Sunday, March 11, 2018

Venerable Bruno Guild is active in Boston

March 11, 2018

Happy Laetare Sunday! I hope that this Lenten season has been a time of grace as we deepen our meditation of Christ's passion, death, and resurrection and renew our bonds of friendship with the Lord.

I want to provide an update to our Bruno Lanteri project followers and let you know that since the Venerable Bruno Guild launched a few months ago, we had enough local interest in the Boston area to begin having in-person meetings.

We've had some questions about what the Venerable Bruno Guild is and what people do. The Guild, like many other guilds for people's causes for canonization, simply helps to tell the story of the person whose cause for canonization is under way. Venerable Bruno Guild members come together because they share a common love of the Lanterian spirituality lived by the Oblates of the Virgin Mary in the USA and beyond. Our members are learning more about Ven. Bruno through our informal meetings, Fr. Tim Gallagher's recent biography of him, and resources that I can connect them with at the seminary in Boston. Through our meetings we grow in friendship with Ven. Bruno and one another as we continue to spread the message of his story, which is really the story of a humble priest's deep love for Jesus and Mary, and his love for the people he encountered in his ministry. Guild members also join with the Oblates of the Virgin Mary in praying for the many prayer intentions that have been sent to us, asking for Ven. Bruno's intercession. Anyone with an interest in joining us or learning more is welcome to contact us via the Guild website.

On April 18 I will be giving a talk at St. Clement Eucharistic Shrine in Boston on Venerable Bruno and his cause for canonization. Details can be found here. All are welcome! Peace be with you.

Cabrini Pak, PhD, Religion and Culture
Co-founder, Amicizia Cristiana USA

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Saints who battled Satan by Paul Thigpen

The Saints Who Battled Satan:Seventeen Holy Warriors Who Can Teach You How to Fight the Good Fight and Vanquish Your Ancient Enemy
by Paul Thigpen
Charlotte, NC: TAN Books (2015)

Happy Lent to all! It's been a while since we did a book review, so we'd like to share one with you for Lent. As we enter the desert of Lent, we are called to seek greater closeness with God. In our quest for that intimacy with God, the enemy of our souls will battle us every step of the way.

Paul Thigpen, PhD, editor of TAN Books and author, wrote this book about seventeen saints who battled the devil, setting the stage with the loss between Eve and the Serpent, and beginning his coverage of holy warriors with Mary of Nazareth. His introduction, "Our comrades, the saints," presents his purpose for bringing these saints to light: "so that we can become more familiar with our heavenly comrades and more eager to seek their help...warfare is not just a matter of personal interior struggle, and the conduct of each spiritual soldier makes a critical difference in the outcome of the wider battle."

The communion of saints is real, folks. Contrary to popular belief, we are not asking the saints to draw from their own power to help us. We are asking our brothers and sisters in Christ to join us in battle against the evil one, always keeping Christ Jesus in central focus. They did not cease in activity or existence when they passed from this life to the next. Their spirits are intact. All of heaven cheers us on here on earth as the last battles are fought before Jesus comes again. When we call on Mary for help, she will go to her son and plead for us. When we call on the saints for help, they will, God willing, come closer to stand with us and cheer us on.

The book is an easy read and Thigpen does a wonderful job of bringing in a wide audience with an interest in the stories of Scripture that illustrate spiritual battle. We hope this book serves as an encouraging reminder that we have friends in heaven and that we are never alone in our struggles, as much as the enemy of our souls will try to convince us. Enjoy!

Amicizia Cristiana USA

Monday, October 16, 2017

"He loved the Virgin Mary deeply..."

Rosary Procession, Holy Ghost Parish, Oct. 13, 2017
Photo by C. Pak
"He loved the Virgin Mary deeply...He spoke very often about her. He said it was not enough to inspire devotion to her in people but that it was necessary to lead them to a great confidence in her as well (Loggero, Positio, 606)." - from The Venerable Bruno Lanteri: Spiritual Counsels for Life in the World, by Fr. Timothy Gallagher, OMV. 

Greetings from Denver, Colorado! Sorry for this long overdue update. It's been a crazy month. I wanted to share my experience of a special opportunity to walk with the Oblates of the Virgin Mary in a rosary procession that they held with the parishioners of Holy Ghost parish on Friday, October 13, 2017. It was the 100th anniversary of the apparition of our Lady to the shepherd children in Fatima, which was accompanied by a startling miracle, called the miracle of the sun, and urgent messages from Mary, the mother of Jesus: pray for peace, pray for the conversion of Russia, pray the rosary. The message of Fatima is published by the Vatican here. Praying the rosary as a community is a popular tradition among the Catholic faithful that can be seen in modern Catholic communities today. The Oblates of the Virgin Mary, who also pray the rosary, often together, are close to Mary because their founder, Venerable Bruno Lanteri, was close to her, as Father Loggero testified in the quote above. Mary prays with us to God, for an answer to all the deepest yearnings in our souls. Our fondness for the mother of Jesus makes our dialogue with her in the rosary one of trust and confidence in her love for us. 

Praying with Mary in the Public Square, Oct. 13, 2017
Photo by C. Pak
The photos are pictures of members of Holy Ghost parish and the Knights of Columbus, led by Fr. Chris Uhl, OMV. The procession took place in downtown Denver, near the Church, and was open to the public. 

A word about prayer, especially about how Catholics pray. Catholics worship only one being, and that is God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us a little more about prayer:
  • Prayer is the raising of one's mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God.
  • Where does prayer come from? Whether prayer is expressed in words or gestures, it is the whole human being who prays. But in naming the source of prayer, Scripture speaks sometimes of the soul or the spirit, but most often of the heart (more than a thousand times). According to Scripture, it is the heart that prays. If our heart is far from God, the words of prayer are in vain.
  • The heart is the dwelling-place where I am, where I live; according to the Semitic or Biblical expression, the heart is the place "to which I withdraw." The heart is our hidden center, beyond the grasp of our reason and of others; only the Spirit of God can fathom the human heart and know it fully. The heart is the place of decision, deeper than our psychic drives. It is the place of truth, where we choose life or death. It is the place of encounter, because as image of God we live in relation: it is the place of covenant.
Prayer, then, is an encounter. It is a holy encounter that springs from the deepest part of our being, and rises up to our source, our Creator. Prayer, as a place of encounter, is also a place for dialogue and love. It's a meeting place where hearts are joined in a common desire for the One who enfolds and holds all in his loving embrace. When we pray to God, we can also pray with the saints in heaven, including Mary, who is Jesus' mother, and our mother by adoption (Jn 19:26). The saints love us, and the mother of Jesus loves us very much, because her Son loves us.

Having said this, Catholics worship only one God. When they pray with Mary, it's like asking Mom for a favor, who will lovingly listen to us, and then always responds, "I'll ask your Father," or "I'll ask my Son," or "I'll ask my Spouse." She's with the Trinity in heaven and communes with them in a way that's hard to describe on this side of eternity, but we can trust this: Mary, the mother of Jesus, loves us as her own adopted children. This was something that Ven. Bruno experienced in a real way with Mary. When his own mother died, he was four years old. His father brought him to Mary, saying "She will be your mother now." From that time on, Bruno looked to Mary for love and guidance, and she consistently responded to him in prayer with the love and gentleness of a dear mother. He wanted others to know that they could trust her, too. Venerable Bruno, pray for us!

May you have a blessed month!

C. Pak, Founder, AC USA
PhD, Religion & Culture
Promoting Ven. Bruno Lanteri's cause for canonization
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