What should we really celebrate on St. Patrick's Day

A great video about St. Patrick.

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And here's a link to a Prayer for the Faithful by St. Patrick I posted a couple of years ago.

First Friday Devotion

As I learn more about my Catholic faith, it's amazing to realize how many special prayers, devotions, etc. that people practice. One that really interests me is the First Friday Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The practice of First Friday dates to the end of the 17th century when St. Margaret Mary Alacoque had a vision of Jesus.

Devotion to the Sacred Heart grew when St. Margaret Mary died, but it wasn't until 75 years after her death that the Devotion to the Sacred Heart was officially recognized and approved by Pope Clement XIII in 1765.

She writes...

"On Friday during Holy Communion, He said these words to His unworthy slave, if I mistake not: I promise you in the excessive mercy of my Heart that its all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on nine first Fridays of consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they will not die under my displeasure or without receiving their sacraments, my divine Heart making itself their assured refuge at the last moment."

With regard to this promise it may be remarked: (1) that our Lord required Communion to be received on a particular day chosen by Him; (2) that the nine Fridays must be consecutive; (3) that they must be made in honor of His Sacred Heart, which means that those who make the nine Fridays must practice the devotion and must have a great love for our Lord; (4) that our Lord does not say that those who make the nine Fridays will be dispensed from any of their obligations or from exercising the vigilance necessary to lead a good life and overcome temptation; rather He implicitly promises abundant graces to those who make the nine Fridays to help them to carry out these obligations and persevere to the end; (5) that perseverance in receiving Holy Communion for nine consecutive First Firdays helps the faithful to acquire the habit of frequent Communion, which our Lord eagerly desires; and (6) that the practice of the nine Fridays is very pleasing to our Lord since He promises such great reward, and that all Catholics should endeavor to make the nine Fridays.

Prayer Source: Enthronment of the Sacred Heart by Rev. Francis Larkin, SS.CC., St. Paul Editions, 1978 Link

You can also read what some of the Popes have said about this devotion at www.sacredheartapostolate.com.

The Twelve Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus as given by Our Lord to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque

1. "I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life."
2. "I will establish peace in their homes."
3. "I will comfort them in their afflictions."
4. "I will be their secure refuge during life, and above all in death."
5. "I will bestow a large blessing upon all their undertakings."
6. "Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and the infinite ocean of mercy."
7. "Tepid souls shall grow fervent."
8. "Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection."
9. "I will bless every place where a picture of My Heart shall be set up and honored."
10. "I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts."
11. "Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart, never to be blotted out."
12. "I promise thee in the excessive mercy of My Heart that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who communicate on the First Friday in nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving the Sacraments; My Divine heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment."

I found some great meditations on the Twelve Promises by Father Joseph McDonnell, S.J. reprinted at www.dailycatholic.org.

Our parish priest celebrates an evening First Friday Mass followed by Adoration and Confession. I'm going to challenge myself to make it to mass on First Friday and join in this beautiful devotion. St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Pray for Us!

Prayer for the Faithful by St. Patrick

A great prayer by St. Patrick.

May the Strength of God guide us.
May the Power of God preserve us.
May the Wisdom of God instruct us.
May the Hand of God protect us.
May the Way of God direct us.
May the Shield of God defend us.
May the Angels of God guard us.
- Against the snares of the evil one.

May Christ be with us!
May Christ be before us!
May Christ be in us,
Christ be over all!

May Thy Grace, Lord,
Always be ours,
This day, O Lord, and forevermore. Amen.

Everyone will be Irish for today, lots of green beer will be consumed, but don't forget to remember who St. Patrick really was - a good holy man, who loved God above all else! St. Patrick, Pray for Us!

Novena for Families

Read a new post at Catholic Dads about New Novena for Families and I wanted to share.

Fr. Francisco Faus of São Paulo, Brazil has added the Novena For Families (click to print), to the other popular Novenas, Novena for Work and the Novena for the Sick.

Here's a quick note about the Novena for Families...

This Novena, prepared for couples by Fr Francisco Faus, aims to ask God through the intercession of St Josemaría, for the grace to maintain or continually improve a truly Christian family, on the bedrock of the love for Christ and the example of the Holy Family, the foundations on which — with the grace of the Holy Spirit — every Christian family should be built.

I'm looking forward to praying this Novena for Families with my family. One of the staples of my prayer list is from St. Josemaria Escriva, his booklet Praying the Rosary with St. Josemaria Escriva, is one of my favorite ways to say the Rosary.

Photo from Josemaria Escriva. Founder of Opus Dei

Why Sacred Music is important at Mass

My friend Casey posted this on Facebook, but I wanted to share it here as well. It's a video by Corpus Christi Watershed about the differences between sacred music and secular music and why the music played and sung at mass is so important. They also talk about some great resources for learning and listening to Gregorian Chant and other sacred music.

Can you tell the difference?? from Corpus Christi Watershed on Vimeo.

I know for me personally I get very distracted at mass when the music is inappropriate or just simply bad. Some choirs and music directors try to incorporate non-classical instruments and new age songs into the mass and it seems like you're at a concert hall instead of Holy Mass. Personally as I've attended more traditional liturgy in the past couple of years, I've really learned to appreciate Gregorian Chant and sacred music and how it's there to help us pray and participate in the mass.

I found a site about the Doctors of the Church with info on St. Gregory with many Gregorian Chant links.

St. Gregory the Great, St. Cecilia, and St. Ephraem - Pray for Us!

St. Joseph, Pray for Us

I've been so busy with work and having a limited computer at home (Toshiba!), I wasn't able to put together a nice post to honor Good St. Joseph. Instead, here is one of my favorite prayers to the holiest example of Catholic Fatherhood we have!

Litany of St. Joseph

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Jesus, hear us.
Jesus, graciously hear us.

God, the Father of Heaven,
have mercy on us.

God, the Son, Redeemer of the world,
have mercy on us.

God, the Holy Spirit,
have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity, One God,
have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, pray for us.
St. Joseph, pray for us.
Renowned offspring of David, pray for us.
Light of Patriarchs, pray for us.
Spouse of the Mother of God, pray for us.
Chaste guardian of the Virgin, pray for us.
Foster father of the Son of God, pray for us.
Diligent protector of Christ, pray for us.
Head of the Holy Family, pray for us.
Joseph most just, pray for us.
Joseph most chaste, pray for us.
Joseph most prudent, pray for us.
Joseph most strong, pray for us.
Joseph most obedient, pray for us.
Joseph most faithful, pray for us.
Mirror of patience, pray for us.
Lover of poverty, pray for us.
Model of artisans, pray for us.
Glory of home life, pray for us.
Guardian of virgins, pray for us.
Pillar of families, pray for us.
Solace of the wretched, pray for us.
Hope of the sick, pray for us.
Patron of the dying, pray for us.
Terror of demons, pray for us.
Protector of Holy Church, pray for us.

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,
spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,
graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world.
Have mercy on us.

He made him the lord of his household.
And prince over all his possessions.

Let us pray. O God, in your ineffable providence you were pleased to choose Blessed Joseph to be the spouse of your most holy Mother; grant, we beg you, that we may be worthy to have him for our intercessor in heaven whom on earth we venerate as our Protector: You who live and reign forever and ever. Amen.

St. Joseph, pray for us.


Great resource for Fathers

I've been meaning to talk briefly about Fathers for Good, an initiative for men by the Knights of Columbus, for some time now.

Fathers for Good

The site features tons of information for Catholic Fathers, who need all the help they can get raising good catholic children. I recently watched a great video titled Our Troubled Times by Psychiatrist Richard Fitzgibbons. He talks about men and their emotions and how to handle today's troubles in society. It's well worth watching (especially the part on manly virtues) and you can watch it here.

Also on the site is a section called Model Fathers, which features great information on two of my favorite saints and one of my favorite "saints" - St. Joseph, St. Thomas More, and Venerable Servant of God Father Michael McGivney (In March 2008, Pope Benedict XVI approved a decree recognizing the heroic virtue of Father McGivney, a parish priest of the Archdiocese of Hartford and found of the Knights of the Columbus, who died in 1890 at the age of 38).

I am a member of the Knights of Columbus and love the work they are doing to help Catholic Families. Every day I see more and more the battle ahead that we have to raise our children and it's good to know that we are not alone physically or spiritually. St. Joseph, St. Thomas More, and Venerable Father McGivney - Pray for Us!