Thursday, October 31, 2013

Suffering and light

As we prepare for the month of November, a month dedicated to the Holy Souls, I urge you to keep our beloved dead in prayer and perhaps incorporate some of these suggestions:

·      Between November 1 -8, devoutly visit a cemetery and pray (out loud or mentally), for the faithful departed.

·      On All Soul’s Day, devoutly visit a Church or oratory and recite an Our Father and the Creed.

·      Devoutly visit a cemetery and at least mentally pray for the dead.

·      Devoutly recite lauds or vespers from the Office of the Dead or recite the prayer:  Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.  May they rest in peace.”

And some, or all, of these ideas in your family prayers:

·      Add part of the eternal rest prayer to the end of grace at meals:  …and may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

·      Pray the eternal rest prayer when you pass a cemetery-this can remind you of our eternal destiny.

·      Pray the eternal rest prayer between decades (if you pray the entire Rosary) or after a decade if you pray one decade as a family.

“Count it all joy my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” James 1:6

My prayers are with you,


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Holy Friendship

St. Francis De Sales, in his Introduction to the Devout Life, discusses friendship, writing: "For those who live in the world and desire to embrace true virtue it is necessary to unite together in holy, sacred friendship.  By means of this they encourage, assist, and lead one another to perform good deeds."*

One of the blessings of participating in The Women's Apostolate to Youth (WAY), is this form of holy friendship.  In order to serve our mission, which is to promote the spiritual well being of children and youth and to provide spiritual formation and support for the women who serve youth*, each member is encouraged to strive for sanctity in their current stage and respective state in life.   It is this common goal which forms and guides our relationships, not only with each other, but with our families, our students, and with each person we encounter.  

May we, through the example of Mary, Mother of God, our model of spiritual maternity, strive to live fruitful and faithfilled lives.

With prayers,


*Introduction to the Devout Life, Third Part, Section 19
**WAY Statutes

Friday, September 6, 2013

WAY Prayer to Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, bride of Christ and mother of souls, you went to your martyrdom united with the sacrifice of your Divine Spouse and in solidarity with the suffering of God's Chosen People.

Inspired by your teaching on our feminine nature and vocation, we seek a path to holiness that allows us
to carry out the duties of our state in life with patience, gratitude, and joy.

Pray that we may find in our study of your work a compelling vision of our charism of spiritual maternity and how we are to live this charism in a world that denies what it means to be authentically human.

May your love of learning rouse us from mental sloth, rebuke our ignorance of the teachings of the Church, and inspire us to use our minds to witness with conviction and courage to the certain victory of Christ the King over every form of evil that plagues us in this world.

In Christ's name we pray. Amen.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Prayer for Enlightenment

Prayer for Enlightenment

Holy Spirit, soul of our souls, we adore Thee.
Enlighten us, guide us, strengthen and comfort us.
Tell us what we ought to do, and order us to do it.
We promise to submit to all that Thou requirest from us,
and to accept with love all that Thou allowest to happen to us.  Just show us what Thy will is.
(Cardinal Mercier)

Divine Love, we beg Thee to enlighten our minds so we may know how to bring the gospel message to the souls we meet. Help us, like the early Christians, live with joy in a world that is at times hostile to what we hold dear. 
May we be confident in the knowledge that we are beloved children of God, and that our task is not to rely on our own strength, but rather to be responsive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit as He uses us to be instruments of God’s love. 
We ask that you deepen our life of prayer in the coming months so we may have a more profound sense of The Father’s will in our lives and the courage to carry our that will. 
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

“O Holy Spirit, sweet Guest of my soul, abide in me and grant that I may always abide in You”

 The Women’s Apostolate to Youth invites you to pray for the spiritual well being of children and youth.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Acts of the Apostles Reading Schedule

As baptized Christians we are called to proclaim God’s message of salvation, to bring Christ to each person so they can receive Him in faith.  We are not called “simply to teach a doctrine, but to proclaim Jesus Christ by our words and actions, to make ourselves instruments of God’s presence and actions in the world” (CDF Doctrinal Note on Some Aspects of Evangelization, Dec. 3, 2007). 

Pope Benedict reiterated this when he wrote on the New Evangelization, reminding us that evangelizing is a form of living, not merely speaking.  (Pope Benedict XVI “The New Evangelization” Dec. 12, 2000).

It is hoped through our reading of the Acts of the Apostles we will glean practical insights that can be applied to our lives.   May we, like the early Christians, “live Christ”, and be bearers of God’s message of salvation to the many souls He places in our lives. 

As you read the Book of Acts:

1.     Pray with and from these texts, asking the Holy Spirit to point out what God wants you to learn through this study.
2.     Ask, what do these passages teach or reveal about being a witness to Christ?
3.     Does your life reflect these teachings?
4.     Note any resolutions or changes you are making as a result of what you have learned.

September 11: Introduction to the Acts of the Apostles, found in our retreat packet and Chapters 1 and 2 from the Book of Acts. 
October 9:    Chapters 3-5
November 6: Chapters 6 and 7
December 4: No regular meeting
January 15:  Chapters 8-12
February 12: Chapters 13-16
March 12:   Chapters 17-20
April 9:    Chapters 21-23
May 7:  Chapters 24-26
June 11: Chapters 27-28

Monday, September 2, 2013

Essays on Woman Reading Schedule

“Woman can become what she should be…only when formation through grace accompanies the natural inner formation.”

Essays on Woman, p135. Edith Stein

Please join us at either Angelus Academy, 7644 Dynatech Ct. Springfield, VA  22153 or
Holy Trinity Catholic Church, 8213 Linton Hall Rd., Gainesville, VA  20155
Meetings are held each month from 7:30pm-9:00pm (see dates below)

Essays on Woman
 by Edith Stein (St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross)
  Reading Schedule

September 18: Chapter I, The Ethos of Women’s Professions. 
October 16: Chapter II, The Separate Vocations of Man and Woman According to Nature and Grace
November 13: Chapter III, parts 1 and 2, pages 87-108 Spirituality of the Christian Woman
December 11: Chapter III, parts 3 and 4, pages 109-128 Spirituality of the Christian Woman
January 22: Chapter IV, Fundamental Principles of Women’s Education
February 19: Chapter V, part 1, pages 147-172, Problems of Women’s Education
April 23: Chapter V, part 2, pages 147-191, Problems of Women’s Education
May 21: Chapter V, parts 3 and 4, pages 191-235, The Goal of Education
June 18: Chapter VI, The Church, Women and Youth
July 23: Chapters VII and VIII, The Significance of Woman’s Intrinsic Value in National Life and Mission of the Catholic Academic Woman

As you read each chapter, begin by asking the Holy Spirit to guide your thoughts so you may draw insights from this text. 
1. Identify concrete steps that can be taken for the formation and education of young women in our society. 
2. Consider how the teachings of Edith Stein (Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross) apply to your own life, and in particular each woman’s call to be a “fruitful vine” for others. 
3. Note any resolutions or changes you are making as a consequence of what you have learned. 
4. Close with a prayer of thanksgiving and ask for the grace to implement the changes you have identified if they are pleasing to God.

To RSVP or for more information about the Women’s Apostolate to Youth, contact Melissa Manaker at 703-350-5015 or  Or visit our blog at

The Women’s Apostolate invites you to pray for the spiritual well being of children and youth.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Fortnight to Freedom

Dear Sisters,

Friday, June 21st, begins the Fortnight to Freedom which is rooted in our deep desire to preserve religious liberty in our nation.  In addition to fasting and/or offering sacrifices on all Fridays for religious liberty throughout the Year of Faith we have been encouraged to pray the rosary daily, and to attend monthly Eucharistic holy hours for religious liberty.  As the Fortnight for Freedom approaches, it is time for us to "up the ante" in our prayers and activities for this very important freedom, so I will make a few suggestions:

1. Attend the opening Mass, 7pm June 21, for the Fortnight at the Basilica in Baltimore:

2.  Attend the closing Mass, 12 noon July 4, at the National Shrine:

3. Attend the Knights of Columbus Religious Liberty Vigil June 22:  Mass is at 7pm, with the Vigil following at 8:45pm

4.  Participate in the Archdiocese of Washington Sacred Property visit program (this could be especially cool for our families!--there are many sites on the list which are part of the Year of Faith indulgence list.  (this is really cool, please check it out!)

5.  Pray the Rosary each day, as a family, for Religious Liberty

6. Attend a talk on Religious Liberty or one of the Eucharistic Holy Hours.  Please check your parish bulletin and the diocesan site for ideas and times:

7. Pray the Novena to the Mother of God For the Nation which we offered last fall.  (I have attached a copy here).  

8. Pray a Novena to St. Thomas More (our diocesan patron) whose Feast Day is celebrated this Saturday along with St. John Fisher.  Here is one option:

9.  Read a daily reflection on Dignitatis Humanae, the Vatican II document on Religious Freedom.  This in particular, would be a good choice:

You can also access the document on a "day by day" basis. The links are here:

There are many ways you can participate in the Fortnight for Freedom, so I urge you to pick at least one, and commit to doing it.  

I also ask you to consider checking out the blog Conversation with Women.  So many of us have been hurt by the lies of the "benefits" and "rights" and dare I say "need" for contraception and abortion. This blog has beautiful stories from real women who have suffered and found peace.  I encourage you to read these wonderful words of hope. 

My prayers are with you,


Friday, May 10, 2013

Our Blessed Mother

One of my most fond memories was as a small girl, I think I was around four years old.  My siblings were at school and my mother pulled me aside to give me something that was very dear to her heart.  It was a Miraculous Medal.  She told me that I had a Mother who was always with me, and that I should always turn to her.  I was to treasure this simple medal, and the blessings it represented, for many years.  Sadly, somewhere in our military moves, it got lost, but I still remember that day: the light in the living room, the sweater I was wearing, and my mother's face as she bent down to place this medal in my hand with the most tender of movements.  My mother's eyes were filled with love.  I am so grateful for that gift.

I turn to our Mother often-asking for help, thanking her for the many blessings she has bestowed on my family, and at times, simply resting in her gaze.  As we celebrate the month of May, and in particular the Feasts of Our Lady of Fatima and Mary, Help of Christians, I urge you to increase your devotion and affection to Our Blessed Mother.  May she bring comfort to each of our souls.


Answered prayers

The young man's father passed away a week ago surrounded by the love and prayers of family and friends.  Suffering and death have a way of rearranging our priorities.  This family showed  how, in the darkest of times, the light and love of God can be sought and found.  I will continue to pray for an increase of vocations in our diocese in honor of this family and the fine priest that served them through this difficult time, and for the repose of the soul of this loving dad.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, 
and let perpetual light shine upon him.  
May he rest in peace.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Prayer for the intercession of Frank Parater

A prayer asking for the intercession of Frank Parater can be found below.  I have also pasted a link to the diocesan website about this Servant of God.  

Thanking you in advance for your prayers,

Loving Father, Your servant, Frank Parater, sought perfection as a student, scout, and seminarian.  He offered himself to You completely through the Sacred Heart of Your beloved Son, Jesus. Through the intercession of Frank Parater, may young  people answer Your call to follow Jesus as priests and religious.  Grant the favors I seek, so that Your Church may recognize his holiness and proclaim him Blessed.   Grant this through Christ our Lord.  Amen

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Prayer to Our Lady by St Maximillian Kolbe

Click on prayer to "zoom in"

Allow me to praise You, O most holy Virgin, with my personal commitment and sacrifice.

Allow me to live, work, suffer, be consumed and die for You, just for You.

Allow me to bring the whole world to you.

Allow me to contribute to Your ever greater exaltation, to Your greatest possible exaltation.

Allow me to give You such glory that no one else has ever given You up to now.

Allow others to surpass me in zeal for Your exaltation, and me to surpass them, so that by means of such noble rivalry Your glory may increase ever more profoundly, ever more rapidly, ever more intensely as He Who has exalted You so indescribably above all other beings Himself desires.

In You alone has God been adored beyond compare, more than in all His saints.

For You God has created the world. For You God has also called me to existence. For what reason have I merited this fortune?

Oh, allow me to praise You, O most holy Virgin!

Director's Message

I have been thinking of our unique position as children of God and what that union entails for us as His daughters.  We are blessed with sanctifying grace, given access to the Sacraments, and are called to unite ourselves more fully with the sufferings of Christ.   As I mentioned at Easter, I am inclined to think of my day as a love letter to Our Lord.  As I look back on my Lent (and my life), I see so much failure: not keeping my sacrifices, realizing how attached I am to my own will, etc. But I also have great hope.  Christ looks on each one of us with His eyes of love, and literally begs us to accept His forgiveness and peace.  He desires to take all of our failures, disappointments, and hurts, and purify them in the furnace of His love so they may be presented to the Father as a sacrifice that is "acceptable and pleasing".  His love does not fail.  

My "love letter" is a renewal of my promise to seek the "pleasing of Him in all things".  To offer my tattered, yet hope-filled, heart to Him to be loved, and to love Him in return.  I desire each time things do not go my way today (and every day), to place these pricks upon my heart as a sacrifice of love on one of His five wounds, begging the grace in the moment to do as He wills, or as will too often happen, asking Him to perfect my actions where I fall short.  

In each of these moments my heart will be united to yours, knowing that through our united prayers and God's grace, our struggles will indeed be loved and perfected by Christ. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Director's Message: Our Pope

The announcement from our Holy Father this morning that he will be stepping down at the end of the month saddens my heart, for he has been a good and faithful servant. At the same time it is also a beautiful reminder that the Holy Spirit has always been with the Church, and always will. Our Lord asks us to trust, and pray. 

 As we enter Lent, I urge each of us to direct our prayers and sacrifices to the needs of holy Mother Church. This is a time of great grace, and as Scripture reminds us, "the gates of hell shall not prevail against us" (Mt 16:18). God never loses battles. Trust in His providence. To prepare our hearts, and the hearts of the Cardinals, check out the prayer for the upcoming conclave. 

I remain with you in prayer,

Novena Prayer for the Conclave

Heavenly Father,

We, the people of God, gathered in solidarity as did the disciples in the Upper Room, pray for the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the cardinals who will be in conclave for the election of the next Vicar of our Lord Jesus Christ. May the hearts of our cardinals be open to the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, beyond any human judgment, to elect the candidate most pleasing to you, Heavenly Father, and who will guide the Church at this momentous time in history and the beginning of the Third Millenium.

We invoke our Mother Mary, united in prayer with the disciples in the Upper Room, to intercede for our cardinals to select the next Holy Father in docility to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, her divine Spouse. With Mary, Mother of God and of the Church, we entrust this conclave to your maternal and Immaculate Heart, and offer these prayers for your guidance and protection over the choosing of the next Vicar of your Son.

Our Father...

Hail Mary...

Glory Be...

Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us!

(credit: Dr. Mark Miravalle)