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May 24, 2010 Online Issue #3
Next live show May 28 - 2:00 pm
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The Church is Alive and Well in Louisiana
Family, we returned to Louisiana last week, to give talks in churches in the Diocese of Lafayette, which we have not been to for almost 20 years. I will admit it was too long. The Catholics in each of these churches were on fire, hungering to hear about the Faith, and our values as Catholics and Americans. In each of these churches, St. Peter and Paul in Scott, St. Anne’s in Mamou, and St. Peter’s Church in New Iberia, we talked Church. Although we were only scheduled to talk about priests and the priesthood in one church, we shared about the role of our priests, in persona Christi, in the person of Christ, the role the priest has been given directly from Jesus, and the attacks on the priesthood from the time of Jesus to today in all three churches. From the time of the Apostles, to the Protestant Reformation and Calvinism, to the English and Irish Martyrs, and in our last century, the Mexican Martyrs, and the victim-priests of Naziism, Stalinism and all the other enemies of the Church, the consensus was that if the priests were killed, the Church would die. That didn’t work. So in the last 50 years, the thrust has been to discredit our priests, sling mud on their reputations, and make them impotent. Our priests have been under constant attack. We didn’t downplay the real problem that has existed, but we emphasized the need to support our priests, much like the Cristeros did in Mexico in the 1920’s. We talked about the consecrated hands of our priests, the power they have been given to bring the Holy Spirit down on the Altar, and to make Jesus come alive in the Eucharist.
Although they were not in any way political talks, family values came into our presentations on all three nights. We shared about the Apparition of Our Lady in Knock Ireland, and how we were given the meaning of the apparition one night while we were preparing to give talks in Louisiana. Our Lady showed us three scenes, one of the Paschal Lamb on the Altar; Defend the Eucharist. The second one depicted St. John the Evangelist, dressed in the robes of a bishop, with the Book of the Bible opened to Revelations; Defend the Word. The third scene was of Our Lady and St. Joseph next to each other. And on the day we took the photo, a woman had put her baby, in a bassinet, on the altar in between St. Joseph and Our Lady; Defend the family. Because, if you destroy the Eucharist, you destroy the Church; if you destroy the Word, you destroy the Church; if you destroy the family, you destroy the Church; you destroy the World.
The people were in tears. They were so filled with the Holy Spirit, we thought the Churches would explode. They cleaned us out of books on the second night. We always bring books and DVDs with us so that we can make them available to the people. And we always think we have brought enough for the three talks, and this time, we had made arrangements to have a book signing with Kay and Hubie Mule at Mule’s book store in Metairie after we were finished with Lafayette. And we had told Hubie not to bother ordering books, because we knew we would have enough after the talks to cover the book signing. Well, we had virtually no books left after our second talk in Mamou. We even went to our dear friends, Crossroads Books in Lafayette, and cleaned them out of all they had, and that still was not enough. By the time we got to Mule’s on Thursday, we cleaned them out of books and had to take orders to ship when we came back. The Lord is working powerfully in Louisiana. Penny had made a prediction many years ago, which went like this. “The salvation of the Church will come from Louisiana! The South will rise again!”
You know, when you have not been in an area for a time, you are not aware of the sentiments of the faithful there. Well, it has been almost twenty years since we last visited and spoke in this area of Louisiana. But they have been faithfully watching our programs on EWTN and so we were with family! We spoke and it was all received with one mind, one heart, and one spirit! Many of them, from ancestors who were deported from their land (Nova Scotia) because of their Faith, understood our talks and the reality of the need we Americans have to stand up and defend our Church and the principles for which this brave land was founded. Remember always, when you hear or read slander about our Pope, St. Catherine of Siena’s words, Our Pope is “Sweet Christ on Earth.” When our Pope is attacked, all we believe is under attack. We want to give special thanks to our hosts and hostesses during our trip, Fred and Alverta Hassling in Lafayette, Curt and Mary Burns in Madisonville, and of course Kay and Hubie Mule in Metairie. Kay treated us to White Beans and Rice, which she tells us is a genteel New Orleans dish, as opposed to Red Beans and Rice, which we have eaten for many years. It was delicious. The trip was extremely rewarding for us, especially since we had not visited these churches in Lafayette, Mamou, and New Iberia for quite a few years. They were very kind in admonishing us, “Don’t wait so long to come back!!”
We want to end this article with a quotation from Ed Koch, former Mayor of New York City, a Jewish man who wrote this article for the Jerusalem Post in defense of the Pope and the Church.
“I believe the continuing attack by the media against the Roman Catholic Church and Pope Benedict XVI are manifestations of anti-Catholicism. The procession of articles on the same events is, in my opinion, no longer intended to inform, but simply to castigate.
“Many of those in the media who are pounding on the Church and the Pope today clearly do it with delight, and some with malice. The reason, I believe, for the constant assaults is that there are many in the media, and some Catholics as well, who object to and are incensed by positions the Church holds, including opposition to all abortions, opposition to gay sex and same-sex marriages, retention of celibacy rules for priests, exclusion of women from the clergy, opposition to birth control measures and opposition to civil divorce….The Church has the right to demand fulfillment of all of its religious obligations by its parishioners, and indeed a right to espouse its beliefs generally.”
Just so you know, family, the media is for the most part, anti-Catholic. Just read the articles by Bill Donohue of the Catholic League and you will see how the media tries to beat us up at every opportunity. All of the mainstream media, NBC, CBS, ABC and CNN are very anti-Catholic. They love to take potshots at us. Time Magazine, US News and World Report, and Newsweek are also not our best friends. The New York Times, the LA Times, and many other newspapers love to slam us. So you might say to yourselves, “What are they doing for me? Why should I support them by buying their magazine or newspaper, or watching their network? Why not support some newspaper or magazine or network that supports us.” Just a thought.
God bless America, land of the free and the brave! We love you!
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Family, we must be the most blessed servants of the Lord on this earth. He allows us to experience the most beautiful and uplifting miracles. We returned to Louisiana last week, where we experienced Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos. I use the term “Experience” because we have never had the gift of seeing the power of the following this Blessed has been given by Our Lord Jesus. His story is fascinating, but even more fascinating is being eyewitnesses to a following of thousands of faithful believers, taking part in a three-times-a-year Mass and Healing Ceremony. You have had to be there to believe how loved this priest is. For the Healing Service, which took place after the Mass ended, there were anywhere from 1500 to 2000 people, waiting on line to be blessed. There were eight priests in four aisles, blessing the people who waited up to an hour to receive this special gift. And this for a priest whose life was snuffed out by Yellow Fever after being on assignment in New Orleans for only 11 months. He has a following the likes of which you have never seen. And hundreds of people give testimony of healings and conversions coming about through the intercession of Blessed Seelos.
But who is this Francis Xavier Seelos, and why is there such a great devotion to him? There are those who had called him a living saint during his lifetime. Very few people could have anything but great admiration and love for him. He was born in Fussen, Germany in 1819. It was obvious to all around him, parents and clergy alike, that this was a special child, destined to do great things for God and for the Church. He always wanted the religious life. He was not always sure how he wanted to serve. As a teenager, he walked for 50 hours from his home town to Einseidlen, Switzerland to ask to join the Benedictines there. He was refused admission, only because he was too young. But the truth is that God had big plans for him in the New World. He had either a vision or a locution from Our Lady, after which he pledged to give his life to evangelizing as a missionary in the New World. He became a member of the Redemptorist Order, and came to the United States. Being a country boy from Bavaria, he was not very happy when he arrived in the United States in 1843, but he wrote to his family that he had made this decision and would live up to it. He spent the next 24 years ministering to the people of the United States.
At first, his ministry was to Catholics in western Pennsylvania. There were only 21 priests for 45,000 Catholics. Eventually, through the direction of St. John Neumann, who was his first pastor in Pittsburgh, he and other German speaking priests ministered to German-speaking immigrants. He went from associate pastor to pastor to the rector of the seminary to the head of the Redemptorists, back to his first love, Missionary work. During the Civil War, years 1862-1865, he and a few other priests went up and down the middle part of our country giving missions and retreats, dodging bullets and the rough behavior of the soldiers on both sides of the conflict. He appealed to President Lincoln to release the priests and seminarians from the draft. He and another priest met with the President, who was very cordial, but could not guarantee that this could be done. However, none of the students were drafted.
For three years prior to his transfer to his last parish in New Orleans, Louisiana, he was in charge of the Redemptorist Mission Band. He and a group of other priests would travel all over the middle states, including Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio;, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. He not only considered mission work to be important, he wrote to his sister in 1863, “It is properly the work in the vineyard of the Lord; it is entirely apostolic work.”
One of his greatest strengths was in the Confessional. He reminds us of Padre Pio and St. Jean Vianney. He would spend hours in the Confessional. He was gentle but firm. He begged the sinners from the pulpit to come to the confessional. He said “O you sinners who have not courage to confess your sins because they are so numerous or so grievous or so shameful. O, come without fear or trembling! I promise to receive you with all mildness; if I do not keep my word, I here publicly give you permission to cast it up to me in the confessional and to charge me with a falsehood.” He chided his fellow priests who did not have compassion for penitents; “The priest who is rough with the people does injury to himself….he sins, at least in ignorance…he scandalizes all who see and hear him…Thousands reject the Church and the Sacraments because they have been badly treated by a priest.”
On September 27, 1866, he began his last journey for the Lord, to New Orleans, Louisiana. As he was traveling on the train to New Orleans, a nun asked him how long he would be stationed in New Orleans. His reply was “I will be there for one year, and then I will die of the Yellow Fever”, which is exactly what happened. He spent just short of 11 months in Louisiana, and on September 17, 1867, he caught the lethal Yellow Fever. He tried to continue with his work, but in short order, he was incapacitated, and on October 4, 1867, he died. But his time in New Orleans and the work he did there was enough for the priests and parishioners of St. Mary’s Church to realize they had a saint among them. The works he did, the kindness towards the people, reaching out to the sick and dying, made them aware they had been given a special gift in Francis Xavier Seelos.\
Work was immediately begun on this Canonization, because they knew he was a Saint. And while it was completed and sent to Rome in 1903, for whatever reason, it was not taken up seriously until the end of the 20th century. His burial place was even lost in the Church. When it was definite that he would be beatified, the officials of the Church wanted to make a shrine for him. And in the construction process, his original tomb in the Church was uncovered. A miracle attributed to his intercession took place in 1967, when a woman, Angela Boudreaux, who was diagnosed with a massive malignancy in her liver, was healed. Her doctor testified that there was no hope for her. However, within a few weeks of praying to Fr. Seelos, she was completely healed. Pope John Paul II beatified Francis Xavier Seelos on April 9, 2000. His is a powerful story, one that you should take seriously. As we said at the opening of this article, we are the most blessed, in that we were able to spend days at his shrine, interviewing Fr. Byron Miller, Joyce Boudreaux, and many other involved in the cause for his Canonization. We are making a program as we speak. We pray it will be ready for our Super Saints series in time for his Feast Day, October 5. Give yourselves a treat. Go to the Shrine of Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos in New Orleans. You will be blessed. We love you.
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