Holy ground at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

There is no such thing as coincidence, rather it can be defined as God’s providence.

My beautiful niece and God-daughter, Emma Grace Donovan was born on the feast day of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, January 4, 2001. That was thirty-five years to the day, after I was born.

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, pray for us!

Yesterday Emma was Confirmed by Bishop Adam Parker. I was truly blessed to help Emma discern a Confirmation name and to stand by her side as Sponsor. During the Mass, I tried to hold back tears but failed miserably when the canticle of the Saints was sung.

In his homily, Bishop Parker summarized my exact thoughts when he said there is no such thing as coincidence. Bishop Parker was called to be a Bishop by Pope Francis exactly thirty years to the day after he was Confirmed. He is also the youngest Bishop in the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

I was truly blessed to go with my sister and her family to visit the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton located one hour from their home. While there, we watched a short movie on the incredible life of Seton and we walked in the footsteps of the home where Seton once lived. We learned it is the 200tg Anniversary of the Narional Shrine! We attended Mass and kneeled at the tomb of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton in a defining moment of grace. We also received a Plenary Indulgence.

It was a day that I have been looking forward to for a very long time but the day was so extraordinary and reached far beyond my expectations. My prayer is that the Holy Spirit might help me to guide others to see the face of Christ more clearly through the Saints, the Sacraments and SoulCore.

You are invited! Visit our website at http://www.PeaceLovePilgrimage.com or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

There is a time for everything. Ecclesiastes 3:1

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

 

IMG_2189.JPGA wonderful prayer in Saint Elizabeth’s name is:
Lord God, you blessed Elizabeth Seton with gifts of grace as wife and mother, educator and foundress, so that she might spend her life in service to your people. Through her example and prayers may we learn to express our love for you in love for our fellow men and women. We ask this through Christ our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.45BCC472-908E-4FCB-8A7B-D65C76ABCC48

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Today is the 100 Year Anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima

Our Lady said that the rosary can stop wars, and can bring world peace. We have to do what she said, and live good lives. There’s no other plan from heaven that’s so specific, for what we’re going through now. She [the Blessed Mother] spelled it out. Prayer, penance, the First Saturdays’ devotion—and live a good, holy life. That’s the answer.

–from the book Our Lady of Fatima: 100 Years of Stories, Prayers, and Devotions

Peace Love Pilgrimage will depart from Indianapolis for Fatima, Portugal in about one month. We are truly blessed to be led under the spiritual direction of Father Travis Stephens from the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana.

Fr. Travis is a convert to the Catholic faith, and has (4) college degrees. This year he is celebrating 5 years in the Vocation of the Priesthood. Although he is an avid traveler, most recently visiting his brother in Korea this will be his first organized pilgrimage. A little unknown fact about Fr. Travis is that he is an iconographer and of course God wanted C301A4D9-9DE7-4569-BDB0-A4B126E37FC0his first icon to be of Mary.

We have 13 pilgrims going to Fatima, each one just like Fr. Travis was called by name and chosen by God.

Listen to the Catholic Radio Indianapolis link below to hear Fr Travis speak about the upcoming pilgrimage to honor the 100 Year Anniversary of the Apparitions.

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Please pray for us that we will be made Holy in the image and likeness of God and that we may be worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

Coming soon to the Saint Shop is a sterling silver absolutely gorgeous pendant of Our beautiful blessed Mother, Mary with her child Jesus by Father Travis Stephens.

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There is a time for everything. Ecclesiastes 3:1

Holy Thursday Altar of Repose Pilgrimage 2017

On Holy Thursday, after the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at Saint John the Evangelist in Indianapolis, Indiana many pilgrims set out on a pilgrimage. Pastor, Fr. Rick Nagel led the 7th annual ancient practice of visiting seven churches. Each of the churches has an Altar of Repose of the Blessed Sacrament varying from simple to elaborate. Personally, I have a deep appreciation for the liturgy and sacred decorum of this holy night having led the preparations at my parish for many years.

While most of the world went to sleep as usual, many Catholic pilgrims ventured out by foot, car or bus to keep Jesus company on the eve of his Crucifixion. The Blessed Sacrament is usually taken on a procession through the Church after Mass and reposed in the tabernacle until midnight or until the Good Friday Communion service.

Our group was not small. We tried to enter each Church as reverently as any large group of pilgrims can, in order to pray. Ater a few minutes of kneeling, Fr. Rick began to sing in order to facilitate a smooth departure. Pilgrims joined in: “Stay with me, remain here with me, watch and pray.”

We visited the Cathedral of Saint Peter and Paul and the churches of Saint Mary, Saint Michael, Saint Patrick, Holy Rosary and Sacred Heart before returning to Saint John the Evangelist to pray. In between each stop, we prayed a decade of the rosary focusing on the virtues.

I was moved by the entire evening from start to finish. Being in the presence of Our Lord and kneeling seven times is profound. There is no denying it. It is a time for intense devotion for the Most Holy Sacrament, prayer and adoration as we enter into the Triduum.

One of the most moving moments was upon entering Saint Patrick’s Church. It is an enormous very old gothic church and seemingly run down. History has it that it was supposed to be torn down due to lack of funds and attendance but was saved when a Spanish congregation moved in. The Altar of Repose was adorned in beautifully depicted Spanish woven tapestries with Our Lady of Guadalupe and Juan Diego situated close by. A parishioner was singing lovely hymns in Spanish and instrumentalists accompanied her heartfelt lyrics. I could not understand a word she was singing but I felt the incredible presence of Our Lord in her tears. What was completly clear was the universal church of prayer at seemingly one place and at one moment in time.

The history of this ancient tradition dates back to the earliest days of Christianity. The annual Lenten pilgrimage to dozens of Rome’s most striking churches is a sacred tradition that still stands today. Each time I participate year in and year out, I understand more and more and feel called to share this beautiful tradition with others. Visiting the Altar of Repose originally stems from pilgrims visiting seven churches as a form of penance including Saint Peter’s Basilica, St. Paul Outside the Walls, St. Mary Major, St. John Lateran, St. Laurence Outside the Walls, Holy Cross in Jerusalem and the Shrine of Our Lady of Divine Love.

There was one scripture that resonated within me last night. It kept coming back to me over and over again each time I kneeled down. Matthew 18:20-22. “For wherever two or three are gathered in my name, there am I with them.” Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

Amen.

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When Our Lady of Fatima Spoke to Me

When Our Lady of Fatima Spoke to Me

Pope Francis declared 2017 the Year of Fatima to coincide with the 100 Year Anniversary of the Apparitions. The Apparitions are when 3 young children saw Our Lady appear to them 100 years ago in Fatima, Portugal. The Fatima secrets are fascinating and there are many great books written about the children including one by Fr. Andrew Apostoli with a foreward by Raymond Cardinal Burke that I am reading now.

There is a little sequential history behind my personal faith journey that is relevant. My maternal grandmother, Ouida Noelle Bundschuh was baptized as an adult by Archbishop Fulton Sheen at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York before I was ever born. My grandmother carried gold filled rosary beads that day, that later were made into bracelets for her daughters.

In 1966, I was born Kerin Noelle on the feast of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton.

In 1975, my grandfather bequeathed the Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton modern day bronze sculpture and candle altar designed by Fredrick Shrady (1907-1990) to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, in New York. It was dedicated to the first American Saint in the United States and consecrated by Terrance Cardinal Cooke.

In 1982, Pope John Paul II commissioned Fredrick Shrady, the first American artist ever to be commissioned by a Pope to design a religious inspired Fatima sacred art sculpture at the Vatican.

In 1984, I received the Sacrament of Confirmation. It was through the power of the  Holy Spirit that I choose my grandmothers name, Ouida, as the perfect role model and companion in my life. I was given the gift of my grandmothers gold filled rosary crucifix that she carried on her Baptism day, blessed by Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

In 2016, my husband and I were fortunate enough to receive our 25th Wedding Anniversary blessing on our Anniversary and on the feast of Saint Faustina, by Pope Francis. The day before the audience with Pope Francis, we spent time walking and praying in the Vatican Gardens with fellow pilgrims. It is a spectacular sacred space, magnificent beyond words, breathtaking to say the least. I always wanted to see the Vatican Gardens, especially the sacred art marble sculpture of Fatima created by Fredrick Shrady and commissioned by Saint John Paul II.

It has been said, that Saint John Paul II prayed the rosary daily at this particular Marian modern day Fatima sculpture. In fact, JPII dedicated his entire pontificate to Our blessed Mother, Mary. The apostolic motto of  JPII was Totus Tuus a Latin phrase that means “totally thine” taken from the Mariology writing of Saint Louis de Montfort. JPII expressed his Total Consecration to Mary based on the spiritual works of Saint Louis de Montfort. As providence would have it, God choose Saint Louis de Montfort School and parish in Fishers, IN for our family for over 16 years.

The paradox is that while we were in Italy I knew for certain that Our Lady of Fatima was speaking to me from the moment my eyes were affixed to the sculpture. Standing in the footsteps of Saint Pope John Paul II was a mystical experience. I touched the gold crucifix that I was wearing to the Fatima sculpture, the one given to me from my grandmothers rosary beads.  I tried to share the prominence of my story with fellow pilgrims. As they continued to walk on the most beautiful paved path, lined with stones and meticuously edged green grass, my feet were unapologetically stuck like glue to the holy ground beneath me, there was no denying it!

I keep going back to that monumental moment in my mind and in my heart. It was a feeling of complete oneness in communion with God. On that day, it was as clear as the sky is blue and the day is long that God was calling me to orchestrate a pilgrimage to Fatima, Portugal.

My hope is that others will go to Fatima to kneel and pray and to allow the Holy Spirit to come into their lives. The real irony is that my beautiful seventy-seven year old mom who was the God-mother to her own Mom and who witnessed her Baptism by Archbishop Fulton Sheen will travel with me to Fatima. My mom was the first pilgrim to register!

So, the story lives on!

Guided by the Holy Spirit, the next Peace Love Pilgrimage is to Fatima, Portugal on June 16-24, 2017. Fatima will be followed by a student pilgrimage/trip to Washington DC that was inspired by the new Saint John Paul II National Shrine.

Many have found that there are special spiritual graces that come only through pilgrimages and coming into contact with holy sites. When we go to these holy sites where the Holy Spirit has worked so powerfully through the faith of people and we open ourselves to God, we can come to a profound encounter with Him that could not have otherwise been realized in another place or another kind of situation.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

Saint John Paul II, pray for us.

Saint Louis de Montfort, pray for us!

Holy Door Pilgrimage to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Lafayette, Indiana

imageThe Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana announced the Ordination of: Mr. John Nguyen, Mr. Cole Daily, Mr. Michael Bower and Mr. Coady Owens from St Louis de Montfort Parish, to the Sacred Order of Deacons on Saturday, May 28 at 11:00am.

The pilgrimage from Saint Louis de Montfort in Fishers, IN to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception was two fold. Pilgrims experienced crossing the threshold of the Holy Door during the Extradorinary Jubilee of Mercy AND celebrated the Diaconal Ordination Mass.

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The ordination for deacons took place during the Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Lafayette IN, after the Gospel was proclaimed. The ceremony began with the presentation of the candidates. Each one was called forth by name, and he stood up and answer, “Present.”

After all the candidates were called, Bishop Timothy L Doherty ensured that the candidates were suitable for ordination. Then, the “election” took place: the bishop declared that he has chosen the candidates to be ordained. The congregation begins applauding to show that they agree with the decision. This is reminiscent of the first “election” by the early Christian community when they chose the first seven deacons. The bishop then preached a homily on the Gospel.

When he was finished, the candidates made their promise of celibacy. This was followed by the “examination”—a series of questions, which includes the promise of prayer.

Then, each candidate went individually to the bishop to make the promise of obedience. He kneeled before him and placeed his joined hands between the hands of the bishop while making the promise.

After all the diaconal candidates made the promise of obedience, the bishop invited the people to pray that the “Father will mercifully pour out his blessings on these servants whom, in his kindness, he raises to the sacred Order of the diaconate.” In one of the more dramatic moments in the liturgy, all the diaconal candidates lay prostrate on the floor, while everyone else joined them kneeling in prayer.

While everyone was kneeling, the litany of the saints was sung. This calls to mind the fact that not only those faithful on earth, but also the entire Church in heaven is praying during this important moment. We invoke Mary and Joseph, the saints from the Gospels and the heroic martyrs of the early Church, some of the humblest saints and some of the most influential teachers of the Church, as well as the founders of the great religious orders, and ask them for their prayers.

The bishop then extended his hands over the candidates. This begins the most important part of the ceremony—the ordination itself. At this point, he began the prayer of consecration. The prayer asks God to draw near and recalls the gift of the first deacons. The bishop continues, “Send forth upon them, Lord, we pray, the Holy Spirit, that they may be strengthened by the gift of your sevenfold grace for the faithful carrying out of the work of the ministry.” He then intercedes for them, asking the Lord to grant them growth in holiness.

After this, each candidate went to the bishop and knelt before him. The bishop laid his hands on the candidate’s head, in silence. This is the “laying on of hands” found in the first ordination. The man is ordained a deacon.

After the candidates have been ordained, assisting deacons or priests help the new deacons put on first a deacon’s stole and then a vestment called the dalmatic.

Each newly ordained deacon then goes to the bishop and kneels before him. The bishop places the Book of the Gospels in the hands of the newly ordained, saying, “Receive the Gospel of Christ whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.” Finally, the bishop stands and gives the kiss of peace to each new deacon. The Celebration of the Eucharist then continued as usual

Many parishioners from Saint Louis de Montfort Parish joined in prayer at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on May 28, 2016 for Coady Owens. The next day, Coady was warmly welcomed back home at the parish where he grew up, St. Louis de Montfort.  On the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ Coady preached his first homily at each of the Sunday liturgies. Fr. Pat and Fr. Janko presented Coady with a large pix from the Parish.

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St. Louis de Montfort, pray for us!

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Divine Mercy

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Saint Louis de Montfort Catholic Community in Fishers, Indiana

What is Divine Mercy you ask? It is pretty deep, like the ocean. In a couple sentences, Mercy is the fact that God LOVES us unconditionally! Divine Mercy is the fact that no sin can out weigh God’s love and forgiveness.

This weekend is the Second Sunday of Easter called Divine Mercy in the liturgy. Pope John Paul II not only died on the eve of this prominent feast day but actually declared the feast and dedicated his life work to it. Divine Mercy is the ability to gather God’s graces! If you do one thing this weekend, find a church and step inside! I know I will, many miles away from our home town parish.

Saint Faustina Kowalska was declared a Saint in the year 2000 by Pope Saint John Paul II. The feast day of Saint Faustina is celebrated on October 5 the same day my husband and I were married in 1991. It is also the same day my parents were engaged to be married, many years prior. I vividly recall my mom mentioning the prominence of that date every year as we celebrate our sacramental wedding anniversary. For that reason, I have a profound connection to Saint Faustina, the first Saint that ever wrote about Divine Mercy.

Today, I explained to our daughter the prominence of the Divine Mercy image. It is entirely providence that while we were sitting by the ocean the sun was shining with beaming rays. In the Divine Mercy image the ray of red represents the blood of Jesus and light blue represents the water that He shed when He died for our sins. His love is truly deeper than the ocean and it was then that I realized, we were sitting by the ocean of God’s unfathomable love!! There was no denying it.

The significane of Divine Mercy this weekend is not by chance. I guess I am a visual person! I needed the ocean. I personally gave to God all that weighed on my heart. And, it was then that He provided! God always has something far greater in mind when we let go of whatever it is that we hold onto. Why not let your test become your testimony? My prayer is that the world will know the LOVE of God as deep and as wide as the ocean. Say it: Jesus, I trust in you.

Amen.

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The sunrise in southern Florida with rays piercing over the ocean of God’s love. April 2, 2016.