Friday, August 30, 2013



The decrepit streets of one of the largest crime ridden estates in Ireland might seem to be an odd location to choose for a monastery, but for the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, it's the perfect place for their mission to flourish. This original documentary brought to you by EWTN Home Video, follows the positive impact the friars have had on the area's struggling residents, and how the courageous faith of the Monks of Moyross continues to turn this district into a prosperous community for Christ.

1 DVD disc / 30 minutes (click here)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

7 More Reasons Why Catholic Men Should Have Beards

Offered in true friar humor, enjoy!
From: http://irishanddangerous.blogspot.com/2013/06/7-more-reasons-why-catholic-men-should.html

What? You thought there were only 10 reasons why Catholic men should have beards? Au contraire!

Since Friday was the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Saturday was the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and today is the Feast of the Sacred Beard of Christ (well, it should be!), I present to you seven more reasons why Catholic men should have beards:

7. The 12 Apostles

All of the Apostles had beards. What's that you say? Look in the picture, St. John didn't have a beard? Sure, when he was a youth that was the case, but not when he reached manhood. The writer of the Fourth Gospel was just as bearded as the rest of his brother Apostles.

"In the beginning was the beard..."

6. Apostolic Constitutions 1.3: 

"Nor may men destroy the hair of their beards, and unnaturally change the form of a man. ...For God the Creator has made this decent for women, but has determined that it is unsuitable for men."

5. St. Augustine, City of God XXII.24:
"Certain things are associated with the body in such a way as to have beauty but no use. For example...the beard on his face. The fact that the beard exists as a manly adornment and not for purposes of protection is shown by the beardless faces of women, who are the weaker sex and for whom a beard would therefore be more suitable if it were a protective device."

Behold the beauty of my beard!

4. Lactantius, On the Workmanship of God, or the Formation of Man, ch. 7:
"Then the nature of the beard contributes in an incredible degree to distinguish the maturity of bodies, or to the distinction of sex, or to the beauty of manliness and strength; so that it appears that the system of the whole work would not have been in agreement, if anything had been made otherwise than it is."

3. St. Clement of Alexandria, Paedagogus, Bk 3, ch. 3:
"But for one who is a man to comb himself and shave himself with a razor, for the sake of fine effect, to arrange his hair at the looking-glass, to shave his cheeks, pluck hairs out of them, and smooth them, how womanly! And, in truth, unless you saw them naked, you would suppose them to be women. …For God wished women to be smooth, and rejoice in their locks alone growing spontaneously, as a horse in his mane; but has adorned man, like the lions, with a beard…"

In the same work, St. Clement goes on to say:

2. St. Dominic 
Bearded St. Dominic was the founder of the greatest (objectively speaking, of course) religious order in the Catholic Church, the Order of Preachers. Now, here I would normally make a Jesuit joke, but out of reverence for our Holy Father, I will refrain.

Seen any Albigensians, lately?

1. Beards are pro-life!

Let Freedom Ring!

from: http://www.priestsforlife.org/africanamerican/blog/index.php/let-freedom-ring

As we approach August 28th, which will be just a few hours from now, it’s important for us to remember that August 28, 1963, 50 years ago, people were marching for jobs, for decent housing, for justice, for better education.

Now in the 21st century, 50 years later we see people adding special interest groups or causes. For instance, we heard Planned Parenthood speaking at the march last week. We heard the homosexual community advocating their agenda. For me, what was missing were appeals for the unborn, requests to put prayer back on our schools, a push for restoring the work ethic and those types of things.

Of course we understand that causes divide us. Yet, may I point that it is the love of Christ that unites us. As to our causes, it is truth and not bickering that sets us free. Because people perish simply for lack of knowledge, I am commited to speaking out more truth in love.

Also, Martin Luther King, Jr., my Uncle M. L. took a lot of time praying, seeking the Lord, inquiring of the Lord. So as we continue to follow his pattern for the rest of this week, for the rest of this year, for the rest of our lives – if we can only begin to realize that we’re not separate races – we are one human race in need of the love of God – and believe that truth will set us free – together we can overcome in Christ.

Therefore, I can understand why my uncle, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “We must learn to live together as brothers [and I add sisters] or parish together as fools.”

And so, for those of us who believe the Bible, who trust God, who have been very sinful and are now repentant, we know that we need God. We know that we need to be forgiven and healed. We know that we cannot be intolerant of other. That we must seek transformation, not just tolerance, not compromise but transformation.

I’m mindful of that as I approach the Interfaith Service, the Bell Ringing Ceremony, I must not condemn any person or judge any person; rather I must share the good news with every person and demonstrate the love and liberty available at the cross for everyone from conception to natural death.

Let freedom ring!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Is my confession valid?
A new video from ReviveFaith.com with Br. Pius, CFR.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Decidedly Loving

There comes a point—especially for those of us in vows to God (religious or marital)—when love, loosing its emotional force, ceases to be a wind in our sails but a barge to be tugged.  It is now a decision to be made, a vow to be fulfilled, a commandment to be followed and most importantly, a person to be embraced.

Love's like that.  It has to be.  By its nature love entails sacrifice.  It demands that we look beyond the slope of our nose into the situation, the scenario or the face beyond it.  It is outward-flowing.  It must always be outward-flowing. Love, in so long as it is love, will flow out of itself upon its object; it is life-giving; it is fruitful.

Sometimes we approach vows saying, at last I will have someone to love me for the rest of my life, yet this thinking will only engender disappointment.  It is better to approach vows with the understanding that you are making a commitment to love outwardly and freely regardless of what is given to you.  You are decidedly loving the other and will do so for better or for worse until the day you die.  Vows bind us not to feeling loved but to the ability to love regardless of how we may feel.

Yes, it is the best when our decided actions are empowered by emotions felt, that is to say, when the circumstance demands love and we desire to give it.  That’s the ideal, but its not always the case, is it?  The wind comes and goes and it isn’t only a matter of staying the course but of hauling the burden of love to the haven of salvation.

+ Br. Joseph Michael Fino, CFR
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Monday, August 19, 2013

Contemplation as Divine Therapy Part 1

The spiritual life can be likened to therapy. God is the divine therapist and whether we realize it or not we are in need of therapy. The more we speak to him honestly, the more we meditate on the Gospels and the more we understand and accept the teachings of the Church a seemingly strange and paradoxical event begins to happen. We begin to realize that we are not as “perfect” as we once thought we were. In fact, we may even begin to feel worse than we ever have before. Hence, many of the saints, who were far more advanced in virtue and prayer than most of us, could honestly believe that they were some of the worst sinners in the history of humanity.


The reason for this strange occurrence is simply the brightness and warmth of God’s unfathomable love. Imagine yourself walking down a street at night in a country town with only streetlights to guide you. The darkness of night would prohibit you from seeing every detail about the town. With the help of the streetlights you may be able to see a few things yet your overall vision would be limited. Now imagine yourself walking down that same street at midday with the sun is shining brightly on the town. Your vision would expand and you would be able to see things now because of the sun that you were unable to see at night.

As we draw closer to God in our lives it is like we are walking down the “streets” of our life, no longer at night, but at early morning and eventually at midday when the light of God’s love is able to reflect and reveal the truth about everything, especially about ourselves. The light of his love is enabling us to see things now that we are unable to see before when we walked in darkness. We are only now discovering our brokenness and interior poverty on a deeper level. It has always been there yet the darkness of night prohibited us from seeing it and experiencing it fully.

God in his wonderful love, and like a good therapist, is exposing our wounds to us, not to hurt us but to heal us. The problem is that we mistake this healing therapy as a violation, a punishment for our sins, or at best a strong rebuke. The fact that we interpret God in this way is yet another proof of the deep need inside us for the Divine therapist to heal us. God never wants to hurt us and this tremendous grace that he is now giving us in being able to see reality more clearly is yet another proof of his love…

To be continued….

+ fr jeremiah myriam shryock cfr

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Friday, August 16, 2013

The Mystical Chalice (2 of 2)

St. Philip Neri (1515-1595), a wonderful priest and my beloved Patron Saint, often referred to the devil as the “Prince of Misery” since in his miserable state of [freely chosen] separation from God he now spends his efforts and cunning trying to convince people on earth to focus on the regrets of the past and fears of the future, trying to trap them in an illusory world and plunge them into sharing his own dreadful unhappiness.

But Jesus, the Lord of Love, invites us to embrace the truth and reality of the present and of God’s All-Sufficient Love for us! (St. Philip Neri appropriately went on to become, as John Paul the Great called him, “the Saint and Prophet of Joy” and one of the great heroes of the sixteenth century Catholic Reformation. The truth of God’s Love is attractive and when embraced and shared produces in us the spiritual fruit of joy!)

Like a chalice, created for a very specific purpose (and not permitted to be used for anything but the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass), we were made for God - to “hold” Jesus, the Author of Life and our true life, within us. We were also made to be consecrated to God, “set apart” for Him, and offered up to the Father with Jesus, poured out and consumed in a sweet sacrifice of love, praise and thanksgiving in joyful communion with all the Holy Angels, Saints and the entire Church. Consecration to God is not only for religious; all the baptized belong to God!

At every Mass, where we participate in Christ’s Supreme Sacrifice of Love for us, let us renew the gift of ourselves to the Father with Him, becoming “empty but beautiful chalices” able to receive the incomparable Gift of Himself and His Holy Spirit, so that we may share in His Communion with the Father for all eternity. +Amen.

+Br. Philip Maria Allen, CFR
St. Felix Friary
Yonkers, NY
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Priscilla from GrassRootsFilms

Watch as two Franciscan Friars stumble upon a homeless women beaten as part of a brutal gang initiation. Priscilla is just one victim of the violence that occurs on the dangerous inner city streets that these friars call home.

“Priscilla” is Part III of a seven part short film series. Check out Part I and II of our series on Grassroots Films’ YouTube channel. Be sure to subscribe to be the first to see each film. Stay tuned for further news about our upcoming projects and the rest of the series.

YoFoREAL video series... Journeys

New from http://www.yoforeal.com/

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Mystical Chalice (1 of 2)

One day I was on retreat with a priest and noticed during Mass that he was using an ancient, very worn-out looking chalice. I couldn’t help from noticing just how awful the condition of the chalice was, and just how ugly it looked.

Being a devout Catholic with some aesthetic sensibilities, I felt very sorry that Jesus had to be offered up in such an unworthy vessel (cf. St. John Vianney, St. Padre Pio, and the profound reverence of other saintly priests; reading just a few paragraphs of their life will quickly increase your devotion at Mass).

Just a few days later the two of us were having Mass again together and I was amazed to see the very same chalice – but completely re-gilded in gold and sparkling with radiant light! It was like night and day: a total transformation.

But the priest was just as amazed as I was. We soon realized that neither of us had re-gilded or polished it, and we had no idea who did it since we were the only ones staying there that whole week… A small miracle!

Throughout this whole mysterious set of events, it struck me very strongly that the chalice, in addition to symbolizing Christ’s Passion suffered for love of us, also represents us.

In a mere instant, God can restore us fully to grace through Confession and Communion received worthily with faith, humility and love. Our Baptismal Innocence can be completely recovered. Every day is a new day; every moment is a new moment. Let us begin again.

+ Br. Philip Maria Allen, CFR
St. Felix Friary, Yonkers, NY
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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Take 2: Mary Magdalene and the Good Thief

New video from ReviveFaith.com:

"Take 2" with blood brothers, Br. Innocent and Br. Angelus,

as they answer a question from a viewer regarding two

encounters with Jesus.

Enjoy and pass it on!

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