Archives for August 2010

Irish Immigrants Remembered by Descendants

This article from CathNews is about the young women who traveled from Ireland to Australia during the famine in Ireland. They were basically headed for new lives in Australia, and they all successfully took roots in their new home land. It is great to hear about their relatives and fellow Irish Australians remembering what they went through back then.

“About 300 people attended the 11th annual commemoration on Sunday for Irish Orphan Girls who arrived here in the mid-1800s, at the Irish Famine Memorial at Sydney’s Hyde Park barracks.

Between 1848 and 1850, about 4000 young women, some no more than 14 years old, sailed from Ireland on an emigration plan to provide domestic labour in Sydney, Adelaide, Moreton Bay and Port Phillip, reports The Catholic Weekly.

They were victims of the Irish famine and were given the opportunity to make a new life in Australia. Their descendants, Irish and Irish Australians have gathered at the memorial to honour their memory.

Tom Power, chair of the Great Irish Famine Commemoration Committee, said he was pleased with the big turnout for the occasion.

The guest speaker at the event was Irish novelist Evelyn Conion. Her current novel Records on Globe Street comments on the human and personal dimensions concerned with the loss and dislocation of the orphan girls.” – “Irish Orphan Girl Immigrants Remembered”, CathNews

Saint Raymond Nonnatus

The Saint of the Day for August 31 is St. Raymond Nonnatus.

Raymond became a priest due to his quiet persistence in prayer and study.

He was born to a noble Spanish family in 1204. His mother died during child birth and his father had high expectations for Raymond to serve in the country’s Royal Court. However, the young Raymond felt drawn to religious life. In an attempt to dissuade him, his father ordered him to manage one of the family farms. However, Raymond spent his time with the workers, studying, and praying. His father finally gave up and allowed Raymond to enter the Mercederians.

Fr. Raymond spent his entire estate ransoming slaves. He even offered himself as a hostage to free another. He was sentenced to death but was spared because his ransom would bring in a large amount of money.

During his imprisonment, he succeeded at converting some of his guards. To keep him from continuing his preaching, his captors bored a hole through his lips with a hot iron, and attached a padlock. He was eventually ransomed, and he returned to Barcelona in 1239.

That year, he was named a cardinal by Pope Gregory IX. The following year, in 1240, he was summoned to Rome, but barely made it out of Barcelona before he died at the age of 36.

St. Raymond is the patron saint of pregnant women, childbirth, and newborn infants.” – “St. Raymond Nonnatus”, A Catholic View

This article found on A Catholic View tells all about one of the not so well known patron saints, Saint Raymond Nonnatus. It was good to see this article posted over on A Catholic View because I enjoyed reading about Saint Raymond. I had never read anything about what he did with his lift before, and this gave me a chance to do just that. He suffered through some tortures for his faith and was a great person. Everybody should take the time to pray to Saint Raymond today, as it is his feast day.

Mary MacKillop Musical Launches in Sydney

Periodically over the course of the summer I have written about Mary MacKillop and her upcoming canonization. It just seems like Australia is getting more and more excited with every day that passes. This article talks about a new musical that is set to open about the soon to be saint’s life. It is so great to see such a strong showing of people who truly care that their country is gaining their first ever saint! Good stuff Australia, keep up the good work!

MacKillop the Musical will be launched today in Sydney, marking the 50-day countdown to the canonisation of Australia’s first saint.

The launch will feature Melbourne Soprano Joanna Cole who is playing the title role alongside Brisbane actor Donald McDonald (Mary’s father Alexander MacKillop), Adelaide baritone Eugene Raggio (the bushranger Fagan) and Sydney actors Paul McLeod (Fr Woods) and Tony Girdler (Fr Horan.), said a media release.

The casting of actors from Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne signifies the four Australian states that Mary MacKillop herself worked in.

“Travelling long distances in the course of her work was a daily reality for Mary MacKillop” said Kieran Walton, the producer of MacKillop. “So drawing actors from across the country for this historic production is very appropriate.”

As an exclusive preview to the production, Joanna will sing the main aria from the musical My

“I feel incredibly privileged to be cast as Mary MacKillop” said Joanna Cole. “Mary was a very
special woman and the chance to tell her story and bring her charisma to the stage is one I feel
very honoured to have been given.”

“The MacKillop story is about the development of a nation, its trials, hardships and
successes. Drawing actors from across Australia to tell this story personifies the national
significance of Mary’s work and her Canonisation,” said director Anthony McCarthy.

Walton is thrilled to have secured two actual priests to play roles in the show. “Why make
someone act like a priest when you can get a real one, two in fact.”

Fr. Bill Milsted will play Pope Pius IX and Fr. James McCarthy will play Bishop Shiel, the bishop who excommunicated Mary MacKillop.” – “MacKillop Musical Launch Marks 50 Days to Canonization”, CathNews

Surf Contest Run by Nuns

“American nuns are to host a Nun’s Beach Surf Invitational in New Jersey, to raise funds for the maintenance of their mother house.

Sister James Dolores, 73, from the Sister Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, says: “I’m really getting the hang of this. No one ever thought they’d see me on a board.”

Pictured in the New York Post posing on a surfboard on the beach, the nun has a special relationship with local surfers, said the report. It was forged more than 60 years ago when local surfers approached the nuns’ beach-front retreat asking if they could ride its waves.

The nuns warmly greeted the beach bums, and the swath of surf was soon dubbed “Nun’s Beach.” The sisters often sit on the beach and even draw spiritual inspiration watching the wave-riders.

“It’s very peaceful,” said Sister James, the retreat’s property manager. “You see how the water holds them up, balances them and if you ride with the water, it will get you where you want to go. That’s how it is with the grace of God.”

Bill Deger, now 64, and his surfing buddies once coaxed an 83-year-old nun onto a surfboard.

“One of her life’s dreams was to be able to surf,” Deger, 64, said of the late Sister Loyola. “So we got her out in knee-deep water and held her on. She loved it. It was an incredible experience.”

But in 1996, a small group of surfers led by Larry Gehrke and Deger decided it was time to give back to the nuns – by running a contest to help fund the retreat’s upkeep.” – “US Nuns to Host Surfing Contest”, CathNews

CathNews posted this article recently and I thought it was such a wonderful story to hear about. These nuns have been allowing surfers on their beach for years now, and it has become somewhat of a tradition it seems like. The headline really just caught my eye because I would never expect nuns to be hosting a surf contest. I would never think surfing and religious life would come together for much of anything really, but this was a pleasant surprise to hear about.

Mother Teresa Helped Cardinal Comastri Remain a Priest

“The Archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica remembered at Mass on Thursday how a promise he made to Mother Teresa 40 years ago preserved his vocation. She taught him that without prayer, charity cannot exist.

Cardinal Comastri presided over the Eucharistic celebration at Rome’s San Lorenzo in Damaso Church, which had a very welcoming feel with the presence of more than 100 Missionaries of Charity sisters, over 20 concelebrating priests, local government leaders and a very diverse collection of faithful.

Church-goers were pleasantly surprised by the presence of newly-arrived prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who also concelebrated and read a message from the Pope at the beginning of Mass.

In a homily which emphasized that love is the foundation of our existence, Cardinal Comastri remembered a personal encounter he had with the Missionaries of Charity’s founder when he was just a young priest.

His first contact with Mother Teresa came when he mailed her a letter just after he was ordained a priest. Her “unexpected” response was especially striking, he recalled, because it was written on “very poor paper, in a very poor envelope.”

At a later date, Cardinal Comastri sought her out when she was visiting Rome to thank her for the answer. When he found her, she asked him a question that left him “a little embarrassed.”

“How many hours do you pray a day?” she asked.

In 1969-70, he recalled, the Church was in a time of “dispute,” so thinking that it was “near heroism, then-Father Comastri explained to her that he said daily Mass in addition to praying the Liturgy of the Hours and the Rosary.”

To this, she responded flatly, “That’s not enough.”

“Love cannot be lived minimally,” she said, and then asked him to promise to do half an hour of adoration every day.

“I promised,” said Cardinal Comastri, “and today I can say that this saved my priesthood.”” – “Cardinal Comastri Recounts How Mother Teresa Saved His Priesthood”, Catholic News Agency

This story from Catholic News Agency was awesome to read about. I always knew about bigger things that Mother Teresa did for the Church and for other people, but this was a truly touching story to hear about as it is quite personal to Cardinal Comastri. It is great that Cardinal Comastri is sharing this story with everybody now. Mother Teresa was a truly exceptional person and would should all take a minute to say a quick prayer to her today because yesterday would have been her 100th birthday.

World Youth Day in Madrid Being Fundraised For Already

“With World Youth Day Madrid less than a year away, young people from various countries in Latin America are coming up with creative ways to raise the money needed to attend the event.

According to WYD Madrid 2011 organizers, young people like Karen, Paulina and Nataly in Medellin, Colombia, are holding bake sales and making breakfast at their parishes.

“After WYD in Sydney, we saw a video of the Pope announcing that the next one would be in Madrid,” Karen said. “We were filled with emotion and we asked the Lord to help us attend,” she added.

Deissy and her friends, also from Colombia, have been selling lunches in their city and going door-to-door to ask for donations.

In the Brazilian capital of Brasilia, many young people are taking on extra jobs in order to raise money. “We are doing everything we can,” says a young Brazilian named Ieda.

Young Catholics in Arequipa, Peru are selling homemade key chains, bookmarks and books with religious pictures.

Most of the young people agree that the trip to Spain begins with their work to raise money.” – “Young People Finding Creative Ways to Raise Money for WYD Madrid”,

This post from is all about young adults beginning to raise money for World Youth Day. It really seems like kids all over are starting to do whatever they can to raise money for the event. It should be a good time if everybody is already set on the fund raising aspect of it. Some of the ideas these kids have had a great as well, like selling religious bookmarks and key chains. Every little bit of money helps the cause and will surely make it that much more fun for everybody who attends!

Saint Augustine

This posting from A Catholic View is all about Saint Augustine and what he did during his life to be considered a saint of the Catholic Church. If you would like to view the full text of this article, click here. Saint Augustine was a wonderful person and is definitely up there on my list of favorite patron saints. Saint Augustine is a very popular patron saint medal to wear and if your birthday is in August it would make perfect sense to own his medal.

“The Saint of the Day for August 28 is St. Augustine.

Augustine Aurelius was born on November 13, 354, in Tagaste, North Africa. His father was a pagan, his mother, St. Monica. Still unbaptized and burning for knowledge, he came under the influence of the Manicheans, which caused his mother intense sorrow. He left Africa for Rome, deceiving his mother, who was ever anxious to be near him. She prayed and wept. A bishop consoled her by observing that a son of so many tears would never be lost. Yet the evil spirit drove him constantly deeper into moral degeneracy, capitalizing on his leaning toward pride and stubbornness. Grace was playing a waiting game; there still was time, and the greater the depths into which the evil spirit plunged its fledgling, the stronger would be the reaction.

Augustine recognized this vacuum; he saw how the human heart is created with a great abyss; the earthly satisfactions that can be thrown into it are no more than a handful of stones that hardly cover the bottom. And in that moment grace was able to break through: Restless is the heart until it rests in God. The tears of his mother, the sanctity of Milan’s Bishop Ambrose, the book of St. Anthony the hermit, and the sacred Scriptures wrought his conversion, which was sealed by baptism on Easter night 387.

Augustine’s mother went to Milan with joy and witnessed her son’s baptism. It was what it should have been, the greatest event of his life, his conversion — metanoia. Grace had conquered. Augustine accompanied his mother to Ostia, where she died. She was eager to die, for now she had given birth to her son for the second time.” – “Memorial of St. Augustine, bishop, confessor and doctor”, A Catholic View

Diocese in Des Moines Robbed

“More than $600,000 has been stolen electronically from a Bankers Trust account belonging to the Catholic Diocese of Des Moines, the bank and the diocese said Friday.

The thieves are believed to be “a highly sophisticated operation most likely based overseas” who transferred the money “to numerous recipients across the United States on Aug. 13 and 16,” the diocese said in a statement announcing the theft.

Bankers Trust alerted the diocese to the fraud on Aug. 17. The bank immediately shut down relevant bank accounts and began a process to recover the funds. “To date, approximately $180,000 has been recovered,” the diocese said.

“No diocesan or bank staff is suspected” of being involved in the theft, the diocese said.

The statement said law enforcement officials have said that similar thefts have involved the “participation of individuals who unknowingly act as intermediaries of the funds obtained by theft.”

Des Moines Diocese Bishop Richard Pates said in the statement that the loss was protected by insurance.

“We have been advised that such criminal activity is rampant,” Pates said in the statement.

The FBI and U.S. Treasury were immediately notified of the theft, the diocese said, adding that the FBI has taken possession of several diocesan computers.

Bankers Trust has sent a memo to its employees informing them that the bank’s “Internet system was not breached and continues to be secure.”

“We do not yet know how the criminals infiltrated the diocesan systems, but we expect the investigation will reveal this so we can share with other clients and prevent potential breaches of their systems,” said the memo signed by Donald J. Coffin, Bankers Trust’s chief lending officer.

The diocese serves 82 parishes in 23 central and southwest Iowa counties.” – “$600,000 is Stolen from Des Moines Diocese”, The Des Moines Register

This story from The Des Moines Register was a real shame to read about. This poor diocese had a large sum of money stolen from them, and there was nothing they could possibly do about it. The thieves are apparently very good with electronics and computers because they found a way to scoop up all of this diocese’s savings without actually taking any physical money. Hopefully they continue to recover money over the next few weeks. Keep this diocese in your prayers.

Miners Still Alive in Chile

“Last Sunday, the Chilean bishops’ conference rejoiced upon hearing that the 33 miners trapped in a collapsed copper mine since August 5 are alive and in good spirits.

The president of the Bishops’ Conference of Chile, Bishop Alejandro Goic Karmelic, released a statement shortly after hearing the news. He noted that “the lives of the 33 miners in Atacama … should fill us with hope. We share in the joy of so many brothers and sisters in Chile and throughout the world who rejoice at this triumph of life.”

Bishop Goic added that “we thank God because his love is made present through creation in marvelous ways.”

The bishop thanked the Chilean faithful for their prayers for the successful rescue of the miners. He noted that the incident should be used constructively to improve safety regulations for those who work under dangerous conditions.

Addressing the miners, who will be receiving food and water through plastic pipes that have been inserted into the chamber, Bishop Goic said Chileans offer them their “closeness and assurance of our prayers that the Divine Spirit strengthen them at this time.”

“And we ask all those who believe in Christ to continue praying to the Father of kindness in the coming days so that the rescue operations will end in success,” the bishop said.

According to the Associated Press, it will likely take four months for the miners to be rescued.” – “Bishops of Chile ‘thank God’ for Keeping Miners Safe”, Catholic News Agency

This post on Catholic News Agency was a great story to hear about. I cannot believe that these miners are still alive in Chile, but I am very thankful for it. It is a miracle that they have survived this disaster that put them into the situation they currently reside in. Please keep these people in your prayers and hopefully they will be rescued sooner rather then later.

Saint of the Day

After visiting A Catholic View I found out today is the feast day for Saint Bartholomew. As one of the Apostles of Christ Bartholomew is extremely important to the Catholic Church. The article below really gets into what he did during his life, and how he became one of the Apostles. Everybody should say a prayer to Saint Bartholomew some time today.

“The Saint of the Day for August 24 is St. Bartholomew.

St. Bartholomew, a doctor in the Jewish law, was a dear friend of St. Philip the Apostle. Because Bartholomew was a man “in whom there was no guile,” his mind was open to the truth. He went willingly with Philip to see Christ, and recognized the Savior immediately as the Son of God. After having received the gifts of the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost, Bartholomew evangelized Asia Minor, northwestern India, and Greater Armenia. In the latter country, while preaching to idolaters, he was arrested and condemned to death.

In St. John’s Gospel, Bartholomew is known by the name Nathaniel (the liturgy does not always seem aware of this identity). He hailed from Cana in Galilee, was one of the first disciples called by the Lord. On that initial meeting Jesus uttered the glorious compliment: “Behold, an Israelite indeed in whom there is no guile!” After the Resurrection he was favored by becoming one of the few apostles who witnessed the appearance of the risen Savior on the sea of Galilee (John 21:2). Following the Ascension he is said to have preached in Greater Armenia and to have been martyred there. While still alive, his skin was torn from his body. The Armenians honor him as the apostle of their nation. Concerning the fate of his relics, the Martyrology says: “His holy body was first taken to the island of Lipari (north of Sicily), then to Benevento, and finally to Rome on an island in the Tiber where it is honored by the faithful with pious devotion.”

The Church of Armenia has a national tradition that St. Jude Thaddeus and St. Bartholomew visited the Armenians early in the first century and introduced Christianity among the worshippers of the god Ahura Mazda. The new faith spread throughout the land, and in 302 A.D., St. Gregory the Illuminator baptized the king of Armenia, Dertad the Great, along with many of his followers. Since Dertad was probably the first ruler to embrace Christianity for his nation, the Armenians proudly claim they were the first Christian State.” – “Feast of St. Bartholomew”, A Catholic View