Monday, 30 July 2012
Although he wanted to be a missionary in Eastern Europe, he spent almost all of his adult life in Italy, and lived in Padua from 1906 until the end of his life. He spent one year in an Italian prison during World War I, since he did not want to renounce his Croatian nationality. He dreamed unceasingly about reuniting the Catholic and Orthodox churches and going to the Orient. He became known as Apostle of Confession and Apostle of Unity.
Bogdan Mandić was the twelfth child of Dragica Zarević and Petar Antun Mandić, owner of an Adriatic fishing fleet; they came from the village of Zakučac (hinterland of the city of Omiš, 28 km from Split) As a child, he struggled with his health, and had a speech impediment. In November 1882 when he was 16, Bogdan went to Udine to enter the novitiate of the Venetian Capuchins. Two years later he was sent to the friary at Bassano del Grappa where he was given the name Brother Leopold. He made his first profession of vows a year later, and in 1888 he made his final profession of vows. On September 20, 1890, Leopold was ordained to the priesthood at Venice at the age of 24.
He was a small man but was a spiritual giant who spent most of his priestly life hearing confessions for up to 18 hours a day. He believed that as long as someone crossed the threshold of the confessional he had to do his "utmost" for them to be reconciled to God. He was a kind and compassionate confessor who, ahead of his time, didn't believe people needed to be judged or frightened with threats of condemnation.
As a result of the bombing during World War II, the church and part of the friary where Leopold lived was demolished, but Leopold's cell and confessional were left unharmed. Leopold had predicted this before his death, saying, "The church and the friary will be hit by the bombs, but not this little cell. Here God exercised so much mercy for people, it must remain as a monument to God's goodness."
Leopold suffered from cancer of the oesophagus which would ultimately lead to his death at age 76. On July 30, 1942, while preparing for the liturgy, he collapsed on the floor. He was then brought to his cell, where he was given the sacrament of the sick. Friars that had gathered at his bed began singing the Salve Regina and witnessed Leopold draw his last breath as they sang "O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary."
Leopold was beatified by Pope Paul VI on May 2, 1976. He was canonized by John Paul II during the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on October 16, 1983. Leopold is a saint of our time and is hailed as the "Apostle of Unity".
Some sayings of St. Leopold:
"Some say that I am too good. But if you come and kneel before me, isn't this a sufficient proof that you want to have God's pardon? God's mercy is beyond all expectation."
"Be at peace; place everything on my shoulders. I will take care of it." He once explained, "I give my penitents only small penances because I do the rest myself."
"A priest must die from apostolic hard work; there is no other death worthy of a priest."
Tuesday, 24 July 2012
Uploaded by Xokowu This is a brilliant sketch by John Cleese. The T.V. footage is a bit jumpy but still excellent comedy...
Sunday, 22 July 2012
A ship sails, and I watch till she fades
I am standing on the sea shore. A ship sails and spreads her
white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the ocean.
She is an object of beauty and I stand watching her till at
last she fades on the horizon, and someone at my side says:
‘She is gone.’ Gone where? Gone from my sight, that is all;
she is just as large in the masts, hull a spars as she was
when I saw her, and just as able to bear her load of living
freight to its destination.
The diminished size and total loss of sight is in me, not her;
and just at the moment when someone at my side says;
‘She’s gone’ there are others who are watching her coming
and other voices take up a gland shout,
‘There she comes’, and that is dying.
“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”
-Elisabeth Kubler Ross
Tuesday, 17 July 2012
There were some small children there who brought a degree of distraction to the situation and their innocence helped the older ones to cope here and there. One of the young lads maybe about 5 years old looked at me before the prayers and pointed to the coffin and said; “Is that yours?” In other words; did I own the coffin? I didn’t know what to say. What does one say? But another child, again about 4 or 5 years old and sporting a pair of glasses, quite like a junior Harry Potter was running in an out and came over and said; “You sent my Nanny up to heaven.”All the theology and the M.A. stuff I’ve done couldn’t prepare me for what came out of that child’s mouth. I was speechless. The only reply I could manage was; “That’s a lovely thing to say, thank you.” And it was a lovely thing to say. I have known this particular family and indeed their neighbours for the last few years in the Parish and I have been with them for baptisms and funerals. One of the grown-ups would have told the child that I offered the funeral Mass for his grandmother and the language they used was something like ‘that priest sent your Nanny up to heaven.’ And the little boy remembered.
Priests are honoured to stand at the baptismal font to welcome a new member of our Christian family. In Ireland it is still mostly infant baptisms. We are there to solemnise a Marriage between a man and a woman and we stand at the foot of the altar to welcome a coffin and sprinkle it with holy water. These are three big occasions in the life of a family, intimate and emotional occasions which people will always remember and we are the privileged ones to be allowed inside. To be seen as someone whose prayers and Masses helps to bring another close to God or to send someone ‘up to heaven’ is something I feel will take a lifetime for me to understand. To be ‘In Persona Christi’ as a priest is awesome. Perhaps this child was spot on. And there’s no doubt that I was reminded of the responsibilities that goes hand in hand with it too.
Jesus exclaimed, 'I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to little children. Matthew 11:25
Thursday, 5 July 2012
Another reason we were there was because one of the first Irish Capuchin Franciscans, Fr. Stephen Daly is buried in that small rural cemetery of Tisaran. He died at the age of 45 in the year 1620 having returned to the little parish five years before.
Stephen was born up the road in the 1570’s and left the area to join the newly formed Capuchin reform of the Franciscan Order in Europe. He was ordained to the priesthood and ministered in Belgium. He felt called to return to Ireland and landed back in Dublin in 1615 and made his way to Offaly to his home parish in the diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacniose.
Life in rural Ireland for Catholics was much different than on the continent and in Catholic Belgium when Fr. Stephen began his ministry. The Penal laws were beginning to come into force and some few years later they would be at their strongest. Many Catholics were forced to embrace the Protestant reform or starve. Priests and religious were hunted and spied upon and for generations, people who wanted to practice their faith had to do so underground. It was on ancient Irish ‘Mass Rocks’ that a priest offered the Holy Sacrifice with some of the poor congregation keeping a look out for soldiers. The friars were used to living in community and poverty in Europe and there they were very visible in their Capuchin habits and long beards. In Ireland this was forbidden and the first four friars in Ireland had to dress in secular clothes. They also lived their religious life apart from each other and in fear of capture and worse. The friars in the later years were bolstered by new arrivals from Europe but with the Penal Laws it was almost impossible to minister. Hardship, illness, and even martyrdom awaited a zealous catholic. (cf. the Irish Martyrs for example)
One famous Irish success story however in the years before the Great Famine of the 1840’s was Kilkenny Capuchin Fr. Theobald Mathew, the Apostle of Temperance. He succeeded in calling people to take the pledge against alcohol and at a time when the country was brought to its knees by famine and emigration; so many people addicted to drink were supported in the virtue of Temperance. The Capuchin order died out in Ireland and it was only when a mission left Belgium in the 1870’s that the present-day Capuchin Province was reformed in 1885.
We friars travelled to be part of the Jubilee celebrations of Tisaran Parish and to pay fraternal tribute to Fr. Stephen, our Capuchin brother among his own fellow county women and men. We were warmly welcomed by the local clergy; Fr. Frankie Murray PP. And Fr. Tom Cox CC. Fr. Frankie had a fantastic supper laid on for us and where he was expecting 10 friars (monks) 14 turned up and eat him out of ‘house and home!’ In the spirit of the rule of St. Francis; “The Friars shall eat what is set before them.” And we certainly did!
Monday, 2 July 2012
Sunday, 1 July 2012
Blessed Didacus Joseph of Cadiz
Saint Bernard of Corleone
Saint Joseph of Leonessa
Blessed Leopold of Alpandeire
Blessed Jose Tous Y Soler
Saint Conrad of Parzham
Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen
Blessed Benedict of Urbino
Blessed Jeremiah of Valacchia
Saint Ignatius of Laconi
Saint Leopold Mandic of Castelnovo
Saint Felix of Cantalice
Saint Crispin of Viterbo
Saint Felix of Nicosia
Blessed Nicholas of Gesturi
Blessed Anizet Koplin and Companions
Blessed Andrea Giacinto Longhin
Blessed James Haddad
Saint Lawrence of Brindisi
Blessed Agathangelo and Cassian
Blessed Marco of Aviano
Blessed John Louis Loir and Companions
Blessed Bernard of Offida
Blessed Apollinaris Morel of Posat
Stigmata of Saint Francis of Assisi
Saint Francis Mary of Camporosso
Saint Ignatius of Santhia
Saint Pio of Pietrelcina
Blessed Aurelio of Vinalesa and Companions
Blessed Innocent of Berzo
Saint Francis of Assisi
Saint Seraphin of Montegranaro
Blessed Honorat of Biala
Blessed Angelo of Acri
Quest for Knighthood.
Encounter with the Leper.
Francis; Go repair my Church.
He began to repair the little
Pope Innocent III.
Rebuilding the Church into the Future.