August 14, 2019

Prior to Mary’s Assumption, did she actually die? What is the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God?

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary                                           www.wikiart.org         
IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson


On November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII, writing and speaking ex-cathedra, solemnly defined in the Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus, the dogma that  “the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever-virgin Mary, having completed the course of  her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.” We know this as the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and it is a Holy Day of Obligation.

The sidebar to this solemn definition is the fact that it does not address the question of whether or not Mary physically died before being assumed. All the document says is, “having completed the course of her earthly life."

Interestingly,  we are not bound to a definitive answer. However, the  Feast of The Dormition (Sleep)  of the Mother of God is a major feast in the Eastern Catholic Churches and in the Armenian Apostolic Church. They celebrate the feast on August 15. So, did Mary actually die first before being assumed? Did she simply fall asleep?  Is it possible that she was buried?

We Roman Catholics celebrate the Feast of the Assumption on August 15. Does the Roman Catholic Church accept or reject the Dormition of the Mother of God?  Two of our greatest popes accept it. Venerable Pope Pius XII refers to Mary’s death at least five times while Pope St. John Paul II stated  Mary experienced natural death before her Assumption into Heaven. Lastly, let us go to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 966) which gives us these words from the Byzantine Liturgy:

“In giving birth you kept your virginity; in your Dormition, you did not leave the world, O Mother of God, but were joined to the source of Life. You conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death.”

What follows is this beautiful testimony from the early Church. This example is from the sixth century and gives us insight into what Christians believed in the ancient church about Mary’s Dormition and Assumption:

“The course of this life having been completed by Blessed Mary, when now she would be called from the world, all the Apostles came together from their various regions to her house. And when they had heard that she was about to be taken from the world, they kept watch together with her. And behold, the Lord Jesus came with His angels, and taking her soul, He gave it over to angel Michael and withdrew.

At daybreak, however, the Apostles took up her body on a bier and placed it in a tomb; and they guarded it, expecting the Lord to come. And behold, again the Lord stood by them; and the holy body having been received, he commanded that it be taken in a cloud into paradise: where now, rejoined to the soul, [Mary] rejoices with the Lord’s chosen ones, and is the enjoyment of the good of an eternity that will never end.” (Saint Gregory of Tours, Bishop; A. D.595-A.D. 594); Eight Books of Miracles; A.D. 575-593;

We must remember that the Ascension of Jesus was accomplished through Jesus’ own power as God. The Assumption of The Blessed Mother was done for her by the Power of God, not under her own power. It is also said that Mary’s death lasted forty hours, the same as her Son’s and that during that time her soul visited the souls in Purgatory to release some and comfort others.

No matter what actually transpired so long ago we know that Our Blessed Mother was taken into heaven body and soul after passing from this life. Once more, from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 967):

By her complete adherence to the Father’s will, to His Son’s redemptive work, and to every prompting of the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary is the model of faith and charity. Thus she is a “preeminent and wholly unique member of the Church”; indeed, she is the “exemplary realization” of the Church.

As people of Faith, the recognition of the splendor and importance of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary can take your breath away.


copyright©Larry Peterson 2019 

August 6, 2019

A Summer snowstorm resulted in the First Church ever built in honor of the Blessed Mother

Basilica of St. Mary Major                               en.wikipedia.org
IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson


This is about the first church ever built for Our Lady. Today it is called the Basilica of St. Mary Major (LatinBasilica Sanctae Mariae Maioris). It did not start out that way.

I have a pre-Vatican II, St. Joseph Daily Missal which I use for reference.  Its Liturgical Calendar lists  August 5, as the Dedication of the Church of Our Lady of the Snows. If you look in the current 2019  Missalette, you will note that August 5 has the optional memorial of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. Mary Major. The name change occurred in 1969 when the General Roman Calendar was revised. It is actually the same feast with a different name.

Historically, (part of which is considered legend) the story goes like this:

There was a patrician man named John, and he and his wife were a devout Christian couple but had not been blessed with children. They did, however, possess a large tract of land. They went to see the
Pope, whose name was Liberius. He was the 29th successor to St. Peter and had just been elevated to the Papacy. They told the Pope that they had decided to donate their worldly goods to the Mother of God. They asked him what he thought about that idea. The Holy Father told them to pray and ask the Blessed Mother for a sign to help them decide.

The couple did as the Pope suggested and during the night of August 4th and into the morning of August 5th, 352 A.D., snow fell on the largest of the Seven Hills of Rome; the one known as the Esquiline Hill. This is where John’s land was located. Even though it was during the stifling heat of summer, the snow did not melt.

The snow landed, making an outline on the ground. The same night Our Lady appeared to John and his wife and also to Pope Liberius. She told them she wanted a church built in her honor on the property. The church would be built on the outline laid out by the snow. The land was owned by John.  He and his wife happily donated the land to be used for the church as requested by the Mother of God. The Holy Father joyfully accepted.

It is a rare occurrence for snow to fall in Rome in winter, no less in mid-summer. The Pope, along with John and his wife, explained to the gathering crowds what had happened. The news spread like wildfire, and soon the people were chanting, over and over, “Our Lady of the Snows!”  “Our Lady of the Snows!”

Pope Liberius ordered that a church be built in Mary’s honor on the site. Work began but was not completed until a century later, under Pope Sixtus III (432-440). Its dedication coincided with the ending of the Council of Ephesus of  431 when Mary was officially declared to be the Mother of God. The finished church was called the Church of Our Lady of the Snows. It was also called the Church of St. Mary of the Crib because it was said that pieces from the crib Our Lord was placed in when he was born were kept in the church.

History tells us that Pope Gregory the Great led the first procession carrying an image of Our Lady from the Church of Our Lady of the Snows to the Church of St. Peter in the year 597 to ask for prayers for the people of Rome who were being decimated by the Black Plague. It is written that St. Michael the Archangel appeared and the plague ended. Over the centuries many other miracles have been attributed to interactions with the church.

It was Pope St. Pius V who inserted the feast day of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. Mary of the Snows into the General Roman Calendar in 1568. It remained there until 1969 when, because of
ambiguities in the 4th-century historical accounts of the “summer snowfall,” the feast day was officially changed to the Dedication of the Basilica of St. Mary Major.

Over the centuries many churches have been dedicated to Our Lady of the Snows. There are over 152 in Italy alone. There is the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, Illinois and other places in the United States and around the world.

Lastly, on August 5 of each year, upon the conclusion of the Solemn Mass celebrated at the Basilica in Rome, the people commemorate the miraculous snowfall of  352.A.D. by having a shower of white rose petals dropped from the dome of the Chapel of Our Lady. It must be a beautiful sight to behold.


copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

July 21, 2019

Meet the "Apostle of the Abandoned"; St. John Baptist de Rossi

St. John Baptist de Rossi                fair use
IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

John Baptist de Rossi was born on February 22, 1698, in Genoa. His mother and father were quite poor in material goods but were rich in virtue and love of their neighbor(s). John was the youngest of four children, and even during his formative years not only exhibited obvious compassion and love for people but also had an above average intelligence. When he was ten years old, his parents allowed him to leave home with close friends of the family to pursue his education

Three years later, John’s father died. His older cousin, Lorenzo de Rossi, allowed John to come to live with him in Rome. Lorenzo was the canon at St. Mary’s in Cosmedin and was able to get his nephew admitted to the Collegium Romanum under the guidance of the Jesuits. John quickly became a model student studying diligently and performing his required duties. At the same time, he was always pious and humble.

The young man also began studying philosophy and theology at the Dominican College of St. Thomas. It was during this time that, while at Mass, John passed out. It was discovered that he had an epileptic seizure. The illness caused him to miss many classes, and sometimes, the fatigue was so pronounced he could barely move. For the rest of his life, dealing with this affliction would be a constant challenge for him.

Even so, while in school, he became a member of the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin and led the members in the readings and organized visits to the sick in hospitals, feeding the poor and the homeless, and performing other works of mercy. This was what  John Rossi loved most of all; helping the poor, homeless,  and downtrodden.

John Baptist de Rossi desperately wanted to become a priest, but his epilepsy was a constant enemy trying to stop him. Ordination to the priesthood was rarely granted to someone in John’s condition. Afterall, the life of a priest was incredibly demanding and time-consuming  But he worked so hard and studied so diligently that he was given a dispensation. On March 8, 1721, John Baptist de Rossi, was ordained a priest.

As a priest, he worked in Rome, caring for the homeless who wandered the streets of the city. He tended to the needs of the sick and assisted in helping find a hospice for homeless women. He aided prisoners, helped workers, and literally touched thousands of needy people—the sick, the homeless, prostitutes, transient cattle drivers who came to market in Rome, and other rough sorts.  By day he devoted himself to the sick poor in Rome’s hospitals. By night he ministered to street people at a refuge. He did this for over forty years.
In 1738, Father John became very sick with an unknown illness. He was sent to a place called Civita Castellana, a days journey from Rome. The bishop there insisted that he hear confessions. John had done his best to avoid hearing confessions. He had a deep-seated fear that he might have a seizure and wanted to avoid that happening while in a confessional. The bishop, knowing of his knowledge and morality, insisted. In fact, the bishop gave him permission to hear confession in any church in Rome.
Father John Rossi began hearing confessions every day, mostly from the poor in the hospitals and on the streets. Before long he was preaching in churches, chapels, convents, hospitals, barracks, and prisons. He became known as the Apostle of the Abandoned and was called the second St. Philip Neri.
Sometime in 1763, paralysis began to slowly attack Father John. Finally, all his hard labor while fighting epilepsy caught up to him. He died on May 23, 1764.
Father John was buried at the Church of Trinita de Pellegrini under the altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Miracles followed his passing, but because of political upheaval in Europe, beatification was put on hold. Finally, on May 13, 1860, Pope Pius IX, beatified Father John. On December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Leo XIII canonized Father John Baptist de Rossini, a saint
One final note:  Caregivers can look to John Baptist as a model. Before he would speak to a dying person about salvation, he did all he could to relieve their suffering. No service for the sick, no matter how deadly or repulsive their condition was, deterred him from offering assistance and consolation to them.
Saint John Baptist de Rossi, please pray for us.
Copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

June 8, 2019

PENTECOST SUNDAY--2019


IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson



The HOLY SPIRIT is here--Invite HIM in

The Holy Spirit          www.lovethispic.com

June 1, 2019

Do You Have a Devotion to Our Lady of Cana?

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

 By Larry Peterson
Wedding Feast at Cana/Our Lady of Cana    courtesy insidethevatican.com

Devotion to Mary is not spiritual etiquette; it is a requirement of the Christian life.


We all know about the Wedding Feast at  Cana and how Jesus, at the request of His Mom, performed His first public miracle here. However, I had never heard it called the Feast of Our Lady of Cana.

There are only four instances in the Bible where Mary speaks: first, at the Annunciation; second, at the Visitation; third, when she and Joseph find their twelve-year-old son teaching in the temple; and finally, at the Wedding Feast at Cana. This the only time in the entire New Testament when Mary speaks to her son as an adult.

In the Gospel according to John: Chapter 2: 3-5; it reads as follows: When the wine ran short the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever He tells you.”

I had never really thought about the significance of the Wedding Feast at Cana. Learning more about this suddenly made me realize I had never fully understood the magnitude and importance of this particular interaction between the Blessed Virgin Mary and her only Son, the God-Man. This was an incredible moment that happened in the Salvation story.

Christ, The Redeemer and King of the Universe, defers to His mom. She did not even have to discuss with Him what she had asked Him. She simply told Him what the situation was and then, without responding to His question,  told the stewards to do whatever He told them.

He acquiesced to her request and they followed His orders. Imagine that; The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, honors, without question, a simple peasant woman, who had been given the ultimate tribute of giving Him human life.

The Wedding Feast at Cana and the Feast of Our Lady of Cana are completely intertwined. They show us how closely linked together are the Son of God and His earthly Mom. Without her there is no Him. Without Him there is no Salvation. The pathway to Jesus is through Mary. No one who ever existed was ever as close to Jesus as was Mary. Mary is the way for us to get to know Jesus.

It is very significant that Jesus’ first miracle took place at a wedding. He was there with His Mom. She asked Him for His help. Was this not all about family and the importance of marriage? St. Joseph had already passed, so it was Jesus and Mary representing their own family. The bride and groom had just been joined together as a new family. Mary wanted to help the new family and bring them some joy on their wedding day. Jesus helped her to do so. Since she was given to all of us as our Mother too, does it not follow that she will always be there for each of us no matter what we may need. She will talk to Jesus for us.

For those of you who feel called to the married life maybe you might get together and offer Our Lady of Cana and her Son,  Jesus, an invitation to your wedding. On your wedding day, even if you cannot see them, they will be there, guaranteed. If you are already married, ask them over for a simple dinner some evening. They will be there also. Bottom line—keep them in your lives. Just ask Our Lady of Cana to pray for you and you will always be in good hands.

Finally, January 6 is traditionally known as the Epiphany or “Little Christmas.” In 2010 , January 6,  was also shared with  St. Andre Bessette.  No matter, this date is still listed as the Feast of Our Lady of Cana and can be found on the Marian Calendar, in the listings of Roman Catholic Saints and among the many Titles of Mary that are listed in encyclopedias. When and where this title was bestowed on Our Lady is still unclear.

Our Lady of Cana, please pray for us all, especially all our families

                                     Copyright©LarryPeterson 2018


May 28, 2019

I was "Isadored" by Two Catholics and a Hebrew; It was Great*

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME 

by Larry Peterson

I had always thought that the name, Isidore, was primarily a Hebrew/Jewish name. I never knew a Catholic/Christian named Isidore. In fact,when my cousin, Vicki, discovered our mysterious, missing grandfather several years ago his name turned out to be  Isidore. It proved my point; Isidore Schul was a Hebrew man from Krakow. (Yes, we are part Hebrew and some of our relatives perished in the Holocaust. But that is a story for another day). This is about the name, Isidore.

But--I was wrong about the name. All had to do was discover a saint I had never heard of. That saint's name  is Isidore. St. Isidore the Farmer and he was named after St. Isidore of Seville who is a Doctor of the Church. Just like that I had discovered two Catholic Isidores. I had been simultaneously "Isadored" by a Hebrew and two Catholics. It was great.

I'm sure many of you have heard of St. Isidore(s). Since I never had it was a bit of fun tying the Hebrew aspect of the name to a Catholic saint. It fit all the times I have mentioned how we Catholic/Christians are all rooted in Judaism. So onward to St. Isidore the Farmer. (One Isidore at a time is enough).

Isidore was born in Madrid to peasant farmers in the year 1070. He was named and christened after  Archbishop Isidore of Seville who held that post for over three decades and would one day become St Isidore of Seville. Isidore's mom and dad were quite poor and before long Isidore had a hoe in his hand and was working the soil.
Isidore the Farmer 6'5" tall

A wealthy landowner from Madrid, Juan de Vergas, brought Isidore into his employ. Isidore was still a boy and little did anyone ever think that the "boy" would work on that estate for the rest of his life. But that is what happened.

Isidore was deeply religious and got up extra early every morning to go to Mass. As a young man Isidore met Maria de la Cabeza and they fell deeply in love. Maria was as devout and as generous as her new husband and they were married. They immediately set a wonderful example for married Catholics. They both had a genuine love for the poor and  many times did without so others could eat.

Isidore and Maria had a son and they named him, Illan. Legend has it that when Illan was a toddler, he fell into a deep well and there was no way to get him out. Isidore and Maria knelt together and joined hands in prayer and the well slowly filled lifting Illan to the top so he could be saved.His mom and dad believed God had  given them a miracle to save their son. In thanksgiving for the miracle they vowed to remain celibate for  the rest of their lives. They were truly people of great faith because when  Illan died not long after, they never doubted God for a moment or went back on their vows.

People told stories of how Maria always  always had food on the stove for those in need. She knew that most everyday Isidore would bring home any hungry person he came across. One time he brought home more people than they had food for. Maria told her husband that there was nothing left, He told her to check the pot again. When she went back and looked it was full. She fed all the people he had brought home with him.

Isidore died on May 15 (also his feast day), 1130. He was canonized a saint on March 12, 1622 by Pope Gregory XV. He is the patron saint of farmers and laborers. St. Isidore was canonized along with four other well known saints: St. Ignatius Loyola, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Francis Xavier and St. Philip Neri. St. Isidore is a part of the group known in Spain as the "Five Saints". One final noteworthy thing about St. Isidore; he was six feet five inches tall and his body has been found to be incorrupt.

After Isidore's death, Maria became a hermit and many miracles were attributed to her also. She was beatified in 1697. In Spain they call her "Santa Maria de las Cabeza" even though she has yet to be officially canonized.

We ask all of these saints to pray for us.

*This article appeared in Aleteia on May 15, 2017

                                 ©Copyright Larry Peterson 2017 All Rights Reserved.

                                           

May 25, 2019

This Blessed Mother statue was carved by an Angel; Our Lady of Liesse aka Our Lady of Joy

Our Lady of Liesse aka Our Lady of Joy                          americaneedsfatima.blogspot.com


IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson


During the time of the Crusades, it happened that one day, three of the Knights of St. John were caught in an ambush and captured by the Saracens. The three prisoners were brothers and happened to be from the highly regarded family of Eppes in northern France. They were all loyal and true to the faith, a trait that would be immediately tested.

The men were taken to Cairo and brought before the Sultan. The Sultan thought he could convert them to Islam by offering them lavish gifts, but that proved to be an effort in futility. The Sultan angered at their obstinance,  threw them into prison. The three men were then subjected to all kinds of torture and hardships, including starvation. It did not matter; they refused to waiver.

Exasperated at his failure to convert the men to Islam, the Sultan tried another approach. He sent his beautiful daughter, Princess Ismeria, to try and win them over.  

Princess Ismeria knew the cruel death that awaited the three Knights if they did not give in to her father. However, when she would try to coax them with promises of riches and high positions, they would quote scripture to her. She began to weaken, and then they told her of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They told her that the Virgin Mary’s image was enough to capture every heart, convincing it to love her.”

Princess Ismeria, curious about this beautiful image, asked the brothers to create an image of this Divine Mother so she could see what she looked like. She gave them wood, brushes, paints, and all the necessary tools to make such an image. Then she went away.

The brothers, having no idea how to make a statue,  fell into a deep sleep. As they slept an angel, sent by the Virgin Mary, came and carved a statue of the Madonna with a face that was filled with kindness and love. Soon after finishing, a brilliant light awoke the three young men.. When they saw the figure, they immediately knelt before it and began to pray.

Early the next morning, Princess Ismeria arrived and saw the statue. She was astonished and fell at the foot of the icon. She began pleading with the Virgin Mary to make her Christian through Baptism. That night, as the princess slept, the Blessed Mother appeared to her in a dream and told her that the three knights would escape from Egypt and take her to France with them

When Ismeria awoke she rushed to the tower and found the big doors opened. She led the knights out of the fortress, giving them their freedom. They made their way to the banks of the Nile, and a boatman was waiting to it take them across. When they reached the other side, the man vanished. He had been an angel sent by Our Lady.

As evening approached, the four travelers sought out some shelter to rest for the night. Exhausted from their long day’s journey, they quickly fell asleep. When they awoke, they discovered that they were in another place. Confused, they asked a traveler where they were. He told them they were in Picardy, which was near  Eppes. They all knelt in prayer, realizing that another miracle had occurred, bringing them to safety.

They had carried the statue from Cairo and began walking toward their villa in Eppes. As they neared the villa, the statue became so heavy they could not move it. They were in the town of Liesse, and they immediately knew that this was the place Our Lady wanted her statue to stay.

The three brother Knights of St. John were greeted with great jubilation by their relatives and friends. They were all fascinated by Princess Ismeria, who renounced her former life. The Bishop of Leon baptized her and gave her the name of Mary. Her prayers had been answered. The people built a church to receive the Statue of Our Lady of Liesse.

As time went by, the church took on the name of the statue and then the entire region. Eventually, the Basilica of Notre Dame de Liesse also became known as Our Lady of Liesse and Our Lady of Joy. Pilgrims come from all over the world to see the statue, and there is an annual pilgrimage to the Basilica on Whit Monday (the day after Pentecost). The Feast day is December 2.

Copyright©Larry Peterson 2019





May 15, 2019

From Jehovah’s Witness to Catholic Priest an Interview with Father Daniel Bowen, O. de M.the man who made that Journey

Father Daniel Bowen        orderofmercy.org
IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson


Father Daniel Bowen, O. de M., distinctly remembers how every Sunday when he was growing up his mom would take him and his two brothers to Kingdom Hall. Their mom was a Jehovah’s Witness, and this was their church. It was as far removed from the Catholic church as one could imagine.

Young Daniel believed in God but was filled with doubts. By the time he became a teenager, he had decided he had enough of “church” and told his mom he did not want to go anymore  His father told his wife that Daniel did not have to go if he did not want to. Daniel seized the moment and stopped going.  After all,  he came first---all else came second.

The years passed by and Daniel more or less forgot about God. Once in college, he became more self-absorbed about his own needs and what might make him happy. Then he met a Catholic girl named Lisa.

Lisa told Daniel that if he wanted to date her, he would have to go to Mass with her. He did, and he liked it. Then she introduced him to Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. That was it. The young man, as the saying goes, was “hooked.”  

Eventually, Daniel and Lisa took different life paths. The Holy Spirit had seized hold of Daniel Bowen and was not about to let go.  On August 15, 2015, the Solemnity of the Assumption, Daniel Bowen was ordained a priest. He now serves as Vocation Director for the Mercedarian Friars U.S.A.

You can find Father Daniel’s inspiring story HERE. It is a beautiful story of a man who took his leap of faith holding hands with the Holy Spirirt---ENJOY
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Now let’s ask Father Daniel some questions:
(Interviewer’s questions in Bold:     Father Daniel is (Fr. D) responses in Italics)

When and how did you receive your call to become a priest? Was there a moment in time or an event when you heard the Holy Spirit calling you?
·         Fr. D: “People began to ask me the question: Did I ever think about being a priest. I hadn’t, and so I had to ask God about it. It took a few years to figure it out, and then seminary to figure it out the rest of the way. No man knows for sure until he is laying on the ground before a Bishop on the day of his ordination. It is totally a Holy Spirit thing, and prayer is an essential part of it all.”


Tell me your number one reason for being a priest?
·         Fr. D: “To know, love and joyfully serve God, and to love my neighbor as myself. To be a servant to God’s servants. All for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.”


What attracted you to the Mercedarians? (The Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy)
·         Fr. D: “The Order was founded by the Blessed Virgin Mary, so this Marian aspect was most attractive to me. Also, the 4th vow, the Redemptive Vow, the willingness to lay down one’s life for another in danger of losing their faith - this “all in” aspect always spoke profoundly to my heart.”


According to the General Rule Of Survey from the Univ. of Chicago, in 2015, among those 18 to 34 years old, 30 % do not have any religion at all. Many do not believe in God. Secularism seems to have infected many the world over. As the Vocation Director for the Mercedarians, your job must present quite the challenge. How is this going for you?
·         Fr. D:  “I am still working on getting my wings, so to speak. Yes, it can be seen as a challenge, but I prefer to see it as an opportunity. God still calls people to Himself. Christ’s death and resurrection is completely relevant to every generation, even those who feel it does not need to apply to them. First is helping others know that our Lord, the God of love and mercy is real and necessary to live a life of complete fulfillment. To help them realize the Christian faith is about relationship - God’s desires us to be in an intimate relationship with Him. And then to facilitate an encounter with Him. Once men know this, then they can begin to find what the mission and plan that He has for their life. Could God be calling me to be a priest and/or a consecrated religious? And if the answer is yes, then one is best to find out if this is truly His calling, and if so acting on it.”


What advice would you give to a young person who is considering religious life?
·         Fr. D:  “It is a great gift given by God to some, not all. It is a precious calling to be intimate with God and others in a way that no other lifestyle can match. It is a summons to love fully and without holding back. To proclaim boldly to our world that not only God exists, but He knows and loves us. That I am willing to forsake the goods of this life and world, in order to embrace, here and now, the blessing that God desires for us in heaven. My advice: Go for it!!! Do not be afraid, or put it off, go find out if this is God’s will for your life. If it is you will have the best life. If it is God’s will, then there will be a peace and deep, profound joy that will be under it all.”


How do you, as a priest, deal with negativity about the Catholic Church in the media, when asked about it by a layperson?
·         Fr. D: “Some people were negative towards Jesus in His life here on earth. It is no different today. The Catholic Church is the body of Christ, yes there is a very human element, but there is also a divine element present here, that should not be so easily dismissed. For all her faults, and only the Lord knows why He permits them, the Church is the most charitable and truth-bearing place on the planet. She is the spouse of Christ, and so must be present to continue to bring Christ’s authentic presence, so that all generations may have the opportunity to encounter Him. Staying close to our Lord in prayer is key to keeping one’s head above water, especially when our faults are clearly manifested - keeping our hearts, minds, and souls on the Lord. Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.”


What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job?
·         Fr. D: “Helping others to believe that the faith is real, and then to fully surrender one’s life to it. Seeing people fall deeply and madly in love with our Lord, and seeing that transformation take place is most rewarding. Experiencing the good work our Lord is able to accomplish through people who desire Him to work in their lives is a beautiful blessing. Challenging is seeing those who fall away from the faith, or keep saying no to God, seeing the resulting destruction this does to that person and to others and knowing how much it hurts our Lord, this is challenging. But following Christ is a summons to love, and it is an invitation that one must be free to choose or reject. Otherwise, it really isn’t love is it?


THANK YOU Father Daniel for taking the time to do this interview. May God bless you as you move forward in your priestly ministry.

copyright©Larry Peterson 2019 

May 10, 2019

On Mother's Day--Remembering Jamie Schmidt who died defending her honor in St. Louis, Missouri, on November 19, 2018


 IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson


The Roman Martyrology of the Catholic Church has thousands of names on its pages. However, that huge book may need to find space for the very first American who was matryred on American soil for being Catholic and daring to defend her honor. Her name is Jamie Schmidt and she gave her life for Jesus in St. Louis, Missouri.

Most of us have heard of  St. Maria Goretti, the eleven-year-old who died “In Defensum Castitatis” (In Defense of Purity). Maria was trying to fight off the advances of a twenty-year-old neighbor, Alessandro Serenelli. He became so enraged at her that he stabbed her fourteen times. Before Maria died, she forgave her attacker. He spent 30 years in prison and, touched by the grace of God, was present at the canonization of the young girl he had murdered.

Jamie Schmidt was an average, 53-year-old, Catholic woman who lived in High Ridge, Missouri a town about 25 miles outside St. Louis. She was married to her high-school sweetheart, and they had three children. The Schmidt family belonged to St. Anthony of Padua Church and Jamie sang in the choir. She was also a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, worked organizing and holding women’s retreats, and was always ready to help anyone in need. She even made and distributed rosaries. Ironically, it was her Rosary ministry that brought her face to face with evil.

It was about 3:30 in the afternoon when Jamie stopped into the Church Supply Warehouse in St. Louis for needed rosary supplies. There were two other women in the store. Jamie was no sooner inside when a man came in and began looking around. He said to the woman at the counter that he had forgotten his credit card and had to go out to the car to get it. He was actually casing the place.

Jamie went over to the section where the supplies she needed were located. It was then that the man returned. This time he was brandishing a gun. He told the three women to get to the back of the store and that “they had better do as they were told.”

He lined them up against the wall and proceeded to molest the first woman who, frightened for her life, gave in to the man’s advances. He did the same to the second woman who also just submitted, terrified for her life. Then he turned to Jamie. He demanded that she take off her clothes.

Jamie had been witness to the depraved acts this disgusting man had inflicted on the two other women. She was surely terrified too, but the Holy Spirit must have been with her. (The two women gave this account to police);  She stared at the man  and, standing tall, said in a firm voice, “In the name of God, I will not take my clothes off.”

Buoyed by her Catholic faith and refusing to submit to an immoral, sexual assault, she had invoked the name of her God and said categorically to her assailant, “NO!”  He shot her in the head at point blank range. Jamie Schmidt crumpled to the floor. The man ran from the store while one of the women quickly called 911.

Jamie did not die instantly. As she lay mortally wounded, the two women could  hear her saying ever so softly the “Our Father.” She knew her life was slipping away, but she was thinking of her God and invoking His name. It was reported that even during the ride in the ambulance Jamie, barely audible, kept praying.  She was still praying when her last breath left her body.

A short time later a man by the name of Thomas Bruce, was captured by police. He was the perpetrator and was arrested for murder, sodomy, and other charges. He now awaits trial for the crimes with which he has been charged.

St. Maria Goretti, age 12,  refused a similar assault and was stabbed to death in 1902. Blessed Pierina Morosini, age 26, refused a similar assault and was beaten to death with a rock in 1957. Jamie Schmidt, age 53, refused and was shot to death in 2018. These three women, their lives spread over a century apart, share an unexpected sisterhood.

Having died “In Defensum Castitatis” Jamie’s cause for beatification should move along quickly.  What happened to her and St. Maria and Blessed Pierina can happen to any of us at any time. If suddenly we were asked to defend our faith with our lives hanging in the balance, what would we do?

 copyright©Larry Peterson 2019