It's Easier To Speak Out Against God Than Against The Government


Three Blesseds are on the Roman Calendar this morning. Cardinal Bishop Clemens von Galen, Blessed Marian Gorecki and Blessed Bronislaw Komorowski. Fathers Gorecki and Komorowski are numbered among the 108 Catholic martyrs of WWII so recognized by John Paul II ( The group comprises 3 bishops, 52 priests, 26 members of male religious, 3 seminarians, 8 female religious, and 9 lay people ).

They spoke out against the evils of Nazism, prior to and just after the invasion of Poland by the Germans in WWII. Gorecki and Komoroski were arrested and imprisoned the day of the invasion and died in concentration camps. Well before the Nazis began the genocidal "final solution," Bishop von Galen went on to preach several powerful sermons against the Nazis, condemning especially their euthanasia program for invalids and those who suffered from mental illness. He spent the war  under virtual house arrest.

Speaking our against God seemingly few consequences in this life, but dare we speak out against the prevailing tide of popular opinion? Blasphemy against God is tolerated, even encouraged in our culture; speaking up in God's favor brings censure and condemnation.


Join Us For the Rumson St. Patrick's Day Parade Today at 1 PM

Whether you cheer along the line of march, or join with the contingent of our own parishioners who will be carrying the Irish Saints Banners from our windows, come enjoy the sunshine and the joy!

Blessed St. Patrick

We your spiritual sons and daughters

Remember the courage

With which you proclaimed

The Catholic faith throughout Ireland.

We ask you to inspire us

With the same courage

To witness our faith

To our own land.

You made the shamrock

A sign of the most wondrous

Mystery, The Holy Trinity.

Through your intercession

May this Trinity

Protect all who march

Under its banner

And give glory and honor

To God’s name

Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

St. Claude de la Colombiere

ClaudeA Jesuit priest who became confessor to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque and was the first to believe the authenticity of her visions and revelations. St. Claude and St. Margaret Mary promoted devotion to the Sacred Heart during a time in the French Church when Jansenism (a particularly severe and gloomy spirituality) was afoot. 

The mercy of a loving Jesus was a refreshing and necessary counterpoint to this viewpoint.

He was later transferred to England and became the confessor to the Duchess of York but was falsely ensnared in the "Popish Plot" during the Titus Oates controversy, was imprisoned and nearly lost his life but for the intercession of King Louis XIV.

His health suffered greatly during his cruel imprisonment and he never fully recovered after his return to France.

His bones are preserved in the chapel outside which this statue stands. He points to an image of the Sacred Heart inscribed with the words, "He loved but was loved not." This highlights an aspect of devotion to the Sacred Heart which is to make reparation for the insults and slights to Jesus' love for us.

Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich

Religious, visionary, stigmatist - on the path for sainthood after a temporary suspension due to conclusions that some of her writings dictated and translated were embellished by the translator many years after her death. Her cause for sainthood is proceeding on the merits of her life, since her writings will not be considered as proof of sanctity at St. Pope John Paul II's instructions. Her writings came to light in modern times partly due to the influence they had on Mel Gibson's movie The Passion of the Christ. 

The official church position on the authoritative nature of private revelations has always been reserved and skeptical and doesn't promulgate private revelations dogmatically.

Receiving the stigmata is a relatively uncommon phenomenon and seems to occur in some who have a great devotion to the passion of Christ. St. Francis of Assisi and in modern times, St. "Padre" Pio also received the wounds of Christ in their bodies. 

Such saints remind us that sanctity isn't always so simple and that there are more things in heaven and on earth than we understand.



Candlemas Day or Punxsatawney Phil ?

As I researched the history and meaning of Candlemas Day and its interrelationship with the Presentation of the Lord and/or the Purification of the Blessed Virgin, especially with regard to secular observances of the occasion, I was struck by one particular comment: "In the United States, the celebration of the Candlemas Day has largely been supplanted by Groundhog Day." Sad commentary? 



Saint Brigid - A Holy Cross Window Saint

Saint_Brigid_by_Patrick_Joseph_TuohyBrigid is part of the Irish Trinity of saints along with Patrick and Columcille. As with many of the ancient Irish saints, her life story is probably part legend, part history.

Baptized by St. Patrick and witness to his preaching, Brigid dedicated her life to Christ and eventually founded the first dual monastery in Ireland with an enclosure for men and an enclosure for women. 

Many miracles and healings are attributed to her intercession. She is another example of the leadership role woman played in the Irish Church.


Saint John Bosco

John Bosco came from humble beginnings and eventually worked his way to the privilege of receiving an education. He worked at many jobs during his schooling, many of which he would eventually help teach his own students. After ordination he was assigned chaplain to a girls' home and school but became distressed with how many young boys and men were imprisoned on his visits to render pastoral care to the inmates. Determined to do something to prevent juvenile delinquency, he vowed to help boys and young men avoid unemployment, delinquency and imprisonment.

His small community of boys met with much opposition but continued to grow in number and took a major step forward when boys whom Bosco had helped became determined to help him in this unique ministry. In 1859 he founded the Salesians (after Francis de Sales and with great devotion to Our Lady Help of Christians) to continue and promote his ministry.

Local residents complained the boys made too much noise during recreation and his homes were forced to move several times. Political leaders also became alarmed when the numbers of youth grew, fearing a political or military union.

Despite criticism from within and without the the Church, Bosco persisted and religious society continues to this day in nations throughout the world.

St. Angela Merici

St. Angela Merici, foundress of the Ursulines, had important insights about evangelization and catechesis: 1) there was a need for women religious outside of convents and monasteries for apostolic ministry to the world; 2) a crucial path for catechesis was the family, especially by mothers. To this end, she housed and educated young girls - a ministry which survives today.


The Conversion of St. Paul

If we ever think we can't change, we have the example of St. Paul to consider. His hatred for Christ and his followers changed to ardent love and apostolic zeal.

Is there someone we dislike, do we feel stuck in a rut of habit, routine or thinking? Can our love for Christ burn with more ardor, as the prayers from the Mass for the Conversion of St. Paul implore?

There is hope. There is Christ.

StPaulMosaic of the Conversion of Paul in Westminister Cathedral

Saint Marianne Cope

Sr. Marianne Cope emigrated from Germany to upstate New York with her family when she was one year of age. She entered a convent and for many years was an educator and administrator, eventually becoming the Superior General of her religious community. When the call for help came to care for the lepers, especially the children in Hawaii, she responded generously and personally, travelling to Hawaii herself with a group of sisters. She opened a school and home for girls and became a co-worker with Fr. Damian on the leper colony at Molokai and cared for him as be became ill. When Fr. Damian died, she assumed leadership of his school and home for boys.

Her administrative leadership, compassion, courage and personal service are but a few of her many admirable qualities and above all her zeal for serving Christ in the most needy.


Saint Jaime Hilario

JaimeSaint Jaime Hilario's studies for the priesthood in Catalonia, Spain were ended by a serious inner ear infection. Still wanting to serve God, he became a Christian brother and taught for 20 years in Catholic schools run by his order until declining hearing forced his retirement from teaching. Instead, he became the gardener for the local Christian brother's community.

He was caught up in the Spanish Civil war and executed (1937) for being a Catholic religious brother. After confirming that he was martyred "in hatred of the Catholic faith" the path was cleared for his beatification and nine years later, after a verified miracle, canonized a saint by St. Pope John Paul II in 1999.


Saint Ita of Kileedy

One of the "Window Saints" at Holy Cross Church, Saint Ita was the most well known woman saint in Ireland after St. Brigid. Her name is also translated as Deirdre or Dorothy.

A woman of noble lineage who dedicated her virginity to Christ, she established a school for girls and another for boys. She is sometimes called Mother of Saints because several of her pupils went on to sainthood in the Church, including Brendan the Navigator.

Here is a photo of her shrine in Kileedy. Not only did she educate her pupils to become more learned, but also more holy. Let us pray for that gift in Catholic education today.


Sketch of Christ Crucified by St. John of the Cross

John of the cross sketchThis is a famous sketch of Christ crucified drawn by St. John of the Cross. It was later used by Salvatore Dali as his inspiration for one of his own paintings of Christ on the cross.

John of the Cross had so many wonderful insights about the spiritual life. The perceived absence of God, the "dark night of the soul" which can suddenly envelope believers, is actually a time when God draws nearest to us. It is precisely in times of feeling abandoned by God that we can experience the presence of God more intimately than ever before. We need to see and listen in the dark. 

In his imagery of the spiritual journey as an ascent to Mount Carmel, we gain the insight that the journey to God can best be made with guidance from expert climbers - experienced spiritual guides who help us along the way. The modern use of spiritual directors has much to do with John's writings and reflections.



Saint Cecilia, Early Christian Martyr

SaintCeciliaAccording to legend, when St. Cecilia's body was exhumed, her fingers were found in positions interpreted as a witness to the Trinity - Three persons in One God.

Her husband and brother-in-law were martyred for piously burying the dead Christian martyrs and Cecilia's burying them both brought her to the attention of Roman authority. After refusing to renounce God and worship pagan deities, she too was martyred. Her name is included in the Roman Canon, an early Eucharistic prayer.


St. Elizabeth of Hungary

ElizabethOfHungary at Holy Cross
St. Elizabeth of Hungary at Holy Cross Church, Rumson NJ

Saint Elizabeth lived a full, but short, life: she was married at 14, mother to three children, one of whom was born shortly after her husband died, widowed at 20, dead herself at 24 years old. 

Despite her privileged upbringing as a princess married to a king, she developed a great concern for the poor after hearing the preaching and seeing the example of the Franciscans. Her generosity to the poor aroused resentment among the courtiers surrounding her husband, who accused her of misappropriating palace goods and treasures for the disadvantaged. 

One day these advisors and the king confronted Elizabeth on one of her missions of mercy, demanding to know what she carried in her cloak. She had stuffed her cloak full of bread for the hungry, but when she revealed what she was carrying to her husband, there were only roses. This is one of many times roses would be used as signals of divine intervention in the lives of the saints. 


St. Pope Leo the Great, Doctor of the Church

LeoToday we honor St. Leo the Great, pope and Doctor of the Church. This mural by Raphael shows the pope riding out to meet Attila the Hun and persuading him to spare Rome. Attila is said to have seen a vision of Sts. Peter and Paul brandishing swords to emphasize Pope Leo's mission.

Early popes acclaimed as "Great" generally acted in ways which strengthened the Petrine ministry as Leo did in advancing the primacy of Bishop of Rome above the Patriarchs of the Eastern church. His writings and teachings, especially on the nature of Jesus Christ and against the many Christological heresies in the early church earned him designation as Doctor of the Church.

Let us pray that the church continued to be blessed with both courageous leaders and disciples.

St. Martin de Porres

St. Martin de Porres faced poverty, a difficult childhood and prejudice, much of it stemming from the fact that he was of bi-racial origin and abandoned by his father. Despite this he was attracted to religious life and was gradually accepted into the Dominican Order and eventually even allowed to profess his vows as a Dominican brother. 

In his youth he learned barbering and first aid and continued to render care to the poor and sick in and around the monastery. He became renowned for powers of miraculous healing and is often shown with animals due to his empathy and way with them. He was canonized by St. Pope John XXIII.










Painting of St. Martin done just before or shortly after his death by an unknown artist and a photograph of a modern facial reconstruction using his skull.