Thursday, November 27, 2014

Let Us Give Thanks To The Lord Our God

A Blessed Thanksgiving to our American followers! In celebration of this day of gratitude, please reflect with us on these words of thanksgiving preached by Saint John Paul II:

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God!

These words we take from the very heart of the Eucharistic liturgy. Eucharist means thanksgiving. Today, as we meet around this altar, our first desire is to give thanks. …In this way we wish to express what is the most characteristic element of the Eucharistic liturgy.

Our sacrifice and our prayer in union with the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ - in the sacramental identification with him - is above all a great act of thanksgiving by the Church.

...We thank God for his existence: for the fact that he is God, for his Godhead, for his omnipotence and holiness, for his truth and love, for his eternal plan for the salvation of man and the world.

We thank the Father for the Son and the Holy Spirit. We thank the Son for the Father. We thank the Holy Spirit because through the love of the Father and the Son he is the uncreated Gift: the source of all the gifts of created grace.

The Apostle Paul writes: “This is what I pray, kneeling before the Father, from whom every family, whether spiritual or natural, takes its name: Out of his infinite glory may he give you the power through his Spirit for your hidden self to grow strong” (Eph. 3:14-16).

Man looks into his own heart, into “the hidden self,” and he offers up thanksgiving to the very mystery of the Godhead. For he, man, has been created “in the image and likeness of God” (Gen. 1:26), and he is now called for this reason to give particular thanksgiving. We give thanks to God for the fact that he is God in whom is found the eternal Model of our human essence. We thank him for the Godhead, for the inscrutable mystery of the Trinity, for the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Popes In The City Of Brotherly Love

Coverage from Saint John Paul II's 1979 visit to the
United States is featured in our permanent exhibit.

Last week, Pope Francis officially announced his intention to visit the United States! The Holy Father will join the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia next fall. Details for his trip will not be released until spring or summer of 2015, but the Pope will most likely participate in the meeting’s closing events.

Saint John Paul II started the World Meetings of Families, and he was also the last pope to visit Philadelphia. More than a million people came out to see him during his visit in 1979. In his homily at Logan Circle, the late Holy Father said:

How then can a Christian, inspired and guided by the mystery of the Incarnation and Redemption of Christ, strengthen his or her own values and those that are embodied in the heritage of this nation? ...These values are strengthened: when power and authority are exercised in full respect for all the fundamental rights of the human person, whose dignity is the dignity of one created in the image and likeness of God; when freedom is accepted, not as an absolute end in itself, but as a gift that enables self-giving and service; when the family is protected and strengthened, when its unity is preserved, and when its role as the basic cell of society is recognized and honored.

During his time in Philadelphia, St. John Paul II spoke of the importance of the family. Next fall, Pope Francis will do the same.

Please join us in saying this prayer as we prepare for the eighth World Meeting of Families. Let us also ask the meeting’s co-patron, St. John Paul II, and Blesseds Luigi and Maria Quattrocchi on this day of their feast, to pray for us.

Monday, November 24, 2014

She Put In More

When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people
putting their offerings into the treasury
and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins.
He said, "I tell you truly,
this poor widow put in more than all the rest;
for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood."

Friday, November 21, 2014

Prayer On The Presentation of Mary

Our permanent exhibit gives pilgrims space to reflect on
Saint John Paul II's devotion to the Blessed Mother. 

Oh Blessed Virgin, Mother of God, Mother of Christ, Mother of the Church, look upon us mercifully at this hour!

Virgo Fidelis, Faithful Virgin, pray for us! Teach us to believe as you believed! Make our faith in God, in Christ, in the Church, always be limpid, serene, courageous, strong and generous.

Mater Amabilis, Mother worthy of love! Mater pulchrae dilectionis, Mother of fair love, pray for us! Teach us to love God and our brothers, as you loved them: make our love for others always be patient, kindly, respectful.

Causa nostrae laetitiae, Cause of our joy, pray for us! Teach us to be able to grasp, in faith, the paradox of Christian joy, which springs up and blooms from sorrow, renunciation, union with your crucified Son: make our joy always be genuine and full, in order to be able to communicate it to all!


               -Saint John Paul II

On this Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we join St. John Paul II in asking our Mother to pray for us, that we may be as faithful as she was throughout her entire life.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Christ, The Redeemer of Man

The Redeemer of man, Jesus Christ, is the center of the universe and of history.

These are the first words of Saint John Paul II’s Redemptor Hominis, the encyclical that set the stage for the late Holy Father’s entire pontificate. Released in March 1979, this letter covered Christian anthropology, addressing the Incarnation and what it reveals about God and man: 

Through the Incarnation God gave human life the dimension that he intended man to have from his first beginning; he has granted that dimension definitively—in the way that is peculiar to him alone, in keeping with his eternal love and mercy, with the full freedom of God—and he has granted it also with the bounty that enables us, in considering the original sin and the whole history of the sins of humanity, and in considering the errors of the human intellect, will and heart, to repeat with amazement the words of the Sacred Liturgy: “O happy fault...which gained us so great a Redeemer!”

It is through Christ’s Incarnation and Redemption that God, in His loving mercy, made it possible for man to live out his highest calling: to be one with the Lord, who made us for Himself. He reconciled us to Himself, and He gave us His Son, who revealed to us what we are called to be.

Monday, November 17, 2014

These Champions Of The Faith

Today is the feast of the Martyrs of Paraguay, three South American Jesuit saints killed in the mid-seventeenth century for their missionary work among native peoples. In his homily for their canonization, Saint John Paul II said:

Neither the obstacles of the wilderness, the misunderstanding of people, nor the attacks of those who saw their evangelizing activity as a threat to personal interests, could intimidate these champions of the Faith. Their unreserved self-offering led them to martyrdom.... The entire life of (Roch) Gonzalez de Santa Cruz and his companion martyrs was completely characterized by love: love for God and, in him, for all people, particularly the most needy, those who did not know Christ’s existence or had not yet been liberated by his redeeming grace…the fruits did not take long in coming. As a result of their missionary activity, many people abandoned pagan worship to open themselves up to the light of the true faith.

Saints Roch Gonzalez, Alphonsus Rodriguez, and John de Castillo, please pray for us on this day of your feast, that we may be fearless in proclaiming the Gospel.

Information from Matthew and Margaret Bunson’s John Paul II’s Book of Saints.

Friday, November 14, 2014

A Kingdom Without Spectacles

In his homily yesterday, Pope Francis invited the faithful to pray for the grace to build the Kingdom of God quietly.  The Kingdom does not grow through spectacles, he said, but it instead blossoms through the silent witness of those living prayerful lives:

The Kingdom of God is humble, like the seed: humble but it becomes great by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is up to us to let it grow in us, without boasting about it: let the Spirit come, change our soul and carry us forward in silence, in peace, in tranquility, in closeness to God, to others, in worship of God, without spectacle.

Saint John Paul II was the first to call for a New Evangelization, and he encouraged the faithful to bear witness to the beauty of faith in Jesus Christ, particularly in historically Christian cultures where many have taken their eyes off of Him. As Pope Francis said yesterday, this New Evangelization does not require spectacles. It requires that we silently and humbly live prayerful lives.

St. John Paul II, pray for us, that we may allow the Holy Spirit to quietly build the Kingdom of God in us.   

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Did You Know? The Name of John Paul II

Many people know that St. John Paul II took the name of his predecessor John Paul I, but do you know the origin of the name “John Paul” or why the two Popes took the name?

St. John Paul II explained his intentions in his first encyclical:

I chose the same names that were chosen by my beloved Predecessor John Paul I. Indeed, as soon as he announced to the Sacred College on 26 August 1978 that he wished to be called John Paul—such a double name being unprecedented in the history of the Papacy—I saw in it a clear presage of grace for the new pontificate. Since that pontificate lasted barely 33 days, it falls to me not only to continue it but in a certain sense to take it up again at the same starting point. This is confirmed by my choice of these two names. By following the example of my venerable Predecessor in choosing them, I wish like him to express my love for the unique inheritance left to the Church by Popes John XXIII and Paul VI and my personal readiness to develop that inheritance with God's help.

Through these two names and two pontificates I am linked with the whole tradition of the Apostolic See and with all my Predecessors in the expanse of the twentieth century and of the preceding centuries. I am connected, through one after another of the various ages back to the most remote, with the line of the mission and ministry that confers on Peter's See an altogether special place in the Church. John XXIII and Paul VI are a stage to which I wish to refer directly as a threshold from which I intend to continue, in a certain sense together with John Paul I, into the future, letting myself be guided by unlimited trust in and obedience to the Spirit that Christ promised and sent to his Church.

St. John Paul II took on the names of these three predecessors, and he carried their legacies on into the twenty-first century. May he pray for the Church now, that She moves forward in obedience to the Holy Spirit.

St. John Paul II, Pray for Us!