Monday, July 16, 2018. Have a blessed day on this Feast of Our Lady!
Mysterious Light That Shone from Priest’s Home Chapel Where Blessed Sacrament Was Kept | August 31, 2016 By Gretchen Filz
Was this photo a Eucharistic Miracle? There is good reason to believe so, because that strangely large, bright light was shining from inside the private chapel of a priest’s residence where the Blessed Sacrament was reposed.
This photo and the story behind it was originally written by Fr. Robert Lange, a priest of the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, in 2007 and posted on his personal blog. Fr. Lange went to be with the Lord in May of 2015. His website is now offline so we are unable to link to the original source of the article, although it has been republished on multiple Catholic websites in the years since he wrote it. Fr. Lange’s original article is reposted below.
Respect for Christ in the Eucharist – One Priest’s Perspective
By Rev. Robert Lange
The picture above is of my home in Fort Valley, Virginia, and the light is coming from my chapel where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved. There is not light in the window and there is no sun out on the day of the picture. (More about the picture is at end of the article.)
Americans have the option of receiving the Holy Eucharist on the tongue or in the hand. The Vatican granted us the option of receiving on the hand in 1977. This was accomplished by an indult, a lifting of the law, so we may receive either way, on the tongue or in the hand. The indult was granted because the American bishops told the Vatican that their parishioners were clamoring for it. “We can feed ourselves” was one of the specious arguments put forward.
After Apostolic times, the Church gradually adopted Communion on the tongue as the universal practice. In the early fourth century the Arians, who denied the divinity of Christ, revived the practice of receiving Communion in the hand specifically to show a lesser respect for Christ, believing that He is not “equal to the Father.”
The universal Church law, which requires Holy Eucharist to be distributed to the faithful on their tongues, remains in force; it remains the law. However the indult has the effect of making the law inapplicable where in force.
Foreseeing the demand for the indult coming, the Sacred Office for Divine Worship sent a letter to the presidents of the bishops’ conferences to advise them how they may implement this option if granted. The letter spoke about reverence for the Holy Eucharist being the number one priority.
With this in mind, the letter went into great detail trying to explain this crucial concern. The letter contained the following specifics: Communion on the hand is an option; it is not the primary way of receiving. Catholics must be catechized to understand this important point. No one is to be forced to receive on the hand. When receiving the Body of Christ on the hand, the faithful must be aware of the fact that each and every particle, no matter how small, is truly the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. Therefore no particle should ever be discarded or treated with less than total respect due to the Body of Christ.
The faithful must also be reminded that their hands must be clean to receive our Lord, Jesus Christ.
When ordained in 1986, I was a proponent of receiving Communion in the hand, but time has changed my thinking on this issue. Seeing so many abuses and forming a deeper respect for Jesus’ true Presence in the Holy Eucharist were the factors which forced me to rethink my position.
On March 28, 1965, when the Catholic college I was attending opened their newly renovated chapel, we students were told how to receive the Holy Eucharist: standing and in the hand. There was no option given. May I add that this was fully 12 years before any American diocese received the indult, which allowed for that option.
Why did those priests, abbots and bishops disobey the authority of Rome? Communion in the hand became the norm for American Catholics in the 1960s. In many cases the practice was not presented to us as optional, but as the way to receive.
In my 24 years as a priest, I have served in many parishes and witnessed many Eucharistic abuses caused by receiving in the hand. I have picked Jesus off the floor from under pews and picked Him out of hymnals. I have followed people back to their seats and asked if they would give me the Host back (they bring it out of a clinched hand or out of their pockets) and have witnessed many other sacrilegious desecrations of the most Blessed Sacrament, far too many and varied to mention, some so shocking most people would simply not believe my words.
As I began to see these desecrations of the Holy Eucharist, I began to understand how very sickening, disheartening and avoidable all of this actually has been. Many religious education programs teach the children how to receive on the hand, with at most a cursory mention of the traditional way of receiving on the tongue. Why? The Church documents do not support such teaching. It was the same with many American dioceses in the 1960s when the faithful were being coerced into receiving on the hand a decade before being granted the indult.
Father Benedict Groeschel, a familiar face to EWTN viewers and an accomplished author, announced on his “Sunday Night Live With Fr. Groeschel” program that he considered Communion in the hand to be an abomination. That is strong language!
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta was asked what was the worst thing that has happened to the Church in her lifetime. She replied without hesitation, “Communion in the hand.” Again powerful language!
Why would these two great figures of our time be so fervent in their opinions regarding this issue if it did not affect their whole being? Somehow I think they would agree that Communion in the hand is a true American tragedy.
Our Holy Father, Benedict XVI, leads by example. Since becoming Pope, anyone receiving the Holy Eucharist from him must receive on the tongue and kneeling. He is not requiring a change throughout the world, but is giving us a profound message by example.
Proper respect shown to the Holy Eucharist is primary. Please consider these thoughts before receiving Holy Communion this Sunday. Thank you.
Further note on picture: In May of this year Bishop Loverde gave me permission to reserve the Blessed Sacrament in my chapel – The chapel is on the second floor of my home. The Eucharist had been reserved in the chapel less than a week when this picture was taken from the front porch of a neighbor’s home.
The person taking the picture was enamored by the beauty of the valley and decided to take a picture for her collection. When she aimed the camera towards the valley and tried to focus for the picture, she says the light coming from my house was so bright she said it was difficult trying to look into camera to view the picture to be taken (It was a cloudy day and I did not have a light on in the room/chapel where the light is coming from.) She took the picture and the image – the Star of David – is what came out on her digital camera. She did not know what to make of it. Not being Catholic, she had no understanding of the Sacrament of the Eucharist (Holy Communion).
My opinion is that our Lord wanted to give us a beautiful reminder of His true presence in the Holy Eucharist – Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity! It is a reminder that He is with us always, that we are never alone, that He is the Son of God and the Son of Man. It is a vivid reminder that He truly suffered and died on the cross and that He is present in this world – until His Second Coming – in this most special manner – the Eucharist.
Just as the Star appeared over the stable in Bethlehem when the Christ Child was born, so the Star of David has appeared through the window of my Chapel on St. David’s Church Road, Fort Valley, Virginia, to remind us of His care, love, protection, and presence in our lives today and always.
By Rev. Robert Lange
(June 13, 1944 – May 4, 2015)
Source URL: https://www.catholiccompany.com/getfed/mysterious-light-priests-home-chapel/
By Scott P. Richert, Catholicism Expert
A number of spiritual practices that were very common in the past have been neglected in recent decades. As belief in the doctrine of Purgatory has waned, fewer people pray for the Holy Souls—those who died in a state of grace, but without having fully atoned for their sins. And far fewer people engage in the practice of “offering it up”—offering up our daily sufferings, toil, and stress for the good of these souls in Purgatory.Continue Reading Below Pope Benedict XVI referred to this practice in his weekly Angelus address on Sunday, November 4, 2007:Truthfully, the Church invites us to pray for the dead every day, offering also our sufferings and difficulties that they, once completely purified, might be admitted to enjoy the light and peace of the Lord for all eternity.(It’s no coincidence that Pope Benedict discussed this in November, the Month of the Holy Souls in Purgatory—it’s a good month to make a daily effort to establish the habit of “offering it up.”)
We Benefit, Too, by Helping the Holy Souls
When we offer up our daily sufferings, we benefit, too, because we learn better to cope with the challenges of our daily life. Whenever we find ourselves in a bad situation, we should remind ourselves that we’re offering it up for the Holy Souls, because the merit of our offering increases when we cope with the situation with Christian charity, humility, and patience.
A Great Practice to Teach Your Children
Children, too, can learn to “offer it up,” and they’re often eager to do so, especially if they can offer up the trials of childhood for a beloved grandparent or other relative or friend who has died.Continue Reading BelowIt’s a good way to remind them that, as Christians, we believe in life after death and that, in a very real sense, the souls of the dead are still with us. That’s what the “Communion of Saints” that we refer to in the Apostles’ Creed (and every other Christian creed) means.
How Do You “Offer It Up”?
In the most general sense, any prayer or intention to “offer it up” is sufficient. Simply stop at a moment of stress, or as you enter into a situation that you know will be stressful, make the Sign of the Cross, and say something like, “O Jesus, I offer up my struggles and sacrifices today for the relief of the Holy Souls in Purgatory.”A better way, though, is to memorize a Morning Offering (or to keep a copy of it near your bed), and to say it when you first wake up. Traditionally, the Morning Offering, along with the Our Father and the Act of Faith, the Act of Hope, and the Act of Charity, were the centerpieces of Catholic morning prayers. In the Morning Offering, we dedicate our entire day to God, and we promise to offer up our sufferings throughout the day for the souls in Purgatory.
The Queenship of Mary
From the earliest centuries of the Catholic Church, Christians have addressed suppliant prayers and hymns of praise to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the hope they have placed in the Mother of the Savior has never been disappointed. They have looked upon Her as Queen of Angels, Queen of Patriarchs, Queen of Prophets, Queen of Apostles, Queen of Martyrs, Queen of Virgins. Because of Her eminence, She is indeed entitled to the highest honors that can be bestowed upon any creature. Saint Gregory Nazianzen called Her Mother of the King of the entire universe and the Virgin Mother who brought forth the King of the entire world.
Prayer to Our Lady, Queen of Prophets
To thee, O Queen of Prophets, foreseen by them, Mother of God and of His people, to thee we have recourse in our necessities, confident that as thou thyself art the fulfillment of prophecy, so thou wilt desire the fulfillment of thy own words, bringing, out of all generations, N_______, to call thee blessed. Say to all the erring for whom we beseech thee, and especially to N________, "Thy light has come." Say but one word to thy Son, and the glory of the Lord shall rise upon them, and the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and so they, wondering at the star, will follow into the house of bread, where, finding thy Child with thee, they will eat of the true bread and live forever, possessing joy and gladness, while sorrow and sadness will disappear.
O Thou who art omnipotent in prayer, at whose request thy Son worked his first miracle, beg Him to say: "I the Lord will do this suddenly in its time," and grant to those for whom we pray, that they may draw water with joy at the fountains of the Savior. May it be granted to us all to be united with thee, O Mother, in singing thy Magnificat to Him thy Son, our Lord Jesus.
(100 Days, once a day. Leo XIII, January 24, 1901)
And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. —Deuteronomy 30:6
Circumcision is the surgical removal of the male foreskin, usually performed shortly after birth. It is a symbol of God “cutting away” from our hearts the “covering” of fleshly attitudes that prevent us from loving and serving Him.
Often we trust in mere instruction and discipline to effect this change in our children. In this verse, God is promising to do it supernaturally. Convincing a child through logic and reason is nowhere near as powerful as when that child has an encounter with God that transforms him or her from within. Praise God, the Most High pledges to do that very thing (Rom. 2:28–29).
Lord, I claim for my child a circumcised heart, that You will “cut away” the worldliness, the carnality and the sensuality that could otherwise corrupt him/her. I acknowledge that this is a promised divine deliverance, a supernatural act of God, and not something I can force by mere religious instruction. I trust You, Lord, to work this awesome, internal transformation in ___________ and give him/her a circumcised heart. In the name of Jesus, amen (let it be so)!
From 65 Promises From God for Your Child by Mike Shreve
Address to the Latin American Bishops, Blessed John Paul II, Catholic, Christian, Dei Verbum, Ecclesia in America, Evangilization, Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Emeritus, Pope John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio, religion
The term “The New Evangelization” is thrown around in many Catholics circles today, but what exactly does it mean?
It is believed that Blessed John Paul II first used the term in 1983 in an address to Latin American Bishops. He would later bring this term to the attention of the entire Church. Perhaps, the most clear definition of the New Evangelization is in his encyclical, Redemptoris Missio. In section 33 of this encyclical, Blessed John Paul II describes three different situations for evangelization: mission ad gentes, Christian communities, and the new evangelization.
Mission ad gentes: Latin for “to the nations.” This is a situation where “Christ and his Gospel are not known.”
Christian communities: “In these communities the Church carries out her activity and pastoral care.” This is the ongoing evangelization of those “fervent in the faith.”
New Evangelization: So, what is the new evangelization? Blessed John Paul II describes a situation between the first two options “where entire groups of the baptized have lost a living sense of the faith, or even no longer consider themselves members of the Church, and live a life far removed from Christ and his Gospel. In this case what is needed is a ‘new evangelization’ or a ‘re-evangelization.’”
The new evangelization pertains to a very specific group of people: fallen-away Christians. For most Catholics in the western world, we see the need for this type of evangelization all around us. Everyone knows someone who was once baptized but who no longer practices the faith. Blessed John Paul II wanted the faithful to clearly recognize this problem and then try to solve it.
FOCUS (The Fellowship of Catholic University Students) aims to answer the John Paul II’s call for the new evangelization. On college campuses across the nation, college students are falling away from their faith. Statistics show that just 15% of Catholics aged 18-25 attend Church on a weekly basis. FOCUS lives out the new evangelization on the college campus because of this critical age demographic.
Pope Emeritus has continued the mission of the new evangelization in his pontificate. In 2010, Pope Emeritus Benedict established The Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization. In 2012, there was Bishops’ Synod to discuss the New Evangelization. We should be hearing much more about this topic in the years to come. Below are some key quotes on the New Evangelization by Blessed John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict. For more, check out the full documents of the resources quoted below.
“I sense that the moment has come to commit all of the Church’s energies to a new evangelization and to the mission ad gentes. No believer in Christ, no institution of the Church can avoid this supreme duty: to proclaim Christ to all peoples” (Bl. John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio, no. 3).
“To this end, it is more necessary than ever for all the faithful to move from a faith of habit, sustained perhaps by social context alone, to a faith which is conscious and personally lived. The renewal of faith will always be the best way to lead others to the Truth that is Christ” (Bl. John Paul II, Ecclesia in America, no. 73).
“Look to the future with commitment to a New Evangelization, one that is new in its ardor, new in its methods, and new in its expression” (Bl. John Paul II, Address to the Latin American Bishops).
“The new evangelization in which the whole continent is engaged means that faith cannot be taken for granted, but must be explicitly proposed in all its breadth and richness” (Bl. John Paul II, Ecclesia in America, no. 69).
“Our own time, then, must be increasingly marked by new hearing of God’s word and a new evangelization. Recovering the centrality of the divine word in the Christian life leads us to appreciate anew the deepest meaning of the forceful appeal of Pope John Paul II: to pursue the mission ad gentes and vigorously to embark upon the new evangelization, especially in those nations where the Gospel has been forgotten or meets with indifference as a result of widespread secularism” (Pope Benedict XVI, Dei Verbum, no. 122).
January 20, 1972 – June 3, 2007
Requiescat in pace
Six years ago, on June 3, 2007 (Trinity Sunday in that year), Fr. Ragheed Aziz Ganni was martyred outside of the Church of the Holy Spirit in Mosul, Iraq, after celebrating Mass. Three sub-deacons also lost their lives in the attack.
Much has changed in Iraq in the last six years, but very little of it for the better. Like Pope John Paul II and Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) and Chaldean Catholic patriarch Emmanuel III Delly, Father Ragheed had predicted that the U.S.-led war in Iraq would be disastrous for the Christian population. By most estimates, as many as 90 percent of Iraqi Christians have fled the country since 2003, with many finding refuge in Syria, where they are now once again threatened by the uprisings against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Throughout the Middle East, Christians are the unreported victims of violence unleashed by U.S. intervention and the so-called Arab Spring.
The threats against the priest began less than a year after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, and Father Ragheed suspected that his days were numbered. Yet he found in persecution a renewed faith and a cause for hope. And his death, as tragic as it was, helped at least one Muslim friend of Father Ragheed to understand what the true Christian life entails: the willingness to follow Christ unto death, and through one’s own death, to preach Christ and His Resurrection to the world.
As we remember Father Ragheed and his fellow martyrs (Basman Yousef Daoud, Ghasan Bidawid, and Wadid Hanna), we recall the prophetic words of this martyred Iraqi priest:
“There are days when I feel frail and full of fear. But when, holding the Eucharist, I say ‘Behold the Lamb of God Behold, who takes away the sin of the world,’ I feel His strength in me. When I hold the Host in my hands, it is really He who is holding me and all of us, challenging the terrorists and keeping us united in His boundless love.”
As the Eucharist gave Father Ragheed the strength to face his martyrdom in faith, may it, and the example of Father Ragheed and his fellow martyrs, give us the strength as well to face the trials and tribulations of our own lives. And may God grant Fr. Ragheed Aziz Ganni, Basman Yousef Daoud, Ghasan Bidawid, and Wadid Hanna eternal rest.
by Max Fisher and Caitlin Dewey
Published: May 23, 2013 at 3:05 pm • May 22, 2013
Pope Francis’s pronouncement that God has “redeemed all of us … even the atheists” Wednesday surprised both believers and nonbelievers around the world, who are used to stricter edicts from the Catholic church. It also got us wondering where the world’s atheists live.
There’s surprisingly little data available on the subject. But a 2012 poll by WIN/Gallup International — an international polling firm that is not associated with the D.C.-based Gallup group — asked more than 50,000 people in 40 countries whether they considered themselves “religious,” “not religious” or “convinced atheist.” Overall, the poll concluded that roughly 13 percent of global respondents identified as atheists, more than double the percentage in the U.S.
The highest reported share of self-described atheists is in China: an astounding 47 percent. Faith has a complicated history in China. The state is deeply skeptical of organized religion, which it has long considered a threat to its authority.
In the Taipei rebellion of the 19th century, a religious cult started a Chinese civil war that killed millions of people and left the country exposed to European powers. The official ideology of the Communist government scorned both “new” Western religions and more traditionally Chinese faiths, destroying countless temples and relics during the Cultural Revolution of 1967 to 1977. While today’s Chinese leaders do not seem to share Mao Zedong’s fervent belief that China’s rich religious history was holding it back from modernity, nor do they seem prepared to bring that history back.
Japan, where 31 percent call themselves atheist, is a little more complicated. While superficial religious observation is common – many weddings take place in churches – formal religious practice has never really recovered from the imperial era that culminated with World War Two.
For much of the 1920 through 1940s, Japan’s imperial government combined an extreme form of race-based nationalism with emperor-worship and traditional Shinto practice. Some symbols of that era still remain, such as the Yasukuni shrine, though they are deeply controversial and often associated with the country’s wartime abuses.
Like nationalism in Germany, a bit of a post-war taboo has developed around religion in Japan. Separately, there is an alarming trend in Japan of forced religious de-conversion, in which families may “kidnap” a loved one who as adopted a faith seen as too extreme, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, and pressure them to give it up.
One of the most surprising datapoints here might be Saudi Arabia, where 5 percent say they’re atheist. Not a high number, to be sure, but higher than in many other countries, despite the extremely sensitive taboo against atheism in Saudi Arabia, which is also considered a serious crime. (In both Iraq and Afghanistan, for instance, less than 1 percent of respondents called themselves atheists.) We looked earlier at the surprisingly robust community of underground Saudi atheists.
In addition to Iraq and Afghanistan, religious sentiment is strong in Ghana, Nigeria, Armenia and Fiji, where more than nine in 10 people say they’re religious. WIN/Gallup notes that religiosity is highest among the poor and, to a lesser extent, among the less educated, which certainly correlates among the most religious countries. (Ghana’s GDP per capita, for instance, ranks 173rd worldwide.)
As for Italy, a stone’s throw from the Vatican chapel where Pope Francis spoke on Wednesday, the Catholic Church has little to fear. Despite a gradual slide in Catholic baptisms in Italy over the past several decades, nearly three-fourths of Italians consider themselves religious. That number has actually grown one percent since 2005, according to WIN/Gallup, bucking the trend toward weaker religious feeling seen elsewhere in the world.