Message of Fatima as Relevant as Ever, 100 Years Later

Our Lady of Fatima

CELEBRATING THE CENTENARY OF FATIMA…..SAVE THE DATE …On June 13th, the Cathedral will have a statue of our Lady of Fatima in church with a led rosary at 6:30 am before the 7 am Mass and a second led rosary at 5:30 pm. …Also on June 13th, St. John’s will have a procession at 6:15 pm transporting a statue of Our Lady of Fatima into church with music, a led rosary, Mass and a reception to follow. PLEASE NOTE THERE WILL NOT BE A MORNING MASS ON JUNE 13TH. Events for July, August, September and October to be announced.

 

 

 

Father Richard Kunst

When I was growing up, my paternal grandmother was the spiritual leader of the extended Kunst family. She had a massive influence over all of us, but especially me. My love and respect for her was almost boundless, because I saw in her what I thought to be a true saint. 

My grand-mother was an active member of what was known as “The Blue Army,” a national group that was dedicated to the spreading of the message of Our Lady of Fatima. I remember many times going with her to various Blue Army gatherings and events. Needless to say, my personal childhood spirituality was heavily tilted towards all things Fatima. 

That has never left me. I still have a deep devotion to Mary under this title, as well as to the important message that was revealed by Our Lady at that time. 

As we all know by now, 2017 marks the centenary of the Fatima event in which the Blessed Virgin appeared to three illiterate shepherd children six times, once a month from May to October. In honor of the 100th anniversary, Pope Francis canonized the two younger children just last month. (I was blessed to have concelebrated at their beatification by St. John Paul II in 2000 in Fatima.) The third seer died just in 2005, so her process of canonization is only in the beginning stages. 

The apparitions of Mary were foreshadowed by an appearance of an angel in 1916, which the children were able to keep secret, but that all changed when Our Lady first appeared to the three children on May 13, 1917. In classic biblical fashion, her first words to the children were, “Do not be afraid, I will do you no harm.” 

St. Jacinta Marto, the youngest of the seers, is the one who spilled the beans to her parents, making the Fatima event a public one from the very beginning, causing much strife for the children, whose families did not believe the children, and causing ever-growing crowds to join the children at each of the successive appearances. 

It was her appearance in July in which Our Lady told the children to add the now famous “Fatima prayer” to the rosary after each mystery: “O my Jesus, forgive us, save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need.” In all six apparitions, the primary message, which was repeated by Our Lady, was, “Pray the rosary every day, in order to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war.” 

This message to pray the rosary daily is not something that is relegated to the past. Our Lady wanted that message to be spread for the end of World War I, but it is as pertinent today as it was 100 years ago. World peace is as elusive as ever, with the problems in Syria and North Korea, not to mention terrorism. I suspect if Mary were to appear again, she would ask us to continue to pray the rosary daily for the same cause. Personally, after the Mass it remains my favorite prayer. 

The six months of apparitions that occurred in 1917 had a bit of a detour in August when the three children were arrested and interrogated. The local communist government figured the apparitions were a part of a hoax to discredit their authority. The children were actually thrown in an adult jail and threatened with death if they did not recant, which of course they did not. Instead of the regular appearance on the 13th of that month, Our Lady appeared to them on the 19th. 

The Fatima event is likely most well-known for what happened on October 13, Our Lady’s final appearance, in what is known as “the miracle of the sun.” By the time October rolled around, the word had spread far and wide that some sort of sign would happen to authenticate the apparitions. The crowds had been growing with each successive month, so on the miserably rainy day of Oct. 13, some estimates had the crowd as large as 100,000, including much of the secular media there to cover the event that was supposedly was going to happen.

Photos from that day verify the people’s response to the unique phenomena of the pulsating or dancing of the sun. Not all witnesses explained it the same, but the majority of the people explained it as the sun gyrating or falling to the earth in various different colors. The rain which had been falling all day stopped, and the drenched ground and people were completely dried up in just a few minutes of the sun’s movement. People from many miles away also witnessed the occurrence, which to this day has no satisfactory scientific explanation. What is telling is that the communist newspaper described the whole indescribable event. 

Fatima is as pertinent today as it was 100 years ago, especially with the call to pray the rosary daily. My first international trip as a college student was to go on pilgrimage to Fatima, and I have been back a few times since. From my own observation, of all the shrines I have ever visited, the shrine at Fatima, Portugal, has felt the most spiritual to me, primarily, I suspect, due to the deep faith of the Portuguese and other pilgrims from throughout the world who go to visit and express their love for Our Blessed Mother. 

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us! 

Rosary Belonging to Pope Benedict XV, Pope at the Time of Fatima

 

Our Pastor’s Northern Cross Column for May

Father Richard Kunst

We are blessed to share our pastor with our Diocese via the Northern Cross.  Here is Fr. Rich’s column for May.  Enjoy!

Father Richard Kunst: Jesus appeared only to his disciples — for good reasons

May 17, 2017

May 2017 is an important month, because it marks the 100th anniversary of Our Lady’s appearance to the three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal. I had every intention to write on the subject of Our Lady’s appearance this month, but as I sit at my computer writing this column, it is Easter Monday, so the resurrection is vivid in my brain right now, and since Mary appeared in Fatima for six months, I will have other opportunities to explore this important occurrence.

It is not possible to improve upon Christ’s resurrection and his appearances on Easter Sunday and the 40 days that followed, but that does not mean that I wouldn’t have done it differently. What do I mean by that? Well, there are two things I would have wanted to do differently had I been the resurrected Christ. (I know this sounds heretical, but bear with me.)

Now let’s dissect this a little. How do you suppose Pontius Pilate would have responded, and how do you suppose the Sanhedrin would have responded? What I offer is pure hypothetical speculation, but it is food for thought.Had I been Jesus after the resurrection, one of the first things I would have done is to go and knock on Pontius Pilate’s door: “Hey, Pontius, remember me? I am that guy you had crucified last Friday. Look at my hands and feet. What do you think of that?” Then I would have gone to the next gathering of the Jewish Sanhedrin as an uninvited guest to scare the bejeebers out of them, since they were the ones who spearheaded the crucifixion.

My guess is that the Sanhedrin would have tried to put Jesus to death again. There are clear indications in the Gospels that the Sanhedrin accepted the fact that Jesus was doing some amazing things. For example, they admitted that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, but they still killed Jesus and even wanted to kill Lazarus too, since many people were believing in Jesus because of him!

So the majority of the Sanhedrin were completely closed-minded when it came to Jesus. In fact, Jesus even hints at that at the end of his parable of the rich man and Lazarus, when he says, from the mouth of Abraham, “If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be convinced even if one should rise from the dead” (Luke 16:31). That being said, I do not think there would have been any benefit to Jesus showing up at the meeting of the Jewish leadership.

How about Pilate? How would he have responded had Jesus shown up at his door after his crucifixion and resurrection? Again this is pure, hypothetical speculation. I think Pontius Pilate would have been awestruck at the appearance of Jesus and his crucifixion wounds and glorified body, but I do not think his response would have been very good.

Remember, Pilate was a pagan. He believed in a whole host of unbelievable mythical characters as gods. I suspect that Pilate would have tried to get the emperor and the Roman Empire to accept Jesus as one of the many gods of their pantheon, and were he successful, what do you suppose would have happened? Christianity would have died out when the Roman Empire ended. Christianity would have become one of those strange Roman mythologies we studied in school, just like Venus and Minerva.

God had a better plan.

Between the resurrection and the ascension, Jesus appeared only to those who were his disciples in life. While on one hand we may question why that was the case, and we may think that it would have been more effective if Jesus appeared to some of his enemies, the fact is Jesus knew what he was doing.

Suppose the Christian message would have had the backing of the Roman Empire from the very beginning. Then the spread and growth of Christianity would have been attributed to human power. The fact that Christianity spread at a miraculous rate despite the furor of the political power of the day is just that: a miracle. The hand of God, not the hand of man, caused its growth. The very disciples who cowered in fear of the Jewish authorities, the very disciples who ran away and showed themselves to be hopelessly dumb during the life of Jesus, were the ones who were emboldened after his death to spread the Good News.

God’s ways are not our ways, and although I think it might have been pretty cool to watch Jesus appear to Pontius Pilate and the Sanhedrin, it was not of God. By appearing only to those who were his disciples before he ascended to heaven, Jesus shows clearly that God’s plan is perfect.

Kindergarten Graduation at St. John’s School

We wish our Kindergartners a safe and happy summer with memories of their first school year filled with blessings, love, skills and fun.  Thank you, Mrs. Tessier!  A terrific teacher and a creative teacher.  She created this video for them and their parents.

 

 

Rediscovering A Beautiful, Ancient Prayer

Father Richard Kunst

October is the month of the rosary, but there is good reason to focus on the rosary in the month of April as well.

The last day of April is the feast day of St. Pius V, A Dominican pope who was very much devoted to the rosary and was the eventual cause for the feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary on October 7th, and the patronal feast of our diocese.

The rosary is perhaps the most common of the Catholic devotional prayers.  Up until recently it consisted of 15 decades of “Hail Marys” with each decade proceeded by the Lord’s Prayer and followed by a doxology, accompanied by a meditation upon the life of Christ called a mystery.  A few years back Pope John Paul the Great introduced five more mysteries, making the complete rosary twenty decades.  This is the first substantial change to the rosary in nearly 500 years.

When the whole rosary is prayed, it is a virtual epitome of the liturgical year and the Gospels, though ordinarily only five decades are prayed at a time.

Pious tradition states that the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Dominic and gave him the rosary.  Though Dominic and his order really are responsible for popularizing this form of prayer, in fact the rosary pre-dates Dominic by at least 100 years.  In reality, the rosary had a slow development.

It is a form of prayer that did not come from church authority but from the faith of the common people.  Many monasteries at the time would pray all 150 Psalms every day.  Though it was impractical, many lay people wanted to imitate this form of prayer.  Eventually the normative practice became quoting 150 short Scripture passages, hence the fifteen decades.  Through time, the passages became regularized as quotes from the first chapter of Luke’s Gospel: the words of the Angel to Mary, “Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28), and the words of Elizabeth to Mary, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb” (Luke 1:42).

It should be clear to anyone at this point that for the most part the rosary is little more than simply quoting Gospel passages in prayer.  Anybody who does not have a problem praying with the Scriptures should not have a problem praying the rosary.  For this reason, it is unfortunate that it is primarily only a Catholic prayer.

Although the mysteries of the rosary also had a slow development, they were pretty much accepted in their current form by 1483.  In 1573 St. Pius V established the feast of “Our Lady of the Rosary” in honor of the defeat of the Turkish Muslim fleet at Lepanto on October 7, 1571.

Because so many different religious traditions have used beads to help them in prayer, the word itself is actually synonymous with prayer; the Old English word for “prayer” is “bead.”

There is nothing magical about the beads.  They are simply a mechanical device to keep track of where you are in the prayer.  With so many repetitions of different prayers, the beads become almost necessary; they themselves should never be the focus but in fact should help us to concentrate on the prayer.

To pray the rosary appropriately we almost should ignore the beads.  People who go out of their way to find the most beautiful rosary may in fact be missing the point; the beads should very much be of secondary importance.

Although the rosary is not a mantra in the strict sense, it certainly can act as one.  Mantras, mostly a part of Hindu prayer, are a continual repeating of words to “get in the zone” of prayer, to make the prayer as natural as the breath you are taking.  Saying the same prayers over and over again certainly lend themselves to acting as a mantra, all the while meditating on the life of Christ in the mysteries.

It is an unfortunate reality that so many non-Catholics have a problem with the concept of praying a rosary.  There is no reason to shy away from this prayer anymore than there is reason to shy away from the Gospels.  The rosary quotes the scriptures and traces the entire life of Jesus in prayer and meditation.

Catholics, too, should be more accustomed to praying this beautiful and ancient prayer.

I often will tell parishioners to pray the rosary often enough so that it will not look out of place in their hands in the casket.

 

Pope St. Pius V

A Message from Father Rich about Holy Week

Relic of the True Cross of Christ belonging to Pope Clement XI

Reiquary of the True Cross

Reiquary of the True Cross of Christ

 

Father Rich

 

 If You Skip Holy Week Liturgies, You’re Truly Missing Out

For a long time I referred to Easter Monday (the day after Easter) as my favorite day of the whole year.  When asked why, my tongue-in-cheek answer was always, “Because it is the farthest away from Holy Week.”

At the risk of sound scandalous I used to say that all the time because I was so stressed by the Holy Week schedule.  The Catholic liturgy for Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil is a very different animal from all the other liturgies of the year, and for a long time I really had to re-learn what the heck I was doing for these important days of commemoration.

Now that I have several years under my belt, I have gotten to the point where I really get into Holy Week and the Triduum celebrations.  They really are the most beautiful thing the Catholic Church does in its liturgy, and if you don’t normally make it a habit to go to your parish for these days, you are truly missing out.

Holy Week has been known by other names throughout history.  It has been called “Major Week,” “Greater Week,” “Passion Week,” “Paschal Week,” “Authentic Week” and also “Painful Week.”  All of them are accurate titles, but “Holy Week” captures them all.

As can be figured by the name, it is the holiest time of the year for all Christians, and for the Catholic Church the three days of the Triduum (which literally means “three days”) act as one single liturgy.

This is why at the end of the Holy Thursday Mass there is no final blessing and dismissal and why Good Friday is technically not a Mass but a threefold liturgy of the Word, Adoration of the Cross and Eucharist, again with no dismissal.

And then of course the supreme day and liturgy is the Easter Vigil, taking place after dark, the day on which new members are added to the church by baptism and confirmations.

Interestingly the early church believed that the second coming of Christ would happen on the evening of the Easter Vigil, and who knows?  It could still happen.

One of the “apologetics”-type questions I have been asked over the years has to do with the three days Christ was in the tomb.

The questioner will ask, “How do we figure it to be three days when we commemorate his death on Friday and then on Saturday night we celebrate his resurrection?  It seems more like 30 hours than it does three days.”

Liturgically speaking, the Catholic Church has adopted the ancient Jewish concept of the day.  According to the Jewish concept, a day does not start at midnight, it starts at sundown.  This is why since the second Vatican Council we have had vigil Masses on Saturday evenings that count for the Sunday Mass.  Ask any old-timers and they will tell you there was no such thing as a Saturday evening Mass when they were growing up.

So going back to the three days Christ spent in the tomb, he was buried on Good Friday soon after he died, he remained in the tomb Saturday, and after sundown on Saturday it was officially Sunday, the first day of the week.  This accounts for the three days and for why the Easter Vigil starts late, to make time for the third day and allow for the darkness, which is washed away by the light of the Paschal Candle and individual candles that we each hold during this most solemn celebration.

Holy Week starts with Palm Sunday, which is April 9th  this year.  I always try to cajole you,  my parishioners,  to go to as many of the Holy Week liturgies as  possible.  

As I mentioned above, if you don’t traditionally make it a habit of taking advantage of Holy Week, you really do not know what you are missing.  Easter has so much greater meaning for us personally when we do Holy Week right.

Come to our  parishes  and enter into these beautiful celebrations that have no parallel.  I do not think you will regret it.  —Father Rich

 

A Commentary about the Relic of the True Cross, from the Papal Artifacts’ Collection:

The spirituality of the Popes, just like the rest of us, will take different forms. And some Popes have been really engrossed in things, such as relics. And this artifact is a relic of the True Cross of Christ owned by Pope Clement XI. He was Pope from 1700-1721, just to give you an idea of the time we are referring to.

Of course there are a lot of spurious relics of the True Cross out there. But I’m totally convinced that St. Helena brought back the original true cross. The mother of Constantine traveled to the Holy Land and found the True Cross, and she brought it back to Rome. However, over time, a lot of people have produced fake relics of the cross and pawned them off as real.

The best bet we have of authenticating this one, as a relic of the true cross, is that it was actually owned by the Pope, and he actually prayed with it.

And so what we have here is a relic of the true cross. It’s in a silver case, a very nice silver case. On one side it says, in Latin, “Lignum S. S. Crucis”, meaning it is a portion of the True Cross.

On the other side it has an image of the Pope’s coat of arms, and the date, 1703. And then when you open it up, there is a beautiful crystal cross that is sewn together with gold threading and small slivers of the cross are on the inside.

It’s just a beautiful item. And the fact that it was owned by one of the Holy Fathers makes it quite unique as well.

The fact is that this relic is so sacred and important to our spirituality and to who we are as Christians. It makes me not want to leave it in a box somewhere, so I have often used it for catechesis.

I keep this close to myself to use for my own prayer life. It’s a way of having that connection to Christ crucified. Obviously, but also, it’s another way of being connected to a pope who was also praying with it.

So it’s a very unique piece that I personally used in my own spirituality, and it is one of these humbling things to have one of these.

If there’s a relic of the True Cross that’s authentic, then this one is with the highest level of certitude, because the Pope owned it. It’s a very beautiful item and very precious.

The Vatican is the organization that has the care of the true cross that came from St. Helen, mother of Constantine, in the 4th century. So the Vatican always had a portion of the true cross.

The fact that this was owned by the Pope with the reliquary in his own personal possession lends credence to the authenticity of this item. — Father Rich

 

 

 

Diocese of Duluth Announces Name of New School: Stella Maris Academy

Duluth’s Catholic schools are unifying into one citywide school with multiple campuses under the new name beginning next school year. Stella Maris is a name for Mary meaning “Star of the Sea.” According to the diocese, “star of the sea” has a special significance to Duluth residents and emphasizes Mary’s role as a sign of hope and a guiding star for Christians.

Bishop Paul Sirba considered more than 20 names submitted by students, parents, staff and clergy. He decided on the name after spending time at each of the campuses and local parishes, according to the diocese.

“After careful consideration and prayer, like St. Peter in the Acts of the Apostles, I trusted the Lord to help us choose from between two beautiful names, the providential one to share with our school community,” Sirba said in a statement. “The choice places the school under the patronage of Stella Maris and speaks to our legacy of academic excellence and commitment to preparing lifelong learners who lead, love and serve as Jesus taught. This process overall will bring vitality and stability for the next generations.”

Students and families will have input in the colors and mascot as the new school identity is formed, according to the diocese. The plan calls for St. James Catholic School to become the western campus for elementary and middle school students, Holy Rosary School to become the eastern campus elementary school and St. John’s School to become the eastern campus for middle school and a new high school. St. Michael’s Lakeside School is slated to close.

Here is a link to St. John’s School’s website with more information about registering your child for the Fall semester:

http://www.duluthareacatholicschools.org/

And here is another look at the beautiful children at the St. John’s campus:

 

 

Father Rich’s Ramblings in the Bulletin: Visit St. Joseph’s in Gnesen

Here is a challenge to members of St. John’s Parish. When is the last time you have gone to Mass at our sister parish of St. Joseph’s in Gnesen? Although I rarely speak of St. Joseph’s in the context of my bulletin ramblings, it is well worth the drive to go to Mass there.

After the Second Vatican Council in the early 1960’s, many of our beautiful Catholic parishes were raped of what made them beautiful. In many churches the statues were taken out and the worst of it was that most of them had their high altars taken out as well, but that did not happen at St. Joseph’s. Though it’s a small church, it retains all the charm of an old country church, and I love going there to do Mass.

All the former pastors have told me the same. In my many conversations with past priests they all loved the opportunity of going to Gnesen for Mass not only because of it being a beautiful little church, but also because of the strong and healthy community that worships there.

It is also the oldest Catholic Church in the city of Duluth!

An added plus is that if I am the priest out there the weekend you go, Mass tends to be brief because I have to break the speed laws to get back to St. John’s in time for the 10:30 Mass!

On a completely unrelated note, I want you to know of two additional times we will be having for confessions this week. I will be in the “sin bin” this Wednesday and Thursday, April 5th & 6th, from 6:00- 7:30 pm.

Lent is a proper time to go to confession and we all need it, so please keep me busy for those times. (Fr. Rich)

Click on these photos to view larger images:

St. Joseph's Catholic Church

St. Joseph’s Catholic Church

St. Joseph's Catholic Church

St. Joseph’s Catholic Church

St. Joseph's Catholic Church

St. Joseph Catholic Church Grotto

St. Joseph's Catholic Church

St. Joseph Catholic Church

No secret: Last three popes share close bond to Fatima

The logo of Crux

Junno Arocho Estevev
March 30, 2017
AUTHOR

ROME – Our Lady of Fatima has held a special place in the hearts of the last three popes who in different ways have shown their attention and devotion to the Portuguese apparitions. Yet no pope’s connection can match that of St. John Paul II.

“We cannot forget that he was saved by Our Lady of Fatima from the assassination attempt here in St. Peter’s. This is fundamental and central. It is never forgotten,” Portuguese Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, former prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, told Catholic News Service March 29.

Mehmet Ali Agca, a Turk, shot Pope John Paul at close range as the pope was greeting a crowd in St. Peter’s Square on the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, May 13, 1981.

Two bullets pierced the pope’s abdomen, but no major organs were struck; a bullet had missed his heart and aorta by a few inches.

St. John Paul would later say, “It was a mother’s hand that guided the bullet’s path.”

That miracle, the cardinal said, is key in “understanding well Pope John Paul’s devotion to Our Lady of Fatima.”

Given the date of the assassination attempt, the pope specifically credited Our Lady of Fatima with his miraculous survival and recovery. Several months later, he visited the site of the apparitions, the first of three visits he would make as pope to Fatima.

For St. John Paul, Martins said, “Our Lady of Fatima was everything,” and his three visits to the Portuguese town were those of a grateful son to the mother who saved his life.

“I still remember – I’ll never forget it – when he arrived at the little chapel of the apparitions where (the statue of) Our Lady of Fatima was,” Martins recalled.

St. John Paul was holding one of the bullets that had struck him and slowly approached the statue, finally placing the bullet in her crown, he said. “It is still in the crown today. I witnessed these gestures, how he expressed his devotion to Our Lady. He would just walk closer and closer to Our Lady and would repeat: ‘You saved me, you saved me.’”

As the prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes from 1998 to 2008, Martins also oversaw the process leading to the beatification by St. John Paul of Jacinta and Francisco Marto, two of the three young shepherd children, who saw Mary at Fatima.

The cardinal also shared a personal friendship with the third seer, Carmelite Sister Lucia dos Santos, who died in 2005.

It was Martins who, two years after Lucia’s death, urged Pope Benedict XVI to waive the five-year waiting period before her sainthood cause could be opened.

“The pope was very kind. He said, ‘Yes, you know more about this than I do. We will do as you say,’” the cardinal recalled.

Pope Benedict, the cardinal added, was a “great devotee” of Our Lady of Fatima, even before his election to the papacy.

Interviewed in his apartment near St. Peter’s Square, Martins grabbed a copy of part of the interview then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger did in 1985 with Vittorio Messori, an Italian journalist.

“Before becoming pope, he said: ‘A stern warning has been launched from that place … a summons to the seriousness of life, of history, to the perils that threaten humanity,’” the cardinal read.

The special papal bond with Our Lady of Fatima continues today with Pope Francis, who as archbishop of Buenos Aires, was a frequent visitor to a shrine in the Argentine city devoted to her, Martins said.

Pope Francis will visit Fatima May 12-13 to mark the 100th anniversary of the apparitions.

The cardinal recalled Pope Francis’s “beautiful” words to Portuguese-speaking pilgrims on May 13, 2015, the 98th anniversary of the apparition: “Entrust to her all that you are, all that you have, and in that way you will be able to become an instrument of the mercy and tenderness of God to your family, neighbors and friends.”

“This an example of the words of Pope Francis, so he is a great devotee of Fatima,” the cardinal said. “And for this reason, he will go to Fatima. For him, it will be an extraordinary day in which he will fulfill this great desire that has been expressed in so many ways.”

Devotion to Our Lady of Fatima is emblematic of the popes of the last century who have “always recognized” the relevance of Mary’s message, particularly its emphasis on faith, conversion, hope and peace, the cardinal said.

“Today we need faith, to be closer to God and our brothers and sisters – not hate each other – we need hope and we need peace,” Martins said. “In short, the message of Fatima given 100 years ago is of extreme relevance.”

 

A Heads Up about a Net Flix 4 Part Series about Our Holy Father Francis

Pope Francis

On his path to becoming Pope Francis, Father Jorge Bergoglio pursues his religious vocation in a country ravaged by a brutal military dictatorship.  

We invite you to watch this film/not documentary, but probably accurate depiction of the military background from which our Holy Father came to us.

Not at all different than Pope St. John Paul II, coming from Nazism and Communism, Jorge Bergoglio emerged from the horrors of  war that caught him watching the deaths of priests, nuns and lay people dedicated to the most vulnerable of Argentina’s people, the poor.  While we don’t have reviews on this 4 part series, we have our own reviews to assure you that if you have access to Net Flix, do yourselves a favor, and watch this series.  It will endear you to our Holy Father.

Call Me Francis

Call Me Francis, is a 4 part biographical miniseries that chronicles Pope Francis’ life, his controversial political leanings, his remarkable humanitarian work and his ascent to Papacy starring Rodrigo de la Serna, Mercedes Morán and Muriel Santa Ana.

The miniseries opens with Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s early years in Buenos Aires in the 1960’s and depicts his journey through the height of Argentina’s “Dirty Wars” during the 70’s and 80’s, culminating in his appointment as Pope Francis, the first Latin American Pope in history, in 2013.

Call Me Francis is a Taodue production, co-created by Daniele Luchetti and Martin Salinas, and produced by Pietro Valsecchi.

 

A Message from Father Rich on the Feast of Christ the King

THIS IS A MOVEABLE FEAST

Pope Pius XI: The Author of Quas Primus, the Encyclical to which Father Rich is Refering

Pope Pius XI: The Author of Quas Primus, the Encyclical to which Father Rich is Refering

An autographed blessing signed by Pius XI. It is a hand-colored photo of him sitting at his desk. It is in an ornate frame that has cross keys and a tiara as part of the frame itself.

If you are unaware of this avocation of our pastor, I’d invite you to peruse his Collection to study, to browse, to enjoy the Collection to which he has devoted himself for the purpose of education, primarily.  Father Rich believes you cannot love what you do not know.  This Collection might help you to love and know our Church.

Visit Father Rich’s incredible Collection of Papal Artifacts.  Here is a link to his Collection:

Home Page

About the Commentary:

89-year-old Encyclical Holds Key Lessons for Us Today

Encyclicals are letters of high importance. Traditionally issued by any bishop, in recent times they have become an exclusive activity of the Bishop of Rome.

They are generally written to the entire church, and often a pope’s first encyclical will give a pretty clear indication where and how he wants to lead the church. As of this writing, Pope Francis has written one encyclical. Pope Benedict XVI wrote three, and Pope St. John Paul II wrote 14, but the pope with the most is Leo XIII (1878-1903), who wrote 85!

Often the letters are beautifully written and really speak to the issues of the day, but sometimes it is worthwhile to go back in history and see what some popes in the past have written and how prophetic these writings can actually be.

One encyclical that is particularly pertinent for today was written 89 years ago by Pope Pius XI (1922-1939). His encyclical Quas Primus (Latin for “In the first”) is pertinent for the month of November because with it, Pius established the liturgical feast day known as Christ the King, which almost always falls in November, because it is celebrated the last Sunday of ordinary time, right before Advent begins.

But Quas Primus is significant to much more than just this month. One would think in reading this encyclical that Pope Francis wrote it just yesterday. It is an amazing read!

The encyclical addressed what Pope Pius saw as a growing secularism in the world. Given that he wrote it in 1925, he probably wouldn’t even know where to start today.

He wrote that Christ needs to be king in every aspect of life: over persons, families, institutions, the state and even the whole universe. In reading this incredible letter, two quotes in particular stand out as extraordinarily appropriate for today.

Pius wrote, “While nations insult the beloved name of our redeemer by suppressing all mention of him in their conferences and parliaments, we must all the more loudly proclaim his kingly dignity.”

Read that a couple times and think about it. We cannot say “Merry Christmas” because it is offensive. We can only have “holiday trees” on public property. The 10 Commandment monuments that once were all over the country are being stripped from any government building. Most public schools in the country are no longer starting their school day with the “Pledge of Allegiance” because the words “one nation under God” are included. And heaven forbid that the government allow prayer in any school activity, whether it be sports or graduation ceremonies. And in recent years there has been a growing call to remove “in God we trust” from our coinage.

A second quote worth addressing from Quas Primus should hit a little closer to home, because Pius gives the reasons we got this way: “This state of things may perhaps be attributed to a certain slowness and timidity in good people, who are reluctant to engage in conflict or oppose but a weak resistance; thus the enemies of the Church become bolder in their attacks.”

I would have to say that, second only to pornography, the most confessed sin I have heard in general terms is the times people are too timid to speak up for the church when she is being mocked or attacked by friends, family and co-workers. People are afraid to get into any conflict in defending the church. They do not want to speak out, choosing to keep silent.

This is certainly not only an issue for laypeople. We priests, I think, are even more timid in preaching on tough subjects what the church holds to be true. So often our own parishioners are at odds with the church on the “hot button” issues like homosexual marriage, abortion and artificial contraception, to name a few, so we priests do not want to preach about these issues. We are so often, as Pope Pius XI said, good people, but timid.

I am not condemning my brother priests, because I am one of them. It takes a great amount of courage to get up in front of everyone and tell them the truth when it is very unpopular, but we need to have courage.

I am not sure that even one percent of the Catholic population reads the pope’s encyclicals when they are published, but we certainly should. And I would even encourage you to go back in time to see some of the past encyclicals. Some of them are as pertinent today as they were the day they were written.

Christ the King, be king over us today and always!

–Father Richard Kunst