Sunday, December 30, 2007

Theotokos-The Mother of God

January 1st.

"The Word was made flesh," can mean nothing else but that He [The Eternal Word] partook of flesh and blood like to us; He made our body His own, and came forth man from a woman, not casting off His existence as God, or His generation of God the Father, but even in taking to Himself flesh remaining what He was. This the declaration of the correct faith proclaims everywhere. This was the sentiment of the holy Fathers; therefore they ventured to call the holy Virgin, the Mother of God, not as if the nature of the Word or His divinity had its beginning from the holy Virgin, but because of her was born that holy body with a rational soul, to which the Word being personally united is said to be born according to the flesh.
___The Epistle of Cyril to Nestorius.

The Circumcision of the Lord

January 1st

This is my covenant which you shall observe between me and you, and thy seed after thee: All the male-kind of you shall be circumcised. And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, that it may be for a sign of the covenant between me and you. An infant of eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every manchild in your generations: he that is born in the house, as well as the bought servant, shall be circumcised.
___Genesis 17:10-12

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Holy Family

In 1643 Louis and Barbe d'Ailleboust came to Canada in order to devote their lives to the welfare of the natives there. After her husband had passed away, Barbe, with the assistance of the Jesuit Father Chaumonot, founded the Confraternity of the Holy Family. The confraternity and devotion to the Holy Family spread all over Canada and had the effect of promoting good morals. Monsignor François de Laval invited her to Quebec, and gave her the general management if the confraternity, which still exists today. In 1675, the now Bishop de Laval had a little book printed in Paris instructing the members of the confraternity as to virtuous practices. Bishop de Laval also established the feast of the Holy Family, and had a mass and office drawn up which are proper to the Diocese of Québec. The feast was later added in 1921 to the General calendar of the Western Rite as a way to counteract the breakdown of the family.


Lord Jesus Christ, Who, being made subject to Mary and Joseph, didst consecrate domestic life by Thine ineffable virtues; grant that we, with the assistance of both, may be taught by the example of Thy Holy Family and may attain to its everlasting fellowship. Who livest and reignest forever. Amen.

St. Thomas Becket, (of Canterbury)

December 29th

St. Thomas was Archbishop of the now defunct Archdiocese of Canterbury from 1162 to 1170. He became involved in a conflict with King Henry II over the rights of the clergy and the independence of the Church. He was martyred as a consequence of this political division by followers of the king with in his own Cathedral. Following his death the faithful throughout Europe began venerating Becket as a martyr, and in 1173—barely three years after his death—he was canonized by Pope Alexander and King Henry humbled himself at Becket's tomb by accepting penance for his part in the assassination of St. Thomas. Canterbury soon became one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in Europe. In 1220, Becket's remains were relocated from his tomb to a shrine in the recently completed Trinity Chapel where it stood until it was destroyed in 1538, at the start of the English Reformation. This was done on orders from King Henry VIII, who separated the Church in England from the Holy See, as vengeance for the humiliation of Henry II. In addition Henry VIII also ordered the destroyed Becket's relics and ordered that all mention of his name be obliterated even from the liturgical books.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007



Dear Brothers and Sisters! "A holy day has dawned upon us." A day of great hope: today the Saviour of mankind is born. The birth of a child normally brings a light of hope to those who are waiting anxiously. When Jesus was born in the stable at Bethlehem, a "great light" appeared on earth; a great hope entered the hearts of those who awaited him: in the words of today’s Christmas liturgy, "lux magna". Admittedly it was not "great" in the manner of this world, because the first to see it were only Mary, Joseph and some shepherds, then the Magi, the old man Simeon, the prophetess Anna: those whom God had chosen. Yet, in the shadows and silence of that holy night, a great and inextinguishable light shone forth for every man; the great hope that brings happiness entered into the world: "the Word was made flesh and we saw his glory" (Jn 1:14).
___H.H. Pope Benedict XVI (Urbi et Orbi 2007)

Monday, December 24, 2007

"Do not be afraid. I bring you good news"

Adoration of the Shepperd's

There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

Thursday, December 20, 2007


December 25th

This martyr enjoys the distinction, unique in the Roman liturgy, of having a special commemoration in the second Mass on Christmas day. This Mass was originally celebrated not in honour of the birth of Christ, but in commemoration of this martyr, and towards the end of the fifth century her name was also inserted in the Roman canon of the Mass. Nevertheless, she is not a Roman saint, for she suffered martyrdom at Sirmium (near the modern town of Mitrovitz in Slavonia), and was not venerated at Rome until almost the end of the fifth century. All that is certain about her life and passion is that she was martyred for the faith in Sirmium, that her name was Anastasia, and that her memory was kept sacred in that church.

The relics of the martyr were translated to Constantinople, to a church which had hitherto been known as "Anastasis" Greek for the. Resurrection, thereafter that particular church took the name of the St. Anastasia. The devotion and “cultus” of St. Anastasia was similarly introduced into Roman from Sirmium by means of an already existing church. There existed in Rome from the fourth century, at the foot of the Palatine hill and above the Circus Maximus, a church which had been adorned by Pope St. Damasus (366-384) with a large mosaic. It was known as the "titulus Anastasix", and is mentioned as such in the Acts of the Roman Council of 499. Due to the already existing celebrity of this church, it brought the feast of the saint into especial prominence.

The insertion of St. Anastasias name into the Roman Canon of the Mass occurred toward the end of the fifth century, and shows that she had by that time already occupied a unique position among the saints publicly venerated at Rome. The church on the Palatine has since this time been known as the "titulus sanctx Anastasix", and the martyr of Sirmium became the titular saint of the old fourth-century basilica. Evidently because of its position as the titular church of the district of the Palatine hill (at the center of Rome) which included the imperial dwellings this church long maintained an eminent rank among the churches of Rome; only two churches preceded it in honor: St. John Lateran, the mother-church, and Cathedral of Rome, and the Basilica of St. Mary Major. This ancient sanctuary stands today quite isolated amid the ruins of Rome. The commemoration of St. Anastasia in the second Mass on Christmas day is the last remnant of the former prominence enjoyed by this saint and her church in the life of Christian Rome.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Being an accessory to sin

The serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals… He said to the woman, “Did God really say, You must not eat from any tree in the garden?” The woman said “God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die’.” "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. The woman saw, that the fruit was pleasing to the eye. She took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. … Adam lived 930 years, and then he died. __(Genesis)

Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.” __(Romans)

Nine ways of being an accessory to the sins of another:

By counsel.

By command.

By consent.

By provocation.

By praise or flattery.

By concealment.

By partaking.

By silence.

By defense of the ill done.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


H.E. Alfons Maria Card. STICKLER SDB
Cardinal Priest of S Giorgio in Velabro

August 23, 1910-December 12, 2007

May everlasting light shine upon him, O Lord, with Your saints in eternity, for You are merciful. Grant him eternal rest, O Lord, and may everlasting light shine upon him.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Gaudete Sunday

December 16th., 2007

Gospel for the Third Sunday of Advent.

At that time the Jews sent from Jerusalem priests and levites to John, to ask him: Who art thou? And he confessed, and did not deny: and he confessed: I am not the Christ. And they asked him: What then? Art thou Elias? And he said: I am not. Art thou the Prophet? And he answered: No. They said therefore unto him: Who art thou, that we may give an answer to them that sent us? What sayest thou of thyself? He said: I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the Prophet Isaias. And they that were sent were of the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said to him: Why then dost thou baptize, if thou be not Christ, nor Elias, nor the Prophet? John answered them, saying: I baptize with water: but there hath stood one in the midst of you whom you know not. The same is He that shall come after me, who is preferred before me: the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to loose. These things were done in Bethania, beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

___John 1: 19-28

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Feast of Saint Lucy

The Thirteenth Day of December:

At Syracuse in Sicily, the birthday of St. Lucy, virgin and martyr, in the persecution of Diocletian. By order of the proconsul Paschasius, she was delivered to profligates, that her chastity might be insulted by the people; but when they attempted to lead her away they were not able to move her, either with ropes or by means of many yoke of oxen. Then having hot pitch, resin, and burning oil applied to her body without being injured, she finally had a sword driven through her throat, and thus completed her martyrdom.

V. And elsewhere in divers places, many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.

R. Thanks be to God.

__(From the Roman Martyrology).

Monday, December 10, 2007


The Sixth way

Saint Dominic, was also seen to pray standing erect with his hands and arms outstretched forcefully in the form of a cross. He prayed in this way when God, through his supplications, raised to life the boy Napoleon in the sacristy of the Church of Saint Sixtus in Rome, and when he was raised from the ground at the celebration of Mass, as the good and holy Sister Cecilia, who was present with many other people and saw him, narrates. He was like Elias who stretched himself out and lay upon the widow's son when he raised him to life.

In a similar manner he prayed near Toulouse when he delivered the group of English pilgrims from danger of drowning in the river. Our Lord prayed thus while hanging on the cross, that is, with his hands and arms extended and "with a loud cry and tears ... he was heard because of his reverent submission" [Heb. 5:7].

In a grave and mature manner, he would slowly pronounce the words in the Psalter which mention this way of prayer. He used to say attentively: "O Lord, the God of my salvation: I have cried in the day and in the night before thee, all the day I have cried to thee, O Lord: I stretched out my hands to thee" (Ps. 87:2-10). Then he would add: "Hear, O Lord, my prayer give ear to my supplication in thy truth . . ." He would continue "I stretched forth my hands to thee . . . Hear me speedily, O Lord" (Ps. 142:1-7).

This manner of prayer would help devout souls to appreciate more easily his great zeal and wisdom in praying thus. This is true whether, in doing so, he wished to move God in some wonderful manner through his prayer or whether he felt through some interior inspiration that God was to move him to seek some singular grace for himself or his neighbor.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Our Lady Vulnerata

Our Lady Vulnerata

In the great reredos of the Chapel of the English College, Valladolid, is the statue of Our Lady Vulnerata. The story of this statue begins in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England, in 1596. Spain had recovered from the defeat of the Invincible Armada and was gathering another fleet in the port of Cadiz, on the Atlantic coast of southern Spain. The Earl of Essex, one of England's most famous sea-dogs, together with Sir Walter Raleigh, led an English fleet into the harbour, destroyed the Spanish fleet and took possession of the city.

Some of the English troops ran riot and dragged a statue of the Virgin Mary and Child from a church to the market square where they desecrated it. They cut off both arms. All that remained of the Child were parts of his tiny feet on His Mother's knee.

The mutilated statue was given greater honour than ever and the Countess of Santa Gadea, wife of the Governor of Castilla, gave it place of honour in her chapel in Madrid.

The staff and students of the English College in Valladolid asked the Countess for the right to make reparation for the behaviour of their fellow countrymen who had desecrated the statue. Reluctantly she agreed and the statue was brought to Valladolid and installed with great solemnity in the College Chapel in 1600.

Queen Margaret of Austria, wife of King Philip III of Spain, who was present when the statue was installed, had asked for a novena in honour of Our Lady. On the last day of the novena the Bishop of Palencia gave the statue the title of Our Lady Vulnerata (which means wounded and insulted).

In 1979 it was renovated to mark its third centenary. More recently the facade was restored and the main doors renewed at the end of 1985; and the chapel was opened to the public.

Every week, to this day, special prayers are offered in reparation for the insults to Our Lady and the Child Jesus and to implore the intercession of Our Lady Vulnerata for the conversion of the people of England and Wales.

The story of the statue is depicted in eight paintings around the walls of the College chapel.

The Mass of Our Lady Vulnerata is celebrated in the College by special indult on the Sunday following the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

In the year 2000, the 4th Centenary of the arrival of the statue of Our Lady Vulnerata, after further renovation of the College chapel, the statue was given a new crown, a gift from the old boys of the College, at a solemn ceremony on the Feast of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


My dear friends,

I speak to you today on a matter of grave urgency – the need for an amendment to our state Constitution which will protect marriage. As you know, God is the author of marriage. It is a sacred commitment ordained by Him to be a life-long, exclusive relationship between one man and one woman. Yet, in state after state, marriage is being re-defined. Massachusetts has legalized same-sex marriage. “Civil unions” are legal in New Jersey, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Maine, and California.

Pennsylvania has a Defense of Marriage Act. Still, there is always the danger that court challenges to overturn it will occur. Proponents of non-traditional alternatives to marriage are very motivated and well-financed. Already one proposed amendment to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman has been attempted in Pennsylvania.

I am asking you, at this time, to contact your state Senator to urge him or her to support an amendment to the Constitution of Pennsylvania defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman, with no recognition for any marriage-like unions. This weekend, in your parish bulletin, you will find the name and contact information for the Senator from your district. Please call, write or email as soon as possible. Pay a visit to his or her office if you can.

There are many who would say that the Church should not interfere in such matters. With my friend, Archbishop Chaput of Denver, I respond that American Catholics today face challenges not unlike those that faced the early Church. The Apostles and their successors preached the Gospel and people believed it, not just as a set of ideas, but in a way that made them unable to go on living like the people around them. In particular, early Christians believed that marriage was sacred. For them, following the practices of their Roman neighbors regarding human sexuality and marriage was unthinkable. So it is with us. In the long run, we serve our country best by remembering that we are citizens of heaven first. We are, in fact, better Americans when we are truly Catholic.

May Our Mother, Mary, who is the model of holiness, and St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse, intercede for us so that our efforts on behalf of marriage will be ever pleasing to her most gracious Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Joseph F. Martino, D.D., Hist. E.D.

Bishop of Scranton


St. Andrew.
Georges de La Tour 1615

November 30th.

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. "Come, follow Me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed Him.

__St. Mathew. 4:18-20

Friday, November 23, 2007


The Fourth Way of Prayer

Saint Dominic would remain before the altar or in the chapter room with his gaze fixed on the Crucified One, looking upon Him with perfect attention. He genuflected frequently, again and again. He would continue sometimes from after Compline until midnight, now rising, now kneeling again, like the apostle Saint James, or the leper of the gospel who said on bended knee: "Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean" [Matt. 8:2]. He was like Saint Stephen who knelt and called out with a loud cry: "Lord, do not lay this sin against them" [Acts 7:60]. Thus there was formed in our holy father, Saint Dominic, a great confidence in God's mercy towards himself, all sinners, and for the perseverance of the younger brethren whom he sent forth to preach to souls. Sometimes he could not even restrain his voice, and the friars would hear him murmuring: "Unto thee will I cry, O Lord: O my God, be not thou silent to me: lest if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit" [Ps. 27:1] and comparable phrases from the Sacred Scripture.

The Fifth Way of Prayer

Saint Dominic would sometimes remain before the altar, standing erect without supporting himself or leaning upon anything. Often his hands would be extended before his breast in the manner of an open book; he would stand with great reverence and devotion as if reading in the very presence of God. Deep in prayer, he appeared to be meditating upon the words of God, and he seemed to repeat them to himself in a sweet voice. He regularly prayed in this way for it was Our Lord's manner as Saint Luke tells us: ". . . according to his custom he entered the synagogue on the Sabbath and began to read" [Luke 4:16]. The psalmist also tells us that "Phinees stood up and prayed, and the slaughter ceased" [Ps. 105:30].

He would sometimes join his hands, clasping them firmly together before eyes filled with tears and restrain himself. At other times he would raise his hands to his shoulders as the priest does at Mass. He appeared then to be listening carefully as if to hear something spoken from the altar. If one had seen his great devotion as he stood erect and prayed, he would certainly have thought that he was observing a prophet, first speaking with an angel or with God himself, then listening, then silently thinking of those things which had been revealed to him.

On a journey he would secretly steal away at the time for prayer and, standing, would immediately raise his mind to heaven. One would then have heard him speaking sweetly and with supreme delight some loving words from his heart and from the riches of Holy Scripture which he seemed to draw from the fountains of the Savior. The friars were very much moved by the sight of their father and master praying in this manner. Thus, having become more fervent, they were instructed in the way of reverent and constant prayer: "Behold as the eyes of servants are on the hands of their masters, as the eyes of the handmaid are on the hands of her mistress . . ." [Ps. 122:2].

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


October 30

The Third Way of Prayer

Saint Dominic would rise from the ground and give himself the discipline after the days prayers. He did this with an iron chain, saying, “Thy discipline has corrected me unto the end” [Ps. 17:36]. This is why the Order decreed, in memory of his example, that all the brethren should receive the discipline with wooden switches upon their shoulders as they were bowing down in worship and reciting the psalm “Miserere” or “De Profundis” after Compline on ferial days. This is performed for their own faults or for those of others whose alms they receive and rely upon. No matter how sinless a brother may be, he is not to desist from this holy example given by the blessed Saint Dominic.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Saint Dominic

October 25th

The First Way:
SAINT DOMINIC’S first way of prayer was to humble himself before the altar as if Christ, signified by the altar, were truly and personally present and not in symbol alone. He would say with Judith: “O Lord, God, the prayer of the humble and the meek hath always pleased Thee [Judith 9:16]." It was through humility that the Canaanite woman and the prodigal son obtained what they desired; as for me, “I am not worthy that Thou shouldst come under my roof” [Matt. 8:8] for “I have been humbled before you exceedingly, O Lord [Ps. 118:107].”In this way our holy father, standing erect, bowed his head and humbly considering Christ, his Head, compared his lowliness with the excellence of Christ. He then gave himself completely in showing his veneration. The brethren were taught to do this whenever they passed before the humiliation of the Crucified One in order that Christ, so greatly humbled for us, might see us humbled before his majesty. And he commanded the friars to humble themselves in this way before the entire Trinity whenever they chanted solemnly: “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.” In this manner of profoundly inclining his head, as shown in the drawing, Saint Dominic began his prayer.


The Second Way:

SAINT DOMINIC used to pray by throwing himself outstretched upon the ground, lying on his face. He would feel great remorse in his heart and call to mind those words of the Gospel, saying sometimes in a voice loud enough to be heard: “O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” [Luke 18:13] With devotion and reverence he repeated that verse of David: “I am he that has sinned, I have done wickedly.” [II Kings 24:17]. Then he would weep and groan vehemently and say: “I am not worthy to see the heights of heaven because of the greatness of my iniquity, for I have aroused thy anger and done what is evil in thy sight”(28). From the psalm: “Deus auribus nostris audivimus” he said fervently and devoutly: “For our soul is cast down to the dust, our belly is flat on the earth!” [Ps. 43:25]. To this he would add: “My soul is prostrate in the dust; quicken thou me according to thy word” [Ps. 118:25].Wishing to teach the brethren to pray reverently, he would sometimes say to them: When those devout Magi entered the dwelling they found the child with Mary, his mother, and falling down they worshipped him. There is no doubt that we too have found the God-Man with Mary, his handmaid. “Come, let us adore and fall down in prostration before God, and let us weep before God, and let us weep before the Lord that made us” [Ps. 94:61. He would also exhort the young men, and say to them: If you cannot weep for your own sins because you have none, remember that there are many sinners who can be disposed for mercy and charity. It was for these that the prophets lamented; and when Jesus saw them, he wept bitterly. The holy David also wept as he said: “I beheld the transgressors and began to grieve” [Ps. 118:158].


Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Sacrifice of the Mass

"In the sacrament he is immolated for the people not only on every Easter Solemnity but on every day; and a man would not be lying if, when asked, he were to reply that Christ is being immolated. For if sacraments had not a likeness to those things of which they are sacraments, they would not be sacraments at all; and they generally take the names of those same things by reason of this likeness"

__(St. Augustin Letters 98:9 [A.D. 412]).

Friday, October 5, 2007

Saint Wilfrid of York

St. Wilfrid of York
Feast :October 12

October 12

Heavenly Father, Shepherd of your people, we thank you for your servant the faithful bishop Saint Wilfrid, who ever dutiful in the care and nurture of your flock, persevered in the true Faith always. We pray that, following his example and the teaching of his holy life, we may by your grace grow into the stature of the fulness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


Monday, October 1, 2007

The restoration of the Roman Rite

"Omni Extra"
Archbishop Marini sealing the Conclave
of April 2005 that elected H.H. Benedict XVI.

October 1:

Vatican, Oct. 1, 2007 (see - Pope Benedict XVI has replaced Archbishop Piero Marini, Papal master of ceremonies since the pontificate of PopeJohn Paul II.

A leading disciple and private secretary to Archbishop Annibale Bugnini head of the Concilium and chief architect of the liturgical changes following Vatican II.

Archbishop Marini was noted for his penchant for liturgical innovation. Since the election of Benedict XVI as Supreme Pontiff in April 2005, Vatican-watchers had speculated that Archbishop Marini would be replaced by someone more sympathetic to the present Pope's restoration of the Roman Rite.

Archbishop Piero Marini has been replaced by Guido Marini of the Genoa archdiocese, an outstanding Liturgist in his own right.

The incoming chief liturgist for the Vatican, has been serving as chancellor and chief liturgist for the Archdiocese of Genoa. In those capacities he served closely with the former archbishop-- and current Vatican Secretary of State-- Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone

Friday, September 28, 2007


Saint Fermin Patron of Navarre
September 25

September 25

Saint Fermin, the son of a Roman of senatorial rank in Pamplona in the 3rd century, who was converted to Christianity. He was baptised by Saint Saturnin.

He was ordained a priest in Toulouse, and returned to Pamplona as its first bishop. On a later voyage to preach the gospel, Saint Fermin was beheaded on September 25, AD 303 in the city of Amiens, France.

Monday, September 3, 2007


Saturday, September 1, 2007

September: Month of the Holy Cross

Meditations on the Passion of Our Lord.


What is Truth, by the 19th Century painter Nikolai Ge.

"Truth is the conformity of the mind to reality."
-St. Thomas.

"You are a king, then!" said Pilate.

Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."

"What is truth?" Pilate asked. With this he went out again to the Jews and said, "I find no basis for a charge against him. 39But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release 'the king of the Jews'?"
(St. John 18: 37-39)

_Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. --St. John

_The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.--St. John

_The law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.--St. John

_Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth...--St. John

ou will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."--St. John

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Map of New Amsterdam
with view of Fort Amsterdam.

Fort Amsterdam

Birth place of the city of New York, its location on the southern tip of Manhattan made it the logical administrative headquarters of the city for the original Dutch colonizers and then the British. The fort was in continual use form1625 until being torn down in 1790 after the American Revolution.

In 1625 Willem Verhulst, second director of the New Netherland colony began the construction of the fort, under the supervision of Cryn Fredericksz chief engineer of the project. The following year Fredericksz returned to the Netherlands and the building project was temporarily abandoned.

The danger of an English or French attack pushed propelled the Dutch authorities to complete the building of the Fort albeit no longer with stones but rather lumber.

In 1665 relations between Holland and England became bellicose. War—the second Anglo-Dutch war broke out. As a consequence on August 27, 1664 the Duke of York, the Lord High Admiral of England, sailed into what is today the Harbor of New York and without firing a single shot captured both Fort Amsterdam and the City of New Amsterdam. Both the fort and the city were renamed, the first becoming Fort James in honor of the Duke’s brother, James II King of England, and the latter the City of New York.

In August of 1673 the Dutch returned with a fleet of 21 ships under the control of the very qualified admiral Cornelis Evertsen the Youngest. Manhattan was retaken and the City of New York renamed New Orange. Fort James also was renamed. This time it was rechristened Fort Willem Hendrick in honor of the Prince of Orange who would in time become himself King of England and rule together with Queen Mary II daughter of Charles Duke of York. The Fort, the city of New Orange and the whole of the New Netherlands were consequently returned into English rule one year after, as a consequence of the ratification of the 1674 treaty of Westminster which brought to an end the third Anglo-Dutch war. Both city and fort reverted to their English names.

In October 1683 Thomas Dongan, 2nd Earl of Limerick, a Catholic, and royal governor of New York opened the first legislature of New York, which met in Fort James.

After the so-called “Glorious Revolution” During the regime of Mary and William, Fort James was renamed, this time to Fort William, the anglicized version of Fort Willem. After the rule of William and Mary and the ascension to the throne of Queen Ann, the fort once again changed names, this time to Fort Ann, and again after the extinction of the Protestant Stuart line, and the rice of the Hanovians, at which time it became Fort George.

During the Battle of Brooklyn at the time of the American War of Independence, George Washington managed to seize the fort and turn its guns on the English forces on Governors Island, He eventually abandon the fort to the Royal forces.

On November 25th 1783, commonly referred to as “Evacuation Day”—the day when the last vestige of British military authority abandoned the territory of the new American Republic, Fort George fell into the hands of the new Americans government. By 1790 the fort was demolished, and the area around it turned into a promenade.

Today the site of what was once Fort Amsterdam is occupied by the elegant U.S. Customs House across the way from Battery Park, at 1 Bowling Green.

U.S. Customs House

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Truth about Mary

The Most Holy Mother of God

The Marian Credo

The four Marian dogmas

Four facts of the life of our Lady that all Catholics
must hold and believe as true.


  • We believe that the Virgin Mary is the Mother of God.

Therefore we confess one Christ, one Son, one Lord. According to this understanding of the unconfused union, we confess the Holy Virgin to be the Mother of God because God the Word took flesh and became man and from His very conception united to Himself the temple He took from Her.

[therefore] if anyone does not confess that Emmanuel is God in truth, and therefore that the holy virgin is the mother of God (for she bore in a fleshly way the Word of God become flesh, anathema sit (let him be cast out).

[Council of Ephesus 431]

"How does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" (Luke 1:43)


  • We believe that the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God was preserved in the integrity of Her virginity before, during, and after the birth of the Redeemer.

If anyone will not confess that the Word of God has two nativities, that which is before all ages from the Father, outside time and without a body, and secondly that nativity of these latter days when the Word of God came down from the heavens and was made flesh of holy and glorious Mary, mother of God and ever-virgin, and was born from her: let him be anathema.

[Second Council of Constantinople 553]

"Then said the LORD unto me; This gate shall be shut, It shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by It; because the LORD, the God of Israel, hath entered in by It, therefore It shall be shut." (Ezekiel 44:2)


  • We believe that the Blessed Virgin Mary was preserved from the moment of Her conception from the stain of original sin by a singular grace of the Almighty.

We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful."

Hence, if anyone shall dare--which God forbid!--to think otherwise than as has been defined by us, let him know and understand that he is condemned by his own judgment; that he has suffered shipwreck in the faith; that he has separated from the unity of the Church; and that, furthermore, by his own action he incurs the penalties established by law if he should are to express in words or writing or by any other outward means the errors he think in his heart.

[Apostolic Constitution; Ineffabilis Deus: Pope Pius IX 1854]


  • We believe that the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Immaculate Mother of God was assumed body and soul into the Glory of Heaven at the end of Her life.

We pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of Her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory. Hence if anyone, which God forbid, should dare willfully to deny or to call into doubt that which we have defined, let him know that he has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith.

[Apostolic Constitution; Munificentissimus Deus: Pope Pius XII 1950]

"When this mortal thing hath put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory. " (I Corinthians 15:54)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Queen of Heaven and Earth

August 22

On the Queenship of the
Blessed Virgin Mary,
Mother of God

[T]he Blessed Virgin possessed, after Christ, not only the highest degree of excellence and perfection, but also a share in that influence by which He, her Son and our Redeemer, is rightly said to reign over the minds and wills of men. For if through His Humanity the divine Word performs miracles and gives graces, if He uses His Sacraments and Saints as instruments for the salvation of men, why should He not make use of the role and work of His most holy Mother in imparting to us the fruits of redemption? "With a heart that is truly a mother's," to quote again Our Predecessor of immortal memory, Pius IX, "does she approach the problem of our salvation, and is solicitous for the whole human race; made Queen of heaven and earth by the Lord, exalted above all choirs of angels and saints, and standing at the right hand of her only Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, she intercedes powerfully for us with a mother's prayers, obtains what she seeks, and cannot be refused." On this point another of Our Predecessors of happy memory, Leo XIII, has said that an "almost immeasurable" power has been given Mary in the distribution of graces; St. Pius X adds that she fills this office "as by the right of a mother."

Let all Christians, therefore, glory in being subjects of the Virgin Mother of God, who, while wielding royal power, is on fire with a mother's love.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Assumpta est Maria

August 15

The Dogma of the bodily Assumption
of the Blessed Virgin MARY
Mother of God
into Heaven.

[F]or the honor of her [the Blessed Virgin Mary] Son, the immortal King of the Ages and the Victor over sin and death, for the increase of the glory of that same august Mother, and for the joy and exultation of the entire Church; by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma:

that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.

Hence if anyone, which God forbid, should dare willfully to deny or to call into doubt that which we have defined, let him know that he has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith.

Pope Pius XII

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Saints Abdon and Sennen, Martyrs

June 30th.

Saints Abdon and Sennen.

O God, who on thy servants Abdon and Sennen
didst bestow abundant grace to attain unto the crown of glory
grant unto thy servants the remission of all their sins;
that, by the intercession of the merits of thy Saints,
they may be found worthy to be defended against
all adversities.

Abdon and Sennen were Persians. In the reign of the Emperor Decius they were accused of interring, on their own farm, the bodies of Christians, which had been thrown out unburied. The Emperor commanded them to be arrested and ordered to sacrifice to the gods. This they refused to do, and persistently preached that Jesus Christ is God, whereupon they were put into strict confinement. When Decius afterwards returned to Rome, he had them led in chains in his triumph. Being thus dragged into the city and up to the idols, they abhorred and spat upon them, for which they were cast to bears and lions ; the beasts were afraid to touch them. They were butchered with the sword, and the corpses, with their feet bound together, were dragged before the image of the sun. Thence they were stolen away, and the Deacon Quirinus buried them in his own house.

(Matins of the feast iii nocturn)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Hispanic Christianity

Part VI

Feast: February 27

St. Leander, a close friend of St. Gregory the Great, was born in Carthagena to a family of high nobility. He was the eldest brother of several saints. His brother, St. Isidore, succeeded him as Bishop of Seville. Another brother, St. Fulgentius, became Bishop of Carthagena, and his sister, St. Florentina, became an Abbess in Carthagena.

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When he was still young, Leander retired to a Benedictine monastery where he became a model of learning and piety. In 579 he was raised to the episcopal see of Seville, where he continued to practice his customary austerities and penances.

At that time, a part of the territory of Spain was dominated by the Visigoths. Those barbarians were Arians and had spread their errors in the cities they had conquered. The Iberian Peninsula had been infected by that heresy for 170 years when St. Leander was chosen Bishop of Seville. He began to combat it immediately. With the help of God, to Whom he had recourse, his efforts were successful and the heresy began to lose hold on its followers. He also played an important role in the conversion of Hermenegild, the eldest son of the Visigoth King.

King Leovigild, however, became angry over his son’s conversion and St. Leander’s activity. He exiled the Saint, and condemned his son to death. Later, he repented, recalled the Saint to Spain and asked him to educate and form his other son and successor, Reccared, who became a Catholic and helped the Saint to convert the rest of his subjects.

St. Leander played a central role at two councils, the Council of Seville and the Third Council of Toledo, where Visigothic Spain abjured Arianism in all its forms. He also wrote an influential Rule for his sister with instructions on prayer and renunciation of the world. He reformed the liturgy in Spain, adding the Nicene Creed to the Mass in order to make an express profession of the Faith against Arianism. Later, this practice passed to other Catholic countries. He died in 596.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Hispanic Christianity

Part V

Saint Hermenegild Martyr:

Feast Day April 13.

Saint Hermenegild was the eldest son of the Arian Visigothic king Leovigild. He married Ingund the daughter of the Frankish king Sigibert a Catholic and through her prayers and example and the influence of the holy bishop of Seville, Saint Leander he was converted to the faith and received into the Church. As a Catholic he took up arms against his father in defense of the Catholics but was captured in 583 by Leovigild’s men who brought him in chains to Toledo. Stripped of his royal garments and dignity by Leovigild he was banished to Valencia. Saint Gregory the Great relates that Leovigild sent an Arian bishop to him on the eve of Easter 585 with the Blessed Sacrament, but upon his refusal to receive communion from the the hands of a heretic, he was beheaded. Reccared the younger son and successor of king Leovigild, and brother to St. Hermenegild was converted to the true Faith through the example and intercession of St Hermenegild, and with him all of the Visigoths.

Saint Hermenegild is invoked against thunderstorms, drought, and inundations. His holy relics are preserved and venerated at Seville.

Hispanic Christianity

Part IV

The Kingdom of the Visigoths.

After the Visigothic sacking of Rome in the year 410 by Alaric the king of the Goths, the great armies of the Visigoths turned towards the Iberian Peninsula. Under Ataulf successor of Alaric these Germanic tribes, who by this time had become semi-assimilated into late classical Roman culture, and who for the most part understood and spoke Latin, and had been converted to Christianity albeit in the form of the Arian heresy, took control and occupied the north-eastern portion of the Roman province of Hispania, the region has ever since been called after them (Gotha-landia or Catalaunia) Catalonia. The Visigoths quickly extended their rule over most of the Peninsula, keeping the Suevians, Germanic peoples who had entered Hispania and settled into much of the Iberian Peninsula, shut up in Galicia, the furthest north-western corner of Hispania. By the year 466 the Visigothic king Euric had put an end to the last remnants of Roman Imperial power in the Peninsula, Euric has be considered by some historians as the first monarch of Spain, though the Suevians still maintained their independence in Galicia. Apart from ending Roman rule over the Iberian Peninsula Euric also noted for being the first king among the Goths to have issued and codified written laws.

The religious differences within the Visigothic kingdom greatly divided the country, touching every part of society, even the royal family. For the most part the original Hispano-Roman inhabitants of the peninsula remained loyal to orthodox Catholicism, while the Visigoths in the majority remained Arians. This division eventually erupted into open civil war. Hermengild, king Leovigild's eldest son, a convert to the Catholic Faith and latter a canonized saint, organized and led an insurrection of the Catholics against his father. Defeated and taken prisoner by his father's forces, he eventually suffered martyrdom for refusing communion from the hands of an Arians bishop.

Recared, the younger son of Leovigild and successor to his throne, added to the political unity already achieved by his father, religious unity by abandoning Arianism and converting to the Catholic Faith at the Third Council of Toledo in 589. The religious unity established throughout the kingdom by Recared's conversion, and the council of 589 itself has been seen as the basis of the fusion of Goths and Hispano-Romans which suddenly gave birth to what is unmistakably Hispanic civilization .

As a result of this union of creed and national identity, Catholicism has become a hallmark of the Hispanic peoples, their culture and self understanding simply cannot not be explained without a constant reference to the Catholic creed. Simply stated, because of the events of 589 to be Hispanic is by a law of strict necessity, and cultural logic, to be Catholic.

The undivided Spanish kingdom of the Goths continued to flourish until the catastrophic Moorish invasion of 711 A.D..

During this period in Spanish history, many very important Church councils were held in Spain. Among the most memorable were: that of Tarragona in 516, at which ten bishops assisted; the First Council of Barcelona in 540, and those of Lérida and Valencia in 546. Most important of all, and of a special character, were the councils of Toledo and of Braga.

Significant also were the great number of saints, and learned men that were produced in this period of Spanish history.