The Sword of the Spirit


"Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, the word of God." -Ephesians 6:17

Life is a wrestling match against demons (Eph 6:12). Our offensive weapon in this battle is the Holy Spirit working through His Word and in prayer (Eph 6:17-18).

To defeat the devil, we need to do what Jesus did when He was tempted (Mt 4:4, 7, 10) - we must wield the sword of God's Word (see Rv 1:16) in the power of the Spirit. "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God" (Rm 10:17, our transl.). Therefore, the Word of God is the basis for faith. Moreover, we must grow strong in our "holy faith through prayer in the Holy Spirit" (Jude 20). Both proclaiming God's Word in the Spirit and praying in the Spirit strengthens our faith. By such faith, we conquer the world (1 Jn 5:5) and claim Jesus' victory over Satan, the prince of the world.

The Spirit gives us the gift of faith (1 Cor 12:9) and the fruit of faith (Gal 5:22). Moreover, faith is how we move mountains (Mt 17:20) and destroy the strongholds of the evil one (2 Cor 10:4).

Consequently, Satan repeatedly tempts us to sin and thereby stifle the Spirit (1 Thes 5:19). This is his attempt to disarm us. We must resist his temptations and thus Live our life in the Spirit, the life of faith and victory.

 Father, may I be armed and Satan disarmed (Lk 11:22)

The Souls in Purgatory

The Secret of the Poor Souls in Purgatory
An interview with Maria Simma of Austria
Maria Simma (1915-2004)
Today, very little is taught in regular catechism classes about Purgatory, about the suffering that the Poor Souls experience in order to be completely purified to be able to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Yet Purgatory does exist, and the sufferings that the Poor Souls experience there are very real.
Since 1940 (she was then aged 25), a privileged soul, named Maria Simma, has had regular visits from the souls in Purgatory to explain their sufferings and to ask for prayers and Masses to be released from Purgatory. Her local Bishop and parish priest told her she could make known these visitations as long as there were no theological errors.
One day, Sister Emmanuel Maillard, a French nun known for her apostolate in favor of the Apparitions of Our Lady in Medjugorje, came across Maria Simma's book, called The Souls in Purgatory told Me... and read it with great interest: “This book struck me so much because it related very recent testimonies, and also explained very well the Church's doctrine on the subject... Straight away, I wrote to the editor who told me that Maria Simma is still alive. Quickly, I contacted her, and she agreed to meet me to answer my questions, which were many!”
This interview took place in 1997 at Maria's house in Sonntag, a very lovely village in the Vorarlberg Mountains in Austria. The following are excerpts from this interview of Sister Emmanuel of Medjugorje with Maria Simma, taken from a booklet entitled: The Amazing Secret of the Souls in Purgatory, published by Queenship Publishing Co., P.O. Box 220, Goleta, CA 93116, USA (Phone 800-647-9882, Fax: 805-967-5843):
(Note: Maria Simma died on March 16, 2004, in Sonntag, at the age of 89.)
Sr. Emmanuel with Maria Simma
Maria, can you tell us how you were visited for the first time by a soul in Purgatory?
Yes, it was in 1940. One night, around 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning, I heard someone coming into my bedroom... I saw a complete stranger. He walked back and forth slowly. I said to him severely: "How did you get in here? Go away!" But he continued to walk impatiently around the bedroom as if he hadn't heard. So I asked him again: "What are you doing?" But as he still didn't answer, I jumped out of bed and tried to grab him, but I grasped only air. There was nothing there. So I went back to bed, but again I heard him pacing back and forth.
I wondered how I could see this man, but I couldn't grab him. I rose again to hold onto him and to stop him from walking around; again, I grasped only emptiness. Puzzled, I went back to bed. He didn't come back, but I couldn't get back to sleep. The next day, after Mass, I went to see my spiritual director and told him everything. He told me that if this should happen again, I shouldn't ask, "Who are you?" but "What do you want from me?"
The following night, the man returned. I asked him: "What do you want from me?" He replied: "Have three Masses celebrated for me, and I will be delivered."
So I understood that it was a soul in Purgatory. My spiritual director confirmed this. He also advised me never to turn away the poor souls, but to accept with generosity whatever they asked of me.
And afterwards, the visits continued?
Yes. For several years, there were only three or four souls, above all in November. Afterwards, there were more.
What do these souls ask of you?
In most cases, they ask to have Masses celebrated and that one be present at these Masses. They ask to have the Rosary said and also that one make the Stations of the Cross.
Maria, do the souls in Purgatory have, nevertheless, joy and hope in the midst of their suffering?
Yes. No soul would want to come back from Purgatory to the earth. They have knowledge which is infinitely beyond ours. They just could not decide to return to the darkness of the earth.
Here we see the difference from the suffering that we know on earth. In Purgatory, even if the pain of the soul is just terrible, there is the certitude of living forever with God. It's an unshakeable certitude. The joy is greater than the pain. There is nothing on earth which could make them want to live here again, where one is never sure of anything.
Maria, can you tell us now if it is God who sends a soul into Purgatory, or if the soul itself decides to go there?
It is the soul itself which wants to go to Purgatory, in order to be pure before going to Heaven.
Maria, at the moment of death, does one see God in full light or in an obscure manner?
In a manner still obscure, but, all the same, in such brightness that this is enough to cause great longing.
Maria, can you tell us what the role of Our Lady is with the souls in Purgatory?
She comes often to console them and to tell them they have done many good things. She encourages them.
Are there any days in particular on which She delivers them?
Above all, Christmas Day, All Saints Day, Good Friday, the Feast of the Assumption, and the Ascension of Jesus.
Charity covers a multitude of sins
Maria, why does one go to Purgatory? What are the sins which most lead to Purgatory?
Sins against charity, against the love of one's neighbor, hardness of heart, hostility, slandering, calumny — all these things.
Here, Maria gives us an example which really struck her which I would like to share with you. She had been asked to find out if a woman and a man were in Purgatory. To the great astonishment of those who had asked, the woman was already in Heaven and the man was in Purgatory. In fact, this woman had died while undergoing an abortion, whereas the man often went to church and apparently led a worthy, devout life.
So Maria searched for more information, thinking she'd been mistaken — but no, it was true. They had died at practically the same moment, but the woman had experienced deep repentance, and was very humble, whereas the man criticized everyone; he was always complaining and saying bad things about others. This is why his Purgatory lasted so long. And Maria concluded: "We mustn't judge on appearances."
Other sins against charity are all our rejections of certain people we do not like, our refusals to make peace, our refusals to forgive, and all the bitterness we store inside.
Maria also illustrated this point with another example which gave us food for thought. It's the story of a woman she knew very well. This lady died and was in Purgatory, in the most terrible Purgatory, with the most atrocious sufferings. And when she came to see Maria, she explained why.
She had had a female friend. Between them rose a great enmity, caused by herself. She had maintained this enmity for years and years, even though her friend had many times asked for peace, for reconciliation. But each time, she refused. When she fell gravely ill, she continued to close her heart, to refuse the reconciliation offered by her friend, right up to her deathbed.
Maria, please tell us: who are those who have the greatest chance of going straight to Heaven?
Those who have a good heart towards everyone. Love covers a multitude of sins.
What are the means which we can take on earth to avoid Purgatory and go straight to Heaven?
We must do a great deal for the souls in Purgatory, for they help us in their turn. We must have much humility. This is the greatest weapon against evil, against the Evil One. Humility drives evil away.
The Holy Mass
Maria, can you now tell us what are the most effective means to help deliver the souls in Purgatory?
The most efficient means is the Mass.
Why the Mass?
Because it is Christ who offers Himself out of love for us. It is the offering of Christ Himself to God, the most beautiful offering. The priest is God's representative, but it is God Himself who offers Himself and sacrifices Himself for us. The efficacy of the Mass for the deceased is even greater for those who attached great value to the Mass during their lives. If they attended Mass and prayed with all their hearts, if they went to Mass on weekdays — according to their time available — they drew great profit from Masses celebrated for them. Here, too, one harvests what one has sown.
 A soul in Purgatory sees very clearly on the day of his funeral if we really pray for him, or if we have simply made an act of presence to show we were there. The poor souls say that tears are no good for them: only prayer! Often they complain that people go to a funeral without addressing a single prayer to God, while shedding many tears; this is useless!
Earthly sufferings
There is another means, very powerful, to help the poor souls: the offering of our sufferings, our penances, such as fasting, renunciations, etc., — and of course, involuntary suffering, like illness or mourning.
Maria, you have been invited many times to suffer for the poor souls, in order to deliver them. Can you tell us what you have experienced and undergone during these times?
The first time, a soul asked me if I wouldn't mind suffering for three hours in my body for her, and that afterwards I could resume working. I said to myself: "If it will all be over after three hours, I could accept it." During those three hours, I had the impression that it lasted three days, it was so painful. But at the end, I looked at my watch, and I saw that it had only lasted three hours. The soul told me that by accepting that suffering with love for three hours, I had saved her twenty years of Purgatory!
Yes, but why did you suffer for only three hours to avoid twenty years of Purgatory? What did your sufferings have that was worth more?
It is because suffering on earth does not have the same value. On earth, when we suffer, we can grow in love, we can gain merits, which is not the case with the sufferings in Purgatory. In Purgatory, the sufferings serve only to purify us from sin. On earth, we have all the graces. We have the freedom to choose.
All of this is so encouraging because it gives an extraordinary meaning to our sufferings. The suffering which is offered, voluntary or involuntary, even the smallest sacrifices we can make, suffering or sickness, mourning, disappointments... if we live them with patience, if we welcome them in humility, these sufferings can have an unheard-of power to help souls.
The best thing to do, Maria tells us, is to unite our sufferings to those of Jesus, by placing them in the hands of Mary. She is the one who knows best how to use them, since often we ourselves do not know the most urgent needs around us. All this, of course, Mary will give back to us at the hour of our death. You see, these sufferings offered will be our most precious treasures in the other world. We must remind each other of this and encourage each other when we suffer.
Let me add something important: the souls in Purgatory can no longer do anything for themselves; they are totally helpless. If the living do not pray for them; they are totally abandoned. Therefore, it is very important to realize the immense power, the incredible power that each one of us has in our hands to relieve these souls who suffer.
We wouldn't think twice about helping a child who has fallen in front of us from a tree, and who had broken his bones. Of course, we would do everything for him! So, in the same way, we should take great care of these souls who expect everything from us, attentive to the slightest offering, hopeful for the least of our prayers, to relieve them from their pain. And it might be the finest way to practice charity.
Maria, why can one no longer gain merits in Purgatory, when one can on earth?
Because at the moment of death, the time to earn merits is over. For as long as we are living on earth, we can repair the evil we have done. The souls in Purgatory envy us of this opportunity. Even the angels are jealous of us, for we have the possibility of growing for as long as we are on earth.
But often, the suffering in our lives leads us to rebellion, and we have great difficulty in accepting and living it. How can we live suffering so that it bears fruit?
Sufferings are the greatest proof of the love of God, and if we offer them well, they can win many souls.
But how can we welcome suffering as a gift, and not as a punishment (as we often do), as a chastisement?
We must give everything to Our Lady. She is the one who knows best who needs such and such an offering in order to be saved.
We should not always consider sufferings as a punishment. It can be accepted as expiation not only for ourselves, but above all for others. Christ was innocence itself, and He suffered the most for the expiation of our sins. Only in Heaven will we know all that we have obtained by suffering with patience in union with the sufferings of Christ.
Maria, do the souls in Purgatory rebel when faced with their suffering?
No! They want to purify themselves; they understand that it is necessary.
What is the role of contrition or repentance at the moment of death?
Contrition is very important. The sins are forgiven, in any case, but there remains the consequences of sins. If one wishes to receive a full indulgence at the moment of death — that means going straight to Heaven — the soul has to be free from all attachment.
Maria, I would like to ask you: at the moment of death, is there a time in which the soul still has the chance to turn towards God, even after a sinful life, before entering into eternity — a time, if you like, between apparent death and real death?
Yes, yes! The Lord gives several minutes to each one in order to regret his sins and to decide: I accept, or I do not accept to go and see God. Then we see a film of our lives.
I knew a man who believed in the Church's teachings, but not in eternal life. One day, he fell gravely ill and slid into a coma. He saw himself in a room with a board on which all his deeds were written, the good and the bad. Then the board disappeared as well as the walls of the room, and it was infinitely beautiful. Then he woke up from his coma, and decided to change his life.
Maria, does the devil have permission to attack us at the moment of death?
Yes, but man also has the grace to resist him, to push him away. So, if man does not want anything to do with him, the devil can do nothing.
Maria, what advice would you give to anyone who wants to become a saint here on earth?
Be very humble. We must not be occupied with ourselves. Pride is evil's greatest trap.
Maria, please tell us: can one ask the Lord to do one's Purgatory on earth, in order not to have to do it after death?
Yes. I knew a priest and a young woman who were both ill with tuberculosis in the hospital. The young woman said to the priest: "Let's ask the Lord to be able to suffer on earth as much as necessary in order to go straight to Heaven." The priest replied that he himself didn't dare to ask for this. Nearby was a religious sister who had overheard the whole conversation. The young woman died first, the priest died later, and he appeared to the sister, saying: "If only I had had the same trust as the young woman, I too would have gone straight to Heaven."
Maria, are there different degrees in Purgatory?
Yes, there is a great difference of degree of moral suffering. Each soul has a unique suffering, particular to it; there are many degrees.
Maria, are the sufferings in Purgatory more painful than the most painful sufferings on earth?
Yes, but in a symbolic way. It hurts more in the soul.
Maria, you know, many people today believe in reincarnation. What do the souls tell you concerning this subject?
The souls say that God gives only one life.
But some would say that just one life is not enough to know God and to have the time to be really converted, that it isn't fair. What would you reply to them?
All people have an interior Faith (conscience); even if they do not practice, they recognize God implicitly. Someone who does not believe — that doesn't exist! Each soul has a conscience to recognize good and evil, a conscience given by God, an inner knowledge — in different degrees, of course, but each one knows how to discern good from evil. With this conscience, each soul can become blessed.
What happens to people who have committed suicide? Have you ever been visited by these people?
Up to now, I have never encountered the case of a suicide who was lost — this doesn't mean, of course, that that doesn't exist — but often, the souls tell me that the most guilty were those around them, when they were negligent or spread calumny.
At this moment, I asked Maria if the souls regretted having committed suicide. She answered yes. Often, suicide is due to illness. These souls do regret their act because, as they see things in the light of God, they understand instantly all the graces that were in store for them during the time remaining for them to live — and they do see this time which remained for them, sometimes months or years —– and they also see all the souls they could have helped by offering the rest of their lives to God. In the end, what hurts them most is to see the good that they could have done but didn't, because they shortened their lives. But when the cause is illness, the Lord takes this into account, of course.
Are there priests in Purgatory?
Yes, there are many. They didn't promote respect for the Eucharist. So Faith overall suffers. They are often in Purgatory for having neglected prayer — which has diminished their Faith. But there are also many who have gone straight to Heaven.
What would you say, then, to a priest who really wants to live according to the Heart of God?
I would advise him to pray much to the Holy Spirit — and to say his Rosary every day.
Have you been visited by souls who, on earth, practiced perversions? I am thinking, for example, about the sexual domain.
Yes, they are not lost, but they have much to suffer to be purified. For example: homosexuality. This truly comes from the Evil One.
What advice would you give, then, to all those people afflicted by homosexuality, with this tendency in them?
Pray a lot for the strength to turn away from it. They should above all pray to the Archangel Michael; he is the great fighter par excellence against the Evil One.
What are the attitudes of heart which can lead us to losing our soul for good, I mean going to Hell?
It is when the soul does not want to go towards God, when it actually says: "I do not want."
Jesus said that it was difficult for a rich person to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Have you seen such cases?
Yes! But if they do good works, works of charity, if they practice love, they can get there, just like the poor.
What do you think of the practices of spiritism? For example: calling up the spirits of the departed, Ouija-boards, etc.?
It is not good. It is always evil. It is the devil who makes the table move.
What is the difference between what you are living with the souls of the departed, and the practices of spiritism?
We are not supposed to summon up the souls — I don't try to get them to come. In spiritism, people try to call them forth.
This distinction is quite clear, and we must take it very seriously. If people were only to believe one thing I have said, I would like it to be this: those who engage in spiritism (moving tables and other practices of that kind) think that they are summoning up the souls of the dead. In reality, if there is some response to their call, it is always and without exception Satan and his angels who are answering. People who practice spiritism (diviners, witches, etc.) are doing something very dangerous for themselves and for those who come to them for advice. They are up to their necks in lies. It is forbidden, strictly forbidden, to call up the dead. As for me, I have never done so, l do not do so, and I never will do so. When something appears to me, God alone permits it. (End of interview.)

This article was published in the January-February, 2004 issue of “Michael”.


Woman's untreated cancer
went away after apparition

Therese Daoud from Haifa, Israel, had a deadly tumor when she went to Vicka’s apparition in Nazareth in August 2013. Two weeks later tests showed the tumor had shrunk and in early October it was gone. She never underwent medical treatment and her doctor calls her healing unheard of.
source Medjugorje Today

Fr. John Chisholm, long-time Medjugorje pilgrim

Fr. John Chisholm, the Holy Ghost priest from Ireland, long-time Medjugorje pilgrim died on Thursday, October 23, 2014 in his 93rd year of life as a consequence of a heart attack. Fr. John was ordained as a priest in 1946, and he spent six years in Medjugorje from 2000 to 2006, serving to God, Gospa and English –speaking pilgrims. While he was once with his mother, he heard about the events in Medjugorje and felt desire to come to this place. Soon after her death, he received invitation to come to Medjugorje with a group of pilgrims. In that week, he completely fell in love with Gospa, in love that he faithfully served to until the last breath of his earthly life.



"You form a building which rises on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the Capstone." -Ephesians 2:20

As this is written, the Catholic Church is maligned in many arenas. Our leaders are scorned in the media and hammered by the general public. Dissent from within the Church also plagues our leaders. Failures of Church leaders are trumpeted from every public forum, while their virtuous acts receive little notice.

This is not much different from the time of Jesus. The apostles were "men of no standing" (Acts 4:13). They were "a spectacle to the universe," "fools on Christ's account," "the world's refuse, the scum of all" (1 Cor 4:9, 10, 13). Throughout history, Church leaders have had their failings. Many apologists note that the fact the Catholic Church still exists is proof that God leads the Church, for no institution with our failings and weaknesses could stand if God was not holding it up (cf Acts 5:38-39).

Therefore, rejoice that you, a living stone for Jesus (1 Pt 2:5), are called to be "fitted" into the Church (Eph 2:21). Rejoice that you are resting upon the shoulders of the apostles and the bishops, the successors of the apostles. Because there are many great leaders in the Church, when a leader fails and leaves a hole in the structure upon which we are built, we will not crumble, for we are built into the Church "in" Jesus (Eph 2:22).
Jesus has prepared a place for you in His Church (see Jn 14:2). "Go out now and take your place" (Acts 5:20).

 Father, I pray "first of all" for "those in authority" in the Church (1 Tm 2:1-2). May I submit faithfully to them "that they may fulfill their task with joy, not with sorrow" (Heb 13:17).

 "You are fellow citizens of the saints and members of the household of God." -Eph 2:19


Lord I lift Your name on high

Medjugorje Youthfest Orchestra and Choir performing "Lord I lift Your name
 on high" at the International Youth Festival in Medjugorje, Bosnia and Herzegovina.


Catholic Seminarians Responce...

Our Lady's Medjugorje message of October 25, 2014

Dear children! Pray in this time of grace and seek the intercession of all the saints who are already in the light. From day to day may they be an example and encouragement to you on the way of your conversion. Little children, be aware that your life is short and passing. Therefore, yearn for eternity and keep preparing your hearts in prayer. I am with you and intercede before my Son for each of you, especially for those who have consecrated themselves to me and to my Son.   Thank you for having responded to my call.

A Little Reflection

St. Thomas Aquinas said, "In all things, look to the end." The "end" for Catholic Christians is eternity where the saints and angels dwell in perpetual adoration of the triune Godhead.

 The lives of many saints tell us that it was by reading the lives of saints that their own conversion was brought about.  We need all the encouragement and example available in order to grow in holiness and live the kind of life that will gain us eternal happiness and also will be a witness to those we interact with.

  Our Lady shows us that by constant prayer we can be prepared for that moment when we are called to give an accounting of our lives. Fidelity and constancy will go a long way to the "end" we yearn for, eternity itself. Mary, our Mother, thank you for interceding for us.


Pope John Paul II: Do not let your hearts be troubled

Pope John Paul, brothers and sisters do not let your hearts be troubled 
the Holy Spirit is with you.


When the Communists Murdred A Priest


 Blessed Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko and St. John Paul II BROKE COMMUNISM

It was October 19, 1984—30 years ago this week. A gentle, courageous, and genuinely holy priest, Jerzy Popieluszko, age 37, found himself in a ghastly spot that, though it must have horrified him, surely did not surprise him. An unholy trinity of three thugs from communist Poland’s secret police had seized and pummeled him. He was bound and gagged and stuffed into the trunk of their cream-colored Fiat 125 automobile as they roamed the countryside trying to decide where to dispatch him. This kindly priest was no less than the chaplain to the Solidarity movement, the freedom fighters who would ultimately prove fatal to Soviet communism—and not without Popieluszko’s stoic inspiration.
The ringleader this October day was Captain Grzegorz Piotrowski, an agent of Poland’s SB. Unlike Jerzy, who grew up devoutly religious, Piotrowski was raised in an atheist household, which, like the communist despots who governed Poland, was an aberration in this pious Roman Catholic country. The disregard for God and morality made Piotrowski an ideal man for the grisly task ahead, which he assumed with a special, channeled viciousness.
“Popieluszko: Freedom Is Within Us”, available from Ignatius Press (www.ignatius.com)
Piotrowski’s first beating of the priest that evening was so severe that it should have killed him. Jerzy was a small man afflicted with Addison’s disease. He previously had been hospitalized for other infirmities, including (understandably) stress and anxiety. But somehow, the priest was managing to survive as he fought for his life in the cold, dark trunk of the Fiat. In fact, somehow he unloosened the ropes that knotted him and extricated himself from the car. He began to run, shouting to anyone who could hear, “Help! Save my life!”
He was run down by Piotrowski, a dedicated disciple of what a Polish admirer of Jerzy, Pope John Paul II, would dub the Culture of Death. “I caught up with him and hit him on the head several times with the stick,” Piotrowski later confessed. “I hit him near or on the head. He fell limp again. I think he must have been unconscious. And then I became—never mind, it doesn’t matter.”
It did matter. It certainly mattered to the helpless priest. What Piotrowski became was something altogether worse. He seemed overtaken by another force. As recorded by authors Roger Boyes and John Moody in their superb book, Messenger of the Truth, which is now agripping documentary, Piotrowski’s accomplices thought their comrade had gone mad, “so wild were the blows.” It was like a public flogging. Jerzy’s pounding was so relentless that it wouldn’t be misplaced to think of Christ’s scourging at the pillar. This young man in persona Christi, not much older than Jesus Christ at his death agony, was being brutally tortured. It was a kind of crucifixion; the kind at which communists uniquely excelled.
One is tempted to say that Piotrowski beat the hell out of Father Jerzy, but such would be inappropriate and inaccurate for such a man of faith. Really, the hell was coming out of the beater, in all its demonic force and fury.
After another round of thrashing, Piotrowski and his two fellow tormentors ramped up the treatment. They grabbed a roll of thick adhesive tape and ran it around the priest’s mouth, nose, and head, tossing him once again in the vehicle, like a hunk of garbage on its way to the heap.
Though he could barely breathe or move, Father Jerzy somehow again pried open the trunk as the car continued to its destination. This set Piotrowski into a rage. He stopped the vehicle, got out, looked sternly at the priest, and told him that if he made even one more sound, he would strangle him with his bare hands and shoot him. Boyes and Moody report what happened next: “He [Piotrowski] replaced the gun and lifted [his] club. It came down on the priest’s nose, but instead of the sound of cartilage breaking, there was a plop, like a stick hitting the surface of a puddle.”
The perpetrators didn’t realize it quite yet, but it was the final, deadly blow. The next time they saw Father Jerzy, they had no doubt.
The killers drove to a spot at the Vistula River. They tied two heavy bags of stones, each weighing nearly 25 pounds, to the priest’s ankles. They lifted him in a vertical position above the water and then quietly let him go. He sunk into the blackness below them. It was 10 minutes before midnight, October 19, 1984. “Popieluszko is dead,” announced Lieutenant Leszek Pekala to his collaborators in this revolting, sad crime. The third helper, Lieutenant Waldemar Chmielewski, solemnly and simply affirmed, “That’s right.”
They drove away, downing a bottle of vodka to try to numb what they had done. Pekala thought to himself as he drank, “Now we are murderers.”
Indeed they were. Of course, so was the system they represented. It and its handmaidens had consumed countless Jerzy Popieluszkos and tens of millions of others whose names tragically will never be remembered on the anniversary of their deaths.
This priest, however, was remembered, by the millions. When he didn’t show for 7:00 a.m. Mass the next morning, his parishioners were immediately alarmed. This wasn’t like the loyal and punctual man of the cloth. A search for his whereabouts quickly commenced. It would take some time, but the truth eventually prevailed, as it did against communism generally. Among those sickened by the news was a Polish priest in the Vatican, Karol Wojytla—Pope John Paul II. The shocked pontiff could relate: he had experienced many fellow Poles and priests killed by totalitarianism. He himself was a survivor. The communists had wanted him dead as well; they tried to assassinate him three years earlier.
And like John Paul II, Jerzy Popieluszko’s torment at the hands of devils was not in vain. Millions of Poles poured out of their homes and into churches to pay him homage, as they had for their native son, Karol Wojtyla, back in June 1979—a historic, life-changing visit that a young Jerzy helped coordinate. Ironically, Jerzy had been charged with working between the Vatican and Polish Ministry of Health to arrange emergency safety measures during that trip. Then, too, he had the mission of protecting people from harm—harm by communism.
Ultimately, Jerzy Popieluszko’s struggle, like that of his pope, was not in vain. As Tertullian once put it, the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church. The communists could not extinguish Poles’ desire for the Church, for God, and for freedom. It would take another five years after his death, but the saintly priest’s demise had further fueled the flames for the torch of freedom and the corresponding crash and burn of communism.
In retrospect, Jerzy’s murder in 1984 marked the mid-point between two cataclysmic events that put nails in the coffin of communism: John Paul II’s June 1979 visit to Poland and the crucial free elections held in Poland in June 1989. Those elections, more than anything else, signaled the coming collapse of communism. Mikhail Gorbachev later said that when those elections were held in Poland, he knew it was all over. It was no coincidence that the Berlin Wall fell five months later.
Father Jerzy Popieluszko was one of many martyrs at the hands of atheistic communism. But his cause was an especially significant one. His service and death were not in vain.
Edited by Jane Juetten, Communications Director News and Faith.com
Visit us on News and Faith.com for much more!  Make it your DAILY STOP for Faith and Life.  The News Behind the News.  Tell Friends and Family!  Spread the Word!


"If you, with all your sins, know how to give your children good things, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him." -Luke 11:13

When we were baptized and confirmed, we received the Holy Spirit. At countless other times, we have again received the Spirit. We thus have every reason to be filled with the Spirit. However, because of our sins and selfishness, we have stifled  and saddened the Spirit. Therefore, we must repent and once again ask for the fullness of the Spirit.

If we don't stir into flame the gift of the Spirit in our lives,we may even lose the Spirit. It is possible for a Christian to begin in the Spirit and to end in the flesh.It is possible for a person to go from the fullness of the Spirit to the empty desolation of hell. So it is a choice between life in the Spirit or the death of sin. We must renew our Baptisms and Confirmations. Only the Holy Spirit can prevent us from being devoured by the evil spirit. Come, Holy Spirit!

 Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Your love." Father, send forth the Spirit, and we shall be created, and You shall renew the face of the earth.


Holy Spirit gives the seal of eternal life, Pope Francis reflects..

Pope Francis says Mass at the Basilica of St. John Lateran, June 19, 2014. Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA.
Pope Francis says Mass at the Basilica of St. John Lateran, June 19, 2014. Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA.
By Elise Harris and Ann Schneible

.- In his Mass on Friday, Pope Francis said eternal life begins when we are sealed with the Holy Spirit, and cautioned attendees against “dulling down” this identity by being hypocritical in our faith.

“The Holy Spirit has sealed our hearts, and more, walks with us … this Spirit does not only give us identity, but it is also a down-payment of our inheritance. With him heaven begins.” the Pope said during his homily at Mass on Oct. 17.

We are already living the reality of heaven, he said, because we have been sealed by the Holy Spirit, “which is the very beginning of heaven: it was our down-payment; we have it in hand.”

Pope Francis referred his listeners to the day’s first reading, taken from St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, in which he tells them they have received “the seal of the Holy Spirit” by believing in the Gospel.

Our identity as Christians comes from this seal, he explained, which all of us have received in baptism.

However, the Pope said having this pledge of heaven does not make Christians immune to temptation.

“The Christian who doesn’t necessarily want to cancel out his identity, but to dull it down (is the) lukewarm Christian,” he noted. “He is Christian, yes, he goes to Mass on Sunday, yes,” but his identity is not visible in his life.

“He also lives like a pagan. He can live like a pagan, but he is Christian. Being lukewarm. Dulling down our identity.”

Pope Francis also referred to the sin of hypocrisy which, he said, Christ described to his disciples as the “leaven of the Pharisees (in which) I pretend to be a Christian, but I am not. I am not transparent.”

He then turned to another passage written by Saint Paul, in which the apostle describes how there is another way, one which is lived according to the Holy Spirit, and which brings a variety of gifts.

“Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control … this is our path to heaven, it is our road, so that heaven may begin here.”

Pope Francis concluded his homily by reiterating how making heaven present here and now is possible through our Christian identity and the seal we have received from the Holy Spirit.

“Let us ask the Lord for the grace to be careful with this seal, with this our Christian identity, which is not only a promise, no, we have it already in hand our hand, we have a down payment.”


Heaven is Real

Heaven is for real and forever...
Archbishop José Gomez
God’s ways are not our ways, and his will is not always easy for us to understand. We know that God has a plan of love for every life. But we also know that within his plan, people can find sickness and suffering that seems to have no reason, no justification....


My Dog Gone Problem

Bishop Thomas Tobin
My Dog Gone Problem

I’ve got a problem. My dog is gone and I miss her. As some of you know, I lost my little dog Molly about three months ago, on June 19 to be exact. She died at the age of sixteen from old age and recurring respiratory problems. Molly had been with me since she was just eight weeks old. She was a wonderful part of my life all those years, and now I miss her.

I’m not a very emotional person. Too much Irish-German heritage. But Molly’s passing has challenged my emotional boundaries, unlike anything I’ve experienced before. Just to be clear, Molly’s loss hasn’t thrown me into the depths of depression or anything like that. It hasn’t affected my health, my daily activity or my outlook on life. (At least not that I’ll admit!) But I miss her constant companionship at the house and the little things that became part of our routine.

I miss that when I come home from the office or a parish visit she’s not there to run down (in her early years) or amble down (in her last years) the hall to greet me.
I miss the click-click-click of her toes on the hardwood surfaces as she moved between living room, dining room and bedroom.

I miss watching her stand at the closet door at the kitchen waiting for her favorite treat, or appearing at my table expecting something from my plate, barking to let me know she was there, as if I didn’t know.
I miss the little walks with her around the property, first thing in the morning, during the day, and last thing at night.

I miss having her sit with me on the front porch, watching the traffic on the Wampanoag Trail, while I sipped coffee and prayed the Breviary.
And I miss the constant conversation I had with her when I was home during the day: “Time to get up, Molly . . . C’mon, let’s go outside . . Here’s your treat, Molly . . . You’re a silly girl, Molly . . . Hurry up, Molly, it’s cold out here . . . Someone’s coming, Molly . . . The Steelers are idiots, Molly . . . You’re the best dog in the history of the world, Molly!”

The house is so different now. It’s quiet and empty.
When Molly died lots of thoughtful people offered me very kind and helpful personal comments, cards, letters, and even gifts. Many of these folks had pets of their own and understood the loss. I didn’t know that there were so many creative cards designed specifically to express sympathy at the loss of a dog.

One card has a constellation of stars in the form of a dog against the night sky with the inscription, “Heaven is a little brighter now; I’m really sorry for your loss.” Another has a picture of a little dog with angel wings and says, “To make Heaven a perfect resting place for loved ones we adore, God made sure those pearly gates contained a doggy door.” And one of my favorite cards shows an old pickup truck speeding down a country road with a dog in the passenger seat, head out the window braced against the wind, with the inscription, “In Heaven, the car windows are always rolled down.”

In many ways, Molly is still with me. Her leash and now empty collar are rolled-up in the kitchen closet where we kept her supplies. So are the food and water bowls she used for sixteen years, along with the favorite treat toy she played with all the time, even until the morning of the day she died. On my phone I have a “selfie” with Molly and me on the couch, taken just moments before we got in the car for her final trip to the vet. I think about Molly just about every day; there are pictures of her all around the house, and her remains are resting in a little mahogany memorial box on a shelf in the living room.

I can’t escape her memory but I really don’t want to. Every so often, as I travel around the diocese, someone who didn’t know about Molly’s passing will ask, “And how’s Molly doing?” It can be awkward, but I don’t mind. I’m grateful that they remembered her.
And at least a hundred times someone’s asked me the big question: “So, are you going to get another dog?” The answer is always the same. “Maybe someday. I’m open to it. If God wants me to have another dog, he’ll provide.”

So, I might get another dog someday. But I don’t want just any dog. I want a dog that’s not too big or too small; a dog that’s alert but not a yapper; a dog that doesn’t shed and is neat and clean; a dog that’s smart, playful and really good with people; a dog that’s just a little bit feisty but also obedient; a dog that’s attentive to me but is also comfortable being alone. In other words, I want a perfect dog. I want Molly.

One day after Molly died, I came across a newspaper article that asked the question, “Do dogs go to heaven?” The article explains that traditional Catholic theology would say no, because animals aren’t created in the image and likeness of God and don’t have immortal souls.
I don’t know if all dogs go to heaven. But I know one who did.