Nourishing the spirit


The Feast of Mary Help of Christians is celebrated on May 24.blessed02[1]

The tradition of this advocation goes back to 1571, when  the whole of Christendom was saved by Mary Help of Christians when Catholics throughout Europe prayed the Rosary. The great battle of Lepanto occurred on October 7th 1571. For this reason this date has been chosen as the feast of the Holy Rosary. In 1573 Pope Pius V instituted the feast in thanksgiving for the decisive victory of Christianity over Islamism.

Near the end of the 17th century, Emperor Leopold I of Austria took refuge in the Shrine of Mary Help of Christians at Pasau, when 200,000 Ottoman Turks besieged the capital city of Vienna, but a  great victory occurred thanks to Mary Help of Christians: on September 8th, Feast of Our Lady’s Birthday, plans were drawn for the battle. On September 12, Feast of the Holy Name of Mary, Vienna was finally freed through the intercession of Mary Help of Christians. All Europe had joined with the Emperor crying out “Mary, Help!” and praying the Holy rosary.

In 1809, Napoleon’s men entered the Vatican, arrested Pius VII and brought him in chains to Grenoble, and eventually Fontainbleau. His imprisonment lasted five years. The Holy Father vowed to God that , if he were restored to the Roman See, he would institute a special feast in honor of Mary. Military reverses forced Napoleon to release the Pope, and on May 24th  1814, Pius VII returned in triumph to Rome. Twelve months later, the Pope decreed that the feast of Mary Help of Christians, be kept on the 24th of May.

St. John Bosco (1815 – 1888) was a dynamic priest who founded the Salesian Order in the XIX century in Italy. His many prophetic dreams, beginning at age nine, guided his ministry and gave insights on future events.

On May 14, 1862, Don Bosco dreamed about the battles the Church would face in the latter days. In his dream, the  Pope of those days anchors the ‘ship’ of the Church between two pillars, one with a statue of Mary (Auxilium Christianorum or ‘Help of Christians’) and the other with a large Eucharistic Host

St. John Bosco wrote about his congregation, the Salesians:  “The principal objective is to promote veneration of the Blessed Sacrament and devotion to Mary Help of Christians. This title seems to please the august Queen of Heaven very much.”

The Salesian Sisters of St John Bosco or Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, are the sister order of the Salesians of Don Bosco.

St. John Bosco, himself, on June 9 1868, dedicated to Our Lady Help of Christians, the mother church of his congregation at Turin (Italy). The Salesian Fathers and their Sisters have carried the devotion to their numerous establishments.



Age-Old Prayer Gains More Pray-ers

Liturgy of the Hours Makes a Resurgence With the Faithful ·

by Celeste Behe, Register Correspondent Saturday, May 18, 2013 6:14 AM Comments (21)

Many modern Catholics’ familiarity with the Liturgy of the Hours begins and ends with a ditty about an ineffective Matins bell and a dozing friar named Jacques.

But due to the encouragement of recent popes, the advent of new technology and the personal witness of Catholic bloggers and writers, the faithful have begun to waken to the timeless beauty of the liturgical prayer.

“Outside of the Mass, there is no greater way to pray than the Liturgy of the Hours,” says Daria Sockey, whose book The Everyday Catholic’s Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours is winning brand-new converts to an age-old method of prayer.

“The Liturgy of the Hours, also known as the Divine Office, is a marvelous form of liturgical prayer,” continues Sockey. “It is a ‘sacrifice of praise’ that we pray in union with millions of others around the world, across all the time zones. No wonder Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI have recommended the Liturgy of the Hours as the prayer of ‘the whole people of God.’”

The Liturgy of the Hours is comprised of a repeating cycle of prayers grouped in seven sets — or “hours” — with daily Psalms and readings following the calendar of the universal Church. Each set of prayers is designed to be prayed during a specific segment of the day: morning, mid-morning, midday, mid-afternoon, evening and night, with the seventh “hour” a “floating hour” that may be prayed at any time.

In November 2011, Pope Benedict XVI told the faithful at a general audience: “I would … like to renew to you all the invitation to pray with the Psalms, even becoming accustomed to using the Liturgy of the Hours of the Church, lauds in the morning, vespers in the evening and Compline before retiring. Our relationship with God cannot but be enriched with greater joy and trust in the daily journey towards him.”

Sockey likens the Liturgy of the Hours to a “flaming torch of prayer being passed around the globe,” joining praying Catholics to their fellow believers worldwide.

Although clergy and religious have long recognized the transcendence of the Divine Office, its pre-eminence as a method of prayer may come as a surprise to today’s laity.

Comments Sockey, “As ‘part two’ of the official, public worship of the Catholic Church — ‘part one’ being the Mass — it is in a category of prayer different from private devotions.”

In fact, before daily Mass became customary, the Divine Office was the daily liturgy of the faithful.

“In the early Middle Ages, the bells that called priests and monks to prayer also drew in the laity from village and field,” Sockey explains. “They would gather to listen as lauds or vespers were chanted.”

The Horae Sanctae Crucis, from a medieval Book of Hours, linked the seven liturgical hours to scenes from Christ’s passion. The poem helped the faithful to remember the names and timing of the hours:

At Matins bound, at Prime reviled,

Condemned to death at Terce,

Nailed to the Cross at Sext.

At None His blessed Side they pierce,

They take Him down at Vesper-tide.

In the grave at Compline lay,

Who thenceforth bids His Church observe

These sevenfold hours alway.

This was, of course, well before mobile apps such as and made it unnecessary to set down one’s farm implements and trudge to the neighborhood monastery in order to pray.

“Apps that help Catholics pray the Divine Office are gaining popularity because Catholics want to grow stronger in their faith,” says Tom Lelyo, founder of “The Liturgy of the Hours is the ideal vehicle for this because it helps Catholics to pray more often, know Scripture better, live the liturgical year and enter into the public worship of the Church. It’s a perfect response to Sacrosanctum Concilium, in which the bishops encouraged more lay participation in the liturgy.”

With all the benefits to be culled from praying the Divine Office, one might assume that each of its “hours” requires a substantial commitment of time, if not a full 60 minutes.

“Don’t let the term ‘hours’ scare you,” assures Sockey. “The typical liturgical hour takes about 10 minutes to recite, and many who pray the Divine Office focus on no more than two or three hours daily.”

According to Sockey, the early Christian practice of praying at set times of the day was carried over from the Jewish tradition of thrice-daily prayer. The custom of fixed-time prayer has endured.

“Many Catholics are familiar with the practice of praying certain prayers at certain hours of the day: the Angelus at 6am, noon and 6pm; and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy at the 3pm ‘Hour of Mercy,’” observes Jeffrey Pinyan.

Pinyan, a catechist, author and blogger at the, has been praying the Divine Office since 2005, when his sister gave him a one-volume Liturgy of the Hours.

“While the Liturgy of the Hours does not demand such a regimen, it does allow the praying Christian to grow in many disciplines, both spiritual and practical. And for those who struggle with organization, it is heartening to know that setting aside scheduled time for prayer can lead to better time management in secular matters.”

But how does a busy layperson find 30, 20 or even 10 minutes daily in which to pray the liturgical hours?

“The key is to start small,” advises Sockey. “Examine your daily routine and see which times of day present openings for a short prayer break. If you already like to get up before the rest of the family to savor some peace and quiet, then Morning Prayer should work. If you normally find time to breathe a bit either just before or just after dinner, then Evening Prayer is for you. If you get a decent lunch break at work, try Midday Prayer. Add one liturgical hour at a time and form a firm habit before adding another one. If you’re not sure which to try first, then follow the advice of the Church, which particularly recommends Morning and Evening Prayer to laymen. Or go with my personal recommendation to beginners, which is to start with Night Prayer, the easiest hour to do.”

Sockey, a longtime devotee of the Liturgy of the Hours, is well-equipped to advise the faithful on such matters.

A few years before writing The Everyday Catholic’s Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours, Sockey launched Coffee and Canticles, a “fan blog” devoted to the Liturgy of the Hours, where ordinary Catholics can go to share their enthusiasm and get questions answered. Readers responded with gusto, and Sockey soon found herself fielding questions on every conceivable aspect of the Divine Office.

“Liturgical prayer is beautiful, but complex,” admits Sockey. “There is a lot of terminology associated with it that may confuse people. What are lauds and vespers? What are canticles? And what is a Breviary?”

“Consequently, some people have been too timid to try liturgical prayer at all. Then there are those who have picked up a Breviary — a small, hand-held book of the hours — and tried to use it, but gave up because they were afraid they weren’t ‘doing it right,’” says Sockey. “Some people may have attended the odd vespers or lauds service at church and wondered what that was all about. Others may have been praying the Liturgy of the Hours for a while, but need a little inspiration to help them appreciate this treasure once more.

“My book is meant for ordinary lay Catholics like them.”

Celeste Behe writes from

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Read more:

God’s cake….
Sometimes we wonder,
‘What did I do to deserve this?’ or
‘Why did God have to do this to me
Here is a wonderful explanation!
A daughter is telling her Mother how everything
is going wrong
, she’s failing algebra, her boyfriend
broke up with her and her best friend is moving away.
Meanwhile, her Mother is baking a cake and
asks her daughter if she would like a snack, and the
Daughter says, ‘Absolutely Mom, I love your cake.’
‘Here, have some cooking oil,’ her Mother offers.
‘Yuck’ says her daughter.
‘How about a couple raw eggs?’ ‘Gross, Mom!’
‘Would you like some flour then?
Or maybe baking soda?’
‘Mom, those are all yucky!’
To which the mother replies :
‘Yes, all those things seem bad all by themselves.
But when they are put together in the
right way, they make a wonderfully delicious cake!’
God works the same way. Many times we wonder why
He would let us go through such
 bad and difficult 
times. But God knows that when He puts these things
All in His order, they always work for good! We just
have to 
trust Him and, eventually, they will all
something wonderful
God is crazy about you.

He sends you flowers every spring and
A sunrise every morning.
Whenever you want to talk, He’ll listen.
He can live anywhere in the universe,
And He chose your 
If you like this, send this on
to the people you really care about. 

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are
Here we might as well dance!


Christmas Quotes – Thoughts about God

The Son of God became a man to
enable men to become the sons of God.

(Mere Christianity) 

~~~~~What are we to of make of
Jesus Christ? . . .
The real question is not what
we are to make of Christ,
but what is He to make of us?

~~~~~~ God’s gifts
put man’s best dreams
to shame.  -Elizabeth Barrett Browning

~~~~~~ Best of all, Christmas means a spirit of love,
a time when the love of God and love of our fellow men should prevail over all hatred and
bitterness, a time when our thoughts and deeds and the spirit of our lives
manifest the presence of God.

-George F. McDougall

~~~~~~ Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love divine;
Love was born at Christmas;
Star and angels gave the sign.

-Christina Rossetti

~~~~~~ JOY

Somehow, not only for Christmas,
but all the long year through,
The joy that you give to others,
Is the joy that comes back to you.

-John Greenleaf Whittier

~~~~~~ God sent a star to light the night for
The Way, The Truth, The Life–His Son.
He sent the Light of Life to prove His heart
so we would invite His Son into our own.
God has given us all the light we’ll ever
need to find peace on earth,
goodwill to men.

-Pamela F.Dowd

PEACE IS . . .

~ gazing at the stars with the knowledge
that you know their Creator.

~ closing your eyes in sleep without fear
of tomorrow.

~ the stillness in your heart when trouble swirls
around you.

~ a quiet mind in a raging world.

– unknown

~~~~~~ Where there is faith, there is love;
Where there is love, there is peace;
Where there is peace, there is God;
And where there is God; there is no need.

-Leo Tolstoy

~~~~~~ The flow of
blessings in our
life is directly
related to
our passing
blessings along
to someone else.

-Thomas Kinkaid

~~~~~~ The giving of gifts is not something man invented. God started the giving spree when he gave a gift beyond words, the unspeakable gift of His Son.

– Robert Flatt

~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Blessed is
The season which
Engages the whole
World in a
Conspiracy of love.

-Hamilton Wright Mabie

How many observe
Christ’s birthday!
How few, his precepts!
O!  ’tis easier to keep
Holidays than

-Benjamin Franklin

~~~~~~ This is Christmas: not the tinsel, not the giving and receiving, not even the carols, but the humble heart that receives anew the wondrous gift, the Christ.

– Frank McKibben



To your enemy . . .forgiveness,
To your opponent . . .tolerance.
To a friend . . . your heart.
To a customer . . . service.
To all men . . .charity.
To every child . . . a good example
To yourself . . .respect

-Author Unknown


Love alone!

Love alone!

It is through love alone that we can become pleasing to God.

St. Theresa of the Child Jesus


Let all my world be silent in your presence, Lord,

so that I may hear what you may say in my heart.

Guigo II


You can have anything you want if you want it esperately enough.  You must want it with an exuberance that erupts through the skin and joins the ENERGY that created the world.            Sheila Graham


This is Our Lord’s will:  that we trust Him and search for Him, enjoy Him, and delight in Him, and comfort and strengthen ourselves, as by His help and grace we may, until such time as we see Him face to face.                                                            Julian of Norwich


Today, it is not nearly enough merely to be a saint, but we must have the saintliness demanded by the present moment, a new saintliness, itself also without precedent.     Simone Weil


Hate cannot destroy hate,  but love can and does.  Not the soft negative thing that has carried the name and misrepresented the emotion, but love that suffers all things and is kind, love that accepts responsibility, love that marches, love that suffers, love that bleeds and dies for a great cause  —  but to rise again.                                                 Daniel A. Poling                                                             


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