our Lady of Good Counsel, and was the first to wear it.

Arbor Day[6]

Arbor Day is a celebration of trees and their importance to providing shelter, stabilization for the ground, and beauty to the beholder. While Arbor Day is a US holiday, several other countries have adopted similar observances including Japan, Australia, Korea and Yugoslavia. In 1970, President Richard Nixon declared Arbor Day a federal holiday and it is observed the last Friday in April each year.

Arbor Day Facts & Quotes

·         The first Arbor Day was celebrated April 10, 1872 in the State of Nebraska. More than 1 million trees were planted in Nebraska as they celebrated the first Arbor Day.
·         A single tree can absorb as much as 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year and can sequester 1 ton of carbon dioxide by the time it reaches 40 years old.
·         Newspaper editor, Julius Sterling Morton began Arbor Day to help bring attention to the importance of trees.
·         Since the Yellowstone Fires of 1988, the Arbor Day Foundation has partnered with the US Forest Service. Through this partnership, over 25 million Arbor Day Foundation trees have been planted.
·         The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second-best time is now. –Proverb

Arbor Day Top Events and Things to Do

·         Plant a tree.
·         Visit a nursery and consider buying some plants.
·         Australian accent: Crocodile Dundee (1986), The Babadook (2014)
·         Organize a neighborhood beautification project.
·         Hold a paper drive.  Use the recycling proceeds to purchase a special tree.

Divine Mercy Novena[7]

Eighth Day - Today Bring Me the Souls Who Are In the Prison Of Purgatory.

Most Merciful Jesus, You Yourself have said that You desire mercy; so, I bring into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls in Purgatory, souls who are very dear to You, and yet who must make retribution to Your justice. May the streams of Blood and Water which gushed forth from Your Heart put out the flames of purifying fire, that in that place, too, the power of Your mercy may be praised.

Eternal Father, turn Your most merciful gaze upon the souls suffering in Purgatory, who are enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. I beg You, by the sorrowful Passion of Jesus Your Son, and by all the bitterness with which His most sacred Soul was flooded, manifest Your mercy to the souls who are under Your just scrutiny. Look upon them in no other way than through the Wounds of Jesus, Your dearly beloved Son; for we firmly believe that there is no limit to Your goodness and compassion. Amen.

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Universal Man Plan
·         Manhood of Christ Day 3, Eighth Week.
·         Divine Mercy Novena Day 8



[1] Allen R. Hunt, Everybody needs to forgive somebody.
[3] Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 31. Pilgrimage.
[4]https://aleteia.org/2018/05/21/holy-catholic-pilgrimages-for-your-bucket-list/

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