angelWelcome to our
DID YOU KNOW Corner

We go through each day replenishing our bodies with food and drink, being sure to get in at least three meals a day. What many have failed to do, is replenish the soul.  Our bodies are temporary and no matter how much we exercise, eat, diet and make them over, they will be dust.  Our soul is eternal and lives on forever. Which do you think is the priority?

Please join us as we journey on the path of salvation.  St. Thomas the Apostle offers many spiritual opportunities for you to deepen your walk and knowledge of Jesus.  We will offer a different spiritual ministry each month that may speak to your heart.  If one or more grabs your attention, please give it a chance by trying it.  The Holy Spirit speaks to us continuously and by many different paths. It could be through a friend, enemy, holy Scripture, a spiritual book or one of these ministries.  Begin now by asking God to give you ears to hear His Spirit speak to you.

Are you looking for something inspiring to do as a family?

 Many saints have spoken of devotion to the Precious Blood of Jesus; notable among them is St. Catherine of Siena, who often wrote about the Precious Blood of Jesus in her Dialogue—a written account of her mystical visions. To the right is the Constant Prayer of St. Catherine of Siena to the Precious Blood of Jesus.

                In more recent times, this devotion has more widely taken root in our Catholic tradition. Devotion to the Precious Blood spread greatly through the prayer, preaching, and work of Bl. Gaspar del Bufalo, a 19th century Roman priest, and founder of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood. You can read about his life and work here.

                Blessed Gaspar brought this beloved devotion out of the sanctuary and into the hearts of Catholics around the world. It is through his life’s work that the devotion grew widespread in the Church.

                The faithful are encouraged to honor the Precious Blood always and especially during the month of July. Consider making an act of love to the Precious Blood every day this month, such as an Act of Consecration to the Precious Blood of Jesus and the Litany of the Precious Blood as an act of love and reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

                The Precious Blood courses through the Church, giving life to the Body of Christ. It was the cleansing agent that allowed the holy saints and martyrs to wash their robes clean. It is the price of our redemption, the object of our salvation, and the assurance of our eternal inheritance.

                As we honor the Precious Blood of Jesus in union with the Church this month, may it awaken in our hearts a love and gratitude for Christ’s gift to us, for He has saved us by His blood.

                                                                               

 

OUR MOTHER OF
EUCHARIST AND GRACE

A Church Of Alleged Marvels


One is always a bit wary of what seems too dramatic or “magical” and this is the case, perhaps, with holy gold or glitter or those rose petals that suddenly have very detailed holy images on them. The latter is a phenomenon particularly prevalent in the Philippines, where the first major report of such marvels — rose petals falling from the sky, with images of Jesus, Mary, the Holy Family, the Crucifixion on them — occurred at an apparition site, alternately approved and rejected by the Church, at Lipa.

For this reason, we’ve kept a dutiful distance from many such reports.

In many parts of the world or at least the West, those involved in devotional and charismatic practices have asserted that at times a strange “glitter” falls, like decorative manna. This is a particularly difficult phenomenon to accept in the way of its strangeness and glitziness, although it was reported during the apparitions at Fatima, Portugal, during 1917 in an ephemeral form which soon vanished, leaving no material. Some has been analyzed [see link to story at the bottom] and found to be plastic; others charge that it smacks of alchemy.

Image result for father groarke st. thomasBut what about when it’s a very credible and devout priest detailing the events for you?

And what do you do when miracles appear to be erupting in your parish?

If you’re Father Francis Groarke, pastor of Old St. Thomas in Glenn Mills, Pennsylvania, about forty miles from Philadelphia — the oldest church in that state, and one of the largest (8,800 families) — you accept the graces and fruits and, using the sacraments, build around them.

Father Groarke is not a man who has any doubt that what has been occurring is supernatural.

A year ago last August, the parish was visited by one Carmelo Villanueva Cortez of the Philippines, who conducted a service for 1,100 after Mass.

“He had an apparition of the Virgin Mary in 1991 and she told him to travel the world with the petals,” explains the priest. Cortez, of course, is not without controversies. Some believe he presses religious medals into blank rose petals before handing them out — thereby causing the “miraculous” imprint.

Don’t try and tell Father Frank that.

“We bought ten dozen roses and there were 1,100 people in church,” the pastor says. “There were three bottles of water and Carmelo told me and two deacons to drink it. Then he put it on a gauze and it changed colors and there was an aroma like roses. We took the two dozen roses and broke them into petals and put them in big bowl and took water and mixed it with the petals and then he put the petals under the necks of everyone. It took two-and-a-half hours. When held up, there were images: the Last Supper, Padre Pio, St. Michael, amazing.”

Most remarkably, Father says some of the petals transmuted into Communion bread. Manna! “I watched it do this in front of my eyes,” says Father Groarke. “There were four petals in my hand and before my eyes they became Communion hosts. I tasted it and it tasted just like a host.” He repeats:

“Before my eyes they changed.”

Tough to believe. Listening to Father Groarke, hard to disbelieve.

Soon, even more extraordinary phenomena reportedly occurred.

The week after Carmelo’s visit, Father Frank visited with the local family that had hosted the Filipino mystic and has a “holy room” in their house, filled with statues that allegedly began to exude after encountering Carmelo years before. As the priest celebrated Mass with about fifteen people, “the whole place started smelling like roses,” Father Groarke was kind enough to inform us, “and all the statues were covered with gold glitter. They gave me a statue of a sleeping Saint Joseph and it was oozing perfumed oil and I brought it home and put it behind [a statue of] the Blessed Mother in church.”

The Blessed Mother — the Virgin of Grace and the Eucharist — was going to bless the church in a special way for a year, said the family, presenting it to him.

The Virgin exhibited what Saint Joseph had: a sort of “gold dust” that at times all but completely covered her, a glitter that comes and goes. Similar phenomena — known in Spanish-speaking countries as “escarchas” — has been reported elsewhere, including the Church-approved apparition site of Betania in Venezuela, where it was seen, among other places, on the face of mystic Maria Esperanza. At the Pennsylvania church, it “comes and goes, sometimes more than others,” testifies the priest.

When the church ordered four dozen roses [from Amazon, roses that came wrapped up from China], the smell of them immediately permeated the church — all over, says Father Groarke, with an implausible pervasiveness. “The virgin is just letting you know she is around,” remarks the priest.

“When, a year ago Christmas, a man from the parish gave father a larger version of the sleeping Saint Joseph, and it was brought to the “holy house,” it too was soon “completely covered with gold dust.

“The Virgin was supposed to go back and I also brought a statue of Saint Michael and when we returned, it too was covered with gold dust and the body was exuding oil loaded with salt,” says the priest, clearly still astounded by the events. “This is how God exorcises things,” he says. Does the Lord want that ritual brought back? An estimated twenty pounds of salt now have been blessed. “We used to use salt under baby’s tongue during baptism,” recalls the pastor.

The emphasis, with all the alleged miracles, is not an obsession with the phenomena but devotion, notes the priest — Carmelo’s message and mission.

Without those, marvels are fleeting wonders.

The church has kept the statue of Mary and, says Father Groarke, “This is more crazy: we’ve had four miraculous cures of cancerous tumors in seven months: brain, lung, two in the breast. They’re gone. The people who were healed attributed it the time they spent here.”

“One of the petals that I got last summer was a petal of Our Lady of Fatima, plain as day; the next day it became a monstrance. It’s all kind of unfolding. I don’t understand how all this stuff works. I just see the fruit of what results.”

“Here’s a further manifestation,” adds Father Groarke. “One of my parishioners is from Wilkes-Barre and went up to visit family graves for November and on one of the graves is a statue of the Virgin Mary on a pedestal with four columns around it.

“The statue was completely covered with gold dust.”

How could Carmelo cause all the glitter, all the vulnerary oil, that salt, after he had left? And that glitter on a statue 120 miles away?

Quite a lot going on, in this parish that was established in 1729 — half a century before the Declaration of Independence! (A message here also?)

This is a church that is alive with the Spirit. There are actually two churches in the parish, with six Masses on Sunday. The acronym for the main lesson is what they call “CARE”: Confession, Adoration, Rosary, Eucharist. “The bigger miracle is the people who have come back to the church,” he says.

Fruits?

“I have been a priest for 45 years and I’ve never been closer to the Lord,” says Father Groarke.

           

 

 

Prayer: Jesus, rearrange my priorities. Help me to live a little bit more like you each day. Help me to trust in Your Divine Providence by freely and generously giving to those in need and supporting my parish. 

 

The Precepts of the Church

  1. You shall attend Mass on Sundays and on holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor.
    We must “sanctify the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord” (Sunday), as well as the principal feast days, known as Catholic holy days of obligation. This requires attending Mass, “and by resting from those works and activities which could impede such a sanctification of these days.”
  2. You shall confess your sins at least once a year.
    We must prepare for the Eucharist by means of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession). This sacrament “continues Baptism’s work of conversion and forgiveness.”
  3. You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season.
    This “guarantees as a minimum the reception of the Lord’s Body and Blood in connection with the Paschal feasts, the origin and center of the Christian liturgy.”
  4. You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church.
    “The fourth precept ensures the times of ascesis and penance which prepare us for the liturgical feasts and help us acquire mastery over our instincts and freedom of heart.” See below for more about fasting & abstinence.
  5. You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church.
    “The fifth precept means that the faithful are obliged to assist with the material needs of the Church, each according to his own ability.”

Note that these precepts of the Catholic Church are required, unless you have a legitimate reason for not meeting them. For example:

  • If you are sick, tending to a sick child, or camping in the wilderness on Sunday and cannot get to Mass, it is not a grave violation to miss Mass that day.
  • Children, the elderly, and pregnant or nursing women do not have to fast on normal fast days (Ash Wednesday and Good Friday).

ARE YOU HEALTHY??

So let me ask you a question: Are you healthy?

And when I ask that question, what do you think about?

You probably think about physical health, right? “OK, how healthy am I physically?” and, “How’s my blood pressure?” and, “How’s my cholesterol?” and . . . these sorts things. But are you spiritually healthy?

It’s interesting, I think we almost never talk about it. We talk a lot about the health of the body, which, lets face it, at some point is going to be just buried in the ground, and that’ll be that. But the soul lives on forever, and we almost never talk about soul health. We almost never talk about spiritual health.

One of the things that Dynamic Catholic is all about, one of the things that this program is all about, is helping people become spiritually healthy—or healthier.

Do you know when you are spiritually healthy? Can you tell that some days you’re spiritually healthier than other days? Because that’s the kind of awareness that God wants to give us.

I think we can tell some days we’re physically healthier than other days. God wants us to have that same sort of perspective on our soul, on our spiritual health.

One of our reasons for the obsession with the physical over the spiritual is because of the immediate impact the neglect of our physicality has.

If you don’t eat, you die in a few days. You don’t breathe, you die even quicker. And so we are obsessed, in some ways, with the physical because there are very dire consequences to ignoring the physical realities of the human person.

But we do have these spiritual realities as well, and they play out in different ways. And when we do become spiritually unhealthy, I think one of the things is that it distorts our personality. It distorts our personality in ways that affects us from doing what God’s called us to do, being the person God created us to be, and from relating with other people in healthy ways.

I think sometimes we all have questions that are on our minds. Questions that are in our hearts. But at the end of the day, I think that a lot of life comes down to four questions:

Who am I?

What am I here for?

What matters most?

And what matters least?

If you look at your day yesterday, did you spend most of your time on the things that matter most, or did you get distracted by a million little things that don’t really mean anything to anyone that significant? It happens to us all the time. And not just a day, you could go a whole week and then look back and think, “Wow, I didn’t really do anything important this week. I didn’t really spend any time on the things that matter most this week.” And worse than that, it could be a month, or it could be a year.

Who are you?

What are you here for?

What matters most?

What matters least?

The answers to these questions take a long time to develop. And one of the ways we develop them is through this daily habit of prayer.

Yes, we’re resistant to establishing this daily habit of prayer. But by establishing a daily habit of prayer, a few minutes each day, 10 minutes a day . . .

For 25 years I’ve been encouraging people to spend 10 minutes a day in prayer.

By establishing this daily habit of prayer, God will, very powerfully, answer those four questions. He will show you who you are, and what you’re here for, and what matters most and what matters least.

“Always take your first opportunity each day to spend time in prayer.”

tAKEN FROM  MATTHEW KELLY, RESISTING HAPPINESS